Monday, 24 January 2011

"Elder Churel"

Well it's about time I got my Priestess a title and she is now has the 'Elder' title thanks to completing the achievement To Honor One's Elders. Yes, it's Lunar Festival time in WoW. When I think back to what I was doing this time last year, playing World of Warcraft wasn't even on the horizon, I was frantically planning my Wedding! My awesome Order of Service.

The achievement is earned by completing:

Both of which are very easy to complete in the allocated time. I found putting the firecrackers onto a button saved a bit of time without having to click them.

Once again, straightforward, Omen can be summoned by firing rocket clusters, but since it was busy, someone else summoned him, and he went down very easily, I chucked out a few heals but they really weren't needed. I then returned to Valadar Starsong in Nighthaven for the achievement.

Again, nothing taxing, it's just slow going. Obviously having a flying mount makes it so much easier, I imagine in the previous years prior to Cataclysm, it would be an even longer slog. There are 17 Elders you have to visit. Of course, with speaking to Elders in Alliance areas you just need to keep aware, but I had no issues whatsoever.

Similar to the Eastern Kingdoms achievement, lots of time flying around except this time there are 21 Elders to visit.

As the achievement suggests, it requires visiting 3 Elders of the Horde which can be found in Orgrimmar, Thunder Bluff and Undercity.

18 Elders to be found scattered around the frozen wasteland.

There are 13 dungeon Elders. The only one that has to be done Heroic is Gundrak. I did the dungeons with my husband, a warrior tank, and I healed. Although we took very little damage and I was mostly doing DPS than healing. Easily solo-able at level 85. Some of the dungeons require you to kill a couple of bosses, but we found that most of the time we could creep around unnoticed.

Definitely the most fun of all the Lunar Festival achievements to get:
We started with Stormwind City because we felt it was the easiest one to get. Its outside the gates, so it was just a case of keeping an eye out for any patrolling guards or Alliance players who thought they could take us out. We got this one without any problems whatsoever, and no-one attacked.

Darnassus was a little bit trickier to achieve because I had no idea how to get there, I got killed by guards, but after resurrecting at the spirit healer found I was in exactly the right place. A sneaky Warlock did try to take us on...but the husband and I soon dealt with that.

I was dreading Ironforge because I knew it was inside the fortress. We devised a plan...we flew to the gates of Ironforge really high up and then dive bombed under the gates and then flew as high up as possible until we got to the main area, we turned left and flew directly to the Elder, we did aggro guards, but they were dealt with and we hearthed home. We did have some Alliance player spectators, 

but they didn't attack, probably only because they were fairly low level. They probably thought the guards would finish us off, but with Nuad tanking and dealing damage and myself healing...they didn't stand a chance.

Really easy to achieve as all the Elders give a coin when they are visited.

Again really straightforward, the vendor is in Nighthaven, and it costs 5 Coins of Ancestry. It was the last achievement we had left to get before earning To Honor One's Elders.

All in all, the achievements are fairly easy and straightforward to get without getting into too much danger, as long as you are willing to spend alot of time flying around, as more than anything the achievement is just time consuming.

- Elder Churel 

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The WoW Community

Following on from my last post, where I made some comments about no longer being happy with my UI, I received a number of suggestions from people as to what would be a better alternative, but one person in particular, who I don't personally know offered to help from WOW! This Game is Hard!

Now we follow each other on twitter, I read his website, and have him in my links, and he returns the favour, but he offered despite living on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean and having a time difference of 5 hours to talk to me on vent and help me completely reset my UI.

We talked back and forth, and finally met on vent last night and he spent a good couple of hours talking me through every single part of the setup. (I did cheat and get my husband to actually do it for me though!)

It has completely shocked me how welcoming, friendly and helpful the WoW community of players are in general. I started blogging my way through the game and started a Twitter account, and despite not blogging about anything of any use in-game, people are still reading this, still commenting, and still helping. I can post a question on twitter and within minutes have half a dozen answers to my query, but I never expected that someone, would give up hours of their time to help a complete stranger, and a new player.

I have to say that I am extremely grateful to this guy for helping me out! I took all his suggestions and then tweaked things to suit me. I haven't had a chance to run an instance yet with the new setup, but I'm really looking forward to it, now that things are so much calmer on my screen. I'm sure it will take some time to get used to, but it will definitely benefit me in the long run!

