Mages, ten-man raiding, and other things that are awesome.

Archive for January, 2011

Pugging Pally Tries To Be Bossy Pally

“Gogogogo,” the druid chanted. “We ready let’s go!”

Having just respecced and refilled my mana, I threw out buffs as the DK tank hurled himself headlong at the first group of trash in Stonecore. With a sinking feeling I quickly put Beacon on him and sprinted after. Fifteen seconds later, we all lay dead.

“Rez me,” the same druid said in party chat as the rest of us gathered up again at the entrance. “Rez!”

I’m reminded me of something Redbeard said to me last week, that throughout the course of pugging to level 80 he saw me change. I asked him if he meant it made me jaded. “No,” he’d replied. “Experienced.” He’s right. This pugging pally doesn’t take crap.

“No,” I said to the druid. “You can run back like the rest of us did.”

“Come on, rez me,” he said again.

“Or we could just kick you,” one of the three DKs responded. Obligingly, I pulled up the vote to kick window. Reason: “Won’t run back like everyone else,” I typed.

The vote passed and we stared down the same trash again.

The previous night I had felt like I might lose my supper just at the prospect of pugging. I carefully read through all the paladin changes I’d missed, set up my keybinds (Vuhdo seemed to have forgotten them) and made sure I knew what to cast when, and why. Then, telling myself that I needed to discover the instance entrances – I promptly went Retribution and didn’t even glance at the LFD window. When I finally went to pug, I first asked Voss if he would tank a few normals for me. Rusty, new-to-Cataclysm healing paladin did not want to inflict herself on pugs just yet.

Vid's return coincided with some painting experiments I've been doing. It's not super but it was good practice.

Now I had a few instances under my belt, including Stonecore – but Voss had been tanking it. This tank had the same HP I have as a holy paladin. And as Redbeard had observed, I was not the same paladin I had been. I started putting up raid icons.

“We attack him first, and these guys need to have whatever CC is available. Even a Cyclone would help.” The obliging moonkin that had pugged in to replace the other moonkin agreed. We managed to limp through that trash pack and proceeded at a more cautious pace.

“Which are the ones that do the exploding thing?” the tank asked.

I marked one for him and told him,”It’s the Earthshapers.” Each pull was a bit easier, but they were still intense and mana-draining. It was all going well until the last pull before the boss – the tank, feeling confident, no doubt – ran ahead and pulled the last group while I was still drinking. He died a horrible death but we managed to finish the trash regardless. Old Vid might have just said nothing or apologized. This Vid said, “Those pulls are really tough on my mana, so please make sure I’m with you before you pull again because I’ll probably be drinking.” The tank didn’t do that again.

I don’t know if it’s a question of design or what, but it seems inherently wrong to me that a boss fight should feel like a relief after trash pulls. The crystally worm guy went down without any problems and we moved on to the fun Quake-trash. Here there were some more lessons to be had. “Try not to stand in front of them while they’re flaying,” I told the melee with a smiley. We dodged Slabhide’s stalactite gauntlet without any problems and killed Slabhide himself similarly. (Note to self: Next time throw a raid marker up on the tank. One worgen looks much like another).

The next hallway of trash was impressively orderly. The only misstep we had was when we accidentally pulled a pack of mobs prematurely by way of a Stonecore Sentry. Again, I think firestanding inclinations were not helping my mana situation and I was drinking heavily after each pull. I feel like I really have to re-learn how to be a paladin – how to manage my mana and get it back when I have to. I guess this is something that will come with time, research, and some more experience. Soon we reached Ozruk, and I began to brace myself. The heroic version of this boss is often a complete nightmare for a number of reasons. How would his normal version stack up with my much lesser-geared tank?

