Archive for the ‘surveys’ Category

the Cataclys-meme

A survey about the first week of WoW 4.0. from Janyaa of Muradin Musings which dovetails neatly with Jaedia’s Blog Azeroth Shared Topic on first impressions of the new expansion.

1. Disk or Download?
Disk. Our wireless connection in our current apartment is pretty good, but I didn’t want to strain it with downloading something as big as a whole new expansion.

2. Did you experience any difficulties? IE: Login servers crashing, late delivery, etc?
Nope, no problems at all.

3. What are you doing first? IE: Speed leveling to 85, rolling a new race, completely avoiding the new content, etc?
BTH and I took our mains out to level to 85, but we took our time doing it.

4. Mt. Hyjal or Vash’jir?
We went to Mount Hyjal first, and were glad we did. We circled back around to Vashj’ir after we finished up Twilight Highlands, and although it is visually gorgeous and there’ve been a lot of fun quests, the number of gathering quests has made questing in a group a real pain. We’ve had more trouble with Alliance gankers in Vashj’ir, too — it can be really hard to find that warlock who’s pew-pewing you when you have to look around in three dimensions instead of just two. BTH has decided that Vashj’ir is a completely miserable zone and I may end up having to finish it on my own. When I level alts, I’ll probably take them through Hyjal first.

5. Worgen or Goblin?
Both, eventually. It’s still up in the air which one I’ll create first.

6. Questing, dungeons or both?
Almost entirely questing. We only ran one dungeon between 80 and 85, and we haven’t yet gotten around to running another. I tend to prefer questing in general; when I’m leveling with alts I generally only run dungeons when I have the quests for them or if I decide that I want a level or two of XP fast before I go on to the next zone.

7. What was the first piece of gear you replaced and with what?
I didn’t really pay attention to that. Kamalia’s Elemental set was T9, and she’d replaced it all by the end of Hyjal. I let the quest rewards pile up in my bags and didn’t actually put anything new on until we’d finished questing for the night, so I swapped out several items all at once.

8. Did you take any time off from work or school?
We’d already used up all of BTH’s vacation time, so he couldn’t take any time off from work. I wanted to take time off from my internet-based, contract work job, but wasn’t quick enough in setting my availability to receive new assignments to “unavailable” and ended up with a big assignment on the seventh.

9. Will you be keeping the same spec and main, or changing to a different toon?
I raided with my boomkin during the last half of Wrath, but in my heart my “main” was always my resto shaman. I leveled my shaman first and have barely even touched my boomkin in the past week. I would prefer to raid with my resto shaman in Cataclysm content.

10. What’s been your favorite aspect of Cataclysm so far?
I’ve really enjoyed the variety of new quest mechanics. The new zones are visually gorgeous. I love flying over Kalimdor as I travel from one Archaeology site to another. Uldum is awesome. The adolescent gnome fantasies were utterly hilarious; I can’t wait to see them again when I level through Uldum again.

I have taken a gazillion screenshots, especially of all those cutscenes and cinematics. Here are a few that I hope aren’t too spoilery for folks who haven’t done the new zones yet.

So there I was, flying through the lovely new Cenarion Wilderness in Desolace toward an Archaeology dig site when I got stuck on a tree branch. I looked around and saw that it wasn’t just any old tree I’d gotten stuck on….

Like Jaedia, I couldn’t resist pulling out my Speedy while I was accompanied by the Child of Tortolla 😀

Word. You tell ’em, Earthmender Duarn!

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There was a time when I added a new entry to the “memes” tag on my LiveJournal once a week or so. Those days are long since past, but I still find a good survey hard to resist. I think I first saw this done by Pilfkin, and then by Jaedia, and then by Anea, and then by Rades….

1. Raider, farmer, PvPer, or altaholic?
Raider, yep; farmer, occasionally; PvPer, no way!; altaholic, absolutely

2. Favorite raid or dungeon?
Karazhan, Zul’Aman, Ulduar. As 5mans go, I rather like Zul’Farrak and Sunken Temple.

3. Number one choice for a new playable race?
I’m pretty excited about Goblins being playable in Cataclysm. Besides that, I agree with folks who think that Tuskarr would be a pretty awesome race to play, and Furbolgs wouldn’t be bad, either.

