All Things Soulburn

Edit: The reason I didn’t know there was a SB: UA is because there isn’t one and the Wowhead comments aren’t updated. GG.

Recently, the guild chat conversation turned to beginning a warlock.  One of my guildmates started a new warlock, and had said earlier in raid that she could never get one above 20, to which I jokingly said I’d teach her.

So now we spent the next 20 minutes or so talking warlock stuff in guild chat.

She’s only 12 or so right now, but we got into what exactly soul shards and soulburn are and do.  She had a warlock back in Wrath, but it’s different now in Cataclysm, especially the whole soulburn mechanic.  As she put it, you have to relearn it all over again.

So I hit “Save Draft” on my glyphs post, and put it aside as I pulled up a fresh blank post.  Let’s talk about soul shards and soulburn.  Hold onto your cowls! Continue reading “All Things Soulburn”

All Things Soulburn

Affliction & New Talents

Class guides will be more useful than ever. If I start a warlock it’d be nice if a veteran told me uses for my level 15 talents (1)… Before? “OK, 31 points in blah, a few points in bluh, done.” (2)


I don’t know that I can say I’ll be a “veteran” when Mists rolls around with this totally new talent system.  I know a bunch about what was, but I don’t know much about what will come to pass, Frodo.

Affliction’s Flavor To Me

I’ve been playing my warlock as affliction since Feb 2008.  Almost four years, one spec the whole time.  Almost three years spent raiding, though not always on the warlock.

I can tell you I don’t play for the top theorycrafting spec.  I’ve been lucky to have affliction as top dog most of the time, but I’ve played it when it was second fiddle to destruction and demonology, too.  I’ve been frustrated with affliction in a raiding environment only twice; otherwise I’ve loved it.

The first was Valithria Dreamwalker, because I just couldn’t keep up with the burst DPS on lead-directed targets.  It took me a few evenings to find my groove as affliction — my wheedling down of big targets and spreading of DoTs everywhere.

The second time was Ragnaros, both sizes, because of the transition adds and the burst DPS I didn’t have but was required of me.  I was so frustrated and almost crying at not being able to play my favored spec on the ultimate boss of a tier.  I went destruction because I did not have the gear or the skill to pull off demonology in a raid progression environment, despite my knowledge of the three warlocks hinting that demo was possibly the favored spec for Raggy Pants.

Then I came back to Aff once I saw phase 3 of Ragnaros.  SO MUCH JOY TO COME BACK! 🙂

Affliction has long had a lack of burst.  Affliction, then, has long been less about the killing now and more about the killing later.  Affliction has always held a sort of sinister playfulness in my mind; we play with our food before we eat it.  Therefore, it does no good to immediately set your target on fire with a burst spell; there must be conscious suffering over a period of time before their doom is set.  I try to keep this in mind as I go through the talents, because I love affliction and would love to continue playing affliction as long as I can.

Implications for Raiding

First off, I wonder how people will keep track of the talent choosings.  Right now, with three trees of 31+ points each, there’s a #/#/# notation.  My affliction spec, for example, is 31/4/6 — 31 points in Affliction, 4 in Demonology, and 6 in Destruction.  Sometimes in theorycrafting they will talk about specific talents in a specific tree by the tier the talent is in; you need 5 points in tier 1 to proceed to tier to grab X talent.  We currently have 7 tiers of talents per tree with 41 points to spend; you need to spend at least 31 points in your spec’s tree.

The new Mists talents are 6 tiers of 3 talents each, and you can choose only one of 3.

So you end up with just six talents, but these talents are switchable like glyphs, they said (out of combat, etc.).  We’ll still have dual-spec, so you can have a set healing spec or a set tanking spec or a set pvp spec, but dual-spec may largely disappear for pure DPS classes.  If we can just switch the talents around with little cost (10s of time if you know what you want), why would you ever change whole spec sets?

For notation, I thought of chess notation at first.  Which tier followed by a letter for which talent in that tier: 1c, for example, would be Harvest of Life for warlocks.  Then I figured people would drop the tiers (we’d still refer to tiers in discussion) and just list the talent letter notations: abbaca, e.g., which would be Harvest of Life, Mortal Coil, Soul Link, Bloodstone, Grimoire of Sacrifice, Archimonde’s Vengeance.

For raiding applicants to guilds (or promotion / guidance within) and discussion of spec choice, I wonder what going away from the cookie-cutter specs will do, for better or for worse.  As of right now, as Bug said, “you put some points in blah, points in bluh, and done.”  There’s little discussion involved in where the points go, and this is especially the case for affliction.  Some other DPS specs might have actual choice in their trees, but affliction still remains largely an obviously-PvE talent versus an obviously-PvP talent.  There’s two PvP-specific (Fears) talents for Affliction’s tree — Improved Fear and Howl of Terror — and the rest you dump points into for PvE, often maxing out the talent.  Even the choosings for subspecs (the other 10 points that can go into other trees) are quite obvious which you should or should not choose.  Any Afflock who chooses Improved Immolate is either trollin’ or stupid.

Now, it will become more about tailoring to the fight.  Now, I imagine guild applications may become more interview-like.  Maybe they will be bland like a list of essay questions (“We’re standing at Baleroc.  Which talents do you choose & why?”).  Or maybe the applicant process can become more personally-involved; maybe your class officer (or fellow raid members) will be in on the Vent interview or vigorously posting on the forum app thread about the mechanics of your chosen talents and spell selection.  Will fraps’d fights become the new requirement for applications? (A WoL or two or three is pretty common nowadays.)

Blizzard appears to want to move away from “competent = correct checkboxes checked and gear worn” and closer to “competent = way you handle the fight with your given gear and spec and spell toolbox.”

But, as always, when you throw in groups of people who repeatedly test specs against a boss (colloquial: wiping on a boss), there will still be “standard” choices and “standard” spell selections.  Just like boss order in a flexible instance: no one says you have to do Shannox first but most people do it anyway because he’s the accepted “easiest”/”entrance” boss.  (UR actually does Beth’tilac first, and then we clear from there to spawn Shannox.)

So…I’m just going to give my (lengthy, rambly) thoughts on the warlock talents, as an affliction warlock raider myself.

The Warlock Talents

Pictures (MMO-Champion): Tier 1 (level 15), Tier 2 (30), Tier 3 (45), Tier 4 (60), Tier 5 (75), Tier 6 (90).

Notation-style: (a-c x6)

  1. (a) Dark Regeneration, (b) Soul Leech, (c) Harvest of Life
  2. (a) Howl of Terror, (b) Mortal Coil, (c) Shadowfury
  3. (a) Hour of Twilight, (b) Soul Link, (c) Sacrificial Pact
  4. (a) Bloodstone, (b) Soul Drain, (c) Nether Ward
  5. (a) Grimoire of Supremacy, (b) Grimoire of Service, (c) Grimoire of Sacrifice
  6. (a) Archimonde’s Vengeance, (b) Kil’jaeden’s Cunning, (c) Illidan’s Guile

Notes on Malefic Grasp: There’s an ability called Malefic Grasp (abbrev. MG) that’s mentioned in the talents.  Judging by search hits from the mere mention of it, warlocks everywhere are searching for what this new spell is exactly.  Where it’s mentioned in the talents is alongside Shadow Bolt (SB) and Incinerate (Incin), the known and current filler spells for warlocks.  Therefore, my (& others’) speculation is that MG is the third filler spell to further differentiate the three specs of warlocks.  Currently, demonology shares a filler with Aff or Destro, depending on whether shadow (SB) or fire (Incin) ends up being a better damage per execute time (DPET) spell.  With the nerfs to Drain Life in tier 12, Blizzard has already said that it intends for Shadow Bolt to be affliction’s filler, and Incinerate naturally fits destruction’s fire focus, so the concluding speculation is that Malefic Grasp will be demonology’s filler spell.

Tier Themes: After looking at all the warlock talents, I first wanted to see if I could spot the separate spec talents.  Which ones belong to affliction, which to demonology, which to destruction.  Then I realized each tier has a theme, more or less.

Tier 1 = Drain / Self-Healing

  1. Dark Regeneration | Restores 50% of your maximum health over 25 sec.  No resource / Instant-cast / 3m CD.
  2. Soul Leech | Your Shadow Bolt, Incinerate, and Malefic Grasp heal you for 25% of the damage dealt.
  3. Harvest of Life | Drains the life from the life from the target and all targets within 20 yards, causing 94 Shadow damage and restoring 2% of the caster’s total health per target every 1 sec.  Lasts 3 sec.  640 Mana + 20 per sec. / Channeled / 40yd range / GCD.
    Empowered Channel: Recasting this spell before it finishes boosts the duration by 3 sec.  Stacks 5 times.

