Raid Prep

Was reading some Druid Main just now, and Icedragon had a post about raid prep IRL.  This is totally too long for a comment, but I can’t really mention parts about my raid prep.  It feels so wrong to not go through with the whole deal, which I guess is a good thing that it’s habit to do it all and not just parts of it.

Food Collection: Noms Away

My guild raids at 8.  Well, invites are at 8 anyway, but in order to accept an invite (or in this case, whisper it) you have to be at your computer, and then it’s only 10-15min to the first pull anyway.  So at 6, I plan to have dinner or be on my way to getting dinner.  7 is the absolute latest for pickup dinner food.

Why so early?  Because eating at my computer, although I kind of do it, is not cool.  I’m next to my computer, but I’ve got my chair turned or backed off from the desk or something so me being a clutz doesn’t affect my computer.  I hold my bottle of drinkage in one hand, the cap in the other, and the cap is only removed because my mouth is in contact with it.

“Food Collection” however is also snack food.  It’s making sure my IRL raid consumables are on my shelf in the kitchen. (Yeah, my shelf, it’s what happens when you share an apartment with people.)  My drink of choice tends to be Dr Pepper — I know water or milk or something would be better, but it’s got a bite to it that I like.  I also make sure I have cookies or crackers or a bagel or whatever I can just grab from running downstairs before I run back up again.

If I gotta go to the grocery store to grab snacks, I do it by 7. Just makes it easier when I’m not freaking out because I’m not quite hungry now, but there won’t be enough time to run to Subway in the middle of the raid.

Connection Stuff: Hey, I’m Tawkin’ Eer!

That sounds vague, but it’s stuff I need to connect my real life body to the in-game raid.

This means Vent.  I try to be logged into Vent a good 10-15min before the raid invites.  Just logged in, not necessarily in a channel, just on Vent.  So at worst, if I have to afk and come back late, I just have to drop into a channel.  No biggie.

Maybe I’m just paranoid, but I keep my main Vent info (my guild only, usually) crap together in a text file with Vent, and then it’s also in my password program holder thingy.  Along with things like my authenticator number doohickie and, y’know, passwords.  I keep PuG Vents, though I don’t log onto them except for a PuG raid with them.  If it’s a guild run mostly, it gets named after the guild; if it looks more like a personal Vent or not really a guild run, it gets named something stupid like TotC pug or Naxx pug 2 or whatever generic name.  Haven’t pugged a raid in a while, though.

Vent means…headsetKeep your headset somewhere consistent, in a drawer, on a shelf, wherever.  Mine’s on a hook on my desk now.  I’ve had a couple of nights where 5 min. before pulling I can’t find my headset, only to stumble upon it later during the afk break.

Connection Stuff also means my addons.  I make sure what I want to raid with is up to date, and I use Addon Control Panel to switch my personal profile to “Pone raid,” which loads only what I need for raiding.   So no AH addons, no Gearscore, not even Postal, no Lightheaded, no roleplaying addons, no addons I just downloaded to play with, etc.

Make sure if you use some sort of points loot system that you have the addon for it running.  For example, Conspiracy uses EPGP, so I make sure that’s loaded in my raid set of addons.

Finally “Connection Stuff” means my me-to-outside-world connection stuff I close Firefox and only open it for a few minutes if I want to check which raid group I’m in.  I close TweetDeck, and make sure it is closed / exited, not minimized to the taskbar.  All my computer health stuff — Spybot, MSSE, Malware Bytes, backup schedule, CCleaner, Defraggler, etc. — is scheduled for outside of raid time.  If the dumb Windows Update thingy pops up, I tell it not to talk to me for another 4 hours.  I make sure it’s just WoW, Vent, and my desktop.

A word on instant messengers: I used to just put myself as “Away.”  It worked most of the time.  Every once in a while, despite having a “Raiding” away message, somebody would send me an IM while raiding.  So the IM window pops in my face, on top of WoW, because I play WoW as maximized window mode.  (Yay small laptops.)