4. Class you play least skillfully?
In general, I much prefer being a ranged class to a melee class. I have fun with my DKs, though, and with my little Warrior, when I actually go out and do quests with her. I guess at the moment I’d tag Rogue as my least favorite class to play.

5. Original UI or modded UI?
Original UI (see screenshot in the previous post).
I run with a bare minimum of raiding mods — DBM, Omen, Grid+Clique for healing/buffing, Quartz, Squawk & Awe for Kerisa. I’m not even using a dps/healing meter at present; I dropped Recount when I was having severe framerate issues in ICC and have felt somehow freer without it. I suppose I should pick up ClassTimers, or something of the sort, because I really like the way Squawk & Awe gives me the times on Kerisa’s CDs and have begun to wish that I had CD timers for other things, such as Kamalia’s Riptide.

6. Profession you’ve never levelled past 200?
Blacksmithing, because the character who has it isn’t high enough in character level to go past 200 yet, and Jewelcrafting, because I don’t currently have a character with that profession.

7. Favorite flying mount?
I like my assorted Dragons a lot, but I absolutely adore my Cenarion War Hippogryph and my Argent Hippogryph. I worked really hard to get both of my Hippogryphs, and I’m kind of sad that as Horde, Kamalia can’t get the pretty white Silver Covenant Hippogryph.
I actually quite like the Tawny Windrider — I like the notion of having a Windrider like the ones used in the flight paths. I like the various Gryphons, too, and again am a little sad that as Horde, Kamalia can’t get them.

8. Nozdormu — friend or foe, you figure?
Friend… maybe. That he is revealed by the Hourglass of Time when we think we’re trying to uncover the leader of the Infinite Dragonflight is a little disturbing, though. Are all the Dragon Aspects destined to eventually fall into insanity? First Neltharion, then Malygos… and the slow corruption of the Emerald Dream into a Nightmare and what we see at the Bronze Dragonshrine suggest that Ysera and Nozdormu are in peril.

9. Useless item you have in your bank that you’ll never get rid of?
The “Faded Photograph” that starts the Linken quest chain in Un’Goro Crater. An Elegant Writing Tool for Kerisa. A Crystal Pylon User’s Manual, and several copies of the lyrics to the Lament of the Highborne. Various out-dated Reputation rewards, such as the ring from the Violet Eye. The Mallet of Zul’Farrak, the Scepter of Celebras, the Enchanted Azhsharite Dagger, all acquired by Kamalia in the course of getting her Loremaster.

10. Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?
Kamalia’s epic flying, at 5k gold, followed by her Cenarion War Hippogryph at 1.6k gold. Everything else I’ve bought has been 1k gold or less. Kerisa is almost ready to buy her epic flying, too.

11. Favorite starting area?
Mulgore. It’s so beautiful, and so peaceful, when you’re out in the middle of it, that it can be easy to forget that it has its own fair share of troubles.

12. Inane goal you worked hardest to achieve?
Kamalia’s Loremaster, her Netherwing Drakes, and her Black War Kodo. I dislike PvP so very much that doing enough of it to earn a Black War Kodo was a lot of hard, unhappy work for me. Keija keeps telling me that, as a Warrior, she really ought to have a Black War Kodo, too… so I guess I’ll have to see how much honor I can get for her with Wintergrasp Commendations.

13. Darion Mograine VS Tirion Fordring, gloves off — winner is?
Mograine, not because I necessarily think he’s cooler, but because, as he often points out to Fordring, he’s not restrained by moral objections. He’d fight dirty, and Fordring would be unable to counter effectively.

14. Game music or your own playlist?
Game music. There are some wonderful bits of music in the game soundtrack.

15. Particular option or setting that you always toggle on a new alt/server?
Turn on all my action bars and put my hearthstone in the far left-most spot of the bottom action bar. Move the starting spells and abilities, including racials, to spots on the taskbars where I put analogous (or the same) spells on my other characters. Zoom my minimap out to max. Leave “General” chat — and leave “Trade” as soon as I first enter a city. Before it was default, I always made sure to turn on the “auto self cast” option. By the time I reach level 20, I’ve generally turned on the Gear Manager and created a “quest” gearset.

