Although I’m really enjoying raiding in Cataclysm, I’m finding myself really uninterested in everything else. My alts are neglected, I don’t even run daily heroics for valor points, and dear god, dailies, do not want.  I’m not even feeling motivated to chase achievements.  The shiny has just worn off, I guess.

So I decided to start some new characters on a fresh server – no heirlooms, no bags, no money, no guild, no pressure. I think it’s time to see if I can find the fun again.

 

Gretchenn - Worgen Warlock

Fylla - Draenei Priest

I feel like I’ve been running a lot of instances lately. Part of that is, I’m sure, the fact that the boyfriend is all of a sudden a Grim Batol magnet, and it always seems to take twice as long in there as any other heroic. Part of it is that I know have four toons at 85, and Valor Points are a pretty decent temptation to try to run at least one instance a day on each of them (and most days, I only do one or two, but sometimes I can get them all in).

So I’ve been thinking a lot about the “Vote To Kick” feature lately.

While running a Vortex Pinnacle with my priest and my boyfriend’s tanking death knight, we ran into quite a pair of DPS. We had very little CC for the elemental portion of the instance, and my boyfriend asked that everyone allow him a few seconds to pick up all the little guys before opening up. After a couple pulls where the mage got his face eaten, it went a lot smoother.  Then, just before the second room of star mobs, I get a “Vote Kick” up on my screen for my boyfriend with the note “Bad tank is bad”.

Well, we hadn’t wiped once. We had a couple of individual deaths when pulls went wrong, but nothing that would have warranted a kick in my mind had I been DPSing and the tank a PuG. When the kick didn’t pass, the mage and his friend basically decided to do nothing on the last boss so that we ended up wiping.

Now, personally? I hate using the vote kick. I know how long DPS queues are, and I know how frustrating it can be to be new or not terribly geared. I’ve never initiated a vote kick on someone for having low DPS. I’ve never initiated a vote kick on someone for asking questions or needing explanations.  I’ve never initiated a vote kick on someone who clearly just made a mistake, but I know people who will for any or all of those reasons.

When will I use the vote kick? When someone is being verbally abusive, absolutely. I really really don’t want to spend a hour with someone who prefers to swear at someone – even if it’s not me – in party, and complain about how everyone sucks, and so on. If you really need to say something like “We won’t down this boss unless we all step up the DPS”, fine. Say it as politely as you can, and if the group doesn’t seem to improve, you are free to leave.  But if you’re willing to play with unknown quantities, and if you use LFD – you are saying that’s something you’re willing to do – check your bad attitude at the instance portal.  If what you’re typing in party chat isn’t productive, keep it to yourself, snark to a friend or your guildmates, but demoralizing your instance group isn’t going to get you anywhere but swiftly kicked out the door.

I also like having the kick feature for say, that person who queues as tank for a heroic, and then refuses to tank, or is clearly not geared or specced for it. Same for someone who queues as healer and can’t or won’t do the job they signed up for. I don’t game the system, and I have no patience for people who try to and then expect me to pay for it. If I can wait in queue for 40 minutes in order to do an instance as DPS, so can they.

I would probably use the vote kick if someone was disconnected for more than a few minutes, but I find I rarely need to, because someone else in the group less patient than I am will usually do it first.

Other than in instances like those? I’m fairly patient. I will explain fights to a person who admits that it’s their first time doing an instance on heroic mode. Everyone is new at some point. We all did heroics when we needed the gear that dropped there.

But I’m constantly surprised at how NOT patient some people are, at how readily they vote to kick for any minor offense, real or imagined.

Do you use the vote kick system for reasons I haven’t mentioned? Are you more tolerant of sub-par DPS than sub-par tanks or healers? Is attitude everything, or do you regularly turn to vote kick to address performance issues?

To catch you all up:

Lunaris did a major shuffle-around recently because some people realized that the mains they had chosen in anticipation of Cataclysm weren’t always as fun as they had hoped. Our holy paladin (formerly a resto druid, formerly a DK tank, formerly a mage – can you see a pattern?) decided he’d prefer to play his hunter.  Our resto druid wanted to be a boomkin instead. Our bear-butt tank thought maybe he’d like to try out healing, but on a priest instead of a druid. I also wanted to play my priest, so our holy priest? Switched to her holy paladin. My boyfriend kind of rolled his eyes at all of us, but he also switched mains, from his hunter to his frost DK with a lovely tank offspec, just in case, since we’ve just got two full-time tanks now.

