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March 2010

Friendships: Warcraft Giveth and Warcraft Taketh Away


Through the course of playing World of Warcraft for over four years, I've met a ton of great people that I am thrilled to have gotten to know over time. And I've also watched some friendships crash and burn spectacularly. That's the thing about MMOs -- there's all these other people involved. And things don't always turn out for the best when clashing agendas and differences of opinion insert themselves, especially in a raiding context. It seems like for every good friend you make, you also earn yourself a frenemy.

The Good

I haven't actively played my Alliance toons in over a year, yet I still try to log in at least once a week to chit chat with the peeps in my friends and family guild (/wave at Milchar and Thardon), and my favorite druid lady. Horde-side, I've made some great friends with whom I have spent way to much time chatting online. And then there are all the bloggers and twitter folks (looks at Deimonia and Psynister in particular.) I've come up with so many great ideas for things to write about and just, frankly, had such a great time as a result of meeting you guys online. This is one way in which I can say WoW has enriched my life -- it's brought me into contact with a great group of folks  that I share a wide variety of other interests with as well, whom I would not have otherwise met. That's priceless.

The Bad

Over brunch one weekend, a friend of ours who played Warcraft from BETA through the end of BC before calling it quits, mentioned that as being one of the reasons he'd stopped playing. He'd been part of a tight knit casual guild that was comprised largely of some of his former techie colleagues. That guild fell apart due to the GM's burnout and some real life friction the friends were having as an outcome of in-game behaviors. Basically, one of their guildies become a little monster once he was behind his keyboard. To the point that people didn't want to hang out with him IRL due to getting so angry with him in game for his bad attitude and greediness.

The Ugly

When a friend wants to start playing WoW, my first impulse is always to invite them to our alt guild, give them some bags, reroll an alt and play with them. I get excited sharing my love of the game with friends. But at this point in time, I am pretty dead set against encouraging a RL friend to apply to my main's guild, due to my most recent experience with that. For me, if I am a personal reference for an applicant in my guild, I feel that means I am at least partially responsible for ensuring they are a good fit, and ensuring they know what's expected of them behavior-wise in the guild. If your RL friend turns out to be someone who flakes on raids, gets saved to other raid IDs when scheduled for a guild raid, and generally acts like a greedy jerk when ever something shiny and purple drops, it reflects on you. And after having seen that happen even once, I know I just can't stomach it again. In that specific case, we *don't* hang out with that person IRL any more. Because it became all too clear we had vastly differing ideas on what constitutes acceptable, courteous behavior.

Virtual friendships can also have as much drama as the RL friend turned cyberjerk. Often, it's guild forums that turn virtual friends into cyber enemies. It's easy to come across as being condescending when replying to someone's comments, regardless of your intent. And it's also easy to come across as purposefully shutting down discussion when it doesn't agree with your point of view. And worse yet, some folks tread into the area of making personal attack comments against anyone who does post an opposing viewpoint. And that can completely shut down productive dialogue within your guild, and drive permanent wedges between folks who were formerly friends. And that's poison for any guild, and doubly so for a raiding team that must rely upon and trust each other.

How to Avoid the Pitfalls

  1. DBAD is the first rule of thumb. Behave towards others how you would behave towards your friends and family IRL. Yes, this is a just a game, and we are all a bunch of pixels, but there is a real live person behind that avatar, and it is your responsibility to remember that.
  2. Text is not always the best way to have a thorough discussion on a complicated issue. It is great to get things down in writing when you are ready to fine tune, but it can also easily lead to misunderstandings and drama because it lacks the nuances of speech.
  3. When things get hairy -- get on that Vent server. A 5-minute conversation can often resolve a several day, multi-thread misunderstanding.
  4. When something makes you really angry, give yourself a time out. Log out for 5 minutes. Draft that forum reply in a text editor and let it sit there for a few minutes. Give yourself a little bit of time and space to accurately evaluate your best next step. Often, doing nothing serves you a lot better than making a quick, off-the-cuff reply. Recent Internet dramas reminded me of this point.
  5. When you find you are upset with a friend on an ongoing basis about an issue, make time to talk to them about it, either in game or over vent. The longer you keep your annoyance to yourself, the greater the likelihood you'll blow up and put that friendship into the "beyond repair" pile.
  6. Remember that this is a game. The purpose is to have fun, with your friends. When it becomes a chore, or you feel you are at war with folks on the forums, or you are dreading logging in, this means it's time to take a break. You don't do yourself any favors when you log in and subject other folks to yourself while you are in that mindset.
  7. Give others -- and yourself a second chance. If you are a jerk to someone, apologize for your behavior, and try not to replicate that behavior. If someone apologizes to you, accept it and move on.
There's very little that goes on in game that merits a permanent grudge war with someone you considered to be a friend. Who wants to carry around all that ill will? Not me. Safe travels, adventurers.

