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So…at the risk of sounding like a broken record, I am having oodles of fun with the folks in Single Abstract Noun. And oodles is not a word I use lightly. It is a very serious word used only for srs bzness.

But I can think of no other way to quantify my enjoyment, except in oodles.

Which is strange, because, honestly, I haven’t been doing much that I would normally count as WoW-based fun. I haven’t really been questing. My poor little Poivre (SAN-EU) had almost six hours of playtime on her and she is a mere level 10.

Level. 10.

After six hours.

I, my good fellows, am a professional alt-farmer. Lowbie maps are autopilot. Elwynn’s an hour-long romp. The…the…Bois des chants eternals. Fuck, I forgot the English name. Anyway, the BE start lands? Little more than Breakfast.

But here I am, six hours in, and I finally dinged 10. I have quests scattered all over the map, instead of neat little clusters, artfully picked up to ensure the most effective, efficient questing possible.

And her professions? Don’t even get me started! I’m at eleven Jewelcrafting. It’s pathetic! I should be rushing to buy my next level now that I’m level 10. Except I can’t. Because I’m only at eleven.

I spent almost an hour killing trees I had no quest for, because they were there and on some level the small part of my brain that was actually trying to, you know, play understood it needed to kill things. And, hey look, some trees.

I ran in circles, back and forth, in Silvermoon. Not watching where I was going. It took me fifteen minutes to get out of the city.

I NUM-locked off a cliff and didn’t notice I’d died for, oh, a whole two minutes.

So, I can hear you’re asking (unless you’re actually in the guild, in which case you’ve probably already guessed), given all of that…what, exactly, was I doing that was so much fun?

I was chatting.

Blissfully, blindly chatting.

Everyone was so…pleasant and happy. I was afraid to look away from the chat because when we weren’t all gratsing, welcoming, helloing, and goodbying each other, somebody was probably saying something witty, or funny, or insightful, or spot on. I’m normally one of the quiet people in a chat channel – answering questions, and gratsing, but not much more beyond that. But I couldn’t shut up last night (this may not be a good thing, LoL).

And it was the same on both sides of the ocean. Because of my recent aventures en Français I actually, happily happen to have two accounts – one for the EU, and one for the US. So I have greedily enlisted in both guilds, and am pleased to report that the mood is just as positive and welcoming on either side.

You will note, Aesiri, my little Draenei warrior is all of level 7 after a few hours of play. All the same problems trying to get anything done with her as I had with Poivre.

It’s just impossible.

But it’s so much fun.

Also, oh my God there are some smart, incredible bloggers on there! Tam and Chas of course. Miss Medicina, Larisa, and far more than that, including some I only stumbled across by joining the guild.

I have been hastily trying to add everyone I’ve been online with my feedreader, but there are so many people it’s hard to keep track of! Trying to map online identities to the right blogs to the right mains to the right alts is proving to be the hardest part of the whole thing, but I am determined to figure it out.

If you happen to be a member, or are thinking you might join, feel free to look us up:


Protflashes – Poivre


Protflashes – Aesiri, Xariah
layteknight – Ammavaru
SaveTheFails – Syrtis

I don’t have anything witty or insightful to end the post on, but I wanted to say thank you to the folks who set it all up, and to all the people who’ve been so happy and pleasant and fun to talk to. It’s been a long time since I had such a good time on WoW – in fact, I can’t remember ever having enjoyed /g as much as I have the last few days.

You guys are peaches (and a Kumquat).


My dear, beloved cheaters:

I wish to make something very clear to you:

A guildie of ours was hacked this week. Her character was stripped naked, robbed, and left to die on a lowbie map (but not until the hacker /gquit). She had only recently discovered Heroics, and doesn’t have a lot of time to play. Every piece of gear she owned was earned and fought for and incredibly precious because of how little time she can spend playing a game she loves.

You stole that from her. You did that to her. You.

Before leaving her naked and guildless, the hacker took advantage of our guild’s structure which allows unlimited item withdrawals from our 6 tab GB because whatever other problems our guild may have, we trust every member of it. The gear, the crafting mats, the gems, the enchants, the recipes, the consumables…these things were in there because someone found it or made it and thought: “Hey! I bet a guildie could use this. Instead of selling it for epic Gs, I will donate it to the GB in keeping with the spirit of collaboration and generosity the guild was founded on.”

What were you thinking when you stole it all from us by paying a stranger to play this game for you? Were you thinking it would just be easier, faster than leveling yourself? Than running dailies for a week or two? Than farming mats for the AH? Is that what you were thinking?

I’m glad the years our guild has spent building ourselves up and filling every tab of that GB with something meant to help our members with leveling and raiding and professions was able to save an hour of effort on your part.

You robbed our guild bank. You stole, disenchanted, and sold all of our shit when you gave those fuckers your credit card number. You.

Here is what I want you to understand: the gold you are purchasing is not earned by the person you’re buying it from. It’s stolen from the people you’re playing this game with. Your PuGs, and your guild, and your friends list. When you purchase leveling or honour services, you are handing your username and password over to the same people who are eventually going to rob you of all your gold to sell it back to people like you. They’ll rob your guild, too. Sometimes they delete your character.

You have turned gold farming and account hacking into a profitable business by trading real world money for in-game services. You are the reason they hack and steal and ruin the game for the rest of us.

You hack and steal and ruin the game for the rest of us. Not some guy at a computer in Korea.


Do us all a favour and suspend your account. The rest of us are actually trying to play a game here – you’re just paying someone to steal the results of our work, spam the trade with their adverts using our characters and get us suspended or worse, delete the characters outright, and destroy everything we’ve been working to accomplish since we started playing the game. And all so you don’t have to actually play the game you’re paying $15 a month to play?

