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

Archive for November, 2010

Ritual of Refreshment (Contest)

This + Comment = Profit?

You may have noticed that I like cooking things. I also love new recipes.

Through a strange turn of events involving a generous friend and a generous husband, I find myself with… one more moonkin hatchling than I actually need. (It’s too much cuteness for one person to contain. I don’t have a screenshot because durr I forgot to take one last night and the servers are down presently).

Regardless, I have a moonkin, and I’d like to give him to someone who will love him and squeeze him and call him George (or anything else, that’s fine too).

Where do you come into this? It’s a contest! It requires much less work than my previous contest.

If, like me, you enjoy baking – I’d love to have folks share a favourite holiday recipe. If you aren’t much of a baker, you can share instead your favourite memory of a holiday recipe or food, whatever that might be. So here’s what you do:

1) Leave a comment on this entry saying you’ll send a recipe.

(WoW-ified or not, it’s up to you), and then you can send an e-mail to puggingpally AT gmail DOT com with your recipe. Make sure your e-mail is clearly labeled with the name you commented under – if I’m confused about what recipe belongs to who I might not be able to match them up.


1b) Leave a comment on this entry telling us a memory/story/etc. about your favourite recipe.

Please note that by sharing the story or recipe you’re acknowledging that I have your permission to use it in an entry compiling them all.

I look forward to reading – I think it’s a grand time for some holiday cheer. You have just one whole day to enter; I’ll close entries at 10 AM Mountain time tomorrow, December 1st. (You can comment on the entry and you’ve “entered,” if it takes a bit more time to send me a recipe that’s fine too). I think that keeping it short and sweet is very thematic!


Candy Cane White Chocolate Truffles

Winter Veil is coming, and you all know what that means! It is time for more cooking. Earlier this year we made Unconjured Cinnamon Bun Frost Cookies and Fiery Gromsblood Soup.

Now we’ll be conjuring up some delicious confectioneries. Well, you aren’t going to conjure them, you’re going to make them, but these are so easy that you’ll hardly know the difference! They are perfect for when you want a gift or treat that looks as if you spent a great deal of time to make it – but you really didn’t. (This is a mage recipe, after all. I see no reason for needless expenditure of effort). This recipe will make about twenty-four truffles.

Candy Cane White Chocolate Truffles

Here’s what you are going to need:

You won’t need this done until later, but you’ll thank me for telling you before you start! The first thing you have to do is crush your candy canes. This can be accomplished through various means; there are some shattering spells, frost spells that can do this. Sometimes the results can be disastrous, though. Please exercise extreme caution. If you do not have access to spells for this purpose, you will have to crush the canes manually. Put them into a bag.

Candy canes!

Make sure the bag is very secure. You can use a rolling pin or a meat mallet to gently tap the canes and break them apart, rolling over them as they get smaller. They should be finely crushed. Take care when asking for any assistance at this step that your kitchen assistant is not… overzealous. I speak from experience.

What in Velen’s name…

So. Now you have some finely crushed candy canes. If you’re fortunate, you don’t have candy cane shrapnel spread the length and breadth of your entire kitchen… If you’re unfortunate, find a warrior to clean up this ridiculous mess (then crush the replacement candy canes yourself). Take the candy cane bits and place them in a shallow dish.

Now you are ready to begin: put your chopped white chocolate in a bowl. Apply a little heat to the bottom…

Only a very LITTLE heat.

Oh. You can’t just cast a “hot hands,” spell? Well, you could… um, I don’t know…Find a mage to do it for you. (If you have access to a magic heat box microwave thing, microwave it for one minute). The chocolate should be almost but not quite melted! Stir it until it’s smooth, then set it aside to cool a little bit.

Take your Boulderslide Cheese (it should be softened, so let it get to room temperature first) and beat it thoroughly until it’s smooth. Add the chocolate and beat the two together until they’re smooth.

Add one cup of your Oshu’gun Crystal Powder to the mixture and blend it in. You can just let the spoon do this itself and go off to do other things.

