I hope you didn’t miss out on Pirate Day festivities in WoW. But my guildie @glyneth perhaps more fittingly dubbed it Pug Like a Pirate day after encountering me and my beloved pug battle pet, Puggles, above.
I took the Pirate Day festivities a wee step further, thanks to the Dread Pirate costume I bought Puggles on the Isle yesterday afternoon. You see, this gentleman named Whizzig, Merchant of Time, turned up on his giant snail and had them available for a few timeless coins. And I simply could not resist.
Many months and blog posts ago, I was in the habit of doing pretty regular Friday Fives…posts with 5 common factors or thoughts pertaining to my adventures in the World of Warcraft. I’m bringing back that tradition today, with five ways to make the most of the start of the expansion.
Finish every zone of new content. Now, this doesn’t have to be on one character mind you. Because presumably you are interested in hitting 90 and having your heroic ilvl gear and unlocking dailies and the like, and probably don’t want to hit 90 while still in the Wilds. I’m personally trying to pick different zones to complete on the characters I am leveling right now fro some variety.
Don’t feel obligated to do all the dailies. Just because your profession has a daily doesn’t mean you have to bankrupt yourself every day to do it. Ditto for the level 90 dailies. Yes, you want perks from the various factions. But you shouldn’t take 40 dailies and then bemoan the grind of dailies. Show some restraint! Focus on the faction that is most important to your end game goals and set a reasonable/tolerable number of dailies to keep moving towards your goals.
Stop and queue for the leveling dungeons as you go. Not only is it more fun to learn the boss mechanics at the regular mode level, you can earn yourself some shiny ilvl 435 and ilvl 450 gear, to get you closer to the heroics ilvl requirement. I’m only level 88 and have ilvl 420 so far as a result of my dungeon queuing. And as a bonus, these dungeons have quests with some solid XP, and gear rewards that will make your leveling that much less painful.
…But queue for dungeons with your guildies and your Battletag friends in tow. Yes, it’s easy to just hop into LFD solo, but chances are you know plenty of other folks who want to get in on that as well. So why not use that as an opportunity to get to know one of your guildies or one of your Battletag friends a little better? It’s a lot more fun trying out a new dungeon with a buddy at your side.
Give yourself permission to try something new. I’ve seen a number of folks who poo-poo’d the Battle Pets minigame as “Pokewow” who have come clean with their new obsession with pet battles. But they wouldn’t have known how much fun they had with it if they hadn’t given it a try. Give yourself permission to try out a new spec, or a new profession, or a new aspect of game play. You just might find something that you love doing in game.
What are *your* tips for making the most of the start of the expansion? Share ’em in the comments!
P.S. Comments are screened and TypePad doesn’t seem to notify submitters of that but rest assured I receive them and approve them.
Believe it or not, Mists of Pandaria finally delivers upon the promise of making minor glyphs…fun! That’s right, no more removing a reagent or adding some other utility function — you now get to pick your minor glyphs based upon what looks fun to you, not what makes the most sense for your pocketbook and bag space. But I am getting a little ahead of myself here.
First of all, there are no more Prime glyph slots. Just a total of 6 glyphs, split between major and minor. For major glyphs, shadowpriests can choose from these spec-specific glyphs:
Glyph of Mind Spike — 50% reduction in cast time of your next Mind Blast for 6 sec (stacks up to 2x)
Glyph of Shadow Word: Death — can cast SW:D at any time, but only does 25% damage on targets above 20% health, and casting SW:D now damages you for the amount it would for damaging a target above 20% health
For leveling, I’ve chosen to go with Glyph of Dark Binding, Glyph of Mind Flay and Glyph of Mind Blast. I have to say I am not super enamored with the Mind Flay so if I find need for dispersion at 90, I may swap to that instead. I will also swap out the dark binding for Mind Spike at 90. If none of the above shadow specific glyphs appeal to you, you can choose from a glyph that buffs one of your utility spells. See Wowhead’s full list of Priest Glyphs for details.
I will give you one guess as to which glyph I will equip first…Of course I have always wanted little shadowy friends! And then there’s the shadow ravens! How many times did I remark here and on twitter how shadow priests needed shadow ravens? TOO MANY TIMES! It’s like playtime for Anexxia with those two combined. Though I should not that the shadow ravens do not have as much visible time as I would like. And some of my noncombat pets are not as awesome in shadowform as regular form. Hmmmph. So, I am most likely looking at Glyph of Confession, Glyph of Shadow Ravens and glyph of dark archangel, with bouts of Glyph oh Shadowy friends.