So I’d spend half the time going “FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK STOP IT STOP IT GO AWAYYYYYYYYYY,” before the window would finally load into existence (wtb Windows not freezing), then I could click back to WoW, and then find somebody dead or myself dead or some raid leader wondering why the fuck I didn’t move out of the Malleable Goo right away.

Now I close Pidgin entirely, just like TweetDeck.  If they really need me, they’d call. Calling = incessant phone buzz; texting = bit of phone buzz.  It’s never failed yet.

Mental Zone: Time to Game

This tends to be more in-game than out-of-game, but I focus more on my toon being ready and it gets me ready.

Pee! Especially with a soda as my primary drink, I’m gonna wanna.  Yeah, any good raid will have an afk break or two, but start out on empty.

Consumables: Flasks / Elixirs, Pots, Fish Feasts, Personal Food.

I make sure I have enough to last both the entire raid time (~4 hrs worth of flasks covers it and maybe a weekly raid or something) and multiple wipes.  My druid makes the flasks: 2 for her, 4 for Pone, per raid.  Pots = at least a stack each of health, mana, speed, & wild magic. Usually there’s a few people in the raid also with Fish Feasts, but I try to have a stack of Feasts when I walk in.

I also have at least a stack of my personal food, but probably not more than 2 stacks.  Both specs, though I don’t raid on my druid right now, but I still keep around both tree food and bear food.  I also make sure I have a stack of non-strudel Strudels. Conjured Mana Strudel is 22.5k health & 19.2k mana; so are Grilled Bonescale, Sauteed Goby, or Smoked Rockin.  None of them require spices, and you get these fish while you’re out fishing for Feast fishies, so I really don’t care if the mage isn’t here.  I grab 80 actually-strudel Strudels when there is a table, but those are more habit from grabbing food for switching healers than actually needing them.

Yeah, I fish a lot.  I find it calming, actually.

On my warlock this also means having a full shard bag.  She’s a tailor, so it wasn’t hard to get myself a 32 shard bag.  I’ve gotten myself below 20 shards in a raid before, and aside from chain-questing for Loremaster, I’ve never really run out of bag space enough times to complain about OMG SHARDS DON’T STACK.

Gear: make sure it’s enchanted and gemmed properly.  Make sure it’s repaired. Also, make sure I have my Pawn scales up to date in case anything cool drops.  Look over some boss lists in case I have anything I want as possible drops.  I have an index card per boss, usually, with what I like that drops and how much I want it (major/minor upgrade, that sort of thing).

Sheesh, yes, I’m kinda paranoid when it comes to raid prep.

Boss mods: not just making sure DXE is loaded, but being mentally aware of what I’m supposed to do.  Knowing boss strategies or at least boss abilities.  Targeting macros (e.g. Putricide Oozes) and usable objects (e.g. Jetpack), make sure they’re still working and in easy to find locations.  I try out my oh shit keybinds (Demonic Teleport, Soulshatter, etc.); sometimes Bind Pad unbinds it for dumb unknown reasons.  Better to find out now than in raid when I need it.

Also be at the raid instance or on the way there.  For one, I’m a warlock, and with that stupid phase trick in Icecrown, having a warlock is awesome.  I don’t mind, I mean, I have 32 shards, it’s no biggie.  I really don’t mind summoning for guildies.

Fun Stuff: Iron Boot Flask, a stack of Noggenfogger Elixir, Blue Crashin’ Thrashin’ Racer Controller, Pygmy Oil, Baby Spice, Unusual Compass, Old Spice sometimes, etc.  Things for trash pulls or for cheering up when Putricide is being an ass.  I /dance a lot, not because I’m spastic or because I’m being dumb, but because HEY CHEER UP IT’S A GAME ENJOY IT.  No need to be freaking out and grumpy the entire raid.

I’m saving for a train set, y’know.  Heh heh heh…

So long as it doesn’t terribly affect my raiding abilities, it’s good fun.  For example, Super Simian Sphere usually only gets pulled in heroics, because in order to use it, I have to trade one of my trinkets (hit trinket or Illustration of the Dragon Soul).  Bad idea on an ICC boss.  Outside of heroics, it gets pulled on downtime.  It only lasts 5 min anyway.