3.3.3 Patch Day To Do List


 The first thing I am doing once our servers are up and stable-ish this evening is going shopping. That's right. SHOPPING. 

First, I plan to go visit Frozo the Renowned in the Dalaran Magus Commerce Exchange. He wants to trade us our hard won Frozen Orbs for crafting materials:

6 orbs buys you 1 Crusader Orb
6 orbs buys Tailors the Pattern: Frosty Flying Carpet
4 orbs buys you 1 Runed Orb
Single orbs may be turned in for 1 each of any of the following:

  • Eternal Fire
  • Eternal Earth
  • Eternal Water
  • Eternal Air
  • Eternal Life
  • Eternal Shadow
  • Frost Lotus

Next up, I am going to get cracking on some of the crafting I've put off for my druid and mage alts. These Ulduar patterns all had their crafting materials reduced:

Belt of Arctic Life - Heavy Borean Leather x 4, Arctic Fur x 3, Runed Orb x 6
Belt of Dragons - Arctic Fur x 3, Icy Dragonscale x 20, Runed Orb x 6
Blue Belt of Chaos - Arctic Fur x 3, Nerubian Chitin x 20, Runed Orb x 6
Boots of Living Scale - Arctic Fur x 3, Jormungar Scale x 20, Runed Orb x 6
Boots of Wintry Endurance - Arctic Fur x 3, Icy Dragonscale x 20, Runed Orb x 6
Death-warmed Belt - Arctic Fur x 3, Eternal Shadow x 4, Runed Orb x 6
Footpads of Silence - Arctic Fur x 3, Eternal Shadow x 2, Runed Orb x 6
Lightning Grounded Boots - Arctic Fur x 3, Icy Dragonscale x 20, Runed Orb x 6

Cord of the White Dawn - Moonshroud x 8, Runed Orb x 6
Sash of Ancient Power - Spellweave x 4, Ebonweave x 4, Runed Orb x 6
Savior's Slippers - Moonshroud x 8, Runed Orb x 6
Spellslinger's Slippers - Spellweave x 4, Ebonweave x 4, Runed Orb x 6

Note that you can expect to see the cloth prices drop as well, now that the cooldown for making specialty cloth (Ebonweave, Moonshroud and Spellweave) has been removed. Ditto for Smelt Titansteel no longer having a transmutation cooldown. I now have very little excuse for the next alt (the level 50 baby warlock) not being pretty well turned out when she eventually hits 80.

Other Patch Notes Highlights

Culling of Stratholme: Players may now skip the initial introduction dialog to this dungeon once they have completed it at least once. PRAISE BE! Because I don't always need to AK and make a sandwich when I get this as my random dungeon and have been there far too many times to be captivated by the talky talk talk.

Balance Druid changes:

  • Nature's Grasp: Now has 3 charges, up from 1.
  • Starfall: Te damage done by this spell has been significantly increased.
  • Typhoon: Mana cost reduced to 25%, down from 32%.

Elemental Shaman changes:

  • Flame Shock: The damage-over-time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes and is affected by spell haste.
  • Elemental Oath: This ability is now always on as a passive aura.

The "Monsterbelly Appetite" daily fishing quest has changed so it now takes place outside the Violet Hold in Dalaran. The quest still requires a Severed Arm and has been renamed to "Disarmed!"


Most recipes that required 2 inks now only require 1.