So without further ado, here is the unveiling of my new UI. I will make sure to get some shots of it in action too, and Thanks once again Gramaton!

Monday, 17 January 2011

Weekly Round-Up

Well, it feels like a while since I have been able to do a round up of the events in WoW of the past week, and that was due to a bit of stagnation within the game. That's all changed now, and once again this blog can be a hive of activity.

Obviously the massive change of the past week was the new guild, and I can say without doubt that it was the best decision for us, but I have talked about that enough times now.

Well it's been a week of heroics, I have finally got under my belt: Lost City, Halls of Origination, Stonecore, Deadmines, Shadowfang Keep, Blackrock Caverns and the final boss of Grim Batol. I've still got to run Vortex Pinnacle and Throne of the Tides and I'm picking up heroic upgrades as I go along. I especially love being a Holy Priestess in the first boss fight of Shadowfang Keep against Baron Ashbury when everyone has their health reduced during Asphyxiate. Afterwards once his heal has ticked a couple of times I can use Prayer of Mending, Circle of Healing, Prayer of Healing and Holy Word: Sanctuary, not to mention a Lightwell and then concentrate on tank healing and as long as I'm careful can manage the fight without running out of mana.

I really need to spend some time sorting out my UI because it's a bit hectic, but I like X-Perl because I can see people's health bars etc and find it easy to assess their damage. I tried Grid recently but found it difficult to assess how much damage people were taking. If anyone has any tips/advice about clearing up my UI or a better add-on to use than Xperl, I would love to hear it.

Hold on tight I feel a rant coming on...LIGHTWELL. I now have 2 macros I use where lightwell is concerned. I have one I use at the start of a PuG which explains the virtues of lightwell which are:

  • It can be clicked at range.
  • It doesn't change your current target.
  • It can still be used even when you are: Stunned, Sapped, Casting, Running, Feared, Falling and Eating.
  • The effect is only cancelled when you receive an attack which is equal to 30% of your total health.
  • It lasts for 3 minutes and since I have it glyphed, 15 charges.
Its so incredibly useful when I have to focus on tank healing, and why I have to shout at people to use it is beyond my comprehension...because yes, my second lightwell macro, is reminding people to 'PLEASE CLICK THE LIGHTWELL!'

So that macro goes out and then the DPS do something stupid, instead of staying where they are and clicking the lightwell they run over to it and practically stand on top of it and then run off again...why? I always take care to place it within reach of everyone. So I have taken it upon myself that all people playing WoW need to know exactly how a lightwell works, because it makes my life easier and helps keep 'you' alive. Got it? Good.

Now that I've got that off my chest I can get back to rounding off the week.

Last night after running a couple of instances, Nuad and I decided that we would run heroic Culling of Stratholme for the Bronze Drake mount. Between us we did it easily and Nuad let me roll for the mount, and we plan on running it again very soon so he can get it too. I'm also waiting for my 6th Oracles egg to hatch hoping to get the Green Drake mount. I've had the companion pet 3 times, but still no luck with the drake. Hoping I will get lucky soon though.

Its also been a week for raising reputations, I got exalted with Earthen Ring so I could buy Flamebloom Gloves. My next reputation grind is with Therazane in order to buy Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone.

Last but not least, thanks must be mentioned to people on Twitter and people in Drama who solved my 'haste or critical strike rating?' query. Haste it is and I've made sure that yellow gem slots contain Quick Amberjewel for +40 Haste and when I'm not reforging Spirit, I am reforging haste at the moment until I reach about 12.5% when buffed. I'd also like to get around 2500 spirit. This is how things are currently looking: Click for my Armory
Once again, any advice and tips would be greatly appreciated. I am still learning having only played a few months but I'm using this as my friend.

So that is my week in-game folks, as usual would love to hear your comments.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Patience and fortitude conquer all things

Yesterday I ran heroic Halls of Origination for the first time with some members of the new guild. I had initially only logged on to take a screenshot of the outside of Orgrimmar for a blog post when they asked me to heal. I remembered saying to them that if they could "put up with my healing" then I would be happy to do the run.

As the loading screen for Halls of Origination loaded up I thought..."oh no." It wasn't my first attempt at the instance but I have never made it past the first boss. We had tried all sorts of different methods of pulling those damn levers. Two players going either side or everyone going one side then the other. I dropped a lightwell at the top of the stairs, hoping that players would click as they ran back to the boss and prayed...and chucked out a few heals and to my amazement we got one go.

