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So, as you might have noticed from my general blogospheric absence, I have been in something of a slump in terms of WoW. I’ve played here and there, off and on over the summer and into the fall, but not with any kind of regularity. I kept up the PvP for the most part, right up until 4.0.1. We still have our regular five-man group once a week, and every now and then layte will rope me into a heroic PuG or two (which typically leave me a slavering mass of rage and hate). And we still hop onto our alts every now and then to muck around in the old world.

But that, I think, was a large part of the problem. The old world – and, in fact, the “new” worlds of BC and Wrath – is old. Like a nice, rock-hard chunk of stale bread, too far gone to even use for croutons. I know some people are still enamoured of its charms, and I will admit that even for me it has its moments, but the fact of the matter is I’ve been playing this game for almost the six years it’s been in existence. I have deleted more alts than most people have made. I grow more concerned by the 50-character cap as time goes on.

I have six 80s (five of them tanks, including one of every class that can tank – woo! At least one pre-Cataclysm goal achieved!). I can now officially say I’ve PvPed with some degree of seriousness. I’ve raided up into ICC, dungeoned, soloed. I’ve played every class in the game to at least level 40, and the vast majority of them up past 60, and a chunk up past 80 now. I’ve played all of the races (though I freely admit my tauren have never even made it to 20, poor bastards). There isn’t a map to be found that I haven’t beaten my face off of at least thrice. Certainly there are physical corners of the game I have not at least peeked into, which is to say a few of the old world and BC raids, but that’s it.

I’ve played this game. I’ve played it to death. If I have to make the run from Goldshire to the Eastvale Logging Camp one more time I am going to cry. For serious.

I’ve wished more times than I can count over the last few months that I could go back to my early WoW days – back when I thought Intellect was an awesome stat for warriors because it increased my weapon skill, and I would taunt monsters while soloing because why would they put it on my bar if I’m not suppose to use it maybe threat is a special kind of damage, and I thought add-ons were the devil because they were probably illegal and Blizzard would ban my account the instant I installed one and besides they would probably give me viruses and I could never figure out how to work them anyway.

I was so new back then, everything seemed so complex and vast and beautiful. I read my quest logs because I wanted to understand the world and what I was being asked to do; I studied my talent trees in deep, loving detail so that I could make the absolute wrong choice 100% of the time; I blundered about Azeroth flailing ineffectually at boars and gnolls and whelps and had a deep-seated phobia of murlocs and fell off a lot of cliffs and towers from whipping my camera around while auto-running to get a better look at some pretty tree or amazing sunset or cool looking mob. I left a lot of corpses around Azeroth, most of them mine.

For a long time now, I’ve been a long way away from that. I haven’t read a quest log in ages, because I know all my favourite quests off-by-heart and no longer care about the others. I know more about the lore than I ever thought I would. I throw my talents in where I’ve always put them, knowing full well it’ll be good enough until end game and when I get there I can compare against the cookie-cutter build then. I’m decked out in so many heirlooms and GB blues and epics that I don’t really die at low levels anymore, even if I manage a terrible pull or blunder into a camp of gnolls just as it respawns. I’m not afraid of anything in the game anymore. And neither am I constantly awed (though again, there are still moments). And neither am I very interested.

And then 4.0.1 hit and for a brief, blissful window, I was interested again. They’d completely revamped the talent trees, and in some cases the mechanics of the classes. I loaded up my 80 paladin and panicked, not understanding anything on his bar or how it worked, so instead I made layte roll a pally alt with me to re-learn the class from the ground up, rather than trying to figure it out at 80 with too full a toolbar. Forgiving the sheer OPness of the low levels right now (1-shotting three targets at level 10 with Avenger’s Shield…Jesus Christ…so awesome, and so not awesome at the same time), it’s been fun. Plus the new talent trees briefly allowed me to overlook how repetitive and boring and trivial heroics have been lately on my warrior because I wanted to try out my two new warrior builds.

Rend! On a prot warrior! Who’d’a thunk it?

