standing at the back in my sissy robe

May 30, 2009

a brief intermission

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tamarind @ 11:38 pm

Your humble narrator has gone to Vienna for the week so will not be narrating any WoW exploits for the moment.

Or if he is, something has gone horribly wrong somewhere.

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May 29, 2009

He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster

Filed under: Altaholism,Vainglory — Tamarind @ 7:05 pm

I was running around Tanaris on one of my (admittedly many) vanity alts last night, when I received a whispered invitation to run ZF. Sure. Why not. Now, as it so happens, this particular vanity-alt is inadvertently twinked. I wasn’t trying to; he’s dressed entirely in things that struck me as being and looking cool. Yes, I am that shallow sometimes. Often. The thing is, well, it might just about be the case that some of these things that struck me as being and looking cool … well … they might be epics. Cool-looking epics, dammit.

So, yes, my vanity-alt is (wait for it) imba.

In short, he does about as much damage with a flick of his perfectly manicured nails as poor Tam at level 70.

Bwahaha.

Although, in some ways it’s a kind of tragic feeling. A sense of power that is as fleeting as cherry blossom, withering with every step towards the next level you take.

So there I was, bored and imba, and embarking on ZF with a group who actually seemed kind of promising at first. “Can somebody mark?” asked the bear-tank and, in the flurry of people stepping back that followed, I said I would. I was genuinely impressed by the guy actually. I’ve always found bear tanking annoying and hard, I like it when people mark and I like it even more when the tank doesn’t automatically equate leading and tanking. So I talked through kill-order, mentioned that I’d be using cc aaaaand…

What’s the first thing that happens?

Go on.

Guess.

Yes. Of course. The hunter pulls a bunch of mobs.

There’s a flurry of activity. The tank manages to get the situation under control, I mark things up, sheep the appropriate target aaaaand…

What’s the next thing that happens?

Go on.

Guess.

Yes.  Of course.  The hunter uses multi-shot.

Do these guys take an oath to be dicks at hunter school or something? Seriously? Do they not get a pet until they sign an official contract to live up to stereotype?

So I give up on cc. But that’s okay. I like cc but most of the time it’s nice but not necessary. And the mobs are dying like confetti anyway.

(thak that you sandy bitch)

Then we play a small game of musical PUGs as various members of the group fuck off and are replaced.

We’re just about to embark upon the next pull when the hunter starts whinging that we’re not going fast enough and he could be getting more XP from questing.

Well. Duh.

I’m halfway through telling him that he’d probably get the most XP by simply grinding mobs of the appropriate level when I’m struck by a blinding epiphany: it really doesn’t matter. I’m DPS. I don’t matter.

The group, by now, was comprised almost entirely of “hurry plz” wanktards (I’ll complain about this type of player at a later date, I’m sure) and so we basically charged through the instance playing like a bunch of idiots. But we were all a touch high level anyway and my DPS is insane so nothing mattered. We blitzed through the whole thing in about an hour. It’s not the way I like to instance but there’s a base and vulgar pleasure in face-rolling; and there’s a genuinely glorious sense of liberation in the knowledge that, had I been trying to tank or heal, I’d have been having a nervous breakdown over the keyboard.

The two druids both go in bear form, the hunter uses his pet as his own personal tank, god knows what the shaman does but I know I’m being bloody careful about drawing aggro so maybe it’s not as bad as all that. It was everything I hate about crap, selfish, heedless instancing rolled into one beach side vacation. But the wonderful thing was I didn’t have to care.

I don’t DPS in instances as a general rule, despite having a couple of DPS-specced characters. Because I used to run all my instances with a group of friends, I tended to fill the roles that needed filling (tank or healer, usually) and, consequently, I’d formed an impression that DPS was, as a general rule, rather dull.

Dull. What a naive, subjective perspective! What a fool I was.

