standing at the back in my sissy robe

August 10, 2009

an open letter (I am the anti-Nim)

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Deathtards & Co.,UR Doing It Wrong — Tamarind @ 10:09 am

Dear Melee DPS (and, yes, Dicknight, that means you),

What in fuck’s name is wrong with you people?

Don’t stand in fire.

Don’t stand in green.

Don’t stand in mana-wee.

Don’t stand near whirlwind.

Don’t stand near bladestorm.

If the ground looks funny, don’t stand there.

Seriously, what is wrong with you? This is elementary WoW. Are you stupid or merely lazy?

Think about it. If you were going about your life and you looked down and suddenly saw you were standing in a circle of fire, and your clothes were starting to catch alight, and exposed portions of your skin were starting to blacken, would you keep on doing whatever it was you were doing?

Would you?

Whatever it was?

No. You wouldn’t. You just wouldn’t. This is not the Burning Times. You can get out of the fire.

Would you, moreover, expect a passing paramedic to start giving you emergency medical treatment while you whooped it up in the raging inferno?

Again. No. You wouldn’t. You just wouldn’t.

Ignorance, I can forgive. But when I specifically say at the beginning of the fight “please try not to stand in the [whatever]” you have no excuse.

Just plain fail, I can forgive again. I cannot count the occasions on which I have been so engrossed by healing that I haven’t noticed the enormous pool of death in which I’ve been standing. On the other hand, when I have noticed, I’ve moved, and bloody quickly.

What I can neither support, nor forgive, nor understand is what seems to me to be a resolute reluctance to undertake something as profoundly basic as NOT STANDING IN FUCKING FIRE.

I am trying to get into your head here – tiny, stultifying place though it is. And I only assume that your perspective on the matter is that you taking damage is not your problem, and that I ought to be man enough to heal you through it regardless.

Well, fuck you. With a rusty teaspoon.

To be honest, I usually can heal your moronic arse through it but why the fuck should I? Why should your selfish determination to make the game an order of magnitude easier for yourself make it an order of magnitude more difficult for me?

Quite frankly: you don’t deserve to live.

I am not wearying my mouse fingers to the bone grinding for epix in order to allow me to heal dribbling, syphilitic cockmonkeys like you through damage a touch of generosity and a smattering of common sense would allow you to avoid.

Unfortunately you kind of have me by the short and curlies here because there’s nothing I can do. I could stop healing you. And then you would die. But without the DPS to take down the big bad, probably the rest of us would die too. And whereas I’m pretty sure you’d take no responsibility for the wipe whatsoever (shitty healing, you’d say), I’d feel as guilty as hell about it.

I could, of course, refuse to group with you full stop.

But even though healers are moderately in demand, you are out in there in your multitudes. Attempting to put together a group for anything with only caster DPS would the height of silliness.

So yes. You have me. You win. But I hate you for it.

And one of these days I will snap, and respec shadow.

Yours at the end of his tether,
With loathing and contempt,
And certainly no hugs
Unless my arms were lined with poison-tipped spikes,



August 9, 2009

Schadenfreude Sunday

Filed under: Deathtards & Co.,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 2:58 pm

I’ve been all over the rhino place this week but here are a selection of the posts that grabbed my eye:

Two really Azeroth-love inspiring over at Aspect of the Hare on the different zones: here’s the Eastern Kingdoms, and here’s Kalimdor. I really enjoy reading about other people’s reactions to the game. I’m completely shallow when it comes to levelling. I like to go places that are pretty. There are whole sections of Azeroth of which I’m completely ignorant because they’re not Tolkeinesque forests or the African savannah – places like the Blasted Lands, the Burning Steppes, the Badlands, Desolace. I should really stop being so silly, packing up some honeymint tea and put on my hiking boots. There’s still a world out there waiting for me. I still remember visiting the Eastern Kingdom for the first time on my small, wide-eyed cow. It was so different from the rolling plains of home and, dear god, the hotels were terrible! The beds were as uncomfortable as coffins … oh wait … they were coffins! A lesson well learned: never buy a package holiday to Hillsbrad from the goblin travel agents Floggit and Leggit.

Kahleena over at Feldeeds is doing a fantastic series of articles on levelling as a warlock. I’m not much for the number-crunching m’self but I do really enjoy this style of witty, discursive analysis. Also special kudos for encouraging eager young warlocks not to give their healers a heart attack by discriminate life-tapping. Part one is here, part two here and the floor is opened for questions here.