(Aside: One of my warriors has a Blood and Thunder build, and the other doesn’t. Currently I’m leaning toward really liking the Blood and Thunder mechanic. I’ve always been kind of sad about rend. It was like this pretty little button I never pushed and severely neglected and it stared dolefully up at me from my toolbar, as though to say “why do you even have me here if you’re never going to push me? Relegate me to the Bar of Suck with Slam! Do it! You heartless monster!” Now Rend and I are totally BFFs. And it makes me push Thunder Clap more, which I should have been doing anyway. And then that makes me Shockwave more, which I was actually doing anyway, except now it’s more fun because it’s all synergized with TC. Buffs come up, buffs go down. I like it. Also, a DoT on all my targets is sort of useful, what with no one understanding that they’re supposed to actually kill the skull first, not last.)

But even that didn’t last long for me. Ultimately the warrior doesn’t have any sweeping changes to the feel or mechanics. Short of tapping rend at the start of a fight, my priority list is basically the same, the threat distribution is the same (there’s just less of it to go around), and both my warriors are already geared to the point where I don’t have to stretch my brain too hard on gear choices yet (which means I actually haven’t adjusted to the lack of DEF yet and probably won’t ’till Cata). The baby-pallies remain fun and new in terms of mechanics, but ultimately they’re running back and forth across Elwynn. Which I’ve only done a hundred thousand times.

I clung to it as long as I could though and it got me through to yesterday. 4.0.3.

I was beside myself with hope and excitement and eagerness all day. Then layte sent me an e-mail and told me the servers weren’t expected back up until at least 8PM our time. Kill me. Seriously. I had already plotted out half my new alts with the class/race combos and which zones I wanted to play in and so on. Then, around 6:30, I idly opened the remote AH to check my auctions, forgetting I can’t do that when the servers are down, except the servers weren’t down and I’d made 33g 52s on auctions.

Back up the stairs we went to log in. I rolled a baby undead hunter and gleefully watched the totally new opening narration for it and exulted in every single difference I found. I didn’t know where anything was, I couldn’t find the quest givers, I was an undead hunter. It was new! Everything! All of it!


And then, fifteen blissful minutes later, I had to log off and log onto my warrior (not even the one who gets to push Rend) for our regular guild 5-man dungeon-run. Of Northrend dungeons. Which I have run a hundred thousand times and see in my sleep. And have absolutely nothing new about them as a result of this patch.

Insert the sound of me chafing and banging my head on my keyboard and biting at the chomp.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy those runs and that group, but there was new stuff out there! And it wasn’t to be found on my 700th run of DTK! /cry

But I did manage some time running around and gawking at Orgrimmar. Cue OCD-raging at Garrosh because he’s standing where my bank is supposed to be, and running in circles around the new zep tower and flight master unable to find my way down.

Did you know there are flight masters now at all the little towns and quest hubs? Holy shit. I don’t know why this wows me as much as it does, but it does, it so does. I right-clicked the new FM in Razor Hill, got the “You have discovered a new flight path!” message, and just stared at him in awe for a moment.

After our dungeon runs were done, I logged onto my little 40ish hunter and – after consulting a vastly different Zones By Level list than I’m used to – ran down to the Bulwark and into the Plaguelands. Which have, you know, farms and shit – like actual farms where they grow things that are not the Plague. And like…living bears. And foxes and flowers and grass! And Koltira is there and he’s all emo and I guess that’s not really new, but he’s in the Plaguelands now! And they’re not level 60! And Andorhal didn’t chew me up and spit me out! And I tamed a Mastiff! And I looted like three hundred Blindweed which isn’t new but it kind of is because they didn’t used to grow there! And ALL THE QUESTS WERE DIFFERENT! And when you click on a quest in your log it shows you a picture of the person you’re supposed to kill! AND I KILLED THE RAVENIAN FOR THE TWELVE HUNDRETH TIME ONLY THIS TIME HE WAS IN A TOWER IN ANDORHAL INSTEAD OF IN SCHOLO!

The whole damn zone is basically a level bracket below mine (I’m supposed to be in EPL, not WPL) but I just couldn’t bring myself to leave even though the gear was all crappy for me BECAUSE IT WAS NEW and there were chain quests I’d never done before and I was actually READING MY QUEST LOG. What if there were quest chains that spilled over into the EPL?! How could I start the EPL when I didn’t know what happened in the WPL?! I actually DIDN’T KNOW what happened in the WPL!

