Archive for the ‘zen’ Category

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Business and privilege

08/24/2010

Due to some real life things going on, I’m not playing WoW at the current moment, but I figure I’ve seen/done enough in the game to keep my blog open until I can start playing again.  Also, I wasn’t going to write about this.  I really wasn’t, but I had some thoughts on the matter that I wanted to share.

– Why bring it up? –

There have been some very interesting posts on representation of minorities in WoW recently (mostly focusing on women) and I’ve mostly steered away from the conversation, other than just a comment here or there.  This isn’t because it’s a topic I don’t care about, far from it.  It is simply one that I feel deeply about and that I know will make me bemoan how some people “just don’t get it” or cry about the “generation of selfishness.”  Anyone who reads my blog at all regularly knows that I do not as a rule like getting emotions involved in discussions.  Turning a topic into a matter of feelings is the surest way to make an argument into a fight.  Therefore, I’m going to do my utmost best to make myself clear and as emotionally neutral as I can.  Also, this might not flow as well as might be expected, so I apologize in advance for my disjointed writing process here.

– On the question of privilege –

In college, I took many different courses discussing racism in the modern world and one of the things that often happened was that non-minority students often derailed the conversation towards their own feelings.  What often happens at those times is that the marginalized minority ends up having to explain themselves to the privileged group and sometimes even end up apologizing for hurting the privileged person’s feelings.  As a friend of mine would say, “we are not required to educate you about your own privilege.”  Some people don’t mind answering questions, but that does not mean that every marginalized person should be required to and that those that don’t are angry or unreasonable.

Does privilege exist?  Interestingly enough, being able to question whether you have it is how you -know- you have it.  And there are various levels of it.  A white, straight woman has privilege compared to a black, straight woman and they both do compared to a black lesbian.  Western society is like a Venn diagram of “-isms,” with those falling into the fewest categories being the ones that generally raise the most objections about an action being due to an “-ism.”  I was reminded of this fact while reading some of the posts regarding Blizzard’s record with feminism; the ones saying they weren’t offended and thought others were overreacting seemed to be those who only fell under one or less “-isms.”

Privilege is an interesting thing because it is most regularly invisible to members inside a given society.  The fact that I am more likely to be attacked walking down the street than a man is just a logical given to my mind.  That is just the way it is to me.  Someone coming from a different society might be shocked at that fact and point it out as a symptom of the man’s privilege.  And that person would be correct.

The question then becomes whether privilege is also part of WoW.  Of course it is!  The people who make it have the Venn diagram of “-isms” as an ingrained part of their upbringing.  So, too, do the players.  As my old professor would say, “anyone who grew up in a racist society -is- racist, no matter the color of their skin.”  Therefore, because people who grew up in a sexist/racist/heteronormative society have created WoW, the game must be expected to contain traces of those traits.  It is then up to the people who interact with WoW (creators and players both) to go about rooting out those traces, just as they would with any other aspect of their lives.

– WoW the game, Blizzard the business –

“But it’s just a game, go work to change something important.”  WoW as, according to this article here, over 11.5 million subscribers.  -More- than the population of Cuba.  Moreover, it has direct contact with children.  How, exactly, is working to reduce the “-isms” in a media source that is so incredibly massive somehow not a worthy use of time?  Even if the “-isms” are slight, if even .01% of their player base notices it and thinks there is a problem with it, then it should be addressed.

Which brings me to the business side of things.  Many people have discussed the victory fountain that is created when the Lich King is killed on a server for the first time and whether it having all male figures is sexist.  It is an excellent example to use here to show the balance between cost of ignoring privilege and cost of addressing it.  By not addressing the real-world privilege in having all male figures in the fountain, the cost was in upsetting feminist and possibly losing subscribers.  Seeing as designing the fountain with a female figure would have cost them nothing extra (the monetary cost of designing a female figure being the same as a male one), the company suffered a “net loss.”  Seeing as no reputable company -ever- wants the public to see them as intentionally falling into an “-ism,” this is obviously an oversight.   Management is there to keep such “net losses” from occurring and they simply failed to see this one.

