The candle begins to flicker

As one of my favorite Staind songs goes… “It’s been a while.” Things have chilled out a bit at work and at home, but so have things around Azeroth, at least until the next patch goes out. I’ve been keeping myself busy with the current expansion, hitting a few raids, doing the casual thing, even got my Kurenai rep topped off (finally, Talbuk mounts!!).

The candle begins to flicker.

The candle begins to flicker.

Anyway, I guess that I’m starting to see the candle that is WoW burn down to its base. I’m not saying that I plan to quit, nor that I’m closing this blog (it hasn’t even been open that long), but that you can expect fewer posts for a while.

I currently have the 4.0.1 patch downloading, and plan on hitting the PTR once I’m able to copy a character over (3 day queue… is long). I don’t really want to start a new character, and plan to just let the queue burn down a bit, and hop on then. You can be sure to expect some Talent Tree posts, as well as usage of the new baseline abilities now available, and some pretty pretty screenshots of the new UIs.

But until then, if you still check out this blog, I apologize that it will be light on content and posts for a while.

Naming Conventions and Updates

Hi all, I’m still here, and have a little bit more information for the paladin class. First up being the official GUI update for Holy Power.  it looks like a little bronze dog tag hanging below your player portrait. It provides you with a visual of how many charges of Holy Power you have. Another change were some naming changes for spells such as Healing Hands.  Now known as Holy Radiance, it makes me feel much less pervy if I had to use it.

Holy Power

Holy Power GUI change.

Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of things that I can test, because I am still yet to be in the beta :(  The major thing that I want to test is the new Masteries. With the removal of Sacred Shield, several folks wondered what was going to take its place.

Basically the Holy Paladin Mastery will be doing that.  Each heal that you provide will be creating a “Divine Shield” and providing a mini version of the Sacred Shield based on the strength of the heal used. This is a really interesting addition, and in a way gives me a sense of Discipline Priest bubbling, except it’s happening automatically. Currently there is a bug that is replacing the shield with the next spell’s shield, no matter if it is less powerful or not. An example being, you cast a Divine Light that crits; this would put a substantial shield on the target. However, if you happen to have Holy Radiance running, it’s heals will overwrite the shield with its own shield, based on the power of the spell. This has been noted though, and marked as a bug.

There is a ton more that has been updated, in fact more that I’d be able to put into this post… yay for a busy RL.   But, I will begin breaking out some of these changes in future posts.

In other news, I went back Ret… yup, again.  I was actually on with some friends and we ran Heroic Halls of Reflection, and simply didn’t have the DPS to complete the final walk.  So, I hearthed out, and respec’d real quick into ret and grabbed my gear.  Needless to say, I actually hit near 5k dps and was able to help my buddies get the achievement for that run. Seeing that damage kind of excited me, so I decided to keep it and see how often I’d have a chance to get some instances in.  After a few runs, and also tweaking my gear to meet the hit cap, and maximize strength, I decided that it would be fun to continue this offspec… again.

Well, the next day, I was asked by a friend if I still had my tank gear.  Of course, I said yes, and ended up respecing AGAIN to go tank a couple of bosses in ICC. What sucked though is that I had just bought the T10 shoulders for my Retribution set… *sigh* Oh well.  So after that run was over, I swapped back.  I balanced the set out again, as changing the shoulders had dropped a good bit of +hit, and went looking for some raids. Fortunately I caught wind of a VoA 25, and decided to join as DPS. What a fortunate move that was, as the Sanctified T10 legs dropped, and I was the only Paladin DPS in the raid! So, I guess in a away, I had a bit of payback from helping my friends out earlier… ah, gotta love karma.

Haven’t really thought of a way to close this up, but will end it by saying that I plan to map out the latest changes for Paladins and provide some posts on the recent updates.  It’s difficult to keep up with, as they are changing almost daily, plus not being in the Beta, I’m having to look up the changes from other sites/blogs, and not blatantly plagiarise them.

So, until next time, Light be with you.

Guild Boards: Please, take one…

 I’m in a decent size guild, close-knit for the most part. I’m a bit of an outsider, since I’m not able to be on as often as the rest, but when I am there, I am willing to help out.

I didn’t look for this guild specifically though, in fact I happened to run with them in an Ulduar run, and had a lot of fun. They were impressed, or at least greatly satisfied with my abilities, and offered an invite after the raid. I was fortunate to run into these good folks, and happen to see a couple familiar faces.

Who's Recruiting?

Who's Recruiting?

However, if you aren’t so lucky, and are looking for a good guild, what options do you have? Well, there are a few options currently available. Also to note, I am not a guild or guild recruitment specialist by any means, these are just observations on my part.

  1. First up, you can hit the Recruitment Forums (AllianceHorde)on the official WoW sight, and look for your realm. Here guilds will post openings and links to their sites. As well as provides ways to contact them.
     