I fucking hate snakes and ladders, but I don’t pay someone else to play it for me. I just quit the fucking game.

I’m glad you can afford that mammoth, though. I hope it was worth destroying my guildie’s hard-earned progress, to say nothing of her week as she works with Blizzard to figure everything out, and punishing my entire guild for the sake of your greed.

You are a contemptible wretch.

Love and kisses,


I have what is actually a very srs bzness post on my USB key which I will post shortly, but I am a little hyperactive right now because of Single Abstract Noun – a blogging community guild with both US and EU chapters.

I’ve already joined the EU chapter on my French account (triply glad I decided to learn French now! :D) and intend to join the US one tonight once I pick an alt to transfer.

Please note that you don’t have to have a blog to join – just have to enjoy them. I was only on for about ten minutes last night but I’ve never seen such a happy, chatty group. It was awesome! And I’m not even on that side of the ocean!

Each chapter is on the Argent Dawn server on the applicable continent. I believe you can whisper any member for an invite, and I hope you do!

For info on the concept as a whole, as well as on the EU Chapter visit Righteous Orbs.

For the US Chapter visit Miss Medicina.

Looking forward to playing with you in game!


This is probably going to sound weird, but I like rules (guild rules, at least). I like making them. I like writing up thematically appropriate charters, laying out codes of conduct. I like designing systems for dealing with certain issues, or determining how a given event is to be handled. It’s part of what I like about doing the strats for boss fights – it’s creating a set of rules for a given encounter to ensure the success of the endeavour as a whole.

My alignment, in D&D terms, is Capital L Lawful.

In our current guild, we have very few rules – and I mean very few – because our set up is rather unique. I won’t go into details, but suffice it to say there are extenuating circumstances that make actual rules inappropriate, and largely unnecessary. The “society” that is the guild has its own way of protecting its resident citizens. This breaks down a bit in the raid group, but not much, and that’s got more to do with personality conflicts than a failure of the rules (or lack thereof). The raid group is sort of like a collection of siblings still living at home – you could like and respect and love each other fine enough if you had some kind of distance between you (an ocean, preferably), but right now you have to share a fucking room and they keep ruining your shirts and taking your stuff and reading your diary. Stupid jerks. Those were my favourite shoes.

In fact, our guild only really has two rules, and in both cases they’re just for the sake of clarity. Not rules so much as a statement of purpose – this is what it’s for. Not this, this or this.

This is all awesome and wonderful in its own way. Fewer rules mean more freedom. Rules are created for the minority that breaks them, after all. The less rules you have, the better behaved your “citizens” – not that the behavior is a consequence of the rules, but that the rules are a consequence of the behavior. It’s like warning labels on machines and coffee cups. They’re only there because someone was stupid enough to actually do it, and now the rest of us must constantly be informed upon purchase that our hot chocolate might be hot.

Yeah, I figured, since it’s called – you know what? Never mind. Thanks for letting me know, I’ll keep it mind.

Which is not to say that if your guild has a lot of rules, or if you started the guild with a set of rules already in place, that’s wrong or you must be a real group of asshats if you need that many rules. Quite the opposite in fact – it’s almost required. In a lot of cases, the rules are preventative, or for the sake of clarity, especially in the case of behaviours that might be okay in some settings, just not this one. Better to just put it out there up front, than wait for someone to inevitably stumble across an unspoken line and suffer the consequences forever.

Some of the best fun I’ve had in this game was writing up the rules for an old guild we created (looooonnnggg time ago now) – it took us a couple days as we debated back and forth over what needed to be said and what didn’t, what actually mattered and what was just us being too picky. Wording it with all the care and attention of a lawyer out to make his name by setting some kind of legal precedent. This was fun. This was incredible fun. Because I’m a gigantic nerd or something.

There’s just something neat in establishing a framework for a given activity. It’s partly the planning aspect of it. What do we want to achieve? What’s required to achieve it? What would keep us from being able to achieve it? What do we expect to happen? What are the contingency plans for this or this or this? You basically lay all that out, and from there the rules break down to “Do things that help us achieve our goal; don’t do things that hinder it.”

I guess, on some level, rules for me are a statement of a mutual goal. Here are the things we value. Here are the things we want. Those who choose to join our community are those who also want and value these things and are willing to do what it takes to make it happen.

The rules are a super-optimistic, in-an-ideal-world description of what a Guild is. Because, after all, this is real life and therefore things are rarely so clear as they are in a guild charter. Some situations fall between the rules, personality affects the way the rules are interpreted and applied, enforcement is often easier said than done, if your community changes over time the goals and desires of the community change with it, and your rules may suddenly no longer be accurate or applicable. But in that list of things to (not) do – however long or short it may be – you find the kernel of what the guild actually is; the idea from which it grew.

I guess, after all, I’m not Capital L Lawful – I’m Capital I Idealistic. Rules are a description of a perfect world – of the Utopia of a given community. They are born from a shared goal, and enforced through a shared set of values. They’re what makes a guild work, what lets a community operate, what keeps society humming along no matter what – not because you’re limiting human behavior or imposing restrictions on individual freedom, but because you’re defining for all members what it is we’re working toward.

Makes me jealous when I read other guild’s websites and look at their charters (guilty admission: which I totally did last night, and, you know, do from time to time on a general basis), given that my current guild doesn’t have any. It’s a struggle to keep myself from signing up or applying to join, because in these charters I can see what they’re going for, and it’s something I whole-heartedly want in my own play experience. I’m in on that, or down with that, or whatever the kids are saying these days that basically comes down to “Fuck yes!”

