Jasyla’s Gaming Questionnaire

Have we established I like answering surveys yet? Nope? Okay, well, in case you needed further evidence of how much I love them, Jasyla posted a pretty awesome gaming questionnaire on Cannot Be Tamed, and I couldn’t resist. These are my answers:

1. When did you start playing video games?

Honestly? I have no clue. I remember playing a number of games when I was a young kid, around five or so, although my parents were pretty strict with the whole thing; the first video game I ever played that I actually owned was ‘DuckTales: The Quest for Gold’ when I was around eight.

2. What is the first game you remember playing?

You know that terrible ET game people like to make jokes about? The one that got buried in the Arizona desert? Well, my grandmother used to have an old Atari in her apartment and the only functional games were ET and Pong; being a tiny alien just sounded a lot more appealing me. I know people like to talk about how awful that game was, but I loved it. Even though I spent most of my time playing it fruitlessly trying to levitate out of pits.

3. PC or Console?

PC! Mostly because I find console gaming is more expensive (at least, it is if you PC-game my way, with your regular laptop and mostly taking advantage of Steam sales and Humble Bundles). I’m also something of a shameless multitasker, which is a nice way to say I have a terrible attention span when it comes to games and constantly alt-tab out of them for a few minutes. Gaming on a PC enables this behaviour.

4. XBox, PlayStation, or Wii? 

I’m going to default to XBox because it’s the only console I’ve ever owned.

5. What’s the best game you’ve ever played? 

I don’t know if it’s the best game, but my favourite is definitely Portal 2. I loved the writing, and I loved the puzzles. (Oh, and Tetris. Tetris is a masterpiece. I’m not even kidding here.)

6. What’s the worst game you’ve ever played? 

Silent Hill: Homecoming. I bought this because I wanted to try playing a scary game and someone suggested it. Lo my disappointment. Not only was it not particularly scary (it felt more like an action game than a horror game), the controls felt super clunky and the story was lackluster.

7. Name a game that was popular/critically adored that you just didn’t like.

Bioshock: Infinite. I found a lot of the combat incredibly tedious and repetitive and had to push myself to actually finish it. The story itself wasn’t terrible, but i never found Booker to be a particularly compelling protagonist, and the character I was most intrigued by throughout the game, Daisy Fitzroy, was treated horribly at the end along with all the Vox. Elizabeth was cool, I guess, but I would’ve at least liked to get a chance to play as her. (Other answers include all the GTA’s. That my favourite activity in those games is to cycle to the top of mountains and then parachute down should tell you a lot; I also feel very uncomfortable stealing pixel people’s cars.)

8. Name a game that was poorly received that you really like.

Does Star Wars: The Old Republic count? It got fairly good reviews from most gaming sites, but I wouldn’t say it was received too well by the player-base. To be honest, it’s a hugely flawed game, especially as an MMO, but I love, love, love playing through the stories for all the different classes. I also really like the lore for the Old Republic era in general.

If it doesn’t, I can’t really think of any. I think I may just be boring and play stuff other people already like. (I guess I could always go with Early Cata and its healing model.)

9. What are your favourite game genres?

Mostly, I like RPGs with good stories, or puzzle games. I also love platformers.

10. Who is your favourite game protagonist?

FemShep, all the way. I also really like the most recent iteration of Lara Croft.

11. Describe your perfect video game.

It would have an engaging story with well written characters, platforming elements, stealth elements and a protagonist who wielded a bow because bows are just the best weapons. 

12. What video game character do have you have a crush on?

Carth Onasi from KoTOR, and Alistair and Morrigan from Dragon Age (even though Morrigan always hates my characters for being too nice).

13. What game has the best music? 

I’ve never been someone who pays too much attention to game music, but the Bastion soundtrack is just amazing.

14. Most memorable moment in a game:

Probably the first time I beat my cousin in Super Smash. He used to be very smug about being better than me at the game, despite the fact that he actually owned it and got to play it more than once a week. It was very satisfying to get to win for once. Go Kirby!