What’s interesting to me, is none of these feel yet like “must take” glyphs, unlike previous go rounds with glyphs. It will be interesting to see if that is born out once the game hits live.
I’ve been on a World of Warcraft hiatus this year. No one was surprised to see it coming, including me, given my responses to my own 2011Year in WoW review. But I kept an eye out for BETA information of interest, and still read BETA related posts that came across my twitter feed. At about the time pet battles were implemented into the BETA, my interest in the changes, and the new content, reached a fever pitch and I happily was given a BETA key (thank you again @Krizhek!) with which to play and see if my love for WoW would be rekindled. And it was.
Of course, my love for my shadow priest Anexxia confounds the empirical evidence on this mind you. She’s my favorite MMO character of all time. And I missed her. So she does give me somewhat purple-tinted glasses for the expansion.
That said, however, poking around and exploring all the new areas, and fishing up the many fish that reside there, learning Pandaren cooking, and even getting started with my own Tiller’s kitchen garden got me really revved up about playing WoW again. So much so that I reactivated my live account to start looking around for some new active guilds in which to play. Because I want to be ready to go when the pre-expansion activities hit.
I think the key to what grabbed me in the expansion, in addition to missing playing my shadow priest, is how so many of the little things I enjoyed doing (fishing, cooking, collecting mini pets) now are such a bigger part to the game (or better integrated with each other in the case of the cooking/fishing/gardening.) I am not sure that I will even roll a monk at all, but I will definitely have a blast making my way through all of the new scenery in Pandaria.
What about you– are you planning to play once the expansion hits?
I spent some time tooling around on Darkmoon Island this past Sunday, running errands for some carnies and fishing up a storm. the fishing is what netted me the Sea Pony vanity pet you see in the screenshot above. It too fewer than 50 casts off the coast (both in and outside of wreckage pools) to catch this guy. I obtained my second sea pony, on my Forsaken shadow priest, in a scant 12 casts. But in contrast, my gnomey shadow priest fished the coast off and on for several hours (while I baked cookies) and never saw a sea pony land in her bags.
The sea pony fishing wasn’t the only excuse to bust out my mad professional skills on the island however– there are quests you can complete for all flavors of professions, netting you some rep with the Faire, plus prize tickets and cash or XP depending upon your level. Some of the professional quests will require that you bring some supplies with you (or head out the portal to your staging area at the end of the dock to go grab some.) Thus I started bringing my stack of flour with me on all my chefs, and blue dye/red dye/simple thread on my tailors.
One of the more silly but fun aspects were the many new World event achievements the Faire brought with it, including the “I was Promised a Pony” achievement. As seen below, there are some ponies you can abscond with and ride around the island on for a bit. And who doesn’t like ponies?? EVERYBODY likes ponies. But I digress.
The Faire also hands out some quests that involve incenting you to grind mobs complete Battlegrounds and Dugneons back on the continents. Thus, even though there is a little bit of a grind involved if you plan to save up your tickets to purchase some of the fabulous prizes (which include mounts and vanity pets, heirlooms, and replica tier gear) they actively aim to make it feel less grindy than Firelands for instance. Somehow I doubt I will return to the Faire to play the games very often, or complete the in game challenges to rack up the tickets for even one pet, but it was a nice day’s excursion to bring out my favorite toons to go see.
Last night I went in and killed this guy, a guild first. I had that awesome heart-pounding adrenaline rush, and thought it would be fun to share the 5 primary reasons I raid.
I love the adrenaline rush of a new boss kill. First you make steady progress. Then you get the wipe at 17%. Then you get the attempt where everyone is in the flow. No one has died. You are in phase 2. Everything’s smooth. The raid leader says “BURN HIM!” and you do. You push your character, micromanaging every GCD, You find that volcanic potion you forgot you’d stashed in your bag. Push, push push…and he’s dead!
I love the teamwork. The world is full of plenty of ways to be an individual contributor. Raiding on the other hand is very much about the entire team doing the dance, ebbing and flowing together. And I love being part of a team accomplishing a goal together. I also love all the silly inside jokes you have after a year or more of raiding with the same folks. See also why I never let my horde guild’s paladin tank Dreb off the hook without making at least 1 funny voice for me.
I love seeing new places. And taking many many screenshots.
I like to push myself to be a better player. And raids have endless room for fine tuning and experimentation. You can raid on the same character for an entire expansion and still have room to fiddle with things you do in the raids to keep it interesting. And of course raiding has the potential, RNG willing, of your getting new gear with which to improve your character, which feeds back into this reason.
