h1

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.

h1

Simple Questions/Simple Answers #1

07/20/2010

There is a section on ElitistJerks.com where you can post your questions and get them answered.  I don’t think many people actually -use- that, as there are so many who find the website disorganized or otherwise intimidating.  (They do live up to the “jerks” part pretty regularly.)  So I thought I’d offer that service here, instead.  The choice to do so was mostly made as I was helping a new-ish paladin streamline his gearing the other day and some of the things he didn’t know astounded me.  I’m going to start with a few of his questions here and hopefully my readers will toss more my way.

“Do you have to use two Nightmare Tears to activate the IED metagem?” – Nope, you don’t.  A Nightmare Tear counts for a red, yellow -and- blue in a single gem.  That means popping a single Nightmare Tear into your helm will allow you to gem pure INT everywhere else.

“What is the best libram and how do I get it?” – That would be the Libram of Renewal, available for purchase from the Heroism badge vendor.  (You’ll have to downgrade your Triumph badges to Heroism ones to buy it, just like you would if you were buying gems.)  You do NOT need to run Naxx for it.

“Should healadins gem for socket bonuses?” – No.

“What spells should a healadin be using?” – Mostly Holy Lights, with the occasional Flash of Light thrown in.  During low damage times, using more FoLs will be okay, but HL is the primary spell you should use.  Holy Shock is saved for movement or emergencies.

“What stats should a Disc. priest go for?” – Spellpower is king.  Everything else falls far down the list of importance.  Crit is more useful than haste or Spirit/MP5, so your gear should all have crit on it.  Whether you go crit/haste or crit/Spirit is rather unimportant.  Take whichever is higher ilevel of the two (more spellpower that way).  If you end up needing more mana, lean more towards crit/Spirit gear.

“Why do Resto. shaman run with such low MP5 these days?” – Because with enough crit (from their crit/haste gear), MP5 is largely unnecessary.  This is especially true when said shaman is using a (heroic) Solace.

“Does raiding with two Disc. priests work?” – Yes, just make sure healing assignments are by group and -very- clear.

There you have it.  Any other questions I run into will be posted at a later date.  It is rather hard trying to not give huge, in-depth answers!

h1

Gotta plug it!

07/19/2010

I just have to link O’s voice-post because it’s about me and it goes more indepth about the crazy fate that we share.  We really need to do a co-op drunk voice post, we really do!

h1

My O story

07/15/2010

The internet is a small place.  This is especially true when it comes to the corner that WoW bloggers share.  A good example would be Oestrus finding me.

O and I were roommates starting about 5 years ago.  I was going to college at the time and she put up a Craigslist ad that really drew me in.  Dare I say, we clicked -immediately.-  For months we had a settled rhythm; spending time together was a blast and yet we were both able to give the other ample space.  We shared so many laughs (and so much Chinese take-out!) during those days that it makes me smile.  Sadly, those days were brought to an unfortunate end when life events came and put the stomp all over me, but her sense of humor and blunt honesty still stick with me.

Years later, I decided to start a healing blog for one reason or another.  Seeing as blogs often link to each other, I linked a healing blog I was reading at the time by the name of Divine Aegis.  Generally, I was one of those silent readers that blogs get, but then a post by a Tree drew my eye and I commented on it.  Said Tree even came to my blog and commented on something I had written.  It was a nice, civil conversation we had, neither of us really knowing the true identity of the other.  Not until months later when O happened to read my “About” page!  Her email to me right after made me laugh and laugh at just how small the world is.

I’ll be straight with you:  O and I have very different opinions on the state of WoW healing.  However, we share a love for the role and a bluntness that means you’ll never have to guess what our true meaning is.  Frankly, O is -amazing- and the fact that we took such similar paths makes me just crack up.  Two friends, separated by distance and time, find each other in a tiny subset community of a subset of a subset community.  (WoW > WoW bloggers > healing bloggers)  If that isn’t a heart-warming tale of fate, I don’t know what is.

Love you, O!  Keep on writing!

h1

Adventures in bubblebotting

07/11/2010

Just a quick post, seeing as it’s Sunday, but I had to say something about this.

Last night, my raiding group had three paladins, two shaman and one druid sign up for healers.  (Since I stopped being healing lead, we run 6 healers instead of 5.  It isn’t a choice I generally agree with, but change can be good.)  That healing make-up is pretty… mediocre, especially for the Lich King fight.  So the raid leader and healing lead asked me to get on my Disc priest to help out.  Of course, she’s my PvP character, so my gear on her is less than good.  I believe her average ilevel was 252, which is a bit low for healing 25-man hardmodes.  Needless to say, her gear was by far the worst of the 6 healers.  I’d never even stepped foot into a 25-man ICC with her.

