Friday, March 6, 2009

Addicted to Heals

I "rolled" this blog when Ideale hit the 40s, mainly to document my progress, share some "noob" tips I ran across, and "infiltrate" enemy territory for kitties (and originally it was going to be entirely in-character, but I chickened out). And I've have a lot of fun with her and Cinnamon, getting to 70, figuring out what I liked to do in the game (not PVE), and generally having a good time.

But in the meantime, I leveled Ahami — and found my niche and my favorite role in the game, healing. I started out leveling resto just to see if I could do it, because all of the leveling guides said not to; and because healing did look fun and I wanted to try it out. And I fell in love with resto shamans and with healing in general. I still play my hunter, but mostly to hunt worms and rhinos or for the very occasional RP or PVP match — the vast majority of my time in game is being spent on Ahami or my other healers, and they're the ones I'm doing research for, doing new things with, and working on, while Ideale has stagnated somewhat.

My focus for the past several months has changed to reflect my in-game interests, and I was getting a little annoyed with: a.) the blog title being misleadingly hunter-centric; b.) Blogspot; c.) feeling guilty that I was not writing about my hunter in my hunter blog; d.) feeling guilty that I was not reading and linking to more hunter blogs.

After ignoring my better judgement and not only rerolling my priest to be a "real alt," but rolling shamans, druids, priests and paladins across several servers the past few weeks, and after reading this post on Sandwich Rations, I figured it was time to stop fooling myself and any potential readers who might be looking for a hunter blog.

So ... I rerolled, and I'm heading over to Addicted to Heals. There are still some changes inc — the template will be changing, as I've actually started knocking out one themed around (gasp) WoW. But I figured that at least most of the posts would line up with the blog title that way.

And now, the Kitty Collector is closed (although if I do collect more kitties, I will post about it, along with maybe a couple hunter stories now and then).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Missed connections

Can you imagine if there were a missed connections-type forum, a la craigslist, for World of Warcraft?
You were an orc death knight with a handy way of punting gnomes and capturing flags. I was the troll shaman who healhealhealed you. Want to time our queues for Warsong Gulch sometime? I hope you read this!

Sorry, I had an excellent Warsong Gulch run this morning and worked really well with the flag carrier and his buddy (I thought, at least). You know that feeling you get when you have a truly excellent battleground (or raid, or [insert out-of-game pastime here]), like you're afraid you'll have eight or nine horrible matches to make up for the accidental awesome one? Yeah.

EDIT: Tambien, is it just me or do you get crazy amounts of honor in Wintergrasp? I'd done, like, two battles there until this week. I blew all my honor yesterday and I've already got almost 15K back again, one winning and two losing Wintergrasps later.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


1. I am never leveling an alt again.

Don't get me wrong. I will continue rolling and playing alts. They're a blast, I love learning new playstyles, and sometimes I just need a break from the daily quests/gather stuff/rep grind of end-game. (Not the PVP, but I'm not always in the mood to shoot and/or heal people in the face.)

But I'm going to PLAY alts rather than LEVEL them. Ideale and Ahami were a blast because I just played them, my way and at my pace, instead of leveling them. Onashne is still a ton of fun — but every zone between the Arathi Highlands and the Western Plaguelands was a half-touched blur. Taking your time and savoring the "leveling process" is much more fun than shooting up 22 levels in a couple weeks.

2. My first three characters were my troll shaman, an undead priest, and a human rogue. I rolled all three within the first couple days of buying the game, and leveled them pretty much side-by-side for 20 levels each — which took a long time because I had no idea what I was doing.

The rogue I never really developed as far as story went. In fact, I only rolled her because I thought people would be RPing in an MMORPG (silly thought, right?) and didn't know enough about the lore to feel comfortable as anything but a human or undead. (The troll shaman was because I really, really wanted a shaman and liked Horde better — I spent my first few levels praying that no one would interact with me until I figured out no one on Whisperwind RPed. Ahami was much more developed than that original troll shaman, and is much more fun to play.)

The Forsaken priest, though. Oh, I pored over the WoWWiki entry on the Forsaken, and read every snippet of lore I could get my hands on. I came up with a backstory for her. I had dreams about her story (don't laugh). And she was the first character I rolled over on VeCo, but like Ideale, she was abandoned at level 8 while I tried other servers and dabbled with Alliance, because I couldn't get into shadow priests. I'm not sure now whether that was because she's just NOT a shadow priest, or because I hate the style — when I leveled her the first time on Whisperwind, I'd put all my points in discipline because I didn't know it wasn't a leveling spec (actually, she's just lucky I actually put all her points in one tree — the shaman and rogue were not so favored). I picked her up briefly when I got a real life friend to roll a warlock on VeCo, then dropped her for another hunter and eventually deleted her to roll Silang.