It was pretty intense. I think it would have been entirely manageable if 1) the tank had managed to avoid Shatter, or 2) the two melee DPS had managed to avoid Shatter, or 3) both of the above. As it was, my mana was not a happy camper, the tank damage began to be more than I could heal through. It was like with each successive Shatter I could feel things slipping more and more out of my control until finally they went splat. If you want a better metaphor, imagine someone juggling and they throw one ball just a bit too far forward, so they unconsciously move forward to compensate, and all of the balls move just a bit more forward, and in a matter of seconds they’re falling to the floor. It was like that. Astoundingly a last gasp of emergency healing on myself and the remaining DK managed to finish Ozruk off and I was able to rez the rest of the party.

“Without so much Shatter damage on everyone I think that might have been okay,” I told them, and apologized to the tank. One DK said that lag had made it hard for him. I don’t know how hard it is since I’m not dodging Shatters, so he gets a benefit of the doubt pass. I know they’re adding more time to dodge these on heroic, I’m not sure how that applies to normal, but the boss was down and we were that much closer to victory.

We killed the large packs of cultists as we headed towards High Priestess Azil without much happening of note – except that one of the DPS death knights pulled aggro on the second to last pack and died. I tried to make light of it, “Haha tanking didn’t work out for you so well that time,” but the DK didn’t say anything. Apparently there were rising tensions here that I hadn’t been aware of. I knew the aggro situation had been a bit sketchy, but I assume it was because – well, much of the trash is tricky.

Our first attempt on Azil we wiped horribly, spectacularly. The adds were all over the place, many of them were on me, and the ones that weren’t were on the DKs. DPS overall on Azil was slow – probably because we’d all been scrambling around like chickens with our heads cut off. As we all started to run back (nobody was about to drop group just at the end of the instance, not after the time we’d put in) the tank spoke up in party chat. “DPS really needs to pick it up.”

“Tanking needs to seriously pick it up,” one of the DKs retorted, “And get some tank gear and learn how to get aggro.”

I began to reply when the moonkin beat me to it, “Guys, let’s stop the blame game,” he said. I erased what I’d been about to say and retyped.

“I agree, we just need to manage adds a bit better and I know I can do better too,” I added. I asked Voss (who was sitting nearby) what he thought. Maybe he’d have some insights, obviously I’ve never tanked it myself. He told me that getting aggro on all the adds can be tough, and that I could help out by always situating myself so that the adds go into the void zones. I know that having someone looking over your shoulder might not work for everyone, but it definitely helped me to have him there as we initiated the next pull. If this is a question of not just getting out of void zones but also positioning yourself strategically near them – then clearly I had to learn to do better.

“Now go on the other side of that one,” Voss said, “OK great, now move back towards the other.” Since I was the one drawing them towards me with passive aggro, carefully watching my position (while keeping the rest of the party in range) helped tremendously. Perhaps the DPS gave the tank more time to pick up the adds, too, I’m not sure. The end result was that we got a few Justice points, we killed a boss, and then went our separate ways. Success!

I can’t exactly say either “It was a horrible pug,” or “What an awesome pug.” Over the past few days I’ve healed quite a few Cataclysm instances. I’ve run BRC a number of times (druid and paladin), Throne of the Tides (once, as a druid) and Stonecore three times (only as a paladin). I’m tempted to say that this pug was typical for a pug right now from what I’ve seen.

Keep in mind, I have barely scraped the surface of Cataclysm pugging before now and I can’t comment on heroic pugs at all. I have been blessedly enjoying the company of my guildies in that regard. So I am late to the party to observe this – but the complete paradigm shift is astounding. The default mode for Wrath pugs – silent, but largely effective – is dead. I spent a BRC run giving a brief explanation of each boss, because someone said they hadn’t been there. Perhaps there will be a point where pugs will know all of a dungeon’s quirks and foibles and can effortlessly, silently clear one – but that’s not the case just yet. A pug that does not communicate is going to fail, even if that communication is just raid markers and an understanding that “Moon” means “Sheep” (you know it does).