    Pros
    – Guilds can link directly to their guild website, and the folks looking for a guild can see all realms and factions.
    Cons – Guilds must constantly monitor and update these via the forums.
     
  2. Next you can spam Trade Chat with “LF Guild, such and such and such and such”.
     
    Pros – Quick and easy, a simple copy and paste can keep the message going for hours.
    Cons – Not everyone is going to listen. Some folks actually block Trade Chat, because of some of the junk it gets filled with; plus it can get kind of annoying to hear somebody yelling that they’re looking for a guild ever few seconds/minutes.
     
  3. Lastly, you can do the research yourself online, checking guild websites, googling guilds and seeing what’s out there.
     
    Pros – There is tons of information out there, lots of guilds with open policies, and others with open spots.
    Cons – There is tons of misinformation out there, lots of people trying to steal your info, or send you spam, and with WoW being so large now, I’m sure it’s become a very juicy target. As for guilds, they again must monitor this for changes, and maintain a forum/site to make it visible to the outside world.

My concept would remove some of the need and misinformation with these forms of communication. Rather than posting and scanning the recruitment channel or recruitment forums, players could instead view “Job Openings” for the server’s guilds. This could be worked from both sides.

1. Guilds and their Recruitment Officers can “post job openings” onto the recruitment board that would be viewable by other players. Think of it as an Auction House type interface, but instead of listing items and whether you can buy them, it’ll be openings and whether you can apply to them.

I’ve listed some of the options for the applications below some being required others optional:

  • Description of Application
  • Class
  • Race
  • Role
  • Experience (comment section)
  • Reason for Applying (comment section)
  • Other Information (comment section)

2. Unguilded players could then browse the board to find an opening that fits their needs, and apply, in turn sending their application to the guild they chose, and of course you could put in multiple applications.

I do see some issues arising from this in the form of inappropriate material being posted; however Blizzard could control this by providing options for the applications, basically building the applications for the recruiters who could then post them. This would prevent spammers and asshats from posting whatever they wanted as much as they wanted. It could also provide a little bit of information on the guild itself, possibly a new screen providing guild achievements/levels with the new systems coming in Cataclysm.

On the subject of spammers, there would still be the option to report the application, allowing Blizzard to catch them and remove them before any damage can really be done. Currently there is a little bit of leeway in what is seen by other players, an example being the Raid Browser. You are able to put whatever note in there that you want, and anybody using the Raid Browser can see it, so a “comments” section of the application could be used in this way.

Anyway, once unguilded players “apply” to a guild, the application is sent directly to whomever the guild deems as the recruitment officer, in an in-game message, whether it be one person or several. This way they don’t have to leave the game to see new applicants. This letter then could be passed to other folks, but only within the guild. Upon reaching a decision, the original application could then be pulled up again, and approved or denied, in turn sending an invite to the person applying. As the positions are filled, the job postings could be removed, or even archived, allowing for new ones to take their place.

This would work great for those just trying to find a guild to hang out in, or one to raid in.

Now, that was the case for those who are unguilded; however, the system could be used by those who feel like moving from one guild to another. These individuals could browse just as unguilded players would, but if they were accepted, the system would have to notify them that they are forfeiting their current position in their guild before being automatically added to the new one.

As I said, I am not much of an expert on guild mechanics, guild politics, nor guild recruitment. However, I feel that a system like this could be very helpful for those new to the game, and wanting to get in with some folks with similar tastes.

What do you think about an In-Game Guild Board? Would it be beneficial, or to much of a hassle?

Addons, Bane or Boon

It’s a topic that a lot of people ask. Are addons required, or not?

GUI BOOM

GUI BOOM

This all came up after my brother came home for a week to visit, and wanted me to help him with some character tuning. He’s got a Blood Elf Priest on Area 52, level 80, and decked out in 10 man T9 gear. While he was visiting my house, he asked if I minded if he did a quick daily dungeon to get his frost emblems. I didn’t mind, I was busy watching the baby, so I told him to go for it.

First thing he asked… “Do you have Vuhdo?” I told him that I had downloaded it once, but never got around to using it, and instead told him that I’ve got some other addons that should hold him over till he gets a chance to download it.

So, we real quick logged him on, and got Grid/Clique and some of the bar addons in there, just to give him something to work with. He started it up, and hopped in the LFD to heal, and waited till the queue popped up. I was still trying to get him acquainted with the addons, and he didn’t get much of a chance to “customize” it to where he might be used to it. Well, ToC5 popped up, and he hopped in. It was crazy, he was lost as to what was where, and who was who. He had grown so accustomed to Vuhdo and his bar layout (default UI with Vuhdo over it) that he just couldn’t figure out what all was happening and freaked out.

