Monday, February 28, 2011

Endangered Species

I am an Endangered Species--the Night Elf Druid.

In my raid, there are five--count 'em, five--Druids.  One is Feral, one is Balance, and three are Resto.  (We'd be delighted if we could find another Balance.)  Traditionally, we have enjoyed running Druid-heavy raids, so the fact we have five is not terribly unusual.  What is unusual is the distribution of the races.

Out of the five Druids in our raid, I am the only Night Elf.  Yep, the only one.  Last week, this worked to my advantage.

Our raid had just killed Valiona and Theralion in Bastion of Twilight, and our intrepid Feral was pulling the next trash back into the room.  Each of these opponents is a large creature with a big twirly weapon, so it makes sense to work with them where there is space to move around.

Someone goofed.  I'm not sure exactly how it happened, but it became obvious we were going to have to wipe on the trash.

When a wipe is called, healers are supposed to stop healing, and everyone runs to the nearest fire or other damaging effect, so we can quickly die, rez, and get on with the raid.  This time, I stopped healing, ran to the side, and hit Shadowmeld.  I knew that as long as I could get out of combat so the trash could reset, it was fine--I didn't have to actually die.  I waited and watched while the rest of the raid died, bit by bit, hoping nobody would get too close, but still expecting the mob to eventually figure out where I was and come after me, weapon swinging.

But this time, it didn't happen.  The rest of the raid came back to the instance and rezzed, while I watched the mob run back down the hall and reset.

I couldn't resist the urge to gloat just a little bit.  I typed in Officer chat, "Shadowmeld ftw!  I am the only Night Elf Druid, and I lived!"  Our friendly mage consultant typed back, "Sometimes it is an advantage to not be trendy."

Indeed so.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Writer's Block or Publisher's Block

Lately, I've had a bad case of Writer's Block.  Actually, it would probably be more appropriate to call it Publisher's Block.

I've written several drafts in various stages of completion lately, but somehow I cannot bring myself to publish them.


"Recruiting"  (too boring)
"Constructive Criticism" (i.e., there is no such thing . . . too pedantic)
"Tough Day"  (too personal)
"No Player Is Not An Island"  (yes, the double negative is on purpose--too much potential to offend)
"Intentions and Consequences" (again, too pedantic, and it might offend some people)
"Evaluating Healers"  (what do I know that other people don't?)

I need something funny to happen to me in-game, so I can just whip up a cute little anecdote and laugh about it . . .  But I'm unlikely to find something funny happening to me while I'm herbing, which is what I seem to be doing lately with regularity.

Yes, the herbing is needed, mostly to supply cauldrons.  The limiting factor is not the herbs as much as the Volatile Life.  I can buy herbs sometimes for reasonable rates (and usually do buy Azshara's Veil.)  If I purchased Volatile Life, I would go broke.

Herbing is something I can do while coaching my second daughter through her homework.  (She has special needs . . . among which is someone to keep her on task and to reassure her frequently that she's on the right track.  Eliminate either of those and she will not complete her homework, choosing to use her desk time to read Greek myths or draw fanciful (and well-done) creatures.  Our desks back up to each other, so I can keep my hands busy and my mind sane with herbing or fishing, while still being in a situation where I can listen to her as she painfully repeats everything she is typing, while she is typing it . . . I'm trying to break her of this . . . really . . .)  Herbing is something I can do after dinner, when I want to put my feet up, but still need to be able to walk away from my desk at a moment's notice.  Herbing also means that on non-raid nights, if my husband insists that he really wants me to watch a show with him, I can leave when he calls.  (Given that he is gracious enough to not put up too much of a fuss at my raiding, I try to be sensitive to this on non-raid nights . . . which is why I do not now do a whole lot of Heroics.  He gets rather irritated if he wants to show me something on YouTube or wherever, and I answer, "I'm in the middle of a boss fight!")

So it just sort of works out as a good non-raid-night activity.  But the most exciting thing which happens while herbing is usually when a crocodile is blocking my access from a Whiptail, and I land some distance away, Faerie Fire, Root, Travel Form, pick herb, Shadowmeld, Flight Form.  (Hehe . . .)

Speaking of Shadowmeld, Flight Form, it seems I am a dying breed . . . the Night Elf Druid.  (For that matter, there are fewer Night Elves, period . . .)  Sorry, not going to go Worgen.  Just not.  (I did create a little baby Worgen Druid, just so I could see the initial story, but it seems really odd to be in human form, casting Wrath . . . as if I had managed to get myself stuck in Caverns of Time or something . . .)  Anyway, back to the subject . . .

On the bright side, NOT publishing things is a very powerful capability.  I can write whatever I'm thinking in my Drafts folder, giving me the freedom to vent without major repercussions.  Someone is driving me bananas?  I can write about the general principle of why they are driving me bananas, but then be wise enough to not publish it.  Had a tough day?  (Hmm, familiar title . . .)  I can write all about it, but then recognize that nobody else will really care or be able to do anything about it if they did, so it makes no sense to air my troubles before the world.  It's the power of journalling, with the added benefit that it can be deleted without ripping pages out of a perfectly nice book.

