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So the other night, I was sitting in raid thinking “Hmm, how could healing be more interesting?”

Healing Challenges!

It sounds a little strange, but I think people will really enjoy them. Here’s just a few:

Minimal Healing Challenge (Chimaeron): Whoever does the least amount of healing wins x amount of gold. Now, this one may need a bit of tweaking because of tank healers and sic priests, but the concept is there. Done this one twice with 2 different winners.

Inefficient Challenge (For any/all bosses): Not one I’d use for your hard/progression content, but great for farm bosses. In this challenge, you are not allowed to use your small,efficient heal. This is one is more suited to be going on the entire night because it’s much easier to check logs afterwards and see who qualified. It has multiple winners and each receive x amount of gold if they didn’t use their efficient heal.

Unquenchable Challenge: There are two versions of this challenge. 1) Players who use no/the least amount of mana potions for all bosses OR 2) Players who use no/the least amount of mana potions for a specific boss. There can be multiple winners for this one or there could be one.

Of course there are ways to make these better/more challenging and I encourage you to try some out or make ones of your own. I just think it adds a bit of fun to the monotony of farm content.

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I have also changed my UI (again) and will be posting it soon/now depending on how much time I have this morning. Addons are the same, just a different layout. I generally try to mix up my UI every 3 months if I can, just to keep things fresh and interesting. I also get a lot of unwanted opinions ideas when my butthole guildies friends get a hold of my UI and start bashing talking about it. Meh.

 

What do you think of the healer challenges? Will you implement your own? Tell me aboot it!

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I’ve got spirit, how ’bout you?

I finally got a round to finalizing my gear path and getting it up on the guild site. A gear path is just a listing of what pieces you need, and from where, to maximize potential.

There are several ways to configure a gear path. You can do an individual display like this:

Niq:

  • Magmaw: Weapon
  • ODS: Ring
  • Halfus: Necklace
  • Ascendants: Off-hand

You could also do a “loot list” spreadsheet like this:

On the loot list, there are different pages for different raids with each boss representing a different column. The loot list style is definitely more efficient for raid leaders to swap certain people in for gear and whatnot. Our loot list was made using Google Docs and can be set to open edit so that your guild mates can edit it as they gain gear/change their path. The final method, which is my personal favorite, is to use the CharDev character planner. CharDev is great because you can gem/enchant/reforge pieces of gear to see what your stats will be. Eventually, you will be able to add buffs to get an even more detailed look at your gear/stat choices. Here’s a picture of my full profile. It includes gear I already have as well as pieces I am looking to get. This image is not complete so my stat numbers will be different after I gem/enchant/reforge pieces.

When I made all the necessary changes last night (this morning rather) I think I was just a little over the 1221 haste breakpoint with some insane amount of spirit. Mind you, I have only implemented non-heroic pieces since we got a bit of a late start and won’t be hitting heroics for a little while longer. Either way, it’s a great planning site that will let you save/share your profile and even import your characters from the armory with their current gear/spec (just to save some time).

Anywhoodle, those are some options available to you when planning a gear path. I would highly suggest CharDev if you are just doing one for yourself and the spreadsheet style if your guild would like to plan theirs out as a whole.

Have you started working on a gear path? How did you go about it? Happy Friday!

P.S. Be sure to check out my first video if the expansion on the Videos page. Halfus Wrymbreaker and Proto-Behemoth 25-man Normal mode.

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Half of a year

Wrath of the Lich King had it’s 2-year anniversary last Saturday (November 13). WoW itself is about to celebrate it’s 6th year of success (November 23) and players that log in between Nov. 30 and Dec. 14 will get a feat of strength dedicated to the 6th year anniversary. Will there be a pet in this one too? I sure hope so.

It’s really strange looking back on the last (almost) 6 years that I’ve been playing the game. So much of my time and money has been poured into the World of Warcraft and for what? . . . The most emotional 6 years of my life. I will never forget the people I’ve met, the adventures I’ve had or the countless nights I’ve spent just trying to reach another level or grind out a rep or some other daunting task. I’d love to share it all, and maybe someday I will. Today, however, I’m just going to share the experience of being in my current guild. <Paradigm>

I joined Paradigm back in June after my alliance side guild had fallen apart. (The MT and out holy pally were having RL relationship issues that spilled into the game). I was very nervous applying to Paradigm. My alliance guild was very 10-man focused with 1-2 nights a week of 25’s that we had to pug a few spots for. Basically we weren’t all that great. Paradigm, however, was the second most-progressed guild on the server and 1st on horde side. You can imagine how much of a chance I didn’t have getting into the top horde guild with such little experience in ICC. I didn’t care though, I was so fed up with the game. I said ti myself that if I didn’t make it into the top guild, I would just quit because I was tired of not progressing and always being a few steps behind everyone. I sent in my app and waited…

Oh em god, they accepted me. Despite the pure lack of skill needed to be in a top guild and horrid credentials (Only having done a few heroic bosses on 10-man and only getting as far as Sindy normal 10), they accepted me. I went in a little intimidated, but kept a positive attitude. Over time I became more confident in my abilities and developed relationships with my new guildmates. I was really starting to make this guild my home.