16. Highest amount of levels gained in one play session?
Prolly 12 or 13, the level you’ll get to if you do everything in your starting zone. I’m pretty sure I’ve played through a whole starting zone in one session at least once or twice. In an ordinary day of play, I’m usually good for three or four levels before I go off to do something else (in or out of game), though I do prefer to end on an even level and get training before I log out if I can.

17. Thing you’d most like to experience or see in-game?
Umm… killing the Lich King, I guess. I’d also love to see the Algalon fight in Ulduar.

18. Worst PuG moment?
I try to shrug off my bad PuG moments and not dwell on them for too long. There are a couple I haven’t forgotten, though.
Kerisa’s very first heroic as a newly dinged 80 left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. I queued up for Heroic Utgarde Keep, and the paladin healer immediately started disparaging my gear and dps. Finally I said “shut up, pally!” and put him on ignore.
Then there was the time that I’d just dual-specc’d Kerisa as Resto and my Resto gearset was still half Boomkin stuff. BTH and I queued up for a random heroic with him as tank and me as healer. We got Forge of Souls. I wasn’t sure I could do it, but BTH said we should see how it went. I struggled to keep up with the healing and with my mana levels, but we were doing okay. Then at the entrance to the hallway leading to the end boss, the group aggroed two of those spectre things by accident and we wiped. I’d barely zoned back into the dungeon when I found myself running along the streets of Dalaran. BTH observed that the group was missing someone, but said cheerfully, oh, another DPS will be easy to get. Honey, I said to him, they kicked me! He dropped the group immediately, agreeing with me that it was not my fault as the healer, that no healer could have prevented a wipe on that bad pull, and it was his fault as the tank for having not watched where the second spectre was closely enough. Kerisa’s Resto set is much better now, and she’s been pressed into service as an off-spec healer on a few ICC fights (BQL, most often), but I’m still reluctant to queue for Heroics as a Healer with her.

19. Best dungeon/raid moment?
The first time my BC guild beat Zul’Jin. We’d spent hours wiping on him, slowly mastering each phase of the fight and gradually getting further and further along. We had so many ready checks that were votes on whether or not to continue. Finally, after about four hours, we downed him! It was such a feeling of triumph! We were all hollering and cheering over Vent. The NPC party afterwards was a total icing-on-the-cake treat.

20. Worst quest ever that you totally hate doing?
The scattered pages quests! The Shredder Operating Manual in Ashenvale, and The Green Hills of Stranglethorn in STV. After doing those on a few characters, now I just send any and all pages I find to my banker to go on the AH.

21. First thing you do when you hit 80?
Same things I do when I hit any other even level… get training, check the bank to see if I had any items squirreled away that I can now use. I’ve only gotten two characters to 80 so far, so I don’t really have a lot to go on there, lol.

22. Character (of yours) you would RP as if you had to?
Any of them, I suppose, if opportunity and mood struck me right.

23. Keyboard, mouse, or both for using abilities?
Both. I do all my healing with the mouse via Grid+Clique, I put my most frequently used abilities on hotkeys, and I tend to click less frequently used abilities (even when I do have them keybound).

24. Thottbot or WoWhead?
Used Thottbot at first, because it was the resource BTH knew. Only started using WoWhead recently, but I like it. When I’m looking for an NPC’s quest or gossip text, sometimes one place has it, sometimes the other.

25. Acronym you’ve seen in chat but don’t understand?
I think I’ve figured out most acronyms I see in chat by now.

26. Plot point you’d like to see resolved someday?
I’ll be very disappointed if we don’t see a follow-up to the Platinum Disks from Uldaman in the questlines associated with Uldum.

27. Biggest thing you’re looking forward to in Cataclysm?
Tauren Paladins & Priests! Troll Druids! Dwarf Shamans! Goblins!

28. Guild event you’d like to see?
I’m envious of the awesome guild anniversary parties organized by Larisa‘s guild. It would be really fun to be part of something like that.

29. Level range you hate being in?
Thirty to fifty. I end up bouncing back and forth between zones a lot because the quest difficulty gradation in most of the zones in that level range isn’t very smooth. I’ll do a handful of quests here, a sheaf of quests there, and often visit each zone twice — once when its lower level quests are green and yellow for me, and again when its higher level quests are green and yellow for me. In between, I have to go to another zone because all the quests left in the first zone are still orange or red.