Finally, of course, there has been major excitement and many many words over patchday. At two opposite ends of the spectrum, there is gigglesome cynicism from Wildgrowth and joyous enthusiasm from Priest With a Cause.


I was hangin about in Northrend this morning, when I got a moderately polite whisper asking if I’d be willing to heal heroic TOC. Putting aside for the moment I refuse to associate with jousting even for a second, I didn’t want to be responsible for any wipage on account of not really being geared for it. So I whispered back to say precisely that, but that I was willing to give it a go if they were desperate for a healer and willing to go a little carefully.

The reply?

Lol, ru in quest greens

Well, a mixture of high end quest greens and instance blues. But they guy was such a dick, I didn’t bother to answer.

You can imagine my satisfaction to see the same guy wailing and begging for a healer over General for the next two and a half hours.

Finally, he whispered me again, saying they were willing to deign to let me heal for them.

“I think I’ll pass,” I said, gleefully, the same manner as one might say “fuck you.”

Wtf, came the astonished response.

“I don’t want to heal for you,” I explained.

Wtf u no you need the epics.

“Yes,” I said, “but you’re a price I’m not willing to pay for them.”

And then I slash-ignored and went about my business.

July 22, 2009


It’s disconnected Wednesday! Recent thoughts / happenings that are not quite significant enough to merit to posts of their own.

As idle as a painted ship, Upon a painted ocean.

I want a meta-game title.

Champion of the Frozen Wastes can go take a running jump.

I want: Tamarind the Guild Killer.

For, lo, I am. Another one bites the dust. Gah! I know it’s not actually me – I’m not that hubristic – but I’m starting to think I must have inadvertently shot an albatross somewhere along the line In some ways, I suppose, the collapse of my guild is quite fortunate because it has saved me from the social awkwardness of gquitting. But my (ex)guild had been around on Emerald Dream for a good while actually and, clearly, once upon a time, it was a great place to be. Yet within literally moments of me joining, there was an eruption of drama and fail that led to, well, more drama and fail. And then the centre could not hold. And that was the end of it. Sigh.

My leaves may be provocative, but that doesn’t mean I’m asking for it

I was heal-harassed repeatedly in Hellfire Peninsula last night. I was already committed to 3-manning BF with M’Pocket Tank and Cowfriend (downed, by the way, downed!) but almost the second after I put hoof in Thallmar, a level 60 deathcow came running up to me and said: “Blood Funuce????” (Blood Funuce, putting the fun back into prisons for pit lords!) Possibly it’s just my anti-DK impulses kicking in again but I think anybody who, in cold blood, deploys more than an absolute maximum of three question marks (or any elements of punctuation for that matter) is probably not to be trusted. Also, and I admit I make plenty of typos myself, but I do consider being able to spell the name of the instance you’re trying to run advantageous. His next collection incoherent syllables expressed, to my mind, disappointment and he trudged off.

I thought that would be the end of it but then I got the whisper, the one familiar to every jobbing healer. “U heal?” it goes. Yes, I heal, weddings, funerals and Bar Mitzvahs, and why can’t anybody ever ask me nicely? Just a couple more syllables. Go on. Say “are you a healer?” Push the boat out, say “excuse me, are you a healer?” Acknowledge that, perhaps, I have an existence of my own outside my in-game function of healing you on demand. Go on. I dare you. Seriously, is it really too much to ask? It improves my heals. I’m a civility-powered healer. No. Really. Look, I can prove it with science:

Here comes the science....

Here comes the science....

Anyway. “I do,” I responded, “but I’m afraid I’m already committed to a group.” There was brief pause.

“Fuck,” he said.

And then again: “Fuck.”

And finally: “Fuck.”

I have to admit, I was genuinely startled. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the swearing; I read Restoration poetry, and WoW has nothing on that. And it wasn’t even directed abuse of the usual sort. Despite the fact he is wearing (though no choice of his own) a skin-tight purple shirt tunic, split to the navel, and a skirt … sorry … “war kilt” nobody has yet dared to call my cow a fag. At least not to his face. And I suppose U Heal Bob was just expressing his frustration at the scarcity of healers currently available but the three angry fucks (I can’t decide if that’s an excellent name for a band for a comedy trio) struck me as weirdly disproportionate to the situation. “Fuck,” you might say when you lose your keys, or stub your toe. “Fuck fuck fuck” you say when you run over your neighbour’s cat in a juggernaut, or forget to phone your mother. And, regardless, it’s something you mutter to yourself rather than express directly to another person, especially not the person involved in the disaster, especially not if that person is your mother.