I’m sure he’ll hate me for saying this, but he freaked out a bit quick, and probably could have regained composure, but instead just quit the group and hopped out. Sadly, he’s also used to his mouse which has 2 extra buttons I’ve just got 2 buttons and scroll wheel), that he just couldn’t heal without it.

Here’s where my point comes in. I subscribe to the notion that if a patch comes through, and all your addons blow up, you should still be able to do your job in a group or raid. Sure, it’ll be more difficult with less of the information coming your way, and you’ll have to get used to some slightly differently placed buttons, but it shouldn’t be the end of the world.

I myself have a few addons that I use:

  • FuBar: Simply to place some info addons like AtlasLoot, etc.
  • SpartanUI: Cause it looks cool
  • Dominos: Only because Bartender4 was still broke and Dominos worked at the time
  • PallyPower: Gotta love it, though I’m sure it’ll be void by the time Cataclysm comes out
  • Clique: I like being able to map some of the spells directly to buttons, and it handles it well.
  • Grid: It’s just the right size for both group and raid content, and lets me customize that shows up where.
  • PowerAuras: Haven’t really used this to its full potential, but is helpful in keeping track of some buffs I have on targets
  • SexyMap: Cause it’s sexy
  • Omen: For when I tank, I want to be sure that I’m at the top of that list.
  • Recount: Just for shits & giggles, I don’t usually use it much, except to measure how effective a new piece of gear is.
  • Deadly Boss Mods: Cause noises and text during a raid can sometimes be helpful
  • ElksBuffBars: So much cleaner than what I had.

All these are used in unison to provide the extra info that I need to keep my focus on what’s important. If these blew up… oh well, I’d probably put a couple mouseover macros together to help with the casting, and be on my merry way.

I do feel, though, that there are several folks who depend all their abilities on the addons. This is what I would consider a crutch on your actual capabilities. It should be possible, though fortunately not required, to do all that can be done now with the default WoW UI, and in all reality, it can. We have the tools and the abilities to successfully complete an instance without freaking out cause you couldn’t figure out which way the health went when it dropped (ya he wasn’t sure and people died). I also feel that you should be able to tell who is fulfilling what role in your group, by simply looking at them, and if needed inspecting them. I wholeheartedly feel that a knowledge of the other classes as well as your own can increase your capabilities and allow you to adapt much quicker when things go awry.

Now, in contrast, I do feel that Addons are a wonderful addition to any UI. I have probably 3 or 4 different versions of my UI that I use for my Paladin, Shaman, Druid, and Mage. All this because you need different information for different classes. I have come to love the look of SpartanUI, as well as the versatility of the Grid/Clique combo, and will say that it is very beneficial in making quick decisions on who to heal and when. I try not to inendate myself with information overload, though keeping Omen and Recount up have never hurt my performance. I also like to keep things asthetically pleasing, and the combo of SpartanUI and SexyMap do that well. Without Deadly Boss Mods, I don’t really think that I would have learned some boss encounters as quickly as I have. I really consider it a very helpful tool in getting used to fights, and more often then not, I’ll turn it off once I’ve gotten a fight down pat.

<open rant>

Basically, it doesn’t really matter if you have them or not, but be sure that in the case that the GUI blows up, and all addons are made moot, don’t blame the addons if you can’t complete something. Your abilities should be determined by your skill, not the usability that an addon provides.

</end rant>

What do you use as addons? Do you require them to function?

Maintaining a Tank / Healer UI

I had promised to provide more “guides” to tank/healer coordination, and felt that this was a good topic on how they each display and use different UI elements. 

Holy and Protection UIs

Holy and Protection UIs

I consider your UI (User Interface) the most important thing on your screen when playing WoW, well at least when raiding/dungeon-crawling.  Well, and outside of the fire that you are not supposed to be standing in… that’s important too; but I digress. 

When participating in a raid or dungeon, you need information at your finger tips.  Whether it be the health of your fellow party when healing, or the health of the boss and his adds when dpsing, or even the health of both the boss and your party when tanking.  As I have mentioned before, I’m a glutton for punishment since I have spec’d both Holy and Protection as my dual specs.  Basically I get to either stress out over keeping everyone alive, or stress out over keeping everyone alive and making sure that nobody goes and kills one of my teammates. Kind of speeds up the burnout process, but as the Help Tips during the loading screens say “Be sure to take all things in moderation, even World of Warcraft.” 

Anyway, being both a tank and a healer, my UI needs to change each time that I change specs.  I was in a hurry, and unable to send the pics to the PC that I post from, but will add them later, as I have an example of my tanking and my healing UI, and the differences between each. There are different focuses that you need to… focus.. on when healing or tanking.  I’m guessing that some would say that that’s obvious, but I’m simply trying to point out the specifics. 

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