30. Favorite map to quest in?
The Barrens and the Ghostlands, because I have them pretty much memorized by now. Beautiful places like the Hinterlands and Nagrand. In Northrend, probably the Storm Peaks.

(What else was I supposed to do yesterday, when three of the four servers on which I have toons were down, down, down all day and all night for “extended maintenance”? :P)

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Another reason for starting this blog is that I wanted to participate in Miss Medicina’s Circle of Healers survey.

* What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer? Kamalia, restoration shaman

* What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans) 5 man heroics for the past several months, but I’d really like to get back into raiding (10 or 25 man)

* What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why? I love Riptide. I was SO happy when Shaman finally got an instant-cast heal (and a HoT, to boot!). I suppose I might not have thought to mention it if I hadn’t already read Vixsin’s response, but I also adore Earth Shield. When I’m 50 yards behind the tank getting my loot off the last pack of mobs in a Heroic, it’s so much fun to see crit heals popping up as ES charges go off, and to know that the tank will be safe until I get in range again. For all that druids are suppose to be kings of the HoT, I really miss Earth Shield when I’m playing at being a Tree with my Boomkin.

* What healing spell do you use least for your class and why? Like most other shaman, Healing Wave. It’s big, but it’s so slow… and I’m not packing enough haste yet for it to be fast enough to be worth using in most situations.

* What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why? I think shamans have a great ability to customize their healing strategy to fit both the encounter and their group by wise totem choices. I love Cleansing Totem and Nature Resist Totem — they make the healing easier on me, if I’m in a 5 man, or on the rest of my healing team, if I’m in a raid, in encounters where poison/disease or continuous nature damage are factors. When I’m running Heroics I will often change my totem set based on how well I think the rest of the group is performing — if I think they need a boost, I’ll put down totems will benefit them, but if they’re doing just fine, I’ll use my default totem set that mostly benefits me.

* What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why? Mobility, mobility, mobility. With only one true instant cast spell and only one controllable HoT (Earthliving is a HoT, yes, but I can’t control when or on whom it will proc), shamans have to STAND STILL to heal effectively. I tend to do a lot of standing in the fire for a second while I finish a heal that I was already casting when the fire landed on me, then strafing out and Riptiding myself. Learning a fight that involves a lot of running around is very frustrating for me because it always seems like I can’t finish even ONE heal without the “RUN NOW” element(s) of the fight catching up with me.

* In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you? Tank/melee DPS healing. ES on the main tank, RT/LHW zapping spot damage, then CH off whomever of the tanks and melee is lowest in health for big damage spikes or AoE damage waves. Even when I’m theoretically assigned to raid healing I tend to do a lot of tank healing because I’m always keeping an eye on whichever tank I’m ESing.

* What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why? I’m going to interpret this question as “if you were two-healing a 10 man raid, what healing class would you choose as your partner?” and say that I’m always happy to be two-healing with a Holy Paladin or a Resto Druid because these classes can have great synergy with a shaman and because if I’m with one of those classes I worry a little less about my own fumbles leading to wipes. To three-heal a 10 man raid, I think that Resto Shaman, Resto Druid, and either Holy Priest or Holy Paladin make a great team.

* What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why? Other resto shamans — especially in a 10 man environment. Not so much because of the gear competition issue, but rather because I feel like a more diverse healing team has greater flexibility to respond to whatever situation that might occur.
I love to have a Disc Priest in the healing team in a 25 man raid, but in a 10 man raid, I’m still enough of a reflexive rather than an anticipatory healer that trying to heal with a Disc Priest, when I can’t even see damage happening because it’s all getting absorbed, is kind of frustrating.

* What is your worst habit as a healer? I have so many “bad healer, no cookie for you” faults that I can’t pick just one…
I’m a keyboard turner. I’ve never quite been able to wrap my head around how moving with the mouse works. I can navigate with the mouse when I’m auto-running, but in combat situations my mouse is dedicated to Clique+Grid and I do all my movement with the arrow keys (and Q&E when I know I’ll need to strafe).
I’m also not very good at anticipating damage and lining up my heals accordingly. Usually when I attempt this I misjudge the combination of my haste and my latency and my cast ends up landing in the 0.1 second before the damage wave occurs, instead of the 0.1 second after.
I tend to have mana troubles when a fight gets really crazy because I forget to refresh Water Shield on myself. Recently, though, I figured out how to make my WS show up on Grid, and that’s helped a lot.
And I’m very bad about healing the tank rather than the other healing assignment I’ve been given, and it has, on more than one occasion, led to a wipe. It’s worst if Bear Tank Husband is one of the tanks — because of leveling together and running instances together and so forth, I heal him whenever he’s taking damage totally instinctively. Thus, the best assignment for me, specifically, is as a tank/melee DPS healer.

