Stupid Hunter Tricks

I have a new favourite thing to do in World of Warcraft and that thing, my friends, is soloing Zandalari Warbringers.

It all began because my level 90 priest, who is my enchanter, was severely lacking in various reputations to get the “good” enchants, the ones that need revered with the August Celestials and Shado-Pan. My priest had basically been neutral with both of these factions and I was in absolutely no mood to do countless dailies and such to raise her rep to honored, much less revered. Some searching online revealed that one can get a ridiculous amount of rep with these Bind-to-Account things called “Stolen Insignias”, which drop from Zandalari Warscouts and Zandalari Warbringers.

I’d killed a few Warscouts and I knew of the Warbringers (they had previously kicked my ass) but still felt stuck because I didn’t really know if I could solo them.

At the relatively low equipped ilvl of 525, I’m proud to say that my hunter can, in fact, solo the Warbringers. It is awesome.

Why is it awesome?

Well, not only is my priest the proud owner of all the bracer and weapon MoP-level enchants, but I am getting these awesome things called Big Bag of Zandalari Supplies and Small Bag of Zandalari Supplies. The big bags are themed, so to speak, and are duplicates of the various bags the rares in Townlong Steppes have a chance of dropping. So you could open a bag and get 20 Golden Lotus, along with something like 100 herbs. Or you could open one and get a Sha Crystal, some Mysterious Essences and a crapton of Spirit Dust. Or you could open one up and get a ton of ore and a few gems. The small bags contain gold, plus a stack of a couple of different materials. (I am now drowning in Kyparite, by the way.) These bags and insignias also have a chance to drop from the (much easier) Zandalari Warscouts. (There’s about a 29% chance to get big bags from the Warbringers and a 15% chance from Warscouts, so the Warbringers are definitely better odds, although I quite enjoy killing the Warscouts, too!)

If you don’t need rep and if you don’t need various MoP materials like herbs, enchanting stuff, ore or leather, then there’s still one reason for you to go out and try to kill Warbringers: the mounts.

The Slate Primordial Direhorn

The Slate Primordial Direhorn

So that’s the Slate one that I got the other day. The others are Jade and Amber and you can apparently tell which colour mount is a drop possibility by virtue of what colour mount the Warbringers are on. (or their chairs? I am unclear on this.) At any rate, the mounts are a nice little bonus.

I’ve been killing these guys all weekend long. They have an approximate respawn timer of an hour and they only spawn in five places in the world: Near Chi-Ji’s Cradle in Krasarang Wilds, near the Briny Muck in Dread Wastes, near Sik’vess in Townlong Steppes, near the Yaungol Advance at the eastern edge of Kun-Lai Summit and near Sri-La Village in The Jade Forest.

As a hunter, the hardest part of this is controlling threat. I was very confused as to why my pet’s aggro was, well, terrible. Apparently, they’re immune to taunts, much like the Death Adders on the Timeless Isle. As such, to get it done easily, I personally have to chain misdirect my pet and feign quite a bit. Terrible, but the rewards are good enough and it’s challenging enough for me to keep doing it, despite the immunity to taunts.

If you’re not too concerned with threat, the next major issue is keeping your pet alive. The Glyph of Mend Pet is helpful in removing the potential fear being cast on the primary target of the Warbringer, but the Glyph of Mending is essentially mandatory for this.

The other thing to be worried about, in terms of pet health, is the stupid Vengeful Spirit. You need to turn off all your AOE stuff and keep your pet on passive so it doesn’t change its target, or else you may get the attention of the Vengeful Spirit who can two or three-shot you (or your pet). Keeping Mend Pet up at all times will help to draw her to you, where you can easily run away from her. If you need to feign while she’s up, do so, but then re-cast Mend Pet to ensure she turns around and comes right back to you instead of your pet.

In terms of pets used, I use a turtle for the Last Stand ability as well as the Shell Shield ability. Both can come in fairly handy!

Overall, it’s a fun, profitable thing to do and it’s something that lesser-geared hunters can do fairly easily, with some practice. Here’s a video guide to soloing a Zandalari Warbringer that I put together this weekend. :)

Quick Alpha Thoughts

Honestly, I have neither the time nor the inclination to talk in-depth about the Alpha patch notes for Warlords of Draenor that we’ve gotten. This may actually be a short entry! (hahahaha, if you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.)