Dark Regeneration and Soul Leech are both straight healing from ability use: DR is a CD itself, while SLeech is a rebate-like heal (you cast a spell and get some of it “back”).  The percentages make Dark Regen sound like a powerful cooldown, so I did some napkin math to put the two in perspective.

My maximum health right now, on my Armory, is about 130k.  50% ~= 65k; over 25s that means ~2.6k HPS, which is 2% max health per sec.  Without raid buffs, mind you; so with raid buffs, I’d imagine this amount would be a bit higher.  DR is a set heal over a long period of time.

Looking at a WoL log from a 25man raid, my Shadow Bolt does about 15k on an average hit (over the whole night) and 31k on a crit.  This leads to a ~3.75k heal or 7.75k heal on a crit.  SL is dependent on my firing off Shadow Bolts, which is dependent on various things like DPS assignment (multiple targets, alive-time of targets) or movement (…without KJC (t6) of course).

The difference ends up being in the healing/damage pattern, because I think the healing numbers would come out about the same.  DR is a set HoT; it will tick every so often for a fixed amount.  SLeech is a variable direct heal, which is dependent on your current DPS performance.

SLeech I imagine would be the standard raid talent; you do nothing different as your filler is what procs the effect.  It also invokes a bit of a choice; if you need a small heal NOW, you can cast your filler spell and receive one without putting strain on the healers to heal everyone up.  SLeech’s healing would also be a major factor of your self-healing, probably like how Siphon Life is now.  It’s not much, but it helps when it counts (Chimaeron as affliction is ridiculous).

DR sounds more of a heavy healer helper (it has a cooldown’s cooldown) than a regular heal.  DR sounds like something you would use when the boss fight mechanics include a large period of little to no raid damage followed by a short period of very heavy raid damage.  Typical over-time spells (HoTs & DoTs) tend to follow the rule of 3s for standard ticks, but this one might follow a rule of 5s, considering 24s would be more in line with a 3s tick.

I don’t know how well a 25s period of heavy raid damage would go over with the healers, but it would provide a bit of a buffer for healers if there’s a heavy raid damage period or blast (almost die, like Ashbury’s Stay of Execution or Chimaeron’s Massacre), and then a period of nothing for the follow-up raid healing.

Harvest of Life.  Oh boy.  This reads like an AoE Drain Life.

HoL on a single-target boss fight would even out in the healing that DR & SLeech offer: 2% per sec.  HoL on a multi-target fight, on the other hand, would have some potential awesome healing.

Except warlocks are not healers.

This might be the token PvP talent (proximity in PvP happens all the time), or, it could be a burst affliction spell, if the damage scales well enough (a good chunk of AoE dmg every second? yes please!).  Seed of Corruption has a cast time to it.  Rain of Fire tends to be both weak and takes a long time (considering raid DPS) to tick the first time, as well as being very position-dependent (targeting circle…and then the tank moves everything out of the area = sadface).  Even as a single target spell, it would be nice to get some usable burst action for affliction.

I would like to wait and see on HoL as to how worthy it can be in a raid situation.

The other interesting tidbit I found about HoL is the Empowered effect.  Naturally, I figure Empowering will come through by Soulburning, since affliction is said to still have soul shards as a resource system.  Demonology was reported with “Demonic Fury” and destruction would get “Infernal Embers.”  Demonic Fury is a powerup to a buff, while Infernal Embers sounds like combo points.  Soul Shards will remain the same mechanic, with hopefully more interesting things to do.

However, the weird part about HoL’s Empowered effect is that it encourages you to clip the ticks!  (At least, until the fifth and last stack.)  DoT clipping — that is, recasting the DoT before the last tick has ticked — has long been a big no-no in warlockery (unless a major buff proc just happened and it is worth it to recast the DoT).  In Cataclysm, the “continuation” of the last tick into the new cast somewhat fixed clipping, but you can still clip spells with variable damage on ticks, like Bane of Agony.

Tier 2 = CC (Fear, Horror, Stun)

  1. Howl of Terror | Howl, causing 5 enemies within 10 yds to flee in terror for 8 sec.  Damage caused may interrupt the effect.  1280 Mana / Instant-cast / 40s CD.
  2. Mortal Coil | Causes an enemy target to run in horror for 3 sec.  The caster restores 25% of their maximum health.  1920 Mana / Instant-cast / 30yd range / 45 sec CD.
  3. Shadowfury | Shadowfury is unleashed, stunning all enemies within 8 yds for 3 sec.  1600 Mana / Instant-cast / 30yd range / 20s CD.

All of these are existing spells; Mortal Coil is merely Death Coil renamed with some added health restoration.  The cool thing is Shadowfury, currently a Destro-only talent, will be open for Demo & Aff to use.

This tier will definitely change on your CC needs per fight; it will change up affliction PvP a bit with having a choice between either Howl or Coil, but not both (as you currently have both).  Death Coil is a good cover for a Fear (since DC is a horror effect, which does not share diminishing returns with Fear), and in PvE I sometimes use it as a clutch 2nd healthstone (Lady Blaumeux, anyone?).  Shadowfury is useful now on Ragnaros as destruction during the phase transitions, and Howl is a popular melee peel in PvP.

Tier 3 = Damage Reductions (Straight)

  1. Hour of Twilight | When a damaging attack brings you below 20% of your maximum health, all damage taken is reduced by 50% for 10 sec.  This effect cannot occur more than once every 90 seconds.
  2. Soul Link | When active, all damage and healing the Warlock takes is shared with her active demon.  That damage cannot be prevented.  Lasts as long as the demon is active and controlled.  1600 Mana / Instant-cast / 40yd range.
  3. Sacrificial Pact | Your demon sacrifices itself to prevent all damage you would take for 10 sec.  No resource / Instant-cast / 100yd range / 5min CD.

Hour of Twilight …I think this one depends on how often we should find ourselves sub-20% health.  Sounds great for PvP (except, perhaps the internal cooldown), but I don’t know how many times in raid I find myself sub-20% when it’s not a wipe situation or a specific fight mechanic (Chimaeron).  Hmmmm.

Soul Link looks the same as current for the most part, except this time it adds in the effect from a maxed-out Fel Synergy talent — the healing of your pet.  It sounds great at first, but I remember pets have a passive Avoidance for AoE spells (the Doomguard appears to ignore EVERYTHING it stands in), and even without Fel Synergy, my pet didn’t die that often.  Considering the other two read like PvP, I think this will be the de facto raid talent for this tier.

Side-track: I am of the mind that healers are not responsible for my pet in a raid setting, even if it is a large portion of my damage.  I’m one of the route where I’m responsible for my pet, even when it bugs out and stands in fire (that’s what passive is for!).  So talents for healing pets are welcome in my book.

Sacrifical Pact.  Ohhhhhhhh, I’ll be honest, this reads like old-style paladin bubble for warlocks.  All damage immunity for 10 seconds?  While that would be a great cooldown in raids, this reads for the nerf path with heavy concerns in PvP.  The 5min CD would probably prevent it from seeing action in Arenas, but in Battlegrounds, I see possible nerfing down the road in either duration or allowing some damage through or possibly exception spells like Chaos Bolt (used to be) and Heroic Throw (is).

Tier 4 = Damage Reductions (Absorb/Heal)

  1. Bloodstone | Instantly restores 44% of the Warlock’s base health and increases healing received by 50% for 10 sec.  No Resource / Instant-cast / 2min CD.
  2. Spell Drain | The next single target spell focused at you heals you for half the damage it would have dealt.  Lasts 4 sec.  640 Mana / Instant-cast / 20s CD.
  3. Nether Ward | Transforms your Twilight Ward into Nether Ward.  Absorbs 3141 damage.  Lasts 30s.  30s CD.  When you absorb damage, you gain Nether Protection, reducing all damage by that spell school by 15% for 12 sec.

Bloodstone is a straight-up heal, and then a bonus to healing receive.  Spell Drain is a half-heal ward, and Nether Ward is an absorb plus some reduced spell damage taken (what it is now, just not limited to the Destro tree anymore).

Both NW & SD are limited to spells only; any fights with physical damage will use Bloodstone better.  Spell Drain particularly sounds like a great PvP spell for when you’re getting focused down.

Personally, when I go destro on Ragnaros, I use Nether Ward (or try to!) all the time.  I figure Nether Ward will be the go-to raid talent, especially since the duration seems to line up with the cooldown.  I figure the numbers will get changed, but as is, you can add Nether Ward into your line-up as a 30s-CD spell for raid damage.

I don’t know that theorycrafting guides will advocate NW; after all, it has no DPS increase besides “you live to cast another day.”  However, I grew up a warlock who took surviving as a central part of DPS.  I approach DPS as I should take as little attention from the healers as possible; I’m responsible for any damage I can avoid.  If I can throw in a ward every 30s to reduce my damage taken, I will do it, and I’ll advocate it.