* What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing? Folks blaming the healers for a wipe, when I know that I and the other healers were healing our tails off trying to keep things-gone-wrong from getting past the point-of-no-return. It gives me a huge guilt complex and damages my confidence in my own abilities and competence.

* Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing? Absolutely. I believe that the best healing team is a diverse healing team, because each class has strengths and weaknesses that all work together synergistically.

* What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer? Well, did we die? If we wiped, was I the first healer to go down? Am I keeping ES up on the tanks and WS on myself consistently?
On Recount, I look at where I’m falling relative to the other healers in the raid. I’ll quote Miss Medicina because she said it pretty well already: “check my healing output against my overheal amount, and compare it to the other healers in my group. I have a basic idea of where I should fall on the healing meters, and if I’m far above or far below, that gives me an idea of how the healer balance is working out.”
I also use Recount to keep tabs on my spell distribution. My three main spells (CH, RT, and LHW) should be the top three and at about equal percentages; if they’re not, I’m not being as efficient or effective as I could be. If ES is coming in as one of the top three, I’m not paying enough attention.

* What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class? That we’re only worth bringing to a raid for Bloodlust.

* What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn? Matching names in your raid frames with characters running about the playing field so that when you see your raid frames dropping, you can correctly choose your spells and CH people who are bunched up or RT/(L)HW someone who’s standing alone.

* If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via Recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)? In a 25 man raid, when I am one of 5-6 healers, I tend to be 3 or 4 on the total amount healed ranking and last in the HPS ranking. My overhealing number is generally about 50% of my effective healing number, and I am usually among the lowest in the overhealing ranking. It’s not uncommon for me to be beating another healer in the effective healing rankings by a small amount and be totally overshadowed by them in the overhealing rankings, showing that a) I’m unintentionally sniping a lot of their heals and b) the other healer is putting out a TON more healing than I am. As noted above, I like to see CH, RT, and LHW as my top three spells in approximately even percentages, with Earth Shield, Ancestral Awakening, and Earthliving following in smaller, but again approximately even, percentages.

* Haste or Crit and why? Haste, haste, haste! The faster I can cast, the better I can cope with high mobility fights, and the more useful HW becomes. Crit is nice, but I would rather not have to depend upon critting reliably to be able to heal reliably. I am nowhere near the haste soft cap yet, which is why I am still running with Guiding Star and Pulsing Spellshield equipped even though I have Surgeon’s Needle and Pride of the Kor’kron in my bags (not to mention that I never got any of the weapon drops from ToTC and have been on hiatus from raiding for pretty much all of ICC so far — but even though I would lose haste, I would totally take and equip a Trauma if I ever get the chance to roll/bid on one).

* What healing class do you feel you understand least? I don’t feel like I really fully understand any of the other healing classes because I haven’t played them (much) myself yet, but probably Disc Priests, simply because shielding seems to be such a different mindset than “big heal, little heal, slow heal, fast heal” toolbox the other four healing specs have.

* What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing? I use the basic, unmodified form of Grid, and Clique for healing. I also have DBM, Recount, and Omen. I have a macro to trigger my trinkets, but since I favor trinkets that don’t have an on-Use effect because even with the macro I’ll probably forget to use them, I don’t use the macro much, either… it’s a vicious cycle. I also have a Tidal Force + Nature’s Swiftness macro that I had to disconnect from any other healing spell and bind into my main action bar before I was able to use it effectively.

* Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why? Haste, as explained above, is king of the resto shaman stats, but I haven’t gemmed flat-out for it because I feel like my spellpower is still a little low. Thus, I have Reckless Ametrines in my red sockets, especially when I can eke out another few points of spellpower with a socket bonus. Crit and regen I try to keep balanced.

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