Monday, April 30, 2012

Dath'remar WoW Factor Show

It was really exciting thinking about all the beautiful (and maybe not so beautiful) sets that we were going to see today.  It was quiet to start, and our guild staked out one side and plastered it with our banners.  Great guild turnout to see those of us who had entered this transmog competition.

We just had a few banners...
Then it became a bit ridiculous... people sitting behind banners couldn't see anymore!

But everyone is always late to a party, and it wasn't long before the place was packed out!  There were the usual idiots standing around in the middle blocking views, but the event didn't kick off for a good 15 minutes.  I saw Noelani standing in the corner, and Ironyca turned up too a bit later.  Elvine was there too so we could see the Livestream as well!  Only Keelhaul was missing (he was out with the kids he tweeted) or the whole WoW Factor would have been there.

So a fair few of us got handed 500g for turning up, which was pretty exciting.  I even got 2 lots of 500g, even though I said that I had already received some.  I even tried not to take it.

Souglyy caught their eye straight off!  She was a clear choice for 20k and they loved her shoulders, her bow colour matched perfectly!  We were all thrilled as we've always loved her set, so that was really fantastic!  Pity they couldn't see her pet, that would have taken the cake!  They went back to her a lot, and when she was on the Livestream we were on vent going "Baha they're looking at you!!! OMG they love you!"  They even mentioned that draenei on one of the previous WoW Factor Shows who was wearing the Steadfast set too, and we all thought Baha looked better because she matched more!

They had a look at Roshii too, saying that he looked great, but his weapons let him down.  He had his legendaries on.  Roshii changed to his Warglaives and they came back to him and one of the judges (I couldn't tell who the judge was - I assumed it was Noelani) said "Did she have that before?  How did I miss those massive warglaives?" and he got 5k - WOOO!  But him not wearing a cloak let him down I think.  I've always liked that set with the Warglaives - it doesn't look good with the Cata legendaries.  A shame they couldn't see it with the Corrupted Hippogryph because it is an amazing match.

And they came to me!  They liked my shirt - they seemed to think that it went really well with my chest.  However, they didn't like my staff - it was too blood-elf Sunwell like.  Ah well!  But I got a 5k out of it so that was exciting!  They made some nice comments about my attempts to match my colours of the gloves and my chest and the cloak.  It makes me giggle a bit about the shirt.  I forgot what I was making and accidentally made the Green martial shirt instead of the Green Workman's shirt.  And oof, that was a bad bad look.  They were the same mats!  And they both had green!

Barkhoof also got a 5k for his mog too!  They liked his mix of feralheart and current tier so that was really exciting!  Our guild really cleaned up this competition.

Cymre also got a 5k too.  They were a bit let down with her shoulder and helm for some reason but I did like them.  It was like a holy grim reaper look.  I actually love that hood.

A priest by the name of Silenrea was really good with her angel set.  She had a halo on her set, and there was a BE male I think with the same sorta look and they both got 5k.  Sev said later to me that he was hoping they didn't over look her, because she looked really good.

Hazal, an orc shaman, with an eyecatching red skimpy gear with a really scary face was also targetted for 5k.  We noticed her at the start, and I even went to look at her to take a picture before the contest started.

There were two rogues wearing druid stuff!  Ut, a Blood elf, was wearing the same helm and kilt as me but was wearing the rogue FL shoulders which look like bird heads which I like a lot, and also was wearing a grizzly jerkin which looks sexy and demon hunter like!  And the other blood elf rogue, Leleli, was wearing a blue set with the Druid Passive Resistor Spaulders and it was a good look.

There was Manahungry, this troll shaman near us that they seemed to like a lot - Noelani(?) really liked him!  He got 5k as well, and I really liked his shoulders and his weapons.  Trolls are hard, with that hunchback look.  At the end, they had 15k left, and they came back to me and him, and wanted to give us a bit extra.  I ended up getting 10k and he got an extra 5k, so that was exciting!

After that, everyone was called to go up to Garrosh's platform so Vishii could have a good look at everyone and make the 100k final decision!  Silenrea was whispering me telling me she liked my mog, and I thanked her.  I was actually busy typing my blog post and editing pictures when my headset went wild with people saying "Navi, it's you!"  I'm like "What?"  because with all the vent chatter, I couldn't hear the Livestream.  And it was no joke.  Vishii actually chose ME.  ME!  I was stunned.  OMG what do I say?  I said what anybody else would say...