A few sidebars on the fountain issue should be made.  One, drawing a comparison between the being the lack of female figures and the lack of, say, Nightelves is an obvious misdirection.  Sexism is a real-world issue that should be addressed by the real-world company of Blizzard.  Nightelf-ism is not.  Second, Azeroth is not the modern world, but the players and designers -are- part of the modern world.  If Azeroth were to be more medieval as a setting as far as gender relations go, Blizzard would make that an apparent, obvious part of the lore.  A designer does not go about creating gender disparity by being lazy; that is just a bad business practice.  By allowing female characters the opportunity to do all of the heroic things male characters do with -no negative repercussions,- any details that fall into the “-isms” are obviously unintentional and not design choices.

– I should not be expected to fix your (real-life) stupid. –

Ophelie listed me as a “hardcore female player” on her blog, amongst a list of feminist posts and other strong women.  To be perfectly honest, I feel a bit uneasy about it.  Not because of the whole “hardcore vs casual” shindig, but because I do things that other feminist bloggers would probably not approve of.  For example, to address one of the things she talks about in that post, I do not talk on PuG vents.  Allow me to tell you a story.

Koralon had just come out, so I decided to PuG him to try for PvP gear on my priest.  Seeing as I had already done it once each on my paladin and my druid, I hopped onto the PuG vent all ready to explain the fight and organize the healers.  (No one ever organizes the healers in my PuGs unless I do, it seems…)  I believe I got as far as “hi, this is Nikkal here.”  There were a few “omg hi” people and then someone piped up with “you sound just like a cam girl.”  My jaw dropped as the rest of vent seemed to agree with him and they decided to call me that for the rest of the run.  Trying to keep control of myself, I asked them to please not call me that and went about doing healing assignments.  They persisted in ignoring me on both counts.  It didn’t take long before I simply stopped talking.

That one story is why I don’t talk on PuG vents as a rule.  Just as it shouldn’t be required of me to tell you about your own privilege, it also shouldn’t be required of me to stand up and put myself out there for the sake of feminism.  I should not have to “step up and take control” and subject myself to idiotic people in an effort to help them change.  It is -their- place to change and treat me like a normal human being.  That, to me, is real feminism.

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re: On Addons – Alternative Interpretation

07/20/2010

My blog rather exploded do to my short post updating my non-use of add-ons.  It was like when WoW.com linked me, only replace the good vibes with many pissed off people!  This is my response to Tamarind/Chas’s reply to my post.  (Very circular, that.)

– First: Background –

A rather long time ago, my SO and I had a fight about add-ons, only at that time I was very much in the “pro” camp, saying many of things that people are saying to me now.  Kel was very much in the “anti” camp.  It made me really laugh today when that fact came to light!  How things have changed since then.

For the record, I have never in my memory -ever- told someone they were a bad healer for using add-ons.  I have never in my memory told someone they would be a better healer by not using add-ons.  I have spoken out against specific add-ons (ie. AVR, Clique for healers without a gaming mouse), but I have never in my memory completely railed against someone using add-ons in general to help them heal, even when asked.

I do not believe using healing add-ons makes you a bad healer.

There, I feel better now.  I have to laugh, as the original post was never meant to be anything but a small update as to why I hadn’t been writing anything about my Zero Add-on Project and a response to the several people who had been railing to/near me that “healing hardmodes without add-ons was impossible.”  If I had meant it to be some huge opinion post, it would have followed my usual format and would have been three times as long!  In fact, I had meant it to be the very last post ever on my not using add-ons because it really isn’t something important to me.  Of course, it had to tap into something that seems to have been brewing in the WoW blogger community.  I’ll never learn when to leave well enough alone, hrm?

– Second: The post itself –

This might get a little long.  Sorry about that!  Tam/Chas’s post is broken up quite nicely, so I’m going to answer it point by point.