The first thing anyone needs to do in order to have an informed opinion on these changes is to read the entirety of the patch notes. No, I’m not kidding. Pretty much everything they posted is necessary to further understand the changes. What is absolutely wonderful about these notes is that they do attempt to give you context. That is amazing and you have to thank the devs for trying to do so. From what I can tell, they attempted to explain the whys pre-emptively. The whole bit about ability pruning is particularly interesting.

So what am I going to discuss here? I’m just going to say that I’m a little disappointed to see some abilities go, from a hunter perspective. In particular, the loss of Aspect of the Hawk, Distracting Shot, Hunter’s Mark, Rapid Fire, Scatter Shot, Silencing Shot and Serpent Sting altogether are, to me, fairly disappointing. The changes to Kill Shot (no longer available to Survival Hunters) and Lock and Load (being removed by itself, but still able to be procced from Black Arrow) also sting a bit. That Stampede is now a talent is interesting, so I’m not all that fussed, although I don’t know how Murder of Crows or Blink Strikes can compete.

Note that I’m not going to lobby to get these things changed — I know things will naturally change and evolve due to feedback and play data in Alpha and Beta. That said, I did want to talk a little bit about why I feel these changes are disappointing, from a PVE standpoint.

Aspect of the Hawk

Okay, seriously, I know. I know! I get it. We always use Aspect of the Hawk. To not use it is to use Aspect of the Cheetah or Aspect of the Pack. This is absolutely ability bloat at its finest. The trouble is, it’s only ability bloat NOW because we used to have other options. We had Aspect of the Wild (nature resistance!), we later had Aspect of the Viper (mana regen!) in addition to Cheetah and Pack. That Aspect of the Hawk finally goes the way of the Wild and the Viper is not terribly surprising to me, but it feels like an iconic part of being a hunter is going. Yes, they’re baking the buff itself into the abilities and such, but I’m someone who actually enjoyed the different aspects back in the day.

What they really need to do is a way to prevent morons from running around with Pack on constantly, particularly in things like LFG and LFR. >.>

Distracting Shot

I will freely admit that I rarely use this ability. However, when I have used it, it’s generally been in key situations where I ended up kiting some damn thing halfway across the room/area/etc. We’re talking General Drakkisath in Upper Blackrock Spire, back in the day. What about on a pull gone horribly awry? Forcing a mob to pay attention to you and chase you down is a core part of what hunters have been. And while I was thrilled to not have to always kite Drak (thank you, Toga!), I enjoyed knowing that I could and that I had successfully done so previously and could do so again. This kind of gameplay doesn’t really happen these days, though, and I think the game is poorer for it.

For what it’s worth, I occasionally use this out on Timeless Isle when fighting the Gulp Frogs if I pull more than one so that my poor bear doesn’t get 10 stacks of their poison. I could use another shot, like Arcane Shot, if I wanted, but I use Distracting Shot because I want that other mob to look at me and I want it to look at me now. The only way we’ll be able to kite things in the future is if we’re the last one standing, essentially. While that means that kiting in the middle of a raid encounter, for example, will no longer be our domain (and perhaps it hasn’t been for a long while), it’s worth taking a moment to think about where we started and to respect what we were able to do.

Hunter’s Mark

More bloat, I’ll grant you, but another iconic ability going the way of the dodo makes me sad. True, it’s automatically applied on virtually any shot. True, with the raid icon markers, we no longer need to use Hunter’s Mark to actually differentiate between different mobs. But it pre-dated the icons and, for a long while, was the only way TO distinguish mobs from each other.

Rapid Fire

They’re getting rid of a lot of cooldowns. I’m okay with that. I’m even basically okay with Rapid Fire being removed. I’m not a fan of blowing all cooldowns on the pull and on CD thereafter, which perhaps makes me not the best hunter in the world (which is one reason I haven’t raided seriously on Kurn since Vanilla). It’s just that it’s so weird to see all of these abilities that have been around forever finally being cut. We lost all of our melee abilities (even our ability to wield both a ranged and a melee weapon) in Cataclysm and this feels like they’re coming back around to finish the job. Even if it’s just a silly cooldown that I probably never used as much as I should have, I’ll still miss it.