I can see now why DPS have such a bad reputation as selfish fuckwits. I played like a selfish fuckwit myself. I kept out of harm’s way, made sure I didn’t attack anything that wasn’t already being attacked by someone else, essentially turning the whole party into a slew of tanks just for meeeee, made sure all the abilities I used were centred on keeping me safe and topping the DPS meters, turned myself into a fridge at the slightest sign of trouble, only kept an eye on people so I knew what they were in a position to do for me … in short I played like an arse.

But I survived. I thrived, even. I did bloody well. I didn’t die once, barely took damage, and topped the DPS meters by a good long way.  Other people got into trouble a fair bit (as is likely to happen when you don’t bother to coordinate your efforts in the slightest) but, hey, what could I, poor little DPS that I was, do about that?  In terms of pure personal gain and glory I’ve never had so successful an instance.

I guess I’d like it say it ultimately felt hollow.  In some ways, it did.  Instancing is, after all, about teamwork and I would argue it’s more fun if you give at least a passing toss about each other.  But in others ways it wasn’t hollow a all.  It was nice to be absolutely careless, devoid of responsibility and concern for the welfare of other players.  I felt like it was a kind of vengeance for all the crappy runs I’ve ever done.

I think there’s often a fine line in WoW instancing between sensible and selfish behaviour.   I mean “stay alive” is generally the number one rule (unless, of course, you’re a hunter who decides to feign death, displacing a slew of angry mobs onto the poor bastard healer who has been frantically trying to keep you alive) but it often comes down to split second decisions between yourself and others, especially when you’re healing.  But with DPSing it’s easier than ever to plant yourself firmly on the you-orientated side of the line and forget it’s even there.

May 28, 2009

When in the Temple of Atal’Hakkar…

Filed under: Sweets for the Sweet,UR Doing It Wrong — Tamarind @ 11:31 am

Given the sheer quantity of bitching, moaning and hemo I’ve indulged here recently, I’m going to try and say something nice for once.

Um.

Give me time.

Well.  Yes, thank you to every random tank who has ever said “nice healing” to me.  It makes a difference, I think.

Also here is the tale of my favourite Wowpliment, ever, because although it is entirely silly, I think it showed a heart in the right place.

I was running ST – which, incidentally, I dislike and not in an interesting “I will take you down, bitch” ZF way, but in a “God this is boring and circular” way – because a group had pleaded with me via whisper.  I’m a sucker for that kind of thing.  Want me to do something for you?   Anything at all?  Whisper, be articulate, be polite, be sweet, be funny, be possessed of a cool name, be any one of the above and I’ll be your healing puppy dog to kingdom come and back again.

Anyway, the group was running at a moderate level of competence which meant it was also running at a high level of arrogance.  The pally tank was That Guy, because aren’t they always, but he was definitely on the well-meaning end of the spectrum.  By which I mean he’d say “soz lol :D” after every hairsbreadth ‘scape.  But, truthfully, we were doing fine.  Getting out your WoW cock in public is something that should be more widely frowned upon but one is more forgiving when it’s a well-kept, hygienic, fully functional and not entirely unattractive WoW-cock.

It wasn’t so much the WoW-cockery that made the group so utterly hilarious, it was the appreciative and comparative spirit of it all.  After every single pull (I’m not exaggerating) somebody would link a DPS metre and there’d be an orgy of congratulations for the guy who topped it.  “Wow man!  Awesome DPS!” “Gratz man!”  Grins and lols and cheers all round.  And every time somebody critted they shriek the numbers out excitedly and everyone else would cream over their keyboards.

Don’t get me wrong, despite my complaining I do love WoW.  My spirit soars after a well choreographed fight.  My breath quickens at a narrow escape.  But I don’t get off on it in quite that way.

It soon began to get a little wearing.  I understand why DPS meters can have their place (although, admittedly, I’m generally annoyed by them, as they tend to encourage people to spam AOE or neglect utility abilities instead of Actually Paying Attention And Using A Modicum of Intelligence) but if there’s too much wanking over big numbers it can make the guy in the robe at the back feel a bit, well, unappreciated.