Why This Bugs Me: I actually was saddened by the contrite nature some people have about this (and other things), too.  If you feel guilty doing something, then don’t do it.  If you want to do it and don’t feel guilty, then don’t apologize for it.  I’d much prefer that people stand up for their healing practices, even if myself or someone else doesn’t agree with them.  Be a proud keyboard turner, even if it makes me cringe!  If being a keyboard turner makes you feel like a terrible person, then stop being one.

On Tools and Limiting Factors: I understand what Chas is saying here and if every healer was as methodical about their choices, I’d probably have far less of a problem with healing UIs.  The problem, in my eyes, is that Grid goes in generally -before- a healer has taken the time to work through all their other issues.  I think of it as your brother getting himself a really high-tech keyboard with all the bells and whistles before he’s had a chance to learn to play Bach really well.  (Or whatever other composer he’s playing.)  Also, many people view using macros as cheating, but even copying macros from somewhere online has a higher chance of increasing your game knowledge than letting an add-on do it for you.  You’ll at the very least have to see that “target=mouseover” tag several times, which will probably lead the person to understand what that means.

Seatbelts and Safety Nets: Admittedly, I’ve never seen anything in an add-on that would have saved my raid from someone else’s screw up (akin to a seatbelt) if I had it.  I would argue that using a healing UI can make a person -less- methodical.  The base UI can be unforgiving, so healing with it can at times having to really dot your “i’s” and cross your “t’s.”  This might be the case with some tanking/DPS add-ons; that is outside my experience, sadly.

A Dog Walking on Its Hind Legs: I can’t speak for anyone else who doesn’t use add-ons, but I am constantly considering ways to be a better healer than I am.  Parses are checked, patch notes are read, fight strats are gone over…  Dare I say that min/maxing my game play is almost a neurotic habit for me!  However, I want to be a better healer inside the bounds of the game and with my own will.  Maybe someday I’ll code my own add-ons that I’ll feel comfortable using, but until then I will have to settle for crunching my own numbers and squeezing every ounce of healing knowledge that I can into my brain.

The Inherent Value of Suffering: This is a very interesting point by Tam that I really had to sit and think about for a moment.  My major issue is that I -do- think there is value in suffering or, more specific to this situation, in doing things the hard way.  There truly is no better teacher out there than suffering.  A parent can tell his/her child over and over again not to touch a candle flame, but learning from this verbal command isn’t nearly as visceral as the child learning from having been burnt.  Perhaps this is a cultural difference, I don’t really know.  From my point of view, a person who has no choice but to internalize the timing on their Wild Growth is going to learn that timing in a far more visceral manner than someone who has a timer to tell him/her.

Skill, Where Lies That?: “Skill and knowledge.”  That has always been how I described the divide.  Knowledge is in knowing the “how, what, when, who and why” and skill is in the doing.  So, if Tam’s goddaughter had really great twitch reactions, she may in fact be really high on the “skill” meter.  However, without enough on the “knowledge” meter, none of that would matter.  The description he gives of dispelling a person is -exactly- what is on the skill side of things.  It is about my being able to get that Dispell off fast enough that my raider/arena partner doesn’t die.  The knowledge part would be my knowing if my partner has Unstable Affliction and not Dispelling if that is so.  In a more PvE example, skill is that immediate reaction to having Defile and getting to the proper drop zone in time.

The Death of the Game Designer: This is a rather… high brow concept, but I’ll try to be concise.  I do not quite see how a videogame based on numerical values is really an “interpretative space,” as Tam calls it, not as far as raiding goes at least.  When I’m roleplaying on my characters, absolutely!  But no matter how much I might wish it, my healing is going to be less on my Disc. priest if I stack haste than if I stack spellpower.  This is not like a purist railing against an interpretative performance of Die Zauberflöte. Nor, to use Tam’s example, is this related to how someone perceives Dumbledore’s sexuality.  Art is fluid, able to be seen from different points of view.  (I majored in English and I loved all my Comp. Lit. courses!)  Videogames are a series of 0s and 1s arranged to work in a specific fashion.  Is Healbot part of the World of Warcraft 0s and 1s?  It is not.  Is the Queen of the Night an example of the evils of giving women too much power?  Who’s to say?