And of course there was heaps of outcry.  I chose to ignore all the comments about how crap my mog was, and Roshii had one fanboy screaming he should have won or Souglyy should have won - I really thought Souglyy was going to win because I was even WRITING about it when they announced me as a winner.  OMG I was totally overwhelmed, I was stunned!

I have to admit it is so much HARDER to be the winner.  Because EVERYONE is going to look at you and say how shit your mog was compared to someone else.  Roshii told me later that there were some really horrible bad comments, and I didn't see them at all.  Probably because for every bad comment I had a whole heap of congratulations from lots of other people - many of the other winners.  And that was nice.  Focus on the good right, not the bad?  Roshii had lots of tells saying that he should have won, and I'm sure Souglyy and Ut did as well!  But for whatever reason, Vishii chose me, and I have to say a huge massive thanks to Vishii/Squalli and Rojak for organising this awesome event, it was so fun to be just there for it! Thanks to the judges for the highly entertaining commentary on the Livestream, that was really fun.  All of us were glued to the Livestream and screaming in guild and MOTD was going crazy!

So what am I going to do with 100k?  Well, I have no idea.  I did think about buying the LK mount... but I think I'll just hold onto it for now until some rainy day thing comes along.

Great work Frostwolves!  I wonder if we'll now get a reputation for being a fashionable guild? :D

Check out the winners and commentary on the winners by the judges here
In depth: Rojak's WoW Factor Dath'remar Transmog competition

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Onyxia 25man achievements

Well I'm glad Roshii dragged me to do Onyxia.  I was going to help them get a mount, but Roshii said let's do 25 man.  I didn't think they were really going to do it.  It was only us 5.  Though it is an old instance.

Anyway, so we started, and geez, I was thinking they're not making much of a dent in Onyxia.  Great thing about having a paladin though, gotta love consecration.  Come whelp time, Aza told me to stand with him and all the whelps came and he roflstomped them.  So that was cool.  It all went really smoothly and when finally Onyxia was dead, we had massive achievement spam!

All 5 of us got the double achievements.  Yay us!  No mount though.  But that's ok, I'd rather have achievements than a mount that everyone wants to fight over anyway :)

What should I wear tonight?

Geez, well, I thought I might as well use this set - there isn't much time to farm another one!  I changed the weapon though.  And added a cloak.

Worried that the staff is a little bit too blue.  Maybe the original one I was using was better (see the pics from Kara).  And I'm not sure about the cloak.  Ohhh what am I worried about, it's not like I'd win!  But I just don't want to look like an idiot in front of all the others and the judges... nothing worse than looking like I have NO fashion sense!

Celebrating our not-so-Amateur-Azerothian

The moment had come - I was going to meet my blog buddies pixel to pixel!  Karazhan was JD's entree to his main course of ICC tonight, and he was doing that Horde side so I could come.  ICC was an Alliance affair and I was pleased that I got to have a slice of JD's farewell cake!  After all, what better way to do your last day in WoW than with friends you never met, right? :D

In case you couldn't tell, that big manly cow is JD.  Saintvache does mean holy cow!
 I had no idea who was coming - I knew that JD (on Saintvache), Ancient (on Sasche), and Effraeti (on Vaadaree)  would be there.  But when I turned up, I was pleasantly surprised to see more familiar and very welcome faces!

First up, I was thrilled to see Euphyley!  I thought she had all Alliance toons from memory, and I had commented as such on her blog:
... I know you can't Ironstevo but how about another alt?
If I had read her reply I would have known she had this warrior lying around - and not a shred of pink in sight!  Or any pet flamingos!
Oh I'll be there!!! I absolutely LOVE Kara! <3 I'm going to bring the first toon I ever made - the original undead Euphyley, who is still conveniently stuck at level 70. The last time I played her I was tanking Kara for my guild at the time. That place brings back some amazing memories. ^-^
- Euphyley
So that was awesome and Euphy was really excited to be there - she really DID seem to love Kara!