Tier 5 = Minion Enhancement

  1. Grimoire of Supremacy | You command stronger demons.  replacing your normalminions.  These demons deal 10% additional damage and have more powerful abilities.
    Summonable Demons: Fel Imp, Voidlord, Shivan, Beholder, Abyssal, Terrorguard.
  2. Grimoire of Service | Instantly summon a second demon who fights for 30 sec.  Instant-cast / 2min CD.
  3. Grimoire of Sacrifice | You sacrifice your pet to gain increased damage and health.  Lasts for 3 min.  Summoning another pet cancels the effect.  Instant-cast / 2min CD.

Ah, tier 5.

From looking at Twitter when the talents were previewed, Grimoire of Supremacy was a jizz-in-the-pants moment for warlocks everywhere, even if you weren’t Demo.  At the very least, the minions we love most have outdated models, and new, shiny things make anyone smile.

Minion choice is a thing we do in our theorycrafting; it’s why Demo uses the felhunter even though the felguard is the “demonology” flavor pet.  It’s why, for a time, affliction used the succubus, even though the felhunter is the “affliction” flavor pet.  In raid theorycrafting for a warlock’s personal DPS, you take the pet that does the best job.  Currently (as of 4.2), the felhunter is the best single-target pet for pet DPS by itself.  The felguard jumps up if you’re Demo and you have Meta and other cooldowns going, and the imp is Destro’s pet because of additional DPS benefits it provides to the warlock herself.

If there’s a talent that introduces vastly more awesome pets for all three specs, then this will be the mandatory talent to take.  Which is a problem for Blizzard, since Blizzard wants to move away from cookie-cutter specs.  The other two talents would need to boost our damage by a similar amount to compete with this one.

My other concern with Supremacy is the Blizzard Killed My Dog effect.  I love fighting with Bheezhem by my side.  Or Ormmon.  Or Bizmir.  I remember when Blizzard temporarily killed all our dogs.  I cried and canceled my raid spot because it just was not the same raiding without my felpuppy.  I felt stupid for being so upset over just a name change, but…it’s my Bheezhem.  He goes everywhere with me.

So with Supremacy will my Bheezhem just evolve or transform into something more powerful?  Or will I need to meet new minions?  Will I have to stay with these new minions? Or will Blizzard be able to balance and diversify the fights such that I can take another tier 5 talent (& my default minions) on other fights?

Service at first sounds like a mini Mirror Image for minions.  (Type “Mini Minion Mirror Image” five times fast.)  Will I get the true mirror image copy, and then have two Bheezhems running around?

Or does this mean I can summon a completely different pet and have both out simultaneously?  For Demo, currently alternating between two pets, this would be amazing.  Thirty seconds is just long enough for ability and trinket cooldowns to finish their course (and then some).

Sacrifice is the last one, and after reading the other two, it sounds a bit meh (at first).  Perhaps with some actual numbers for the increased damage done, we’ll be able to discuss it better.  Right now it is just a straight DPS increase, with the possible side-effect of a mini max-health boost, but without your minion by your side (as summoning another minion cancels the effect).

I think Sacrifice will be the choice for affliction, actually.  Saccing your demon just before you launch into cooldowns or into a multidotting situation would benefit the affliction lock more than just a second demon or a stronger demon.  None of Aff’s secondary stats significantly boost our demons’ performance; rather, we often use our demons to boost ours (Demon Soul, CC, etc.).  Versus: the tandem that destruction locks have with the casting imp macros & procs, and the almost complete dependency demonology locks have with their demons.  A straight damage increase would be more appealing to the affliction warlock as we do the heavy-lifting on our combined master-and-minion DPS.

Tier 6 = Special Ability

  1. Archimonde’s Vengeance | Curse an enemy, inflicting 25% of all damage you take to also harm them.  Lasts 15 sec.  Instant-cast / 1min CD.
  2. Kil’jaeden’s Cunning | You can cast and channel while moving, but doing so doubles the cast time or period of a spell.
  3. Illidan’s Guile | Shadow Bolt, Incinerate, and Malefic Grasp deal splash damage to enemies within 10 yards of their target.  Lasts 30 sec.  Instant-cast / 2min CD.

First off, I was sad there was no Gul’dan or Cho’gall reference in there.  Three demons just do not offer too much variety in my warlock role models.  (Also, Medivh, though I’m not sharp enough on lore to argue he’s a warlock versus a mage.)  Besides, demon warlocks are just plain boring.  I mean, they’re demons — of course they will be full of fel.  Zzzzzzzzz.

At first I thought that Archimonde’s Vengeance was Bane of Havoc redone.  Then I reread it, and, well, it sort of is.  Instead of transferring damage you deal to another target to also the cursed target (Bane of Havoc), it transfers damage you took from the cursed target.  Sounds great for a major boss-nuke phase, especially if you’re not in a position to be actively dealing damage (moving, out of range, etc.).

For PvP, it also sounds pretty cool, especially since it does not specify caster of spell damage on you.  It doesn’t say if you poke me, I reflect some back to you.  It says if you poke me or if Tom pokes me, I reflect some damage back to you.  The anti-focus-fire for warlocks, I suppose.  For PvE, this means it will work like a Bane of Havoc if we have more multi-“room” fights, like Beth’tilac’s up & down areas.  Makes me wonder if we will still retain Bane of Havoc in Mists.

It also tickles my “Demo likes melee” thought.  Demo likes melee because of Immolation Aura and Shadowflame, but Aff and Destro also like melee range for Shadowflame if they can get there.  There are other times when we need to stand in melee with others — “share the love” mechanics (Argaloth, Scorpion Majordomo, etc.).  While you almost never die to these mechanics due to the majority of the raid in the same spot splitting all the damage, it’s pretty cool to have a damage-increase incentive to share the love with my raid members.

I’m specifically looking ahead to Morchok‘s Resonating Crystal mechanic, where you need 3 people minimum to share the love, and I figure raids will often stick to just 3 people sharing.  While life isn’t so bad when you’re a clothy sharing with 12-24 other people, life might get a tad hairy if you’re a clothy sharing with only 2 others (who, if the crystal spawns in range, might also be clothies!).  With AV, on the other hand, the more damage you take, the more damage AV deals.  I think it’s an interesting concept of almost-dying-to-deal-more-DPS.

Kil’jaeden’s Cunning is Spiritwalker’s Grace for warlocks.  With a time penalty.  That makes sense since KJC would be the de facto talent everywhere if it did not have such a penalty.

I don’t think it would be terribly attractive for affliction at all.  Affliction loves haste, specifically for more DoT ticks rather than just a shorter Shadow Bolt cast time.  Affliction especially loves haste for more DoT ticks once everyone else in the raid has geared up.

You’ll notice this in the beginning of tiers and comparing them to later in the tiers.  When everyone is struggling to perform, affliction starts to shine because our DPS is more dependent on how long the target is alive / how much health there is to destroy.  The longer the fight goes, the more DoT ticks we can fit in, so the higher our DPS seems at the beginning of a tier.  As everyone gears up around us, even though we ourselves have also improved with gear, our DPS actually starts to go down on trivial fights like trash in instances, since the available health pools aren’t up as long for us to get our DoTs up and ticking.

Introducing a longer period between ticks wouldn’t be attractive to an affliction warlock.  As we are, now, affliction is actually better on movement than destruction or demonology is.  We don’t lose as much DPS from moving, and we lose even less if we’ve learned to stagger-step our Shadow Bolts in.  (Stagger-step = cast, move, cast, move, cast, move, cast, move, etc.)

Illidan’s Guile sounds a bit meh to me, possibly because I already paw at Seed of Corruption like candy on Halloween.  The difference between which AoE a warlock (or any DPSer) uses depends largely on the pattern of mob position.

If mobs are in a fixed position, more or less, then a warlock is more likely to use a target-circle (Rain of Fire) or cone effect (Shadowflame) type of AoE.  Target circles are often channeled, too, and often the only time you have to stand still for AoE is a stack-up point.  If the mobs are stacked on top of raiders (Ragnaros phase 2), then the radial AoEs will be used if they are stronger (and usually are) than the target-circle or cone-effect AoEs.

Rain of Fire just doesn’t really work out for warlocks.  Shadowflame is awesome on bosses for a bit of single-target DPS, but it’s not a typical AoE.

Radial AoEs — Seed of Corruption, Hellfire, e.g. — do not have a specific target-circle on the ground placement.  Instead, they radiate outward a set distance from a specific point; Seed radiates from the current target, and Hellfire radiates from the warlock herself.  Hellfire is currently only utilized by Demo locks, who can move while Hellfiring, and Seed is a short enough cast that Aff and Destro locks can stagger-step it at the worst.  The advantage of radial AoEs is that if the mobs move, your AoE is still very effective.  Either you move with Hellfire, or you learn with Seed to place it on the most-central mob.  (Another thing with Seed if you try to pick the target which will live longest, so you can spam it longer, which leads to sometimes switching Seed target mid-fight.)

