Thursday, August 28, 2008

A huntery look at My Hyjal: Rage Winterchill

Welcome to the first in a series of posts on Mt Hyjal from a hunters perspective. When we first started Mount Hyjal I looked around for a hunter guide to the instance and didn't come across anything so hopefully other hunters will be able to get something out of these posts, or even better from my selfish perspective - teach me some new stuff to help improve my performance *grin*.

So, on with the show. I'm not going to give you the details of the instance here, just tips and strategies for hunters. There are plenty of resources out there to give you information about the instance overall and the specifics of the Rage Winterchill fight. Go read them now if you like, I'll wait.

Back? Ok good.

Now I'll be talking from the point of view of how we in DB handle the fights, this will of course change from raid to raid, and what works for one raid may not work for another.

You'll want to come to Mt Hyjal fully prepared with all your consumables etc. For the first two fights the only special gear you will need is your PVP trinket. Preferably the 2 min cool down one. The trinket only costs 8k honour so it's not hard to get hold of with a little effort.

Trash waves
There are eight trash waves before each boss (except for Archimonde) and if you wipe on any of those waves you have to begin the encounter for that boss again right from the very first wave.

The instance starts at the Alliance encampment where you will fight the first two bosses, Rage Winterchill and Anetheron. We fight the trash waves just at the gates where they enter. If we need to engage NPCs we kite the mobs back to them.

  • Drop a frost trap just ahead of the entrance before the path heads downhill and get any other hunters in the raid to drop their own frost traps in sequence behind the first one back towards the raid so that they get triggered in a chain. This will slow the mobs nicely and if you have a pally tank like us will give them a lovely chance to consecrate and get most of the mobs to stick to them like glue.

  • As a hunter threat is always an issue - switch between the mobs your tanks are targeting to get the most out of your DPS. It's very helpful here if you have a mod that can show tanks and their targets such as CTRaid, OrA or Xperl Unit Frames (if someone with the either of the first two mods has assigned the tanks this gets picked up by Xperl). There are no doubt other mods that do this job too.

  • Multishot is awesome for the trash mobs. Remember to feign preemptively if you can and switch targets often though

  • When your tanks have built up some nice threat dropping an explosive trap in the melee adds some extra fiery death to the mix.

  • Each hunter in the raid should be assigned an MD tank. Use your MD on every pull. Especially good with Abominations which are nasty, particularly to squishies.
Rage Winterchill
Mr Lich is the most straight out fight in the instance. Stay out of Death and Decay - and remember to keep your poor pet out of it too! If you get Icebolted use your PVP trinket immediately to escape it.

Work out with the hunters in the raid who has Imp Hunters Mark - they should be responsible for keeping it up on the boss. There's no real need to use any stings on this guy.

Apart from these things it's simply a matter of unleashing the DPS, burning the guy down and collecting the phat loots.

So there you have it, the first boss in Mount Hyjal is toast. From here on in it gets more interesting and therefore more fun!

Looking for regulars for T6 raid

Do you love to raid but can't commit to 2-3 nights a week raiding for whatever reason? We can help! The Drunken Badgers are a guild on Feathermoon and we are looking to fill some regular positions for our T6 raid. Like many other raids out there we have started to feel the attrition of pre itch king burn out plus the impacts of RL on some of our folks.

We are 4/5 in Mt Hyjal and 3/9 in BT. Currently we are focusing on downing Archimonde before returning to Black Temple. Our best attempt so far has been 10% on Archimonde - so we are very close to downing him. We raid once a week on Friday starting at 6pm server and going for 5 hours.

We are particularly interested in ret pallies, shamans and priests but are open to all classes.

You will need to be geared to around T5 level whether via T5, Badge or appropriate PVP gear. Experience with the Mount Hyjal fights and especially Archimonde is a plus and we we will look at experience over gear when considering applicants, so if you have an alt that you could bring that isn't the most awesomely geared but you've done these fights on your main we'll bring that under consideration. You will need to have your PVP trinket and the SR neckpiece and cloak or be willing to get them asap. The PVP trinket in particular is required.

You don't have to be a member of our guild to raid with us. You do need to have access to ventrilo but you don't have to talk if you don't want to :)

The Drunken Badger raid is chock full of mature people who know how to have fun. We use the Suicide Kings loot system with some modifications.

To apply and/or read up more on the raid and the guild visit us at our forums.

