Soapbox Speech: The Truth about Leadership

Soapbox/cast Soap Box

I have been an officer for a little over a year now.  My guild has both the blessing and the curse of being over 900 strong.  It’s a highly active group of people who play the game in a variety of different ways.  Me and my fellow officers have the momentous responsibility and privilege  to  watch over this guild, from the day to day runnings of the guild, to planning out events days, weeks, and even months in advance.

I love my guild, I really do, but I also think there are a few things that they just don’t understand about officers and what we do.  And this sort of thing applies to more than just my guild.  I won’t claim that what I say here applies to every leadership situation everywhere, but I do think much of what I write today is relevant.  Whether we are talking about your boss, your teacher, your guild master, or the developers of the game you play, here are a few things I think everyone should understand about leadership*.
*Note: What I write here pertains to good leaders.  Bad leaders are another issue entirely that I am not touching in this article.

THERE IS NOTHING EASY ABOUT LEADING
This is one of those that I think people are aware of, but they don’t realize the extent.  Leading isn’t easy.  It’s not a one and done thing. Leadership requires constant monitoring.  Things that have been going smoothly for a while can suddenly break down, and leaders have to be right there to fix it.  As an officer, I’ve spent countless hours working on stuff for the guild.  Things like writing up information posts, leading guild events, or even just talking to members of the guild.  Events that take an hour or two can have up to three months worth of prep work.   I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to drop whatever else I was doing to jump in and help with something.

Now I’m not saying all this because I want sympathy or a pat on the back.  In fact, that’s not what I want at all.  If I’ve really done my job right, no one will realize how much work I put into it at all.  They will just see the end product and enjoy it for what it is.  I’m simply telling you this so that you realize. While you might not see it right away, leaders are constantly working.

Alongside with this, the choices a leader makes are not always easy ones.  You know that phrase, stuck between a rock and a hard place?  That is probably the most factual statement ever made in regards to leading.  Sometimes decisions are easy and its great and everyone is happy.  But more often than not, there are no win win situations.  Many a times, they are lose lose situations.  One of the hardest things about leading is picking the best of bad options.  Do you split the raid teams or make people sit? Do you remove this person from guild for behavior or give them another shot? Do you give this person responsibility over this issue or do you need to step in and handle it yourself?

So if you ever find yourself questioning a leader’s decision, look at what their other choice was.  Often times, a seemingly odd decision was far better than the alternate.  Leaders have to choose what is best for the group and many a times there is not a good option.  This also brings me to my next point.

Guild EventTHE NEEDS OF THE MANY OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE FEW
Or the one.  Your leaders, officers, developers, and bosses have the bigger picture in their minds at all time.  Their choices reflect what will benefit the largest amount of people.
On paper this looks all fine and dandy, but in practice this can be much harder to see.  Why is this leader purposefully screwing me over?? I thought they were supposed to look out for me! I am just as much a member of this guild as everyone else!! I’ve heard all of this (sometimes in nicer terms, sometimes not).
The fact of the matter is, I’m going to try to please the most I can.  Emphasis on most.  Because, I can’t please everyone.  If I were to try to make everyone happy, then no one would be happy.  Often times, people in the same group will want opposite things. This is why most of the world is run by some sort of democracy- when you can’t  get unanimous, you get a majority.  I might not be able to please you this time, and I’m really sorry about that.  Truly.  But one person’s unhappiness won’t change my decision to make 100 people happy.

FEEDBACK IS A LEADER’S BEST FRIEND
You know how I spend the last paragraph talking about how leaders are looking at the big picture? Well, think of it like an artist painting a  picture from very far away.  The artist can see what the picture will look like in broad shapes and colors but they can’t see some of the smaller details.  That’s where feedback comes in.  Leaders rely on this info to get an idea of what their decisions look like to the ‘every day person’.  We know in broad strokes what is going on but we can lose some of the smaller aspects.  We need people to tell us what is going on because sometimes we are too far removed (or too wrapped up in it) to see.

And once leaders know where something isn’t quite right, they can go in and fix it.  Feedback not only lets leaders know what is wrong, it lets us know what to fix.  We can actively improve when we are told what needs improving.

I am not in the camp that holds a leader knows best.  I know there are plenty of people who are, and I don’t think they are wrong for having that belief, but I simply don’t share it.  Instead, I think leadership is the art of knowing when to act and knowing when to ask.  When we are acting, try to see it from the bigger picture.  And when we are asking, tell us what is actually going on.  Don’t sugar coat it or talk around the issue.  Don’t insult us or ridicule our decisions.  Simply tell us.  “Hey, this isn’t working because A, B, and C” or “Hey, I’m unhappy because D, E, and F”.

Because leaders care.  They care so much it hurts sometimes.  They don’t want to make people upset, they want to make people happy.  And we are trying, in the best way we know how.