Actually /AFK: When it’s break time, regardless of whether I need to refill my snacks/drinks or maybe I don’t actually have to pee, I should get up and walk around.  Stretch your body, but also just don’t think about whatever is going wrong in the raid.  Relax. Breathe a bit.  Then come back (don’t be late!) and focus.

Post-Raid: Replenishment & Tranquility

I believe that raiding is like exercise in that just stopping after you do it is a bad thing.  You gotta warm up before you raid, and you gotta cool down after you raid.  Dailies (including the Random Heroic) are typically done before raid, but in case I didn’t, I’ll go do some dailies to wind down.

New Gear: go enchant and gem that new piece that just dropped.  My warlock enchants, and between my warlock and my druid, I can fund gem-buying.  Or I can go take the triumph emblems that I don’t need on my warlock and go buy uncut gems and search Trade or Guild for a JC with the cuts I like.

Boss Mods Recap: World of Logs or Recount/Skada or knowing the Malleable Goo was causing me issues, or having some trouble on this one strategy.  Look things up on the web, is what it comes down to.  What could I do better is my goal.

Flask Monkey: my druid goes and makes a batch every week for a week’s worth of raids plus a few backups for Pone.  She keeps a raid’s worth for herself (both specs) just in case, but it hasn’t happened yet.  She also makes the preferred battle/guardian elixirs for bear/tree in heroics.  Pots too, though she’s not pot-specced.

Go Fish: it really is calming. For me, anyway, some music, or a podcast, or a DVD stuck in my laptop, and…fishing.  It’s repetitive enough that I can think, ponder, percolate, but interactive enough to have to be awake to be productive with it.  Like flasks I tend to do the cooking as a week’s batch at a time, but I fish throughout the week.  Sometimes I just go see if I can catch Mr. Pinchy, or I go read the coins in the Dalaran fountain.

This seems like a lot. It’s not really.  The most bothersome is the consumables, because I make my own foods & flasks & pots & the enchanting part of enchants.  When new bosses come out, then yeah, it takes a bit to read up on them all and figure out what drops are cool, but that’s only for the first three or so nights you face them.

Raid Prep

It’s not whack-a-mole to me

Miss Medicina had a single-target healing post, and it’s generated comments on the two major single-target healing spec-classes, discipline priests and holy pallies.  Unfortunately, I have a tree at best, and a baby disc priest at worst. My tree is suited for raid healing, and I like it that way.  When she still healed for TSR, I remember one ICC25 Marrowgar where she got told to tank-heal.

I was so nervous.  And a little bit mad.  They assigned healers based on HPS I think, and I was like, WELL DUH REJUV EVERYWHERE.  Oh well, the TSR healers were actually outhealing the host guild’s healers, so whatever.

But after that taste of tank-healing, I loved raid-healing even more.  Granted, I’ll give it to you that I probably do not have the best tree spec ever, and it’s definitely not suited for tank-healing, I’m sure.  So go figure a non tank healing specced druid tank healing was not so much fun.

Whatever.  I love my raid healing. It’s relaxing, for one, not to be all “OMG OMG OMG” if I miss a cast once or twice because I’m not the only one healing the raid nor should the raid be taking that much damage.  Unless it’s like Decimate, I guess.  Then raid-healing is all “OMG OMG OMG.”

The point of the post? I don’t really like it when people call it whack-a-mole. I’m not fuming from my ears when I hear that name, but it’s a little more than merely annoying.

“Whack-a-mole” feels to me like chaos, which, I guess most people think of raid-healing as.  You wait for the mole to pop its head, and you whack it.  Which is part of why I disagree with the name. When I raid heal, I don’t wait for damage to pop up.  One of the reasons I love Vuhdo is that it shows me not just who actually has aggro (red outline), but I have the threat monitor up and running so that I can see who is about to get aggro.  I also pay attention to things like cast bars and the boss’s target.  Using these various elements on my UI, aside from random casts, I can get at least a rejuv off if not a regrowth on the person before they get damaged.