All in all, it was a crazy couple of weeks, filled with heroic gear-grinding and farming like whoa for a Darkmoon Card: Tsunami (which, incidentally? Is a sexy sexy healer trinket).

Well one of the results of all this is that I’ve realized how two holy priests, with similar talents and gear, can heal TOTALLY differently, and be equally effective.  I am an instant-cast junkie. I run around with Inner Will on, sprinkling Renews, abusing glyphed Prayer of Mending, loving the hell out of Holy Word: Serenity, and popping Circle of Healing every time it’s up and there’s been raid damage (which, in my experience with Cata raids so far? Is almost always). I even use my Power Word: Shield because speedy bubbles are made of win.  Our other priest tends to have either Flash Heal or Prayer of Healing at the top of his heal meters, with nary a Renew or Prayer of Mending in sight.

Well, patch 4.06 brought a few new changes to holy, most notably the buff to Desperate Prayer. Prior to the patch, this wasn’t even considered an “optional” talent because the heal was so pathetic with Cataclysm’s new inflated health pools, even for the squishies. Now it’s pretty significant for  a mana-free self heal, even with the hefty cooldown. Of course, now I want it. I also want Improved Power Word: Shield and Veiled Shadows. I want all the talents, goddamn it. Give to me more talent points!

Seriously.

My current spec is 6/32/3.

I’m seriously considering changing it up to be 7/31/3, giving up Spirit of Redemption for Desperate Prayer, and losing Rapid Renewal and a point in Mental Agility for two points in Improved Power Word: Shield. I’m not sure yet if I’m willing to sacrifice 2% haste for a reduced cooldown on both Fade and my Shadowfiend, but it’s something I’m also considering since I’m currently above the haste soft-cap of 12.5% raid buffed, and with some light reforging, could get back there even with 2% less from talents.

It’s kind of exciting to be playing a spec where your talent choices really are dependent on your style and personal preference, rather than just taking most of your points for max DPS  and then having a handful of points to spend by preference (yes, I’m looking at you Elemental Shaman talents).  I don’t know that there is a “right” cookie-cutter holy priest spec right now. Yes, you have to put at least 31 points in the holy tree, but there aren’t too many talents that don’t feel tied to playstyle, and therefore, all optional.  The opinion of your raid leader, of course, may differ if you decide to give up things like Lightwell, Circle of Healing, or Guardian Spirit, but overall, it feels very fluid to me, and probably one of the best examples I’ve found that actually feels like Blizzard made choosing talents dynamic and impactful.

Dear tanks and DPS,

I realize that first aid is a royal pain to level, but making gold in this game is not that hard. Please, for the love of all things holy, buy some food. Vendor food isn’t that expensive, but if even that’s too much for you, Sharptooth are cheap and abundant, and can be made into Fish Fry, which is equivalent to all the level 85 vendor foods.

If you die in a heroic and I rez you? Plop your ass down and eat something. Chances are, unless you’re painfully stupid, if you died, I was having to triage or risk running out of mana entirely and causing a wipe. Resurrections are not low-mana cost spells. Once everyone is alive, I am going to sit down and drink.  You standing around looking at me while I do so (and while you’re at the paltry amount of health you rez with) does not endear me to you, because I am then left with the choice of healing you to full, and then drinking AGAIN, or running into the next pull with you at half-life because you failed to realize that you are responsible for your own health levels out of combat.

If there is a generous mage in the party who had dropped a table for us, and you still don’t eat? I have to wonder what exactly it is you have against food.

Finally, if the lightwell is still down from the fight – CLICK IT. I can’t pack it up and take it with me, so feel free to use up any remaining charges.

While I understand that as a holy priest, I have rather good mana regeneration, my mana is not infinite. I must sit and drink to replenish it. If monsters are not eating our faces, and especially if I am sipping on a tasty coffee, your health bar becomes your responsibility. Do something about it.

I just realized that I haven’t posted in a couple of weeks, and although it’s partially due to real life kicking us in the teeth, I also realize there’s another reason.

I’m just not having that much fun in WoW right now.