So this is my message to you.  Help a leader.  Whether it be your guild master, a Warcraft developer, or an authority figure in any other part of your life, just help them.  Think about the bigger picture before you lodge complaints.  And if you do lodge complaints, do it constructively.  Tell them directly.  Be blunt.  Be truthful.  And be honest. And be aware that the answer you receive might not be the one you want to hear.  But by providing feedback, you’ve helped to make the situation even just a little bit better.

/end soap box

Leveling Professions – Or at least I’m trying to

Bonus points for anyone who gets the references

Bonus points for anyone who gets the reference

Warlords is in the end of expansion doldrums. Unless you raid like Fussypants, there is not much new to do. So I usually level some new characters. In MOP I leveled up a dwarf windwalker monk. Now that was fast, with heirlooms and the monk leveling bonus that little dude skyrocketed to max level!

So, this expansion, I was looking at the Legion changes for the difference classes. They are planning to really emphasize the fantasy of the class. Some are pretty much the same and some are a lot different. I then read about Shadow priests and their resource change to Insanity. That sounds cool! I’m gonna level a shadow priest! What’s even better is that it will be Horde and Forsaken – clearly the most obvious choice.

Now in the past 8 years of WoW, I have leveled plenty of toons. There are scattered ones over several servers at many levels. However, this is the first time I leveled during this expansion.

I wanted to make this a quick endeavor, I don’t need to spend a lot of time at lower levels. Thus, I fully outfitted my new baby priest with heirlooms. I had a plan of attack – go through Tirisfal Glades and then on to Hillsbrad. Gotta do the Welcome to the Machine quest!

Ahhh, relaxing leveling. Oneshotting the mobs. This is easy! Then I made a mistake.
I decided to level professions at the same time.

Oh boy.

Well, it turns out the real challenge is the professions leveling!   I chose Enchanting and Tailoring. These typically go well together as you can disenchant your tailoring greens as you move up in the profession. No biggie, I thought. My leveling priest even had the advantage of a guild bank (albeit on a very quiet sister guild of the main Alliance guild.) The GB even had a lot of leveling mats. No problem then, right?

Nope, it was a big problem. Even with the extra GB mats, I still needed a lot more cloth. I wiped out the bank’s supply of different cloths pretty quickly. Linen? Gone. Wool? Gone. Silk? Gone. Now, it was rough but manageable.   And yet, getting to the 50’s profession level was terrible. The different cloths rarely dropped. Very little was in the bank. I had to rely on the Auction House – very, very ,very expensive. My toon soon ran out of gold (twice).

So leveling my character took a backseat to leveling my professions. She had to run Stratholme over and over again to get certain mats (at least 10 times overall.) She entered the dungeon queue of Vanilla dungeons only to get more cloth drops. My toon also scoured the AH for underpriced items she could disenchant. The wall I was being hit with was Enchanting; I could not get it to 300.

Eventually, Fussypants lent a hand. By AH machinations we were able to push my professions well into Outland territory. Thank you, Fuss! We will probably have to do that again once or twice. I also have become savvier in the AH and bought underpriced enchanting mats that I will eventually need.

Clearly this is a big problem, leveling professions. While methods have been available to speed up a character’s level, nothing has been done about the professions. Some may argue that the Warlords catch-up mechanic is the solution. At Warlords level of 91 to 100 you can catch up on any profession. But that’s not the solution for my now 64 Shadow Priest. It would mean that she would not level her professions at all until she reached Draenor. Where’s the fun in that?

Hopefully, this will be addressed in the future expansion in some manner. It is more interesting to make my character improve all of her aspects together rather than just her level. I would even be okay with some cheap chintzy solution such has tailoring grey items and making dummy enchants if it only increased the skill level. At least, that way I can make a cool pair of pants and put +8 intellect on it when it really matters.

So, what do you think? Is it worth Blizzard’s time to rectify leveling professions? Or is this a waste of time, since most will use their boost to bypass the earlier expansions?

Fussypants’ Introduction to Healing

WoWScrnShot_061815_225617It’s that time in the expansion cycle.  Folks bored of their mains have decided to take up new classes or even new roles.  And you have made the excellent decision to take up healing during this expansion break. Well, you’ve come to the right place!  Welcome to Fussypants’ Introduction to Healing!

ABOUT THE GUIDE WRITER: I am a career healer through and through.  I raid regularly on a Holy Paladin and a Mistweaver Monk and semi regularly on a Discipline Priest.  I have also dabbled in Restoration Shaman healing (for Herald of the Titans runs) and Restoration Druid healing (more in PvP than PvE).  I heal raids almost exclusively and have extensive knowledge about dungeon healing.  Now, on the matter of dpsing… well it’s a good thing this is a healing guide!

WHAT IS HEALING?

In the broadest sense of the word, healing is restoring the life to your allies.  But I mean, that definition is very vague.  That sounds more like a deep philosophical thought than a job in World of Warcraft. Yes, healing is making sure your allies don’t die but it’s so much more than just that.