I was eventually promoted to Raider and was no longer being rotated on progression content. I had finally locked in a consistent spot on the roster.

The healer core has been amazing. We’ve had some new people join in and some veterans take off. No matter what though, the team has stayed strong. It’s been so great being a part of such a tight group of people with the same goal, keep people alive. I’ve really only had good experiences with the group of healers in Paradigm. I actually got bored one day and felt creative so I made a picture of the “original” healer team which you can find on the Pictures page. The healing roster has since changed and I will update the team picture once I know, for sure, what healers we will have in Cataclysm.

I have had some of the best times (out of almost 6 years of playing) in the past 6 months I’ve been in Paradigm. I have made a lot of new friends and built some very tight relationships since joining. I cannot wait to jump into Cataclysm with these people and start stomping bosses and sharing those experiences with you (my readers). I’m sorry that this post was not so WoW related, but I felt like it was something I needed to share.

What have your experiences been like with your guild? Are you looking forward to busting into Cataclysm with your friends?

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Get to da… portal?

Elemental Invasion Part 4 went live today! This is one of the better world events imo. I didn’t care all that much for Scourge Invasion, then again, I’m not all that into that bit of lore (I can hear the sound of people unsubscribing). Anyway, I logged on right after work to start this adventure and here’s how it went down…

I logged into Orgrimmar and instead of seeing our resident gold farmer (Argentnia) standing by the mailbox as she does, I found a slew of fire elementals ravaging the valley of strength. I quickly joined in the fight, ready to heal my injured allies as we defended the Orc’s city. The battle lasted a lot longer than I thought it would. There were several rifts to close (via elemental-slaying) and citizens to free in each district. It wasn’t some walk in the park either, the mobs actually hit kind of hard. Orgrimmar wasn’t the only city being attacked, only the fire and earth elementals resided there. Thunder Bluff, however, was being assaulted by the forces of air and water.

After defending Orgrimmar, I quickly commissioned a nearby mage to provide a portal to Thunder Bluff. It was time to defend the home of the Tauren people, my people (for now). Again, a hard battle was fought and again a hard battle was won.

I was really happy with this new encounter. The fact that we’re already seeing cities being destroyed and fighting the heralds of the elemental lords makes me wonder how far this is going to go in the next 3 weeks until the expansion. What more can Blizzard throw at us to make the end of our world feel more like…the end of our world? Every new bit to the invasion makes me jump in anticipation a little more, waiting so badly for the Cataclysm to happen.

In other news, patch 4.0.3 is said to go live this week. This is not the world-changing patch that everyone is dying for (that is 3.0.4a) but it will lay the foundation for the coming changes. It consists mostly of bug fixes and background information for the Cataclysm. Our drake mounts shall flap their wings once more!

MMO-Champion has released pictures of the new class/race Tier 11 gear combinations. Every class features the model for the playable races (Druid shows Night Elf, Worgen, Tauren, and Troll) as well as both genders. You can find the male models for druid gear here and female models here. Tier 11 looks absolutely amazing, and very fitting on Trolls (thank goodness). You can find the other class Tier 11 models at mmo-champion.com.

How was your EI Part 4 experience? What do you think of the Tier 11 models? Druid or not, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Niq has weekend time?

Yes, I have finally snagged a few minutes to write. I decided to babysit my nieces this weekend so my brother and his wife could have some relax time. They are taking a nap so here’s my chance.

Very exciting Saturday night. There is a smaller guild on our server that a few of us (guildmates and I) go to on our main alts and help out. They consider most of us honorary guildmates which is nice when the loot part comes along. The run starts on Wednesday night and finishes on Saturday night, generally Sindy/LK are all that remain. Anyway, we didn’t have enough people to finish the 25 so we split into two 10-man groups. My first experience with the combined lockout system!  I’m still against it for a few reasons, but it can be very convenient. 7-8 Players got their first taste of Arthas’ blood and earned their Kingslayer titles so it was nice to be a part of their triumph.

Elemental Invasion Part 3 is here, and things are heating up. Searching citizens before they enter the city, sabotaging portals, arresting criminals… My blood is really starting to pump now. The Cataclysm is about 3 1/2 weeks away now and the anticipation grows with every passing day. Even though the troll flight form is kind of crazy looking, I’ve learned to accept the trade-off for better raid utility (Ugly flight form < Haste CD). Beruthiel over at Falling Leaves and Wings had the novel idea to pre-order a race change so that it would be available right away. Blizzard would not allow it though 😦

Not much else has happened. I’ll try to get a post out on Monday. I have a few topics I’d like to discuss, but don’t have time to do so today. Thank you all again for your continued support.