Ok recruiting post over. We return to your regularly scheduled frippery soon.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What have YOU read response

Mr Kestrel over at the Aerie has a list up responding to a question picked up by JustOneAnna of the books listed in the National Education Associations top 100. The idea is to

  • Look at the list and bold those we have read.
  • Italicize those we intend to read.
  • Underline the books we LOVE
So here's my list:

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (abriged)

The only reason I've read a lot of these is because I studied English Lit and University. Only four books on there rate as loved. I'm not really a fan of 'canon' literature. It's good to see a lot of modern authors on the list though.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

I am woman

I'm sitting here and wondering how to approach this topic in a balanced way. Mithrilina of A Girl, a Gun and a Stripey Cat recently posted on women in WoW, sharing her not so pleasant experiences of the reactions of male players to the presence of a woman in their raid. Loronar over at 35 Yards Out also posted a response. Some time ago I also read a great post by Lume on the topic.

It seems to me that the reaction of men to women in the game is directly proportional to their level of maturity. Just like real life really, boys do go through that ZOMG girls stage. I think it's probably reasonable to posit the converse - that the reaction of women to this kind of behaviour is proportional to their age and experience in real life. Because girls do go through that stage in their development of ZOMG boys too and dealing with how to react to these kinds of situations.

I feel that we women are sometimes guilty of helping reinforce these behaviours and stereotypes. What do I mean by that? Well, it's a thorny issue, but I believe that you shouldn't hide your gender. You don't have to advertise it but why refuse to talk on vent just because you're female? How is that empowered? I do understand that many women want to avoid unwanted attention in game, but then how do you deal in real life with the idiot men out there? Personally I don't hide my gender; I don't advertise it but I have no compunctions about talking on vent. If someone acts stupid I shut them down, just as I would in real life.

If you're a women and playing with a group of people who don't respect you because of your gender then you should GTFO and find a group who will. Same as in real life.

Respect anytime shouldn't be about gender, it should be about the qualities that you as a player and person bring to the table, and I believe that goes both ways.

In short, if you are a female gamer I exhort you to stand tall and proud, the best way to deal with stereotypes is to debunk them.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Bite me Archi!

Today I think I experienced the most exciting, adrenalising and ultimately frustrating moment in my WoW playing career to date. The DB raid is currently running Mt Hyjal each week, the plan being to get Archimonde sorted before we go back to Black Temple. This week we had a great run one shotting each of the first four bosses and leaving ourselves plenty of time for attempts on Archi. Things didn't go so well at first with people dying to stupid things like mistiming of their tears or clicking their PVP trinket instead of their tears or dying in the fire or running it through the melee. All very easily avoidable stuff. However on our 16th attempt everything seemed to be falling into place. As we saw his health points dropping the sense of possibility was palpable. Our previous best was 49% and now we had him down to 30.. to 20... to 10! OMG... keep going guys! Surely the cut scene action will start any second! More people die, more soul bursts.. but, but, he's at 10%!!

Yep. 10% and then everyone died. We were SO close. Next week Archi, NEXT WEEK!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Be an asset to your raid

Being part of a raid group is more than having the gear and the consumables, it's also about having the attitude. In this post I want to talk about the things you can bring to the table as a raider that can make you an asset to the group. I've posted before about what not to do as a lvl 70 raiding hunter, the raid consumables you should be carrying as a hunter, and how raid management impacts on raid success, but this post is about being a non-leader raider of any class.

Raiding is a group effort and at the higher end of the game success is dependent on everyone working as a team. As I state above, this goes beyond being geared and packing your consumables. Following is my list of things that will make you an asset to your raid. If you are new to a raid group and hoping to be taken on as a regular this list of behaviours is, in my opinion, critical to your chances of being added to the permanent roster. However, all members of the raid should demonstrate them. In the DB raid we care more about your attitude than we necessarily do about your gear. Gear can be upgraded, asshattery is often ingrained.

Pay attention
You might be enjoying looking around at the scenery of new content, you might be horsing around throwing leather balls and voodoo skulls at your fellow raiders (I'm looking at YOU Emelin) but it is critical that you pay attention to the instructions and information imparted by the raid leaderership. This information is likely to be imparted both over vent (or your voice software of choice) or via in game chat so it's important to pay attention to both. For instance, in our raid we have a specific in-game channel for the hunters where I will impart instructions so as to not clutter up vent. If you are new to the raid you should check with someone playing the same role whether there is a relevant channel that you need to join.

Follow instructions
A relevant follow on from the point above - so you paid attention, but did you retain the information? If you retained it are you going to act on it? You better. You'd didn't get invited so that you could completely ignore the instructions issued by the people leading the raid. Many boss encounters require everyone to perform their part to make the fight a success, Gruul, Magtheridon, Lady Vashj, Kael and Archimonde to name some obvious ones. It's ok to make mistakes in execution - but if you have blindly ignored what your role is in favour of what you want to do don't expect to be invited back.