Starting to make a dough.

Once that’s mixed, add the rest of the crystal powder and mix it some more. It should form a soft dough at this point and be fairly easy to manipulate. Use a spoon to scoop out consistent amounts of the dough, form them into balls and gently roll them in your candy cane powder! This works best if you do not take too long about it – the heat from your hands can make the dough a bit sticky, but that’s okay.

Set your truffles on a piece of parchment as you complete them and chill, with a spell or in the icebox. Once they’ve chilled you can put them in a container, but it’s best to keep them cool until you are ready to eat them.


They are delightful little morsels. Depending on the size of your candy canes and whether they are allowed to grow warm, sometimes the candy cane colour can run a bit. This will not affect their taste.

Mmm, truffles.

I hope you enjoy the truffles! We usually enjoy them so thoroughly that I make a double batch. You can use candy canes that have green, red and white if you like, or simply the red and white ones, it’s up to you!

Actual truffles.

I hadn’t made these this year myself until just last night, so now I have a photo of the real thing to add.

Team Building Exercise ’99: Fostering A Sense of Teamwork For Tens

This is a post I’ve been working on off and on for the better part of a year – I’d always pick it up, poke at it a bit, and then set it back down. After a year of being in a dedicated ten man raiding guild, I feel finally qualified to post it. Especially with the changes to raid lockouts and item level in Cataclysm, I expect that the ten man scene is only going to grow and more people are going to be raiding in ten person groups! This expands on some of the philosophies we have that I think have set a solid foundation for our success in Wrath of the Lich King.

The opportunity to experience group play at the end-game of WoW is one of the strongest draws for many players. I believe this to be true, because otherwise – we’d be playing a game solo (and some people do!). We wouldn’t be trying to band together to kill internet dragons. There’s a particular rush that comes from being part of a group of people accomplishing something together. You can liken it to a sports team scoring that winning goal, or a group of professionals finally completing a project they’ve been working on. The truth may lie somewhere in the middle – we’re accomplishing things together, but we’re not physically together; in many cases we’ve never even met each other.

Many raiders who opt to focus exclusively on ten person content do so because they want an intimate atmosphere. When you have just nine other people counting on you, and you spend twelve or more hours with them every week – you get to know each other pretty well. You’re there for the high points and the low; you share that tough kill you finally pulled off and the Vent channel erupts in cheers, or the boss you can’t down and so people rally around the forums to talk strategy, and figure out a way to make it happen.

This is your team, and it’s an awesome feeling. When it’s going well, it’s amazing. Every guild has rockier parts, and those are tougher to deal with. But many issues that arise are best dealt with a long time before they even crop up, by making sure to nurture and tend to the team. If a team is solid and committed, they can shrug off difficulties easily. If there are already weak points – applying pressure will cause them to start to crack. So how can officers, raid leaders and guild leaders help their raid team to feel like a team?

I could pretend I chose this screenshot to be somehow metaphorical, but really I just think it's a cool screenshot. Also, do you see how straight a line we stand in? We're so DISCIPLINED.

1. Encourage Input.

I can’t stress this enough. When people feel like their ideas are not just heard, but listened to, they’ll know that they’re a valuable part of the group. This comes into play in several different ways.

  • A guild’s forums can be an excellent venue for contribution from all members. Keep in mind that not everyone has an equal amount of time to devote to these, so your mileage may vary. Some are heavily into strategies and might post all the time, others may prefer to hang back until they have something to say. It’s particularly important to listen up when someone who is usually quiet does say something. Try and encourage an atmosphere where people feel free to speak their minds, or at least contact an officer or raid leader privately.
  • Most raiders use some form of verbal contact during raids. This is where much of the ‘in-the-moment’ strategies occur, and it’s important to give people the opportunity to chime in. The freedom of a ten-man group is that there’s room for different folks to speak up. Within reason – it can be detrimental to have a flurry of voices always talking at the same time on the channel. Raid leaders and officers can help direct the flow a little bit by asking for clarification, or asking someone to repeat what they said if it was lost in the fray.
  • Don’t think this means you are obligated to always listen to every idea, or give everyone equal stage time – most people don’t want it. Again pay particular attention to contributions from those who don’t speak up often, listen when any member has an idea – and then make the final call. This only works if you are truly sincere and consider alternative ideas. Remember there’s a time and a place – it’s okay to say, “Let’s talk about this on the forums later,” rather than spending twenty minutes debating strats and eating up valuable raid time. This only works if you really will talk about it on the forums later!

