Liore Rants: Raid Attendance

(Note: this is a rant. It is not meant to be a comprehensive look at an issue, or even-handed in the slightest. It is me feeling cranky and sorry for myself and venting.)

Dear Guild,

AUGH, where did you all go? Three weeks ago we had 35+ signups for Tuesday and Thursday raid nights, and this week we BARELY have 25, and that includes a totally excessive eight healers*. Here I was thinking that once the holidays were over we had at least four months of good solid raiding before the summer bullshit starts again, but I guess I was wrong.

Over the past five years I have had to just accept that occasionally a quarter of our core raid signups will disappear into the mist. And honestly, every time it becomes more and more difficult to be motivated to fill those spots. Why should I bother? People will just disappear again. And again. And again. It starts to feel a little infinite and depressing after a while.

This time it’s particularly painful because we were doing SO WELL. You are all pretty damn amazing players, when you’re actually THERE. At some point around the holidays we had a kickass raid group and we were .. not a world first guild, but we were going to be pretty dang competitive. It felt really good, like it was time for the casualcore nerds to shine! And now we’re back behind the pack, plinking at Professor Putricide.

My favorite part of this dance is a month from now when y’all come back from where ever you are and find the raid is partially staffed with New Guys. New Guys who are in YOUR spot. And man, quite a few of you will not be pleased about that, and then you will send me cranky PMs and I will make a very squinchy face when I read them. Finding new people is a lot of work. I have to advertise, respond to questions in-game and on the forums, conduct interviews, get feedback from our people, help the new dude get settled with rules and culture, analyze performance logs, and then conduct the Membership Discussion should they make it that far. By the time they’ve made it to their second or third raid with us, I am not very inclined to push them aside for the guy who disappeared without warning for a month.

Seriously, what does it take? We had progression, we have a pretty damn awesome guild culture, leadership with open door policies, limited time commitment (6-9 hours a week!). All I need is for people who said they would come on raids to.. actually come on raids. I’m not paid to do this, remember. I’m a volunteer, just like you. Sure, I get the benefits of being guild leader, but I also do a lot more work and am expected to care a lot more than anyone else. That’s fine, as long as I’m also getting what I want out of the game, and one of those things is progression raiding.

This morning, when faced with yet another round of real life events and apathy and frantic recruitment posts across the internet, I am not sure why I bother.

Love, Cranky Liore.

* Dear healers: you sign up for everything, and I love you for it. I wish we could kill new bosses routinely with 8 healers, because I would take you all on every run.

Work, work, work (Liore’s todo list)

Well, while the servers are down I finally have the spare time to write something resembling a post! It’s not really a post, though. Instead, it’s a … todo list!

Finish levelling professions on Lunedi
Thanks to this guide and some mat donations from a guildie, I got Lunedi’s mining and jewelcrafting up over 400 this weekend. She’s just starting to mine saronite from Sholazar Basin, and will soon be fighting it out with everyone else for titanium, which I can prospect for blue gems to level JC!

Organize daily profession stuff
Continuing my gold-making plans from last week, I’m trying to make better use of my professions. Liore has an epic gem transmute each day that I should take advantage of, plus unlimited meta gems. Lunedi should do the JC daily every day, and make icy prisms when I get to that point. I have a level 70 tailor/enchanter who should really get her shatters and specialty cloth cooldown timers sorted. And on that idea..

Switch Liore to Transmute Spec
Liore has been Potion Spec since the beginning of time. Back in the day, being able to make my own mana potions was extremely cost efficient. It’s still pretty handy for the first few months of any new expansion, but overall I’d be better suited by being able to proc extra transmutes.

One Light In The Darkness (10s)
Both me and another healer just need this achievement to get our Ulduar drakes. I have a timer up to the Keepers saved — ask for help with this from the guild!

Get Exalted with Keepers of Time
Find some poor suck– um, helper to run Heroic Black Morass a few times. How am I just short of exalted with KoT, anyway? It feels like I ran BM a million, billion times to help people get keyed for Karazhan.

Get the Perky Pug on Liore!
Oof. While the LFG system was top of my daily priorities when it debuted, I admit I have been slacking a bit as of late. It’s also really tempting to just run with guildies instead of puggies, but that does not get me any closer to an adorable doggy of my own! Just 19 more random people to go…

Send mats from Guild Vault for flasks
Find a nice elixir master.