To everyone out there trying to achieve some small piece of Warcraft Utopia: I am with you in spirit, if not in character! Send me a line if you make it.

It’s been a long time since any of my characters could truly be considered pioneers. It’s been at least three years, maybe more, since I broke ground on a new server with nothing but the worn-out cape on my level 1 character’s back. In this era of paid server/account transfers, faction changes, and bind on account items, I figured I never would again.

These days, any alt I create has instant access to a nearly limitless (well…for level 10 anyway) supply of gold, heirlooms, and crafted gear from my (and others’) 80s – to say nothing of a well-stocked guild bank, free boosting runs through SM, and a constant stream of bored 80s offering other sorts of help for the sake of an hour well-wasted.

And if I want a new server? Just hand over my credit card number to Blizzard for the three hundred and fiftieth time, pop one of my 80s, complete with an extra set of gold, heirlooms, and crafting mats, over onto the new server and maintain all of the non-guild based benefits listed above.

Not exactly colonization in the historical sense of hard work, little support, and harsh winters, now is it?

Then along came Merekage de Zangar, and my brilliant plan to practice my French. As I’ve mentioned before, I have an abundance of alts. No problem, thinks I. Once the trial-account restrictions are lifted, I can take one or two of my under-played alts and transfer them over and start building me a self-sustaining community of characters, craft up some gear, maybe transfer some heirlooms with them so I can level faster.

This was my brilliant master plan, right up until my warrior hit level 8 or so and suddenly didn’t have the money required to purchase both Parry and Thunder Clap. All right, I say. Let’s do it to it. Time to account-transfer some alts.

Yeah. About that.

The reason I needed a second account to play on the French server, is because the French server is an EU server, and so I needed an EU account to play on it. My main account is a US account.

For similar reasons, when I load up my main account and go to the server transfer page…Merekage de Zangar is nowhere on the list. And the US doesn’t recognize my EU account.

So I realize, trés tardivement, that my one account is not aware of the other’s existence, and I cannot transfer any characters from one to the other.

An icy wind blew down across the back of my little warrior’s neck as she stared at that training interface and knew she would actually have to choose between Parry and Thunderclap. I glanced quickly at my equipment – no piece of it was actually worth enough copper to make up the difference and get me both. I was broke. I was poor. I still needed to buy professions, and weapon skills. I could skip fishing and cooking, but I had to have first aid. That was like…an extra few silver right there and I just didn’t have the budget for it.

And oh my God, weapon skills. They’re like…ten silver a piece, and I needed a bajillion of them. Ten silver. God, it was suddenly the equivalent of a thousand gold. I literally had only a few coppers to my name. I’d never get 10 silver, let alone multiple iterations of it.

Oh my God, said my brain. Oh my God. I’m completely alone. No support system. No easy gold. No juggling of heirlooms and BoA inscriptions and free enchants. No high-level crafters. No hoards of low-level mats.

I had nothing. I had no one.

I was alone on a foreign server, in a different language, with no friends, alts, or high-level characters.

I stiffened my upper lip, drew myself up, and purchased Parry.

First things first, I told myself, professions. I don’t have access to free gear anymore, but I can’t really afford a crafting profession, and it’ll level slowly without supplementary mats – it wouldn’t keep up with my levels anyway. My little gnome will have to be the ground breaker. She’s going to have to make the money I need to start building a self-sustaining alt-community.

She’ll have to be a gatherer.

I spend fifteen minutes farming evil flowers for their petals and vines, selling enough of them to be able to purchase mining and skinning. Then I buckle down and start questing in earnest, hoping that by level 8 I would be able to afford all my level 8 skills, plus the abandoned Thunderclap. I leave no mine unmined, no corpse unskinned. Once I’ve got a stack of copper, I make my way to the Exodar.

If there’s one thing you can count on, it’s a fucked economy. My first stack of copper sells for 5g. Half a stack of light leather goes for 2. I’m up to 7g in my pocket, which is more than enough to live off of until level 60, given questing income, and not even taking into account future auctions. But only for this one character. Alts, I know, are expensive, and sooner or later I’m going to need to make a crafter. I’m going to need a lot of money to support multiple alts and their professions.

I run back to Guet de Brume-Azur and rather smugly purchase my thunder-clap. “Hi,” I tell my trainer, “I’m totally rich now.”

7g’s not exactly a windfall compared to the amounts I’m used to these days, but on this server it was like suddenly winning the lottery. I didn’t have to worry about not being able to afford weapon skills or class abilities. I would be able to afford my repairs. I wouldn’t have to walk from one map to the other because I just don’t have enough for the flight (this has happened to me…more than once). It was a huge stress-relief.

In the end, given that I made 7g on my first trip to the AH and I think I was up to 20 or so when I finally logged, I don’t expect it to be super-difficult to survive, at least with this one character. But there’s something incredibly exciting, and immensely gratifying, in knowing that she is the first and the only. That she is setting the foundation for future alts. That some pieces of this game are going to be hard again, and whatever I accomplish, I do it through my own sweat, blood and tears (figuratively speaking).

I know how hard and expensive it gets to maintain a cadre of alts. It’s primarily the reason I’ve never had more than a couple thousand G to my name (split between many characters). Professions, dual-specs, mounts (I’m not even talking epic flying here), levelling, etc., takes up a lot of resources.

I am honestly, legitimately excited about the prospect of doing it all over again, and doing it from scratch. For once I don’t need to worry about the inevitable giving in to temptation and just adding an alt into the guild and sending them a bunch of money – it’s not even an option. Even joining a different guild is more or less out, since I don’t speak the native tongue of the server.

I am well and truly on my own, and it’s unexpectedly invigorating.