My feelings about this game cycle fairly predictably.  There are periods of “OMG EVERYTHING IS AWESOME” where I just cannot get enough playtime. There are periods of complete and utter apathy; sure, I guess I’ll play for a little bit, but I’m just not that invested.  And there are periods where I just can’t fight the feeling that everything is pointless, and those? Those are the worst for me.

And that’s what I’m mired in right now: feelings of futility. On an intellectual level, I really like the Cataclysm structure of increased challenge (whether the challenge is actually there or it’s just due to no longer being silly overgeared for most of the content), but in practice, it’s somewhat frustrating.

Right now, in order to further gear up my main toons, I need to run heroics. And not just any heroics – a couple of specific ones where there are still upgrades.  However, due to the way that heroics run in our current gear, and the general terrible-ness of groups put together from Looking for Dungeon, I feel like I need to have a block of at least three hours where I don’t need to get my ass out of the chair for any reason in order to just run one.

Sure, some days I get lucky and happen to be available at the same time enough guildies are also available and not already running heroics, and can get a full guild group that runs smoothly. More often, I need to spend at least 45 minutes in queue (and god forbid I have an internet hiccup during that time – a disconnect dumps you out of queue and you have to start over), and then at least an hour in the instance itself at which point the group either falls apart due to it’s terrible-ness, or we actually succeed in clearing the content. The first happens far more often than the second, sadly. Either way, I’m left frustrated and grumpy more often than not.

All that just for a chance at one of the few remaining upgrades. I have no use for Justice Points right now, and I’m not getting Valor Points because I don’t want to spend those three hours doing something that gives no real chance of improving my gear situation. I don’t run heroics for fun like some folks do – they’re a means to an end for me. And while I don’t mind running a instance with no upgrades for me to help out a friend, I certainly don’t want to do it with strangers.

This leads to a couple of other problems for someone like me, who can’t help but over-think her leisure activities:

1) Achievement-chasing: Krikket already has an insane amount of achievement points, and while I’d love to rack up some more, I can’t bring myself to do it. I know I should be spending my in-game time preparing myself for raiding, not chasing NerdPoints. So I’ve been completely ignoring achievements because I feel so guilty about what I’m not doing, it sucks all the fun out of it for me.

2) Alts: Historically, I’ve been a huge fan of alts.  I love being able to see how the other classes work, and seeing the content from all the perspectives of healer / tank / DPS. But when my Horde priest hit 85, I discovered one of the problems with alts now.  Sometimes? When an alt gets leveled up, you find out that playing that class is actually a whole lot more fun than playing your main. Which has led to me not really wanting to play either one – grinding out gear for a character who – in a best-case scenario – will never see anything more of end-game than possibly a Baradin Hold PuG raid is depressing. For any character of mine, other than my two shaman, heroics are the end-game, and since they’re my least favorite part of WoW, I’ve sort of lost interest in getting any of my other characters to 85.

Right now, I log on to do a little farming here and there, to do inscription research on my DK, or to help someone else out with something, or if I have a scheduled raid. Otherwise? I’m not even a little interested in starting up the game.

I’m sure that this too will pass – it’s certainly not the first batch of WoW-apathy I’ve butted up against, but it’s certainly one of the longest-lasting that didn’t come on the heels of a big guild drama-bomb. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what it would take to bring back the fun. I’ve considered re-rolling some of my favorite characters on a PvE server somewhere and taking the time to really explore the revamped Azeroth. I’ve thought about hunting for a casual raiding guild for my priest and cutting back on my other obligations.  I’ve thought about pulling out of the raiding game entirely and focusing on the parts of WoW that I used to really enjoy. But those all feel like big steps I’m just not ready to take.

In the meantime, I’m not logging a lot of WoW-hours. I have instead purchased the beta of Minecraft, which is way more fun than it should be, especially since I kind of think I might be missing the whole point. I don’t do a lot of building – I just do a lot of whacking at blocks with a pickaxe and trying not to die.

The pair-of-alts project is going well.  Our Horde toons are likely to hit 85 before the end of the night, and our Alliance ones aren’t far behind – we finished Deepholm & started on Uldum the other night before I succumbed to sleepiness. There’s actually been a couple of surprises along the way (shadowpriest is for aggros! Holy is actually not as complicated as it sounds), but none more surprising to me than this: I am more than a little bit in love with DK tanking.