15. Scariest moment in a game:

Well, as I mentioned above, my one and only attempt to play a scary game didn’t go so well, so I’ll have to go with the first time Lara Croft impaled herself on the newest Tomb Raider. I was like nope, nope, nope. Actually, scratch that, it was the first time I fought a Thresher Maw in Mass Effect. Those things are effing terrifying.

16. Most heart-wrenching moment in a game:

The decision you have to take at the end of Legion’s loyalty mission in ME2. It left me feeling gutted for days.

17. What are your favourite websites/blogs about games?

I like reading Polygon and sometimes Rock, Paper, Shotgun, and Gamasutra.

18. What’s the last game you finished?

Depression Quest. I can’t really say I enjoyed it, but I think it was pretty successful in what it was trying to do.

19. What future releases are you most excited about? 

Dragon Age, Dragon Age, Dragon Age! *runs around excitedly*

I’m also pretty excited about No Man’s Sky.

20. Do you identify as a gamer?

For the longest time, I didn’t feel like I could identify as a gamer, since I didn’t feel I’d played enough games (a very large amount of the time I’ve spent playing games throughout my life has been spent playing either WoW or The Sims), and was really terrible about actually finishing the ones I did play. Ultimately, though, I enjoy games; I enjoy playing them and talking about them and reading about them and thinking about them. ‘Gamer’ is a handy label to describe this, so I’ve come around to using it to describe myself. 

21. Why do you play video games? 

For fun, mostly. And sometimes for a challenge.




ALT: ernative Chat’s “10 Years :: 10 Questions” Project

WoW is officially almost ten years old and Alternative Chat has put together an interesting project that involves WoW players (current and former) answering a ten question survey. I figured it’d be a fun thing to do (and I would encourage anyone who reads this to give it a go), so here are my answers:

1. Why did you start playing Warcraft?

The answer to this question is sort of embarrassing. The short answer is that it struck me as something any self-respecting nerd ought to try, at least once. I only stuck around for the free trial back when I first tried it, at some point during the Burning Crusade; I had a blast playing it despite having spent the first few levels whacking mobs with my mage’s staff (because why else would your character have a weapon?), but I couldn’t quite bring myself to pay the sub.

Fast forward a couple of years to Patch 3.3 in Wrath of the Lich King, where I casually mentioned it to my best friend as something I’d like to try again. He got incredibly excited about it, and not two weeks later I was having LAN parties with him and a few of my other high-school friends. Sadly, only him and me really stuck with it.

2. What was the first ever character you rolled?

The first character I ever rolled was a human mage named Karwyn, during the aforementioned trial. I had originally wanted to roll a healer but, like the sensible person I am, I figured it would be too much responsibility for a total newbie like me, and I should hold off on it until I understood the game better. I’ve always liked the mage archetype (because books!), so that’s what I went with instead.

3. Which factors determined your faction choice in game?

When I came back with my friends, we decided to try both factions. My best friend and I both rolled tauren druids Horde-side and a human mage and priest duo Alliance-side (me the mage, him the priest). Ultimately, we discovered we liked our Alliance classes better and so we stuck with that faction. Plus, Stormwind is clearly the better city (I always get lost in Orgrimmar).

4. What has been your most memorable moment in Warcraft and why?

Such a hard question!

I think the most memorable moment was my first actual progression raid, which was an ICC 10-man run. I’d originally joined the guild with the intention of participating in their weekend 25-man (usually at least part PuG), but one of the healers for their main 10-man was a kid who couldn’t always make it so they were looking for a replacement. I wound being asked to join the raid about an hour before it happened. I was so incredibly nervous. I hadn’t had time to research the fights so I had to ask for explanations and my voice kept shaking and I kept fumbling my English. I think I must’ve apologised at least ten or twenty times for messing up something or another. It was awful, but strangely exhilarating.

I suppose there’s also the time I healed all the gold Challenge Modes over two days in order to get my title, but I’m not sure thirty-six hours can really count as a moment (three was probably already stretching it). 