I am livid right now. We had what was, to all extents and purposes, an excellent raid last night (well…a couple nights ago by the time this post is live). We got a fuck tonne of achievements. I got my Champion of the Frozen Wastes title finally (I’d “had” it, just scattered across three characters, so even though I’ve done all the content, I never had the title). We had a grand total of four wipes, each of them instantly corrected. Things dropped quickly, cleanly, and efficiently. Then it all went to fucking Hell in the last 30 minutes. Fucking. Hell. And not because of performance – because of personality. Because of drama. Because of afudkalfjweiahfjvzxnm,huewfajkxcz!.

But I’m not going to talk about it. And I’m not going to think about it. I’m going to go to my Happy Place.

My Happy Place is a spot, hopefully not too far in the future, when the entire world of Azeroth is torn to shreds by a great, burning dragon – and along with it, the hordes of drooling, over-geared, under-skilled, ignorant, arrogant, elitist pricks who think they’re better at this game than the rest of us because they’ve been handed their Tier on the backs of other people’s work and wouldn’t know a CC from a decurse if it bit them in the ass.

In this Happy Place of mine, Kill Orders are not just pretty icons designed to make the game more visually entertaining as the mobs dance in your AoFuckingE. They’re actual Orders, like a military commander might give you. They’re placed strategically to ensure priority targets are taken down quickly and efficiently, with minimum casualties. And if you don’t follow it you die and you wipe the group. Do that often enough and you won’t have a group.

In my Happy Place, AoE is a strategic decision, made after careful consideration of a given encounter. It is not a part of anyone’s rotation. Indiscriminate use will carry heavy consequences. Tanks will no longer be blamed for a poor AoE decision – rather, the AoEer will be expected to bear the weight of his own mistakes. I will never see the following, in relation to AoE, again: “wtf y i die/”. Instead, it will be: “wtf y u aoe rtard/”

In my Happy Place, there are consequences for idiocy, because tanks and healers can no longer indulge in, or compensate for it. DPS will be just as important as the other two roles because their job will encompass more than damage. They will not be selected based solely on two numbers – gearscore and Recount – they will be selected based on their ability to maximize their DPS to the extent possible while also CCing, decursing, and kiting. Their role will require skill, which no gearscore can passively compensate for.

In my Happy Place, all the cockweasels (to use my new favourite word, courtesy of Tamarind) who have been facerolling this content without any skill or attempt at improving themselves as players and members of the community will quit the game, because raiding and maybe even instancing will actually require you to wipe once or twice in order to learn the mechanics, and they just can’t deal with that. These people will wander, guildless, through a desolate wasteland of failpugs, trying to find a group willing to carry their unskilled, impatient, ungrateful ass through content that will forever make them its bitch.

In my Happy Place, regular raiding will require a fairly stable group – either through a guild, or perhaps a friendlist. This means it will require positive attitudes, a sense of community, and good behavior. You will have to be skilled at what you do, able to carry your own weight, and a nice enough person that people like you. Because you can’t just faceroll this shit anymore. You can’t just PuG it out to the drooling masses. You have to pick and choose who you take with you. And as I’ve already said, raiding in my Happy Place requires wiping, and nobody wants to make the run back from the graveyard with an asshole howling the whole way.

My Happy Place will also have weather. Because I agree with everything in this post.

In my Happy Place, the game has finally found that elusive balance between the hardcore and the casuals. Between accessibility and facerolling. Between PvP and PvE. Between major plots and an individual’s story. Between soul-sucking frustration, and free-soaring triumph.

I’m there right now, in my head. I can already see it. Every douchebag who’s ever made the in-game lives of me and my friends Hell is dying in the fires of the Cataclysm as we speak, writhing and screaming and too stupid to even know they’re standing in bad. The rest of us are gathered together on a hill somewhere in the Barrens, basking in the warmth, reveling in our sudden freedom from asshats. The General chat is curiously free of Chuck Norris jokes; someone requests the location of Mankrik’s wife. Someone else answers. A bird chirps, a zevhra is born, and the Circle of WoW moves on, unfettered from the chains of sloth and idiocy that repressed it for so long.

“Hey,” says someone in the group on the hill, “let’s go run heroic Deadmines.”

“Yes,” I respond, nodding slowly. Smoke rises from the ashes at the centre of the crater below us, and in that slender, ephemeral trail I find peace between myself and this game at last. “Let’s.”

So, since my brain-switch is most of the way to off, and my internal monologue sounds a lot like this right now – IwanttosleepIwanttosleepIwanttosleepIwanttosleep – I have resorted to looking back at a list I wrote a month or so ago when we first started the blog of possible topics. I apologize in advance if this lacks coherency in any way – in case you missed it the first time, all I really want right now is sleep, so my brain is not necessarily being cooperative.

The topic, as written on that list, is “what do tanks expect from their party?” An interesting question, with a bit of a layered answer.

On the surface:

I want the DPS to…

  1. Understand your class and your abilities, and recognize that just because a button doesn’t do massive damage doesn’t mean it’s never to be pushed. CC, dispelling, shielding, silencing, interrupting, and even high-threat abilities all have a place – if not in your rotation, at least in your larger scale gameplay.
  2. Follow the kill order. If there is no kill order, follow my target.
  3. Let me pull unless I specifically ask you otherwise. Misdirect doesn’t make up for me not being able to position the mobs appropriately.
  4. The kill order. Follow it.
  5. Stand behind the mobs/boss unless specifically told to do otherwise. I don’t love you enough to eat parries because you can’t tell the front-end of Anub’arak from his ass.
  6. Kill orders are for following.
  7. Understand that you’re responsible for your own AoE unless I’ve specifically told you to do it. If I’ve taken the time to establish a kill order and haven’t said “AoE them down”, and you want to Blizzard…go nuts. But understand that if you pull, it’s your own damn fault. The next words out of your mouth had better be “sorry! Didn’t mean to pull!” and not “wtf lrn 2 tnk”.
  8. And last, but certainly not least, follow the fucking kill order.