We moved on and as we arrived at Earthrager Ptah I decided to try to get the achievement 'Straw That Broke the Camel's Back' which is achieved by defeating the boss whilst sat on a camel. Not hard you may say, but I discovered thanks to a guildie that I wouldn't be able to use my Shadowfiend for mana purposes if I used a camel. I enjoy using the camel in that fight on normal because I can cast spells whilst running around that normally require me to stand still. Anyway, we beat the boss on the first attempt, I got the achievement and better than all of that, despite not being able to use my pet and bearing in mind I'd never got to this boss on heroic mode I had full mana! Now I don't doubt that the reason I had full mana was due to the superior playing skills of the guild group, but it still felt good that I had kept everyone at almost full health and had full mana. I know my mana pool is not the best at the moment but I'm working on that!

The rest of the bosses went in a blur, one DPS died twice, but other than that there were no wipes and it felt amazing to have beaten  Heroic Halls of Origination in one go on what was essentially my first attempt.

I cannot praise the guildies enough for such a smooth and uneventful run.

Later on that day, my husband who is now playing a Tank logged on and we set to run heroic Stonecore. Now I had healed previously heroic stonecore but have no doubts that the guildies carried me through that. Stonecore has a lot of mechanics that need to be mastered for a straightforward run and as it was Nuad's first time in there as heroic and it had been a long time since we had run it on normal, the inevitable happened. we wiped, over and over again whilst the guild group patiently explained what needed doing, they offered constructive advice and never once moaned, whinged or shouted about the wipes. Two hours later, and after resetting following a bug with a wipe on Slabhide we finally beat the instance. We couldn't have done it without the patience and calmness of the guild members.

"Patience is waiting. Not passively waiting. That is laziness. But to keep going when the going is hard and slow - that is patience," and Drama, have it in bucket loads.

Thanks Guys and Girls! :)

Friday, 14 January 2011

I'm Feeling Fine

So I'm pinching the idea for this post from here, and as the writer suggests, a month into cataclysm is the perfect time to look at how we feel.

This video used the REM song It's The End Of The World As We Know It and until very recently I wasn't enjoying Cataclysm.

Anyone who knows me can confirm, me and the prospect of change don't go hand in hand.

  • I hated the fact that abilities and talents changed - WTF Chakra? (I actually cried about chakra! yes I am 23 years old and I cried, and now its my go-to all the time) 
  • I was frustrated with the changes in Orgrimmar
  • Found all dungeons too hard, 
  • Dismayed at the fact that I had 24 hours at level 80 before the grind to level to the cap started again but...

I soon grew to love the changes, the new places: Mount HyjalVashj'irUldumDeepholm and Twilight Highlands are fantastic. Uldum is my favourite, and surprisingly, although I didnt like the Twilight Highlands at first, I actually think its my second favourite now, although that is probably due to the cut scenes with Deathwing.

Within a couple of weeks I grew comfortable with the new abilities of my class, and having fun with Leap of Faith (although I think my husband would disagree) There is a great comic here!

SHANNON: Man thats going to be the most abused spell ever
AMUL: I know right? That's why they are giving it to us Holy Priests. You know, for safe keeping.

As I levelled and gear got better the dungeons became easier, I can now get through most of the normal 85 dungeons without loosing all my mana, even managing some bosses without falling below 85% and now that I have changed guilds and feeling happier and more confident - heroics don't seem out of reach, they feel challenging and difficult but that's how they should be according to Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street on his blog entry Wow, Dungeons are Hard!

It's taken literally weeks, but I finally know my way around Orgrimmar - just about, and conclude that it looks so much better than before.

So one month into Cataclysm and I certainly am feeling fine I just hope it continues!

Which changes do you like/dislike? please comment below :)

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.

Over the past few weeks, myself and my husband have been thinking hard about our guild, and how the game was feeling in general. I've been honest that I have been falling out of love with the game, feeling that running heroic instances were unachievable, finding the grind for reputation dull, feeling I would never get to raid (which is after all the main reason I get to that point. To experience people working in perfect unison) and ultimately losing confidence in my ability play, and feeling I must be a complete failure at healing.

I cant even count how many times my guild tried to run heroics, and after countless wipes we would decide to try an 'easier' instance, only to continue wiping. We weren't even getting close to completing a run.