If you’re considering tanking on your DK, or even leveling a brand new-tank-y DK, I cannot recommend Satorri’s guide on TankSpot enough. Yes, I was tanking ok by basically smushing buttons, but after reading this, I felt like I better understood what the buttons did. It’s less math-y and end-game-raid oriented than EJ, and didn’t leave me shaking my head in despair because DEAR GOD, I cannot possibly do that. Seriously. Go. Go read. I’ll wait.

Normally, if we’re leveling together, I do an instance here or there to pacify him. I don’t do 6 instances in one day. I have been away from tanking for a long long time, and I remember it being sort of exhausting. This is kind of amazing. I’m not a tank-for-lyfe, and I probably won’t take her any further than the occasional heroic, but it’s kind of nice to dabble, especially since I’ve thought “DK IS NOT FOR GROUP” pretty much since I rolled her.

Added bonus? Running around picking flowers in my blood spec means I get my ass kicked in world PvP a lot less. Not that people aren’t silly and don’t still try to pick fights with me over plants, but that I usually come out with at least a sliver of health left while they have none. I cannot imagine how mortifying it must be to get your ass kicked by a pigtailed gnome.

Disclaimer: I love my guildmates, both in Stands in Bad, and in Lunaris. The rest of Azgalor? Not so much lately.

And most of the time, that’s enough. I got through the second half of Wrath with only a couple moments of questioning the wisdom of transferring to a PvP server.

However, in the month since Cataclysm has been out? I have found myself not only questioning my decision but seriously considering rerolling on a PvE server, leaving all my hard work & dear friends behind, because if there’s one thing that can suck the fun out of playing this game faster than anything else? It’s people.

I say that thinking about every single person who thought it was hilarious to kill & camp someone 10 or more levels lower than them who was doing archeology. I say that, thinking about the mage* that followed my shaman on her herbing route, waited until I landed, then polymorphed me, picked the flower, made “some strange gestures”, mounted up, and waited for me to mount again, and just kept following me, no matter where I went or what flowers I was trying to pick. I say that, thinking of all the people who deliberately dip into the AoE of an opposite faction person to watch them get owned by guards.

A lot of the time, I don’t want to log on anymore. I don’t want to farm, or fish, or do dailies. I’d say I don’t even want to leave Stormwind or Orgrimmar, but then I remember the day that a raid of Hordies sat and camped the portal island in Stormwind, killing everyone who ported in before they knew what hit them or had time to react.

I get that part of it is that right now, resources are more dear. Everyone wants the same quest mobs. Just killing the person who is near what you want seems like a completely viable option. But that doesn’t explain the mass slaughter of lowbies leveling archeology, and it certainly doesn’t explain things like this, where a group of people decide that it’s TOTALLY fun to gang up on a bunch of people who are just trying to quest or farm.

I just don’t get it.

If you want to get in a big group and earn some honor, hit up a battleground. Fight people who are prepared and willing to fight back. Don’t gang up on people out in the world by themselves. Don’t kill characters so much lower than you that they have no hope of defending themselves. Otherwise, you’re not just an asshole – you’re a cowardly asshole.

A lot of people end up on PvP servers exactly the way I did – we hunted for a guild with raid times that fit our schedule, with a level of progression and an attitude we enjoyed.  We understood that that opens us up to world PvP. What I didn’t understand is the extent to which some people have to do things to make other people feel bad in order to feel good themselves.

I honestly don’t know what I would do if I could go back to the days before we made the move to Azgalor, and make the decision all over again, knowing what I know now.  We could have searched for months and not found people we fit so well with as the ones we’ve found here. But there are so many days lately where I feel the distinct disadvantage of being on a PvP server, in two guilds that are strictly PvE-oriented, and on those days, it really doesn’t feel worth it.

ETA: Some people clearly can’t handle it when someone tells it like it is**. A few hours after this post went I’m, I’m just hanging out in Stormwind when:

Stay classy, Brotherhood of Oblivion. With leadership that mature, I totally can see why forming a raid to kill people who are just minding their own business questing is a worthwhile use of your time.

*The first time? He engaged me in some good old-fashioned, fair 1v1. I lost, but it was a near thing. I don’t fault him for that. But I guess he was so upset at ALMOST dying, griefing me for the next half hour was his best hope of revenge? Fucker.

**This is, of course, the same GM who kicked me from his guild for advocating for fair policies. Anyone surprised? Anyone?

Apparently, I do. Or more precisely, my boyfriend does.