So whack-a-mole chaos doesn’t occur very often for me, unless it’s massive raid-wide damage.  That’s just a case of too many targets at once, for which you need OMGHASTE or priority healing if you don’t have that much haste (like me).

Maybe that’s not so insanely genius, but people usually don’t die (unless they stand in The Bad), I don’t usually run out of mana (unless I go brezzing people who die in The Bad), I give my innervates to the priesties and pallies, and people have told me I’m good.  /flex ego

So what DO you call raid-healing then, Poneria? Well, I consider it like wine-glass playing.  Y’know, fill a wine glass with some amount of water, lick your fingers, slide your fingers around the rim, you make sound.  Get a bunch of glasses with various amounts of water, you get a wine glass organ.

So raid healing, it’s a wine-glass organ. You gotta be licking your fingers when you need to and be ready to move your hands to the next note.

I don’t play whack-a-mole.  I play the wine-glass organ with my colander healing. It’s really fun, actually.

So, peeps who read my blog, do you see raid-healing as whack-a-mole?  Why/not?

It’s not whack-a-mole to me

What’s in a name…

The only other Poneria in the ENTIRE GAME is on…

Elune. The server I wish to transfer to.  WAT.

So…Pwneria, Ponneria, Ponerria, Ponerya, Ponerea, Ponera, Poneriia…

Fimlys came up with Pwneria, calling it Gr33k = Greek + 1337.

Ponera probably won’t work because I just *know* then there will be some kind of joke about why I call myself Ponera but I can’t make mana muffins…

Poniria…is not going to work.  I’m sorry, I’m a Latin nerd at heart, I just can’t handle my i’s next to my r’s like that.

I already have a Ponn on Elune, btw.

Amadruada, on the other hand, is completely unique.  Astrape is not so unique (there are lots of shamans named that, hmmm, maybe because it means LIGHTNING), but there are none on Elune.

Also, there will be a warrior of some sort named Aristeia for my future worgen.  Greek nerds should know why.

What’s in a name…

Hasty Tasting

So I’ve had the chance to test out the new glyphs which let haste affect a spell or two.  One of them I like, and one of them, ehhh, not so much.

Wicked Corruption

Originally, I wasn’t sure about the warlock glyph, Quick Decay.  I got it as fast as I could grab one and went straight to the dummy to test it out.  And, well, Corruption kept falling OFF.  Mainly because it only lasted for about 15s, and even then, it felt like it only lasted for about 12s.  Normally, I refresh my Haunt as it dies, and every once in a while I miss it for like a second because I wanted to cast a Shadow Bolt instead.  So I would start casting by 3s left on Corruption and I’d normally be fine.  But Haunt would hit and Corruption would fall OFF.

WTF Warlock Troubled Face.

And I read somewhere later that it had to do with how the whole buff interface showing 3s are left when REALLY it’s something like 2.3s.  >.>  /annoyed  But it was okay, just start casting 1s earlier.  Except that wasn’t okay, because I barely had time to cast Shadow Bolt.  Maybe one got in before I had to refresh everything.

Then they fixed it so Shadow Bolt refreshes the duration, in addition to Drain Life, Haunt, and Drain Soul.  First, I was worried, because I thought resetting the duration  my Shadow Bolt means Corruption will never tick.  That I’d have to do some weird Shadow Bolt stopcasting dance around my Corruption ticks.  Then I read about the difference between the duration and ticking.  The ticks work off when the server registers whether there should be one.  The duration is just the, well, the BUFF, the state that allows the ticks to happen.  The refreshing doesn’t stop the tick tock ticking, it just lets the server know that the buff is still there, that ticks still need to be ticking.

And it works.  I’ve watched my target debuffs sit there and bounce through Corruption being reset–15s, 14, 13, 12, 15, 14, 15, 14, 13, 15, 14, 13, 12, 11, 15, etc.–and then I look at Recount, and Corruption is still a big chunk of my damage as it’s always been.