And finally, one item that scares me:

Quests: Many quests which require vehicles have had their vehicle mechanics updated and improved in the interest of fun.

Why does this scare me? because of how buggy so many of the vehicle quests have been. I will cross my fingers we make it through with all the vehicles still working as intended despite being refreshed for more fun.

Happy Patch Day!

Would you post a link to your blog on your main's armory profile?

@Anea, from Oh Look, an Alt posed this question in Blog Azeroth's Shared Topics this week: "If you were given the option, would you post a link to your blog on your main's armory profile?"

To me, this is closely related to how widely do you disclose to your guild that you have a blog. If you're someone like Matt from World of Matticus, there's no way to get around it. You run the guild, and everyone knows about your blog. In fact, many of your members may have even joined because of it.

But Matt's case is an outlier I'd guess. Most of us folks who blog about WoW are not Internet famous. We're just folks who play WoW and love to write, and share screenshots or fiction or what have you with other like-minded folks via our blogs.

Some of my guildies know that I have a blog, as do all my Officer colleagues. Ditto for my twitter account. I don't have a link to my blog in my signature file, because I like to point to our raid logs instead, since that is something I want more folks to go peek at. I maintain my craftables lists on my blog, linked out to from our forums, and on a couple of occasions, other guildies have mentioned my blog and tossed out a link to it.

But it just doesn't feel right to promote my blog or specific blog posts in our forums. I feel that those who are interested in what I have to say will make their way here. Similarly, in answer to Anea, no, I don't think I'd include a link to my blog from my armory profile were that option available.

I would be concerned that were I to have a link to my blog in my armory, my SPAM comment load would increase. I would expect gold farm spammers to harvest those links and post malicious links more often. I'd also expect crazy comments from fail PUG members, or from declined guild applicants to be on the uptick for folks. Mostly though, I don't see that it would cause an increase in good conversation on the blog due to the reasons folks look you up in armory (from grouping with you or inspecting your gear) don't seem to usually match up with why folks make their way to my blog (because they are interested in raid topics or shadow priesting.)

All this said, I am hoping that the new Battlenet allows for creating a user profile, that you can control privacy levels on, so that you can share your contact information, including blog links, IM clients, twitter IDs, toon names across forums, etc.) with friends who you choose to grant that access to. I miss some of my Alliance buddies that I almost never get to see and would love to have an easy way to drop them a note or keep up with what they're doing. A facebook style update feed for those folks, that I could comment on, would rock!


Psynister: Blog search term of the day: "world of warcraft how does auto attack wok" Uh, you click it, you attack, done.

Orithea: I think they want to know how to auto attack and stir fry at the same time.

Psynister: Well, I can help them with the auto-attack part, but I don't blog about stir fry. I probably should, but I don't.

Anexxia: @psynister @orithea i can help with the stir fry portion of this. Let's group up. ;p

Psynister: Sweet. For my part "click Auto-Attack and move to melee range. Now, over to Miss Nexxi."


Anexxia: "Lightly oil wok and set to medium high heat. Once oil sizzles a drop of water sprinkled in it, add veggies + sauce." Back to you.


Psynister: "Is the mob dead yet? If so, go find another and repeat step 1.


If not, make sure Auto-Attack is still activated and wait. Nexxi?"


Anexxia: "Toss the veggies until well coated with sauce. Cover with lid. Let steam for 5 minutes." back to you.


Psynister: "Mob dead yet? If so, go find another and repeat step 1. If not, check for rez sickness. You are using a weapon, right?. Nex?"

Anexxia: "Add 2 Cups water to small pan, high heat. At rolling boil, add 2 Cups minute rice, stir, cover with lid. Turn off heat." Psyn?


Psynister: "If the mob still isn't dead you'll soon find a very hot Wok flying towards your head. Oh, and repeat step 1. How's it coming Nex?"


Anexxia: "It's time to set the table. Grab a bowl, scoop up half the rice and some veggies. Bon Appetit!" *raises glass to Psynister*


Psynister: "Mob still not dead? Move to step 2 and place your brain in the wok and proceed from step 1 on Nexxi's side. Food time. Cheers, Nex"


This is what happens on twitter early on a Friday morning. Thanks to @wowcynwise for suggesting we immortalize this epic silliness, and for @orithea for inspiring it. And of course, to @psynister for the truly awesome MS Paint drawings.