Apologies for the rampant abuse of CAPS, but I think I may actually be getting excited about WoW again. From a mere forty-five minutes worth of play in a single zone on a character that is far from my favourite.

Fuck raiding. Fuck heroics. Fuck Northrend and Outland*.

Oh Azeroth! I’m home!

*With apologies to Northrend and Outland, both of whom gave me many, many, many hours of joy – probably more joy than angst, whatever else I may say – up until they got as stale as Elwynn.


Specced for Angst

On the day I decided I wanted Justicar, I was specced prot (naturally). Unfortunately, I was labouring under a misunderstanding about the nature of PvP – I believed it to be entirely about the “deeps,” because, after all, isn’t that what PvP is? Deeps deeps and more deeps?

So, after doing a couple WSGs to test the water and my own resolve, I decided to suck it up and do this thing right. No matter how much it pained me, I would respec into something deeps related, and take all those PvP talents I’ve always ignored. I went to my trainer, head down and shamefaced, and requested a respec. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry a little when all my talents went back into their pool, and I switched away from the protection tab.

I decided I would go Fury because waaaaay back when I rolled my first baby warrior, I was fury, and on my level 80 main (who used to be my first baby warrior), Fury is her sadly neglected off-spec. Also because I have been severely obsessed with dual-wielding since I was introduced to Leonardo the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, with whom I have been madly, deeply in love my entire life.

My hunters dual-wield. My shamans dual-wield. My DKs dual-wield. My warriors, when they are not sword-and-boarding, dual-wield. It has absolutely nothing to do with the validity of the spec or whether it’s better than something else at what it’s supposed to do.

So, in the interests of Doing This Thing Right, before I started plunking my points down willy-nilly, I hit Google to look it up and oh my God, people are not friendly to Fury in PvP, are they? Forum thread after forum thread of people spewing bile at anyone daring to ask for spec recommendations for Fury in PvP, even after that person had explained that they know it’s sub-par, but it suits their play style, and that’s what they want to do.

And I thought raiders were picky.

Now, I fully support everyone playing the game however they want and fuck the forums, but there was a moment when I wavered and almost went Arms. They were just so…adamant that Fury had no place in PvP, and I really, honestly did want to Do This Thing Right, and I wanted to contribute, and I didn’t want to be that total noob bringing everyone down and making us lose the battleground.

But, in the end, two things kept me from going Arms – solidarity with my fellow it’s-my-game-I’ll-play-how-I-want brothers, and a lifelong crush on a bipedal mutated sea creature, who also happens to be a ninja.

Fuck the forums, I went Fury.

I settled on an interim spec and went back into the BGs, but for reasons I couldn’t entirely fathom, it wasn’t as fun as it had been the first couple times. I stuck with it for a whole two hours (so…4ish crushing losses and no rep), but I couldn’t take it. I died so easy. The rotation was escaping me, and as with anything at low levels, there’s no help to try to figure out what your rotation should be when you don’t have any fancy level 80 buttons and procs to work in. Then the crank started to kick in, and I went back to Google to figure out what I was doing wrong.

The answer was so simple it was mind blowing.

The problem wasn’t that I was Fury. The problem was that I wasn’t prot.

There, on the first forum thread I’d looked at, was my answer. “fruy sux do arm sor prto”

Out of the mouths of douchebags.

It had never once occurred to me that prot was a valid PvP spec. Not even after that funny little patch where Blizzard nerfed Prot warriors because they were “doing too much damage in PvP” and we all kind of laughed and looked at each other and wondered what the PvP warriors were doing differently than the PvE warriors given that I can’t generally DPS my way out of a paper bag.

I can haz respec, NAO!

First though, I tested it out. I loaded up my level 80 prot warrior and popped her T10-wearing-ass into the WSG queue. More on this later, but suffice it to say yes. Yes prot is totally viable in PvP. Unequivocally.