Enter the Slightly Bossy Paladin (I’m not the original, and of course I play my paladin for fun as a sideline). I spent most of levels 15-80 generally going along with a group, healing them, asking for time to drink when necessary. I’ve never been “the dungeon guide,” or purveyor of strats. But if it means the difference between success and failure, then by gosh that is what I’m going to do. I don’t know if I leave group and these guys are thinking to themselves, “Man, that paladin just wouldn’t shut up.” I won’t tell people what to do if they seem to know what’s what. But I also won’t stand idly by while repair bills add up simply because a pug doesn’t want to type a few lines into party chat. The days of the quickie runs are over. It’s not as if pugs can’t coordinate their actions just like a guild can when running together. It’s that we’re all unknown quantities, and that didn’t used to matter, but now it really does. Will the mage Polymorph (and maintain) his polymorph reliably? Can the paladin brute force heal through trash packs that pummel the entire party with incredible amounts of damage? Does the tank have enough mitigation and health to do his job – will he use his cool-downs? These are all things that matter.

The end result is that pugs are no longer a really effective way to level, and I’m going to be doing some more questing. It’s good experience, but not good XP, if you know what I mean. I’ll be very interested to see how things proceed as Vid levels. She’s sitting at 83 now and has many more normals ahead of her before I’ll be looking at heroics (and when I do, despite my newfound pug assertiveness, I hope to do it with guildies). It’s not you, pugs, it’s me. Actually I lied, it’s kind of you in a “none of my dear readers” kind of way, because I’m sure all of you would be awesome in a pug. Better than I am, for sure – I kept forgetting to use my magical paladin wings. For shame!

Social Members, Raiding Guilds

Occasionally as a guild leader or “management” member of any group of WoW-folks, you’re faced with some tough decisions. Sometime last year our guild had to grapple with the question of social members – would we have them, and under what circumstances? Should we have them?

Historically, the guild had a few social members. These were invariably people who had once been raiders that were unable to raid for one reason or another. When I first joined there was an assorted group of these, some of them that no one in the guild could remember raiding, but they were still “around.” Some guilds might have almost nothing but social members, or just “members,” but when you’re a focused raiding guild there is usually going to be a necessary division.

Almost all the screenshots I have with guildies are from raids! This one happens to feature our nifty battle standard.

For us, social members have always been a bit of a grey area, sometimes presenting a conundrum. The social members we’ve had have come in three different flavours: 

Social With A Side of Raiding (Someday)

Our first two members like this wanted to join although we had no raiding spots. This is one of the biggest difficulties of being a small, “exclusive” kind of guild. Since we focus on ten mans and don’t want to run two simultaneous groups, we have to be very careful of roster bloat. Too many raiders means people are benched too frequently. Not enough will lead to burn-out. I actually famously (and regrettably) turned down a resto druid and her hunter friend because our roster simply didn’t have the room for them. The druid was so determined that our guild was the best fit for her that she farmed up the copper to send me an in-game message asking me to reconsider and reassuring me that they would be happy to just be social until such time as a need arose for them on the roster. Note – this kind of tenacity does have the potential to make a guild reconsider your application. She impressed me – we let them in.

Less than a week later, in a strange twist of fate, we had roster turnover and suddenly needed a healer and a DPS. Because we’d considered the two of them including the merits of their skills as raiders, this was fine. They stepped in seamlessly and are still valuable members to this day. I’m happy it worked out the way it did.

It’s a rare person that’s going to want to join a guild just to warm the bench, though – most people applying to a raiding guild are going to want to raid. If you admit people as socials with intent to raid, you still have to evaluate their personality, gear, logs, experience and knowledge. Recruiting is work, interviewing takes time, and this could be time wasted if the people don’t actually raid with you – or if you decide not to admit them after all the time spent reviewing their application.

Raiders Gone Social

This is liable to be a common category in most guilds, no matter the size. Life has a way of sneaking up on people and bludgeoning them – life changes like children, a move, or a new job can make a formerly convenient raiding schedule impossible. I’ve never seen any need to not keep and value these people – you usually know them from raiding so they are friends, and having more people in the guild keeps things lively. They can still run five-mans with other guildies when they have time, or just chat.