I wasn't sure what the problem was, I felt like the wipes were my responsibility because I am the healer, it made me frustrated because I knew I was trying my absolute hardest - I know that I still have a lot to learn, but I feel that whilst I may not yet be the best healer, I'm not the worst either. Perhaps the issue was becoming a lack of confidence. Unfortunately the DPS in the runs we were doing wasn't the best. We were getting between 3k-8k, the fights were going on too long and because of that, they were becoming more difficult and I was running out of mana. The people in our guild, were really lovely people, but at the end of the day the DPS was just not high enough.

Perhaps another part of the problem was my lack of patience. My husband said to me that eventually the DPS will improve, and I did see some massive improvement, he also said to me that I should give people a chance, just like people had given me a chance. I felt I did this, I don't know much about other classes, but I tried to be helpful, we directed them to places to read up on their abilities, and my husband offered other constructive advice, but the fact of the matter is this: I started playing, in order to level up my character in the hope that eventually I would be able to raid with my husband and guild members. He's told me about what a hard, but enjoyable time raiding is, and the feeling you get after achieving what you set out to achieve. I've worked hard within the game to get to where I am. Everyday I look out for new posts on blogs and forums that will enable me to become a better player, I look up people on the armory, who I know are great players and constantly strive to make myself better, and yet I feel that if I can do that, why cant people spend a few minutes just looking up their appropriate stats or trying a new rotation and it was that frustration that made me take my next decision.

My husband has played WoW for a long time, he has created good friends within the game and has been involved with numerous guilds before. When he started chatting in-game to a friend who is a guild master of a successful guild, one that we belonged to when I first started playing...I began to ask myself if sticking with our guild was the best plan. It was me who made us leave our original guild in the first place because I felt the members of that guild would be laughing at my newness, of course they weren't (although maybe they were a bit, and who could blame them?). But after the time that has passed I feel more confident now, and felt that being in a guild like that would be the best option for us. I can get advice on what I need to do to improve, and my love for the game will come back.

So we decided to quit our guild we had built from scratch. It was bitter sweet. Some of the members of our guild are brilliant and friendly people, and I couldn't help but think, does it really matter if I can't do what I want to do in game because they are really nice and decent people? But, it doesn't work like that. Its not real life and I play WoW to have fun, not to be stressed and frustrated. Quitting the guild has done wonders for my confidence. We have been in the new guild about 24 hours and I've already gained the confidence to do 3 heroic pugs. We did the Deadmines and I got the achievements Ready for Raiding, and I'm on a Diet we wiped twice in the entire run, unfortunately the tank decided to quit after our second wipe which was at the final boss so I didn't get the chance to complete it. I did Grim Batol and got the achievement Don't Need to Break Eggs to make an Omelet, and Lost City of the Tol'vir. I had attempted Lost City with a guild run but it became impossible to kill the first boss General Husam due to the amount of bombs that littered the floor because the fight took so long. Doing it as a pug I barely noticed the difference in that fight.

Then I took the plunge and offered to heal for a guild run with the new guild on a random heroic. I think I offered without even thinking about it... I was feeling confident after my successful Grim Batol and Deadmines run. I've always been in awe of these people and felt inadequate, they are already raiding and they are very experienced having played for a long time. It was my first attempt at heroic Stonecore"were they feeling as frustrated with my healing that I felt with the DPS in my own guild?" I will take on board constructive criticism and tips on how to improve...afterall, I want to be the best player I can be.

So did we do the right thing in moving guilds? without doubt. In a space of 24 hours I've completed 4 heroics that I had tried to do for weeks with my own guild.  Am I enjoying WoW again? Absolutely. Do I have a lot to learn? Definitely, and even though I am only a social member of the new guild, so raiding isn't an option for me, I know that once I have spent the time earning reputations for new gear, equipping heroic gear and improving my skills, I will be raiding much sooner than I would be in my own guild.

the new guild tabard:

The new guild I joined can be found on Blade's Edge EU and is called Drama.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

True to form, we never talked about not talking

So a few of my guildies have decided that now is the time to get chatting to each other in the game through Ventrilo in the hopes that running heroics will be easier if the healer (me) can shout "get out of the fire" rather than attempt to type it and therefore in my slowness that person dies...great plan I thought!

So the other night I downloaded vent and although I didn't have a microphone I could hear all that was being said and got really enthusiastic about how great it will be to talk, so the following day being Saturday, I made my husband promise me we would go into town and buy headsets...we did and they are great.