5. What is your favourite aspect of the game and has this always been the case?

I think healing is, by and large, what I enjoy most in this game. The role has always appealed to me, but I was scared to try it until my friend convinced me to level a priest as a pocket healer for his druid tank. I had some discouraging experiences while I was LFD-ing my way to eighty and trying to figure out how to keep people from being dead (most notably, there was an endless string of wipes through Auchenai Crypts that culminated with one of the DPS’ers whispering to my friend that it was okay, it was the noob healer’s fault we were wiping). I think it speaks to how much I like the role that I stuck with it despite stuff like that, to the point where six out of my seven max-level alts have healing specs (which I am now using to try and get Proven Healer with all the healers).

6. Do you have an area in game that you always return to?

I love Elwynn. Most of my alts are human at least partially because it’s my favourite starting zone, and I quite like idly flying around it while chatting with my friends or listening to podcasts. I don’t know why I like it so much; maybe because it was the first area I got to explore, or because I really like the music. Possibly, I just really like forests.

7. How long have you /played and has that been continuous?

Calidyn, my main, has 140 days played. My alts probably amount to about half that, added together. It definitely wasn’t continuous, though, since I took a year long break during Cata. It wasn’t the expansion’s fault; I wound up in the middle of some guild drama that I had no clue how to handle so I *poofed*. Definitely not my proudest moment.

8. Admit it: do you read quest text or not?

Sometimes. I enjoy the lore of Warcraft quite a bit, but find questing to be pretty unpleasant since it requires I pew pew stuff (which I’m not very good at), so I tend to rush through it unless I know ahead of time the quest is an interesting. Every once in a while, I tell myself I’ll really start reading quest text now, but that lasts all of two quests usually.

9. Are there any regrets from your time in game?

The aforementioned *poofing* is a big one. I cancelled my sub and kept telling myself I was going to log in and tell my GM I was quitting before it lapsed; then proceeded to procrastinate this until it did. Definitely not the most mature approach. The other one is not having pursued somewhat more serious raiding until MoP for fear of being terrible at it. (Not that I’m at the pinnacle of progression now, but my first guild, with which I stuck to the end of Cata, was about as casual as you could get, and it drove me a little insane.)

10. What effect has Warcraft had on your life outside gaming?

I’m painfully shy in real life and struggle a lot with social anxiety. This started out being the case in WoW, as well, (with me not saying much more than ‘hello’ and ‘thank you’ in dungeon runs) but my impatience and the fact that it’s a fairly structured environment with very concrete goals eventually made me start speaking up in group content in order to get things get done.  While I still have a long way to go, this has somewhat reflected in my real life and I’m significantly more confident when talking to strangers. 

Shared Topic: Wasting Time in the Timeless Isle

I’m meant to be doing a bunch of stuff, including several labs and some log analysis for my guild. This means, of course, that my brain just really wants to do the Blog Azeroth Shared Topic for this week. Proposed by Amerence, the topic is all about the Timeless Isle: how much time we spend there, whether or not we find it fun, whether or not we do the dailies, etc.

Here’s the thing: I hate the Timeless Isle.

It may very well be that I’m a healer at heart, but grinding mobs for hours on end isn’t exactly my idea of fun.

I really tried, at the beginning. I went there, did the initial quest chain, tried to grind rep (it’s really hard when you mostly roll with two healer specs, incidentally). The thing is, I’m not a collector. It was kind of interesting, seeing if I could kill stuff in my disc spec without dying, but it wound up being slow and repetitive and none of the rewards seemed worth the grind.

It’s weird though, because I don’t have that problem doing dailies for mounts. That’s how I got my Netherwing Drake and my Cloud Serpent, and they never bothered me to the degree the Timeless Isle does. I think the main difference is doing it via quests feels very predictable. I can tell exactly how much time it will take me to get to my goal if I do them every day, so it doesn’t feel like such an interminable grind. Timeless Isle is all about random drops and variable rep from different mobs, so it’s very hard to tell when you’ll get a given pet or mount. I don’t mind randomness in rewards when it’s an activity I enjoy intrinsically, like raiding, but it turns out smiting stuff to death (or Mind Blasting if I happen to be specc’ed into shadow) is not something I enjoy intrinsically. Additionally, I think another difference that has an impact is that dailies force me to pace myself, and I don’t wind up grinding for several hours and burning myself out quickly so that I hate everything about the mobs and the place after one evening.