I like to have the opportunity to shadow priest tank. What, your raid doesn’t have any shadow priest tanking? My raids *always* have some shadow priest tanking. Like when both tanks die at 3%, and someone needs to keep the boss engaged long enough to finish him off. Or when a nasty dragon trash mob kills the entire raid and I get to DoT and kite him down a long hallway until he keels over. Those are incredible moments of fun and joyfulness for me.
Last night, the scheduled 10s ended up morphing into 25-man ICC. “Retro Raid!” was the call to battle. “No thank you!” was my atypical but firm reply.
There is just not enough distance between me and ICC for it to live in that rosy pink nostalgia haze in my brain where the other retro raids like kara and BWL live. I don’t get the warm fuzzies at the idea of going in there.
I knocked my head against the ICC wall, in 10 and 25, for 9+ months, finally taking a break from it only a month or so prior to the Cataclysm. Anexxia alone had 30+ kills of Marrowgar in 25. I’m tired of the icy winds of Northwind consuming my soul. It’s going to take ma at least a solid year — if not two– before a big smile will come across my face when someone suggests heading in there.
Right now, I want to do new content. See new instances, kill new bosses. ICC will still be there in the morning. And I need to give it some serious space for its absence to make my heart grow fonder.
Right now, I’m playing the waiting game on my undead shadow priest Anexxia. Specifically, I am waiting to see how our raiding schedule shakes out. And this is why I have had a sad as of late.
You see, I love raiding. I’ve been raiding ever since my first character hit 58 in vanilla WoW days and was goaded into coming along to a guild alliance’s MC run. I’ve been hooked on it ever since. Fast Forward to WotLK. I finally found a good server and home for my shadow priest, in a guild for whom I am currently serving as an officer. I managed to complete all of the WotLK raid content, including getting my Starcaller title. Some pretty amazing and rewarding accomplishments.
I’m still wearing my Starcaller title but I don’t feel much like a raider at the moment. My work schedule has been erratic and unpredictable, and we’ve done some changing up in our schedule.
One of the things that I really liked about our guild’s raiding schedule was it offered up 4 or even 5 possible raiding nights per week, all of which started at 6:15 Pacific. Even if I got waylaid a bit at work, I could get home in time for the raid. But even before the expansion hit, we had some East Coasters lobby for an earlier start time. And thus, we now have a 5 Pacific start time raid night, soon to be 2 raid nights.
So, depending upon how things shake out, that leaves us with either 1 or 2 Pacific time raid nights during the week. And Saturday which starts at 6 Pacific. There aren’t too many folks who work on the weekends, and for those who do, 6 Pacific on Saturday is no better or no worse than any other time on Saturday. Although I used to count Saturday as one of my raid nights, RL schedule changes on my SO’s part mean I would be choosing raiding over the one weekend night we both have to go do something, so that’s out.
This leaves me at 1 or 2 nights per week I could possibly raid. Which is usually about how much I want to raid. but here’s the wrench: we’re going back to our old seating system that seats you based upon how many times you sign up and seated versus other folks. So, back when I could sign up for 4 raids per week, I’d get seated once or even twice depending upon signups. Now, I could sign up for our 1 or 2 nights, and be sat half the time or more often depending on how the math works out. That could put me at raiding 4 times per month on Anexxia. unless of course, like my schedule for the next 2 weeks, I have work-related events that either spill over past 5 or mean I will be stuck working late to make up the time after 5 on those few possible raid nights.
That’s just not going to work for me. I don’t see that I can improve my character, learn the fights, and be a rel part of the team if i am seated in 4 raids per month. I get that could work for other folks but for me, it’s like being a visitor, not being an active member of the team.
So for now, I wait and see what happens. I am signing up for raids when I know for sure I can attend, and I am crossing my fingers it will work out. I’ve spent the entire weekend stressing and bummed about this. And there’s absolutely nothing I can do to influence the outcome one way or another.
Leading raids is not my favorite task. I like to focus on playing and having a good time, while when in the role of raid leader I have to focus on what everyone else is doing. But somebody has to lead the raids to keep us all marching in the right direction. Which got me to thinking about what it takes to be a great raid leader.
It’s easiest to start with a list of the qualities that do not make for a great leader:
Unwilling to listen to feedback from others
Unable to objectively evaluate if the issue at hand is the strategy or the execution of the strategy
Not a team player in groups where they are not a leader
Desire to be raid leader driven by wanting to be in charge
Use of bullying and shouting down others to banish opposing view points
Prone to yelling over Vent/TeamSpeak/Mumble
Impatient; unclear that learning new fights takes time
Uncomfortable with giving constructive criticism or assigning necessary but not glamorous tasks to friends/relatives/significant others
7 Habits of Bad Raid Leaders
Yell “WIPE IT” whenever a strategy is not absolutely perfectly executed.