Scatter Shot

Once upon a time, back when I spent a lot of time in Warsong Gulch while levelling my hunter, I was defending the flag in the Alliance base. An orc hunter named Dar (not to be confused with the awesome mage Darista, whom we all called Dar) came up the tunnel with a feral druid named Elu and, while I called it out (dude, I had humanoid tracking on and was shadow melded and was watching Dar’s dot come up the tunnel), I was unable to prevent them from taking the flag. Why? Because when I gave chase, I was suddenly disoriented. I lost control of my character. “WHAT THE FUCK WAS THAT?” I yelled at my computer. As I waited to be resurrected (Dar managed to DESTROY me), I scrolled up in my combat log. “Scatter Shot?” I said, “What in the hell is Scatter Shot?”

As a hunter, I knew I must have had the same abilities as Dar, who was about the same level as me, so I found it in my spellbook and put it on my bars AND YOU BET YOUR ASS I Scatter Shotted him every single time I saw him thereafter.

It’s another shot I rarely use, mostly just to prevent spellcasting if Counter Shot or whatever is on cooldown, but I’ll miss it, too.

Silencing Shot

I remember getting Silencing Shot. I believe I spent some time in the Western Plaguelands playing with casters as I learned how to use it. Counter Shot is fine, I guess, and I understand this is part of the larger picture of no longer having silences ATTACHED to interrupts, but it’ll be missed.

Serpent Sting

Oh, Serpent Sting. I think I’ll miss you, most of all! Hunters used to have a fair number of “stings”. Serpent Sting has always been around and it used to be terrible and not worth the debuff slot on mobs in Molten Core, for example. Scorpid Sting helped reduce the target’s chance to hit (and before that, reduced their Strength and Agility by a certain amount). Viper Sting was a mana drain. Wyvern Sting, a Survival-only (for so long) form of CC. I always thought that stings could be a REALLY interesting mechanic for hunters, that Survival hunters, in particular, could be a great DoT class, right up there with warlocks. Instead, they’ve already removed Scorpid and Viper, Wyvern is a talent and now out goes Serpent Sting. It was one of the very first abilities I gained as a hunter and I remember being awestruck and fascinated at the green vapours that appeared on the recipient of my sting.

I think this is the one choice that I don’t really understand. Serpent Sting isn’t automatic. It’s a deliberate choice one makes when they’re attacking the target. Not using Serpent Sting at all, or as much as you can (aiming for 100% uptime), is, well, silly, but it’s also the sign of a not-great hunter (at least on single-target fights). While we all SHOULD use Serpent Sting and aim for that 100% uptime, I’m sure many people don’t. Since it’s not automatic like Hunter’s Mark (unless you’re Survival and using Multi-Shot — which, by the way, will still exist!), I don’t see why Serpent Sting is going away. Is it bloat? Perhaps, I guess, but it’s not bloat like Aspect of the Hawk or Hunter’s Mark, both of which are either used 100% of the time due to lack of other options or are applied automatically. Even world-class players can’t always keep Serpent Sting up 100% of the time. It’s a bit of a mystery to me why this ability, which takes a bit of skill/practice to use properly, is being culled. Alas, poor Serpent Sting, I knew you well. /salute

What about Holy Paladins?

Honestly, good riddance to the Guardian of Ancient Kings as a holy cooldown. Adios, wings. Seeya, Divine Plea. I’m fine with all of these. (My jaw dropped into the apartment below me when I saw Druids are losing Innervate, so I was more prepared for our loss of Divine Plea.) I’m sure I’ll have more to say about healing, but for now, I’m pretty much okay with things. (Although Flash of Light and Holy Light healing for roughly the same amount feels wrong to me, but that’s another rant for another day.)

What do you think about the Alpha notes? Anything you’ll really miss?

But Wait, There’s More

Before I forget, my bio and first column are live over at SentryTotem.com! Every Tuesday and Friday, there should be a brand-new column from me about Guild Leadership. In fact, there’s a second column scheduled to go live today, so be sure to check it out sometime after noon Eastern, 9am Pacific. :)

I Wasn’t Going to Say Anything…

As a rule, I try to pay very little attention to April Fool’s Day. I don’t usually participate in gags or pranks or what-have-you, myself. This year was the most involved in April Fool’s Day I’ve been in ages, and I wasn’t even very active. All I did was tell Rho that yes, he could tell people listening to Realm Maintenance that Blessing of Frost was coming out of retirement. (Which it’s not, by the way, but I do appreciate the comments from various people wishing that were the case — as does Maj!)

Yesterday’s April Fool’s jokes by Blizzard had two reactions from me:

1) Hah, these “patch notes” are hilarious! Love the Calvin & Hobbes references, among others.