You certainly don’t whisper it to me. Right? I mean, what could I do? “Ah, your ability to deploy the word fuck three times in a row has moved my heart of stone. I will abandon this group and fly immediately to your side.”

It’s kind of the equivalent of going up to somebody in a bar and asking if they’d let you buy them a drink. If they say “no, sorry” you respond with a smile and some generic reassurance that you’re not Jack the Ripper: “maybe some other time then,” or “enjoy your evening.” You don’t burst into tears and punch the wall.

Was that the end of it? The fact I’m still writing about it indicates not.

About five minutes later, he whispered me again: “So, you gonna heal, y or n?”

Now, my druid is a very nice cow. His hobbies are saving gazelles and eating picnics. He looks like he doesn’t have a bad word to say about anybody and, consequently, when I’m playing him, I’m a much kinder player. However, at that moment I channelled Tam, pure and simple:

“What part of ‘no sorry, I’m committed to another a group at the moment’ suggested to you the answer to that question might be yes?”

“Fuck,” he said, but at least only once this time.

“Same to you,” I offered, /ignoring.

But it kept happening. Different people, less fuck-happy folks, but every ten minutes or so: “U healer?” “Wanna heal [whatever]” and a constant stream of invites to groups without so much as a by your leave. Obviously I get occasional whispers for healz and when WotLK came out being the only healer in the village was a bit painful but nothing on this scale of epic and perpetual stupidity.

And, no, I wasn’t randomly on LFG. I checked.

Maybe it was National Harass Tam’s Alt Night.

But it made me really bloody grumpy.

July 6, 2009

We may not have to atone for evil doing until the next world but we pay for stupidity in this one

I’ve been meaning to write for a while now about ignorance in WoW.  Gosh, that sounds like a portentous introduction to what is actually a rather simple topic.  I guess I shouldn’t have weighed in so heavy with the Schopenhauer.


When it comes to instance bosses (and raiding, from what I’ve read, looks even worse), the way WoW works a lot of the time is that if you don’t know how the fight works in advance you’ll probably fail.  I think the notion behind it was originally that you’d learn by doing.  Shamus Young characterises this sort of gameplay as Do It Again Stupid and, although it’s the kind of gameplay that drives me mad in single player games, there’s a degree to which it works moderately well for WoW.  I mean, sometimes, you get what’s going on and you muddle through by sheer luck and a bloody minded refusal to lie down and die.  And if it’s been a smooth run I often quite enjoy the first post-boss corpse run in which you’re all typing at about hundred miles a hour: “okay, we take out the healer first,” “yeah, yeah, and when he mind controls, if you use entangling roots, then we should be able to moderate the damage,” “I’ll off-tank the adds” etc. etc. It feels genuinely exciting.  There’s nothing duller than a fight you know you’re going to win.

But, sometimes, going in cold and hoping for the best is not what you need.  Maybe it’s been slightly tense, maybe it’s past your bedtime, maybe your shield is flashing yellow, maybe your tea is getting cold, who knows.  In which case you can alt-tab and look it up, or somebody can talk you through the fight.  But the point is, in order to make a decent go of things, you really need the knowledge.  Not only knowledge of the forthcoming fight, but knowledge of who amongst you knows what.

The amount of times, I’ve stood there at the top of the steps of ZF watching the tank who said he knew exactly what he was going go charging straight down to the bottom and get torn apart by the gazillion trolls.

Now I realise that there’s no obligation present in the game to act as an educator to all and sundry, but equally I’ve noticed a widespread contempt for ignorance which makes it genuinely difficult to admit it if you haven’t done something before. Just on principle I usually do – I don’t want to be the guy who fucked everything up by not coming clean.  And if I had a gold piece for each time someone has sneered at me for it … well … I’d have some gold pieces.  Similarly, if I had a gold piece for every PUG that crashed and burned because somebody didn’t have a clue what they were doing and wouldn’t admit it …  well … I’d have some more gold pieces.

Ignorance isn’t the same as stupidity, or even being a bad player.  It’s just a natural part of the learning curve, and it becomes a hugely problematic one if other players sneer and bitch at you for it. It’s like PUGing in an Orwellian dystopia, where nobody dares say anything lest they another player turn them in to have rats stuck to their face.  I suspect it comes down, like everything else, to WoWcockism – but quite frankly I think you’re trying to add inches to it by deriding other players,  it’s beyond the help of science or religion.