Splash damage works like a radial AoE.  It hits things nearby.

I don’t know why specifically IG was introduced when we already have Seed of Corruption.  I think perhaps if you are Demo or Destro you may like IG, since you can deal normal damage without switching to a weaker AoE (Seed is outside of Destro’s main spell school, but Rain of Fire is a much weaker AoE).

As for affliction?  My Seed casts are faster than Shadow Bolt, reaches farther than IG (15yds versus 10yds), and if Soulburned Seed doesn’t go away, it’s actually more beneficial for me to switch to Seed to spread my DoTs than it is to use some filler splash damage (which is most likely NOT a DoT).  I suppose it could be a way to get some burst damage in; Shadow Bolt definitely hits harder as a single hit than Seed, but that would depend on how much of the original hit splashes.

My Affliction Raiding Spec?

Of course, as Blizzard intends this to be switchable on a per-fight basis, I don’t think I can say anymore that any one spec is the way to go.  But, what are the talents I will pick first?  Which talents would I wear if I was walking into a Mists raid tomorrow?

I think I will go BCBCCA: Soul Leech, Shadowfury, Soul Link, Nether Ward, Grimoire of Sacrifice, and Archimonde’s Vengeance.  (Wowhead has a Mists calculator now!  Here’s my build.)

I also find it a tad funny to see the specs flip talent screen sides.  Traditionally, the specs go in alphabetical order, so you’ll see today affliction, demonology, destruction, left to right.  The Mists talents, on the other hand, appear to have right-side affliction and left-side destruction talents.

Soul Leech is a do-what-you-do healing effect for me.  Shadowfury is a CC I enjoy when I go destro, and sometimes wish I had as affliction, since affliction’s utility is either curse application or pet-dependent.  Soul Link is because it works well enough now, and I also think it would be awesome and hilarious to have an SL/SL build* again.  Nether Ward is a great reduction for spell damage, and most raid damage, even in melee stack-ups, is spell-based.  Grimoire of Sacrifice, I gave my reasons above; in short, I think it would provide the most benefit as affliction spec.  Archimonde’s Vengeance because as an affliction warlock, I really do feel that my health, mana, and damage are fluid and connected concepts that are swapped and transformed between each other often enough.  One of affliction’s strengths is self-healing, so I’m not too afraid to take a few hits for more damage.  It also feels exciting when you’re at that point of your health pool where you could very well die in the next hit, but by definition you’re not dead yet, so you keep casting.

*SL/SL (short for Siphon Life / Soul Link) was an old Wrath build where the warlock went down the affliction tree just enough to get Siphon Life (about halfway down), and then went down the demonology tree the rest of the way.  This resulted in a high-survivability/damage build that was pretty awesome for soloing old dungeons and for PvP.

What will you pick first?  Whys are most welcome. 🙂

Affliction & New Talents

I’m a Linebacker…Sorta…

Larisa started it at the Pink Pigtail Inn  At the very end she talks about how account-wide achievements might detach us from our character avatars, pretty much diluting or even destroying the point of an RPG.

I agree with this…sorta.  More or less, the gist of it.  I love my characters, they are parts of me and I can’t bring myself to delete most of them because they’ve become friends in a sense.  But that’s not really a great comment to leave — “Hey, I agree with you,” — so I didn’t leave a comment.

Then Borsk posted on it.  His post is interesting and steps off from Larisa’s; a move I think we all ought to do a little bit more, instead of having 20 similar opinions running about.  Hopefully, I can do it this time. 🙂  I’ll sum his up (since he sums up Larisa nicely):

As a carpenter opens his tool box and sees a hammer, a saw, and a drill, I see my Shaman, Rogue, and Warrior. At the end of a job, one doesn’t appraise the individual accomplishments of each tool (nails hammered, walls painted), but that the house was completed and looks fan-damn-tastic.

…Looking at it from a sporting perspective, an NFL owner is the RTS player, the Linebacker on the field is the RPG player. Where the owner can show his management genius by piloting both a successful NFL and NBA franchise, the Linebacker gains nothing by trying to also be an elite Quarterback. The skill sets and traits necessary for both are very different and some may say the same about DPS vs. Healing. To me, it’s all playing WoW (going back to the Carpentry analogy).

…I guess it comes down to how you view yourself as a player. Are you a Linebacker or a Carpenter?

My first reaction was I am a Linebacker.  I do care about my characters separate from each other.  Each toon has a different “personality” to it, if only slight differences.  Even toons of the same class differ; Ama feels more aggressive and feral (which is why I may switch her to a kitty-bear) whereas Xenychte is still a bit child-wonder and happy and peaceful and caring (she’s going to be a boomkin-tree).

But within my guilds, I feel like a Carpenter.  While I prefer to play my warlock, I will switch over to my druid if we need a tank or heals.  This is actually what got Ama her experience in raiding; we needed heals for the regular group and tanking for the B-Team 10-man, rather than more DPS.

So I said to myself, “Screw it, I’m a Goalkeeper.”

So What’s A Goalkeeper?

I’m going to use personal experience here.  If you’ve read some recent posts of mine, you’ll remember I love soccer, and I most often identify with the goalkeeper position, even though I’ve done almost every position.  If I were a complete Linebacker, as Borsk puts it, I wouldn’t try to play any other position, since running a lot like a Midfielder doesn’t really help me in goal, and kicking like a Forward isn’t that necessary since GKs tend to have big foots anyway.  A Defender might be the closest position that would help me, but even then, I have a unique tool — my hands.

But I didn’t stay a Goalkeeper.  (But I wanted to, I admit.)  I wasn’t a Goalkeeper to begin with, either.  I was a Defender.  Then I became a Goalkeeper.  Then I got pushed up front to be a Foward / Striker.  Then I slid back to Midfielder and spent almost equal to GK’s time in that position.  And finally, I reached out to become a Referee.  All these positions made me more like a Carpenter.  I honed different skills for each, and each position has its own purpose.  The four player positions still have to work together, like the carpenter tools, but the Referee, I guess, is like the safety goggles or dust mask you use when putting together a wooden treehouse.  Yeah, you could build the treehouse without using the safety goggles or dust mask, but you might poke your eye out or breathe in some wood dust and life would suck a little more after that.

I still identify most with Goalkeepers. Despite having played three other positions and performing one outsider position.  Though, you could almost split Referee into Center and Line, since they have different jobs, but we’ll keep them the same.

You could say I love my warlock because it was my first serious toon.  Goalkeeping wasn’t my first position, though.

You could say I love my warlock because I’ve spent the longest time on her.  Goalkeeping probably spent a little less time than Midfielding, though.

I love my warlock because she feels closest to me.  She is my avatar, a human female with long brown hair that’s mostly straight but still has the remnants of years of French-braided-for-soccer waves.  Unfortunately, she’s not an engineer, and if she were, I would definitely have her wear some blue goggles to get closer to my real glasses.  She has no piercings and I like it that way.  She’s kind (I hope), generous (I think I am), maybe a little brash (I probably am), a little naive (duhhhhhhrrr), and loves to not suck at what she does.

I love Goalkeeping because if you let me choose which position to play, instead of saying “We need a Striker,” I would pick GK and I would feel most comfortable being the GK. Not just playing the GK but BEING the GK.

However, I do realize that the positions are tools to win a game.

So I’m a Linebacker Who Does Carpenting On The Side

When I was bumped up to Striker, I used the previous skills I had learned as a Defender and a Goalkeeper to improve my Striker performance. I knew the ways Defenders liked to defend, herding you out to the sides instead of down the middle.  Defenders don’t like to kick the ball across the goal & center, since that exposes the goal for a prime shot.  I knew on corner kicks a defender or the GK will be at the poles, and then rest will mark up a player.

I knew as a Goalkeeper on penalty kicks that where the standing foot got planted, the direction of the toes told me the direction of the ball (except the hips & how you hold your weight tells it better).  I knew what moves faked me out as a GK.  I knew the corners of the goal were the deadliest places to shoot a ball (though, everyone knows that).  I knew that rushing a striker early sometimes caused them to flub the kick and I could catch it or deflect it.

So when I was a Striker, I wasn’t uber aggressive, nor was I the best dribbler, nor was I ridiculously fast, but I knew where to strike.  And from being a GK, I had a big foot, so people got out of my kick’s way, generally.  As a goalkeeper getting slammed by strikers with momentum, I was good at holding my own against defenders, even guys.  I was deadly on penalty kicks, since I knew the toe trick.  I’d purposefully plant my foot in the other direction and I learned to kick differently.  After hundreds of goal kicks, getting the ball to curve on a corner wasn’t that hard to do (still a bit tricky).

