Wednesday, May 19, 2010

May 19, 2010

Yikes! Over a month with no post. Lots of Real Life stuff keeping me busy, as well as lots of stuff going on at work (which is when I usually post). Vacation out west for a week, etc. Blah blah blah. End blogging.

And very little today.

Brief synopsis:

Still doing Hard Modes in ICC 25. The AVR (or is it AVE?) addon has helped a lot for avoiding bad stuff. I've gotten some nice pieces of gear -- still the best geared priest on the server.

My priest's 10 man group has been falling apart slowly. Spotty attendance has made it a revolving door. And some of the new more consistent players are egomaniacs who rub me the wrong way. So, I'm considering dropping from the group all together. It has lost its fun factor.

My mage's 10 man group is progressing at a slow pace. But it's a much more relaxed and fun group.

I've played my hunter a bit lately. She was my Kara main. I'm finding it hard to replace her Kara gear with quest blues. I'll probably never discard the Kara stuff. It has too many memories attached to it.

That's about it for now....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

April 14, 2010

You Can Call Me "Kingslayer"!!!!!

I've been meaning to post this -- the most exciting news in ages. This past Sunday night we finally beat the Lich King on 25-man. I am now a Kingslayer! Woo hoo! It was only luck that got me into the group that night. A couple of our regular healers who would have been invited over me were unable to make it. So, I got a spot...and a few hours later the king was slain! Woot!

We're starting Heroic modes now and last night got down Marrowgar, Gunship Battle and Rotface. (Deathwhisper and Saurfang were done on normal mode.) I'm not too concerned about getting invites to the heroic modes. I'm perfectly content with my title and achievement. Of course, I'd like to do heroic modes, but I'm not driven to do so. So, if those other healers get in before me, I won't be upset.

Profession Change
I dropped Mining and have taken up Enchanting on my priest. Even though my mage is already an Enchanter, I've realized that the ring enchants that come with enchanting are much more useful to me than the stamina I got from mining. I've only spent a few hours leveling it and am already at 335. I had lots of mats in my guild bank, which has been very helpful. I did get stuck at one point when I couldn't find the mats on the AH for the one enchant that would earn me points. But, the next day I checked the AH again and found them. So far I think I've only spent about 300 gold on mats. Though I suspect I'm going to spend more once I reach Northrend recipes. But, heck, what else am I going to do with all my gold? :)

Ding dong, the King is dead!!!!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Level and Goal Check

Death Knight
Ret 73 (+13)
(no talents)
Enhance / Resto
80 (+8)
Affliction PvP
(no talents)

I got my Shammy to 80 this month and have geared her pretty well in a short period of time, thanks to guildies and friends. I changed her to Enhancement to level faster and I've stayed with it now that I'm 80. I'm enjoying melee more than I expected. Though I still find myself occasionally not really attacking because I'm either faced the wrong way or just slightly too far from the mob. Oh well, it's all good and fun.

My Pally gained 13 levels this past month, though I pretty much stopped leveling her once she learned how to make Belt Buckles and my Shammy reached 80 and I started focusing on gearing her. Not sure how long it will take to get the Pally to 80, but I'm not in a hurry.

Oh...and on my priest I dropped Shadow and replaced it with Disc as off-spec.


✔ Level him to 80.
✔ Get into at least one raid.
✔ Get him to max Tailoring (well, not really achieved, but the carpet mount was the actual goal.
✔ Make a carpet mount.

✔ Level her to 80.
Get into at least one raid.
✔ Dual spec her boomkin/resto. (Though I switched from resto to feral soon afterward.)

✔ Get a little further in Ulduar than I have so far (which is only past the first boss). (So far we got all the way to Yogg.)
Get turtle mount.
Get Giant Sewer Rat pet.


Max out Engineering.

Level her to ??. (not sure how high I feel like leveling her).

I had wanted to get her to exalted with Ironforge for the novelty of getting a ram mount. But now that I created the dwarf pally, there might be no incentive. I didn't really enjoy playing her that much.

Mage goals, I suppose. Just continue getting better gear. Her current Imba score is: 628.45.

XXGo full resto at 80. -- Decided to stick to Enahancement.

Death Knight
No real goal. Fun to play, but no real motivation to get to 80.

No goals. I don't like playing him. I would say "get him to max leatherworking", but that would require me to level him.

Monday, March 29, 2010

March 29, 2010

Icecrown Citadel 25 (Priest)
We put in several more attempts on the Lich King last night. I think we were encouraged by the fact that our officers' 10-man team got the Kingslayer title during the week. Our first attempt last night was the best of any so far. We got through 3 or 4 defiles before we started losing people.

It was down hill from there. Roughly three hours of banging our heads against the wall due to one mistake after another. I think I was the cause of our final wipe of the evening. I got the defile, ran left, like our plan, then defile got too big and wipe. I did notice a boomkin move with me, instead of to the right like he was supposed to, so I'm sure he contributed to the problem. But, I suspect I shouldn't have stopped after moving left. In fact, I'm positive. Ah well. This week we'll get more attempts in.