– Third: Some Conclusions –

I’ve gone back and re-read my post many times and I have a hard time seeing where I was “pissing on everyone else’s” decisions nor where I say people are “too crap and lazy too [sic] listen.”  What I see are four small paragraphs on a subject that I have written about before.  I stated my conclusions on the matter as clearly as I could without it becoming, well, -this post- and moved on with life.  I was not nor am emotionally attached to this topic.  (Other than wanting people to stop with the “healing hardmodes without Vuhdo is impossible!” talk.)  I am, however, perturbed by the things that are being put in my mouth.  Heck, I feel the need to say it again, just in case someone didn’t see it the first time.

I do not believe using healing add-ons makes you a bad healer.

What I -do- believe is that healing add-ons in their current form create a dependence in players such as they feel they would be unable to heal without them.  This dependence is characterized in lower knowledge of specific game mechanics and in a less pronounced internal perception of time, including how time relates to healing abilities.  If people didn’t exhibit these symptoms of dependence, I’d have zero problems with add-ons.

I’m sorry if my other post wasn’t well thought-out or written.  It was never meant to be a point of discussion, really.  This will be my last post on the matter as I don’t really enjoy drawing such startling attention to myself.  I’ll get back to posting my theorycrafting numbers now!

P.S.  If people really want to see what kind of healer I am with the default UI, I’d be willing to email a parse or two from various characters.  All the insults to my skills in the comments gave me a chuckle.

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re: a wall of text on the subject of elitism

07/06/2010

(aka. an explanation of why I hate the way the word is used)

There have been some excellent posts about “elitism” recently, my favorites being Tamarind’s and Vixsyn’s two-part post.  I agree very much with Vixsyn on the concept of it and with Tam on the linguistic part of it.  I -hate- the way the word “elitist” is used, especially when it is tried to be used as an insult.  The political climate and the media of the last 10-15 years has turned the concept of being elite into something they feel we should be ashamed with.  I refuse to allow that sort of rhetoric into my past-times as well.  It makes me sad that both Vixsyn and Tamarind fall into the trap of “WoW elitism is different from that horrible RL version of it!”  That makes me very sad.

elitism
1 : leadership or rule by an elite
2 : the selectivity of the elite
3 : consciousness of being or belonging to an elite
elite
1 : the choice part
2: the best of a class
3 : the socially superior part of society
4: a group of persons who by virtue of position or education exercise much power or influence
5: a member of such an elite —usually used in plural

We’re going to get a bit personal here, but I want to explain why it is that I am a proud RL elitist.  When I had to find a surgeon for a rare condition I had almost five years ago, I had a choice.  I could go with a doctor who had never dealt with my specific disease or I could hunt down one of the two elite musculoskeletal oncologists in my state that had dealt with cases like mine.  Elitism was exactly what I wanted, what I needed at that point.  Leadership by an elite surgeon.  I didn’t care if the doctor was the kind of person I could hang out with on the weekends; I wanted someone who was so skilled at their job that they could look me in the eye and say “I will fix this because I am -that damn good.-”

It isn’t just in medicine where I want that.  My car deserves the best mechanic, my finances the best accountant and my government the most elite diplomat I can find.  I don’t -want- to sit around and drink beer with my senators.  What I want is for them to do their jobs so that my family is safe from threats foreign and domestic.  But it’s like definition #3 of elite up there blinds people to what being elite really means, as if the economics of classism has taken over the good parts of being elite.

None of this has to do with WoW too much, does it.  In the end, I suppose I’d just rather people be accurate with what they say, especially when it comes to insults.  If someone is being a “holier than thou” snob, then call them a snob.  If someone is being an idiot, call them an idiot.  There’s no need to call them “elitist” or “casual.”  Neither are actually insults!  Can’t we work to keep them that way?