In short, I’ve only ever gone back with my main a handful of times (for stuff not world bosses). Once because I decided I wanted to give the Harmonious Porcupette to a friend for Christmas (that didn’t go far; I wound up buying something else from the AH) and a few other times because I wanted to practice my shadow skills on stuff that wouldn’t melt in two casts.

And you know what the best part about the Timeless Isle is? It’s alright if I never step foot on it on my main again, because it’s content that is entirely optional.

Alts, though, alts are an entirely different thing.

All throughout the expansion, I’ve been slowly levelling some of my alts so that I now have all of the healers, plus a horde DPS monk at 90. Now, I could have, upon hitting max with them, just gone the normal route of grinding heroics, then LFR and so on to get them semi-geared, but that takes a bunch of time (especially when in questing greens) so my standard strategy for gearing them is now thus: go to the Timeless Isle, do the initial quests, never engage anything that’s an elite because it will melt your face, and try and find chests until the character is geared enough to do LFR. From there, I just run LFR and dungeons, using VP, drops and JPs to complement my gear. (And, yes, I’m saying I vastly prefer healing LFR to grinding the Timless Isle; make of that what you will). It isn’t exactly fun, since the jaunt through TI is mostly running around on my mount, dying a lot. Honestly, it makes me really miss the model with different tiers of dungeons for catching up. But then, I’ve been missing that the whole expansion, because I really like healing five-man content.

Blizzard has said they’re doing more dungeons next expansion; they’ve also said they’d like to implement more TI-like max level content. If they manage to do the former, I will be happy, but if they only really do the latter, I might cry. Dailies I don’t mind (as long as they don’t go overboard – ohhai, 5.0!), dungeons I love, but if I have to grind mobs in order to get geared for raiding in WoD, it just might get me to quit. (Probably not – I just went for hyperbole to show how much I dislike the idea – but I will whine a lot.)

The Info Dump is Here! (Healing Priest Edition)


Finally, after months of impatience and complaining, Alpha is here and we know stuff. I honestly am a little surprised. I figured I would be freaking out at this point – either too excited for coherent thought, or devastated that priests were going to be unplayable next expansion –  but most changes were either expected or pretty minor. And though there were some changes I’m not too keen on, they’re a far cry from the end of the world.

The Chakra and Sanctuary Change

Healing Chakras have been changed to only buff their pertinent spells by 10% and make their exclusive abilities a lot stronger. Now. while having less of a penalty for casting spells outside of your Chakra is absolutely a good thing, the fact that there’s still a penalty means the ability is still problematic. The only way I can ever see the current implementation of Chakra working and feeling really satisfying is if they can make casting spells in the right Chakra feel like a bonus (i.e. balancing it so that priests are a little stronger than other classes when casting spells appropriate to their Chakra), or simply make the stances be tied to the Holy Words and nothing else (which was suggested by Derevka, I believe). The latter would be boring but functional.

Honestly, though, I would be much happier if they just turned them into short throughput cooldowns that share a CD. (And give us Serenity permanently and tie Sanctuary to our Lightwell so we can pretend we’re druids! Although, then again, we can’t reposition that at will, so it might be a terrible idea. ><)

The other thing to note here is that Sanctuary has been massively buffed. Which essentially means we now have Healing Rain. I know it’s been said a lot that Sanctuary is not meant to be Healing Rain, but I can’t help but think that there isn’t much of a different niche that an AoE circle can fill. It has to be something that provides enough healing to be worth the cast in both mana capped situations and GCD-capped situations. While I wouldn’t say it wasn’t necessarily worth the cast currently in a period of heavy AoE damage, it certainly wasn’t much of a heavy lifter either. (I’ll confess I even forgot it for a couple of Malorok kills; I know, I’m a terrible priest). Ideally, I’d like it to be something expensive enough that you would only cast it where there really is a lot of damage going on and people are liable to be stacked, instead of something that you just keep down whenever you’re in Sanctuary Chakra. But, hey, as long as it doesn’t become 50% of our healing done (in the style of current Shaman Healing Rain), I’ll be happy.