Clutching my precious, precious talents once more to my chest I flipped back to the only tab I should ever look at and began to pop them back into place using the Talent Preview option. It was actually kind of fun to resist the urge to instinctively put them where I always do. For the first time in a long time I sat down and carefully read each talent and re-considered its purpose in light of the different game I intended to play. Suddenly talents I have always turned my nose up at became not only viable, but integral. Improved Disarm, for example. Others that I wouldn’t have been caught dead without – Vigilance – were suddenly kind of lacklustre.

I lay them down where I thought they should go and double-checked my logic against a generally recommended spec. Things seemed to be in order, so I hit learn, and watched, with no small amount of relief and glee, the sudden insurge of yellow text announcing all my favourite abilities were once again back in my spell book where they belonged.

Someday, Fury, I will give you the time and attention you so richly deserve, but my shield remains my security blanket, and I refuse to go far without it.

Mobile Gnome

Did you know that nobody links the metres in PvP? I had gone probably five whole BGs before I realized it. At best somebody might crow if they top the “Damage Done” in the BG Summary at the very end, but even then not often.

In part, I suppose, the metres probably can’t track everything going on, given that me and half my party can be an entire map away from each other. And even the damage done at the end is not really an accurate measurement of what you did. If I stayed on defence the entire time (as I usually do) I could have very little damage done if the Horde never tries for the flag, or if they try for it with a massive army and I die before I can do much more than cry out in alarm.

It’s refreshing, in a way. The DPS in a raid are so tightly chained to the metres and what they say that sometimes I wish I could institute a No Recount policy, where everybody shuts it off or hides it and doesn’t look at it. Then maybe we could all focus on something else. Like, I don’t know, the fight or something.

The idea that damage is the most important thing in PvP appears to be a myth – at least at this point. Obviously damage is important and the more you can dish out the faster you kill things, and the faster you kill things the longer you live, the more you win, etc.. But it’s not the only thing, and I really don’t think it’s the most important thing. Know what matters more?

Mobility. And the ability to hamper the mobility of others.

I’m telling you. When I loaded into WSG on my 80 Gnome warrior it was music. Warbringer + 3 different charges (two on enemies, one on allies) + Concussion blow + Hamstring…shit couldn’t get away from me. When I’d tried at lower levels as fury, I could charge once, if I wasn’t in combat, hamstring them – if I didn’t miss – and as soon as the hamstring was off they were gone again. I swear to God I feel like I’m the only class in the game without some kind of speed-up mechanic. I could do nothing but stare at a rogue’s ass as he tore away from me with Sprint. And staring at rogue-ass isn’t usually that onerous a task, depending on the rogue, but you honestly just hate the fuckers so much in that moment that it takes all the joy out of it entirely.

Shortly thereafter their fucking poisons and bleeds will kill you. It’s cool, though. They’re waiting for you at the graveyard.

On my 80, fully specced and (admittedly) geared, I could charge and concussion blow, and when that came off and they stunned me and tried to sprint, I could push the yellow-button-with-a-foot-on-it-that-undoes-snares-if-you’re-a-gnome and then intercept them and fuck them up some more. And by the time they were ditching again charge would probably be off cooldown.

If I had the flag, I could leapfrog all the way home, charging a tauren coming at me, then intervening to one of my allies up ahead, then intercepting up to a rogue waiting for me at the tunnel.

This is all completely situational of course, and sometimes it works out cleanly and other times it doesn’t, but the potential, in that moment, was limitless to my mind.

And I couldn’t help it – every time I shattered a Tauren’s kneecap with Shield Slam, I thought of every big-ass-cow I’d ever seen named after the various ways to commit violence to gnomes, and felt absolutely vindicated on behalf of my people.

Not punting anything now, are you Gnomkilr?!

A Different Kind of Prot

Doing that one BG on my 80 confirmed for me that I never should have switched specs. I understand Prot. I know its rhythm. I understand the cadence of its priority list and cooldowns, I can recognize the cues with my eyes closed, I can apply every tool in its box to a given situation without having to completely relearn what I’m doing. Raiding may be different than PvPing in just about every conceivable way, but it’s ingrained certain reactions and all of my keybindings into my brain in a very permanent fashion.