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Too progressed to know

07/02/2010

While I was going through my link/search logs the other day, I happened upon a post on a guild form (which I obviously won’t link) to my blog.  Most of it was fairly normal linking behavior, but something caught my eye.

“Of course, her Paladin’s gear is pretty INsane (sic) and she is working on HMs so take it in that context.”

This isn’t the first comment in regards to my gear that I’ve found calling into question my judgment on things.  In fact, it is a fairly regular practice for those trying to argue against my point of view to point out my progression, as if I were some sort of computer that wipes clean the files on normal fights when I start regularly downing hardmodes to save memory space.  Seeing as it -is- prevalent when people disagree with me, I really have to ask myself why this is the case.  I’m certainly not going to dismiss out of hand a repeated pattern.

I try very hard to make sure the things I write about are very firmly grounded in logic and reason.  Nearly every time I write about something that I am trying to show as fact, I comment that I would love some feedback explaining where I went wrong if I did; as of yet, I haven’t gotten anything back.  When someone disagrees with me and I ask them to prove it, I’m usually met with anecdotes (which any scientist can tell you isn’t evidence) or else with silence.  Well, or personal attacks.  (I have vivid memories about a commenter telling me I lack social skills.  I still laugh over that one!)

But -is- it reasonable to think that what I say loses validity with those not as progressed in the end game?  Do the conclusions I come to not hold as true for those still working their way through normal ICC because I’m not currently running that content?

The only reasonable answer I can come to is “no.”

I haven’t forgotten those first steps into the raid, wearing lesser gear than many of the naysayers and lacking the buff altogether.  I still have vivid memories of praying for fewer Marks on normal Saurfang when he was the last boss you could kill.  My teeth still ache from those long days trying to get any of the ToC hardmodes down and let’s not even discusses the wrinkles I gained from trying to learn to time Divine Sacrifice without getting myself killed those long months (years?) ago.

Math is math.  Any decent Mad Scientist will test their theories with multiple variables to make sure it works.  Would it be better if I were 11/12 regular ICC?  Would the math somehow be more applicable?  It is irrational to think so.  When I talk about metagems, the reasons behind some choices being far better than others work across the spectrum.  When there are exceptions, I say so.  It isn’t a matter of my progression being “kept in context.”  In fact, my progression has -nothing to do with it.-  Trying to imply that my gear should make 2+2 -not- equal 4 is just a strawman argument, from what I can see.

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The Three Catagories of Play

06/22/2010

Before people start worrying that I’m going to delve into “hardcore” or “casual” or whatever, be at peace knowing this has nothing to do with that.  This is more directed at specific characters and roles.  Most people will find that they have fallen into each category at some time in the game or, like myself, coexist in all three at the same time.  I label the three categories as “The Cookiecutter,”  “The Supervisor,” and “The Mad Scientist.”  (Yes, I am sometimes far too amused with myself.)  The major difference between them is what kind of work is put into learning a class/role.

– The Cookiecutter –

This is the category for when you just don’t care to learn the specifics of a class and just want to get on with the playing.  You look up a spec, rotation and gearing strategy from somewhere online or perhaps ask a friend who you feel should know such things.  Falling into this category isn’t at all a bad thing and is fairly common when you’re looking to play an alt or off-spec.  I know that this is exactly what I do with my hunter.  I don’t really care -why- doing things a certain way makes my DPS better, I just want that good DPS.  This style of play is most useful when doing pre-raid content, as raiding in this style will cause you to run into the cons more often.  When I’m on my hunter, it is all about focusing on shooting things until they are dead.

Which is one of the major pros of this kind of play; there is no mucking around behind the scenes to impede your fun.  It is the “plug and play” of the WoW world.  Another pro is that you don’t have to worry if you have no real idea what you’re doing.  Listening to someone who does and doing what they do can make you seem like you know your class really well.  As long as you implement what you read decently, your DPS/healing/tanking skills will at least be passable.