But probably my biggest regret about the game is that I never leveled my priest. And I had two open spots after consolidating bank alts, so a few days ago, I rerolled her. And I'm so glad I did — I missed her!

3. I still kind of hate warlocks. Which is too bad, because crazy Malisya's fun to play. Maybe I'll put her on Feathermoon with my other "fun to RP but taking up too much space" toons.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Too Many Annas breaks it down pretty good right here.

I have nothing constructive to add to this, so that's all I will post right now.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

On Grid

I don't have much to say other than that Grid is AWESOME.

What I like: It shows who needs to be healed, whether they're in range, and any debuffs on them. I set it up so that it doesn't show heals from me, meaning that I can see if a target is being healed and ignore them in favor of someone else as needed. It's nowhere near as much excess of information as X-Perl, and it doesn't do random crap like Healbot, it just lets me select whoever needs a heal and heal them. It's exactly what I was looking for in an add-on.

What I don't like: I do need to play with it a little more to customize how debuffs/curses/etc. show up, and I need to figure out if/how I can show pets.

Otherwise it's great. I like it a lot.

So, addons with thumbs up from me: Dominos, Grid, Auctioneer, TradeSkillInfo, Guildcraft (although I wish they'd fix their Inscription issues so that stupid error message goes away).

Yeah, that's pretty much all I use.

EDIT: LIES! I have Omen, too, for group quests.

WoW Ladies

A group of women who play Alliance on my realm recently decided to get together a "for fun" all-ladies premade.

Before I go any farther, I want to say that I think this sounds like awesome fun, and I hope a Horde version pops up. Now, I know that given the recent discussion of whether female bloggers should identify themselves as such, some might not "get" why women would want to form up a ladies-only premade. (Or at least, given some of the responses to the thread — okay, one person's responses to the thread — I can see this happening.) The long answer involves getting deep into sociological discussions about identity.

The short answer is that sometimes, it's nice to be able to group up with other ladies so we don't have to be "the girl" all the time. And even being in a guild where a big chunk of the members are female and the guys don't treat us any differently, there are still times when a girls night sounds like a lot of fun.

But that's not the point of this post.

That one person I mentioned who responded to the thread? He gave the perfect example of why women who game still need to identify themselves. In the course of the thread, he:

1. Attacked the women responding based on their arena ratings.
2. Implied that all women are bad at PVP.
3. Said it was okay for women to have a ladies' night because no guy wants to be involved, but they couldn't make that ladies' night battlegrounds, because everyone likes battlegrounds. The implication being that women can only do shit no one likes during ladies' nights.
4. Basically nerd-raged about it.

These are the kinds of guys some of us run into regularly. I know there are plenty of women who have never had to deal with sexism in WoW. I think it comes down to server culture sometimes — VeCo is a lot better than most, and I've only rarely had to deal with it there. When I was on Laughing Skull, I would never have admitted to being female, because it was HORRIBLE there. It's similar to racism — while VeCo has had a few spurts from a couple of guilds, it's pretty good on that front, but when I made an alt on another RP-PVP server to check it out, the second I stepped into a city I saw all kinds of anti-Jewish and anti-Asian jokes in trade, and promptly deleted my characters. (I'll hold back on the name of the server since maybe they were just having an off night, but still.)

This is, to put it in a way that will probably get me flamed, something that white guys don't generally have to think about or deal with. Off the cuff racism and sexism is something most white guys never even notice, or might think is funny. And I'm sure that there are a few ladies or gamers of color out there who would agree, because there always are.

But for those of us who do see that shit now and then, no matter how awesome your friends are, it's nice to have a group where you can hang out and KNOW that you're not going to hear some random sexist comment unless it's a joke that everyone's in on. Or where you KNOW you're not going to have someone talking like Mickey fucking Rooney because they think it's funny. And so you can let down your social guard a little bit, because they GET it in a way people who haven't experienced that won't.

Honestly, I don't know why people care so much about controlling where and when other people can hang out with their friends.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Okay, so I have a confession. I have not fought much in the Strand or Wintergrasp.

I know, I know, I'm a battleground PVPer! How could I have not spent half my playing time in the new battlegrounds?

Well, I haven't PVPed on my hunter since before the expansion was released (aside from one-on-one matches while leveling) and I've found that, as a healer, I often don't have much to do — can't heal siege engines, sadly. So I hitch a ride or run around and heal the occasional person while trying to figure out what's going on, for the most part.

Plus, Wintergrasp is a bit buggy — like today, for example, when we were fighting in to the relic and had destroyed all of the Alliance tanks, and our towers randomly were destroyed. Despite having defenders, being at close to full repair, and no Alliance tanks in sight. You can also parachute into the keep and take the relic, bypassing the whole battle, the relic is occasionally unclickable, and so on. I've been in four times, and twice the match was bugged (we won one because of it, but it still pisses me off).