Somehow, I got #2 on the healing charts on her anyway!  I probably would have had a better showing, but I have a terrible tendency to forget to watch my PoM cooldown.  Not to mention I spent the first few Infests on Lich King playing with PW:S ranks.  (Rank 9 was perfect with my gear.)  It just proved to me that all those times I have told Disc priests that bubblebotting is the most useful thing they could do was correct.  Even with my terrible gear and my complete lack of experience, the theorycrafting really paid off.

I’m pretty sure that all that PvP I’d done as Disc helped a ton, too.  Even when lagging during Sindy hardmode, I was quick enough on my feet to make sure I got a Pain Suppression off on myself so I didn’t die.  During Festergut hardmode, I was put in with the melee instead of standing to one of the sides like I’m used to, so I got to do lots of running around to avoid green slime being lobbed at my head.  If I had been keyboard turning, I’d have been utterly screwed.

All in all, it was a hilarious night for me.  I probably would have had a better showing had I actually done any of the fights on normal as a Disc priest, but I did alright.  One-shotting the Lich King fight was probably the highlight for me, seeing as I spent the entire fight absolutely flailing around with spell ranks and living in fear of being Defiled.  (Got it once, but dealt with it no problem.)  Maybe they’ll want me to switch to Disc full time?  I would laugh and laugh if that were so.

h1

It isn’t a project if it’s permanent

07/09/2010

I just realized today how very long it has been since I’ve used any sort of fancy UI or add-ons.  It was back in March that my UI finally utterly broke with a patch and I decided to return to my Zero Add-on Project.  Believe it or not, I’ve been running the base UI ever since.  9/12 ICC hardmodes and I’m still pulling those little raid frames out to heal.  After so long, the default UI is really -my- default, so I can’t really consider this any sort of experiment any longer.  I’ve had time to collect my thoughts, analyze my impressions and I think I can say it now.

Healing add-ons do more damage than good.  I’ve heard healing with base UI is like “eating soup with a fork,” but I’ve come to see using Vuhdo or the like as “eating rice with a fork,” instead.  (A fork and soy sauce!  GASP!)  By making healing a simple matter of point and click, it removes the finesse of doing things like making macros or learning each of the unique debuffs so that you can spot them.  Instead, Clique sets up your macros for you and the raid UI turns the affected person’s bar a funky color to tell you to Cleanse/decurse.

I don’t think I have ever had a conversation with a raiding healer where they said “oh sure, I could totally heal without my add-ons.”  These UIs make healing easier, but they do so in a way that causes players to become dependent on them.  It is like back in elementary school when we learned our basic arithmetic.  When faced with having to learn multiplication, I asked my teachers why we should bother when we could just use a calculator instead.  The answer to that is very apparent to see immediately after WoW patches.  Healers scramble to update their add-ons so that they can get back to raiding, since they’ve convinced themselves that it would be impossible otherwise.  We forget how to do longhand division because we depend on programs to pick up the slack for us.

Most likely, I’ll never become a crusader for the viewpoint that everyone should give up their fancy UIs, simply because I don’t see it being possible.  Humans are by nature creatures who want to do as little work as we can get away with.  Because of this, healing add-ons are rampant and the overwhelming majority of raiders are committed to their use.  So I think I’m going to keep myself to being an example that it -is- viable to raid without all the shortcuts, without overly taxing ourselves.  When people say that it isn’t possible, I’ll be able to counter that without having to get on a soapbox every time.  Maybe by just existing, I’ll be able to help break some of the dependence out there.

Edit:  I didn’t edit the text itself, but I wanted to point people to the follow-up post here. There are a lot of words being put into my mouth.  Thanks!

h1

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?

h1

Healadin hardmode/RS BiS

07/05/2010

I figured it is past time that I sat down and finalized my own list for this.  The WoWhead profiler that I normally use is being very wonky, so please ignore the lack of enchants and strange gemming that may show up, since it won’t allow me to fix it.  The profile can be found here.