Of course, a major downside to this is that you need to make sure your information is good.  The internet is a double-sided sword when it comes to finding accurate information and sometimes it can be hard to distinguish between the good and the bad.  This sort of play also has the problem of not having the knowledge that makes working with class changes easy.  For example, when the major changes to Survival Hunters went down with WotLK, I was pretty much lost as to how to deal with them.  And these sorts of changes happen far more often than you might think.  Even small tweaks can change things to a large effect.  This means either trying to find someone to tell you how to changes things with each tweak or else falling behind.

– The Supervisor –

The name of this category comes from the fact that you will be taking raw information garnered from others (the Mad Scientists) and then decide how best to implement it yourself.  This is likely the most common form of play for raiders, as it implies a certain amount of class knowledge without having to delve into the data.  This can also be thought of as taking a Cookiecutter spec/gearing/rotation and then breaking it down to learn about it.  When I PvP, this is exactly how I play.  I listen to the advice of other players in my class (and my teammates) and use their experience to build up my own way of doing things.  I don’t need to know exactly how hit works to know that I need 5% of it.  Another example would be a healadin who reads someone else’s numbers on the mana regen from INT and uses that information to gem her/his gear.

One of the major good parts about this style of play is the customizable nature of it.  When new information is reveled with patches, you can adapt and change things around with minimal effort.  You get to save time by using the raw data gathering of others, which is also really helpful if you don’t feel you have the ability to work with the raw numbers yourself.  While there is a small delay between the changes being made and the knowledge of how it affects play being disseminated, a skilled Supervisor knows where to get her/his information and has a keen eye towards making changes for her/himself.

Cons for this category follow those that plague the Cookiecutter, namely that information gathered may be incorrect.  It can be very hard to distinguish between a good source and a bad one.  Even generally good sources of information can make mistakes, too.  There is also a potential issue with comprehension of the data being given, in that not having full knowledge of how things work can lead to incorrect conclusions.  (ex. paladin tanks have the highest threat generation of tanking classes, so you never have to worry about threat stats)  Another pitfall can be reliance on old information, either through seeing misleading data from previous patches or else in not keeping up with changes due to stubbornness.    Most of the cons, though, can be balanced by someone with an ear to the ground and a good grasp of their class.

– The Mad Scientist –

My favorite!  Feel the need to work out all your numbers yourself?  Delve into every parse to see if there are any bugs or inconsistencies with your data?  Find yourself standing around and casting your spells on yourself hundreds of times to work out the spellpower coefficients?  You are, indeed, a Mad Scientist.  This is not just wanting to know -what- works the best, but -why- it does.  While some people consider the Supervisor a theorycrafter, it is the Mad Scientists who provide the information to him/her.  For some, it is the thrill of discovery that makes this category appealing.  For others, they simply want to know for a fact that they are doing the absolute best they can.

Which is one of the pros.  You never have to worry about the sources of your information, because you are that source.  Being able to double-check your work against the work of others means that you can make sure your data is sound.  This also gives you the background information you need to apply what you gather into your play.  The level of detail and accuracy when applying your work is very high, as you know the intimate details of how playstyle and mechanics meet.  When changes to the class occur, you are at the front lines, conducting experiments and running the new equations.

For most people, the major downside is that it can be difficult to wrap your head around the math and its implications.  It sometimes isn’t apparent how to turn a question into a workable equation so you can find the solution.  There is also a matter of not wanting to put the time into the experiments.  Actually, I’d say the greatest drawback is how much time and effort that people -think- it takes, and the fear that is associated with it.  Human beings hate to fail and there will always be failure in these sorts of endeavours.  Another serious downside is that sometimes the line between theory and reality can get skewed.  (ex. just because Greater Heal yields the most HPS and HPM on paper, that doesn’t mean it is the best spell to use always)  A Mad Scientist can get so wrapped up in the way things -should- be, that they forget how things -are.-

– Variety is the spice of life –

This was a fun exercise in thinking about how we play the game.  I rather like that I can see myself in all three categories and I do think that most other people will be able to do the same.  It makes me laugh to think that I, Mad Scientist as I am with my healing, fall so completely into being a Cookiecutter with DPS.  Some guide tells me to use Explosive Shot on CD and I do it, no questions asked!  If someone were to say something like that to me in regards to healing, I’d probably be pretty unhappy with them.