So mostly I just do my old school ones. But I was in Dalaran on Ideale when a match started, and figured, "Why not?"

As a hunter, Wintergrasp is FUN. My favorite thing to do? Target the defenders' guns and take them out. I don't think I'd like it on defense, but taking out those guns is a blast. Pewpew! Also, I learned cannot go into the keep because I lag out.

So I guess I will hop in a bit more, especially since I can buy honor with the stone keeper's shards and then buy gear with my honor. So yeah. Fun!

Spectral tiger?

*twitch* Oh, I hope they aren't tamable. If they are, I'm going to have a very hard time choosing whether to camp out for Loque or get a see-through blue stripeycat.

Oh, yeah, and there are patch notes and Ulduar screenshots at MMO Champion, too. New mini-pets and mounts coming, too, including aquatic mounts. That's kind of cool.

Anyway, pretty much everyone has covered patch notes, so I will spare you.

EDIT: From something I posted ... elsewhere:
Reason No. 348 why I don't do that PVE thing: The T8 armor might be more hideous than the S4 stuff. I haven't decided yet. Seriously, if I were on the PTR, I'd be reporting that immediately. "There's a problem with T8; it's gross and I won't wear it."

If I ever do end up getting a daytime job and then raiding with my guild sometimes — because they need resto shammies and my guild kicks ass, so I'd suck it up for them — and T8 is still the best out there, I will stick to T7 and just get really, really good so I can be like, "Skill not gear! Oh please don't make me wear that." Luckily, that will probably never happen, so I dodged that bullet!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Some tips for battleground healing: Shamans

Coming soon: Druids
Coming eventually: Priests

Shamans make excellent battleground healers for a lot of reasons; back before the expansion we were great in AV and okay in WSG, but because of our lack of instant heals, we had trouble with other battlegrounds (or at least I did). But with the addition of Riptide, we can be pretty effective in any situation.

General tips
1. Earth Shield yourself. For a long time I advocated putting Earth Shield on someone else, and I still do in Alterac Valley most of the time — for the boss fights, for example, or if you are way in the back and none of the other team are getting to the healers through the DPS. If you are the only healer with your side's flag carrier, Earth Shield the FC. But in the other battlegrounds and situations, you just do not have enough protection to make putting Earth Shield on someone else worth it. If you go down, you aren't healing, and Earth Shield will help keep you up, as well as cut down on pushback if you've talented for it (and if you're mostly PVP healing, you should talent for it).

2. Don't forget your totems. They're not as useful in PVP as in PVE, but they can be pretty effective. If a hunter or warlock sets a pet on you and switches to another target (which seems to happen a good 80 percent of the time in my experience), drop a Stoneclaw Totem. If there's a melee'r on the other team running around taking out totems, keep dropping it because it will stun them and that's funny. Elemental totems can be pretty effective if you're short on people at a graveyard, flag or tower and get rushed by a group. Earthbind totem kicks ass in the WSG flag room.

3. Don't limit yourself just to healing. Farsight can help out in Arathi Basin or Eye of the Storm to see what's going on at another flag/tower. A lot of shaman abilities can prevent damage and can be really helpful in, say, Warsong Gulch. If you're with your flag carrier, drop Earth Shield and a Riptide on him, then Hex one follower and Frost Shock another, drop Earthbind Totem, etc. so he can get away. Your healing should take first priority, but if you can tangle up the other team a bit without losing your healing target, do it.

4. Shift + V. In PVP, you can't really afford to be staring fixedly at raid frames — you have to be able to glance back and forth between the fight and your tools. Shift + V shows all of the health bars above the heads of your teammates. While it's kind of obnoxious at first, it makes it much easier to see who needs a heal quickly while monitoring the battle and glancing around for any potential threats.

5. Don't be upset when someone dies. In PVE, the goal is to keep your team up through the fight because enough deaths mean a wipe. In battlegrounds, your goal is to keep as many of your team members up as long as possible while making progress toward the objective. A lot of times in battlegrounds, when a mana-dependent class goes OOM, they decide it's more effective or quicker to suicide than to fall back and drink. Sometimes the other team focus-fires on one person, or someone will suicide on purpose to take the heat off of other team members and give them a chance to regroup. This doesn't mean they're out of the fight — they'll be back sometime in the next 30 seconds, so don't freak out. The goal is to move forward or keep the other team from moving forward, and as long as you are doing that, deaths aren't a horrible thing — though the fewer the better, of course.

6. If you end up in a spot with a lot of line of sight issues, don't underestimate Chain Heal. I've occasionally managed to slam a heal to someone who won't stop going around the corner by hitting the closest person in my LOS with a Chain Heal, which then bounces around the corner. Even a few seconds of bought time can help.