2) … oh, right, it’s April 1st. I will ignore this “artcraft” post pretty much entirely.

I wasn’t going to talk about how the female draenei post was somewhat insulting towards women. I wasn’t going to talk about how intolerant people can be when the representation of a woman is less than a straight man’s “ideal”. I wasn’t going to talk about how the fact that Blizzard decided to make fun of the female draenei can be considered a statement that they find it funny to screw with the players’ heads in introducing a model that is not the straight man’s “ideal”.

And then Twitter exploded with reactions. Particularly on my timeline today, April 2nd, there’s all kinds of hate and anger — not just restricted to the joke. Backlash for the joke is fair, assuming it doesn’t cross over into abusive insults or threats. Saying “I didn’t find it funny” is fine. Saying “I didn’t find it funny because of points a, b and c, that I will explain below” is also fine. Saying “YOU #)*%_@#% PIECES OF #(&)!% I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU @)*$)!@* THAT #)*@% UP” is not fine. Hopefully, you get the point.

However, what’s happening on my timeline today is hate and anger directed at people who didn’t find the joke funny and decided to say something about it.

Dudes. (And I don’t mean just guys, I include girls there, too.) That is uncool.

Now, believe me, I have zero interest in defending WoW Insider in general. I’ve had my issues with them as a website and, in fact, make it a point to basically never read it. That said,  they posted an interesting article called The Joke is On Women and, subsequently, had to turn off the comments. Why? Because of all the awfulness that was cropping up. (Another great read, from The Godmother: That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore.)

Look, I’m a woman, but do you know why my character, Kurn, is a male night elf? Apart from the fact that I instantly hated the female night elf idle bounce animation (for various reasons such as I don’t actually do that myself and, frankly, never would), it was to blend in with the masses. I never wanted to stand out as a woman among players, because I’ve been treated terribly in the past by a variety of people who thought that, because I’m a woman, it’s okay to objectify me and to treat me like I’m there for their pleasure. I worked as a writer on a high-profile website for four years in the late 90s and into the 2000s and part of my daily routine was weeding out the creepy messages from guys who were offering me a life of luxury to come be their fourth wife or concubine (I’m not kidding) or guys who demanded I spend some one-on-one time with them on the phone (which was not at all part of my job, but they insisted it was).

Due, in part, to those experiences, I decided “nope, I’m going to make Kurn a guy”. And it was lovely. I was left alone when I wanted to be. It was only when I rolled Madrana, a human female, that I started getting lewd whispers and inappropriate comments from people. I have actually said to people “I’m a dude” to get them to back off. (I once had an opposite-esque experience, actually, which broke my brain for a few different reasons, but anyhow.)

So, within WoW,  I took steps to make sure I wasn’t particularly bothered as best as I could (male night elf, telling people I’m a dude if they persisted, etc). Even on this blog, I have a comment policy that I stick to and ask others to adhere to, as well. Further, I’ve gone out of my way to be a good player, to help dispell all the “girls can’t play” crap that goes flying around out there. Basically, I’ve done what I can do to make sure that being a woman who plays a video game doesn’t adversely affect my gaming experiences.

Think about that for a minute. Being a woman can adversely affect my gaming experiences.

Being a guy does not inherently do that in the same way that being a woman can.

Guys automatically “fit in” with gaming culture because so much of the content is created by guys and, like it or not, for guys (even though female gamers are about half of the gaming population). In order for me to fit in and be comfortable, I have to do X, Y and Z first. I shouldn’t have to, but I accept it because to not do those things, to not protect myself, will result in uncomfortable, awkward and downright creepy experiences. If I want to play and have a good time, with other people in the mix, I must first take those precautions.

I’m not even complaining that I feel that I have to take these kinds of precautions, although it would be nice to easily fit into a culture I am definitely part of without doing so. The truth is, I’ve experienced this stuff my entire life. I was the girl who spent her teenage years calling local Bulletin Board Services and playing Trade Wars 2002 and Legend of the Red Dragon while moderating a forum about Star Trek. So, whether I like it or not (and I don’t), I generally don’t make a big deal about it because I’m used to it.

So, ultimately, if Blizzard (or any other company) wants to make a joke about a previously “attractive” character (how attractive is a female draenei, really? Horns, hooves and a tail??) being made “less attractive”, by changing the face, adding fur and the like, that’s their decision. My decision is to not like it and, as long as I do so respectfully, there’s no problem with my opinion.