Healing can be best described as reacting.  Reacting to the damage going out (or that will go out) to your allies and making sure that your allies don’t die.  Healers, out of all the other parts of the trinity, have to be the most on their feet.  The damage going out can change at a moments notice and healers have to be ready to react.  Healing does not have a set rotation or a tank swap mechanic.  Sure there is an ability priority, but the spells you cast depend entirely on what is going on in the raid around you.  Healers are reactionary.

So before you ever try to seriously attempt a healing class, I would recommend taking a good look at yourself.  Do you have fast reaction times? Do you react well under pressure? Can you make decisions quickly? If you answered no to these questions, odds are you won’t find healing very enjoyable.  Healing can get frantic and chaotic and if that sort of thing stresses you out, I would say healing is probably not for you.

At this point, you are probably thinking “By gosh, this healing thing seems more terrifying that I thought!”.  But don’t worry, its really not as bad as it might sound!  I describe it this way so you know what you are getting in to.  Healing is really a completely different style of play than DPSing or tanking.  It’s not scary, its just different.

Priest HealingTHIS IS THE PART WHERE I TELL YOU HOW AWESOME HEALING IS

Healing can also be incredibly empowering. Sure, when you dps you influence the outcome of the raid, but when you heal, you actively decide it.  How and who you heal can mean the different between life and death.  Many times, you will have to make a choice between which person you save and which person you let die.  And when you do a good job healing, you can tell.  When you down a boss and no one has died because of your clutch heals, it’s an awesome sense of success.

Skill can also get you farther on a healer.  A good dps is limited really by how strong their gear is.  There is a mathematical number that dps cannot get higher than, no matter how amazing they are at their class.  But with healing, there isn’t the same sort of number cap.  I’ve been in so many raids where, despite my lower gear, I was the top healer because I casted my abilities on the right people at the right time.  Now, I’m not saying you can heal better than someone in Mythic gear when you are only in greens, but skill is a much bigger factor.

And finally, healers are highly sought after.  When you role a healer, you will have faster queues and better chances of getting into group content.  People want you.  I always joke that the reason I became a healer was the faster queues, but there is honestly a lot of truth to that!

So you have decided you want to pick up healing.  But before you jump in, here is the basics to healing.

THE LINGO

Every healing class has slightly different spells and thus slightly different acronyms and names for their spells, but here are some general terms that you will need to know.

HoTs ~ Healing over Time or Heal over Time spells.  An example of this would be a Shaman’s Riptide or a Priest’s Renew.  These heals provide a chunk of healing spread out over a period of time.
Rez ~ You probably already know the meaning of this spell, but just as a refresher, a Rez is any spell that brings a player back to life.  It cannot be cast in combat and has a relatively long cast time.  As a healer, it is generally your job to rez all the people who die once the fight is over.
LoS ~ Line of Sight.  As a healer, you have to be in the line of sight of the person you are healing.  Especially in small cramped environments this can be harder to maintain, so make sure you inform those you are healing if you can’t see them.
OOM ~ Out of Mana.  All healers require mana to cast spells and this is the acronym you use to let your group know that you need a second to drink up and get your mana back.
External ~ A damage reduction spell you can cast on other players.  Players, especially tanks, will often call for an external when they are taking a lot of damage.  Healers mainly are the ones who cast externals, so make sure you know which ones you have.  An example of an external would be a Druid’s Ironbark or a Paladin’s Hand of Sacrifice.
Absorbs ~ A healing spell that instead of returning health to a player, it puts a temporary shield on them. Absorbs do not actually heal any damage back, they prevent any future damage (for as long as the shield holds). A classic example of an absorb would be a priest’s Power Word: Shield.

Each spec will also have it’s host of lingo related to specific spells.  Generally these are just acronyms for specific spells.  An example of this would be a shaman’s HST, meaning Healing Stream Totem.

Druid HealingGENERAL HEALING TIPS

  • The tank is your top healing priority.  If a tank and a dps are both taking damage, always heal the tank first.
  • Know which heal is your ‘filler heal’ and which heal is your ‘oh shoot heal’.  Every class has a slow cast low mana ‘filler’ heal and a fast cast high mana ‘oh shoot’ heal- know which is which and use the ‘filler heal’ when there is less or predictable damage going out and the ‘oh shoot heal’ when there is high or bursty damage.
  • Don’t be afraid to use your cooldowns! In fact, pop them often and early.  If you always save your healing cooldowns, you will find yourself at the end of the fight without ever using them.
  • When you don’t need to be casting healing spells, don’t be.  Overhealing can be a real problem so in the effort of conserving mana, only cast healing spells if people are damaged or are about to be.
  • Carry mana potions or drinks on you at all times. Managing mana is a huge part of being a healer so you need to have supplies to get your mana back
  • Pay attention to your environment.  Healers can often fall into the trap of tunnel visioning those little green bars but often times, what is going on in the game world can be the cause of damage.
  • Dispel all things. With a few exceptions (and these are mainly raid mechanics), if you can dispel something, do it.  This will save you mana in the long run.