2. Foster an environment where it’s okay to make mistakes.

In a ten-person raid, many times there isn’t much margin for error. When it comes to tough progression content, a single blunder could spell a wipe and mean everyone is corpse-running again. People are going to make mistakes, so try and foster an environment in which it’s okay to make them – at least once – and more importantly: people are encouraged to admit it.

  • This can be best accomplished leading by example. No one should ever be allowed to berate or belittle another raid member for making a mistake. Even if it was a dumb mistake, and even if they’ve done it before. Quickly and firmly call out anyone who does this, and let it be known that it isn’t acceptable behaviour, while shifting attention back to the task at hand.
    “Oh, come on, Squishy Healer, why can’t you get out of void zones fast enough?” can easily be met with,
    “Mistakes happen, Hunterly. Now, does everyone have their graphics settings high enough that they can easily see these void zones?”
  • Not making people feel like a heel for messing up will make the next step easier, and that is: when you make a mistake, be the first to admit it, don’t make excuses, and don’t shift blame. You aren’t saying, “I guess that was my fault, if only SO AND SO hadn’t dropped that shadow trap right underneath me.” Keep it simple and direct. “That was my mistake, guys. I was too slow to polymorph the person who was MCed. Sorry about that.” It never feels awesome to know that you wiped the raid, but it’s better than the ominous vent silence. Everyone usually knows who messed up anyway, trust me. They’ll respect you more, not less.
  • Soon, hopefully, a magical thing will happen. Everyone will own up to their own mistakes without hesitation! Rather than feeling like a group of individuals who has to defend their individual performance at all costs to protect and make themselves look best, hopefully everyone will be more forgiving of the mistakes of others, and unafraid to admit their own. It’s worth noting that sometimes mistakes might be more chronic and indicative of someone who just isn’t performing. If the same mistakes are happening over and over again, it’s another matter and should be dealt with privately.

"Look at this pretty totem here!... hey, you know, trolls aren't so bad! Maybe I should stay here in Zul'Gurub with them...This is a great idea!"

3. Make sure to relate outside of a raiding situation.

  • If you’re focused on ten-person raiding, chances are your guild will be small enough that the members will get to know each other pretty well. Help to make the guild a friendly place to be by chatting in the guild channel, asking people questions about themselves, and doing things with other members outside of raid times. I know this sounds hopelessly managerial – and I don’t mean “pretend to be friends with people.” It’s just that sometimes all of the tasks of an RL, officer, or GL can blind you to the reason you’re really here and why you are with these specific, awesome people.
  • The value of this is that when it’s raid time, when everyone knows the other people quite well they won’t feel that their only value to the guild is their DPS or healing numbers or how many hit-points they have. Stronger friendships make for stronger teams! This may not every one’s strong suit; some people are naturally more quiet than others. This leads directly into the fourth point, which can apply in both a high-stress raiding environment and otherwise.