I remember when were running AN, the warlock who was leading the group, took about 2 minutes before each boss fight to outline it for li’ll ignorant me.  And I really really appreciated it.  Not only was I a super effective healer of a fabulousness but I feel pretty confident about running the thing again.  The first time I do an instance, I consider it pretty much my duty to learn it and that’s a whole lot easier if it doesn’t go past in a blur of bewildered panic.

Anyway, before the final boss, the lock was running us through the strategy and the local deathtard, who was bouncing all over the place in what was either an orgy of impatience or desperation to go to the toilet, suddenly interrupted.  “Strategy,” he said, “1) Pew Pew 2) ??? 3) Loot.”

“Is 2) a wipe” asked M’Pocket, dryly.

Which, I think, says it all really.

July 1, 2009

punting from both ends

I about to disappear to Cambridge for a couple of days on a conference so there will be a brief hiatus in the WoWblogging.  Alas!  Unless it’s insanely dull in which case, I’m sure, there will be a deluge of WoWblogging, difficult though it is to blog about WoW without the inspiration of, err, WoW.

I do have a few musings, however.  None of them would constitute a full entry so I will therefore present them as they come, in a heap of undigested thoughts.

I Tank In French

I tanked a guild run of Wailing Caverns a couple of nights back.  As I’ve said before I don’t think I’m a natural tank.  People tend to gravitate towards roles and although platemail and I don’t actively repel each other we definitely exist in an uneasy harmony.  Even melee DPS doesn’t do much for me.  I guess if there isn’t a sissy robe involved, I’m not interested.  Also I haven’t had much practice so I’m tanking mainly on theory.  I know what I’m meant to be doing, but there’s still a bit of a gap (mind the gap between the tank and the platform!) between the realisation and the activity.

I think people involved in the academic study of videogames talk a bit of about what they call the “grammar” of games – all a bit structuralist for my postmodern tastes, but it’s an interesting way of thinking about the interaction of the game mechanics and the game itself.  Like learning any language, there’s a point at which grammar becomes instinctive and inherent.  When you say “I would like it if you could attend my dinner party” you’re not consciously parsing the conditional subjunctive.  Yer just talkin’.

Healing, for me, is like that.  Of course, I’m still improving my comma placement and deploying the occasional audacious semi-colon but, for the most part, by the time I’ve thought “a CoH would really help things about now” I’ve already used it, and have moved onto the next thing.

The grammar of tanking, though, isn’t there yet for me, and given my lack of a natural enthusiasm for the role, it sure is taking its time to get here.  So I think my tanking is like my French.  I can do it if I concentrate but it’s just not elegant.  And occasionally people will cringe and ask me, for the love of God, to just speak English, please.

Je voudrais taunt you now, you morceau de merde.

Je vous frapperai avec mon sword enorme.

Please send for the concierge, I appear to have a frog in my bidet.

Shut Your Eyes and Trust in Me

There was something else faintly bewildering about this run.  It was me tanking, M’Pocket Tank healing, and 2 random shadow priests we picked up.  We were, I think, within the level range but it was pretty straightforward.  If only I’d had my WoWcock with me, I’m sure he’d have had something to say on the subject.  I guess it’s been NERFED.  For the casuals. Anyway, despite my poor command of the grammar, I was tanking absolutely adequately.  I might even go so far as to say ‘well’.  The group was pretty competent (although it’s hard to tell at low levels – you don’t really have enough tools at your disposal to be able to fuck things up as comprehensively as you might like) and quite nice.

Except I kept seeing this golden gleam out of the corner of my eye.  It turned out that one of the shadow priests – the one in the heirloom gear, no less – was Power Word Shielding himself continually.  I tried to chalk it up to Bizarrolandia but bitchy bloody mindedness got the better of me and finally I whispered him to ask why.

“In case I pull aggro,” he said.

Uh?  Right.  I could understand if you’re soloing but, seriously?  Except in the case of arrant stupidity (oddly popular playstyle that it is) there was no way this guy was pulling aggro off me, I was so damn threatening.  And even on the couple of occasions I did momentarily lose threat, I was there with my taunt and my mocking blow and my “I shall knock your armour off you!” skillz.  The worst damage anybody took was a couple of hits on rare occasions, before the mobs remembered that they were more interested in the stocky orc in platemail than the skinny dudes in robes.

“You know,” I said, as gently as I could, “that if you pull aggro, I’ll get the mobs off you again?  I’ve got a bunch of skills  for that.  Being a tank.”

“I’ve had some terrible tanks,” he whispered back.

I genuinely didn’t know what to say that.  “Haha, I’m not that bad,” was the best I could manage.