If you're not already playing with the other WoW folks on twitter, let me say you are definitely missing out.

When Your Raid Leader Says Everyone, This Means YOU!

Apparently, there’s a bit of a semantic problem many raid leaders are having. It seems that some raid members are unaware that when a raid leader notes that everyone needs to execute task X, that means…each individual member of the raid. That’s right. ALL members of the raid. Even if you think you know better. Even if you don’t want to do it, THIS MEANS YOU!

I’ve been bumping up against the THIS MEANS YOU monster a lot lately. The place wherein this seems to be happening most consistently, and most annoyingly, is in raid fights that require DPS to switch their focus from the boss to the bone spikes/beasts/whatever or to interrupt or cleanse targets. It’s not a lack of awareness on the part of the raid members.

When you say over vent, the expectation is all players need to swap to target X when it pops up, that is pretty clear. When you see said targets pop up and you remind folks over Vent and in raid to DPS those targets, at a certain point it becomes evident that some of your raid members have decided their meter humping is more important than executing the strat the rest of the team is performing. And when you see a DPS raid member standing right next to a fellow player who is spiked, and not landing even a single blow to help break them out, you’d need to be Mother Teresa to not be seeing some red. Because at that point, that player’s disregard has become rudeness/lack of respect for the rest of the raid.

So why does this happen?

Because, quite simply, some raid members seem to feel their personal performance, as measured by the shiny numbers on the DPS meters, are more important than being a team player. The reasons I’ve recently heard for why folks won’t switch targets have included:

  • It’s too hard to maintain DPS in my spec if I swap out targets
  • My spec is AOE based, and thus I can’t help being on the boss the whole time
  • I’m on the phone/have someone here/am otherwise multitasking and it’s too difficult for me to switch
  • I forgot
  • I didn’t hear you

The problem with the above excuses is they are complete rot. And they all show a lack of respect and courtesy for the other 9/24 people in your raid.

Debunking the Excuses

It’s too hard to maintain DPS in my spec if I swap out targets
Please do not cry to me that your DPS suffers if you swap targets. I am a shadow priest. My primary damage involves stacking up DoTs to do damage over time. My DoTs don’t have much time to tick on adds. Thus I usually mind flay as much as I can ‘til they die. P.S. Taking a look at my 10-man logs last night, somehow, I was able to swap to bone spikes and adds and still come out on top for overall damage and DPS. Above even folks who decided to stay on the boss despite being asked to switch. Remember this is a team effort—your DPS dipping for a few seconds isn’t going to cost us a farm boss. I promise. You leaving a healer bone spiked just might.

My spec is AOE based, and thus I can’t help being on the boss the whole time
Wouldn’t that mean you’d do some damage at all to the adds right next to the boss? See also the raid team doesn’t care if your DPS dips for a few seconds for you to do your job.

I’m on the phone/have someone here/am otherwise multitasking and it’s too difficult for me to switch
If you are too distracted by what’s going on IRL you should not be in a raid.

I forgot. I didn’t hear you.
I lump these two together as they are both incredibly lame. Your first time here? OK, I will cut you some slack. But do realize that to be prepared for a raid, you should have read up on the strat and asked questions to ensure you knew the expectations. If you didn’t hear me the four times I reiterated that everyone needed to do X, either your Vent client/speakers are not working or you have some wax to dig out of your ears. Or you are doing something else while playing.

How Can You Tell that Folks Aren’t Doing Their Jobs?

Did you know that when I or anyone else in the raid looks at the logs after the raid, or skada/recount I can see:

  • What you DPSd and how much (you see this on mouseover on recount making it clear when someone is not switching at all)
  • How much activity you had on each target/with each spell (i.e. they did low DPS but casted on it a sufficient amount of times)
  • Who interrupted or dispelled, and how many times
This is how we can tell when folks are not doing their assigned task.

What’s a Raid Leader to Do?

Hold your raiders accountable.