My second surprise was Karegina, author of the Reluctant Raider.  Firstly not only is she a classy tauren, but she had some excellent mog gear choices!  I felt like I was looking at my twin!  I felt like I was copying HER actually, since I had only just mogged this last night.  I was honoured, and blown away!  Imitation is the best form of flattery is it not?  I certainly hope she thought I was flattering her :)

And my third surprise (and I was so thrilled I actually let out a yelp IRL) was to see Kamalia.  I didn't know she was coming!  But now I felt like it was a cowfest as JD's Mooadin Saintvache was running the show :)  5 Taurens!  4 of which were female :)

And this (left) was Kaylira, from Blog of the Treant,  whose transmog was my favourite in Round 1 of Mog Madness (As well as being the winner with the highest score for Round 1). It was a genuine pleasure to meet her!  Anybody who plays a druid healer must be cool - but I realised who she was after I saw the outfit.  Some mogs just stick in your head.

A few I didn't know but recognised the names from JD's blog - one was Jai, of  Glyph of Jai, who was playing their hunter, Earthrose.  Paliclaus was someone else I didn't know (but judging from the guild name, it was a guildie - though from what I could gather, it wasn't Mrs Amateur) and I didn't get the chance to introduce myself.

So here we were getting ready to start the night.  Or rather, morning for me.

And almost right on the dot at 10am Sydney time (1 hour later), here was us at the end of the night.

With the exception of Nightbane, almost every boss died in less than 15 seconds.  Or so it felt.  I think Shade of Aran may have lasted a whole 3 seconds.  The fights were so quick I only frapsed a few, so I think I might be able to make a 30 second video of JD's last night.  When I get the time :)

So that was fun, and Ancient was very shy and quiet, so I made her stand with me and take more pics.  I like this picture the best because it looks like her fel puppy is cuddling up to me and I've got a firm grip on its horns.  At least she didn't have to worry about stuffing anything up - nothing was alive long enough to really stuff up on!  The only close moment we had was Euphy got exploded on and went to 75% health - I was thinking gosh, if she died, how bad would I feel!

Dath'remar is having a Transmog competition tonight!

I got home from dinner last night, and when I logged on, Souglyy said to me "Navi I sent you an email".  Uh oh.  What have I done now?

"Is it something bad?"  I asked hesitantly.

"What? No!  I just wanted to tell you that there is a transmog competition happening, and the winner gets 100k!"

Is WoW Factor coming to Dath'remar?  I wondered.  That wasn't on the schedule...

"There's a link in the email to the forum post as well."

Ah.  Rojak is holding it.  But the rules of it sound a lot like WoW Factor.  I found that they were spamming advertising in Trade channel too.

"It's right in the middle of raid :(" said Souglyy.

Oooh, but we're doing Blackhorn, I thought to myself.  They don't need 3 healers for this - and they certainly don't need me!  Gutsy and Voe couldn't give a poop about Transmog, but how often is this going to happen on Dath'remar?  100k!  I have to go - how could I not go?  "I'm jigging raid," I declared to Souglyy.

"I want to go too :(" she replied.

"Well, I bet Aza would want to go, and Roshii.  Maybe we can postpone raid for a day."

"That's a good idea!"

God, I thought, I can imagine everyone cracking a nut about that one.  

So I whispered this Vishii guy from Rojak.  They told me about the competition, and said that the organiser, Squalli was actually online.  So I whispered Squalli and gushed about how exciting it was.  The poor guy must have thought I was some sort of idiot but was very patient with me, especially when I asked if Keelhaul, Noelani and Ironyca were coming.  Gosh, I would love to meet Ironyca in person!  Actually, reading that, what a ridiculous statement!  Calling meeting her online in a computer game in a virtual world, "meeting her in person".  Hahaha!

I asked why they were having the competition.  And Squalli said that when D3 comes out, they will cancel their subscription and what better way to get rid of their money.  Now, I have played this game for 6 years and I have never had that much money.  Bloody amazing if you ask me.

"So is Keelhaul really coming?" I asked Squalli.

"I emailed him," said Squalli.  "And he said he would ask Noelani to come.  It's going to be 3am for him."