“God, yeah,” I said, after the next gangbang, “your DPS is so impressive it’s a wonder you need a healer at all.”

And then I felt immediately guilty because there was a stricken silence.  After a second or two, somebody linked to the healing count, 100% of which was, of course, done by me.  Everybody at once starting jumping around, cheering and congratulating me.  God, what a shit I am.  I’m the guy who turns up to a hog roast and the first words out of his mouth are: “actually, I’m a vegetarian.”

The pally, who had the biggest most exuberant WoW-cock of the party, went into paean of praise about my healing which, frankly, was adequate.  “I go pretty fast,” he declared, wanking vigorously, “but you keep up with me fine.  Most healers can’t.”  Now, I know this was his twisted way of paying me a wonderful compliment: I was nearly as awesome as he was!  But God I hate people who say “I go pretty fast” as if it’s some kind of virtue.  If your healer can’t keep up with you, UR DOING IT WRONG, not the other way round.

But I’d already been mean to these guys who only wanted to rub their WoW cocks together harmlessly and clearly wanted me to be able to bring mine to the party, so I just grinned and thanked him sweetly.

“Yeah man,” he gushed on, happily, building to a big climax, “you’re totally imba.”

At which point I nearly spat tea over my keyboard, I was laughing so hard.

Yeah man.  That holy spec.  Totally imba!

But I couldn’t bring myself to piss on them any more so every time I’d crit heal, I’d yell out the figures and everybody would cheer happily.

Oh, bless their hearts.  Well, guys, wherever you are, whatever you’re doing – my WoW cock salutes you.

interlude

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tamarind @ 9:18 am

Here is a brief, entertaining diversion from my hemo and bitching: How To Instance Like  Dick.

Bahaha.

it’s not me, it’s you

Filed under: UR Doing It Wrong — Tamarind @ 12:05 am

M’Pocket Tank and I popped our noses into UK to try and work out what went wrong.  Between the two of us we managed to take down down the first 2 elite mobs and very nearly the next 3.

We weren’t expecting to get far but the point was soothe my hemo and see what was up with my healing.

The answer thankfully turned out to be ‘nothing at all’.  The rhythms were exactly what I was expecting.

I am much relieved but also curious.

Why was that paladin made of cheese?

FAILADIN!

May 27, 2009

hemo: emo for healers

Filed under: Hemo — Tamarind @ 8:45 pm

ZF used to be my nemesis.

It kicked our collective assi a bunch of times way back when, and this was when lots of my friends were playing WoW and I wasn’t self-harm PUGing in desperation.  It wasn’t even The Steps that did for us (which, by the way, are awesome, how could anyone not love The Steps), we were just dogged by silly trifles whenever we tried to take her down – like the Boss who didn’t drop any loot (fucker!), the time the healer (that would be yours truly) managed to get himself killed by scarabs (yes hah hah), the time the leader was explaining at great length why we should go carefully and not aggro Antu’sul until were completely ready to take him while the party rogue was skidding gleefully down a slope straight into his cave … and so on and so forth.  Our failure to take ZF, despite our otherwise competence, meant that even to this day I call her “that sandy bitch.”

Anyway.  ZF.   I have wronged you.  All is forgiven.

These days, I hate UK.

Not because of the instance itself – which is, well, I guess it’s okay and has drakes in it, but it isn’t massively inspiring if you ask me – but because I have no damn luck with it in the PUG department.

After the farrago of gah that inspired me to begin this blog in the first place, I had another unsuccessful run tonight.  And the worst of it was that it wasn’t a comedy bad run, not ye fireside tale of PUGs Gone Wrong.  It was just … utterly depressing, and even now I’m not entirely sure what went wrong with it.  As we all know, I’ve been messing around in Nagrand instead of going to Northrend (noob) so I’m slightly under-geared.  Slightly, he emphasizes defensively.  And I am just 70.  And the average of the group as a whole was probably something like 71.

The run started inauspiciously when I killed us all.