Each healing class heals in a different way. Here is a brief little run down to help you decide which class is for you!

The powah!!

Holy Paladin

Holy Paladins excel at single target and burst healing.  With their Beacon of Light, paladins make excellent tank healers and are very strong in smaller groups. Holy paladins heal mainly by casting medium sized single target heals (Holy Shock and Holy Light) quickly on a number of targets.  They also have a secondary resource called Holy Power, generating it with Holy Shock and spending it with Light of Dawn and Word of Glory.  Paladins have amazing burst capabilities with Avenging Wrath and when played correctly, rarely ever have mana issues.

The biggest strength of a paladin healer is their single target healing. They are arguable the best dungeon healers and are very strong tank healers.  Paladins also bring Devotion Aura and their Hand spells to the table, which are fantastic at preventing or reducing damage.

Holy paladins are weak at multiple target healing. Their multiple target heals are less effective than the other healing classes so they cannot heal up a number of people at the same time.  Sustained raidwide damage is the hardest type of damage for them to heal through.

Holy Paladins are a nice mix of reactionary and preemptive healers.  Their burst and single target allows them to quickly return someone to full health but their damage reduction spells are best when casted before damage goes out.  Also, their mastery makes it beneficial for them to heal targets even when they are at full health if damage is eminent.

As a paladin healer, I would recommend this class highly for newer healers.  The spell priority is easy to learn and plate armor means that paladins are less squishy than the other healers. Holy paladins are the easiest to pick up yet can be highly customized by their glyphs and talents.

And I mean, I’m kinda biased because this is my main.

Mistweaver Monk

Mistweaver Monks are arguably the most unique healing class in game right now.  Unlike every other class, they channel Soothing Mist on a target and can instantly cast Surging Mist and Enveloping Mist during the channel.  They ‘weave’ this in with casting Renewing Mist, a HoT that jumps from player to player across the raid.  The last major ability they have is Uplift, which heals all the players who currently have Renewing Mist on them.  Mistweavers have a secondary resource called Chi which they generate via Surging and Renewing Mist and spend with Enveloping Mist and Uplift.  The Mistweaver playstyle is highly mutable, depending on which talents you take, making the spec very customized.

Mistweavers are very strong multiple target healers but also have very strong burst on a single target.  Their big cooldown, Revival, is incredibly powerful and can bring a group from almost dead to full health. They also can earn back mana through their Mana Tea.

Mistweavers struggle in sustained single target healing.  While they can burst very high, it is not sustainable for long amounts of time.  Mistweavers are also generally harder to learn than other healing specs, and switching between single and multiple target healing can take some getting used to.

Mistweavers are mostly reactionary healers. They can respond almost instantly to damage with their instant casts and big burst.  But they also can sustain a low amount of healing almost indefinitely in between damage spikes.

Mistweaver healing is one of my favorite styles of healing outside of paladining.  The playstyle is truly unique and the talents offer a lot of customization.  And I will forever be an advocate for Fistweaving as I think melee dpsing to heal is one of the coolest things ever.  However, I would recommend trying out a different healing class before monk.  The playstyle can be very hard to get down and mana is an ever present issue.

Discipline Priest

Discipline Priests are the masters of absorbs.  Through their various shield spells, they can prevent damage on multiple targets or give their allies a few more seconds of life.  Discipline priests are best when healing with other healers due to the nature of their absorb spells.  A discipline priest’s big ability is Power Word: Shield and their single target healing comes mainly from their Penance and Heal spell.  The last major ability disc priests have is a spell called Archangel.  A free crit on a 30 second cooldown, Archangel greatly augments the disc priest’s ability to heal groups.

Discipline priests are very strong at preventing damage, so they are not particularly powerful in single target or multiple target healing.  They simply make it so that damage never lands in the first place.

As such, Disc priests are very preemptive healers.  Since they work to keep damage from ever happening, disc priest require a deeper knowledge of fights.  They heal best when they know when the damage is coming.

Discipline priests, when played right, can be extremely powerful healers.  The playstyle is very fast paced and rewarding. While this was nerfed pretty hard in Warlords, they also can theoretically heal by damaging their foes via Atonement (although this is not very powerful).  The disc priest is an easy healing class to pick up but I would recommend choosing a different class to start out with healing.  Because disc priests heal in such a different playstyle, they do not teach the the habits that most other traditional healers use.  All the same, it’s a very fun class to try out!

Big thanks to Cloud for the discipline priest edits! There’s a reason why you are our guild’s top healer!

I have a LOT of healing screenshots

I have a LOT of healing screenshots

Restoration Druid

Restoration Druids are slow and steady, as they maintain HoTs on a number of players.  They have high mobility and low cast times and can sustain their healing for a very long time.  Resto druids also benefit from a host of talents that allow them to change their style of healing, depending on the encounter. They really are the Jack-of-all-Trades for healers.