After all, when the story of my life is written, I'm sure I'd like to do a little editing before it reaches the final draft.  Might as well simplify the process by sometimes remaining silent.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Fish Feasts . . . NomNomNom . . .

You would think that after all the effort I've put into trying to get our guild the Seafood Magnifique feast, I would have charged to this site and blogged about it as it happened.  Truth be told, after we finally reached the 10,000 fish from schools milestone, I was too tired to think about it.

It happened Sunday afternoon.

As I logged off Sunday morning, before church, we had less than 400 fish to reach our goal.  I posted as much in my "cheerleading" thread on the guild forum, stating that I fully expected the acheivement to be reached before I returned.  (I wouldn't be returning until after church--half hour there, three-hour block of meetings, half hour back--and making dinner for the family--another hour and a half, at least.)

My husband asked me if, after all my efforts, I would be disappointed if I was not the one who fished up the last fish.  I told him that, no, I wouldn't be disappointed.  Guild achievements are better if more people know they have contributed, rather than just one person doing the entire thing, and I would be delighted to find the achievement finished when I returned.

But when I returned, I noticed we had only advanced about 100 fish from the number that morning.  I was sort of disappointed, but I logged on my priest alt (raising her fishing as part of this whole venture) and pulled out her fishing pole.  (I found out later that one person who had been fishing had suddenly had her WoW completely crash and break on her and was busy reinstalling the game . . . not her fault we didn't reach it before I came home.)

Several fish later, I saw one of my fellow-fishers speak in Guild chat.  "Less than 200 left."

"Yep," I replied.

Someone else joined in.  "Less than 200 what?"

"Fish from schools," I said.

"Oh, really?  I'll help."

The three of us fished away, watching as the number increased in incremental bursts as each of us found schools and fished them out.

Finally, we were sitting at 9999/10000, and my alt was by a school of fish.  I waited for a bit, hand hovering over the "Print Screen" button, then finally cast my line.

Yes, that's snow in the background.  Should help you guess where I was when this happened.

Congratulations to all the Tempest members who helped reach this goal!  (No matter the number of fish contributed.)

And after all the fishing we've done (and stockpiling of required schooling fish) it is now downright easy to bring our Seafood Magnifique Feasts to raid.  Everyone really appreciates them.

P.S.  Somehow, I don't think I'll stop fishing completely . . . I heard recently that anything which is repetitive and which puts you "in the moment" can be considered stress relief, and fishing fits that description for me.  I just won't be trying to sneak in 100 fish before work . . .

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Another patch has come and managed to wreak havoc . . .

I  know that every patch brings with it a certain amount of chaos.  But when I've updated my addons and for some reason find myself disconnecting for every boss fight, it makes me slightly concerned.  I'll check today and see if any addons have been further updated . . . after that, I may have to start turning a few off if it doesn't fix the situation.  (Quartz will be first . . . then Clique, after I bind all my settings into the native Vuhdo capability . . . Already turned off Ora, which we aren't using anyway.)

With the recent changes to the Resto spec, I figured it was a good idea to try to tweak a few things and check them out.  However . . . I didn't do it right the first time.  (It happens when you're a mom and don't have the time to sit and work out the kinks before raid time . . .)  Fortunately, I had kept my old spec and just redid the secondary as another Resto spec, so when I encountered problems, I just changed back and called it a night.

Old Spec and the one I can still rely on at the moment.
New spec for which I have to work out the kinks.  Note the lack of Efflourescence and the addition of talents related to Rejuvenation.
This morning, as I headed out to Deepholm to do a little fishing and herbing, I noticed a few more changes.  One is that the cursor when you are fishing has changed yet again, to a hook.  While it's appropriate, I kind of liked the little fishie.  Oh, well.

The second observation made me laugh with delight.  I tend to pull out my moonkin hatchling pet for company when I am fishing, and I've seen him scurry frantically along the ground after me when I have flown.  Well, today as I moved from one fishing school to the next, I noticed that my hatchling had learned something new:  he was flying!
Isn't he cute??

I feel something like a parent whose child has just learned to walk . . . well, sort of . . . hehe . . .

And for a final note this morning, I will leave you with an update of the school fishing progress of our guild.  (I have roughly 4700 of those to my credit . . . the initial 3000 was a conservative estimate; the next 1700 were actually recorded.)

Interesting that the new note says "pools", rather than "schools".  They still mean "schools".  I tried it out.

Edited to add:  Apparently some other people noticed Quartz acting oddly, which it was doing for me last night--moving my bars around, etc.  Not sure if it caused the D/C's, but at least I have somewhere to start.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Healer Dilemma Follow-up

So far, so good.