What was your first LK kill experience like?

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OMG it’s FL hard-mode.

MMO-Champion has posted a video and some pictures of the new raid markers. They are reminiscent of the pillars of light from the Flame Leviathan hard-mode encounter and look very cool. The most interesting thing about the new markers id the ability to set them anywhere instead of on a player. I imagine many guilds will use them like a smoke flare, to set a gathering point or a stay-away-from-this-area point. I’ve never been in a guild that used smoke flares, but I have been in PuGs that will use them and it can be quite helpful in finding the gathering point for a fight like Festergut. The markers are more obvious now so the past issue of not seeing them amongst the cluster of mobs (or some other circumstance) should no longer be a problem.

I do foresee some small issues with the new markers and those are the abuse and reliance of them. In 5-mans, anyone is allowed to set markers and while it’s generally not an issue, some players may see the new markers as new toys and decide to have too much fun. This isn’t really all that bad, but I’ve known players that get really crazy when others toy around…even in lol 5-mans. The reliance part. For as long as I can remember, some guilds have used smoke flares as visual indicators for points-of-importance in a raid. In my limited experience with flares I have found that there are players that cannot seem to function without the use of an indicator (smoke flare). I’m hoping that the new system does not encourage players to rely on the markers as they have on smoke flares.

You can find a video of the new markers in action on the Videos page.

What do you think of the new Raid Markers?

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I woke up rather early today and sat with my mother at our little bistro-style dinning room table and enjoyed a nice glass of orange juice. A welcomed change of pace from the craziness going on with druids and my thoughts on them. Let’s get started shall we…

First order of business. Efflorescence. I’m just going to go into this very briefly as I would like to keep my blood from boiling before I get to the good news. A new beta build was introduced and with it came some changes to the leafy green circle we all know and love. “When you heal with your Swiftmend spell you also sprout a bed of healing flora underneath the target, healing all nearby friendly targets within 0 yards for 30% (down from 60%) of the amount healed by your Swiftmend over 7 sec. Healing effectiveness diminishes for each player beyond 6 within the area.” I’m not going to get all fired up on this one because it is still in Beta and subject to change. Blizzard has made some mistakes in the past, but in general, treats their healers right. Some people will complain about this change and how it lowers our effectiveness and reduces incentive for others to stand in the green circle (more than 6 people = less healing?). This change, though unpopular, is for the best I’m sure and will help to balance AE healing between classes. *crosses fingers*

Next order of business. Troll druid epic flight form. I expected it to be a bit funky but WOW. Finally seeing the model for this made me take a step back from my pro-troll race change decision. I’m still fully planning on race changing my druid to a Troll as soon as possible (with reasonable wait time), but now my frostbrood drake is becoming more attractive as a general use flyer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset with the model. It is very fitting for the troll race and I’m a bit shocked the colors aren’t as vivid as those on the cat and bear models. The model was a bit of a shocker, but not a deal-breaker. Berserking makes up for any strange looking forms that trolls have. Can’t wait to see moonkin!

The good news. I finally got around to fixing my UI and, in the process, mixing it up a bit. I would have procrastinated longer, but a new Bane group that I was invited to required my full effectiveness. And I really can’t do much when things like grid are not configured properly. The UI is, however, all done finally. This is probably going to be the UI I go into Cataclysm with, assuming the core mods I use are updated quickly. Grid, my most relied-upon addon, took about a day and a half to update after patch 4.0 went live. Anyway here is a screenshot I took yesterday in Dalaran. (Click image for larger view.)

Before I get yelled about my keybinds, the Nu (Number pad) buttons are not the actual number pad on my keyboard. They’re actually the side buttons on my mouse.  I use grid + mouseover macros for my healing spells (toyed with Clique and didn’t like it, felt too much like Healbot/VuhDo). Anyway, there it is. Tell me what you think. I’m always looking to improve upon my UI whether it be the efficiency or cleanliness so suggestions are always welcome.

I think that about sums up my morning thoughts, or at least the ones I’m awake enough to conjure. I know the news is a bit late, but I’ve been a little busy lately preparing for the coming months. Preparing at work to ship winter citrus, redoing my boss kill video introduction for Cata bosses, rushing the shaman to 80, and a mess of other little things. Thank you all for reading/commenting/subscribing. So much more to come in Cataclysm…

What do you think of the new flight forms? How do you feel about the new Efflorescence mechanic? E-mail me or leave a comment and share your thoughts.

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