4. Play to people’s strengths.

  • A team is only as strong as its weakest member, but weakest is subjective in this point. Learn to identify who excels at what in your group, let them contribute and then value their contributions. Does one person really enjoy fishing in their off-hours? Use their help to supply your raid with some consumables. Some people are natural leaders with tactical minds; these are the ones that you can lean on during raids, or talk strategy with in-between. Others may not have much to contribute tactically, but they can always pick others up when the mood starts to drop. Everyone has things that they are good at, and letting them show it will help keep everything rolling smoothly.
  • Raids would actually be pretty boring if everyone was focused on the same things. Some people can learn more quickly than others, especially when unique fight mechanics are involved. If your uber-DPS player is bored, give him or her a special task. Pull them off the boring, stand-alone boss and set them to add duty, or have them calling out timers if the fight requires it. Just because the raid has a raid leader doesn’t mean other people can’t be crucial to leading the group to success.
  • People will always excel at the role they most want to play. It sounds like a no-brainer, right? Don’t force your healers to DPS if they don’t want to – and if you have to do so, make sure it’s a responsibility shared among all the healers equally. If one person is constantly having to step outside their comfort zone while the others get off scot-free, they’re liable to grow resentful (and who could blame them)?

5. Help your team grow its skills.

  • Nobody is perfect, and no team is ever perfect. You may have excellent players individually, but they may not do things as well together. This last point is broad for a reason – it could apply to so many things. I remember when we first started working on the heroic Lich King encounter – all of the ranged DPS and healers had to clump up as part of the phase one strategy. At first it was tough; we weren’t used to paying such close attention to where the other team members were. By the time we’d practiced it, we were like one living organism strafing to the right and left together. It was fabulous.
  • “Skills” in this sense doesn’t have to mean raiding skills. Running five-mans together, PvPing together – all of these hone the reflexes and group communication necessary for good raiding. Even playing a character I had no idea how to play, I’ve never felt so indestructible in PvP as I did when I was doing it with my guildies and we had instant Vent communication. PvP is good practice for movement, situational awareness, and quick communication. You don’t have to PvP to be a good raider, but anywhere you’re working with your guild is going to benefit you all in the long run.

"Tirion, why are you gigantic? And what are all these fish feasts doing here?"

Finally, but not unimportantly:

6. Stay positive no matter what.

  • I’m not writing this from the perspective of Ms. Perfect, believe me! Some of this I’ve observed from my own mistakes, and I don’t always do all of these things or remember them as often as I should. But the last (and possibly the most important thing) is to remember that if you are in a position of leadership in a guild, people look to you to set the tone.Your attitude can impact success more than you ever suspect, not necessarily because of things you say but things that you don’t say – or the way that you say them.
  • Look for solutions, remember that things aren’t up to you alone – you have built a team of great people for a reason. Don’t be afraid to seek solutions from them if you are stumped. Keeping in contact with how your guildies feel can help you know where to focus your energies and avert any problems before they begin.

Incidentally, I wrote this based on a ten-person environment because that’s what I know, but many of the same principles could apply equally to a larger group. If you feel moved to write something similar or more expansive for a twenty-five man team, or you have anything you’d like to add – feel free to contribute in the comments or send me a link!

I hope this is even remotely useful to read. Raiding with Business Time has been such a rewarding and humbling experience for me – I know that we owe all of our success to each and every guild-member. I’m just the one who likes to talk too much.

p.s. – Yes, it’s a Flight of the Conchords joke, and I’m not ashamed.

Tuesday Art Day: Quaras

Because you can never have too many draenei. This was a gift commissioned from Snack for his fiancee Melisan and they are getting married very soon! So I think it’s like a wedding gift, sort of – on my part, that is. A little. Anyhow, here you have it:

"This is my BAN hammer." No, not really.

I’ve been trying to work on incorporating backgrounds into my work more often (witness this, and the last Tuesday art day, also a draenei paladin.) I think it’s an endeavour that’s been going well so far!

I’m working on a WoW-themed Christmas card that will be sure to make an appearance here, as well as a Secret Santa art exchange between other Twitter folks. It’s very exciting. I love and hate secrets all at the same time.

Meantime, I hear something happened to Azeroth last night… like five years of time lapse and Deathwing. Doubtless I’ll have some things to say about that this week. I’ve spent my initial time in Azeroth pretty much acquiring Withers and then playing Plants vs Zombies: WoW Edition before I had to call it a night. I’ll confess, I’m really not that good at Plants vs Zombies.