This week I made some charts.  One chart listed all the healer loot desires they posted on our guild forums (except for two healers, who simply haven't told me what they want.)  The other incorporated those desires into a plan for rotating our healers in and out of the encounters.

Loot was not the only rule I followed when creating this plan.  We have a policy, for instance, that member raiders have priority on new content.  So for progression bosses, I automatically slotted those who had achieved member rank or above, as I only had six who fit that description.  I also kept a count of how many encounters each healer was being slotted (hooray for actually learning to use the spreadsheet!) so I could maintain some general semblence of equity.  I separated assignments due to rank or loot from assignments to fill in the other slots by font color, so I could know where I was free to juggle things around without seriously annoying anyone.

On raiding nights, I found, of course, that there had to be some changes.  One of my healers, for instance, had to be a couple of hours late.  Having my plan on the spreadsheet made it simple for me to adjust the healing assignments and still quickly see if I was maintaining some kind of equity among the rest of the healers.

I told the healers in healer chat up front that I had made a plan, taking into consideration their desires to be in for certain bosses, and I would be rotating people in and out according to that plan.  Everyone seemed to accept that well.  I did not ask for volunteers to sit out, although a few did volunteer.  I think one particular recruit was concerned I wasn't sitting him enough, because he kept whispering me to tell me it was ok if I sat him--he didn't mind.  I answered back that I knew, and thank you . . . then slotted him according to my plan.

As it ended up, healers in general got more playtime then I had planned.  This was because we had several other people missing on Tuesday night, so healers respec'd and filled in as dps or in one case, a tank.  Kudos to my healers, with their fabulous attendance, being prepared to step in and step up when needed.

I suppose what I worked up couldn't really be called a true "rotation," because it didn't just rotate people mathematically regardless of boss.  But there were no complaints, and people seemed to be glad we at least had a plan.  For our needs, I think it worked out pretty well.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Girls in Raids

The other day, at the Raid and Guild Leadership section of the World of Warcraft forums, I saw a post wherein someone was asking for help in how to deal with a girl in his guild.

Apparently this girl had developed a relationship with one of the members of his loot council, and it was causing bias in this member's decisions.  Sadly for him, the affair ended badly, leaving him short four members, including two tanks.  (But on the bright side, the people at the heart of the issue were among those who left.)

Among the comments in the thread, there were several who basically said that girls were bad news in a raid, frequently causing drama.

This isn't the first time I've seen this theme.  I remember a friend applying to a guild, only to be perfunctorily turned down at her Vent interview because she was female.  I have heard other rumors of guilds who consider themselves too serious to accept females in their guilds.  I have seen it stated repeatedly on forums that if a guild wants to avoid drama, they should just not accept females.  (On the flip side, I was once the only gal in a guild which probably shouldn't have accepted females and told the ladies they were doing them a favor.  They tended to unconsciously drive women away.  I met the previous token female.  But I digress . . .)

Now, anecdotally, some of these people have a point.  There are many stories of girls who flirted, pouted, and generally wanted to be carried or given favors, just because they were girls.  When you have a group of people made up mostly of young, single men, and a girl gets into the mix, those young, single men may start competing for her notice.  Even girls who may not start out wanting to flirt, giggle, and moan their way to popularity may find themselves flattered by the attention and start playing along.  (Let's face it:  for young men, it's all about the hunt.  They don't necessarily want to keep the girl, but they want to catch her.  This, by the way, is also why some may even try to gain the notice of married women . . . it's a game to them.  Women would do well to recognize this and avoid the trap of allowing themselves to be blinded by attentions.  Know where to draw the line.)

It's sad that a few attention-seeking or manipulative females go a long way toward ruining the female gamer name for the rest of us.  However, I have seen more drama with some males than I have seen with females. Both genders may be capable of exercising their "charms" in hopes of favors or both may be capable of throwing all-out tantrums and causing issues. It's part of being human.

I thought about replying to the thread, but then realized I couldn't really contribute more constructive comments than had already been contributed.  Personally, I think with a different loot system--one which is more objective--the relationship may not have ended up being an issue at all.  But that was already said. /shrug

What I did want to say, but knew it wouldn't further the discussion constructively, was to assure the opening poster that not all females are like that.  Aside from the myriad examples of female guild leaders I have read on the forums, I wanted to tell him we've had up to six female players in our raid and currently run five.  Two are officers.  Two are over the age of 35.  (One is both--me--but I wouldn't have said that.)  Girls who might want to use their femininity as something special to gain favors would find their efforts nipped in the bud.  (First, they're not unique.  Second, we can see right through them.)

Every so often, we have seen an application which virtually giggled, "I'm a girl."  (You could almost see the eyelashes fluttering.)  I think the ladies in the guild take a certain amount of pleasure in basically answering, "So am I.  Is there a point?"  ("We are not impressed.")

Perhaps the opening poster's real problem was that he had only one girl in the raid and none in a position of authority.