The Atonement and Smart Healing Change

Atonement now heals for 25% less. This is, as far as I’m concerned, something that absolutely had to happen. Not necessarily because the smart healing component of Atonement was too good (though it was), but because its interaction with Divine Aegis made it entirely too powerful. As your crit inevitably went up (and as it will again in Warlords), it meant you could cover the entire raid with crit bubbles and get all the benefits of shields (effective health, less spiky damage) while bypassing their biggest drawback – the fact that if there’s not damage incoming, your resources have been wasted – due to smite spam being absurdly cheap.

This change, coupled with the fact that smart heals only heal a random injured  target as opposed to the most injured target means Atonement will likely only be a good choice for stacking Evangelism and periods of very low raid damage, which is honestly much more in-line with the original design intent for Atonement i.e. give discipline priests something to do while they would ordinarily be twiddling their thumbs, instead of having them spam it all encounter because ‘DA, lulz’. My only question is whether this is enough of a nerf, something that we won’t know until we see some actual numbers.

The Stuff We’re Losing

Rapture and Void Shift are gone. I can’t say I’m too happy with either of these losses. I thought Rapture was an excellent mechanic that made it so spam shielding wasn’t much of an option (until we got ALL the mana regen at the end of the expansion, that is) while casting our one shield on the tank didn’t feel punishing. I expect the reasoning for this might be that it’s one of those mechanics that required an external addon to track so you could perform adequately, but I still worry that it’ll will either mean we’re back to being shield spamming machines (the new perk that lowers Weakened Soul time doesn’t exactly alleviate this concern), or that with the proposed mana changes we will only cast Power Word: Shield very rarely.

Void Shift just makes me sad ’cause I thought it was a fun ability and appreciated having a second tank cooldown. I thought that the risk inherent in it (I’ve killed myself with it more than a couple of times) made it so it wasn’t completely broken, and -let’s face it- nothing is more satisfying than combo’ing it with your Desperate Prayer. The worst part is I’m not really sure why it’s going away. The only feasible reason I can come up with is PvP. In which case, I bite my thumb at you, PvP. (The more pressing question, however, is how am I supposed to be able to get rid of tank Chomps as disc in the proving grounds? D:)

Other Bits and Bobs

Honestly? I expected them to talk more about how they’re making absorbs less effective. An across the board nerf to all absorbs? Worse scaling for passive absorbs? Shorter duration for effects like Spirit Shell? Or longer cooldowns maybe?

I’m thinking it’s probably the former, which I’m not too sure I like. I honestly think that Power Word: Shield and Spirit Shell are alright in their current incarnations. Spirit Shell is only really good for predictable spike damage. In fights where the damage is unpredictable or constant it’s, at best, overheal protection and, at worst, a gamble that is not worth it if you don’t have the mana to sustain possibly useless PoH spam. Though I suppose a longer cooldown wouldn’t be terrible.

The talents look alright. The only one that really piqued my interest is Words of Mending. Clarity of Will seems meh for disc (do we really need an other absorb?). It seems like it’ll be a nice boon for Holy in terms of stacked up fights, though, to smarten up Prayer of Healing some. Saving Grace just looks entirely too situational, but I will withhold my judgment until we’ve seen more of what kinds of damage patterns to expect in Warlords.

Finally, who thought it was a good idea to give priests an incentive to cast Lifegrip in the middle of fights? I’m looking at you, Improved Leap of Faith; you have finally given me the excuse I needed to troll people in farm fights under the guise of trying to save them (‘well, your health looked really low and I figured I could really use that extra 50% healing when I brought you up. I’m woefully sorry it interrupted your Chaos Bolt’). Not that I would actually do that. 🙂

Liebster Awards!


Reihyou, over at Mana Tide Totem, has nominated me for a Liebster Award!