Because resto druids heal primarily through HoTs, they excel at sustained healing.  Resto druids are also very powerful multiple target healers and have a very strong healing cooldown in Tranquility.  And, when played right, they rarely struggle from mana issues.

However, resto druids are weak at burst healing.  They cannot maintain single target high intensity healing for very long before they run out of mana.  Druids also have a large number of abilities which can be harder to maintain.

Preemptive healing is the resto druid’s forte. While it might be tempting to spam Regrowth, resto druids perform best when they allow their HoTs to ramp up and heal over time.  Just like disc priests, a deeper knowledge of the fights and when damage will be going out is important to resto’s success.

Resto druids have a variety of builds available to them, which allow them to customize their heals like almost no other class.  So if one build does not work for you, another might.  And especially in some of the high movement fights, resto’s ability to move and maintain their healing make them very valuable and very powerful.  Resto druids are a good entry level healing class as well, but it is important to remember that they heal preemptively instead of reactionary.

Big thanks to GenVG, Serephita, and Glar for the resto druid information! They were the source of all the resto information found within (as I am not familiar enough with the class to provide such info)

Restoration Shaman

Restoration shamans have a good blend of active and passive healing.  They have a few HoTs but they also have many abilities that require active casting.  Shaman have a toolkit that allows them to ‘set and forget’ to heal lower priority targets while they focus on those taking more damage.  Their toolkit allows them to adapt to a variety of situations.

Shaman are amazing at large group healing.  With a variety of multiple target heals, they excel at keeping large numbers of players up.  Resto shaman shine especially when players are stacked up in one spot.

On the flip side, shaman are very weak at small group and single target healing.  Their abilities are designed to blanket an entire raid group and they simply do not have a lot of spells to quickly heal up a single target.

Shaman are also very reactionary healers.  They see the damage going out, thrown down the appropriate totem, and begin healing up the damage.  They have little in the area of damage prevention which means all of their healing happens after damage has already been taken.

As the resident shaman healing in my guild puts it, resto shaman are communist healers.  They share all their healing with everyone and excel at healing everyone all at once.  Shaman also rarely have mana problems, allowing them to really pump out good numbers.  Shaman healers are a very good candidate for beginner healers as their toolkit is easy to pick up.

Big thanks to <oTQ>’s resident shaman healer Worldhopper for all the shaman advice! Again, I did not know this class well enough so all this information is courtesy of her!

Holy Priest

Holy priests are the very image of what comes to mind when you say ‘healer’.  All of their spells outright heal up a target- little of that absorbs or HoT business for these priests.  Holy is very much the Jack-of-all-Trades, having a tool for almost every single situation.  Holy priests also have powerful healing cooldowns and great proc synergy if played correctly.

Holy priest’s greatest strength lies in that it has a heal for almost every situation.  It has two direct single target heals (Heal and Flash Heal), three multiple target heals (Prayer of Healing, Binding Heal, and Circle of Healing), a set and forget reaction heal (Prayer of Mending), a HoT (Renew), an absorb (Power Word: Shield), a very powerful ‘oh shoot!’ button (Guardian Spirit), the healing spells granted by each Chakra, and two powerful long cooldown heals (Lightwell and Divine Hymn).  Holy priests have the spell for every occasion, the trick is deciding in a split second which spell is best.

However, Holy’s strength can also become it’s weakness. There is a very high skill barrier in learning which spells to use when.  Often times, poor spell choices result in going OOM rather quickly.  Holy priests need to know the damage pattern of the fight very well or be super quick on their feet.  Holy priests have all the tools, it’s learning how and when to use them.

Because holy’s heals directly replace heal that has been lost, holy is a very reactionary style of healing.  There are a few abilities that you can preemptively toss out but most of holy’s healing comes after the damage has been dealt.

Holy is very much the iconic healing class.  Heck, half of their spells have the word ‘Heal’ in it! But don’t let this fool you. Holy is a very complex and very versatile healing spec that, when played correctly, can really pump out the healing.  While it is not the simplest healing class to pick up, it has the most tools for each situation.  Also I mean Spirit of Redemption is kinda awesome fun!

Big thanks to Cloud, resident priest in my guild for providing me with knowledge on Holy healing!

I hope this guide proved useful to all you up and coming healers out there! While this was a beginners guide to healing, I would also strongly recommend visiting Icy Veins for more in detail explanation of each class.

Good luck and may all your bars be full of green!

Transmog Time: A Multitude of Mail

It’s time for another installment of Transmog Time! In past articles I’ve put together a plethora of plate sets, a collection of cloth sets, and a load of leather sets, but I don’t think I’ve posted any mail sets.  So today, brace yourself for a multitude of mail transmog sets!