In some cases, these folks may want to raid again at some later date. Once a raider has “stepped down” from the roster we require that they re-apply to join raids. This is for us the only fair way because roster needs may have completely changed. There may not be room for that person, or they may have a different schedule. Re-applying proves that they are serious about raiding again, it can help to answer scheduling questions, and it acts as a tangible sign of commitment. We might even interview if the situation called for it – say, for example, if many guildies didn’t know the person from previously, or if they intended to play a different character.

Because nothing says "friend" like getting your buddy stuck on a Sandbox Tiger, laughing at his distress, and then posting screenshots for all the people on the internet to see.

Just Social, Please

We’ve had poor luck with purely social members who applied that way. After some discussion about this last summer, we did have a few folks (friends of mine) join briefly, but often alts on other servers are played infrequently, and so although they were awesome people (hey guys!) most of the guildies didn’t know who they were. This is a bit awkward for everyone involved, sort of like giving a friend a key to your shared home but not being home when they drop by and let themselves in. With such a small group of people, it can be jarring to have new folks joining and if personalities don’t gel, someone has to go. (Hint: It can’t be one of the raiding members we depend on, and this leads to awkwardness all around). We did decide that we’d take social members on the good recommendation of a current member – so if your good friend wants to join and you’ll vouch for him, then sure, but again it’s provisional. Just as we have a trial period for all raiders, we consider any new member in the same light.

Another really bizarre example of a “just social” member came after a disgruntled former member created an alias for himself, played a different character, and re-applied to the guild…as if he were a completely different person. Honestly, I can’t make this stuff up. I don’t know if we’re too trusting or just plain gullible, but he put on a convincing enough voice for the vent interview that we actually let him in. It wasn’t an easy decision, as several members rightly asked, “If he doesn’t want to raid, I don’t see what he’s really bringing to the guild?” I argued to give him a chance since he seemed nice enough.

Not everyone is going to have the same point of view on this. Personally, I like people. I like to chat with them, and I like the feeling of having a few folks online with the green chat. Others are more practical: we’re a raiding guild. We’re here for raiding, so why would we take people who aren’t going to be raiding? It’s a fair question, and it worked out tremendously badly in this fellow’s case. Eventually the suspicious things he’d said and done added up, and an officer thought to check his IP address on the forums before coming to the realization that he was the same member who had left. He was the last person to apply as a social that we accepted.

Since then, we’ve all been pretty wary about social applications. I actually got an e-mail from a reader (perhaps a former reader) who was going through some difficult times and looking for a guild to be in. I felt terrible to have to tell him that I really wasn’t certain if we were the place for him. As a blogger, if I were running a different sort of guild – I wouldn’t have hesitated, absolutely. As GL of a raiding guild (taking into consideration all of the above) I had to give him a pretty ambivalent answer. I still feel bad about it on a personal level, but as far as my responsibility to my fellow guildies goes – I did what I had to do. I can only hope that he understood, although I never heard back from him and probably lost a reader because of it.

Let’s All Be Friends (And Kill Internet Dragons)

It’s unfortunate, but social applications and members can present a number of problems for a raiding guild. We’re lucky because the social members we do have are great people, very friendly and affable. I feel an obligation towards all of my guildies and I want them to have fun and feel comfortable in the guild, but our primary focus is raiding. We’re a raiding guild, it’s what we do – so it’s easy for social members to feel a bit on the outskirts, and there isn’t very much I can do about it.