I’ll confess this had me confused for a second there, since I’d never heard of them, and they seem to work nothing like an actual award. They do appear to be an excellent way to find new blogs though, and I’m thrilled to have been nominated. So, onwards!

You may be wondering what, exactly, is a Liebster award? I shall steal a quote:

“Well, it is only an AWESOME award given to up and coming bloggers. Given by other up and coming bloggers. It’s a cool way to find other blogs and feel like you are getting into the blogging stratosphere. It is simple, you get nominated by someone else, mention their page and a link to their blog in your Liebster Award Post, answer the 11 questions they give you, then tag 11 other nominees and give them a new set of 11 questions to answer.”


(Incidentally, this quote seems to be attributed to the ‘Liebster People’. Who are these mysterious people? I’m not sure, but I’m going to guess they designed the lovely icon.)

These are Reihyou’s questions (and my answers):

1. What inspired you to become a blogger?

Back when I was very much a noob, I came across WoW Insider while on a quest to figure out how to play my mage (who was the first character I rolled) somewhat decently. When I made my priest my main, I started reading Spiritual Guidance quite avidly, and then the rest of the site. At some point, thanks to links to blogs they posted (especially Dawn, in Spiritual Guidance columns, to other sources of priestly information), I discovered WoW had a rather active blogosphere. Pretty much since then I’ve been wanting to try my hand at it. I am, however, a little bit shy, and the idea of posting stuff for other people to read seemed daunting, especially when I didn’t feel particularly knowledgeable about the game. It took me a couple of years to get over that and a while longer to actively try to get anyone to read this (posting an intro thread at Blog Azeroth counts, right?), but here we are!

2. What was the first character you raided with?  Which raid was it?  Do you still use this character as your main?

The first character I ever raided with was my priest. It was ICC ten-man, at the end of Wrath. She’s absolutely still my main and probably will be forever, since every time I consider switching to another one of my healers I wind up feeling terribly guilty and regret it immediately.

3. If you could instantly be knowledgeable and proficient with any class/spec, what would you pick and why?

Shadow, probably? I know, it’s a boring choice, but I’m kind of an awful DPS’er and I’ve always wanted to be the kind of healer who can switch to their offspec and top some DPS meters if the raid requires it. Otherwise, I’d kind of like to be instantly much better at Mistweaving (then again, Tzufit’s awesome guide from a while ago already sort of helped accomplish that ^^).

4. If you could live in any virtual gaming world, which one would you choose?

SW:TOR’s! (A.k.a. that galaxy far, far away). I mean, are you telling me you’ve never wanted to be a jedi? Plus, all the other virtual worlds that I like tend to be medieval fantasy and I’m really pretty fond of things like showers and medicine and computers.

5. What would you do if Blizzard shut down WoW permanently?  Would you play another MMO or game?

I would cry a lot, and throw things. And then I’d probably move on to the ever growing pile of Steam games that WoW tends to keep me from playing. I would probably also give SW:TOR another try, since I do love the class quests and they still have dedicated healing in their game (*glares at GuildWars 2*). I also have a soft spot for Bioware.

6. If you could change anything about the class you play in WoW, what would you change and why?

Oh, my. This could easily turn into a very long essay, so in the interest of being brief I will say only two words: Divine Aegis. It’s way too powerful for an ability that I don’t really have to think about the majority of the time. And its scaling is ridiculous.

7. If you could pick any job in the gaming industry, what would it be?

It’s one of my secret life aspirations to be a writer for BioWare. I suppose it’s less of a secret now.

8. Are there any bloggers out there who you aspire to be like? What is it about them that you love?

Alright, gushing time. I’m not sure there is anyone in particular I aspire to be like but I’d definitely love to have Dayani’s grasp on everything healing and the ability to explain things as clearly as she does. I also really admire Hamlet’s theorycrafting skills and would like to be as proficient with WoW numbers one day. Most of all, though, I’d like to eventually develop a writing style similar to Ophélie’s. It’s always light and funny and easy to read.

/fangirling off

9. If you could be in any top-end raiding guild, which one would you pick?

Midwinter because Alliance.