The problem comes when either I am disrespectful or when others are disrespectful towards me.

You don’t like that some people are offended? Fine, feel free to disagree. Just do it politely and with respect. Try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, particularly if you are the straight male for whom the joke was obviously intended.

If you don’t know about Anita Sarkeesian, by the way, you ought to take a look at her stuff. She has had the most vile and horrific abuse levelled at her simply because she wants to deconstruct anti-feminist tropes in video games.

Oh, and one more thing, while I’m thinking of it: “feminism” is not a dirty word. Being a feminist doesn’t mean that you want women to be the dominant gender. It doesn’t mean that you have to be a crew-cutted, man-hating lesbian. Being a feminist simply means that you believe men and women are equal and should be treated as such. I once shocked the hell out of a friend of mine by saying “no, I’m not really a feminist” and she was like “… do you think men and women are equal and should be treated as equals?” I replied that I did. “Then you’re a feminist.” So go read some of these quotes about feminism to perhaps better understand what feminism is, but this is probably my favourite.

Feminism is the radical notion that women are people.

- Marie Shear, reviewing Kramarae and Treichler’s A Feminist Dictionary in the news journal New Directions for Women (1986)

So when people — women, in this case — talk about being offended, look at why they’re being offended. You can disagree with them, but do it respectfully and with the understanding that this isn’t the first time they’ve had to deal with being the butt of a joke like this. As for myself, I simply didn’t find that portion of Blizzard’s April Fool’s Day funny and, really, I wasn’t going to say anything about it, but now I have. And I hope the Internet is better for it.

(As always, the aforementioned comment policy is to be adhered to, thank you kindly.)

My Own 90 Boost Adventures & Ruminations

Here’s where I confess that:

a) I actually resubbed for 30 days shortly after pre-ordering the expansion last Monday (and by “shortly”, I mean “within four hours”)
and
b) I boosted a warlock from 1-90

I know, I know. The poll results said I should boost a brand-new monk. I couldn’t do it. I just couldn’t. I have absolutely no desire to play a monk outside of a tiny bit of curiosity when it comes to mistweavers. I did not want to play a monk.

Similarly, I kind of thought it, well, silly, to play a warlock. I already have a ranged DPS class with a pet — my hunter. So why the warlock?

Well, the first reason is because I’ve always been interested in warlocks in terms of a playstyle. DoT management has always intrigued me in theory. The second reason is that I’ve tried, on more than one occasion, to level a warlock. It never goes well (even with heirlooms — and I even have the heirloom RING!) and I have no interest in levelling a character from 1-90 or even 1-60 and then boosting from 60.

The third reason is that hey, I don’t much like the other options I felt I realistically had and so went with the warlock. It was the second choice in my poll, so why the heck not?

I’ll say this up front, I’m a bad warlock. I’ve spent about an hour at the training dummies and I am just not doing a great job. Part of this is UI-related (I need a good dot timer that ISN’T DoTimer because DoTimer keeps crashing my WoW, oddly) and part of it is that I’m sure I’m just not comprehending the subtleties of the class yet. Happily for the rest of the population, I have not grouped up for anything at this juncture, because I clearly don’t know what in the hell I’m doing and do not wish to inflict my idiocy on other people. You’re welcome! :)

That said, part of the reason for even using the boost was to help my professions along in the sense that I have:

- skinning/leatherworking on Kurn
- alchemy (elixir)/jewelcrafting on Madrana
- herbalism/mining on my shaman
- alchemy (potion)/enchanting on my priest
- alchemy (transmute)/inscription on my warrior

Those are all maxed. This means that, on Eldre’Thalas, I am missing just blacksmithing, engineering and tailoring as primary professions. I might bring my mage back from Skywall (at some point) and drop his herbalism for tailoring… but the point is, I wanted my boosted character to have blacksmithing and engineering.

Now, I could have, perhaps I should have, rolled a death knight on Eldre’Thalas, levelled five levels to 60 and then boosted that to 90, with 600 BS/600 Engineering. But I thought about it and realized that I really have zero desire to play a death knight. I don’t enjoy tanking and I enjoy melee DPS even less than I enjoy tanking.

So I boosted the warlock to 90 (male dwarf, FYI) and have the plan to make him a blacksmith and an engineer.

Problem: OH MY GOD, THE MATS.