Fortunately, with Cataclysm some fairly drastic changes have led to a much better system in this regard. Prior to release, one of our social members took me aside to tell me that he’d been feeling pretty disconnected with the guild. He still liked the people, just that since he wasn’t raiding he naturally felt as if he wasn’t contributing anything to the guild. Since guild experience and guild leveling were implemented, it doesn’t matter whether you’re raiding with a guild or just questing on an alt – everyone’s contributions are equally visible and valuable! This same member went out of his way to kill specific classes/races in PvP so we could earn an achievement and the right to buy the Guild Page, and he reaps the benefits of our leveling just as everyone does. I think it’s pretty great that we can all share in that, and I’ll be writing in greater length soon about guild leveling, guild XP, and how happy I am about them.

Meantime, I still don’t think these changes to the way that guilds work are compelling enough for us to start entertaining social applications apart from close friends of guildies. I’d still like to make sure that all our guild members are happy and feel valued. What is your guild’s policy about social members (if you have one)? Have you ever been a social member in a raiding guild? Did you regret it, or were you happy with the way it worked out?

Tuesday Art Day: More Mini-Sketches

You might remember on my anniversary post I was giving away freebies, of sorts. Here are some that didn’t make it into the first batch or that I’ve finished since! If you requested one and I’ve missed you, maybe you could call my attention to it? I had folks who wanted one but didn’t share an armory link and I’ve gotten a bit confused keeping the comments all straight.

Anyway, mini-sketches, 5-minutes each, you know the drill.

In somewhat related news, you can see the gentlemanly murloc I did for Zelmaru over at Murloc Parliament and check out her snazzy new layout while you’re at it!

Rades and Beru each wrote posts that were tear-jerkers for different reasons – Beru’s a moving story of success, Rades’ a lament for a lost friend.

Also, my friend Liala featured me in her comic, Disciplinary Action – after I complained that there was a serious lack of draenei representation. She set out to teach me that the cliche is true – you really do have to be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

There’s no patch tomorrow, unfortunately. I’ve never anticipated a patch quite so eagerly – I really want those new meta gems. How about you, are you looking forward to the patch for any reason or wish it wouldn’t come? Voss observed cheerfully, “Well, that just means I get another week of being OP!” He has a way of looking on the bright side.

Dear Fishing…(A Letter From One Of Your Most Ardent Admirers)

You and I go back a long way, Fishing. If it weren’t for you, it would have taken me much longer to afford my first epic flying. Who knew that so many people needed those lovely Golden Fishsticks, but were too lazy to fish them for themselves? Those fish sticks were “golden” indeed!

We’ve spent so many hours together. You were there when I hung out with friends and talked, giving us something to do at the same time! What better way to pass the time than to hang out with a buddy and do something useful? People always wondered why I spent so much time with you. They didn’t understand us, Fishing. It’s okay, though. We had each other. I devotedly pursued you, through crocolisks, a fishing hat. You helped me meet Mr. Pinchy and my crab pet. Eventually we found a sea turtle together. Remember those hours by the Dalaran fountain? I loved catching all those coins with you. You never did give me a jeweled fishing pole, but that’s okay. A friendship isn’t just about what you stand to gain.

I'm standing next to a crustacean the size of a young dragon, but it's okay. He's on my side.

You helped to bolster us through countless raids. The magical combination of fish – lovingly prepared – helped us all be smarter and faster. I prepared feasts for people in battlegrounds, I carried a stash of fish on me at all times. Magic keeps them from smelling, you know. I was so excited to see how you’d changed after the Cataclysm! I know more people had been paying attention to you. They wanted to make you “more fun.”

Fishing… I don’t understand why you’ve been so cold to me this expansion. I hate to admit it, but I don’t like your new face. I don’t want to pluck crabs from the canal. Your feasts used to be available for everyone who had the tenacity to learn how to make them. Now, I can’t even use your bounty to make them until my friends and I have caught ten thousand other fish from pools. I don’t mind spending that much time with you, Fishing. Really, I don’t. I thought it wouldn’t be so bad. I was consoled by the fact that we could spend time together while I prepared my own food, but Fishing – there seems to be some grave oversight. The fish I need don’t congregate in pools.

You see these salmon? Now THEY knew the value of schooling.