It does make me a little sad that there aren’t more Mad Scientists out there, at least in the healing community.  Or at least, not that I’ve seen.  Dip your toes in, fellow healers, the water is fine and peer-reviews keep the sharks away!

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Is there such a thing as too much mana?

06/11/2010

After reading a blog entry by a healadin who says that she doesn’t like using glyphed Seal of Wisdom, I felt I should touch on this subject.  It’s a bit funny, how Blizzard claims that mana regen is currently not something that healers take into account, yet I always seem to be bringing it up on my blog.  Sure, I’m not biting my nails during every fight to make sure I don’t waste a single drop of my blue bar, but all healers who are trying to progress should be thinking about just how much regen they need before going into the raid.

The question “is there such a thing as too much mana?” is an interesting one to me, as there is only one healing class right now that currently gems and enchants strictly for regen.  Some may view it as a necessary evil for keeping up in HPS, but I find it is actually more a case than gemming for anything except INT just doesn’t give the returns I’d like.  Priests and druids get to gem all those reds to see their healing go up across the board as they blanket the raid.  Shaman have that really run time gemming into haste and more haste, letting them spam those slow casting Chain Heals faster, faster, faster.  Those classes get to see a direct increase to their healing with their gem choices.

Healadins don’t get to have that.  By gemming any sort of throughput, we generate quite a bit of “waste.”  Spellpower will simply up the overhealing.  Haste would drop us below the 1 second mark and cost us way too much mana to sustain.  Crit is laughable with how little it gives us, especially with the amount we have with proper gearing.  All of these stats just produce a very “meh” feeling, in that in the end we get very little out of them.  But INT?  That stat gives us exactly what we need.  More casts mean more healing.  Being able to sustain Holy Light for longer will up your HPS far more than gemming any sort of throughput.

Let’s just be honest:  If you have too much mana when you are gemmed/geared correctly, the problem lies with how you are healing.

People hate to hear that.  We all hate to be told “you are doing it wrong” and we like to scowl at those doing it, trying to make the person saying it sound like the villain.  That doesn’t mean it isn’t -true,- however.  If you are considering switching from glyphed Seal of Wisdom to glyphed Seal of Light as a healadin, you are, in fact, “doing it wrong.”  (Dreamwalker and PvP excluded, of course.)  What I mean by that is that you are doing a huge disservice to yourself, your raid and the other healers.  You are not holding up your end of the bargain and trying your hardest to keep people alive by using every ounce you have.

Cast more.  I keep trying to drill this into people’s heads, but it is absolutely true.  Cast more, cast more, cast more.  If you’re gemmed/enchanted/geared correctly, you must cast more.   Even if you’re -not- maximized in your gear, just cast more.  (And then go fix your gear after the raid…)  Never stop casting!  Every GCD used is one less thing you’re putting on the shoulders of your compatriots.  This isn’t about “I don’t want to step on the other healers’ toes,” it is about “what can I do to make things easier for everyone else.”  The answer?  -Cast more!-  Mana problem solved.

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Burn out – Trying to stay interested

05/17/2010

I have to admit, things on the PvE side of the game have just been boring the heck out of me.  Our group is 7/12 hardmodes in 25-man and part of me just doesn’t care if we ever get the other 5.  Every time we wipe on something that we’ve done a million times before, I can feel myself becoming frustrated.  There are days when the thought of logging onto my paladin makes me want to scream; sometimes even seeing her in the character select screen is enough to keep me from logging onto an alt.