Well, so I get to see the big man myself?  For those who don't know, Keelhaul, of Disenchanting Azeroth, is a transmogrification KING. He can recognise items on sight, knows where they drop, and has a keen eye for fashion.  He is the host of WoW Factor, a transmog competition that he takes from server to server with massive cash prizes like that as well.  Recently, he has come under a bit of fire because of some passing comments he made on his blogcast, making dismissive comments about Mog Madness - the 5 part competition that gives a transmog challenge and makes a lot of use of the addon Mogit.  I am not going to go into it here, you can read all about it on Amateur Azerothian or Effraeti's blog.  I did smile a bit when Ironyca said this in reply to my comment about her and Keelhaul being elite transmoggers:

"So Navimie, I thank you for your flattering comment, but at the same time, I hope that’s not how people see it :)"
So I was already out on my farming mission to get my new clothes for my Kara run with JD, Effy and Ancient - and I was one lucky dog.  I got the helm AND the belt first go from the runs.  I took Lushnek with me.  When I queued for ZG, he groaned.  "ZG?  Awww :("

"It's only for Venoxis.  The belt drops from there."

The queue popped.  We had both queued DPS/heals.  "I got heals!" I said.  "OK, heals right?" said Lushnek.  "No, ME ME, I heal you DPS," I replied.

We entered... and we were right at Venoxis.  Awesome!  Looks like the group had wiped on it.

"You guys know what to do on this boss?" asked the Tank.
"Yes," said Lushnek
"I think I might be a bit rusty," I said to Lushnek on Ventrilo.  But I replied the tank.  "No."
There was a pause.
"I'm kidding.  I know what to do." I thought I'd save him from typing.
"Ok, good," he said.  "Let's go."

The fight went nice and clean.  And the best thing was that the belt dropped.  Woot!  I hit need, knowing that nobody else would be able to use it except Lush anyway.  And because Lush was lagging we said our good byes and left the group.

So what new set was I putting together?  Well, you'll have to wait a few hours - when I put up some pics from my blog buddies Kara run :)  Though don't get too excited - if you ask me, the colours don't match perfectly.  Speaking of perfectly matching colours, feast your eyes on this mog, one of the winners on Earthen Ring from the latest WoW Factor.

Intrigue, a resto shaman, chose this outfit basing her set around her spec - water.  The colours, the ice, the shield - the whole look is amazing.  I have that chest in the bank but in yellow/gold but the green version with the helm and shoulders is outstanding.  You can read her interview here.

OK time to get ready for my run!  And make sure I look good because my friends and I will be taking lots of pics and I need to have a good side...

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Minipost - Phew! A blogging milestone :)

Well, I'm excited, I cracked 6 digits in pageviews!  Who would have thought I would ever get there (when I read about people cracking 7 digits my mind is just blown away!) but here I am!  And before anyone starts raining on my parade with "is that all?" type comments, I am just thrilled to bits that people read what I write!

So where are people GOING when they look at my blog?

Most of the pageviews go to my Warcraft Artwork page.  The most popular artists (in my opinion) are well represented there, with Genzoman, Samwise, Glenn Rane and Glowei all featuring amongst my favourite artists too.  I hope it doesn't breach any copyrights by me showing those pics - I just wanted somewhere to collect up all my favourite pics so I can look at them any time I want.

The second highest is what has really made my blog get lots of hits from search engines, and that's my post this year about Healing Heroic Yor'sahj with a Resto Druid.  I hope that people who read that post found it helpful in terms of what gives stacks and what are the best things to use in that fight as a resto druid.  I think a few did judging from some of the positive feedback I got.  And maybe it was to look at my cute picture of Yor'sahj and blobbies :)  In fact I'm putting it here again coz I like it so much.

My rare collection also seems to have a lot of hits.  It might be because of the pictures if people are looking for rares.  However, I have absolutely no information about where to find them or what abilities each rare has.  Hopefully people figure out to go to WoW Rare spawns for much more detailed information and usable pictures.

So where is my traffic coming from?

Being featured a few times on WoWInsider certainly doesn't hurt pageviews, as that is where most of my traffic came from (in terms of URLs).  MMO Melting pot and Tome of the Ancient come in behind that (thanks Hugh and Ancient!).  I didn't count all the google searches... because that by far makes up most of my searches.