Head: Sanctified Lightsworn Headpiece
Neck: Blood Queen’s Crimson Choker
Shoulders: Sanctified Lightsworn Spaulders
Back: Cloak of Burning Dusk
Chest: Rot-Resistant Breastplate
Wrists: Phaseshifter’s Bracers
Hands: Fallen Lord’s Handguards
Waist: Split Shape Belt
Legs: Lightning-Infused Leggings
Feet: Foreshadow Steps
Finger 1: Ring of Phased Regeneration
Finger 2: Ashen Band of Endless Wisdom
Trinket 1: Solace of the Defeated/Fallen
Trinket 2: Meteorite Crystal
Libram: Libram of Renewal
Shield: Bulwark of Smouldering Steel
Weapon: Val’anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings

There are two slots where I’m not sure what I would prefer, namely chest and hands. Most healadin BiS lists would include the 277 versions of Mail of Crimson Coins and Unclean Surgical Gloves in those slots, but I am well-known for running as little MP5 as I can possibly get away with. The list as I have it written sits me at 86 MP5, which might be one the low side, even for me. Replacing just those two pieces puts me back up to 184 MP5 with this set-up. In the end, I’ll probably pick up all four pieces up once our Resto shaman have the mail ones and just play around with them.

Someday we’ll get a better libram. -SOMEDAY.- (Cataclysm, probably, oye.)

You’ll notice that I still have ilevel 264 legs on the list, but that is because there simply isn’t anything better. It’s utterly depressing, but sadly true.

For those without access to the legendary mace (or the hardmode Lich King weapons), there are really three choices: Bloodsurge, Royal Scepter, or ilevel 277 Rigormortis. The two Lich King weapons have the same stats, so it just is a matter of which you can get your hands on. The main question is if you can deal with having the hit on your gear or not. Personally, I favor the Rigormortis option; the gem slot, slightly increased INT and slight increased haste make the loss of the crit negligible. If you have access to the hardmode Lich King weapons, that is absolutely the way to go, obviously.

Along the same lines, if you don’t have access to Algalon for the trinket, regular Solace is a good choice with the Talisman of Resurgence falling in slightly behind that.

h1

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.

h1

Codi’s Corner (#1?)

06/29/2010

I’m ripping off Kurn like you wouldn’t believe, but I had a couple of interesting searches  here that I wanted to share.  Thoughts on some will be more interesting and indepth than others.

1) “healers oom lk fight” – The LK fight can get pretty insane, especially with a group that hasn’t done it before.  The main key is to be proactive in your regen and to study the fight mechanics.  There are good times when conserving mana or using regen abilities is doable.  Make sure you’re popping your abilities early and often!  You’ll be able to use Mana Tide/Shadowfiend/Hymn of Hope twice during the fight if you do it correctly.  If you’re a Disc priest, make sure you are NOT bubbling the tanks and that you are downranking your bubbles if Infest isn’t breaking them.

2) “does trauma proc when casting hots” – It does and that’s why Druids get more out of Trauma than any other healer.

3)  “is trauma good for holy paladins” – Absolutely not.  The lack of HoTs, the placement of our healing assignments and the absolute lack of throughput stats on Trauma means that it is a terrible weapon for a healadin.  I know that people like to argue about this, about how there is “nothing better” out there, but there is.  Just because it is the highest ilevel healer weapon does -not- make it the best.  If higher ilevel meant better, then Gearscore would be correct.

4) “best tier 10 set holy paladin” – Helm and shoulders all the way.  The chestpiece isn’t bad, but there are more powerful items for that slot that are easily obtainable.

5)  “is there a reagent vendor in icc” – One spawns by Saurfang’s platform after you kill him.  Annoying, I know.

6)  “ember skyflare pally healing” – No.  Just no.  Insightful is the way to go.

7)  “trauma cooldown” – There is none.  Of the two types of proc mechanics, Trauma has the “low proc rate, but no CD” one.  That is why classes that are able to blanket the raid with HoTs get so much out of it.

8)  “holidays grace or blood queen holy pally” – There is no haste on Holiday’s Grace, so don’t use it.

9) “is holy paladin four piece teir worth it” – Nope.

10) “plague wing icc strategy disc priest” – Bubble.  Bubble some more.  Is Prayer of Mending on CD?  Good, keep it there.  And then bubble.

11)  “rylik mahariel” – Someone searched for my Dragon Age character?  Wow.  I’m… I don’t know.  Flattered?  Confused, certainly.

There were so many searches for best-in-slot lists, especially for a hardmode version.  So… well, I guess I should get onto posting mine, shouldn’t I?  I also found a very interesting couple of links to my blog that bring up an issue I’d like to touch on, but should probably get a post specifically for it.