Guide to Getting Withers

It sounds like some kind of crippling disease, doesn’t it? But it isn’t. The first place I went after the world shattered was Darkshore. I’d quested through here so many times on my various draenei and night elves. The changes the Cataclysm has wrought are devastating. Once I found out there was a pet associated with a quest in the zone, well – my path was clear. I had to have it. His name is Withers, and he’s similar to the Teldrassil Sproutling with a few key differences. Here’s how you can get one of your own, whether you are Horde or Alliance.



For Horde characters, Withers is actually a vendored pet. You can buy him from Apothecary Furrows. He’s located in the cave behind Cliffspring Falls (you can see it on the map). He’s down at the bottom of the cave in his own little room. Be aware that to Alliance he is hostile so he may have been killed recently if you don’t see him but you see apothecary stuff. Wait for him to respawn, he should be back.

This is the entrance to the cave. If you are uncertain how to get up here, look for the torches that line the path at the bottom.


For those of us who are Alliance, it’s a little more complicated. Withers is awarded from completing the quest “Remembrance of Auberdine,” but you can’t unlock that quest until you do many, many more. I made a map that outlines generally what I did. Keep in mind that it’s hard to tell exactly what was required. I suspect that the quests to the far south (marked on the map) were not required, but they are awesome quests and I recommend you do them regardless! If anyone does this and tries to proceed without first doing those quests at Eye of the Maelstrom, please let me know if you were able to get Withers regardless. *Edit: I had a helpful reader let me know – the quests at the Eye of the Vortex are definitely not required to open the Remembrance of Auberdine quest, so you can skip them over if your only goal is to get Withers.

Quest hubs are marked in blue.

You will begin by questing in Lor’danel. When I wrote this last night this wasn’t there, but a helpful person on Wowhead has listed precisely all of the required quests here. You can refer to that list as you proceed, or just take a more casual approach as you go!

Lor’danel is where the flight point from Darnassus goes now, so it’s easy enough to get here. Some of the quests don’t seem immediately related, but are. There’s a worgen who has a fishing quest that used to be offered by a dwarf – I doubt it’s necessary to get Withers, but if you do it you do get 250 Gilneas rep. Do the rescuing and provisions quests and continue on to the Buzzbox quests. Unlike the previous Buzzbox quests, they don’t take forever and lead you all over the map. This chain will have you wind up in the same cave that the Horde access just to buy Withers.

Another breadcrumb quest will lead you down to the Ruins of Auberdine and outside the ruins to do some quests relating to Grimclaw. Continue doing all of these quests (do the Auberdine ones while you are nearby) before completing them and heading back to Lor’danel. A hint: if you complete the Grimclaw quest chain first it will end up helping you throughout the rest of Darkshore. I don’t want to give away any spoilers except to say that I chose the stag – and it gives a 10% speed boost in the entire zone. Not “for an hour,” or “while you’re on this quest chain” – it gives you a speed boost anytime you are in Darkshore from then on. It was useful for the rest of my questing!

I don’t want to give away any more of the happenings in Darkshore. These quests are amazing, in some cases heart-wrenching and definitely hit home for me given how much I liked Darkshore. Don’t just rush through to get Withers, take your time and enjoy them. Ultimately your efforts to aid the citizens of Darkshore and uncover some mysteries will lead you to the Ruins of Mathystra where you will be challenging the Shatterspear trolls. When you’re at this point you’re near the end! Continue along with these quests and once you are finished with them, Cerrellean Whiteclaw will have the Remembrance of Auberdine quest for you, and one of the rewards is Withers.

I’ll probably be going through these quests again with my druid and hope to add some clarification about which quests are mandatory and which are not – but until then, this gives a rough guide of what’s necessary to get the little guy. Feel free to ask any questions and I’ll answer them as best I can!

His name is Withers because he starts out HUGE – up to my hips as a draenei – and he will slowly shrink to “normal” non-combat pet size if he is away from water. Re summoning him returns him to his original large size, and if you take him near any body of water he will drink it and grow. More importantly than any of that, though, is that he’s a reminder of Auberdine for me. Every time I look at his sad little face, I’ll remember the Kaldorei of Auberdine and Lor’danel, trying to maintain an outpost in their dark and foreboding ancestral land.