10. What is the oldest screenshot you have in your WoW Screenshots Folder?  What is the story behind it?

Well, all of the computers I’ve had WoW on previously have crashed and burnt and exploded, so my oldest screenshot is actually one of my UI during a bad Elegon attempt earlier this expansion. I wanted it to show it to someone, I think. This is boring, though, so I’m going to cheat and show you my newest screenshot (shhh!), which is a bit more interesting

Eat ALL the banquets!

Eat ALL the food!

This happened the other day while I was doing LFR on my druid and someone asked for food. I didn’t even notice what was happening until my friend whispered me ‘Well, that rogue did ask for food.’ Then I saw that we had like twenty banquets out and had to take a screenie.

11. What is your favorite in-game memory of WoW?

One of my best friends IRL got me into WoW, and right before Cataclysm dropped we decided to do the ‘World Explorer achievement’ (entirely on horseback, no flightpoints except to help us get to the other continent) as a sort of farewell to the old world before it got smashed into itty bits. We didn’t get very far, but it was fun while it lasted and it gave me the chance to really notice a lot of details in zones that I had never paid  a lot of attention to. Old Southshore, I still miss you.

And time to spread the fun!

Drum roll, please.

Here are the nominees to the Award for Best Director Liebster Award:

Yup, there’s only five. It turns out that finding new-ish bloggers who haven’t been nominated already, whose blogs I read or have read and who are actually kind of active is pretty hard, so I’m just going to leave these five names here.

Here be the questions:

  1. What made you start playing WoW?
  2. What made you start blogging?
  3. Is there any blog post you’re particularly proud of?
  4. Is there any piece of advice you wish someone had given you before you started blogging?
  5. Name one character from MoP you’d like to see in a future expansion.
  6. Is there a class or spec that you’ve never played that you’d really like to try one day?
  7. Dungeons or scenarios? Why?
  8. What are you looking forward to the most in WoD?
  9. If you could have any WoW ability in real life, what would that be?
  10. If they were a playable race, would you play a murloc? What class?
  11. Tea or coffee?


On Proving Grounds as Gating: The ‘Jerks’ Argument

Ever since the idea of proving grounds as a gating system was introduced, the most widespread argument I’ve come across for why it’s not that great of an idea (beyond the balance argument, which I think is fair) is that it won’t do anything to solve the real problem with random groups. That is, inconsiderate jerks.

I think this argument is nonsense.

It is absolutely true that there are really skilled players with an attitude problem. Who enjoy belittling other people, or who refuse to account for what other people in their group might struggle with. But, guess what? Unskilled players aren’t immune to attitude problems.

Let me tell you a story. It was early in the day and I was doing my daily auctioneering and fiddling with my specs in preparation for raid, when I noticed someone periodically posting in trade chat, asking about gemming his character. He was getting no response, so after seeing it a couple of times and getting a tad bit irritated, I whispered him. Now, I’m no expert on prot pallies, but one of our tanks is a pally and I’ve done some research on them while trying to troubleshoot encounters. (Plus, I kind of love reading Sacred Duty <3; much math, such happy!) So while I couldn’t accurately answer his question, I could definitely point him in the way of sources that could. Namely, Maintankadin and Icy Veins.

His answer? Thanks, but I’m looking for someone who can tell me exactly what to gem.

That response had me rolling my eyes; but I’m stubborn, so the conversation didn’t end there.  Instead, I described the gist of what IV said and explained that gemming really depended on what build you wanted and what content you were doing and that, if he really wanted to raid (he mentioned this at some point), he really ought to go and read the guides so he could figure out the best gemming strategy for his gear (and -though I didn’t say it- how to actually play prot; his attitude didn’t exactly inspire confidence in his skill). 

He stopped responding at that point. I’m not sure if he just decided to ignore me, or if he actually decided to follow my advice. As an eternal optimist, I retain hope that he was tabbed out reading the basics section of Maintankadin. But If he didn’t, then I’m glad the proving grounds will serve as a gate for the next expansion heroics.