We were doing a few errands today, one of which was taking a trip to Best Buy to use the gift certificate we got in the holiday swap to buy him a new headset.  This was crucial, you guys. Lunaris has their first official level 85 raid scheduled for Sunday night, and I am not going to spend the whole night with him going “Tell them …”

Nonono.

Well, we’ve been talking about getting me a new mouse, one with more buttons, because I cannot keyboard move to save my life (or my toons’ lives at any rate), and my inability-to-strafe has been sort of a point of contention for awhile. The mouse I’ve been using for the past couple years did have an extra button on each side, but I already USED those for something, and I didn’t want to have to relearn (and figure out how to re-keybind) just to be able to STRAFE. I mean, really. It’s not like it’s that important …

… okay, I know. IT’S THAT FUCKING IMPORTANT.

Anyway, after standing in Best Buy for what seemed like hours (and was probably only about fifteen minutes) insisting that I did not need to spend that much money on a mouse, that I’ve been doing just fine with a $20 mouse (inability-to-strafe notwithstanding), we walked out with one of these:

$100 for strafing, I shit you not!

This is a beefy mouse, my friends. If your hands are on the smallish side, you probably want to take a pass on this – it’s wide, not uncomfortably so for me, but I’m not exactly petite either. Getting used to wired again after two years of wireless is probably the bigger adjustment than the additional buttons and the extra width.  Those two buttons right next to the scrollwheel are now “strafe left” and “strafe right” and the one right behind it is “back the fuck up” in case I ever actually want to tank and not fail again. The ones on the upper outside of the mouse correspond to the two I had before, and that extra keypad of five? Well, I’m still figuring out exactly what to do with those.

On the right hand side of the mouse is one small, sort of awkwardly placed button, that I currently have keybound to a mount (and will soon be keybound to a mount macro, when I make one), but I think it’s probably operator error, but it doesn’t seem to work consistently.

Overall, I’m pleased with everything but the price-tag. I’m looking forward to not having to click things like “Searing Totem” and “Spiritwalker’s Grace” that I hadn’t quite figured out how to conveniently keybind yet (yes, I had spells I wanted keybound and didn’t know where to put them. I didn’t SERIOUSLY spend $100 just to be able to STRAFE).

It’s a splurge I never would have, well, splurged on for myself. It’s a nice mouse, even if the glowy light inside kind of makes it look like it’s breathing, which honestly? Creepy.

My boyfriend loves when there’s a new expac, not just because there’s new content & so much to do, but because it means we do a lot of leveling together.  Normally? I’m a level-by-myself kind of girl.  But being on a PvP server, I like the idea of safety in numbers.

We managed to get both our Horde & Alliance mains to the new level cap in about a week of questing.  Now that we’ve had a couple of weeks of grinding up professions, making some extra money due to whack prices on Cataclysm mats, and getting a couple of shiny purples crafted, we’re ready to start leveling some of our alts.

After much discussion & debate, these are the pairs we’ve decided to work on next:

That’s right – both sets have a DK and a priest. We’re thinking double-DPS for questing, and tank/healer combo for whatever instancing we do as we level. Our Alliance pair is slightly delayed as I still have a couple of levels to get on Koraline (via archeology*) before she can wear all her shiny new gear.  I don’t think I’ll do so well in the new Cata zone in my level 70 tanking crafteds!

We’ve been busily cleaning up bags & banks, making sure our professions are up-to-date, and trying to remember how to play characters we’ve barely touched in weeks to months. This time? We’re not rushing – we plan to quest just enough to maximize guild rep gains, and to still spend time gearing our mains up for raiding.  I’m planning to find out if I feel as underpowered healing as discipline as I’ve been hearing people complain about, and hoping I can remember how to play my DK as unholy.

I might actually be looking forward to this more than I did the first batch of post-Shattering questing because there’s no time-pressure on it whatsoever.

 

*Yes, archeology is haxx for leveling. Someday? I will actually post about this instead of just making reference to it.

Who I Am:

CURRENTLY PLAYING

Kimorah
Holy/Shadow Priest

Alliance Raiding Main

ACTIVE ALTS

Krikket - Level 88
Elemental Shaman [A]

Kayci - Level 85
Holy Paladin [A]

Koralyne - Level 85
Unholy/Blood Deathknight [A]

All Classes to 90 Progress
August 2017
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