So to all my loyal readers, I want to say thank you!  I don't have that many but here are the ones I know!  This is a dangerous venture - it's like the Oscars, if you forget someone you're petrified they're going to be mortally offended (I'm thinking of that Wordle - that post was a disaster waiting to happen)!  Maybe I shouldn't do this but I do want to thank people :)
  • To my Guildies: Lushnek, Roshii, Sevros, Souglyy, Azadelta, Ayelena, Faithless, Mabaho, McTacky, Ksret, Yuda, Fallnapart, Epidemais, Shabadu, Hwired, Fleckso, Moopie, Nabe, Fue, Voe - thank you for all your support and feedback and comments, it humbles me that you read all my guild gossip and raid antics all the time!
  • To my blog buddies
  •  To all those who search for things and find it on my blog, thanks for visiting!
So here are hugs, from me in all my forms.  Tigers look kinda like cheetahs...

Friday, April 27, 2012

Benchmarking, DPS/HPS envy, and what to do if you feel like you can't keep up

I have written before about how I miss having 25 mans because I liked playing with everyone, but one thing I missed in particular was the competition I used to set myself when I compared myself to other healers, and in particular, other resto druids.

However, when I thought more about the word "competition" it really wasn't quite the word I was looking for.
Competition in biology, ecology and sociology is a contest between organisms, animals, individuals, groups, etc. for territory, a niche, or a location of resources, for resources and goods, for prestige, recognition and awards, for mates and group or social status, for leadership; it is the OPPOSITE of cooperation.
It was that last line which made me stop.  Competition is the OPPOSITE of cooperation.  Which means that what I was doing was not competition.  Perhaps the better term is Benchmarking.
Benchmarking is the process of comparing one's business processes and performance metrics to industry bests and/or best practices from other industries.  Benchmarking is used to measure performance using a specific indicator (cost per unit of measure, productivity per unit of measure, cycle time of x per unit of measure or defects per unit of measure) resulting in a metric of performance that is then compared to others.
What a mouthful! This description is about industry performance, but can also apply to WoW gamers, when comparing ourselves to others.

I benchmark myself to others within my raid.  This probably isn't the best thing to do, as I then try harder to see if I can perform better, be the best.  And when I reach the top, I stop and settle into that routine.  This is what has happened to me in Cataclysm.  I have had no other druids to benchmark to and I have subsequently become lax about watching my buffs like Harmony, use of CDs, mana efficiency and frequency of casting.  I should be looking at World of Logs and see how similarly geared druids are churning out heals than me and think to myself constantly how I can improve.

However, it takes a certain personality type to do this.  I think those of the ambitious nature, tend to want to look at charts, compare themselves to others, and strive to improve or better their performance.  I gave myself the hypothetical question: If there was another resto druid in the raid who persistently healed better than me no matter how hard I tried, how would I feel?

I knew what I would be doing.  I would pore over logs, heals, specs, enchants and stats to see what I could do better.  I would continue to try my best, but if I could never do better, I would, after a while, accept that I wasn't the better healer and applaud that person.  And wish that I was that good!  I would feel a bit bad about not being able to perform that well, but I don't think I would give up my druid or my healing because I wasn't the best.

"Druid healing" by the awesome Samwise

But what do other people do when they can't keep up?  There is the natural tendency to want to say "Stuff it, I'm not that good, I'm giving up, I don't want to heal anymore, I'm sick of looking like the weak link."  But remember, it's a team effort!  People are counting on you!  This is why competition is the opposite of cooperation - the healing team should cooperate to best manage the fight rather than compete for heals.

I have seen people who just weren't good at healing.  Even switching to another healing class (which they did because they thought it was easier to heal with that class), made no difference to their healing ability.  But at least this person knew they weren't good, however, I am unsure whether they did more research on how to improve.  In the end, they decided to play a different spec.  It was probably for the best.  Despite a lot of advice, and figuring out their "strengths" (that healer worked well when they only had one target to heal/one job to do and it was spelled out for them exactly what they needed to do), some people just aren't cut out for healing.