You’ve put me between a rock and a hard place, Fishing. I can’t make your feast until I’ve fished many, many fish – and the fish I need won’t help me to do that. So I’m seeing other fish. I thought I could use that time to build up a stock of the fish I need to make feasts once I’m able to make them. Imagine my dismay when I realized that one of those three fish also can’t be found in pools.

I’m trying to be understanding, Fishing, I really am. I caught three hundred fish last night. I want to love you, but you’re really trying my patience. All of the fish for fish feasts used to be found in various pools in different zones. Anyone could learn to make a fish feast, and then that fish feast could be shared with friends. Now the feasts, once made, are stuck with you – I can’t even stock my guild bank with them – that is, assuming we ever fish up enough fish to learn the recipe in the first place. Do you really think that forcing yourself on people like this is going to make you more popular?

You still have a few things going for you, Fishing. Catching volatiles from you is positively sexy. That appeals to the enterprising crowd, you can use that! All you have to do is consolidate some of your fish into pools – they like to school, don’t they? It shouldn’t be too hard – and once you’ve done that, put some fun things in your fishing bags again. I recognize that the awards have to be applicable to characters of all levels. Still, I miss the days when I felt like you cared about me, Fishing. If we have to spend enough time together for me to catch another four thousand fish from pools, I wish we could both be enjoying it. As it stands, I’m not sure that I will. Can’t we go back to the way things were?
Love,

Vid

p.s. – At the very least, please lose the Murglesnout.

Even my guildies that don't fish have heard about Murglesnout. Here I am, happy, before I knew of its hateful existence. Yes, maybe I just wanted to use a picture of my sea turtle. What of it?!

Some Mini-Sketches To Finish The Week

Make that an Art Friday, I suppose. Here are some mini-sketches I’ve done since yesterday for people. I imposed a strict five-minute time limit on them.

Things I have learned:

  • Five minutes isn’t very much time, and
  • there are many awesome folks who read here.

Thank you for all your kind wishes and words, even if you were one of the folks trying not to seem demanding and so deliberately not leaving an armory link.

In no particular order – if you see a character that looks like yours, it’ll have the name written on it if you need to be sure. Have a great weekend, folks!

One year and One Month: A Blogaversary!

Once a Paladin, not necessarily always a Paladin, but still grateful nonetheless.

December was a big month for blog birthdays! Mine was actually December 11th, but as Rades put it, I felt a bit like the kid whose birthday is on Christmas. Cataclysm had just come out, I don’t think anyone was paying much attention to blog birthdays. Now it’s been one year (and just over a month) since I first made that little paladin and started pugging. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. You might read that and think, “Oh, Vid. Pugging was so hard for you, what an ordeal! Now you are going to complain about how hard it was.”

Nope, that’s not what I mean at all. What I mean is that I had no idea how richly rewarding blogging was going to be for me. I still remember my jaw dropping when I saw that Lath at HoTs & DoTs had linked to me. It was my first link! Later, Tam also linked to me, and I have shared links with many other awesome bloggers in the time since. It would be easy to say that I was frustrated by the actions of puggers as I leveled Vid, and it would probably be true. But it would be more true to say that I have been astounded by the generosity, warmth, and welcome shown by the blogging community. I didn’t know what I was missing. For each person in a pug who did or said something outrageous, there have been many more people who have commiserated with me about it, or gave a kind word.

I’ve made friends, colleagues, and cohorts. I used to enjoy reading blogs, now I truly can’t wait to hear what folks are saying because in many cases I feel I know the people behind them. I have the utmost respect for all of you and I can’t thank you enough for helping make the past year such an enjoyable one.

If you’ve ever left me a comment, or linked to me, or mentioned a post of mine on Twitter, or even just read – thank you.