You can start with polite Vent strat reminders mid-fight. If it continues, make yourself a RW macro that says “EVERYONE needs to switch to the adds. This means YOU %t”.

If, after those reminders, you still have someone not doing their assigned task, remind everyone in raid warnings before the pull of the expectation everyone must swap to target X. After the fight is over, call out the folks who did not execute the strat, and ask them to explain to you and the raid why they did not. Do not fill the silence gap if they don’t initially answer. Ask again if necessary. And be ready to boot them from the raid if they refuse to comply.

Raiding is a team effort. No one cares how well you do on the DPS meters. Especially if as a result you have people dying, or everyone else picking up the slack of whatever task it is that you would prefer not to do.

Common Sense: When in Doubt, Sit it Out

Do you make plans with two of your friends for doing different things at the same time, then pick whichever one you feel like doing at the last minute? Leaving the other friend standing around waiting for you somewhere, wondering if/when you will show up? I don't. But it seems like all of us must have had guildies as a part of our raid teams who do just that when it comes to signing up for --and flaking on-- scheduled raids.

This past week, I've noticed that blogs and the twittersphere have been full of mentions of raids starting an hour late while the hassled raid leader tries to scrounge up a final member or two. Officers annoyed at people who only show up for farm night. Erratic raid members who /gquit after losing a piece of loot to a raid member with near perfect attendance.

That's right, Spring is in the air and we are at that cyclical point in the expansion (or is it every Spring?) where raid drama is rearing its head.

I've said it before in more depth, but the key points are worth repeating: 

  • If you sign up for a raid and are slotted to attend, it is a reasonable expectation for your raid team to expect you to honor that signup.
  • When in doubt about whether or not you will be able to attend, don't sign up for a raid so folks won't plan on your helping to make it happen.
  • Raid start time is not the best time for you to AFK
If you're not feeling it -- DON'T SIGN UP. It's 100% easier for us to replace you a week in advance than it is at raid start time.

When Raiders Only Partially Depart a Guild

When you've decided a guild's progression in raiding is not to your liking, or there are fundamental conflicts between the guild's raiding style and how you'd like things to be done, that's typically a good reason for a gquit. My horde guild has seen a few such gquits over the past few months, and I have to say, it was a good decision for the folks who did so, even tho I was personally bummed to see the folks go. 

What's been interesting to me over the years is seeing how many folks choose to leave their alts in their departed raiding team's guild, and still clock in on the guild forums each day. Because whenever I've left one raiding guild for another, I haven't felt the urge to keep a toe in where I was leaving, because I've never left on a whim -- it's always been due to some sort on intractable issue or incompatibility.

In most cases, I've done a full-scale move into a new guild. But on one occasion, I only moved my main out of my friends and family guild so she could raid, leaving all my alts behind. The alts' guild has not been raiding this expansion, so it wasn't any sort of an issue for folks that I'd done that. In fact, several members had done likewise once it was clear our scrappy little raiding team wasn't going to head into Naxx when the bulk of us hit 80. 

Former Raiders and the Guild Forums: Not a Match Made in Heaven

In the case of my first time in this position, our guild forums were not especially active, so my moving one character out and still spending a ton of time on my alts didn't cause even a ripple of drama. I wish I could say the same for other folks in that position in guilds that had a more active forums culture. In most cases, it became a source of ongoing drama in the guild until the person either voluntarily moved on, or had the gkick door hit them in the ass to show them the way out.

The primary issues that can flare up are pretty consistent:

  • Bragging about their new guild's progress. Guess what? The guild you left probably has had to struggle some as a result. They aren't really interested in hearing about your successes. And if they are, people will ask you directly.
  • Bagging on their old guild's policies/strategies. You chose to take your ball and go home by taking your raiding toon out of a guild. To me, that also means by choosing to be part of the problem, and not part of the solution to the issues that made you leave, you should also give up your right to lecture/ harangue/ complain/ berate others about said issues.
  • Providing unsolicited advice. The fact that your new guild flawlessly executed on a fight your old guild has been struggling on is not an open invitation for you to school them on how to do the fight. You forget you were right back here with the rest of us, struggling, not so long ago. I assure you, if folks want your advice and tips, they will most certainly ask for them. If you find yourself incapable of keeping unsolicited advice to yourself, go play on the WoW Forums or start a blog!
  • Continuing to fight old fights. You've gone on to greener pastures. Get over those old grudges. bury those old hatchets. Move on. Don't camp the forums and pick fights with the same people with whom you have been picking fights with for months.
  • No one cares at all about the new gear you've obtained. Your momma doesn't even care. Don't link it to us in chat. Or post about it on the forums. Seriously, no one cares. At best, it makes others think your primary motivation is lewt. And no one wants to be that guy.

Having been on both sides of the fence with this quandary, I have to say it's incredibly difficult in most cases to have someone move their raiding main to a new guild and maintain a collegial relationship with the guild they left their alts behind in. Even if you aren't engaged in any of the above guild forum faux pas, the folks you've left behind may perceive a hidden agenda in anything you say after you've left. And honestly, you've taken your ball and gone home. You can't expect others to not feel a little bitter about that.

That said, you may be in the position of having had a personality conflict with a guild leader that drove you out. Or some other big ticket issue that you tried really hard to resolve to your liking before finally going out the door. Your leaving on your main did not resolve that conflict. it is still there. And in some cases, it escalates the conflict. I suppose if you are someone who thrives on drama and conflict and loves to argue, this is a dream scenario. But I know for myself personally, it's neither fun to watch nor to participate in.

So What's a Guild to Do?

There are a few ways to minimize the conflict that can result when a main raider leaves the guild and wants to still participate on their alts.

The guild leadership can:

  1. Consider creating a special level of forums access that somewhat restricts the discussions in which these persons can participate. Give those left behind a place where they can talk about raiding challenges amongst the team -- without feedback from those whoa re no longer participating as part of the raiding team.
  2. Restrict moderation and special forums access only to those with mains participating in raids/the guild.
  3. Continue to check-in with guildies to see how they are feeling about their former raiding peers' interactions with them on the forums. If the scale tips too far into the bad, you risk losing currently active members over those who've already left you once.

The guild member can:

  1. Consider the issues described above and try to participate in a respectful manner on the forums.
  2. If you had a conflict with a specific guild leader, put them on ignore. You can make your friends swear to tell you if they are talking crap about you. Ignoring them doesn't make the conflict disappear, but it keeps your blood pressure down and can keep drama from flaring up.
  3. Make sure you are remaining in the guild on your alts for the right reason, i.e. because you really love playing with the members. The wrong reasons include because you want a safety net in case your new guild doesn't work out, or because you want to show everyone else how awesome you are and they aren't.
  4. Check in with yourself often to make sure it's still working out for you to continue your dual life. It's hard to maintain friendships -- or even get to know new members -- when your primary play time sink is outside of the guild. Knowing when to say goodbye and leave on good terms can be hard. Which is why it is important to periodically self-evaluate how things are going.
How does your guild handle this sort of a situation?

Another One Bites the Dust!


That nekkid dance part is in celebration of our Blood Princes kill, on our 7th attempt of the night (our first real night of attempts. woot!) We moved on to Sindragosa, with our best attempt around 28%. I think we can get her next week if all goes well and we have some time on her.

It's always nice to tick another boss off the list.


Another step closer.

Shadowpriest FAQs, Vol. 1

shadow priest at a portal into the Emerald Nightmare

I'm not one to make a soup-to-nuts guide to shadow priesting -- I wasn't keeping a blog or journal going 3 years ago when I leveled either of my two shadow priests (one Horde, one Alliance), and plenty of other folks have done a great job of that already.

But that said, I do often get questions from new shadow priests, or most often, from healing priests looking to get crib notes for their shadow off-spec. Hence, some FAQs. If you have a question I haven't answered here, leave it in the comments and I'll answer it in Volume 2. A big THANK YOU to my tweeps who suggested some of the questions.


Q: Which is better, spirit or crit? And should I choose haste over spellpower?