Now, I'm not a quiet person as I'm sure my husband will tell you and having worked part time when I was younger in a call centre and spent pretty much all my life on stage, I'm not afraid of headsets and microphones.

I spent the whole of yesterday excited about getting the microphones set up and it working, and then when it came to actually speak to my guildies, I managed 'hello' and that was it. Something clicked in me and I suddenly was overcome with a nervousness and shyness that I never expected.

When I first started playing WoW, for a short time my character was in a  very good guild that were my husband's friends and I felt awkward, I felt like I couldn't say anything because I thought they would laugh at my newness and as soon as I could I pleaded with my husband that we leave that guild because "everyone is laughing at me behind my back" they weren't, of course they weren't but I felt self-conscious and lacking confidence. Over the last couple of months that has changed. I'm confident in my abilities as a healer, and due to spending hours online I feel like I'm fairly well geared and my stats are what they should be or close enough, and I can keep people alive without going OOM, but being faced to actually speak to people that belong to my guild, I have those same feelings again. I am new to the game, how can I possibly lead people? and the massive hurdle to overcome? what if I say something really stupid?

I think overtime, just like my guild fear, this one will also go away... however, this time I'm not going to run away like I did before. I'm going to try really hard to conquer my fear.
If anyone has any tips or remember how you felt the first time you used vent I would love to hear them!

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

2011 brings a lack of love for WoW

Firstly, I'll apologise for the lack of posts recently. I have been AFK during the Christmas period due to family commitments and in-game not much has been done, and the guild has been quiet - most likely for the same reasons there has been missing posts on this blog.

So what have I been doing in game? well, running normal level 85 dungeons for reputation. I've recently managed to get my rep up with Guardians of Hyjal in order to get a new epic belt Cord of the Raven Queen which is lovely, and I've added a belt buckle to give me an extra gem socket. and I'm currently working on Earthen Ring for Cloak of Ancient Wisdom (it has no spirit but not come across anything better?) and Flamebloom Gloves. Ideally I'd like to earn exalted with every Cataclysm faction. Now I've got decent blues, and reforged and enchanted, I'm finding normal 85's great fun.

Trouble is, I'm finding not a lot of cloth healer items - not many items on quartermasters have spirit, am I missing something very obvious? I am reforging spirit, but still a little disappointed!

I've also discovered a new found love for battlegrounds. When I first started playing WoW I was very much against PvP, honestly, it scared me but I've found them to be fun and relaxed and my battleground tactics are to try and hide behind something or stay far enough away that alliance players don't try to beat me up but I can still heal. I've found Prayer of Mending is my favourite spell in the battleground as is Holy Word: Sanctuary and Mass Dispel, if people are particularly annoying I stick my Shadowfiend on them. I even got the courage to carry the flag in Eye of the Storm, which was a massive thing for me, I picked it up, put my shield on me and ran and prayed that I wouldn't get attacked en route. I didn't. I earned the achievement Storm Capper and we also won... I'm not saying that  won the battleground for everyone...but I definitely feel like I played my part, and since I'm not concerned about PvP gear (because its just a bit of fun for me) I've spent my points on mounts :) I've even managed to get a few killing blows using Shadow Word: Death and all we need is to kill a Human Hunter for the guild achievement, Alliance Slayer.

But, honestly, I'm not enjoying the game at the moment. I'm finding heroics just too hard, and I don't know what I can do about it. I'm trying my best to heal effectively, I'm looking up the stats I should have and feeling pretty comfortable with my haste and spirit and other stats, getting a good amount of critical hits resulting in free heals, but people seem to take so much damage that I cant heal as quick as their damage and then we wipe, and wipe and wipe. Don't get me wrong, I expect to go into a heroic and wipe a few times, but its stressful and not fun anymore and that's why I am spending more time in a battleground than a dungeon. I have even re-learnt my talents in order to get Lightwell. Ive made two macros and I will be using it, and those who don't click it shall be feeling my wrath, never mind the Lich King's!

I hope beyond hope that when we start running guild heroics, which we are planning now Christmas is over that they will be more bearable and hopefully more entertaining with a bit a banter and chat and not so much pressure. Until then, I'm not sure how much activity this blog will see. My new year resolution is to fall back in love with the game, because at the moment I'd rather be experimenting with baking different kinds of  bread in my new bread maker (a Christmas present from the in-laws) than healing in a dungeon...and that is just seriously wrong!