And when, on occasion, I’d return to guard the goal box, I had the Striker tips to help my goalkeeping.  I knew Strikers would come at me to fake me out.  I knew they would dawdle on the box edges to draw me farther out  I knew they would watch for my legs to spread apart wrong.  I knew to watch for the last-second cross.  I could almost see them coming down the field and see the passing strategy unfold before me.  I could direct my defenders a little better than before.

I’m a Goalkeeper in WoW, Too

I was a solid warlock for a long time.  A year and a half, actually.  Then I leveled my druid and spent at least all of Ulduar and most of ToC being a tree or a bear.  I still warlock’d around, but I was mostly learning healing and tanking.

When I finally did go back to full-time warlocking, everything changed. I felt more aware of my surroundings.  I felt like I could do more to help the tank out, either by positioning differently or by adjusting my rotation for climbing threat. I felt I could help the healers out more by timing my Lifetaps or Haunts better (sometimes I would clip my Haunt specifically to get the health return now rather than later).   I would drop the summoning stone earlier before being asked, and then I would drop it when the raid was almost full, so that I wouldn’t have to resummon the stone as everyone chain-AFK’d.  I learned the good classes to put a SS on, and even to ask the RL or healing lead whom he preferred it to be on (sometimes a tank got it or a DPS who died a lot).

I’m still learning things I can do to help the raid as a whole. I originally hated the Dreamwalker encounter because it was so frenetic and chaotic.  Now I love it, because it requires the DPS and tanks to work together while the healers do their thing.  (Much like raids normally are having the tanks and healers work together while the DPS does their thing.)  I learned that as an affliction lock I kind sucked at killing things right away.  While I still switched to the Blazing Skeletons when they came out, they were nearly almost dead by the time my DoTs got around to ticking.  The geists were always more efficiently killed by the melee DPS.

But I was good for the Aboms, since my DoTs combined with the tank whacking away would kill it just in time for the next Abom to come (until it speeded up later, anyway).  My Rain of Fire circle combined with a DK D&D or a pally Consecrate was perfect for killing the Rot Worms.  And I helped kill the Zombies while the hunter kited them, even grabbing some of the back ones and kiting them to him as the previous one died.

I wasn’t topping the meters, I bet.  But I did my part, and I felt surprised and happy when I accidentally died to a Zombie melee hit once, and the RL immediately asked for a battle rez on me.  Me?  Really?  I’m essential?  Wow, gee, thank you!  It’s more probable that we needed my DPS to add to the rest instead of asking everyone to pick up my dead slack, but I still felt good after that.

Enough Rambling, the Conclusion, Please

If I had to choose one, I’m a Linebacker.  I get into my characters, I prefer casters over melee, I give them personalities.  I go after different mounts and pets because it will suite this toon better than that one.  I give them names with meaning as opposed to what sounds cool or gets generated.  I go for questing by the raw quest log before I turn to Wowhead to get it done.  I like taking screenshots because the world is pretty, not just because we killed a guy.

But I realize the merits of being a Carpenter, and I think branching out into Carpentry improves my Linebackery.  Which is a bit of a Carpenter thing to do, I guess, but the purpose is a Linebacker thing.

So I’m a Goalkeeper.  A Linebacker-Carpenter.

Whatever I am, I like playing WoW.

My Stance on Account-Wide Achievs

I like Borsk’s suggested hypothetical achievements.

Citadel Siege Master- Complete the requirements for The Frozen Throne (25 Player) as all 3 raiding roles.

Surgeon General – Defeat the following encounters while playing as a healer.

Alt-Aholic – Have 4 characters at level 80 of different classes.

Things that suggests what you did as a Carpenter in the game. The achievements as they are now are how Linebackers like them — each toon works for his own.  Carpenters can bend the system through using Bind-on-Account items, since you can use your main tool to upgrade your newer or lesser used tools.

But having an achievement like Surgeon General would help with forming PUGs.  It proves you’ve at least done the encounter (though, I would point out that doing it from one POV doesn’t mean you automatically know how to do it from a different POV).

Having Alt-Aholic means you might even know what you’re talking about when you’re on your shaman telling the rogue off for doing low DPS.  Even something like “Crisis Quartet” indicating you have one of every healer at 80 or “Pew Pew Pew” indicating you have all the caster DPS (warlock, mage, moonkin, spriest, ele shaman…am I missing any?) at 80, would be okay with me.

What would not be okay with me would be taking Linebacker achievements and making them account-wide. Like reputation achievs — that’s a lore-like thing.  Basically lore-like things — things you would use if you were to go and roleplay your toon with — aren’t okay for account-wide for me.  Defeating a boss is a lore thing, but defeating a boss as a certain role as opposed to another role isn’t.  After all, bosses aren’t supposed to respawn in a story if you kill them when you play a healer.  Dead bosses are dead, at least until they become Undead, then maybe it’s okay to go an tank the Undead boss, and then they’re Dead Undead, which is generally dead enough.

Gods forbid we ever get a feline Scourge boss.

So, if you could turn to your toon and ask him or her about an achievement and it would make sense to your toon (“I’m exalted with the Argent Crusade” or “I defeated Arthas” or “I’ve maxed out 4 weapon skills”), then leave it alone, let it be character-wide.  But if your toon would go, “Wha?” when you ask whether you’ve done it as a tree druid or a warlock, then that’s okay for me to be account-wide.

So what kind of WoWer are you?

I’m a Linebacker…Sorta…

Ye, Gods, That Was Fun!

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic

It’s my first one published.  I have drafts chilling somewhere of others, but this one…this one needs posting.

This one is important to me.

What Has WoW Taught You?

I almost wrote about confidence, since I’ve gained a fair amount through learning to tank and heal and even leading a raid event.

I almost wrote about teamwork, since my Robes often pugged people for raiding, and I’m quite comfortable with pugging.  Except for the jerks.  But I try to set an example.

I almost wrote about my virtual identity and whether my toons are separate characters from me or part of me or parts of me or separate from and part of me together.  How I relate to others on the internet and when the person begins and the character ends.

I almost wrote about gamer stigma, and how I basically ended a friendship because the other person wouldn’t respect that WoW friends are real friends, too.

I almost wrote about the brink of Cataclysm, how it will change warlocks as I know them, and how warlocks as I know them contribute to my identity.  Wondering what new transition and experience the new expansion will bring about.  When I started WoW, I was leveling Poneria in late BC.  Pone was my only toon.  Then Wrath hit, and I began raiding for the first times.  A year ago I began my first alts, Ama and a pally.  Now, I’m finishing off a 4th 80.  What is next?

But then Saturday came.  An event that was truly amazing and awesome and ridiculously happy and funny.  I realized I wanted to just capture the moment.  Forget the commentary on the various philosophies going on in sequence.  Forget the politics, forget the self-consciousness.  Just show the joy experienced.

If you need a name to call it by, I’m going to show you friendship.  It’s totally virtual, online.  I’ve never met any of these people face to face in my life.  So they’re not “real life” friends.

But they are REAL friends.

The Druid and the Dwarf

…got married. In real life, not quite yet, I think they have a week to go, but tonight they got married in WoW in a raid of friends.  As she asked later in the Blue Recluse, “How crazy is it that we’ve been playing with you guys for four years?”  I’ve only been playing with them for two, and then I left to raid elsewhere.

I love where I raid now for the raiding.  But I miss the Robes.  Though they are the Gods of Eonar now.

Whatever, y’all are Robes to me.  You’ll always be Robes to me.  I don’t know that I can word how the Robes make me feel.  Maybe when I’m older, I’ll finally put the words together.

I want to share a little bit of what the Robes mean to me.

(The videos were fraps’d & edited by the groom, Balthamus.)

(The videos sometimes aren’t loading when I try to refresh the page, so here’s the two links: The Ceremony, The Afterparty.)

The Ceremony

We met up at Fort Wildevar in Howling Fjords.  Most were Gods, though a few were former guildies and friends now wearing a different tag.  We even had the Murfs show up and return to the guild!

MURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRF! 😀  I love Murf!  Daring, dearly kind, and goofy, that’s how I see him and many Robes.

Wedding Vows

I felt a twinge of longing when we were making sure everyone was there before starting.  I was always the warlock, Poneria, and I always made sure everyone was there by going ahead and putting up the summoning stone.  But now Pone is on Elune, with only Astrape the shaman on Eonar, at 80 anyway.  Astrape is a different person, and yet she is the same me as Poneria.  Astrape is a new Poneria, the Gods are Robes anew.