Yes, I admit it, my fault, entirely my fault, I played like a fool.  The group consisted of your humble narrator, a dk, two pallys and a mage.  So, two of us probably weren’t tanking…  I should probably have just piped up with “who’s tanking this” but I decided to be clever and effortlessly professional and work it out for myself.  So, there I was, busily inspecting the specs of the 2 pallys (one protadin, one retadin as it later turned out) when I became aware of unhappy noises emerging from my speakers.  Glancing up, I discovered we were oh shit in combat and about half of us were in a bad way.  Panicking, I hit CoH, followed by renew and flash heal on the guy I thought was tanking.  Except … wait … the other pally was the guy with the aggro.  Maybe I’d got the names or the specs confused and he was tanking.  So I started healing him instead.  There was a short, unpleasant game of pass the aggro in which I desperately tried to figure out which of them was supposed to be tanking.

And the short of it is: we all died.  And, ye Gods, did I feel crap.

While I apologized profusely, we had another go at it.  And this time I managed to perform my job except it was … really fucking difficult.  Painfully difficult.  I was burning through mana at an insane rate and even then it was actually on the very outer limit of possibility for me to keep the tank alive (I’d established who it was, this time – something I found peculiarly helpful).

The guy was seriously made of cheese.  Wet, floppy cheese.  A single hit would regularly knock him down to 50%.  What was going on?

I didn’t really have time to analyse it in the fraught few battles that followed. And by fraught I mean “fraught for me” – I don’t think anybody else even noticed anything was wrong.  If there was something wrong?

I couldn’t work out who was being crap.  Was it me?  Is it me?  I am just a crap healer?

Wah!

I was waving my arms and angsting so loudly that my Pocket Tank came over to see what all the fuss was about.  Given the pally didn’t even have Blessing of Sanctuary up, he is inclined to blame the tank.  Besides, regularly running out of your healer’s line of sight while they’re taking a mana break is just plain rude.

Somehow, I managed to stagger to Prince Keleseth.  “Are we getting the achievement” asked the DK, while I chugged back filtered water like I was trying to drown myself.  Blankness all round.  “Are we getting the achievement” raid-warned the Dk.  Or rather “achevmnt”.

Gratuitous use of a raid warning?  Straight to the 9th circle for you, my boy.

“Uh what?” I asked, eventually.

“Don’t break the ice.”

“Sure,” responded the pally.

“Uh, guys,” (me again) “I’m pretty sure that’s only for the heroic …”

But, oh look, we were in combat.  And, being made of cheese, the pally was both out of my line of sight and nearly dead.  I pulled him back from the brink only to be overwhelmed by the adds and torn to shreds.

Needless to say, losing your healer first thing in a boss fight = TPK.

Jogging back, I politely asked if there was anything we could perhaps do differently this time.

“Maybe no achievement this time, lol,” offered one of the interchangeable pallys.

“There is no achievement,” I return, with the patience of a school teacher or a saint, “it’s for the heroic only.”

Lols all round.  Great.

“So,” I try again, “different strategy perhaps?”  Not letting me die in the first seconds, maybe?  Just maybe?  Clues for everyone?

Pally: Just kill the mobs.

Me: Um, I’m the healer. It’s not really my strong point.

Someone else: Maybe one of us should gather them up and lead them to the tank?

Someone else: Or you could do your bit.

Me: I trying to do my bit but I can’t do my bit if I’m dead.

But it wasn’t worth arguing the point, and I had some pretty serious healer angst by now anyway.  After our second attempt – I managed to stay alive for about 2/3 of the fight this time but burned through my mana in half that  by having to keep basically the entire group (and myself) alive, one of whom was a fragile 69 level mage and one of whom, as we know, was wearing armor made of cheese – I decided it must be me, apologised and departed.

It was such an unsuccessful run that there must have been something going wrong somewhere.  Possibly we were all under-level and under-geared.  Possibly it was low level idiocy spread like nutella across the group as a whole.

Or maybe it was meeeeee.  Wah!

I haven’t felt quite so depressed by WoW for a while.