Fiery Pinky PieFiery Pinky-Pie
First up we have a fun set I put together with shaman in mind (and yes, the set is shaman restricted due to the shoulders and kilt). The best part about it is, it’s pink! And on fire! Who wouldn’t want to look like that?
I’m just so-so on the weapon and shield but I included them because the colors match very well.

Feet: Brigade Boots                               Legs: Erupting Volcanic Kilt (shaman only)
Chest:  Brigade Breastplate              Shoulder: Erupting Volcanic Mantle  (shaman only)
Head: Crown of Destruction            Hands: Brigade Gauntlets
Waist: Brigade Girdle                           Weapon: Ceremonial Warmaul Blood-Blade
Shield: Telaari Shield

EDIT: Thanks to a tip from @lisiaraids on twitter, I have been informed that there is an off tier look alike for both the kilt and the shoulders.  Hunters can mog it too!

Shoulders:  Craterflame Spaulders                     Legs: Thoracic Flame Kilt


Magma ShaperMagma Shaper
This next set is perfect for a shaman who just wants to see the world burn.  I’ve always loved the shoulder models and I’ve finally been able to put together a set I really like with them.  While the gold of the boots and belt doesn’t exactly match the chest and leg pieces, I think they complement each other very nicely, giving a very ‘fiery’ vibe.  I’m on a fire kick, aren’t I?

Feet:  Veteran’s Mail Sabatons                  Chest: Engraved Breastplate
Legs: Engraved Leggings                            Head: Crown of Flame
Hands:  Merciless Gladiator’s Linked Gauntlets  (shaman only)
Shoulder: Merciless Gladiator’s Linked Spaulders  (shaman only)
Waist: Veteran’s Linked Girdle


 

Tracker in the WoodsTracker in the Woods
Look, no more fire! This set, while created by two different shaman tier sets, is actually not restricted to any class.  Hunters rejoice! I’m a huge fan of this one, I love the muted natural colors mixed in with the glowing accents.  Looks like I’m going to need to level a mail wearer!

Feet:  Shuffling Shoes                          Chest:  Chestguard of Siphoned Elements
Legs:  Rippling Flesh Kilt                      Hands:  Stormbringer Gloves
Waist:  Torch-Brazed Waistguard         Shoulder:  Pauldrons of Rapid Coagulation


 

Flamboyant FIghterFlamboyant Fighter
We’ve switched tracks here with some purple plate.  I was just playing around in the WoWhead model viewer for this one when I realized the purple of the Revenant plate set was very close to the purple of the warrior Tier 11 set. 15 minutes later, I had a fun mix of old and new gear.  Due to the tier pieces, the set is Warrior restricted however.  (I am supposed to tell you that Yotaan does not like this one, because of all the skin showing. I however don’t mind that too much since it’s pretty covering as far as low level plate armor goes).

Feet:  Massacre Treads                      Chest:  Revenant Chestplate
Legs: Revenant Leggings                        Hands:   Earthen Gauntlets (warrior only)
Waist: Revenant Girdle                           Shoulder:  Earthen Pauldrons (warrior only)


Stormwind CasterStormwind Caster
For this set, I drew my inspiration from the Stormwind armor from the garrison bunker.  I’ve always liked the set but I don’t particularly want my toon to be mistaken for a Stormwind guard. So I put together a cloth inspired version, keeping the bold blues and golds of the original. I believe this set is Alliance only, but it is open to all cloth-wearing classes.  And yes, I got my butt in gear and actually went out there and farmed the set up! That’s a first!

Feet:  Stormwind Boots                             Chest:   Primal Mooncloth Robe
Back: Crazy Cenarion Cloak                     Hands: Stormwind Grips
Waist:  Stormwind Belt                              Shoulder: Stormwind Shoulderguards
Weapon: Guiding Stave of Wisdom          Tabard:  Stormwind Tabard

So there we go! I’ve rounded out my transmog sets! I’m thinking my next theme will be Shado Pan transmogs.  Or maybe tinker inspired gear? There are so many options!

And as always, what do you think of these sets? Any suggestions or improvements you would recommend?  And what transmog challenge should I go for next?

Yotaan’s First Real Raid

We forgot to get a screenshot from the raid (as we are prone to do) but we both agreed that this was a great screenshot all the same.

We forgot to get a screenshot from the raid (as we are prone to do) but we both agreed that this screenshot, from the guild holiday party, was pretty great all the same!

During this recent holiday vacation, Yotaan stepped out of his comfort zone and tried real raiding.  Not the LFG, mind you, but the real deal.  There was Mumble, call-outs, raid chatter, and all that fancy raidin’ stuff.  The group was coordinated.  Loot distribution was organized.  Fussypants was in her element, smiling the whole time.

Now, my experience with raiding is pretty limited – so I can only assume so much.  We were raiding Normal Lower Hellfire citadel, a holiday raid for the team.  Normal level raids need to have a certain level of organization and intensity, so I think this is how a raid is supposed to go down.  The team was relaxed, as it was not progression for them.  Yotaan was focused on the encounter as it was progression for him.