You may be right, you may be wrong (you may be crazy)
You might have made in depth studies of strategies and youtube vids, you might have run it many times with a different group, but that does not automatically make you the expert on how to handle a particular fight. Which is not to say that your input is not important. Timing when you deliver that input however is. Talking over the top of the raid leader when they are communicating strategy is not the best way to endear yourself. If you have a valid point to make wait for an appropriate pause or send a tell directly to the raid leader (or your class leader). Even better - strategy discussion should take place on the forums rather than 60 seconds before the pull if at all possible. Naturally there are situations when strategy needs to be adjusted on the fly but lengthy strategy discussions are better handled in a forum. No one enjoys 20 minutes of back and forth discussion before a pull.

Raid synergy is more important than your e-peen
As a hunter maximising damage is all about sticking to a precise rotation, however that may not add anything to the group. Scorpid sting is a great dot for tough bosses and Imp Hunters Mark contributes to the melee damage as well. Similiar scenarios apply to all classes. Be prepared and willing to do what is needed to contribute to overall group synergy. Raid leaders spend time working out the best way to group players based on spec and class, so use what you've got to help the raid not just yourself. Our raid doesn't insist on specific builds based on some ideal of the best raid make up but we have been known to ask if a person will be willing to respec to assist with the raid synergy and the respec cost is carried by the guild bank. We're also open to you wanting to try out a different spec to see how it works out. Of course there are exceptions, if you're the MT with the best main tanking gear of all tanks in the raid we'll try and convince you to stay prot, at least until another tank can be geared equivalently. Ultimately we all want to down the bosses right? So it makes sense for everyone to bring everything they can to the table to make that happen.

Silence is frequently golden
This is probably a particular niggle of mine, but there is nothing more irritating than to have people going randomly on and on and on over vent especially when strategy and instructions are being communicated. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing more fun than some silly talk - but timing is everything. We also don't need to hear externalisations of every single thought running through your head during a fight. Vent should be about communicating key pieces of information. If we're on a break and you want to talk about how amazing Usain Bolt is please feel free (I mean, the guy is amazing) but when it's time to pull, game faces people!

Don't forget to pack your sense of humour
So I'm laying out all this serious stuff, because working effectively as a team is srs bsns but that doesn't mean you should park your sense of humour at the door. If you're not having fun, if you're getting uptight about wipes, this will communicate itself to the group and impact on the atmosphere of the raid. One of the things that makes my raid so enjoyable is the fun we have and the relaxed atmosphere. But remember, in relation to the points I make above - timing is everything.

Just about every item I've discussed comes down to respect in the end. It's a tenet for the real world that stands up just as well in the virtual - treat others in the way you would wish to be treated. Respect is about listening, about humility, about not pushing yourself forward to the detriment of others. Gaining respect is about being confident without being an asshat, about walking your talk and respecting others. Loot greed will not earn you respect, being new to the raid and immediately telling everyone what they are doing wrong will not earn you respect, lack of attention and unwillingness to cooperate will not earn you respect. Ultimately if anyone takes one thing away from this post I would like it to be that successful teamwork is essentially about mutual respect.

Which means of course there's a flipside too. You as a raider shouldn't put up with being treated with disrespect by your fellow raiders or the raid leadership.

*5 awesome points to those who can identify the 2 song references and the lady in the picture, seriously it's not exactly hard...

Friday, August 15, 2008

I WoW in RL

Last Friday night Em and I got to meet up with our guild raid main tank and RL friend Mogri. We hadn't caught up in person with him since back in December so we were excited to catch up for a few beers and yes, you guessed it, a lot of in person WoW talk.

We arrived at the airport to discover his flight was delayed, gah! So to pass the time we got creative *grin*. You know how you'll see those chauffeur dudes with the signs with people's names on them waiting at the arrival point? Well we borrowed some paper and a text from the currency exchange lady and made our own sign for Em to hold standing with the group of dudes (he was wearing a suit so he fit right in). Mogri got a good laugh coming down the escalator to see Em standing there holding a sign saying 'LF1M TANK'.


We then all went into the city to a pub and proceeded to have several drinks and lots of game talk. I was the responsible one who was driving so I didn't get shickered like Em and Mogri, but that meant I got to remind them both of the silly drunken things that were said the following Monday night on vent. Meeting up in RL with guildies is great fun. I hope I one day get to meet more of them. We're planning a trip to visit Mogri in Melbourne soon and our sneaky rogue friend Chia is coming along too so that's something we're looking forward to. And I won't be driving this time! Woohoo! Knock one back for a Drunken Badgers RL meet up, even if it's only four of us heh.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Pet, growl & PVP

So I've had this question rattling around in my brain lately: should I turn off Growl on my kitty in PVP? I'm reasoning yes since Growl uses 15 focus which could be more usefully allocated to Claw and therefore have been running BGs and Arenas with it turned off. The only time I am using Growl is when soloing. I thought I would do a little research to find out if I'm not being a complete noobtard and actually found something intelligent on the official Blizz forums (I know, I know, crazy right). A poster in the thread in question also provides a handy tip which I had never thought of:

Growl works against other pets in PVP.