May 26, 2009

always that guy

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Real Men Wear Purple — Tamarind @ 11:48 pm

I am hereby abandoning all pretence that I am ever going to say anything nice here.

Soo……

You know what I hate?  You know what I really really hate?

I hate this guy.

7002-a

Yes, you.  I hate you.  You have no idea of the sheer magnitude of my loathing for you.

Well, not literally this one guy.  (If this particular incarnation of him is you, I’m terribly sorry; it was the first picture I found)

But I hate this blood elf model.  He’s always a paladin and he’s always, unremittingly a douche.  He’ll be cocky and somewhere close to competent, which actually makes him even more annoying because he’ll be bossy as all hell, merciless in criticising others, and completely dogmatic in his approach to everything.  He’ll insist on leading because he’s The Tank (capitals please), but he won’t mark, or if he does it’ll be haphazard at best.  He’ll set a pace that’s slightly too fast for comfort and inevitably leaves behind the cloth-wearing DPS who is not quite as familiar with the instance as the rest of you, whinge through every mana break and never ever readycheck.  He will occasionally over-pull but not regularly enough that you can actually blame him for it.  He’ll always heal himself if his health touches 50%, completely screwing up your rotation (because heaven forefend you knew what you were goddamn doing) and he won’t hesitate to Blessing of Protection himself if the going gets tough.  Fucker.  And, despite everything, he’ll survive every single fight, usually at the cost of the rest of you.

I’ve instanced with this guy so many times it makes me want to vomit.

And it’s always the same blood elf, the one with the short spiky hair cut.  The closeted frat boy look.  And you know why?  It’s because the player wants to be Horde, wants to be a paladin but is terrified of playing a blood elf and looking – zomg – even the slightest bit gay in case, y’know, people think he is gay.  Never mind that his chosen avatar, with his gelled up hair, looks like a stereotypical discobunny gayboy who’d be shirtless and sweating on the dance floor to YMCA before you could say penis.  In the defective worldview of this insecure, brainless dickwad, long hair = effeminacy and effeminacy = gay.  Never mind that I can’t remember the last time I saw a gay man with long hair.  It’s almost exclusively the purview of the sexually ambiguous and straight guys who want to shag goth girls.

His entire play style is structured around the gnawing anxiety that he might look a little bit gay.  It’d be tragic if it wasn’t so annoying.  But anything that smacks of not being totally macho (by which I mean playing in a sensible, considerate manner) is relegated to the unspeakable gay space of wussiness and effeminacy.

So marking is gay.

Not pulling massive amounts of mobs is gay.

Taking a mana break is gay.

Waiting for everybody to actually be ready before you attack is gay

Possibly the paladin is gay and needs to deal with it outside of instancing.

fingers out of my pie, darlings

Filed under: Altaholism,Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Deathtards & Co.,UR Doing It Wrong — Tamarind @ 12:17 pm

I am starting to feel slightly guilty about this blog, or perhaps I would if anyone read it.  I do occasionally cruise other WoW blogs and they tend to be very grown up and very thoughtful, all about rotations and theorycraft and gear upgrades … aaaand here I am whinging about Players Who Do Not Appreciate Me.  Well, it strikes me that anything vaguely sensible I could say about playing a priest is likely to be better said elsewhere.  And actually I have a post about my (lack of) WoW credentials in the offing but for the moment let’s stick to your regularly scheduled eye-rolling, bitching and complaining.  There’s a rather glorious liberty in being unread.  I suppose I could connect this blog to the rest of my Internet identity but I am rather basking in the pleasure of anonymity.

I was messing around in Outland with my cow-alt last night, and wound up healing Ramps and Furnace off-spec.  I’ve run them about a gazillion times because, let’s face it, you can’t take two steps in Outland without stubbing your toe on four deathknights begging you to either tank or heal Ramps for them.  And we were all in our early 60s (levels, not dog years) so it’s not like it was going to be a challenging run.

Riiight.