However, Yotaan was almost a fish out of water.  He’s not used to such coordinated play.  Now, I must admit, I had it easy.  I was literally sitting next to the Pants on our laptops.  She called out what I needed to do to keep Yotaan alive and dps’ing.  So, overall he did well.  Maintained some reasonable dps, not the lowest in the raid and certainly not the highest.  No wipes were caused by him.  Yotaan lucked out on some tomes, and he even got an weapon upgrade!

It was a lot more fun and a lot less stressful than I expected.  The group was jovial and fun.  I was even able to join some of the raid chat and had a good time.
As an outsider joining a group of established raiders, it appears that Yotaan joined a dance.  It was like a complicated stage dance, perhaps in a musical.  Some were going that way, some were going the other way.  It was fun to watch and the guild team was orchestrated very well.  Participating with over a dozen other players in a coordinated dance is a great way to pass the time.

And yet, while the experience was ideal, Yotaan does not feel the strong urge to raid again.  By raiding you are committing to a schedule.  You are the boss or have a boss (the raid leader.)  You are expected to show up on time and be prepared.  There are responsibilities.  There are requirements.  Wait a minute, this sounds like work.  It sounds like a job!  I already have one of those, I don’t need another one!
I want to play on my own schedule and time.

In the past I have written about not chatting and doing my own thing which I still like to do.  Of course, I also resolved to play with the Pants more this year as well.  But I don’t think raiding will fit the bill as a routine item.  Perhaps now and then I will join, but frankly, it’s not my thing.   I am glad to experience it and I understand the draw.

But raiding seems like work to me, and I play to play, not to work.

2016 New Year’s Resolutions

WoWScrnShot_010116_172239And we are back from hiatus!

2015 is drawing to a close and once again Fussypants and Yotaan are reflecting on their resolutions of the ending year and creating new resolutions for the incoming one.

Fussypants: My resolutions were
1) Update the blog once a week for the entire year (with the exception of predetermined hiatuses)
2) Make a serious attempt at arenas
3) Tank some current raids
4) Attempt the Ironman Challenge
5) Start up RAOU again

My biggest goal of the year was definitely number one and I am proud to announce that I successfully completed this goal! While there were some close ones, Yotaan and I managed to get a blog post out for every single week of the year that we weren’t on hiatus.  Woot woot!

Resolution number two was a flop however.  I was really into PvP for a while but it petered out before I ever stepped foot into an arena.  However, the purpose of this resolution was to expand into different areas of the game and while I didn’t expand into PvP anymore, I definitely expanded way more into the social aspect of the game.  So while I didn’t succeed at the initial goal, I succeeded at the spirit of it.  Does that count?

Another point in the success column for resolution number three! While I actually never ended up tanking on my warrior, I have become quite the pocket tank on my brewmaster monk.  I’ve tanked all of Highmaul, most of Blackrock Foundry, and all of Lower Hellfire Citadel plus Xhul and Mannoroth.  And, I’ve tanked this both in guild groups and with complete strangers.  Given that a year ago, I was terrified of even tanking a dungeon, I’m really proud of my success in this area.  I’m still not 100% comfortable with tanking (and I doubt that I ever will be) but I’m worlds more confident that I was. (I’ve also tanked the Algalon encounter and while that wasn’t ‘current’ raiding, we purposefully copied the requirements of Wrath era raiding so I’m counting that too)

The Ironman Challenge has been a bit of a mixed bag for me.  I’ve totally started it I just haven’t… gotten very far yet.  I think I’m level 5? Look, it’s still a work in progress! I’m going to count this one as a success though because I have started the Challenge and there was no completion requirement in my resolution.

The last goal on my list was another flop, but not for want of trying. Unfortunately I did not get enough submissions to write up any more posts.  That’s alright though, not everything I set out to do I could have completed.

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All and all, I think I did pretty well with this past year’s resolutions.  I had some flops but I also had some exceptional successes. And as I wrote a year ago “I really want to focus on blogging with regularity and trying new things in WoW” and I think I achieved the spirit of my resolutions if not every individual goal.

.Walking towards the futureLooking back over my year of blogging, I’d also like to acknowledge some of the writing I’ve done this past year.  Here are some of my favorite things I’ve written.

Beta-Testing Life through WoW ~ A very soul-baring piece about what impact WoW has had on my life as I’ve grown up.  A lot of what I wrote here still applies months later.  While it was a bit hard to write, I’m still very proud that I was able to post this

Tin Foil Hat: What is the Light? ~ A tin-foil hat, crazy person, brainstorming theory about how magic works in Azeroth.  This was the first time I’d written a speculative piece like this and I’m pleased with the results.

What’s to a name? ~ The story of how I got the name of my mage back.  I like this piece for two reasons: It involved a very awesome GM and I think what I wrote is still very applicable.