You can manually trigger Growl to force another pet to attack yours. Then you can send the pet to attack another enemy player. That will drag the enemy pet away from you until the enemy hunter or warlock tells it to attack you again.

It can save you from a lot of damage if the enemy hunter/warlock isn't paying attention.
I've been meaning to set up a growl macro for, well, ages and here is an excellent incentive to do so, not disregarding squishie saving requirements in PVE. So, what should the macro look like? Time for more research! The macro I like the look of best is one in the comments of a BRK post which looks like this:

/petautocastoff [nomodifier] Growl
/petautocaston [modifier:Shift] Growl

Time to set one up methinks.

Maybe also time to set up a macro to turn on Aspect of the Monkey and cast Wingclip for those unfortunately unavoidable melee moments too.

Anyone able to recommend any good PVP specific macros?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Orcs are amazingly virile

I'm a self contained person generally. I think it's due to spending all that time out in the wilderness. Just my faithful animal companion and I, stalking our prey through a landscape devoid of the trappings of civilisation.

I'd like to use unfamiliarity with the ways of town folk to try and explain my naivety, my gaucheness perhaps. I don't think I can though. I can't find any real reason to excuse my recent behaviour and I'm not one to accept paltry excuses, Sephiroh knows that very well. Oh dear, I wonder if she has heard. The speed with which insidious rumours spread throughout the city is almost incomprehensible. I need to shield her from such perfidy. Hah, there I go with excuses again, truly it is myself I wish to shield and my good name. If I have such a thing anymore.

It all started with what should have been, as is usual for me, a brief visit to Shattrath to replenish my supplies. As is my wont I had stepped into the Worlds End tavern to meet with my, well I shouldn't call him a fence, but let us just say a person whom I know that has connections with many of the powerful denizens of the city, shadowy figures who will pay well for my gem cutting skills in order to retain their anonymity. While I disapprove of such underhanded behaviour my purse is often grateful for it.

I had taken my usual seat in a dim corner of the tavern, sipping the ale I had been served and quietly observing the behaviour of the wretched regulars as I waited somewhat impatiently for my contact to arrive. He was late and I was feeling out of sorts, perhaps that was why I had drained my drink before long and ordered another which rapidly arrived at the hands of the grinning barkeep. I intended to nurse this one but for some reason the tavern was filling, and the heat of many bodies crushed into so small a space only increased my thirst. I believe the somewhat ripe Tauren warrior at the next table over increased my interest in keeping my nose deep in a pot of ale. There really is nothing like the taste of a good beer. The other kal'dorei may turn their noses at what they consider my uncouth tastes but they have clearly never enjoyed a refreshing pot of dwarven stout after an arduous journey. But I digress.

I was still waiting but the beer had relaxed me somewhat and I saw little harm in one or two more. After all if I can hold my own against ogres surely there would be nothing to threaten me in a crowded bar. Foolish! The greatest threat to me was surely myself. Sometime later, I'm not sure how long I admit, indeed the events of the rest of the evening are increasingly hazy in my memory, I noticed a commotion around the stage like area against the back wall. Curious I made my way, a little unsteadily, forward. As the lights dimmed the crowd hushed; a sense of excitement was palpable in the air. I pushed my way further foward, apologising absent mindedly to the gnome I had inadvertently almost stepped on.

Suddenly there was a terrific burst of light and a loud explosion and the tavern building itself began to vibrate. The stage had suddenly become occupied by a motley group who were the creators of a wall of sound that simply overwhelmed me. The people around me began to dance and cheer and I found myself swept up in their excitement, dancing and cheering myself in a most unbecoming fashion, all my inhibitions swept aside in the wake of the many draughts I had consumed.

I remember little from this point onwards. I'm embarrassed to admit it. Certain moments stand out with startling clarity. I seem to recall dancing on one of the tables, of calling for more beer. Of being caught in the embrace of the orc leader of this band who almost crushed me with the strength of his arms. I remember that the green of his skin was closely matched by the green of his eyes which crinkled in amusement at me. Everything else is a blur. The next thing I remember is waking with pounding head and parched throat. I must have made it back to the lodgings I share with Sephiroh but I have no idea how! Oh I am so ashamed. What would my mother say.