The thing about healing off-spec is that, as long as you know vaguely what you’re doing and nobody plays like an arse, it’s perfectly do-able in a bog-standard run.  If anything, it just makes life a little hairier for you.  Usually in a competent run, there’s the faintest possibility that I am, in fact, standing at the back in my sissy robe, occasionally deigning to direct a renew or a flash heal at the tank.  But shhhh, don’t tell anyone.  Healing off-spec, however, simply means you have to concentrate a bit more.

But, of course, we had our regulation deathtard.  Deathgripping indiscriminately, taunting off the tank, occasionally charging groups of mobs like it didn’t occur to him that maybe he’d die less if maybe he waited for the tank to pull them.  It didn’t cause as many problems as it could have because none of us particularly fancied martyring ourselves to his idiocy so we’d often stand there, smirking (at least, I was smirking, maybe the others were shaking their heads sadly) and watch him die.

The worst of it though was that he kept playing like a dick and then demanding heals.  “Watch my health”, “I wouldn’t die you heled [sic] me” he kept saying over and over and oh fucking god over again.  I know this is a well documented phenomenon, and that healers across the land are united in their supreme abhorrence for it, but because it’s so well documented I think (perhaps naively) it’s actually moderately rare.  I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter it only on a handful of occasions, and this was its most concentrated dose.

But holy fuck, it’s profoundly, unspeakably, buttock-clenchingly annoying.

At first I tried to ignore it and go to a happy place of zen-like tranquillity.  But it turns out there is no happy place of zen-like tranquillity which also contains a squealing deathtard going “Heeeeeeal!  Heeeeal!”

I think every healer has a secret healing priority list in their head.  I know instancing is probably a bit like having children (in plate mail) and you shouldn’t have favourites but how can you not?  Top of the list is, of course, always the tank regardless.  Ideally,  I’d like to keep everyone alive, if at all possible, but it’s amazing how quickly being a complete and utter tard gets you falling off the bottom of the list never to be seen or heard of again.  So, losing all patience, I explained this carefully to the Deathtard.

“Just for your information, m’dear, my current healing priority list: me because if I die so do the rest of you, the tank, because it’s my job, the arms warrior because he’s saved my ass on a couple of occasions and isn’t playing like a complete idiot (take  tip, maybe), the warlock because she’s nice to me and then you because you are none of the above.”

He was pretty quiet after that.  And I felt very satisfied.  Generally I keep my mouth shut in instances unless something nice is going to come out of it because, evidence to the contrary aside, I don’t actually like coming across as an uppity bastard.  But it’s genuinely lovely to vent your frustration sometimes.   I might have to make my healing priority list more explicit in future.

Actually, having bitched out this post, I went cruisin’ for other people’s responses to the dreaded “heal me plz”, fully expecting them to all be “god, it’s so annoying.”  But there are some folks out there suffering some kind of bad treatment Stockholm Syndrome, which I would pity were they not so fucking smug about it.  Among the chorus of “oh, I wish people wouldn’t do that” you can find a fair quantity of “nobody ever has to ask me to heal them because I never let their health drop below 90%” and “i heal ppl because i rolled a healing class, and as such i dont get all uppity when ppl ask me to heal them.”

The first can simply be dismissed with a roll of the eyes and, perhaps, the gentle suggestion that a clue ought to perhaps be acquired from somewhere.  No matter how awesome a healer you are, there are going to be times when it gets away from you.  That is the melancholy life of a jobbing healer.

The second, however, is more problematic.  I know I, at least, tend to express myself in an uppity manner but there’s a degree to which it’s self-defense.  I do, actually, feel guilty and responsible if people die on my watch.  Even if they’re wankers.  Even if secretly I’m smirking about their repair bill.  Ahem.  The point is that it’s very easy to make your healer feel crap (you can complain about the size of his mana bar, for example).  But by playing like a doofus, shrieking for healing and then throwing accusations around when you (inevitably) die, you are both implicitly and explicitly expressing  your contempt for the healer.