It was brought to my attention that, previously in the expansion, Blacksmithing was changed and one is now able to use just Ghost Iron Ore to level to 600.

Ultimately, though it was good to know, it was kind of useless because Engineering requires many of the same materials as Blacksmithing. Additionally, the total number of pieces of Ghost Iron Ore required is over ten thousand. Even though it’s abundant and I could buy a bunch I’m sure, if I had to go mining in the old worlds for things like Thorium and Cobalt for Engineering, then I decided to do it “old school” for Blacksmithing, too, by just going around and mining for both professions while I was going to be out there anyway.

Total pieces of various types of ore/stone needed for BOTH Blacksmithing AND Engineering the old-school way: 5593.

Total pieces of various types of ore/stone needed for BOTH Blacksmithing AND Engineering with the “new” BS Ghost Iron Ore method: ~12000.

… yeah, OLD SCHOOL IT IS.

So, I made a spreadsheet because things just got complicated. Of course, it doesn’t include things like “Alicite” or “Wool Cloth” type materials. I have most of that stuff just lying around in my many bank tabs of my bank guild. I just tracked the stones and ores. Of course, in order to count up all the ores I needed, I had to look up the mats at various guides and then MULTIPLIED the number of bars they were asking for by two, in many cases, in order to come up with how much ore I needed. That’s not the case with things like Thorium, but is the case with something like Adamantite. So I broke down the number of pieces of all the types of ore needed for Blacksmithing and then did the same for Engineering. Then I hauled out Altoholic and searched through all my toons (on that realm, excluding the Apotheosis guild bank) and put in a column stating how many of these things I already had. Turns out I had a lot of Rough Stone, Coarse Stone and even Dense Stone. I also had a lot of Iron Ore. Then I put in the “Total I Need” column at the end, showing me how many I needed to have IN MY BAGS after mining to ensure I’d have just about enough. In the case of Copper Ore, I had to mine 369 pieces. In the case of Thorium, 609 pieces.

So I designated Saturday, March 15th, as #MININGDAY2014. Here’s some of what I did.

bsengineering3

So. Much. Thorium.

bsengineering4

On to Fel Iron.

bsengineering5

Adamantite took a long time, but was marginally less awful than Fel Iron.

The worst, to date. Cobalt was painful.

The worst, to date. Cobalt was painful.

So I did everything through Fel Iron Ore on Saturday, did Adamantite and Cobalt on Sunday and plan to tackle the rest later this week, as time allows. I’ll also be spending some time on Timeless Isle, practicing being a warlock, once I get around to doing a bit more reading.

As an aside, I’m finding something really interesting is happening since I’ve been back: many people are acting as though I don’t know what in the hell I’m doing.

Guys, I may have taken a break for over a year (17 months minus a week in there around Christmas, actually) but it’s not like I don’t know how to play the game. Sure, I didn’t know about the Ghost Iron Ore method for Blacksmithing, but even still, I discounted that method once I had learned about it, because 10,000+ pieces of Ghost Iron Ore versus fewer than 6000 pieces of stuff just doesn’t make sense to me, especially because I had to mine some of the old stuff for Engineering anyhow.

And yet, 90% of the comments I’ve received about this have been challenging my logic for choosing to mine old-school materials.

I know people are mostly trying to help and some are confused by my choices, but for crying out loud, I didn’t play for 17 months. It’s not like I forgot everything I ever knew about the game. ;) It’s changed, but it hasn’t changed that much. And it’s not as though I don’t keep up on the vast majority of changes. Or as if I don’t do my own research on things. While it’s really interesting to be on the side of things where I have to look stuff up and I have to confirm various things, it’s less interesting to be repeatedly challenged by people who think they know better.

To be honest, it’s making me think a lot about how I’ve acted in the past, when I’ve been on top of my game and have known things with absolute conviction. While I maintain that any advice I’ve given out in the past about this game has, at the time, been accurate, I can’t help but wonder if newer people (or at least less-knowledgeable people) were frustrated with the advice I’d offered to them. I know that I’m right about certain things (old-school mats vs. Ghost Iron Ore in this particular situation, FOR ME, for instance), but part of what fatigued me over the course of my WoW career was the constant questioning of my decisions. Have I, at some point in the past, caused fatigue or frustration to someone else when I’ve genuinely been trying to help? I’m not talking about feedback to people in my raid groups or guilds, but random holy paladins who were, as I saw it, Doing Things Wrong in random dungeons in the past. Or hunters. I mean, okay, the melee hunters in this Wailing Caverns run I once was snarky to, I’m not apologetic about. At all. :P I mean people to whom I offered unsolicited advice.