Monday Linking Love

I have another edition of linking love for your Monday – welcome to the week! (I’m not actually that chipper, but by gosh, I am trying!) I’m even writing this a day early because I know it’s not going to happen tomorrow morning, that’s for sure.

First up, Anafielle at Righteous Defense has a message for Low Level Paladin tanks. (Voss thinks the message is “roll a warrior instead,” but I think he may have a slight bias).

ArcaneTinkerTank at Murloc Parliament has some advice for getting your financial house in order for the coming Cataclysm. It’s pretty simple, really – and yet I still have more junk in my alt guild than I’m willing to admit to!

Cayleb from Bubble Hearth is starting an interesting new leveling experiment – The Ethical Alt. I have something of a soft spot for these kinds of leveling experiments, and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens as he progresses!

For anyone wondering what the upcoming patch entails and confused about all the announced changes and what’s going on – Beru at Falling Leaves and Wings has a post breaking it down. It’s simple and no frills. Just the facts, ma’am!

This is a sketch. This is only a sketch. This has been a sketch of the emergency image for a blog post needed system. Had this been a real drawing...I probably would have coloured the bottom of her robe.

I am a big fan of the series Pewter at The ‘Mental Shaman has been writing about World of Warcraft fan art. This past week she tackled the representation of Troll women. I have to admit that I find myself thinking more carefully about what I draw and how I draw it since Pewter got me thinking about it. Well worth a read!

Shintar at Priest With A Cause is getting into the Cataclysm events. Now that’s what I call an invasion!

Linedan from Achtung Panzercow discovered new meaning in the Crusader Bridenbrad questline. Read about it in his post I Feel For The Guy, But… Even before this I knew Linedan and I would have to agree to disagree about Bridenbrad and his quest chain. I have always really enjoyed it and couldn’t quite say why.

Finally, I have a new guest post up at Sword and Board for people who like lowbie warrior tanking stuff. The posts there take me much longer to write generally – and Voss tries to include helpful information.

All of that ought to give you plenty to read while you’re having much-needed morning coffee!

I Am A Damage Dealer


That's why I wear a hood, because it makes me look mysterious and dangerous.

We are the “bad boys” of Warcraft, the mavericks, the devil-may-care, aggro-stealing, reckless ne’er do wells.

Everyone knows we only ever look at our damage meters. Threat? What’s that? Oh, you are threatening me if I don’t stop pulling aggro. I understand that, but I can’t take my eyes off the “two” key long enough to listen, sorry.

I know that I should beg pardon of the tanks and healers because they are the ones with the important role.

DPS are a dime a dozen. Replacing a DPS takes three seconds. Any mouth breather can DPS!

I am not buying it.

Perhaps it’s because these attitudes perpetuate from 5-mans and random pugs with strangers that they seem so prevalent, but anyone who actually believes this BS is missing a key concept in the notion of a team.

As a DPS player, I and my compatriots research our classes tirelessly. We practice on target dummies, we adjust our gemming, our gear, our talents – so that we can do the most damage possible. Yes, there is pride in doing “the most” damage. There is pride in beating your personal best. Without someone damaging bosses (and I’m talking challenging raid content, here) they wouldn’t die.

I have been in guilds where the prevailing attitude was “If we are failing, we need more healers.” They did treat DPS as interchangeable cogs in the wheel. And to an extent, we are. After all, yellow numbers are universal, right? Damage is damage. Incidentally, the “add another healer” approach didn’t really work out for that guild. What they needed was better DPS. Sometimes a boss fight goes on so long and people start to die and it’s easy to misdiagnose this. “People have died,” becomes “Let us find a way to keep them from dying,” leads to, “We need more healers to heal them.”