Now what’s going on here?  Seriously.  Was that some kind of fucked-up tankism?  You know, you tanks, you’re all the same, coming over here, stealing our threat.   Or was it, in fact, the tanking equivalent of the dreaded “heal pls.”

Ultimately, it did no damage to the run.  It was a low level instance, they tend to be pretty forgiving, and it was his mana he was squandering. But it pissed me off.  Mainly I thought it was discourteous.  After all, I was right there, tanking perfectly competently.  He might as well have renamed it Power Word: I Don’t Think You Know What You’re Doing.  Despite, I would say, abundant evidence to the contrary.

Also it’s hardly a sustainable strategy (I’m using the word ‘strategy’ in its alternate sense of ‘dumb thing a complete moron was doing while instancing’) – there’s going to come a point when wasting time and mana putting a redundant PW:IDTYKWYD on himself was going to actually impinge on what he was supposed to be doing (DPS, you drivelling pillock).

Or do you think he was some kind scarred and wounded soul, abused beyond redemption by too many bad tanks.  Even so, I think there comes a point when you have to let go and move on, maybe get some counselling.

Of course, the most likely answer was: he was just that stupid.

June 17, 2009

Patent Pending 100% Original, Fresh off the Cheese Press Guide to Healing UK

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Deathtards & Co.,UR Doing It Wrong — Tamarind @ 10:58 am

Today’s post is brought you to by a random thought generator (aka my brain)

Meta Random Thought of the Day

WordPress is making me feel like some kind of onanistic-narcissist.  Most of the automatically generated “possibly related” posts are to other posts on my own blog.  Wah!  Are you really telling me, WordPress, that I am my only source of interest on the entirety of the Internet?  Try harder, dammit, entertaining as I do find it to read my own backposts and think to myself how witty and erudite I am on the subject of World of Warcraft.

WoW Related Random Thought of the Day

Having silly adventures on Magister’s Terrace has confirmed something for me: I really dislike healing in Northrend.  And not just because of performance anxiety.  Now, putting aside for the moment that, as a healer, I don’t do anything anyway except stand at the back, wearing a sissy robe, let’s think for a moment about what I might hypothetically be doing.  I know it has been described as basically whack-a-mole (although, I have to say, it’s a macabre sort of whack-a-mole since it is the whack-a-mole-of-impending-DEATH) but, bizarre person that I am, it’s a whack-a-mole that interests me. When things get hairy, there’s a satisfaction in knowing that was the PW:S or that was the well-flung Frisbee that might have saved the day, in essence that the split-second, barely conscious decision to cast spell x on party member y was the best thing you could have done under that particular set of circumstances.

But in low-end Northrend there isn’t really any of that, or at least there hasn’t been in any of the instances I have run.  In fact, allow me to present my Patent Pending 100% Original, Fresh off the Cheese Press Guide to Healing UK (remember you read it here first folks, and also remember I Don’t Do Guides, so this uber cherry on-top-special)

Patent Pending 100% Original, Fresh off the Cheese Press Guide to Healing UK

Before Going In:

1) Assemble your team.

1 x Tank Made of Wet Paper

1 x 66-68 Level Mage

1 x Deathtard

1 x other DPS of your choice (for increased stupidity saturation, go for another Deathtard, but feel free to branch out into a hunter for maximum anguish)

1 x yourself (don’t forget your sissy robe!)

2) Prime your team

Be very careful here because you might have accidentally picked up someone competent.  But never fear there are still things you can do to address the situation.  Firstly, check to make sure nobody hails from Scandinavia.  If this is the case, kick them immediately, as there is a high possibility they will be both polite and capable.  Make sure the slightly-too-low-for-the-instance mage is wearing only Outland gear.  Ideally she should be just off the zep, still trundling her suitcase and her snow shoes behind her.  Ensure your Tank Made of Wet Paper (and this is one of the rare situations in which That Guy simply won’t do – if your tank is That Guy, get rid of him, his borderline ability to play the game will unbalance the whole enterprise) is lower level than any or all of the Deathtards.  This is really important.  They must be able to pull aggro off the tank at a moment’s notice.  A moment’s notice.  Now, then, the Deathtards.  These come in many flavours so a little extra attention will ensure you get the best of the bunch.   I would personally recommend a dual wielding Deathtard, without Nerves of Cold Steel (Nerves of Warm Spaghetti, perhaps).

3) You, Yourself and You

The important thing to bear in mind is that you are completely irrelevant to this instance. Your gear, however, has an important role to play.