I like this glyph.  This is a keeper.

Quicksilver Rejuvenation

As a healer, I tend to stack more haste than I do on my warlock.  Neither of them, though, is anywhere close to “ridiculously fast” aka 1s GCD.  For Affliction, the only thing it really does is let me squeeze in one more Shadow Bolt, and now, more DPS via faster Corruption.  But squeezing in Shadow Bolts, it’s a discrete thing.  You can’t squeeze in half a Shadow Bolt casttime: it’s one or nil.  On the other hand of the haste v. crit deal, Pandemic is amazing, and so is crit.

My druid doesn’t have 7 bazillion haste on her, either.  I don’t really know why, maybe because I don’t do progression 10mans or 25mans, so I’m not under pressure and against odds to squeeze out more heals per second.  Since I transitioned from DoTs to HoTs when learning how to heal, and my affliction heart cried when they took away two DoTs from my rotation…I don’t find it too hard to keep track of 7 bazillion HoTs everywhere.  Vuhdo helps, certainly, but it’s not too difficult to keep a whole raid going of rejuvs and a few lifeblooms and some regrowths and a WG off cooldown.  I’m okay with rolling HoTs and letting them tick in rhythm with casttimes.

For my druid, I end up balanced.  I don’t really know which one is “better.”  I’ve read various resto druid blogs discussing it, and then I think…they’re all top raiders.  What do I do?  I do 5 mans for the most part, and a 10man every week or so.  The 10mans I do often aren’t the hardest I could be doing for my gear.  I’ve yet to see half of Ulduar, really, even though my gear says I could do ToC10 easily.  I’m not pressured to perform well for a raiding spot.  “Robes-style” means we take whoever wants to go, gear loosely permitting.

In the 10mans it depends on whether it’s a guild group or not.  I raid heal more often than not: in pugs, it’s my default assignment; in guild runs, if one of our holy priests is healing with me, I might actually get to tank heal.  In 5mans, I’m the only healer.  Duh.  Well what’s the dynamic of 5mans?  Especially now with the random LFG?  With the people in ICC gear pulling 5k dps on roic trash who like to do dungeons in under 15min so they can move on to the next and vacuum up the badgers?

It’s frakkin’ fast in 5mans. You have the sit down, buff up, drink some water in the beginning, but after that it’s go go go.  I’ve often rezzed someone with my brez just because it was faster and spammed my group buff while running.   Then you have the tanks who like to pull the next group while people are still looting, so they might start the next mob pack out of range of my heals. Or ranged dps who manage to spread out everywhere on Scourgelord Tyrannus.  Or melee who forget that the spinny weapon thing in Pit of Saron does damage.   In 5mans, I count on the fact that I have heals ticking when I can’t cast due to running or range or quick huge incoming party damage.  I don’t need to spam Nourish standing still unless people really push it.  I count on my HoTs ticking on the tank while he continues to run out of range.  Wild Growth often sees chained cooldowns because the glyphed version is enough to cover a party and a pet, so it’s a fast-casting, quick-acting AoE heal.  Tranquility even gets pumped every once in a while.

The hasted rejuv makes my HoTs fall off faster.  I found myself casting my heals more, but I didn’t need to.  I overhealed way more, and it was just wasting mana.  I kept having to Innervate myself.  In FIVE MANS.  Granted, in 5mans due to ridiculous pull rates, but I hardly Innerv myself.  I usually save it for the priests and shammies, and if I do use my own Innerv, I only do so when I get that “Not enough mana” error message and I’ve already potted.  Which usually only happens if I’m in a raid that’s challenging for my gear and/or I had to brez somebody.  Maybe it’s different in the 25mans and progression 10mans.  But my 2k Rejuv ticks were doing fine without haste, and my mana pool liked it more.

Those resto bloggers are right: I’m a 5man’r, a casual 10man’r.  Tenths of a second aren’t going to terribly matter to me.  This glyph ain’t for me, so I traded it back for my WG+1 splash.

Hasty Tasting