Less than Legendary ~ My opinion on the Warlord’s legendary chain.  While this piece doesn’t have as much staying power as some of the other ones I’ve written (since it’s about a specific piece of endgame content that will likely be removed) I still think it was a very strong piece.  I worked on the article for many months and I think I was able to offer a pretty complete viewpoint because of that.

Satire: Stop Catering to the Casuals Blizzard! ~ A satirical piece about Blizzard catering to the casuals in regards to twitter integration.  I really enjoyed writing this (and the later satires) since they allowed me to stretch a writing muscle I don’t usually get to use.  Also, its just entertaining to poke fun in this way.

Bonus article: Fussypants Writes a Horror Story ~ This post was completely un-WoW related but I still enjoyed writing it.  A short horror story that I wrote for a school project but decided to post on the blog.

Man, reading through all that I wrote is kinda crazy!  There’s a lot more there than I thought! And boy, do I put a lot of puns into my writing….

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The last thing on my list is to set my goals for this coming year! In 2016 I want to work on writing even more for the blog and completing projects.
1) Post a minimum of 5 blog posts a month.  This should work out to be a post every week with an extra post thrown in there every couple of weeks.  More writing!
2) Complete all of Heroic Hellfire Citadel, including Archimonde to get me that sweet, sweet moose.
3) Complete the Ironman Challenge.  Whether that means I ding level 100 or I die in the process, I want to finish this!
4) Work on my roleplay character and try out some open world RP. I’ve started the toon with a friend but I’d really like to explore roleplaying more.
5) Farm up some of the various transmog sets I’ve built.  I have a bad habit of designing tons of different outfits with specific characters in mind and then never getting around to actually wearing them.  Not any more!

Screen Shot 2013-11-21 at 7.35.45 PM.Yotaan:
So my 2015 resolutions were:
1) Level Yotaan to max level while enjoying the story as he goes
2) Get the legendary ring on Yotaan
3) Play with Fussypants more often
4) I like the Ironman Challenge!
5) Help Fussypants more on her blog (not specifically writing articles, but providing other support too)

1) By far the best part of Warlords was the leveling experience from 90 to 100 and I enjoyed the story.  Yotaan did fall behind Fussypants in the progression, but I was able to follow the main story completely and enjoy the side stories as well.  I also leveled a Horde toon as well to get the Horde side.

2) Soooooo, didn’t quite make that one!   Yotaan has been collecting tomes now for about 6 months now.  He hardly raids, so it has been slow.  With Legion far off in 2016, I still think it will happen.

3) I really wanted this one to happen, but life gets busier every year.  Yotaan and Fussypants have been very occupied with RL.  However, I think the biggest reason that this resolution did not happen is raiding.  As you know, Fussypants became quite the raider this year.  Yotaan rarely raids, so these very different play styles don’t mesh well for playing together.  Hopefully, we can change this for 2016!

4) Ha!  Got Fussypants on this one!  Currently I am “winning” at the Ironman Challenge.  I say “winning” because Bullsmack, a level 21 Tauren druid, is lying facedown somewhere in Ashenvale.  He was a victim of a bad pull plus a wandering mob.  It was a great experience to have a challenge in leveling in WoW.  I was surprised at how careful you have to be.  I think we will try again once Fussypants gets her act together.

5) I did write more in 2015 than 2014 so nominally I met this resolution.  However, I can do a better job.
Overall I did not do as well as I would have likely but that’s how resolutions go.  I am very proud of how well Fussypants did!  Proud Papa!

I was inspired (Artwork by Fussypants)

(Artwork by Fussypants)

.Since we are reflecting on the past year, Fussypants ordered me to pick my favorite blog posts that I actually wrote.  Hmmmmm…

My real favorites are the ones she wrote recounting our discussions such as Another Name Article (Demon Hunter Edition) wherein I create the best name for a demon hunter ever and Next Expansion: Make it Brony wherein the family predicts the next expansion.

If I actually had to pick my own writing, then I’m picking Get Off My Virtual Lawn because it was the most honest writing I did.  Plus, it garnered some responses, which is rare for my posts.

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And now, for 2016, my WoW resolutions:
1)   Play on a PvP realm.  I miss the danger.  I will need to find the best one to level up.
2)   Try again to play with Fussypants more.  This is a challenge, especially considering our play styles.
3)  Get the Mount Parade achievement.  Currently at 153 out of 200 mounts.
4)  Figure out Pet Battles.  It’s a thing, isn’t it?
5)  Really enjoy my time in and out of WoW.

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Happy New Year!!

Holiday Hiatus

WoWScrnShot_121315_121732It’s that time of year again and between family get togethers, finals for Fussypants, and holiday craziness, Fussypants and Yotaan have had almost no time to write! We’ve decided to put the blog on hiatus for two weeks so we do not get totally overwhelmed.  We wish you all a restful and enjoyable Holiday season and a happy New Year!  See you in two weeks!