Kick out raiders for making even tiny mistakes.
Kick out the lowest DPS every half hour if you are not making progress.
Force the entire raid to compensate for any areas of weakness your BFF or significant other has.
Come to raids without knowing the strategy backwards and forwards (or without having it printed out and in hand to read to the team.)
Change loot rules after seeing what loot has dropped or who has won it.
Arbitrarily add new raid nights and change what content people are raiding and when, based upon what you feel like doing.
Raid Leaders Need to be Someone the Team Wants to Follow
The success of any team, be it in World of Warcraft or in real life, hinges upon the leader of that team earning the respect of the team, and being someone the team chooses to follow. People do not choose to follow people who rule the raid with an iron fist, belittling others and shouting down anyone who dares question — even privately– their proposed strategies or decisions. Those people are called tyrants or dictators, not chosen leaders.
So what does it take to be the kind of raid leader whose members will happily follow them to the ends of Azeroth? For starters, a good leader will:
Communicate clearly with the team. This includes coming to raids prepared, and with a strategy in mind. Ideally you will have shared that strategy with the team for input a few days prior to the raid. This allows folks to read it, and to ask questions or make suggestions based upon their experience and your group’s makeup. Be sure to assign specific people to specific tasks that need to be done, and ensure they are clear on what they are being asked to do.
Be ready to adjust strategies if they are not working as expected. That Tank Spot video you cribbed your strategy from probably doesn’t have the same class make-up or skill sets as your actual raid team; be ready to adapt as needed. This can include having to ask your friends or SO to step out if they are not fulfilling their role. This is a delicate area, for sure, but your team expects you to apply the same standards across the board.
Listen to team members and try to understand their POV. The fact that it is sometimes not your POV does not make it wrong. Try to understand where others are coming from. And if you don’t understand, ask questions that show you have been listening that will also help you better understand that person’s perspective.
Be approachable. Your team needs to feel it is OK to come to you with an issue or concern or an idea, without fear of retribution or receiving a dressing down.
Understand it’s not all about them. Raiding is a team effort. Yes, the raid leader herded those cats, but the glory is not all upon the raid leader’s shoulders — and likewise, neither are the disappointing defeats. Also, don’t take requests or comments personally. It’s not all about you. As an example, if someone asks you to please give them an equal dose of progression raids and farm nights, respect their request. Not everyone wants to go full tilt at progression targets every night of the week after coming home from a demanding job. This doesn’t make them a slacker. It is not a slap in your face. It is just someone else’s POV.
Discuss raid related issues and concerns, or strategy changes, in a professional, mature manner. On the Internet, all too often people take offense to — and wage war against– any opinion that is not in line with theirs. All I can say here is: GROW UP! In the course of your life, you are likely to meet many people who have different perspectives and opinions. They are entitled to them as you are entitled to yours. If you are incapable of being civil in discussions when you disagree with others, you are not cut out to be a leader.
I expect a lot from my raiding time. I expect to make progress against the goal of killing the boss upon whom we are working. I expect to have a good time, in a positive social atmosphere. I expect to have a sense of accomplishment and excitement when we kill a boss for the first time. I expect to feel like a valued and important member of a team. And if I don’t feel this way, I eventually lose interest in raiding with that team. The raid leader sets the tone of the raid and the standard of behavior for the team. Having a positive raid leader, who strives to be the kind of leader others want to follow is key to making these expectations come true. You know how it’s said that people don’t quit their job, they quit their boss? That’s frequently the case with raids too.
Food for thought. And this gives me a homework assignment: think through what a volunteer job description would be for an ideal raid leader.
Those shadowy apparitions scare the bejeezus out of folks running an instance with you for the first time. Especially in Vortex Pinnacle if you DoT those balls that you run past. A legion of shadowy gnomes trailing behind you is scary stuff folks!
We have incredible survivability. We can shield, disperse, self-heal. This may be why in certain instances (*looks at Heroic Stonecore*) my shadow priests have tanked bosses. I can usually keep myself alive and bouncing around from 9% to dead boss, provided I have a healer who knows my determination to not wipe who tosses me some heals.
Embrace the Shadow! It’s one of the best calls to action ever. And it’s mine. All my mine. /cackle.
P.S. The title is not a typo, I have two level 85 shadow priests, baby!