Burn out is destroying my enjoyment of raiding, but I’ve found a way to keep my head in the game.  I want to share it with my readers because I know that I’m certainly not the only one suffering from this problem.  If my solution helps others out then, hey, that’s great.

– PvP has saved my sanity –

To be specific, I don’t PvP on my paladin (although I’ve considered it now and again), but instead to do it on my Disc priest and it is a very good time.  The best part about PvP as a raider is that the challenge is completely different.  It isn’t about executing a set encounter perfectly with your group, it is about adapting to the situation and being quick on your feet.  The skill set is at first strange and bizarre, but as time goes on it starts to become easier and you learn more about your abilities than you ever did.

It’s important to keep in mind that you are PvPing for -fun- and not for another thing to stress over.  Get one or two of your raider friends and make yourself an arena team to mess around with.  Buy some Furious gear with those Triumph badges to start out  and hop into vent to laugh with each other.  If you decide to go into battlegrounds as a healer, make sure you bring a DPS friend to follow around and be ready to have huge amounts of players targeting you.  Relax and know that becoming that Walking Target Sign is just part of the fun.

Reading up a little on arenajunkies.com or even WoWwiki is a very good idea, if only so you aren’t completely in the dark when you start.  I actually favor befriending a PvPer and chatting with them about things.  I’m also a fan of copying the specs and gearing of accomplished PvPers as a new person, since that way you can focus on the fighting and less on how much spell hit you need!  (5% if you’re curious.)  Joining random battlegrounds solo or with only one person can be a bit maddening at times, it’s true, so just keep your cool.  The last thing a new PvPer should do is “talk smack” in battlegrounds chat, as many times the things they want people to do are just plain wrong.  (For example, controlling the middle is very important in WSG once both teams have epic riding.)

Overall, just have fun with it!  Killing people of the opposite faction can be very therapeutic.

– Other little tricks I use –

I love to roleplay and I have done it on non-RP realms to great effect, too.  RPing on the character you raid on can give the battles you fight more meaning and also add a depth to your main that may keep you from want to delete them.  Even if you’re only saying a few things in /say during trash pulls or break time, it can help work the creative side of your brain to keep the logical side from having a blow-out.

Even if RPing isn’t your thing, sometimes taking a little time to read the lore can help relax you and get you more in the mood for the raid.  Knowing how Arthas became the Lich King and why he needs to be killed may give you just a bit more determination as your wipe to him night after night.  Instead of just being a guy who drops your healing sword, he may suddenly become someone you want to destroy for killing his own father.  The stories involved in Icecrown are actually pretty interesting if you take the time to read them.

I know many people level alts to relax or spec into tanking/DPS on their healer to try to stave off burn out, but my last suggestion is actually to go back and run the old raid content.  There is something very relaxing about taking a couple of your friends and wiping out Karazhan at record speeds.  Revisiting those spots where you felt that frustration you do now can be very good for you, as can getting a chance to see content you didn’t get to at the time.  Not to mention, it’s really good money!

– The end is coming, try to enjoy the ride –

Cataclysm is coming soon and sometimes it feels like I’m just trying to hang on until it does.  The entire healing section during our raids sometimes all feel burnt out, which can cause real problems for us.  But if doing little things can keep it from seeming overwhelming, then I’ll do everything I can to keep my head in the game.  And yes, I know it’s a game, but if I decide that it’s no fun and stop showing up for raids, I’m causing problems for 24 other people.  Which I suppose brings me to the real thought when it comes to burn out…

If you are feeling frustrated and not having fun, work with your raid leadership to see what can be done to alleviate the strain.  If they are kept in the loop, many times they will go out of their way to give you a lighter raiding schedule or a week off.  Telling them how you’re feeling -before- you up and quit from burn out makes life better for everyone involved.  They won’t be left scrambling for a replacement and you won’t be leaving with all those negative feelings.  Believe me, your raid leadership understands how you feel!