Let’s face it, no healer – however inexperienced or vacant – is unaware that their job is to heal people.

Telling them to heal people is so irrelevant it’s actually in-your-face insulting.

I mean, really, do you think I haven’t noticed?

And it’s not like anyone is going to charge into battle yelling “attack the mobs, attack the mobs” at the DPS.

It puts the healer in a thoroughly miserable position.  I play a healer because I like healing people.  I want to heal you, I want to keep all of you alive, you  might even go so far as to say it’s my raison d’etre for the instance. I don’t instance with tank-related tunnel vision if I can help it.  If the DPS takes a bit of damage, I’ll try my best to stick a heal-over-time on them.  If they’ve accidentally pulled aggo, I’ll do my damndest to keep them alive.  But if you’ve wantonly and stupidly pulled aggro and you’re yelling at me to heal you while I’m trying to concentrate on the tank in a sticky situation … well … quite frankly you shouldn’t have made it necessary for me to weigh up in a split second whether I can pull your ass out of the fire you yourself stuck it in while keeping my tank alive.

If I ever instance with a healme-whore again, assuming I don’t throw a priestly hissy or stick them straight on my ignore list, I may have to quick bar some responses.  One of these perhaps:

Wait,  I’m the healer?  Oh God, I thought I was tanking this.

Fuck off and die… oh you have, how obliging.

Attack the mobs!  Attack the mobs!

Use a fucking bandage.

It’s only a flesh wound.

You are not only off my priority list, you’re on my shit list.

May 25, 2009

Real Men Wear Purple

I should probably stop starting WoW Blogs because they always follow the same doomed pattern:

1)    I have an amusingly unfortunate PUG experience (which are, of course, two a copper piece in WoW)

2)    I think “Gosh, I am so profoundly annoyed by this, I must blog about it because that will make me feel in some way that experience was not an enormous waste of my time”

3)    I blog about it and feel vaguely better, as if I Have Achieved Something

4)    I make another related blog post that is not quite as good as the first one

5)    I run out of things to blog about

So here I am in making a valiant attempt to save this blog from the same tragic fate by writing a meta post about the fact I always give up on WoW blogs.

For the record, since I’m being meta and scratting around for content, the name of this blog was inspired by a catastrophoPUG.  The definitive kind, you know, the cappuvino of PUGS, the kind of the PUG you’re still talking incredulously about weeks and months after it happened … or maybe you’re taking it too personally.

I think it was Mara.  Team Us comprised a cow drood who was, of course, absolutely lovely, a hunter who later apologised and instanced with us again, my pocket tank (no healer should travel without one) and a troll shaman who, well…

Me: Could you let the tank pull, please?

Shaman: Why, what’re you gonna do about it?

Me: …

Shaman: [Stream of abuse]

And as part of the [stream of abuse], which included the fervent wish that the tank get cancer and die (yes, I know, he was 12 and probably French), the Shaman turned on me and accused me of not pulling my weight in the group because I was just “standing there at the back in my sissy robe.”

We were, of course, in the process of kicking him at this point but his hilarious accolade has remained with me ever since.  I am, as it happens, currently resplendent in ornate purple but I don’t think it makes me any less of a man, thank you so very much.

I know I whinged semi-frivolously about this in my previous post but I genuinely believe that if you aren’t used to different classes or you spend all your time in solo play you don’t realise that healing actually involves somebody doing something, and that it’s relatively important that they do so in the most efficient and effective way possible.  I’ve mentioned “hey, you hybrid class, why don’t you off-heal when the full healer takes a mana break” but sometimes I get asked to off-DPS while healing, which I really hate.   Not only is my DPS something that orcish orphans mock in the street but it’s a horribly inefficient use of my mana, to say nothing of the fact that it’s mana I could need at any moment if something goes wrong.  Of course trying to explain this in a middle of an instance is never guaranteed to make you popular and usually I’ll be typing away eloquently only to discover the tank has over-pulled and everybody is busy getting deaded.  But even assuming I do manage to get my “look I’d rather not and here’s why” response out, people tend to believe it’s just further evidence that I’m standing at the back in the my sissy robe, refusing to pull my weight.