I want the Healer to…

  1. Keep me alive, please and thank you – though one likes to assume this goes without saying.
  2. This is not necessarily fair to expect of the heals, but on some level our shared responsibility for group survival leads me to look to healers for support and back-up in the case of a party/raid member not behaving appropriately (say…not following a kill order, pulling aggro, and taking a shit-tonne of damage before the situation can be corrected). I like to think this causes as many problems for the healer as for me, so I tend to look to the healer for back-up here.
  3. If, for some reason, you’re having a hard time – content’s too hard, your gear’s too low, you’re new to the spec/class, you’re too used to healing for over-geared, under-smart tanks, you’re stoned out of your mind and completely unable to differentiate between the warlock and the warrior (I know, we’ve both got “war” in our class names, but come on) – please don’t blame your ilevel 232-245, DEF capped, 40K HP tank for your fail, by intimating they don’t have enough HP/DEF/gearscore. If you’re going to assign blame away from yourself, at least have a realistic excuse. No point insulting my intelligence along with my gear.

All of this, of course, begs the obvious question – what do the DPS/Healers expect from a tank? I’m neither DPS nor heals (on any kind of committed basis, anyway), but I can hazard a guess (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong):

The (intelligent, good) DPS want me to…

  1. Be able to maintain enough threat that they can DPS to the utmost of their abilities, without having to destroy their Recount numbers to keep from pulling off of me.
  2. Try to stand as still as possible, without sacrificing threat, so the melee DPS don’t have to keep chasing the mobs down, and the ranged don’t have to keep repositioning any AoE.
  3. Establish a kill order, or at least a bare bones one. They understand the relation between my threat and their DPS, and they understand a kill order helps me as much as them.
  4. No, seriously, make sure I enough threat.
  5. Pull only what I’m (and the healer’s) capable of surviving – if I die, so do they, and no one appreciates a repair bill.
  6. Wait between pulls if required so mana-based DPS can get back that which is required for DPS to happen.
  7. Threat, threat, threat, threat, threat, threat, THREAT!

The (retarded, drooling) DPS want me to…

  1. Hahahahahaha! You’re funny! The retarded DPS don’t know what a tank is or what it’s for. They just think I’m the fourth, super-shitty DPS.

The healer wants me to…

  1. Be appropriately geared for the content I’m tanking. This doesn’t mean I need to have T9 to tank heroics, but I need to make sure I’m wearing what’s necessary to keep a given instance from tearing me to tiny little pieces while the healer sobs over the tragic waste of a life – because that’s all they’re going to have time for.
  2. Be able to generate sufficient threat for my character/gear level. It’s not that I’m going to lose aggro to the healer (you’d almost have to be doing negative threat), it’s that I’m going to lose it to the DPS. And then the DPS are going to start dying. And then the Healer’s job is going to be exponentially harder than it has to be.
  3. Understand that healers are like whales – I need to save them. There should be a t-shirt. If the healer’s picked up aggro from somewhere and a monster is happily munching away on them, get thee to the back line and taunt that shit. I fail as a tank if I let monsters munch on my healer. Fail. May as well hang up my shield and my +DEF sword and ride on into the sunset. My welcome in Tank Town has finally worn out.
  4. If I’m dying like a bitch, perhaps it would be wise to turn the Lens of Shame on myself before immediately assuming it’s my healer’s fault. Is my gear good enough? Was I standing in fire? Did I let monsters stab me repeatedly in the backside? These things are my fault, not my healer’s. Until I correct my own problems, I have no business blaming someone else for them or even their own.

What everyone wants from everyone else…

So, there’s a common thread here, running through the wants and needs of every group itemized above – kill orders.

No! Wait!

Well, yes. Kill orders help everyone. But that’s not the thread I’m referring to.

Tanks play the game to tank. They want to generate threat, have the monsters focus exclusively on them, and have the defences to survive the attention. If they’re not doing it (if the DPS are pulling aggro, if the healers aren’t paying enough attention, if anyone is pushing them faster and harder than they’re comfortable going) then they’re not having fun.

DPS play the game to do damage. They want to light into a monster’s backside and watch Recount tick upward. They don’t want to have to focus on Omen. They don’t want to have to spam vanish or soul shatter. They don’t want to die and not be able to do anything for the remainder of the fight because either the tank or the healer wasn’t doing their job. If they’re not doing damage, they’re not having fun.

Healers play the game to heal people. They like playing Healbot whack-a-mole. They like strategizing and planning out which heals for which people in order to ensure the most efficient, effective last-minute-save. If the rest of the party is sucking – tanks that aren’t geared right, DPS that don’t care where they’re standing, or what they’re standing in, a chaotic melee where even the mobs can’t seem to figure out who’s the tank – there can be nothing effective or efficient about their heals, and they’re fighting a battle against time. Sooner or later the heals will be too late, through no fault of the healer, and the group will wipe. This isn’t fun for them. Not in the least.

When you act “badly” in a group, you’re not just showing disrespect to your companions, or making things difficult – you’re detracting from their happiness. You’re killing their joy. You are being no fun.

Players of all three stripes are required for the game to function. The game is specifically built around this mechanic – not only is it, in fact, possible for all three types of people to play together and still have fun in their own ways; assuming everyone’s playing the game well and respecting each others’ role, it’s almost impossible for everyone to not have fun. But that’s a pretty big assumption.