You probably know that Larisa at Pink Pigtail Inn has been holding her annual awards – for instances, blogs, and noteworthy events alike. She’s honored me by choosing me as the winner for Biggest Blog Facelift. It really means so much to me, because I was incredibly anxious about moving from Pugging Pally. I was afraid I’d become a pariah – that people who only read my blog thinking I was a pally would stop reading it, or that people who only wanted to hear funny pug stories would realize I’d stopped writing those and just stop reading altogether. I wondered if I’d lose all readers and just be talking to myself. I worried about those things, but I tried to press on and hope for the best. I hoped that a few people would still be interested.

I worked really hard to make Manalicious an inviting place and to keep writing here consistently to show that I was serious about keeping my blog and I wasn’t just a “gimmick” writer, good for writing about pugs and that’s it! There’ve been times where I wondered whether I’d succeeded, and made the right decision. I think it was the right decision and again I owe thanks to people who supported me, changed their links, blogrolls, feedreaders, and continued to comment although my subject matter had changed.

Thank you all. Thanks to my guild members, too, who always tell me if I’ve written something they liked, and even for reading and being patient with me when I want to write about them or guild stuff in general. Thanks guys. I can’t say it enough times.

It was Windsoar who started the fine tradition of offering a “muse” to celebrate her blogaversary – I love the musing, but I don’t think I’d do as good a job of it! What I am going to do instead is a quick (literally, I am limiting my time spent on these to a set amount, I think about five to ten minutes each) drawing for folks who comment on this entry. I really do want to do something tangible to thank you for your support.

If you’d like a small black and white character portrait sketch, all you have to do is:

  • Leave a comment on this entry.
  • Include a link to your character’s armory.
  • Have commented before. (I don’t know how many people will comment so I have to put some restriction. I’d like to give these to people who have taken the time to share a bit of themselves. If I have to “confirm” your comment it’s out, unless there aren’t too many).

I have in my head a semi-limit of how many of these I’ll do, but I’ll try to do one for everyone who wants one. It might take a bit of time. But then again, you’ve stuck with me for this long, so I imagine you’re willing to wait a little longer too!

Tuesday Art Day: Wildhammer and Link Love

I feel both guilty and gleeful about the look on the fish's face. The answers to the question, "What does a dwarf feed her gryphon?" were pretty awesome, incidentally, and ranged from "dead orc heads" to...well, fish. You're probably happy I chose the former.

I know that art day posts are a bit boring (what do you say about them?) so I’m combining two time-honored traditions, art day AND link love. I’ve had some links stored away in my file for several weeks now, so it’s time to get caught up! This was a sketch that strong-armed its way into becoming a semi-paint, it’s still a bit rough but for a warm-up sketch, I’m happy with it! (That’s two and a half hours of warming up, by the way).

Without further ado, link love!

Cynwise wrote a great post about warlock CC, if you’re into that kind of thing, but many of the tips and macros could be re purposed easily to apply to mages or most any other class. It’s a good read!

In a similar vein, Ophelie over at The Bossy Pally wrote about all the types of CC there are. I suppose some people feel now that CC is no longer necessary in heroics and everything has become an AoE zerg-fest, but for many of the tougher pulls we’re still CCing. It doesn’t take long and it makes life easier for everyone!

I enjoyed Spinks’ short post about the Women of Cataclysm. I’m always happy to see stronger female characters taking a place in WoW! I would hasten to add there are some great Wildhammer characters there too (have you done the quest with the gryphon rider in Deepholm? I won’t spoil it for you, but suffice to say she is tough as nails).

Perhaps you’re back into raiding again, but do you know how your raiders learn new encounters? Kae wrote about this a few weeks ago and I thought it was an interesting read. I’m visual and tactile myself, which means the videos don’t generally work well for me (and the talking in them mostly annoys me). A good diagram and some hands-on experience helps me more than anything.

Finally, this post is old but I happened across it when the topic came up for us the other night. Anexxia’s post The Changing Face of Spirit talks about how the stat fits into Cataclysm gear. Have you decided what your raid is doing about gear with +spirit? It’s something to consider before you are caught unprepared!

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