Here's another story.  A druid who was healing against a disc priest had a different but non productive approach.  The druid persistently looked poor on healing meters, and their response was "Could the disc priest not heal and bubble everything and stick to their tank because my heals aren't showing up and it looks like I'm not doing anything."  Poor thing obviously had a low self esteem.  A better way to handle this situation was probably to encourage the disc priest to DPS so that the druid could heal without the bubbles and see if their healing was good enough to keep the raid up or not.  Or give them a clear defined role, that they could have to themselves and be healed without interference.  Don't help them out unless thir targets are below 25% health.  If you constantly baby them and hold their hand, it will only make them less confident of their own abilities.

"Chain Heal" by Udoncrew for the WoW TCG

Looking now, the difference is that I have to compare myself against the holy priest and a resto shaman.  And I always lag behind.  It can be quite depressing - however, I reassure myself that it's merely that we are all good healers and heals are getting sniped because we're all so keen to get our targets topped up.  That's not a bad thing is it?  It might make me look bad, but doesn't make me a bad healer.  Besides, I know what my class is good at healing and what it's not. And I have to remind myself - it's not a competition.  We're co-operating.  We're a team.  We don't need to fight each other for heals, we're already fighting the boss!  Besides, as I tell my healing crew,, healers stick together.  We defend each other, against the DPS and tanks trying to tell us what to do.  (However don't do the bad thing and start telling THEM what to do).

DPS are not exempt from this "envy".  Augment, our combat rogue, said to me that he doesn't like raiding with Roshii our assassination rogue, because it makes him look bad.  But on his own, Augment holds his own.  He may not learn as fast as Roshii, or DPS as well as him, but he does ok in the right environment.  You can imagine how he feels - no matter how hard you try, you won't be as good as the other, and yet you worry you try your best, and the other person thinks elitist things like "OMG, look at you, you are trying your best and you STILL can't beat me!"  It's unlikely that Roshii thinks that, but you can imagine that being belittled for trying is worse than being belittled for not doing that well when not trying.

When Fallnapart first came over, he was compared with Moopie all the time.  They were both the same spec.  Falln decided to break out of the comparisons and went arms, and his DPS went up a lot - the AOE damage was a lot more.  Recently Falln went back to Fury but he found his DPS wasn't the same, it was a lot lower.  Maybe he'd forgotten how to play or his spec and reforges weren't right, but he at least found his little niche and dealt with the DPS comparison that way.

So remember, everyone brings something to a raid.  Comparing DPS charts is a tool but it is not the only way to assess someone.  If someone is lagging behind, give them a hand!  Encourage them, offer advice, not in a condescending way but in a helpful way.  And if they aren't any good at that role despite multiple interventions... instead of belittling them, maybe encourage them to try something else.  Raiding is competitive, but it should be fun.  And we're all human.  The law of the jungle says the strongest survive.  But we're human beings.  To quote Voltaire:

What is tolerance? It is the consequence of humanity. We are all formed of frailty and error; let us pardon reciprocally each other's folly - that is the first law of nature.

Frostwolves 2012 Wordle

I always wanted to  make one of these, but it doesn't seem to work in Mozilla Firefox for some reason for me.  But it does work in Internet Explorer.  I think I need more words though to make a really good one.

I saw Wordles originally on Sugar and Blood, and I liked it so much. This one from which is really awesome, makes me wish I could make one that good!  Go to the website to check out others!

A toy for Catwynn

Playing around with my Worgen, I thought it might be a great time to meet Ancient's druid - I hear she has a thing for human males.  However when I invited her to my group, she could not see me because I was phased, and that made me one sad puppy.

So, in another attempt to meet her, I decided to make a human male and have a photo opportunity!  And being the lovely elf that she is, she obliged, and as soon as I emerged from my cinematic, she was standing there, waiting for me.

I was immediately stunned by her statuesque beauty.  How could anyone resist this beautiful creature?  I was at a loss for words, but rapidly regained my manners.  Effraeti's post about Dead Chivalry went through my head, and I was determined to get started on the right foot.

A gentleman should bow to a great lady.
Compliments and niceties were exchanged.  A shame his punctuation isn't better.
Beautiful AND well spoken and punctuated!  What a rarity!
She really was such a stunning creature.
She was saucy enough to make even myself blush.
We shared a dance
And I kissed her farewell
My rogue was sad that I had to logoff and make a post.  I was worried that all their /say would make people think this was Goldshire on Moon Guard.  But they should be glad - their fated meeting shall forever be immortalised in pictures and words on my blog.