Repost all auctions on Friday morning
I’m going away for the weekend, so I’m listing everything my banker owns on Friday morning on a 48-hour timer. Let’s see how much gold I’ve REALLY made with this AH mogul thing.

Evaluate new recruit
Check the logs tomorrow morning.

Read up on new ICC bosses, kill Putricide
Argh, Putricide! 16% last week.. assuming people are on the ball, I think we’d have it… except our Abom driver is away for work this week. Figure out if we should wait until Monday (traditionally a weak roster night), or power through with a better roster but novice abom driver on Thursday.

You’ll Never Buy Goldthorn In This Town Again

So this week I’ve been between contracts (this is a civilized way of saying unemployed), and as usual my restless brain came up with a fiddly, time-intensive, and totally useless project: seriously playing the Auction House.

A few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to be the rightful winner of a Battered Hilt during a LFG random. Everyone in the party froze when it dropped, and after giving each other the stinkeye we all agreed to roll need. Usually I am quite strict about need being “need this for an upgrade on this character right now” (and I had passed on another Hilt the week before during a guild run for that very reason), but in all honesty on a pug who doesn’t NEED 20,000g? I need to not have to farm again for a very long time, thanks.

So anyway, all of the above means that this week I have lots of spare time and lots of spare gold. My mission was clear: become an Auction House mogul. Buy low, sell high, have a big money fight with all my friends. This may surprise you, dear reader, but after some effort I learned that apparently buying low and selling high is trickier than you might think! I know! Go fig!

I can’t really give ‘helpful gold-making tips’, because I am a very unreliable source. I will say that I started out with 1000g in seed money and had 750g in profitable auctions close yesterday (gross, not net). However, I turned right around and sunk everything back into inventory so I can’t really tell how well I’m doing overall. I can say that I’ve had a lot of fun so far, which I suppose is the point.

The constant, stable income is in level 80 crafting professions. Jewelcrafting and Inscription seem to basically be licenses to print money with a little research, and I have a level 70 tailorbot who has been quite profitable. Enchanting is less awesome with the LFG system, but still good. Alchemists should be using their epic gem transmute every day. Keep an eye on mat prices, and stock up when they’re low.

The alternative to making money with your professions is flipping. This works best, I think, when you are available to log in during weird hours, such as late at night or early in the morning. With mods you can search for auctions that are about to end and slip in a bid. Items such as herbs, ore, and enchanting mats sell constantly, hundreds each day on each server, so you cannot go wrong by picking some up for under market value. It WILL sell eventually. In truth, the flipper’s motto is “buy low and sell normal”. Go for the sure thing, and go for it in bulk.

And don’t undervalue bidding on stuff! It’s not sexy or flashy or exciting, and it doesn’t appeal to my need for immediate gratification, but holy cow you can find some good prices. Be patient, bid on all those profession goods with the 1s start, and a small percentage of them will show up in your mailbox. There is something really satisfying about having a 50s bid go through and then turning around and selling the item back for 30g. It seems sneaky. I like it!

The big lesson I have to learn now is how to sit on inventory. I don’t have to flip everything immediately, and in fact would benefit in many ways by waiting until the price on, say, Lichbloom goes back up to its usual ridiculous number. I suspect I’ll get better at this over time as I learn the ways of the marketplace.

I will keep y’all updated as to my success. Oh, and Uldumites… go buy a bunch of stuff off the AH, okay? Thanks.

Better Pugging Through Smite

The great tragedy of healing is that the better your team gets, the more boring it becomes. It’s been said many times that while DPS can strive for bigger and better results on farm bosses, healers just see their numbers dwindle. Easy farm content leads to boredom, and in my guild bored healers lead to trouble. All of us enjoy the crazy chaotic fights with lots of running and stuff to do. Healychat after the first couple of Festergut wipes read like wide-eyed kids in a candy store: “Did you see that? There’s so much raid damage. It’s .. it’s AWESOME.”

This is particularly applicable to LFG pugs at the moment. Given a halfway decent tank, I can get away with Prayer of Mending and a shield or two, leaving me to space out and spin around in my chair for half the instance. So what’s an overgeared healer to do? SMITE!

I know a lot of healers queue up with DPS gear and specs now to help out with damage, but I’m not that brave. I burn through mana really quickly in my shadow set, and my hotbars and keybindings are all wrong for the kind of panicked “oh shit” healing that might be required. Besides, you never know how good your next Heroic tank will be. Instead, I like playing the Battle Priest, Smiter Extraordinaire. I’ve beaten DPS on many a pull, which is vastly more entertaining than dancing in the back of the room.