4) Final Thoughts

Remember, you have all somehow spannered to level 70.  This is exactly the same as having skill.  There is, therefore, no need to buff each other.  Marking and crowd control are, of course, for sissies.  Encourage everyone to deploy a wide range of their abilities – death grip, in particular, should be used as soon as it is off CD.  Any pallys should feel absolutely at liberty to bubble.  If every fight isn’t a hysterical, chaotic ruck UR DOING IT WRONG.  And, finally, if at all possible, make sure one of your team members is in a rush.  Maybe his mum wants him to buy some milk from the corner shop in half an hour or his little sister wants to play Barbie Horse Fucker on the computer, possibly he’s just got ants in his greaves, but if he isn’t saying “Hurry plz” every two minutes, or every time you take a mana break, he’s not doing his bit for team morale.

The Main Shebang:

1) Trash Pulls

There are 2 scenarios here.

a)   Something has gone terribly wrong and the tank is holding aggro on all the mobs.  In this situation there is very little you can do.  Stand at the back in your sissy robe, polish your nails, throw the occasional greater heal at the tank.

b)   Everything is going the way it should: the DKs are racking up aggro but have no mitigation talents so are dying, the mage, is of course, in the red, the tank is running in circles, taunting at random, everybody is killing a different mob, an unnoticed caster is laying into you from a distance, the screen is awash in AoE spell affects, and nobody has a clue what’s going on really.  In this situation there is very little you can do.  Start spamming AoE heals frantically.  You will probably pull so much aggro that you will die in the next 30 seconds (nobody, of course, will notice).  But possibly your gear will carry you through, hurrah for all that int and spellpower, truly making a difference to the way you play.

2) Boss Fights

All the bosses have a combination of AoE attacks and/or random charge abilities.  Because of this there very little you can do in this situation.  Start spamming AoE heals frantically until you die.  Thankfully you have your gear.  If it is up to the challenge, you will win the day.

The Bottom Line

You can either heal UK or you can’t.  And that’s that.

Any questions?

“Oh no!  I can’t heal UK!  What can I do?”

Thankfully, you may breathe a sigh of relief because there are several solutions to this issue:

1) Lol lvl in Northrend, noob.  What my eloquent internal companion is trying to say (I call him the WoW Player In My Head) is: acquire better gear.

2) Try it again at level 75.  I’m sorry, what was that?  You wanted to do it at level?  You wanted it to be interesting and challenging.  Bwahahaha.

3) Ask one of your level 80 guildies to boost you through it.  I’m sorry, pardon?  You were saying something?  You wanted to run it?  Oh dear, how terribly old fashioned.

4) Change the laws of space of time.  You know sometimes, when you’re healing an instance, and you’re not quite in The Zone and you make a costly misjudgement?  Maybe you try to a heal an endangered DPS at the expense of the tank?  Maybe you thought you had time to get off a PoH when, ooops, you didn’t.  Maybe you didn’t quite anticipate a damage spike and the tank just got minced before your guilty little eyes.  Well, you don’t have to worry about any of that in UK.  But if you could cast CoH a little more quickly, or its CD wasn’t 6 seconds, then you’d really be able to make a difference.   So for that extra edge: change the laws of space and time.  Fie on those 6 seconds.

More positive Random Thought of the Day

Never let it be said I do not listen to advice (thank you Uke). Having respecced in order to prioritise meditation as opposed to MOAR healing, which is all I was capable of thinking about between talent point 1 and talent point 51, my mana bar has become the Duracell bunny of mana bars.  What it lacks in length (merely brushing up against the 10k which I understand is now the national average for the early 70s in Northrend), it more than makes up for it in sheer stamina.  That mana bar heals and heals and heals all night, yeah baby.  Between it, and my gear, I AM BECOME INVINCIBLE (as long as I’m standing behind someone in platemail).

June 15, 2009

casual hardcore

There are been a slew of interesting posts over at Spinksville about the dumbing down of WoW and the problem with supposedly hardcore players PUGging like a bunch of tards. The problem, I think, lies less with the social, the casual and the hardcore (all of which are relatively arbitrary distinctions anyway) but with the vast vile realm of the group of players M’pocket tank and I call Wannabe-Hardcores.

I will address this claim more directly in a moment, but let me take a minute for a more personal perspective.  My WoW history is a strange and twisted one.  Let me show you it.