Plus, it’s been nothing short of giddy glee to suddenly discover dusty old buttons I haven’t pushed in years – icons I’d grown blind to over the levels due to their near complete lack of usefulness in PvE.

Disarm. I have pushed this button here and there, from time to time, only if required, or I’m bored, and only if it’s been pointed out to me I can do it. I use it so infrequently in PvE simply because it works on almost nothing. I didn’t even think of it in PvP until the Horde was assigned the same five rogues in two consecutive battlegrounds. They roamed the map in a pack, stealthed and ready to sap. There would be lines of alliance fighters, laid out in a row, all sapped, one after the other, as they tried to cross the field.

Anyway, I wound up spending an entire fight disarmed, as fucking rogues popped into and out of existence again. There was a certain RP satisfaction to picturing my baby warrior (unfortunately not a gnome) sucker punching the fuckers as they destealthed long enough to stab me and put a bunch of bleeds on me before disappearing again. But RP satisfaction is where it ended.

The one good thing that came out of that is that I was disarmed long enough to grow cognizant of the fact that I had been disarmed and to remember, in turn, that I could do that too. Now, out of pure spite, I will disarm every rogue I cross blades with.

But it will never take away the shame of getting into and losing a fist fight with five invisible men.

Hamstring. In PvE? I just. Don’t. Bother. For one thing, I’m tanking, so I’m not even in the right stance to use it. For another, when would I need to? Again, there just aren’t that many situations where it’s required, and another class can do it faster and easier than me.

In PvP? It’s the second thing I put on them (please see the previous paragraph about sprint).

I’ve finally learned to stance-dance properly. Start in Battle so I can charge (until I get Warbringer, anyway), drop a concussion blow and a hamstring, then switch to Defensive and start bludgeoning their skull with my shield. Switch back to Battle as they try to run to charge them again.

I almost feel like, as I gain levels and more talent points and abilities and other goodies, I can unlock a whole side to Prot I’ve never seen before. In the absence of the need to stand in one place and generate threat, I’ve picked up a whole new host of abilities that are the exact opposite of standing in one place. I can dart here and there around a playing field – something I always enjoyed in the few encounters as tank where I’d get to do so – interrupting and silencing and stunning as necessary.

Instead of being the heavily armoured thing standing between my part and the Big Nasty that wants to smash them, I am the heavily armoured thing that is chasing you down to wring bloody justice from your corpse.

I’ve gone from Implacable to Inevitable.

From Immovable to Unstoppable.

I’m still protecting my allies. I’m still protecting the objective. But I’m doing it in a different way, with a different feel. It’s not a passive defence, it’s an active defence. Instead of sitting there and waiting for them to come to me and just taking it, I am actively hunting them down, chasing them down, seeking them out and, ultimately, making them pay (for…taking our flag. But that’s another post).

I have become a Justicar in truth*.

Only 124,000 more rep, and I’ll be one in title.

*Using the D&D sense of the word, which is what I’m assuming Blizz is going for…more like a cop than a judge.

You guys what to know what (one of) my pet peeve(s) is?

People who take credit for other people’s success/ability/skill. Especially when, in doing so, they negate any role that person may have played in their own good fortune.

The two things that tend to specifically happen to me along these lines are:

  1. Misdirect; and
  2. Tricks of the Trade

For those who don’t tank/rogue/hunter, what those abilities do is transfer 100% of the threat generated by the rogue/hunter to the person who has the buff (always, always, always the tank. They can put it on someone else, but if they do it’s a swift, hard, kick from the party unless they’re pretty damn quick on their “Sorry! Sorry! Misclicked!” macro).

These buffs are short duration buffs with reasonable cooldowns (not sure how long. Probably somewhere from 1-3 minutes). Generally the rogue/hunter will use them on the initial pull, allowing them to go hog wild on the mob’s backside without fear of reprisal, and giving the tank an immediate boost to threat right off the bat.*

What seems to happen in the heads of the rogues and hunters I play with, is that I absolutely, 100% need to have Misdirect or Tricks of the Trade up, or I can’t tank. Like, the world ends, and I just won’t have enough threat, and the boss is going to run rampant through the line of clothies. All of a sudden the entirety of my tanking is solely creditable to them.