I knew where we were going; I was helping the bride plan it when she thought of the place.  (I’m the fem-draenei in green.) I felt deeply honored to be the maid of honor. My first wedding ever.  I hope the rest are just as joyful.

The pet eagles were an awesome touch by our hunters. They went to go tame the eagles in the Fjord, just before the procession began.  The Druid and the Dwarf IRLly work/volunteer at a bird clinic, and for four years or so, they’ve shared with us a megathread of pictures and lessons about the birds.  The Druid said they’ll even have an eagle at the IRL wedding!  So the eagles were a fantastic touch to the altar.

We had an in-game priest, my favorite one of all, to do the ceremony.  She made a great macro’d speech to wed the two.  The vows were ridiculous yet beautiful.  I laughed and I cried a bit.

We celebrated with all kinds of toon abilities.  I popped Heroism, and Murf and I set up our totems to make the aisle.  The Hunters shot special shots and set an ice trap off to make the pathway special and to throw “flowers” on the bride as she walked up the aisle.  I do think it was great that the groom fraps’d the wedding, because you get to see the trading of the rings.  People brought kegs and flowers and sparkles and everything.  We got all dressed up, some of us, anyway!  It was fantastic!

The Afterparty

Perfect song!  The song wholly explains how I feel about the Robes / Gods — we’ve got a Good Thing Going And I Don’t Want To See It End.  That should explain the heartbreak I had when the Robes split and the pure happiness I felt when I finally rejoined the Gods.

We jumpstarted the afterparty by levitating / jumping off the mountainside.  A guildy jumped before getting levitate and smashed early on, and others jumped, but had levitate wear off before they reached the bottom!  I managed to survive with 15 seconds left.

The wedding party managed to not have a mage, so we all hearthed and reconvened at our traditional Robes meeting place — The Blue Recluse in Stormwind.  Partying commensed. Heroism, Consecrates, Death & Decays, D.I.S.C.O. balls, eagles!, kegs, cakes, pies, throwing of torches (because the bouquet was soulbound!)…

But the party was just getting started!

We had Gnomerathon without the gnomes.  We ran through the streets of Stormwind naked, yelling HAPPY WEDDING to the city.  We ran all the way over to King Wrynn and danced naked for him with a D.I.S.C.O. ball.  We then ran over to embarrass the High Priestess in the Cathedral.  From there we ran to the Tram and packed the trains, partying all the way to Ironforge.  We even had a stranger straggler, wtf’ing at us being naked.

But wait for it!  Here’s where the unexpected fun began!

When we arrived in Ironforge, we had just arrived in the Military district when the Local Defense channel broke out with shouts of Ironforge under attack!  So we ran to defend the King Magni Bronzebeard…


We don’t know if it was the other non-wedding-party killing the Horde properly or the OMGWTF AM I LAGGING GUYS? THEY’RE ALL NAKED surprise of our party bombing the assassination.  But the Horde were foiled! I even got a whisper to resurrect a guy, which I did, though I almost missed his whisper in all the excitement.  We then ran out to the bank, killing straggling Horde in front of the bank and things.  We finished our run around Ironforge at the behest of the bride, playing in the water and dancing in front of the Tram.  We ran like traditional Gnomerathon to Kharanos and there the party broke up, for the Gods had an ICC raid in half an hour.

I Will Remember This Always

This goes in my Youtube Favorites Folder.  This goes on here in my blog.  A Favorite Post, not because it’s spectacular writing but because it was a spectacular event that I always wish to remember and cherish. I took 458 screenshots throughout the night, and I’ve got a folder of 77 that tell the story, which I will remember to backup all 458 of them and keep forever and ever.

Congratulations to Fernleaf & Balthamus! I wish you many adventures and epic legendary happiness!

Ye, Gods, That Was Fun!

Cataclysm Warlock Stuff

Here’s the whole linky post; I’ll probably end up quoting half most all of it anyway.

Unfortunately, Blizz released all this on a raid night for me.

“Raid prep!”

“Warlock stuffs!”

“Raid prep!”

“Warlock stuffs!”

“Raid prep!”

“Warlock stuffs!”


First impressions belong in a real post.  I do also want to go back and grab the old Cataclysm warlock info that’s already been released and think about it all together.  Get the big picture, y’know.  I don’t know whether I’ll break it up or just do one longgggggg post.  Breaking it up is probably better, but that means either a ridiculous influx of posting about Cataclysm warlockery or posts for a week or half a week.

But I need to get dinner, make sure my RL raid snacks are on hand, make sure my in-game raid snacks and flasks and pots are on hand, make sure my head’s in the right spot for focusing on raiding, etc.

Aka, not writing a post about the awesomeness that is Cataclysm warlockery.  So here’s a summary of what got released today:

Four new spells: one’s got a cosmetic change we warlocks have been wanting FOREVER, one’s stealing from mages, and one looks like a remake of Demonic Empowerment.

That fourth spell burns a soul shard to create an awesomer spell from our default arsenal.  Soul shards themselves are a new resource mechanic: we get only 3, each worth only one use, per fight.

Some of the spells and mechanics we already know and love (or hate) will be changed.  Most of them look good to me.

There will be new talents and some talents will be changed.

The mastery passive talent tree bonuses were revealed for each tree.  I’m obviously going to focus on the affliction ones.

Cataclysm Warlock Stuff

Around Azeroth: 28 Feb – 6 Mar

Y’know all those philosophy posts I never got around to…  Well, I just kept thinking.  And I might have lost the list of them… <.< >.>  But this past week has provoked some thoughts.  So I will continue in my uber-length fashion as always…

I’m concentrating on a few warlockery things, because I want to try out some demonology a little.  So my bookmark bar (yeah, I put up currently reading pages up there) has some intro to demo articles on it.  We’ll see how it goes later.  I’m also trying to lurk more on the warlock section of EJ and lurking on the WoW Warlock forums.  Not that you can really tell if I lurk more, but I need to read them some more.

<Single Abstract Noun> has been going around the blogosphere a little. I decided to be obvious and roll a human warlock named Poneria on Argent Dawn-US to join up with my States-side bloggin’ brethern. Of course, it’s not exclusive to bloggers, anyone is allowed in, but there’s a ton of bloggers already there. I log on sometimes to hit level 5 things but mostly to percolate.

Seriously, I’ll be out of ideas to blog, I’ll log onto AD, and then *poof* ideas, they come.  If I’m AFK on AD, you can always whisper me or Twitter me, and the sound of either of those will get my attention.

The Elder Blogging Event has concluded, and you can check out Khi’s list of Elders to read them all.  The event got linked on, which was awesome. 🙂  My top five in no particular order (there’s 17, go read them all!):

  • Psynister linking his own posts and various other blogs as gifts.  Clever…
  • Cynwise gives some zen advice for newbie PvPers.  I need this for my baby priest (she’s 40! halfway there!) because I’m a firecracker when confronted with dying and/or stupidity.
  • Zahia’s Grid guide.  Though I prefer TBJ, any addon guide that’s thorough is good in my book.
  • Ophelie’s tips for PuGging dungeons.  Bonus tip: if you are the last to leave group, sometimes the teleport in/out option isn’t there anymore and you have to hearth.  Sometimes it is, but half the time, it isn’t.  Maybe sometimes I actually beat out the other person to leaving?  Bonus bonus tip: if you leave the instance via the door portal, it pops you back where you were as if you had used the teleport option. 🙂
  • Gazimoff’s mage roleplaying.  That post and reading up on WoW lore makes me want to take a day and just go over warlock-specific lore.  That post and reading Too Many Annas makes me want to learn to & actually RP some day on a WoW server.

Good news, everyone! Conspiracy downed Putricide 25.  The 10man I was in this week also managed to down two-heal one-shot Putricide, and got a couple of tries in on Dreamwalker after we killed Blood Queen.  Wootah!

Nibuca did a State of the UII’ve been wanting to do one myself, but I’m moving it around, playing with it, plus I still get crap every once in a while for still WASDing.  I tried mouse-moving once, and …I move the camera too much normally, so I kept autorunning in The Bad.  =/

If you want to prettify your DBM bars, check this out.  Personally, the big red or orange bars stick out in my face, so I’m afraid that prettifying them will lead me to not pay attention as often.  But I like this post because it gives you an inside look of the addon folder if you’ve ever wondered how you can mix & match with not just whole addons but addon parts as well.

I’m still getting into the flow of raiding with Conspiracy.  Putricide is oodles of fun now, I think, even when we wipe, I feel like I’m having fun.  It’s even in the <35% DPS like your life depends on it because your life does, in fact, depend on it.  Dreamwalker is more frustrating than I’d want, and I feel like I never really got to struggle much on things like Deathwhisper, Saurfang, or Rotface.  Y’know, the bosses I heard so much about, then read up on so many times, only to go with Conspiracy and one-shot them all?  Yeah…I get excited when I get to kite on Saurfang.