A: I go with the stat weightings provided by

  • Int = 0.22
  • Spi = 0.59
  • Crit = 0.76
  • Haste = 0.98
  • SP = 1.00 (stat weights are normalized to SP)
  • Hit = 1.88

What this means is haste and spellpower are weighted almost the same, and hit is rated as more valuable right up until you reach your hit cap. Spirit and Int are your least valued stats, and better suited, perhaps, for your healing set. Crit is still tasty, but not as much as haste.

Q: What hit cap should I be targeting?

This gives me the leeway to wear primarily haste/sellpower gear, with a few pieces that are bulked up on hit (I used a hit trinket forever which meant I only had to wear 3 other hit pieces.) Here's the breakdown:

  • 263 hit cap with 6 points in Shadow Focus and Misery plus a Draenei in your group
  • 289 hit cap with 6 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 315 hit cap with 5 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 341 hit cap with 4 points in Shadow Focus and Misery 
  • 368 hit cap with 3 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 394 hit cap with 2 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 394 hit cap with 2 points in Shadow Focus and Misery
  • 420 hit cap with 1 point in either Shadow Focus or Misery
  • 446 hit without any points in Shadow Focus or Misery

Q: How about tips for the disc priest that only pretends to be shadow on those pesky low healer fights?!

A:The most important thing I can say to you is to invest in a DoT timer and resist the urge to clip your Vampiric Touch. Don't put up your Shadow Word: Pain until you have 5 stacks of shadow weaving plus any other spellpower buff from trinkets, etc. Mind Flay is your all-purpose fill-in sell when Mind Blast isn't up and it's not time to refresh your DoTs. And finally, 4 or more targets are optimal for Mind Sear. Less than that and you are better off DoTing 2 and focus firing the other.

Q: How do you prioritize and balance haste/crit/sp, etc as you gear up?

A: Haste didn't make it onto the scene until I was level 70 if I recall. So I can only answer from the 70-80 sphere. Spellpower is the end all be all stat, in my mind, as you level. Haste becomes attractive once you have better gear that gives you a solid mana pool. I didn't start truly noticing haste's discrete effect on my DPS output until it got up to about 19%. That is also the point at which I started using haste pots, rather than Wild Magic Pots, on boss fights. You should get the incidental crit you want/need as you go along as a secondary stat.

Q: Meteor Chaser's Raiment or the T10 chest?

A: They both cost the same in badges, but unless you are doing hard modes and can get the max upgrade to the T10 chest, the Meteor Chaser's Raiment is your best buy. For more details on the T10 versus the other emblem gear, see my Frost Emblem post.


Q: Shadow Word Death: Will this get me chewed out by the healers and kicked out of a group? 

A: If you have a healer who is not used to shadow priests, an ill-timed SW:D is likely to result in a tongue lashing. Because it's rarely the case it's used as the death blow for a mob, which means you, dear caster, get it back in your face in damage. And it's rarely your best use of a GCD these days in bang for your buck, so it's typically not part of a rotation, except for those folks who like to include it in their initial ramp up for their 5 stacks of shadow weaving. So, use it sparingly, and when it makes sense. Don't use it when the entire team is taking AOE damage or you may die. Do use it when you are having to run around or being tossed up in the air to sneak in a little damage.

Q: What's your rotation?

A: It varies depending upon the situation. In 5-mans, I tend to DoT the primary target then mind sear because everything dies too fast to make single targeting them down feasible (too often there's not enough time for the DoTs to tick.) In raids, my boss rotation typically starts with a VT, then DP, MB, MF, MF then SW:P. That second go of MF is so my trinket's 10 stacks of extra spell damage is up before I cast SW:P.

Q: What shadow priest mods do you use?

A: Apparently there are a few Shadow Priest-specific DPS and buff mods I have never heard of, because folks often ask me if I use them. I keep it simple: Quartz Castbar to see when I should start queuing up my next spell, and Need to Know which allows me to track my DoTs. Omen and DBM for raiding. Auctionator and Lil'Sparky's Workshop for crafting, though the latter is giving me LUA errors now.

More soon. If you have a question, leave it below.