Icecrown Citadel 10 (Priest)

Who knew you could use Stone Keeper's Shards to buy uncut gems? I sure didn't! This is another example of me not paying attention to things. You can't but the gems directly. You first have to go to Wintergrasp and exchange 30 shards for a Wintergrasp Commendation, which gives you 2000 honor. Then, you go to Stormwind and use 10,000 honor to buy a gem. So each gem is worth 150 shards. I have a couple thousand shards! This is a great find, since I'm using so many gems in my Shammy's equipment lately.

New Perspective on Things
Over the weekend I bought a new graphics card and a new monitor. Woo hoo! No lag at all last night. My FPS stayed high the entire time. Yippee! And, with the extra monitor width, I was able to see more and even rearrange my bars to free up more space. I love both of them.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

March 25, 2010

Not a lot of major stuff has happened in the past week. Though there were a few notable things.

My Shaman has been 80 for only 10 days and yet she already has several 232 to 245 ilvl items. Thanks to friends who have crafted things for me, patient PuGs who have helped me get triumph emblems, and patient guildies who have held alt runs through ToC.

Despite the gear, my DPS in raids is still quite low, compared to that of others. It's lower on raid bosses than it is on Heroic bosses. I think much of the problem is my unfamiliarity with how to melee properly. I know the DPS rotation/priority for enhancement shamans, it's just a matter of getting myself into the right position -- and most importantly, noticing when I'm not actually hitting anything. Honestly, that's one of my biggest problems. With all the flashes of spells going on around me, I sometimes lose sight of the fact that my UI is telling me that I'm too far away or that I'm faced the wrong way. I checked Skada (the replacement to Recount) and my miss rate on attacks is very low. So, it's definitely not that my hit rating is not high enough. It really is that I'm just not attacking because of positioning.

Oh and...sheesh! I never realized how many mobs do a push back effect. Jeezo! I think it's an overused mechanic. It's definitely worth having in the game. But, I can't tell you how much time I wasted running back to bosses after being knocked back. Now I understand why ranged DPS always rock the damage charts. On my mage and my priest, I just have to stand at max range and cast. Melee are constantly having to move.

Anyway...I'm having a blast, despite being disappointed with my DPS.

Paladin Leveling
My pally is lvl 72 now. But, more importantly, she's at 442 Blacksmithing. I've been gathering ore for her while sitting out on raids on my priest lately. This past Tuesday I sat out nearly the entire raid, so that was almost 3 hours of circling Icecrown, mining ore. Anyway...back to the pally. So, I'm pretty much going to stop there with Blacksmithing. My goal had been to get her to be the Eternal Belt Buckle producer of my toons. Maybe if I get to 80 on her and become motivated to equip her with epics, I'll look into maxing Blacksmithing and getting epic patterns.

On a personal note. Yesterday Ronnie tried to patch things up with Matt. Matt responded to her this morning, saying thanks, but no thanks. I can't blame Matt. Ronnie needs to just let it go.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

March 17, 2010

Shaman Leveling
She's 80!!! And she already has an epic! :) I dinged 80 a couple nights ago on her. I even got past my fears and joined a few groups as DPS. My numbers were painfully low for heroics, but at this point, it's safer to DPS with my gear than it is to try to heal with it.

What will I do long term? I'm not sure. For now, I'm enjoying her and that's what matters. I guess the bigger question is which spec will I buy gear for with my emblems? I already bought the first piece, which was for Enhancement. But, now I'm thinking I might want to ultimately switch her to Resto.

Icecrown Citadel 25 (Priest)
I had a frustrating moment the other night. I offered to sit for a few fights to allow other healers to get a chance at gear that I already have. I assumed that when they reached the Lich King, I would be swapped in. To my surprise, and my disappointment, no swaps were made. I sat there on an alt, listening to my guildies experience the Lich King encounter for the first time.

After listening in to two wipes, my disappointment had grown into anger. I had dedicated lots of my time over the past weeks, working hard to get past the difficult encounters. Never complaining about wipes or repair bills -- unlike many of my fellow guildies. I had been in the group that finally brought down Sindragosa. Didn't I deserve a spot against the Lich King?

I spoke up. I sent a polite message to an officer asking why I had not been swapped in. After a brief apology, my invite came about 10 minutes later. I feel slightly bad for the person who left group so I could get in. But, only slightly.

We got Arthas down to 42% before wiping. Several attempts but no success. But still very very exciting to finally be there, tackling the big guy!

Last night we did a full clear, minus Professor, in the 4 hours of our raid time. The next two raid nights will be focused solely on the Lich King. Woo hoo!

Icecrown Citadel 10 (Priest)
Not sure if I have the time, the energy or the will to continue staying up into the wee hours of the morning with the 10-man team. I so desperately want to finish ICC with them, but the late nights are playing havoc on my health, my job and my marriage. We'll see if there's any possibility of changing the schedule.