I am fortunate enough to be in a guild where I feel that all members have the mutual respect of their team-mates. Don’t mistake this declaration as being opposed to tanks and healers. I have played all roles in this game. I didn’t choose to be a damage-dealing class because I’m lazy, or because I’m dumb, or simple, or can’t handle the responsibility of the other roles. I started playing the game as a healer. Around level forty we fell into a regular group of dungeon runners (long before the days of LFD).

In our little group, we had: two holy priests, one protection paladin, one protection warrior, and an arms warrior. I kid you not when I say we spent more than four hours in Sunken Temple. It was ridiculous. We had more people who wanted to tank and heal than who wanted to actually kill things. I re-rolled as a mage, and I set out to be the best damn mage I could be. First I had to level to catch up with my group. I had a lot to learn, and I have been learning it for years.

It’s easy to assume that because many classes can re-spec and do respectable damage with their off-spec gear that “DPS is easy.” Sure, in a sense, it’s easy. You target a creature (hopefully the same one as the tank is targeting) and you kill it. But you might compare an off-spec player with someone playing the same class and spec and see a huge a discrepancy. Why? Because the DPS player practices all the time. He or she knows what they are doing. They have read strats, they know how to maximize their damage for a particular encounter. Believe me, they do, and they think these things all the time. Not because it makes our “e-peen” grow, or because we think that it really makes a huge difference if we cast just one more instant spell as we’re moving instead of just moving. We do it because it’s our job and we are going to do it WELL.

My fellow damage-dealers: there’s a notion floating around that we should be pathetically grateful when a tank deigns to tank for us, and when a healer throws us a pity heal. Receive these boons humbly, but don’t forget that you are also important. We are greater in number because more of us are needed. We are three parts of a five-man, and at least five parts of a ten man, possibly more. Take pride in the work that you do and don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t matter to the success of a group. You often matter more than they know.

Healers: I have the utmost respect for you and the difficult role that you play. I will gladly receive your heals when you see fit to give them to me. In addition, I will try not to take them for granted. I will do my best to survive on my own – through my self-heal, through bandages, through the tools of my class. Please remember and appreciate that I would take a hit for you if I had to – that I keep an eye on you and would frost nova to help you in a pinch, crowd control an angry creature, or kite it away from you. I think of you often and love you when you BoP or shield me, or give me Blessing of Salvation. Without you, there would be no group.

Tanks: I recognize your very difficult job. You are patient when we are overzealous, and we have a back-and-forth power struggle we can’t really escape. When you are doing well, I can unleash the full powers of my devastation. If you are newer, it is my responsibility to hold those powers back so as to not make your life difficult. I thank you for every taunt and all the aggro that you generate. I’m proud to stand beside you when we have killed things together.

We overcome the challenges in this game as a team, for a reason. Whether a group acknowledges it or not, we all have some say in how group play is conducted. DPS may follow along meekly because the tank and healer have a stranglehold on the group, but we aren’t your pissing boys; we are not an endless parade of replaceable cronies.

Perhaps we’ll gain some respect if we claim it for ourselves and show it to each other.

I am a damage dealer, and I’m proud of it.

Tuesday Art Day: Talwen

Back at Pugging Pally I used to do art posts fairly often. I think it’s a fine tradition that I wouldn’t mind continuing!

Here is a commission I just recently finished for a friend of Lara‘s. This is her draenei paladin, Tal, and she is awesome (if I do say so myself). The armour was conceived of by her and assembled/altered by the two of us with our brainstorming; it’s a combination of the Tier 8 paladin set combined with Tier 6 (shoulders and crown). I changed the colours of those pieces so that they would look as if they were part of the T8 set.

Because you all know how I feel about draenei. Draenei. Are. Awesome!

So that is thing one; I always enjoy sharing some art I’ve been working on! Secondly, I have written a guest post that is the probable first in a series of guest posts for Vosskah over at Sword and Board. Yes, that’s right, Vosskah, infamous raid leader and utterer of French expletives! Those of you who have been sad I don’t write about pugging as much may like this series, because…

I made a warrior.  And all she’s been doing is tanking (ulp). Meantime, Voss provides useful information about tanking. I think it’s a fun combination, especially for anyone else who may be interested in leveling lowbie warrior tanks. That’s something that Vid was always lacking as she leveled – I couldn’t tell people about good choice to make because I really was just figuring it out as I went along. Unlike me, Voss knows what he is doing.