It’s relatively easy to tread on people’s toes without even meaning to. We have a couple guildies who legitimately enjoy big pulls and opening fire with their biggest AoE spells before I’m even in range – they think it’s funny, as a matter of fact. They’re not necessarily being malicious. But they’re not being particularly considerate either. They’re not recognizing that in doing so, they’re actually, physically denying me the right to play – and I’m unlikely to be impressed at how “epic” they are; nor am I going to laugh and agree when they point out how they don’t even need a tank. Maybe that’s tonnes of fun for them, but it’s really fucking boring for me to sit there and watch my DPS do a bunch of shit I know there’s no way I can compensate for – specifically removing my ability to play the game. I get sidelined. It’s as frustrating and enraging as being a DPS who dies on the pull and gets to watch everyone else have fun for the next two minutes of fighting while you try to mentally calculate your repair bill.

Of course, these DPS might argue that who am I to get in the way of them playing the way they want? I have many, many answers to that, but all of them are biased, so I’ll just keep my mouth shut.

In the end, no matter what class, spec, or role you play, what you want from your party/raid/guild is simple:

Let me play the game I want to play.

I had a longer post written up regarding some guild drama, but in the end (and after discussing with layteknight) I have decided not to post it. At least not today!

Instead, I give you a mercifully short addendum to yesterday’s post, because I apparently suck beyond all belief and actually forgot several important notes for highbies boosting lower level characters through instances:

  • Do be aware of any AoE that may be happening (whirlwind, arcane explosion, etc.). This is very likely to tear through your lowbie like a Kleenex, so make sure you’re killing them out of range of your lowbie.
  • Do be quick to notice if it’s your lowbie that gets CC’ed. While they’re wailing on your impenetrable backside is not a good time to drop a death and decay or start swiping willy nilly.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of various forms of the mob’s CC and aggro resetting – there are some mechanics in the game that care not a whit for your level or gearscore. Incapacitates (sap, some stuns, sleep) cause mobs to temporarily ignore the highest person on the threat list and give some TLC to the second highest (i.e., your lowbie). Mind Control means a T9 wearing, level 80, raging monster of death goes ripping down on your lowbie (with the mobs in tow). If you thought AoE could rip through him or her like Kleenex…for you it’ll be more like soggy Kleenex. Aggro resets or intercepts (random charges on other party members) can also cause instantaneous death, especially if you’ve pulled a large group.
  • If you’re a lowbie and your highbie randomly turns red and starts running straight at you, do pop every defensive cooldown you have and run like a bitch.

As an aside, if you have trouble keeping track of your lowbies, add-ons that show you the status of your party (like Healbot, etc.) can be a quick way to make sure they’re not under some kind of effect that requires a change of plans on your part.

N.B.: Let me say right up front that although the guidelines below apply in all cases, I am only okay with boosting when it’s for a legitimate purpose and does not add to the idiot-pool stagnating in the LFG. Far too many of the whining, selfish, greedy, lazy, no-idea-how-to-play-this-game people that keep finding their way into my PuGs have been boosted through the game.

Please boost responsibly, and remember: only you can prevent fail!PuGs.

Ah, boosting. Never has a practice been more reviled and, simultaneously, partaken of than boosting. Most of us have done it at some point – especially those of us with multiple 80s. Either boosted or been boosted.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one. You’re working on your third druid – one for each spec, you think – and you’ve hit that awkward stretch between 35 and 50. The game’s been coasting along ‘till now, boring and stale, maybe, but quick enough, and with enough questing options to keep you from going completely insane with the monotony of playing through vanilla-WoW for the 673rd time in the last five years. But now, where do you go? You sort of burned through Hillsbrad, thanks to your schmancy OP heirlooms. Not quite high enough for Tanaris yet. Maybe you really hate STV and are reluctant to do anything for Nesingwary for fear of eventual reprisal from D.H.E.T.A..

Sure you could LFG through the instances around this level, but, really, who’s got forty-two consecutive hours to sink into Mauradon? And even though you know you’re really only in it for XP – not like you can take those heirlooms off! – the thought of running ZF only to get absolutely no gear off half the bosses is just wrong.

You think to yourself, why did I ever begrudge Northrend its twenty-minute instances and its super easy Watch-The-NPCs-Be-Cool questlines? The land where epics fall like rain, and XP and G flows like wine.

I could be doing Hodir dailies, you tell yourself.

I could be grinding emblems.

I could be doing any of a thousand things that I completely lost interest in which is why I decided to make an alt anyway, only now that seems kind of foolish of me.

And then, like a beam of light from above, you see it. There in the guild chat. One of the over-geared, uber raiders in your guild announces that he is bored. This is it. This is your opportunity. This guy could wipe Zul Farak in fifteen minutes. He could pull the whole damn instance in one glorious, graphics-card-killing go.

He could boost you like you’ve never been boosted before.

And it’s not like you haven’t already played the game a gazillion times. And it’s not like you don’t know your class – it’s your third druid, remember? And it’s not like either of you have anything better to do.

So you do it.

[Guild]: [Thisisanalt] says: wanna come run me through ZF a fropopapillion times?
[Guild]: [Ubraidr] says: k

And as easy as that, it’s done. Next thing you know you’re dinging faster than a winning slot machine, spitting out its payload.

Alternatively, you might have been happily ensconced at 80, doing the awesomely euphemistic Hodir dailies, when the following conversation happened:

[Guild]: [Ubraidr] says: man, we really need a healer for our raid groups. PuGging is bullshit.
[Guild]: [Thisismymain]: well…I could roll a pally if you help get me to 80…

It’s not something to be ashamed of – provided you’re not hindering your own chances of learning your class and how to be a productive member of the community, and both the booster and the boostee are on board and willing. But there are some things to keep in mind, in both cases, as you do so.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not as simple as pulling the whole instance in one go.