He wasn’t a jerk in the traditional sense of the word. He wasn’t mean; he didn’t insult me or laugh at me. But if you don’t care enough about the people you’re grouping with to take ten minutes and read through a webpage -even when being saved the googling by being specifially pointed in its direction- to make sure you know what you’re doing, then you are a jerk, and I don’t want you in my dungeon.

And he’s not the only one. My first WoW guild had quite a few skilled players, but it had many more players like that paladin; who couldn’t deal with the mechanics in Cata heroics, or put out half decent DPS, and didn’t really care to improve themselves. A lot of them were perfectly pleasant people, with whom I would’ve gladly sat down to have a drink and chat. But they were the kind of people I dreaded being asked to do dungeons with, because it meant three, four, five hours runs with nothing accomplished. And any attempt to help them was essentially ignored. Honestly, they were as bad as the tank that pulled everything and ran me out of mana, despite my protests.

I’m confident that Silver Proving Grounds is easy enough that the unskilled player who takes some time to do research and practice will eventually succeed. And that’s good. I don’t mind if your DPS is a little low – or if you’re having trouble interrupting or holding aggro -if you’re willing to learn; if you want to do better. But players like that paladin? They’ll be stuck at the gate, and I won’t have to carry them. And I will be happier for it.

Will the Proving Grounds requirement weed out all jerks forever? No. But it’s not a dichotomy. You don’t get either great asshats or nice newbies. At least, this way, you’ll weed out some of the terrible asshats.

The Paragon Fallacy

‘Given enough raiding hours per week, any guild is comparable to Paragon’.

A few weeks ago there was a conversation in our guild’s chatbox that basically amounted to this. I’m not sure if the guildie who posted it meant it literally (I’m betting on hyperbole here), but I do think it’s a common line of thinking among raiders that if they could only raid a couple more hours, the group would be far more progressed.

There’s obviously some truth to this. More hours a week means more attempts so it’s more likely you’ll get a kill, and then you can work on the next boss earlier and you’ll get more attempts on that boss per week so you’ll kill it faster and so on and so forth. It’s certainly a pleasant thought. At an average of eight pulls per hour and ten pulls to kill a boss, you’re looking at almost an extra kill per week!

Except this fantasy fails to take into account several factors. For one, the faster you get to a certain boss, the less geared you will be for it, pushing the number of attempts required for a kill upward. Plus, the deeper you go into a tier, the more it’ll take you to do a clear up to the boss you’re working on and the harder the fights become (ostensibly, though I suspect this is only universally true when you’re doing heroics and you can pick the order, and not even then if you pick wrong), meaning your average number of pulls needed to get a kill will also go up because of that and the number of pulls you’ll get per week to work on progression will start to decrease. I’m not saying the effect of added raid time would be completely negated, but it would definitely be mitigated. And while you may be Paragon in your head, you’d realistically only be few bosses ahead of where you are currently (I guess it should be noted that if you’re working on the latter heroics on a limited schedule, you may very well be comparable to Paragon, and this generic you is not really addressing the very specific you).

But I don’t have a problem with this argument because of its inaccuracy; I have a problem with it because it becomes a mental crutch that hampers progression. There’s nothing wrong with being a little optimistic when it comes to your own skill (no one wants you to sink into a pit of despair because you’ll never be as good as a raider in a top ten guild), but this sort of thinking can lead to people forgetting that they still can improve themselves. That the skill gap between a guild far more progressed than their own is very much real, and that work can be put into shortening that gap.

I know it’s very tempting to fall into this sort of thinking (I’ve been guilty of it more than once, myself), because the time we raid is often the one thing that is out of our control (beyond just switching guilds, but even then, our own time constraints might not allow it). No one likes to think that a lack of progression is their fault, or the fault of their teammates (in the majority of cases; I’m operating under the assumption that we all like the people we raid with). Except that it always is, because we could always be doing better, we could always be working on improving something. It’s just a matter of how much effort you’re willing to put in, and how much you care about your guild’s progression.

(Sidenote: this post could very well be called ‘the Method fallacy’. I picked Paragon because it was the guild that got mentioned in the conversation. Really, just choose your favourite high-end guild.)