The secret to healer dps is this macro, which you probably already have in use somewhere:

/cast [harm,nodead][target=targettarget,harm,nodead] SpellName

Set up all your offensive spells to use this macro. Now you can DPS a mob without ever leaving your friendly target — instead it will hit your target of target. I use this to pop shadow word: pain, devouring plague, and shadow word: death on a boss as much as possible (assuming you can give up the GCDs). Hey, every bit helps, and I’m pretty sure my 200 DPS on Rotface was what put us over the top. Totally.

Anyway, this can be used with smite too, which is your friend on pugs. Throw SW:P on anything, and pop devouring plague and SW:D on the big baddie. Is there a single target? PoM and shield your tank, and Smite away! Is it a pack pull? Oh, you lucky dog, it’s MIND SEAR time. I love mind sear. I love it so much. All the tanks in my guild can testify to my love of mind sear, as it’s killed them each at least once. (What? I can’t stop and heal you, I’m clearly MIND SEARING. Duh.)

It helps to have a bit of +hit. I have 70 incidentally from a wand and offhand in my main gearset, which is good enough for me. The hit cap for Heroic bosses is about 130 for Alliance and 160 for Horde, not that it’s a huge concern.

A well geared healy priest can easily pull down 1-2k DPS during a Heroic (again, assuming a good tank), which means that you will clear the instance that much faster. Being a Heroic Battle Priest and occasionally beating Mr. Mouthy Noob Hunter on the charts has made LFG much, much more fun.

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Fitzcairn’s Macro Explain-o-matic: Feed it a WoW macro, and it will explain what the heck is going on in those many square brackets. Oh, clever website!

I Love My UI, 2010 edition
Jan11

I Love My UI, 2010 edition

Almost a year ago I posted a screenie of us wiping on Sarth-3D and talked about the various elements of my UI. It seemed to me that an update was in order, so for a change here is a screenie of us wiping to Heroic Anub!

32desktopsmall I Love My UI, 2010 edition

The style is pretty strongly inspired by the Parasol Edition of Tapestry UI, but the fundamental elements haven’t changed over the last year. I have a middle stack of buttons, Grid, and user frames, and a big black text box in the corner. There are a few changes under the hood, however.

Out: Pitbull, In: Stuf
Pitbull was always a huge memory hog, so I was happy to find a suitable replacement in Stuf. One thing both mods suffer from is too many options — given infinite time and patience, you could make your user frames look like almost anything. Pitbull addressed that somewhat with the in-game template features, while with Stuf you just overwrite the LUA file. It can be tough to source attractive frame files, though, and it’s a little intimidating for someone with limited mod experience. Once you get it set up, it looks good and has very low overhead.

Out: Buffalo, In: Satrina Buff Frames
I enjoyed my cute tiny buff/debuff icons for years, but at some point during a couple tiers of LK raiding I got tired of having to squint to see how long I had left on Thaddius’ polarity and such. I could have just set up Buffalo to do that, but I figured I may as well take the opportunity to finally update to a more current add-on. SBF does everything you would expect, with low overhead, and a few extras. (I like being able to turn off things like Heroic Presence, for example.)

Out: BigWigs, In: Deadly Boss Mods
Huge upgrade. DBM has, in my experience, more complex timer available and gives more information to the player than BigWigs. Additionally, DBM works in some 5-man situations (it will time Make It Count for example) and by default has timers for important events in Battlegrounds like graveyard captures. No contest, DBM wins.

Best in Show: Power Auras
Oh, Power Auras. Tough to set up, but once you do you will possibly never find a mod that is so useful to every class in so many ways. “All” Power Auras does is put the symbol of your choice (including size and color) on the screen at a pre-set time or condition. For example, see that little green symbol to the left of my body in the screenie? That means I have three stacks of Serendipity up. It’s just a simple graphic that goes red, yellow, or green appropriately, but it makes a huge difference as to the next spell I cast. The flexibility to add even more clear, concise symbols to my game play in the future, in any way I need, makes this a pretty powerful add-on.

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes
Hmm, one tiny change in my philosophy of add-ons I guess: I just noticed that I’m not running a DPS meter in the 2009 raid screenie, whereas it has a place of prominence in my UI now. How odd. Did I turn it off for the shot in an attempt to be modest? Or was I actually not running one? Perhaps I’ve gotten more numbers-focused in the last year.

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