I started playing initially because a group of my friends were and I’m the sort of person whose mother was always saying “if they jumped off a cliff, would you jump off a cliff as well?” (well, is it a cool cliff,  huh, huh?)  I blundered into a few people in my early days WoW, all of whom were tremendously cool and, given their long history of serious raiding and guild-leading, utterly hardcore – although I was, at the time, far too naive to recognise what that actually meant.  I still rather think it was the equivalent of the Pope wandering across The Village Idiot and talking to him a little bit about God.  This was my introduction to the strata of burned out hardcores who were kind and generous enough to gently teach a wide-eyed young cow how to play the game (to this day, I kind of wonder what they got out of it – I can only hope I was fun to teach). So between people I already knew and these wonderful people, my early days of WoW were blessed and golden, and we shall not know their like again, my friends.


With my first character, I was boosted through a couple of instances so I could see stuff and lay my paws on a few blues.  Yes, it’s a trifle mindblowing the first time you see a level 70 warrior, decked out in top tier raiding gear, tanking the entirety of the steps of ZF but, basically, I didn’t get it.  I didn’t think I was interested in instancing.  But, somehow, on Tam, I was persuaded to give it another go.  I can’t actually remember the instance we ran, but we ran it at level, in a group of friends and new-found friends, M’pocket tank tanking and me healing.  And oh my God, it was a revelation to me. I’d never had so much fun in WoW.

Needless to say, it took a long time.  There was a fair amount of frivolity anyway, just general chat, mocking each other’s comical-looking gear, commenting on the bosses, the enemies, the scenery.  And we dissected strategy on pretty much every single pull.  But we had a tank who’d never tanked, a healer who’d never healed.  On the other hand, the leader of this valiant team was regularly leading 40 man raids so I guess he couldn’t have found it too much of a challenge.

In this fashion, we ran most of the Old World instances.  Sometimes we ran them in black tie but that’s a boast for another time.

However, as is the nature of things, time and life moved on.  The group faded, sputtered and finally died.  And now there’s just me and M’pocket tank left.  And a while ago I had to make a choice: either stop playing WoW or get used to a different kind of WoW.  I went for the latter.  There are advantages and disadvantages.  I have, I suppose, flown the nest.  In some respects I’m a better player now that I’ve faced the world unprotected.  I was so damn proud when I bought my first epic mount with money I had myself earned.  And I am, at least, playing the same WoW that everyone else is playing, instead of some summer dream tinted wonderland in which everybody is articulate, witty and knows what they’re doing.  But I miss that group.  And I miss the friends.  And I miss the days when trying to run an instance wasn’t like dangling your naked feet in a piranha-infested pool hoping against hope to have them caressed by a dolphin instead of devoured in a blood-fest frenzy.

What I’m trying to establish here is that I’m a casual player.  There.  I said it.  Spit on me, if you dare.  I always have been, and I always will be.  What it doesn’t mean, however, is that I can’t play WoW, or that I won’t be an asset to an instance.  It doesn’t mean that I won’t, or that I don’t, take the game “seriously”.  That’s a loaded word, isn’t it?  What does it actually mean, to take WoW seriously?  It is a game, after all, and the idea of taking a game seriously seems almost oxymoronic.

Does taking it seriously mean power-levelling to 80 in two days?  Does it mean raiding every night?  Does it mean always having the best gear for your level?  Does it mean, in essence, not having any fun? (not that I’m saying for a moment that those are not  legitimate ways to play the game).  Or does taking it seriously mean being too hardcore to admit any pleasure in it?  Does taking it seriously mean hurrying through every instance, refusing to use crowd control or marking?

Ultimately, I think taking WoW “seriously” is not gear or time commitment or number crunching, it’s attitude.  It’s about why you play the game and what you expect to get out of it.  It’s remembering that having fun in WoW must necessarily be moderated through what may be fun for others as well.  So pulling an enormous crowd of mobs onto the group in an instance may get you an an adrenaline kick but, as Confucious says, one man’s adrenaline kick may be another man’s repair bill.

The problem then, to return to the first paragraph with the cunning of a weasel, is neither the casual nor the hardcore players because they know why they’re playing and what they want out of it.  Casual players want to have easy-access fun, although as I hope I have indicated above this is not the same as not being able to play the game effectively or being afraid of things that are difficult or complicated.  And hardcore players, of course, want progression and new challenges to overcome, and the shiny stuff that comes with.

Wannabe-hardcore players, however, merely want to look like they’re hardcore players.  They want the loot, they want what they perceive of as respect from other players, and they want to be able to face-roll everything because this makes them feel that they might be hardcore when, of course, they know they’re not.  How could you be, when you’ve been boosted through every instance (because all you care about is loot anyway) and you actually have no clear idea of how to play the game?