I’m trying to figure out which scenario I’m running up against here…

1) People are offering me advice and are trying to be helpful, despite the fact that it is actually not going to help me in the least.
2) People are offering me advice and are trying to be helpful because they think they know better than I do.

While I’d really like to believe the majority of people offering advice fall into group 1, I can’t help but think there are at least a few in group 2 and possibly some people who are both.

Again, this is causing me to be introspective. Every time I’ve offered advice to someone, I have tried to be helpful and have tried to make sure that the advice WOULD be helpful. But I know that many times, I’ve seen the problem as a very basic “oh, they don’t know about X, Y or Z, LET ME INFORM THEM” problem, thus falling into category 2. Have I been wrong in the past? Is it a lot more nuanced than I’ve seen it? Should I have been less willing to offer advice until I was certain someone needed it? I don’t know. I can’t help but think that if I didn’t offer advice, then maybe no one else would have. I can’t help but think that if people keep their mouths shut and adopt an attitude of “not my problem”, the community suffers. And what if people who are obviously struggling don’t ask for advice? What if people just sit there quietly, unsure of what they’re doing, but remain silent rather than open their mouths and be thought a fool?

Even after an extended break, I didn’t think I’d ever be on the “oh, no, Kurn, do it THIS WAY” side of things again. But apparently, I am. It’s a weird thing to go from being someone who knows damn near everything there is to know about the game to, well, not knowing, for example, that Blacksmithing is available to level from 1-600 with just Ghost Iron Ore. The last time I was this out of touch with the game itself was before I hit 60 on my first toon. And I don’t know if I like it. No, okay, I don’t like it. And I definitely don’t like being challenged by others on my various decisions, but I’ve done that to others in the past. I’m not even sure that the random, unsolicited advice I’ve given in the past is altogether justifiable, although I would think that telling a death knight “tank” to use Blood Presence is, you know, something they should do regardless of how tactfully that may or may not be put…

I guess I’m just trying to work out how I feel about people’s recent behaviour towards me and how my reaction to that may mirror how other people may have felt when I gave those others unsolicited advice. I mean, I’m thankful that people want to help me out. I appreciate the sentiment. And I like talking to people about the game. But maybe doing it in a way that is less challenging and more helpful (but not condescending!) is a better way to get one’s point across. Yeah, I’m wondering how I could do that, myself. Certainly, it’s a fine line to tread, but I know that I’d be more receptive to advice given in such a manner and I imagine others would be, too.

Today, March 17th, 2014, is the last day that you’ll be able to buy Kurn’s Guide to Being a Kick-Ass Raider at its introductory price, by the way! The launch sale ends tomorrow, so don’t hesitate to check it out!

All KINDS of Warlords Stuff

I have not one, but two post about the Warlords of Draenor healing changes sitting in my drafts folder, but then I took a nap and when I woke up, the Warlords of Draenor pre-order (and included boost to 90) had gone live (along with the $60 paid version of the boost to 90).

It’s as though I have too many thoughts racing through my head to get any of them down, but, by golly, I’m going to try.

“On or Before December 20, 2014″

The thing that seems to be causing people’s heads to explode is that, on the pre-order page, it says quite clearly “Game is expected to release on or before 12/20/2014.”

First of all, they’ve already said that’s not the release date. They’ve said fall of 2014. So that’s somewhere between September 23, 2014 and, shockingly, December 21, 2014.  My money is on early fall, but they’re obviously being very Blizzard about things and hedging their bets, as per usual.

Still, people are upset because that means more than a full calendar year in the Siege of Orgrimmar raid instance.

This isn’t new, though. Icecrown Citadel, the final major raid of Wrath of the Lich King (no, Ruby Sanctum doesn’t fully count), launched on December 8, 2009. Cataclysm launched one year later, on December 7, 2010. Dragon Soul, the final major raid of Cataclysm, launched on November 29, 2011. Mists of Pandaria released, surprisingly, on September 25, 2012. Siege of Orgrimmar, the final major raid of Mists of Pandaria, launched on September 10, 2013.