That hot topic about blogging about your guild I like being honest.  For one, it’s less stressful than to keep up what you should and should not know.  For two, I don’t get into icky situations about being passive aggressive or two-faced.  For three, you can be as honest back to me, so it forces me to grow a thick skin and a spine at the same time.  In fact, one of my first posts concerned guildmates and a situation that made me uneasy.  However, I never told them I had a blog until I left, and I don’t think any of them read it.

Now that I’m in Conspiracy, well…they know I have one, Lissanna told them when I applied.  At first I thought it was okay because it would explain my novel length of an application.  But now..I don’t know.  I’m still a probie, so I’m still nervous half the time that I’m going to mess up whether being stupid about my class or not knowing an encounter or not being prepared or standing in The Bad or not doing enough dps for my gear or being unable to keep that @%#$ing Kinetic Bomb up that’s across the room from me but still on *my* side…lots of worrying, but trying to remain calm and constructive and willing to get better when I do actually mess up.

By the way…Flow is a domain now.  Update your RSS feed, too, so you’re not like me wondering why the hell Flow is double-posting every day. <.< >.>

Honestly, no matter the class, I like looking at other people’s UIs.  Probably because sometimes it sparks an idea I never thought of, or maybe I’ve been looking for an addon to do this one thing and there it is, or maybe I have this one addon, but here’s a better one, etc.  I love addons and UIs.

Miss Medicina’s big healing post that sparked some debate.  I want to write my opinion about logiccrafting healing, but I feel like my opinion would be very weak and one-sided, since I’ve only ever played a tree (my shammy is still 52 or something), and I’ve only ever really raid-healed in bulk.  I’ve tank-healed a few times, but I was normally chosen by HPS not by spec or anything, so I don’t feel justified as an authority on tank healing anyway.  Heck, I don’t really feel justified as an authority on warlocks, even though I’ve been playing one since I started WoW.

Matticus’s cross-training post reminded me of the Robes.  This is honestly how we operated — we took whoever signed up for the raid, so long as we had a good ratio of tanks, healers, and dps, and went with it.  Like Pocahontas, I never stepped in the same raid twice.  It’s the thing most different and difficult about Conspiracy to me, honestly. Being able to get over hitting CoE when I’m DPSing next to Lissanna, since I’m so used to provided that debuff.  Being able to not freak out about having only 339 hit rating because there’s always a draenei (I’m 3 +hit short, I know) and most often a boomkin or a spriest (could get away with 289!) in my raiding group.

The fresh perspectives part particularly speaks to me.  Story time?  Story time.  Onyxia 10, pug raid.  They didn’t really explain the fight before just pulling it.  Apparently I was SUCH A N00B for going in the wrong corner during phase 3 and thus being feared into the whelps.

There are 4 “corners” to pick from (6 if you want to count the groups that did it in the entrance or in the back where P1 usually happens, or ∞ if you want to count the groups that did it wherever she landed), and I swear every PuG Onyxia raid picked a different one.  It’s another reason I’m nervous in Conspiracy: I’ve watched the Tankspot videos, yeah, but I have no clue how you guys particularly do it.  So I’m going to pretend I haven’t seen it anyway so you can explain it to me.  Plus, it’s a refresher from what I read, right?

Don’t forget to visit the Blog Azeroth forums and see more Around Azeroth links from other bloggers!

Around Azeroth: 28 Feb – 6 Mar

Around Azeroth, Feb 21-27

Honestly, I think a lot of blog posts are fascinating, so maybe weekly.  Like the one at the Blog Azeroth forums!  Except much longer.  Because you should know by now that I’m excessively verbose.

Because I know some of you probably don’t read the whole thing / TL;DR: roleplaying things, warlock things, fun things, philosophy things, and a really touching (at least for me) goodbye post by Pike.

Roleplaying Things

I roleplayed on a medieval fantasy forum back around 8th, 9th grade ish.  The forums more or less died to inactivity, but I had fun stretching my writing skills.  Looking back on it, I was entirely too flowery, and, well, you know, I write a LOT when I write.  My sentences were UBERMASSIVELY LONG.  With lots of commas.  Hopefully I’m better now. At least with the long sentences deal.

While my guild was dying and after I’m now somewhat removed from it (I swear, I’ll always be a Robe at heart), I kept thinking a lot about Poneria as a character and her life with the Robes versus my, Meg’s, life with the Robes. I recently realized those times I reinstalled Windows I essentially erased all my screenshots from my early Robe days.  Equivalent to falling asleep and accidentally setting your house on fire and realizing all your only photo albums of past days are now completely GONE.

So I got my writing urge back.  Except I don’t terribly know how to real-time roleplay. I’ve done roleplay by forum boards, and I’ve written Star Trek fanfiction.  Oh, you won’t find that stuff, I think deleted my inactive stuff a long time ago.  I hope, anyway. It’s still there.   If you like reading dumb fantasies of a fifteen-year-old.  That stuff makes me…wow, just wow.  It’s laughable to me, anyway.  But yeah, that’s what my writing was kind of like back then.

I want to roleplay a priest.  I don’t know why.  For one, I’m atheist, so I don’t really know how I would roleplay the religious aspect or if the Light is even supposed to be religious (as opposed to merely spiritual).  I’ve been told I’m highly spiritual despite being atheist, but I think it would be a bit of a challenge anyway.  For two, I’m enjoying my disc priest.  Maybe make this one holy?  Maybe.  Or another disc.  For three, I started one, and I was having trouble being devoted to healing and helping people and creatures, while also slaughtering Infected Moonstalker Runts for the heck of it.  Help?

Granted, I realize I probably shouldn’t roleplay every single quest, and yeah, there was no one around me because it was about 3am, but, I was trying to get into my character’s head, and my character’s head was uncomfortable (I think?) with the concept of killing animals just because.

Warlock Things

As Fuguralis points out, Nibuca is the Queen of Affliction. So I would update, but I’m not Queen.  Maybe a Lady (Lord?) of Affliction.  Though Conspiracy thinks I’m knowledge-worthy.  Which scares me.  I mean, I’ve been playing affliction since I started WoW, much like I’ve been speaking English since I was speaking, but … I’m not an English professor.  Though I do have a bit of an obsession with conlangs.  So I know what the terminology mostly means and mostly how it works, but I’m not degree-confident on the subject.

But Fuguralis, until I can find another Demo lock online, is the King of Demonology so far that I can see. I may need to go try this out, especially with 3.3.3 bringing some uber goodness to the Demo tree.  I also need to acquire more warlock blogs.  Most of my warlocking knowledge comes from self-experience and reading patch notes.  I need to mingle more with my demonic bretheren, I guess.

Fun Things

Jaedia’s Scavenger Hunt reminds me of an event I did in TSR.  I did heroic racing, where you get two groups of 5 and some heroic dungeons and you see who finishes first.  And we had rewards by guild members like flasks and frozen orbs and fish feasts.  Sadly, it only happened once, because the very next DAY Patch 3.3 dropped, and everybody went scattering to go through the random dungeons.  But I’m sad I didn’t continue doing it.  Maybe I’ll pop back on an alt & ask some Robes to do it.

The Elder Blogging Event…yeah, you’ll see that post later.  Hopefully this weekend.  Maybe.  I have to go screenshotting since my aforementioned screenshot folder is diminished due to many OS reinstalls.

Life in Group 5’s post: Point three happens a lot.  I want point fourPoint six…I’ve scheduled leaving for break around raids.  Point seven, WoW is usually one of the first topics, if not links.  All I’m going to say about point eight is this would be the only way I would ever play that one ninja tag game you play in public where you have to hit somebody with a spoon or whatever.  I can’t think of the name.  Point eleven…I think I got it covered.

Philosophy? Well, thinking about the way you play the game…

I think this is another post. Half of the links I saved I liked because it made me think about some aspect of the game in the “why?” region of thinking.  Plus, it gives more chance for Righteous Orbs to come back up.  It keeps coming up with some php-looking errors whenever I try to access it outside a feed reader.

17 links, I counted.  Om nom thinkage? You can wait till the weekend (it is the weekend? Shut up).  Nobody posts on the weekend it seems.

I never knew Pike, but she gets her own category of linkage.

I feel like I’m still a newb in the WoW blogosphere, so I don’t exactly know all these bloggers putting down the pen/keyboard.  But I love the last part of the goodbye post (is it really goodbye?).  Especially the answer “I’m never alone.”  I think it made me tear up a bit (yeah, it did!) mostly because of my last logging onto Poneria on Eonar, just before I left TSR on her.  I couldn’t really type out /gquit.  It took me a few tries.  “Oh no, I have more stuff to put in the bank.”  (P.S. I hope you guys saved those 40some Frozos I gave you!  Sell/Use them later!)  But that line–“I’m never alone” plus the owl coming along–just kind of hit it home that while I don’t have the guild tag <The Scarlet Robes> over my warlock’s head, I have Bheezem the felpuppy, I have Robes on Facebook and still yet on Eonar, I have Conspiracy and I feel like I’m settling in more there, and I have my hordie guys on Ursin.  So being unalone isn’t confined to a guild tag.