Everything a wannabe hardcore does and says is driven almost entirely by this burning need to be acknowledged as hardcore, often by making other people feel stupid or inadequate. They’ll whine about supposed nerfs and mount changes, because they see these relatively arbitrary attainments as markers of distinction that prove they are neither casuals nor noobs.  Casual players don’t care when they get their mounts: they’ll just be glad to get one, whenever.  Hardcore players don’t care either: they’ve already got theirs and it’ll make levelling alts less tedious.  Casual players don’t care about nerfs: they’re not going to get there for a while and maybe they’d rather work on their fishing achievement anyway.  Hardcores don’t care either: they’ve already done the thing about six times anyway and are ready for something new.

Nerfage is entirely for the benefit of the wankers who are whinging about it, the same people who the people who behave in PUGs the way Spinks articulates. The guys who want to be able to walk into Mordor, and then only because they’ve heard the Ring of Power is apparently totally imba.

The important thing is that these sort of players are not casual players.  They’re dicks.  And they’re giving us casuals a bad name.

June 10, 2009

my deathcow and me

Filed under: Altaholism,Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Deathtards & Co. — Tamarind @ 3:45 pm

I have insight. Gasp!

Not into healing (despite the nominal focus of this blog) but into Deathtardism.

You see, the other day I finally got round to rolling up a Deathtard of my very own, to love and hug and call it Aethelred.  It’s a cow deathtard, which helps me moderate my  self-loathing about the whole business, because the inherent cowly awesomeness of Taurens may in some way balance the inherent profound awfulness I have come to associate with DKs.  I think it’s partially my own fault because I didn’t start one immediately when WotLK came out and therefore spent a lot of time in Outland trying to keep absolute blithering morons alive in Ramps.

Anyway, I finally cracked and – in splendid isolation because everyone else in the world who wants one already has a Deathtard – ran through the introductory mission.  This was actually quite fun.  Right up until the point the game decides that you’re not playing WoW to run round, killing monsters and collecting their internal organs, but instead you’d like it to be some kind of massively multiplayer sitting around simulator.  I’m actually really into WoW Lore, but I like it because it’s optional. I don’t like being slapped in the face by the mighty Wowlore cock when I’m trying to play the damn game.  It didn’t help that I spent the oh-so-epic Battle For Light’s Hope sitting on the steps of the Chapel because my sword had broken in the preceding quests and the game was too epic to let me stop anywhere and get it fixed.  And there’s nothing that makes you feel like the irrelevant one among ten million you actually are than standing around whistling and typing /hug [Arthas] while Tirion Fordring bitch slaps the Lich King for you, and then yells heroically about TAKING THE FIGHT TO NORTHREND, when you know what you’re actually going to do is grind mining, chill out in Nagrand and spend an inordinate amount of time hanging around on LFG saying “LF Healer Ramps – last spot.”

But this is tangential bitching.

Let me return to the insight: the introductory DK quests actively teach you to play like a tard.  No wonder DKs are the new hunters.  All the quests are pitched to be slightly too easy, if you die you’re immediately rezzed anyway and if there’s even the remotest danger that you might hurt your little DK self the game sticks a ludicrous buff on you to make absolutely sure you stay safe and warm and healthy regardless.  Yes,  WoW turns into your Mum.

Furthermore, they encourage you to use your abilities thoughtlessly and mindlessly – there’s a quest where you have to slaughter a bunch of fleeing citizens by deathgripping them onto your sword.  It’s lots of fun but no wonder instances are full of deathgrip happy fuckwits.  Because you’re well-equipped and over-powered you can blunder through the whole quest line thinking you totally rock and without at any point having to think even remotely strategically about your skills and talents.  In short: actually being able to play the game is entirely optional.

And there’s also the fact the game showers you in the sort of things you usually have to put a modicum of effort into attaining – decent, cool-looking gear, an epic mount, etc. etc. I’m not implying that Young People Nowadays Should Have To Work For Their Privileges, but the overall effect is to create a persistent sense of undeserved AWESOME.

And then you take this tard army and  unleash them on the rest of the game world to wreak havoc and misery and despair wherever they go.

I certainly understand deathtardism more than I did a day or so ago (and I’ll freely admit I play my deathcow like a tard – there’s no reason not to, for the moment at least) but I don’t have to like it.

And you may be assured I do not like it.

Anglos Saxon Geekery Edit: I particularly like being called Aethelred because questgivers keep saying “You are ready, Aethelred” to me.  And, yes, I know Aethelred was actually Ill-Advised rather than Unready but it’s still funny to me.

May 26, 2009

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.


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.

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