Alterac Valley
Healing strategy is somewhat different for Alterac Valley than anywhere else. In AV, you're likely to have three groups through most of the fight — offense, defense, and recappers. As a shaman healer, you're more effective with either the offense or the defense groups; if no healers are with the recappers, you're better than nothing, but since those fights involve a lot of LOS issues in my experience (going into and out of towers, running all around), your only really effective heal will be Riptide (since your healing targets will go around corners right before you get off that chain heal or healing wave), and with the cooldown on it, a druid or priest would be better.

If running defense, Earth Shield yourself and set a healing focus — usually a melee person with a lot of nice PVP gear is a good bet. You'll have time to inspect them while you wait for the Alliance to show. Defense groups are usually smaller on Nightfall. Depending on who you face, you'll probably mostly be using Chain Heal and Riptide with the occasional Lesser Healing Wave thrown in. Don't worry if your defense team dies — the goal is to keep the other team's tied up as long as possible. If you can wipe them, awesome, but as long as you slow them down for a few minutes, you're doing your job.

If you're running offense, you'll probably be using Chain Heal almost exclusively; usually there are at least three healers with the offense unless you get totally screwed on raid makeup, so just watch the melee folks and try to chain heal them for as much effective healing as possible. Throw a Riptide or Healing Wave on a fellow healer if they need it or if an enemy breaks through to attack the healers, but mostly just focus on melee and let your druid or priesty pals take care of the casters — you can even plan it out ahead of time. Shamans should be taking melee whenever possible, because of Chain Heal. If I get in my usual group in the wee morning hours, we generally have me, a disc priest and a tree druid healing, so I take the melee, the priesty takes the casters and healers, and the tree druid HoT rolls. It seems to work out great.

Arathi Basin
Arathi Basin is my favorite battleground, but it sucks as a shaman because people don't see the rocks swinging about you and assume you're pewpew specced, I guess? Seriously, groups always fucking leave me alone at the lumber mill or something and I have to be like, "Um, guys? You fail at life, and I'm about to lose LM." And then I die.

But if you get a non-stupid group or at least one only tinged with failure instead of dyed in it, then it can be a blast. Why? Because good groups fight on the flag, meaning you can run back a few yards and spam chain heals the whole time, and everyone ignores you. It's kind of awesome. It's also pretty fun if it's just you and one other person (my favorites are mages or warriors), because you can just heal heal heal them, and then when focus turns on you heal heal heal yourself, and then when it switches back to your partner heal heal heal them some more, until you run out of mana or they're all dead. And my gear SUCKS but it still usually ends with them all dead before I go OOM. So I like it.

I don't have much in the way of individual strategy to offer here, except that in AB, your Earth Shield should never, never be on anyone but yourself, and if there are AOE'rs on the other side, run away a tiny bit so that they can't hit you and your healing target(s) at the same time. Also, Tremor Totem is very nice if there are priests, warriors and warlocks on the other side. <3 Tremor Totem.

Warsong Gulch and Eye of the Storm
These are pretty simple. Either: a.) stay at a tower/in your base and heal the people there, or b.) follow the flag runner and keep them healed. Use your totems to good effect — these are battlegrounds where totems can come in super, duper handy. Frost Shock too. Only ever put Earth Shield on yourself or a flag carrier. And beware of line of sight issues. Really, everything else that might be useful has pretty much been covered already.

The main thing about these battlegrounds are that they are the ones where it's most likely you'll have to throw out the occasional DPS and not just straight heal. Watch your mana and make sure that you're not ignoring healing altogether, especially if you're resto rather than a hybrid spec, because all those death knights and ret pallies can do way more damage than you. But if you're not seeing a lot of damage or even a lot of spikes in damage, take a second here and there to throw out some Chain Lightning, and use Hex whenever the cooldown's up for CC help. Otherwise, use Riptide, Healing Wave and, if people are clumped close together, Chain Heal.

Strand of the Ancients
Honestly? I don't do much healing in SotA, nor do I go into it much anyway as I am working on the Conqueror title on both of my 80s. So more on this later, I guess?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Ceci n'est pas une chat

In the end, I couldn't do it.

I picked out a warp stalker — named him Custard — and was having a blast with him, and I thought I could. So I went to Nagrand, pulled Gutripper out of my stable, fed her a couple treats and took a couple screenshots ... and then let Custard go.

I can't bring myself to abandon my Gutsy. Even if I dislike the changes to owls with 3.0, I just can't do it. I went through too much to tame her, and too much to level her up, and spent way too much time doing dailies with her on the Isle. I can't do it. And as much awesome fun as warp stalkers are — and they are a total blast — I can't give up my dream of taming Loque'nahak, either.

Someday, I will level Daj up to the 61-70 bracket, and tame a warp stalker with her. Or maybe Blizz will add more stable slots someday again. But I just get way too attached to my pets. I can't do it.