Friday, March 12, 2010

October 12, 2010

Woot woot woot! We finally got down Sindragosa on 25-man last night. Yippeee!!!!! Woo hoo!!! Yowza! Yay!


Icecrown Citadel 25 (Priest)
So, as I was saying, we killed Sindragosa last night for the first time. That was an exciting bit of progress. I know that I personally improved my performance. From the perspective of a healer, it's all about managing the stacking buffs while keeping the raid alive. On previous nights, I had been making two clear strategy mistakes during phase 3:
  • Trying to clear my Mystic Buffet stacks at every opportunity. Every time a new raid member got ice-blocked, I tried to get behind the block long enough to remove my stacks, regardless of how many I had. Bad result = Not enough healing on the tanks. Resolution = Waiting longer to remove stacks.
  • Not noticing that I had Unchained Magic and that my Instability stacks were getting dangerously high. I had been focusing so much on Mystic Buffet that I forgot about Unchained Magic. Bad result = casting constantly, which lead to my death. Resolution = Pay attention to both debuffs and accept that fact that I must stop casting at some points to let the Instability stacks wear off. A dead healer can't heal.
Last night I focused on both of these and voila! Success! Of course, I recognize that 24 other people played part in the overall success. But at least I can be proud of this progress in my personal performance.

Gear vs. Skill vs. PC Performance
So there's this other holy priest in my guild that outheals me on all fights except Professor Putricide. (And the only reason I outheal him on that fight is that I keep Renew up on the Abomination the entire time.) Up until recently I had attributed the difference in output to the fact that he had better gear than I. However, I recently passed him up gearwise and he continues to have HPS anywhere from 600-1000 higher than mine.

Before I go on, I will point out that I recognize that healing meters are not the same as DPS meters. DPS and damage done are direct measurements of the amount of damage you're putting out. HPS and total healing are reliant upon damage taken that you can heal. In other words, a mob has a set amount of hit points, which means there's a certain amount of damage that needs to be done to kill it. You (the raid) must do that damage to succeed.

Healing is different. If none of my allies takes any damage throughout a fight, there is no damage to heal. In such a fight, my HPS would be 0. Of course, that never happens, but it does show the difference between DPS and HPS meters. Damage is can't kill the boss without it. Healing is only necessary if damage is taken.

A more realistic example is one where people actually take damage. Healers step in and heal that damage. If Raider A takes damage and Healer A heals it, that healing is added to the HPS of Helear A. If Healer B heals the same person, he only gets credit for the amount he actually healed. If Raider A takes 5000 damage then Healer A throws a heal on him that heals for 3000, then Healer B throws a heal that heals for 3000, Healer A's gets credit for 3000 and Healer B gets credit for 2000 (1000 is overhealing, and doesn't count).

(Much of this is painfully obvious, but I'm working through it in my head to get to my point).

If Healer A heals Raider A for 5000 (which brings Raider A up to full health) then Healer B's heal hits for 3000, only Healer A gets credit for the healing done. Healer B's heal is considered overheal and pointless for healing done. (Similarly, if a mob dies, any spell or attack against it after death is not counted as damage done.)

Why am I saying all of this? Because I'm trying to explain why my stats might be higher due to gear, but my healing output can be so much lower. We're casting the same spells, and mine are a little more potent, so something else must be going on.
  • Reaction time / Skill: It's very possible that the other priest is much quicker to respond and better able to predict incoming damage. This is probably defined as skilled. I think my reaction time might be slower because I'm about 20 years older than he. I might understand how to play my class as well as he, which would make me skilled in that sense. But, I sadly admit that reaction speed is also part of skill. A professional athlete in her 40s can rarely beat one of the same skill of a younger age. So, I define skill as being a combination of knowledge/experience and reaction time. I have the knowledge and experience but not the best reaction time.
  • PC Performance: When you're casting spells (at least as a priest), you get into a rhythm. I know I can cast a Circle of Healing, then Prayer of Mending followed by two renews before I can cast CoH again. When in the midst of a battle, I sense the rhythm and can usually cast a spell a split second before Power Auras tells me the spell if off cooldown. Best case scenario, it works like clockwork. No cooldowns missed, constant casting. Who could ask for better healing output? With perfect rhythm set up, what can stop me from reaching my potential? PC lag. Yep, in the midst of most battles my PC gets taxed and my FPS goes way down. Even though I know a spell is off cooldown, I try to cast it and nothing happens....until a second or two later. Under those circumstances I am unable to heal as quickly as I should, and I don't see all the damage as it's coming in. Over time this plays havoc on my healing output and on the survivability of the raid.
I'm not using PC performance as an excuse, I'm just pointing out that it does play a role in my overall healing output.

So...why talk about this? I want to improve. One thing I have control over is my PC performance. I can look into buying more memory and upgrading my graphics card. Perhaps when I do that, I can then see what a difference it makes. Then, when I've eliminated my PC as a factor, I can see my actual "skill" level. I don't think I'll ever catch up to the other healer; my reaction time is not something I can improve much. But, ate least I can get closer.