It may take my little warrior a long time to level this way, but the journey promises to be a nerve-wracking one. Mosey over and read Looking To Be A Great Warrior? if you are so inclined!

Everyday I Wipe The Raid Because Of A Book

There are some things that only die-hard fellow achievement hunters will understand.

"Oh yay I got an achievement for /hugging all the murlocs of Azeroth! I get a Slimy Arms title and a new murloc pet - which I already have, but this one is cyan, and my other one is kind of an aqua..."

Or, as Ghostcrawler put it, “We’ve found that if we put ridiculous things in the game, players will do them.”

That’s why I’m still trying to get the rare drop mounts that are going away. Note, not all of these ARE going away, they are mounts I’m trying to get.

For the record:

  • Raptor mounts – 0
  • Tiger mounts – 0
  • Anzu mounts – 1 (ages ago with my druid when it required a druid)
  • Rivendare’s mount – 0
  • White Hawkstriders – 0
  • ZG, Sethekk Halls, Stratholme and Magister’s Terrace runs: I don’t want to think about it

It’s also why I have been slowly chipping away at the Grand List of Things To Do. Some of them I have crossed off the list, like Loremaster. Others, well…

Let’s just say that sometimes an achievement gets under my skin. I just want to get it done. So it is with the Higher Learning achievement. For those who may not be familiar with the achievement, it requires that you read a series of rare books around Dalaran. They spawn at specific spots, but at any given time there is no guarantee of the “right” book spawning. You are much more likely to be reading an issue of Kirin Tor monthly (back issues, sadly) or any other of a number of flavour books. Most of them are pretty funny! But most of them also won’t reward me with an incredibly magely pet.

Who knew he was so into books?

The pursuit of this achievement is well-documented and a lot of people want it, so there are even channels dedicated to people sharing book info. On most servers it’s “bookclub.” The bookclub channel on Moonrunner has proven incredibly helpful to me – I’ve found at least two books because of it and have dutifully reported the books when I find them, too. I’ve been working on this achievement since I knew that it existed, but perhaps I lacked the singleminded dedication I have recently found.

I just need one last book. It’s the one above the Threads of Fate shop. There’s a cute water elemental and a gnome there who are washing clothes, and it’s just out on the balcony from the shoe shine fellow. I had rarely even seen a junk book spawn here when I was running between spawn points. Now it is the only book I need, and it vexes me. You can imagine my consternation the other night when a call went out in the bookclub channel:

“Enchantment book up above tailoring shop.” He didn’t mean the tailoring shop, really. He meant the Threads of Fate. My book! Guess where I was? The FROZEN THRONE.

I may or may not have burst out into Vent, “YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.” Whether it was a consequence of my distraction or not, the raid wiped within the next twenty seconds or so. It’s impossible to prove causality, here. Just that my achievement may or may not have been involved. I ported to Dalaran as soon as we HAD wiped…but I was too late. The book was gone.

I'm a mage. Being a bibliophile is practically in the job description!

Voss thinks my book was directly involved. “How could you wipe the raid because of a book?!” he says at our next break, waving his arms.

“I did not wipe the raid because of a book!” I tell him.

“You distracted everyone with your book!”

“Look, some people wipe the raid by standing in fire, surely I get one LITERARY FREEBIE.”

Finishing off this achievement hasn’t been all bad. I’m often one of a crowd of people waiting… usually all of them mages. Yesterday a troll mage said something to me that I obviously didn’t understand, so I had Voss log onto his Horde warrior to ask what he’d said. It turned out that he had been singing Business Time to me. We got to chatting a little bit. I’m sure we would be friends, except that he’s a troll. In summary: searching for this last book is bringing me closer to random strangers, but wiping the raid.

My priorities are absolutely in line, I don’t know what you’re talking about.


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