I suppose it comes back to superstitious play but I sometimes think people assume that a healer is not a person but a kind of weird totemic device that keeps you alive if you just happen to stand in its vicinity.

May 21, 2009

stop objectifying me

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,UR Doing It Wrong — Tamarind @ 12:23 am

The other thing that annoyed me, perhaps unduly, during the PUG I wrote about yesterday was that the Preppy Paladin kept calling me “healer.”

Reddy healer? U have shite mana healer.

Now, given the myriad things I’ve been called in WoW since I began playing, “healer” is completely benign and almost certainly an improvement.

On the other hand, it drives me up the wall.

Bring back “prozzie fag” (although shouldn’t that technically be rent boy, I suspect these are the kind of observations that make me a prozzie fag) – all is forgiven.

Now, I know Tamarind has slightly more letters in it than “healer” but I answer perfectly happily to Tam which has significantly fewer. And it has the added benefit of being my name, whereas “healer” is merely a role I’ll feel increasingly disinclined to fill if you keep conflating it with my identity.

It’s not like you can refer to the DPS as “DPS” – it would just be confusing for everyone.  The whole group would be like “You mean me-DPS or him-DPS?”

And I don’t think anyone would dare call the tank “tank”. I mean, yes, you might say, oh for example, “let the tank pull you stupid fucking deathtard” (or words to that effect) but you wouldn’t be all “hey, tank, I need a mana break now” or “u have shite mitigation, tank.” Perhaps it’s just that cloth-wearing classes are inherently more polite but ultimately I think it comes down to the fact that when a guy (or gal) in full plate armour is standing between you and everybody who wants to lay the smackdown on your slightly more fragile arse, you accord them some respect.

Of course, symbolically speaking, I Healer, am standing between you and certain death as well. It’s just I’m doing it quietly at the back. And, assuming the tank is doing his job right, I’m doing it … kinda … vicariously … y’know … through the tank.

All right, all right. I see why you wouldn’t notice.

Temitope, over at I Deathtard, has an interesting post about superstitious WoW playing – the idea that people (and, by people, you know I mean stupid people) understand that you need certain roles in to be filled in order to be able to run an instance effectively but haven’t really given much thought to how and why those roles interact the way they do. No matter how little comprehension you may have of how to let your tank tank, there’s still a strong visual element to the idea:

That’s your tank, standing at the front, surrounded by mobs.

That’s you wiping a grateful tear from your eye.

Ultimately, you don’t piss that guy off because he’s, like, the tank, man. He’s saving your ass and he could kick it too.

Healing on the other hand … well … I have a theory that everybody (and I’m using ‘everybody’ in the same sense that I previously used ‘people’) secretly, or not so secretly, believes they don’t really need a healer. Because they’re just that awesome.

You can readily see when tanking is going well because you’re not dead.

You only see healing when it’s failed because you are dead.

And then you get to scream and yell and stamp your feet and blame the healer (not that the healer will like you very much for it, just so you know).

Also this is more than me being over-sensitive. I have empirical evidence. I’ve run more than one instance in which, while I’ve been mana-breaking, the leader has turned to the nearest hybrid class and said, with the sort of blithe insouciance you just know precedes a TPK and said: “okay, you off-heal.”

The group then invariably dies. And what’s truly surprising about it is that they’re always so bewildered.

What happened man? Dunno.

Just to bring this crazy carriage ride of a post back to where it originally began: the standing-at-the-back-in-a-sissy-robe nature of healing means that people in PUGs are more inclined than ever to treat you as you an NPC, whose only purpose in being there is to facilitate their progress through the game.  I know it’s the internet and nobody believes in the existence of anybody else on it anyway but, dammit, I’m a person not a role.  So stop calling me healer and maybe I’ll deign to stop you dying.

Because we do that you know.

Standing at the back in our sissy robes.

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