Possibly that’s all inelegant bullshit but it means something to me in my core.

Around Azeroth, Feb 21-27

TNB 75: Need More Guest

TNB, of course, is the Twisted Nether Blogcast.  As I’m slowly putting back together my computer with things I had set up, like mail tags & sorting, I decided, hey, why not load TNB into the iTunes podcast subscription thingy and listen some? So I did.  I feel a little daunted by it being episode 75; serial things like lore or TV series or books I feel like I have to start from the beginning, how it was “meant” to be experienced, etc.  However, if the other 74 episodes are two hours long…I’d be here forever.

Need More Guest is titled so because the schedule guest couldn’t make it, so Nibuca & Fimlys rambled on about various topics for two hours.  It’s not boring, actually, because 15 minutes into it I kept thinking and pondering on what they were discussing.  The problem was I was thinking loudly (thinking loudly silently?) and had to keep stopping and rewinding the cast in order to fully listen to and think about everything.  Then, y’know, this strange parallel popped into my head of how this happens in lecture and maybe I should take notes as I go and fill it all out later.  Three hours later (for a two-hour podcast <.< >.>) I had this large plain text file.  It tickled Nibuca, anyway.

So, let’s write MORE on it.

Yeah, that was a bad idea.

Y’know a post is too big when Lissana tells you your half post is bigger than her healing guide.  So I’m following a tip from Miss Medicina to break this up into smaller posts.

This post will just deal with the little things I found interesting and some stuff about the podcast itself.  The five big categories of topics in the middle are what really set me off on pondering tangents.  For the programming, well, programming really tickles me.  The account security awareness discussion is a big thing going on, and TSR has been hacked before; I felt like discussing it and sharing what we’ve done to combat being hacked.  The speculation on Cataclysm was a really big tangent: I spent most of it pondering warlock changes and what-ifs.  The Blue postage mildly interests me — I don’t often browse the forums because half of it seems more attention-whoring than actual news.   And last but not least, I went pondering on the differences between 10mans and 25mans with the recent Invincible bomb.

If you see any of those posts pop up over the next few days, this is why.

TNB75: Need More Guest

In the little intro “This is the Twisted Nether Blogcast” I heard Larisa’s voice for the first time and revealed how much of a dumbass I was.  See, I never read the about section since Larisa’s writing just sucks me in, so the Swedish accent (because, guess what, she’s SWEDISH) rather stunned my little default American accent voice into silence.

Self, you fail.

Anyway, way towards the end, the podcast got wrapped up with things going on in the WoW blogosphere.  Hot Topics had the return of Ratshag (whom I’m not terribly familiar with, but I guess I should) and Tamarind’s big raid leading deal.  I’ve tried raid leading, and yeah, it’s one of those things where you start to realize how much you do or don’t know or do or don’t care about or how stressful behind the keyboard you can become.  And, geez, I’ve only done “let’s go alt run Naxx.”  Fucking forget ICC or progression.  On the flip side, I stress out less over numbers and loot.  Because I guess I’ve realized numbers & loot aren’t really that worth it to blow a casket over.

The Shared Topic for the week was “What happens after Arthas?”  I admit, I’m kind of sad I couldn’t do this one.  I love speculating on things, but I’m as much not a lore nerd as a Wookie is not Star Trek.  I mean, I get the gist of medieval fantasy and those stereotypes & archetypes in WoW, but the actual fun-loving specifics…I have none.  But I’ve started reading Rise of the Horde, so I guess I’ll get there…eventually.

Next week Miss Medicina will be on! I love Miss Medicina, really I do. Love the writing.  I have her Disc leveling guide bookmarked for my latest alt project.  Hopefully I can remember at 11pm tomorrow to join the TNB chat.

In Voices from the Nether, Fimlys was talking about giving TNB feedback, whether through emails or comments or what.  Well, consider this my call of hysterical laughter, Fim. 🙂  Maybe I’ll even go pondering every episode I listen to.

TNB 75: Need More Guest

Back & Full of Win!

My Computer is Full of Win(7)

The engineering SWAT team (“My comp is b0rkd plz fix!” people) couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my computer, either, so they offered a reinstall of whatever OS I wanted.  Yay, Windows 7! It’s so shiny, and yes, I recommend it over XP (which is what I was using).  I never used Vista, so I can’t recommend any advice for that.

My Major is Full of Win

I recently decided to switch my engineering major from Engineering Science & Mechanics (theory-mechanical engineers, essentially) to Computer Science.  ESM was kicking my ass and I felt more or less annoyed by the snootiness of the major.  Yes, they are very nice & awesome people, but only if you understand it like they do.  The dynamics class, for example, starts out with “Hi, this is the hardest class you will take in your undergraduate career.”  And they leave it at that.  No “But we’ll help you, so don’t be afraid!” but more the feeling of “How can you be so slow as to not get this by reading our not-very-good textbook, which we wrote ourselves?”  I was unhappy.  My grades sank.  It sucked.

So I switched to Computer Science, which was my second choice to go into.  Not to mention I love coding. I can’t really remember the last time I was angry while coding.  They were very awesome to help add me into the classes I needed on the last add day.  The only bump in the road was the ENGE class I needed to switch from a MechE-like major to a Computer-like major.  But, as every freshman engineer finds out, the Engineering Education dept is lacking in either one or both of its title areas, because they rather suck at cultivating learning environments through their classes.

But yeah, first day of CS classes…I felt happy and full of win. Someone asked an intelligent question in lecture and it was one of those, “Damn, that’s good!” questions.  Then someone asked one of those basic coding 101 questions, and in ESM I fully expected to see half the class roll their eyes and the professor to sigh and then try to explain it.  CS?  “Good question, here,

,” and it even reviews the concept being discussed.  The professor also stops and asks if we’ve understood.  It feels like being a healer with an excellent tank who stops and asks if you need to drink now. Not the tanks who ask that for the sake of asking it and then keep pulling, but tanks who are cordial to you and work with you.

It felt AMAZING.  First day, I don’t know anybody and I hardly know anything, yet I’m at home in my new major.  Awesomesauce. Also, I realized my majors are now (CS)^2.  Computer Science & Classical Studies.  Eh, eh, eh, how awesome is that?!!! =P

I Feel Full of Win

And I’d like it to stay that way. Especially since I was a dumbass over winter break and forgot to refill my anxiety/depression meds.  I guess that’s what the phone was invented for?

So I won’t post the Spitfire post like I originally wanted to. Why? Well, for one, I babble & ramble on and on and on, and other people simply said it better & in more succinct ways that I can.  For two, because my inner warlock gets all heated and defensive about why DPS aren’t just meat in the room.  While my inner tree & bear know how stressed out they get sometimes, there are times when my warlock is uberstressed to.  The point I would have made? All I ask for as a healer/tank/dps is a little respect and friendliness.  WoW is an MMO, which means it’s got a great deal of socializing in it.  In real life I really don’t care what you give me for my birthday or really if you give anything at all, so long as you’re willing to hang out with me and have some good times.  Just as I consider my friends and guildies in WoW to be as good friends as those whose doors I can physically knock on, I expect the same out of WoW.  Friends & feel-goodiness are all that matter in the long run, even if specific pieces of loot are “teh shinies and I wants them” for myself.

I’m thoroughly enjoying the new Classifieds on–y’know, the column that replaced the drama column Guildwatch?  I won’t even scroll down to the comments any more because it’s full of people whining for the nasty drama to come back.  Yeah, okay, I did like to read Guildwatch back when it was nasty.  Yeah, okay, it’s cathartic to read about other people’s mishaps.  But…I find myself feeling more satisfied and definitely happier when I finish reading about the goodness in the Classifieds than I EVER did reading Guildwatch.  Especially the Kudos/Random Acts of Uberness section at the bottom. I wish that section were longer. 🙂

Bit of a double-post day–I wanted to bust out some kudos to an awesome awesome PuG group I had on my belf priest yesterday.  Honestly, halfway through it I was thinking about sending in the name of the tank to for the Classified column Kudos section.  Then I thought about it…y’know what?  THE WHOLE GROUP WAS AWESOME.  Also, no frickin way I could do it in 50 words or less.  So I wrote a post about it.  However, I’m on campus at the moment and don’t have the index card with the names I wrote down, so you’ll get that post later this evening.

Back & Full of Win!