The Request



If you are the one requesting the boosting, make sure your request is polite, low-pressure, and specifically at the other person’s convenience. You are asking for a favour, and that’s something you need to keep in mind.

Accept a negative response – be it an open shut-down or a simple ignoring of the request – with grace. Nobody owes you anything, and nobody is required to boost you. Understand this inherently before you make a request.

If the offer is made to you, accept or reject it with equal parts appreciation and politeness.

Be ready to go when the booster is.


If you are the one offering the boost, understand that not everyone wants to be boosted. Some people like questing and grinding and doing Nesingwary quests forever (D.H.E.T.A. be damned). You may not understand it, but you have to respect it. A rejection of your offer is not a statement of your value or worth as a human being. In the same way that you are not required to boost anyone, there is no requirement for a lowbie to accept a boosting when offered.

If a request is made and you accept, be clear on any conditions or timing for doing so. Indicate when you’ll be willing to help and for how long. As the lowbie made the request, you are welcome to indulge it at your convenience, but to a reasonable extent. The lowbie has their own schedule to work around as well.



Arrogance and/or whining will offend and alienate the very people you are hoping will help you level – do not indulge in these, or include them in your request.

Do not expect others to drop whatever they’re doing to help you on your schedule, at your convenience. You are asking them for a favour, not the other way around.

Do not throw a temper tantrum, apply guilt trips, or act sulky and petulant if your request is refused.

Do not enlist help, have the booster get all the way to ZF, and spend the next hour running around to pick up the quests, repair your gear, and clear your bags.


If the request is put to you, do not drip arrogance when you accept it. The unfortunate fact of the matter, my dear, is that any high level character, regardless of gear, could faceroll these instances. Level 60s used to do it. There’s very little skill or epeen involved. You’re doing a favour for a friend and that should be the extent of it. You are not a special snowflake.

Do not forget that your lowbie owes you nothing except a roughly equivalent favour in the future (probably in the form of reciprocal boosting). Certainly not their life, their levels, or their first-born child. Do not expect anything more.

Do not expect that just because you’ve offered – of the goodness of your own heart – to run a lowbie through multiple instances to boost them, that they are required to accept your generous offer, or that they are required to get down on their hands and knees and worship you for the duration of the boosting. More likely they are going to spend the entire time between looting alt-tabbed and reading warcraft blogs, or plucking their eyebrows while you kill everything in sight. A certain degree of appreciation for your time and efforts can be expected, and you are welcome to feel offended and put out if you sense they are being ungrateful – but anything beyond that is gravy, and should be regarded as such.

The Pull(s?)



Be very clear right off the bat whether you wish to participate in your own boosting or not. Perhaps you are looking for a safe way to figure out your abilities or level your weapon skill or something else that involves you being in the thick of things. If so, your highbie needs to know this, and know this early. It changes the way the pulls can happen without dramatically increasing your risk of death.

Heal your highbie if necessary, when it is safe to do so. If it is not safe to do so, let your highbie handle it. You being dead defeats the entire purpose of this escapade.

Let your highbie know immediately if (s)he is too far from you and you are not receiving XP.

Listen to any instructions your highbie may give you (“stand here”, “follow me”, “don’t touch anything”).


Pay attention to and respect your lowbie’s desires for the run. If they wish to participate, keep that in mind when you pull. Know that they will be in combat and account for it. If you want to be really nice, know whether they want to actually feel like they’re helping and slow your own DPS accordingly (as much as possible).

Pull Responsibly Part 1: If you die, your lowbie gets swarmed by everything you were wailing on, and they are not level 80 and wearing T9. If you’re lucky they’re level 40 and they’re wearing the Scorpashi “set”. Be sure you can handle what you pull.

Pull Responsibly Part 2: If your lowbie dies, they get no XP from anything you kill from that point forward, rendering the effort null and void. Be sure you can maintain threat on everything you pull (including ranged mobs that may not stand helpfully in your consecrate or blizzard).

Pull Responsibly Part 3: Ensure that your lowbie is within range of everything you’re killing, otherwise refer to negative effects of “Pull Responsibly Part 2” above, and add the fact that they won’t even get the gear.

Be clear on your expectations for your lowbie. If you expect them to heal, tell them so. If you expect them to follow or to sit tight, tell them so.



If you have no expectations regarding participation, or in fact, no interest in participating at all, don’t help. Stand way at the back – preferably so far you do not even enter combat – and do absolutely nothing. Don’t drink a potion. Don’t heal. Don’t throw out a moonfire because you can. If your highbie has missed even a single caster at the back, they will instantly aggro on you and you will die. Horribly.

Don’t run in, pull, or aggro through your own idiocy and expect your highbie to save you. The mere proximity of a level 80 to your own low-level self does not bestow invulnerability upon you or weakness upon your foes, and you die faster than you think.

Don’t follow your highbie if they tell you stay put. Don’t stay put if they tell you to follow.


Don’t wear thorns or similar, non-passive retributive damage buffs. If a mob dies because it wailed on you and your thorns killed it, your lowbie gets no XP and no gear. Non-activated abilities such as the warrior’s passive damage shield don’t have the same affect. You may need to experiment to see which of your retributive damage shields do and don’t count.

Rebirth does not make up for getting your lowbie killed.

Don’t forget about pats. They might not be able to kill you, but they can kill your lowbie!

Don’t assume a level 40 healer can actually do anything about your health bar if you are taking significant damage (usually due to an overly large pull). They’re healing for 400 a pop. You really think that’s going to make a difference in your 40K pool?