Friday Five: Twitter Dev Chat Edition

There were a few nice gleanings from last Friday's Twitter Dev chat (including a few tweeps I follow getting their questions answered -- huzzah!) But I do have a few questions still burning a hole in my pocket. WTB answers to:

  1. Any chance potential spoilers like the Arthas cinematic in the Dalaran fountain might be tagged so as not to accidentally spoil? Because spoilers are not fun.
  2. How about another character slot so we can actually roll a Goblin/Worgen on our servers? Or do we all need to go roll one on the same random server, that will then crash, to get the point across about needing an extra slot?
  3. Do you have any plans to update the classic race models? Because my troll would really love to do something new with her hair.
  4. Now that armory is so robust, any thoughts to add raid progression lists to it at a server lvl? What else is in development for armory anyhow Will the improved guild interface live here and in game? And for that matter, will polling functionality (like votekick) be incorporated into the Cata guild mgmt interface?
  5. Professions. I has questions abut professions. Will tailors get to make some of the cosmetic cloak covers? What is the possibility of tailors making dyed to match companion pet rag dolls or voodoo dolls?

I have questions -- WTB answers! As did many of the folks I follow on twitter whose very good questions were *not* answered.

I do hope next round instead of both developers simultaneously cherry picking from the same feed, they either have a moderator assign questions, or they get on Skype together to coordinate so we don't have two devs answering the same softballs twice...


Happy Friday!

On Spreading Yourself Too Thin

This weekend, our raiding team is going to be attempting ToGC. It’s Sunday morning, and I really want to go, but I’m not coming. I can’t commit to it. Why? Because I realize I am spreading myself too thin.

I have a big outside of game “to do” list, and a very busy job that has seen an uptick in urgent projects. Add to this my raid commitments 4 nights per week that I schedule around, and I am simply running out of time to do everything I want to do.

I plan to take a week off in April, with a goal of hitting up a ton of movies at our local international film fest. And this will also give me time to work on the recipe and scrapbook and photo board projects I have sitting around in varying states of completion. But until then, I am also going to try to do a better job of managing my time in game.

  • If I am standing around chit chatting, I better be crafting something or doing a daily. No more standing around in Dal talking in /o!
  • I know I want to do both Alliance and Horde pre-expansion questlines, which means getting the two Alliance 70s up to 80 and getting the 80 some better gear and replenishing their depleted banks. This also allows me to have some time to chit chat with the Alliance friends who have not yet made the leap to the horde and to further work on them in that vein. Consolidating all my characters back into the friends and family guild I love was a great step I made in this direction a while back. Realistically, you can only keep a pulse on so many guilds at one time.
  • I want to work on my horde alts so they are all in a good place gear-wise for the expansion. Realistically, the horde is where my playtime focus is, so they will get the bulk of my spare time.
  • In order to have some spare time to do the above, while managing to have quality time outside of the game I need to stop trying to do everything all the time. This one is hard for me because at the heart, I am an overachiever IRL. But I don’t want to be in a place where I become one of those people who overcommitt and underdeliver.

Baby Druid is All Grown Up!


Yup, that's my not-so-little lady. Moments after dinging 80 and putting on all her shiny new clothes that she had banked. Including the Jet'ze's Bell that dropped several months ago for Guld in the Storm Peaks.

I spent a while getting her dual spec purchased, and gemming an enchanting everything, then hopped into the LFD finder, with my pocket priest healer. After a few successful runs where I did respectable DPS (nice to see druid AOE in the 5s can do so well), I even set my priest go, and did some on my own.

Later this week, I'll need to dig through the interwebs to find a good Boomkin and Resto spec, and for some ideas on spell priorities. It has, after all, been over a year since I've had a max level druid to DPS with.

In other alt news, I cleaned up the mage's teribad spec, and finally took her to CoS, netting her a Drake (I actually won a roll against another person. For serious!) Her DPS is much improved. Yeah!

And finally, took the shaman in to one of our alt ICC 10s. Was somewhat amused that we got the Saurfang speed kill achievement on our alts. Somewhat less amused to note that certain alts with a ton of ilvl 200/219 gear did higher DPS than better geared mains of the same spec have done in there. Cough.

Happy Monday, and Safe Travels!