Given that track record, it’s hardly news that people are going to spend a year with Siege of Orgrimmar as the “current” raid content. It is, however, quite disappointing to a lot of people, I would imagine. I would further submit that this is probably the entire reason why pre-ordering now gets you the level 90 boost immediately.

On the bright side, Blizzard typically has beta periods that last approximately 6 months. 6 months from now is, you know, September. In my opinion, this means we are very likely to see beta launching in the next month or two. So they’re going to try to keep players occupied with new toons at 90, the beta launch, plus their other properties. (D3′s expansion is coming out soon, Hearthstone is certain to be ending beta soon, Heroes of the Storm is on its way…)

I’m not surprised. I’m not even disappointed, although I know a lot of people are. Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve not played much of this expansion and I’m fairly separated from what’s going on, or maybe it’s because I’m just that jaded, hah! I actually thought it wouldn’t be impossible to get things going for a June release, but apparently I was wrong. Ah, well. I do think it’ll be closer to late September than late December, but what do I know, eh? Clearly not a lot. ;)

Healing Changes in Warlords of Draenor

Honestly, over the last few days, I’ve written over 3500 words talking about these healing changes and I can’t make up my mind about them.

On the one hand, I’m in favour of absorbs being less potent (I’ve always hated absorbs and yes, I’ve played a holy paladin), I’m in favour of smart heals being less smart, I’m in favour of having time to make intelligent decisions about on whom to cast which spell.

I’m not in favour of the cast-times being added to Light of Dawn, Word of Glory/Eternal Flame, Wild Growth, Prayer of Mending (and other priest spells) and Uplift.

I’m not in favour of healers having to relearn how to do their jobs all over again. My previous drafts rambled a lot about this point, but here’s the thing: DPS basically still does today what DPS did when WoW launched. Tanks have changed a lot, I’ll grant you, especially with this whole “active mitigation” thing. But healers had to relearn how to heal for Cataclysm. I’m not saying that was a terrible thing or that healers didn’t need a serious retooling, but here we are, just 3ish years later, and they’re removing the “mid-level” heals (or whatever you want to call them). So much for the three-heal system. (Actually, I’m well-aware that the three-heal system was already out the window come the end of Cataclysm, with healers spamming AOE and smart heals, and I can’t imagine that’s gotten any BETTER throughout Mists.)

It’s not that healing doesn’t need to be reworked, because I’m certain it does. I just think it sucks that the burden of relearning falls to the healers. Again. As if relearning your specific class again doesn’t suck enough (and it can!), learning how healing works in a whole new system of healing can be painful. Blech. I read the healing changes and immediately did not want to heal, period.

Out of the many words I’ve written on the subject, perhaps the most poignant (for me) were those that made me see that perhaps I’m just too old for this stuff. I mean, not necessarily because I’m old (because I’m not, shut up!), but because I’m weary. Part of the reason I stopped playing is because rolling with Blizzard’s punches just got really exhausting after a certain point. After seven years of adapting to every change and all the retuning and retooling and redesigning, I was just tired. Heck, I still feel tired. It used to energize me to know that changes were on the horizon. I’d jump at the chance to learn anything new.

But I just… don’t, anymore. That lack of passion, lack of desire to learn, it kind of indicates to me that maybe I’ve truly outgrown the game…

But You Just Pre-Ordered! WTF?

Warlords of Draenor Pre-order
… yeah, I did. Guilty as charged. I bought the pre-order for two main reasons:

  1. I’m going to at least check out the new expansion. That’s never been in doubt, even if my lifelong dream of getting server-first skinning has been crushed. I also had the money to pay for it now, so why not spend it now on something I know I’m going to want to have later?
  2. Even if I don’t play much for Warlords of Draenor, I want my stable of alts to be ready for the expansion for money-making purposes. (I’ve quite enjoyed having a stash of over 220,000 gold sitting there, ready for me if I ever wanted to come back and raid seriously again.)

I’m also seriously considering resubbing for a bit, but I wouldn’t expect that to last through to release. Maybe I’ll spend the next month or two playing around a bit and then let things lapse before coming back at the 6.0 patch, at which point I will endeavour to learn how to heal all over again, unless it really makes me want to cry. (Which is a possibility.) Still, I feel as though I owe the community at least a 6.0 holy paladin primer. We’ll see.

That said, because I pre-ordered, I have a shiny new boost to 90 I could use, if I resubbed, and I am incapable of deciding. Here’s a poll. Vote for your favourite options and I promise to take them into consideration.

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