Never assume your lowbie is right behind you. Never assume your lowbie is where you left them. The mini-map is your friend.

Don’t miss side-mobs or patrols if you’re doing a running pull. They’ll see your lowbie miles before they see you.

Don’t pull the entire instance just to see if you can unless your lowbie indicates they are okay with this plan and the possible negative consequences.

Don’t pull so many mobs in one go that your lowbie will be unable to loot them all before the bodies despawn, taking their loot with them.

In General (a.k.a., stuff I could have said up front instead of rambling on for pages)



Keep in mind that boosting through an instance is no different than running it legit – in both cases you have to be aware of what each member is willing and able to contribute and handle and not exceed those limits. Effective strategies are required to ensure no party members die (though the strategies may differ wildly from the usual).

Be aware of the potential negative consequences of boosting – if you’re the lowbie, your level may eventually exceed your ability to play; it’s very difficult to learn your class when being boosted. Your gear, owing to the fact that generally boosting involves a single instance in a given level range, may actually fall far behind what it would be had you quested/ran the instances legit (causing horrible things to happen to you when you hit the next map/expansion). If you’re the highbie, you cannot escape repair bills. Your epic awesomeness won’t be so shiny after the entirety of the Scarlet Armory wails on you for a minute or so. And if you pull too much and die? Ouch.

Appreciate the favour being done in both cases (which, in effect, amounts to relief from boredom whether you’re a lowbie or a highbie).



Don’t take credit for shit you didn’t do. Lowbie, you didn’t actually “win” vanilla-wow if someone boosted you the whole way through it. Highbie, you are not solely responsible for your lowbie’s character.

Don’t take each other for granted – the highbie doesn’t have to help, and the lowibe doesn’t have to worship.

Don’t play like douches just because one of you is 50 levels above the content.

In the end it comes down to making sure each side is clear on what the other wants, and is okay with it. As long as everyone’s happy, or at the very least okay with the potential negative consequences, we’re good.*

Boost away.

layteknight notes: “Sounds like sexual experimentation.”

WoW for me is about 25% play time and 75% chat time — no joke.  Between my guildies and friends list, there’s always a bunch of people who have something to say; whether I’m sitting in Dal doing nothing or chasing adds in Ulduar, there’s really no getting away from it. 

For the most part, I like the activity as it keeps the game interesting.  There are times, though, when it can get stressful and particularly difficult to manage…especially when impatience comes into play.  It’s easy to forget that chatting with someone over the internet is not, in fact, equivalent to a phone call.  You don’t have each other’s full attention — a fact people frequently fail to take into account when they get upset over delays in response time.

Instead of flying off the handle or dreaming up a bunch of negative nonsense to worry over, take a sec to examine the situation.

Here’s what I figure are the main reasons, from most likely to least likely, why a person may not reply to your whisper: 

a. They might be busy.

Hard to believe sometimes, but WoW is not a chat client.  Chances are your whisper target is doing something while you’re talking to them, so be sure to keep that in mind before you send them another prodding (and often times rude!) whisper.  That aside, a player’s ability to chat is sometimes limited by the class they’re playing.  A paladin, for example, can be safely left on auto-attack pretty much indefinitely while the player does whatever else; on the other hand, a rogue will have his ass handed to him within seconds if not closely watched.

Additionally, there are times in-game when hitting enter to access the chat window simply isn’t an option: in the AH window where you post auctions, for instance, and when composing an in-game mail.

b. They may have missed it.

Most folks don’t split up their chat windows, so they get blasted with lines of text almost all the time — especially when they’re in a capital city.  The various global chat channels move so fast…blink an eye and you may’ve just missed an important tell!  It’s not hard to miss a whisper crammed in between the otherwise impressive ascii STFU Truck and some desperate person’s enchant spam, so take it easy.

Other possibility in this vein?  You might not be the only person whispering your target.  If it’s an involved conversation, your tell can easily be overlooked.

c. They might be AFK.

This is obvious.  We all need to pee or get food or answer the phone, and we don’t always raise a flag each time it happens.  Just because the game isn’t marking a player as legitimately AFK doesn’t mean they aren’t.

d. You’re being willfully ignored.

See how this one came 4th and not 1st?  There’s no reason to default to the assumption that the person you’re looking to reach is choosing to not reply.   Most people reply when spoken to!

That being said, it is possible that your whisper target is through speaking with you.  Usually you can tell why a conversation’s come to an end (e.g. nothing more to say, suddenly busy or AFK, upsetting subject matter, etc.), but if it’s tough to gauge for whatever reason, try to attempt resuscitation once and once only.  Learning when to cease and desist is an art, but it’s worth the trouble experimenting with it in order to get it right.

e. They don’t know how to reply.

There was once a time when I didn’t know what a chat channel was, let alone how to access one.  There are tons of people like this, and it’s important that we show them a bit of patience; those few nice high-levels that showed you the ropes back when you were in Linen Boots really made the game for you, didn’t they? 

f. Their UI chat settings may be set to filter you out.

There are a crazy amount of mods out there, and Blizzard’s made tons of changes to the way the chat UI works, so it should not be a stretch to consider that your UI may not work like your whisper target’s.  Narrow down the possibilities by trying an alternate channel.  At worst?  Send them an in-game mail when you get a chance.

Just remember: if you’re really, truly being ignored by the person you’re trying to reach, WoW will politely tell you so.  If you didn’t get the “You are being ignored.” message when you hit the /r, take a deep breath and try again in 10 or 15.

Communication is what makes the game new each time you log in, so make sure you do what you can to keep the experience a good one for all involved!