They have many different ways of saying this – of taking credit for someone else’s work/skill:

  1. lololol this plce is cak wth tot
  2. I’ll put Misdirect on the tank so they don’t lose the boss on the initial pull.
  3. MD makes tanking easy
  4. Here, let me give you Tricks. It’ll help your threat.

Let me be clear. These two abilities are very clever little things, that serve a variety of purposes. Also, when you’re tank, any threat is good threat, and it’s a case of literally the more the merrier. I’m always happy to take an MD or a ToT from someone because more distance between me and the DPS is great – and more specifically, since I seem to have more trouble with rogues and hunters than any other DPS class (it’s up to you to redeem the rogues, Sam – no pressure), I’m glad there’s a temporary buff that keeps them from getting themselves killed by wailing on shit before they’re supposed to (and don’t let them fool you – they’ll do it whether or not ToT or MD is up, and I’m telling you right now they have no idea where their Feint/Vanish/Disengage/Feign Death button is). And, to be bluntly honest, tanks who are new, or still rough around the edges, will benefit immensely from it.

But the line that I’m drawing here is that whatever benefit those two abilities provide to me is a bonus – not the actual purpose of the buff. The actual purpose of the buff isn’t to increase my threat generation (because how many times do I have to tank for you assholes to prove I don’t need the help), but to lower theirs. It’s a piece of candy that means they can start DPSing right away instead of having to wait for the tank to establish aggro. And I swear to God, it takes me no time at all to establish aggro – at least not on either the warrior or the paladin.

In the two seconds it takes me to pull on the pally, I’ve thrown an Avenger’s Shield to start, then run in and bashed their heads in with SoR or HoR and dropped a consecrate. No, seriously, go to town (intelligently). I’m good. I’ve got them. With or without your threat-transfer.

In the 1.5 seconds it takes me to pull on my warrior I’ve down a Heroic Throw, charge, and a fucking Shield Bash (and probably a Heroic Strike) to their face and now I’m happily spamming my priority list. No, seriously, look at Omen. Boss isn’t going nowhere. I’ve got plenty of time between that initial pull and the DPS really ramping up to well and truly establish myself. And I don’t need a threat-transfer to do it.

Don’t throw in little comments after the fight about how much threat you gave me and how much easier it made everything.

You want to know the honest to God truth?

I didn’t notice a difference. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. I was a little higher on Omen right off the bat, and you took a little longer to get your trigger-happy ass creeping up the threat bars, that’s all. These are good, solid, benefits that have good, solid consequences, and I’m glad they’re there.

But I wouldn’t have lost the boss if I didn’t have them.

And I most certainly don’t need them to establish aggro or tank.

If I did a good job tanking, I did a good job tanking – not you. Not you for me. Not you as a pillar of my tanking strategy, without which all of the skill and practice and experience I’ve built up over the last half a freaking decade falls to ash and I am become little more than a shitty DPS.

ToT and MD don’t allow me to tank – they allow you to DPS more freely and more quickly. They increase your DPS. That’s what they’re for. They’re not for making sure I don’t lose the boss, because I can do that without your help, and I don’t appreciate you distilling my efforts down and claiming that you pushing a single button is the reason I’m able to do my job.

And this attitude shows itself in other places. I rant about MD and ToT because they’re a sore spot and I’m constantly bashing my head against them. But it happens a lot on the DPS side, too.

A couple nights ago layteknight was in a raid on her AFF Lock, and there was a Destro Lock in the party. Naturally, she was riding high on the DPS metres, sitting pretty in the number one spot. Now, of course no one links the DPS metres unless they’re at the top, and layte’s not the type of person who feels the need to link them to prove she’s awesome. She knows she’s awesome, and honestly, she knows all the other DPS have Recount too. They can see who’s at the top.

That’s why they’re not linking the metres, after all.

So SaveTheFails, being SaveTheFails, links them on her behalf, since it pisses us off that people will link them at the end of every boss fight if they’re at the top, but otherwise “forget” to – so any bullshit about using the metres to improve their DPS or analyze anything is just that – bullshit. It’s a means of waving around various masculine body parts in an attempt to…I don’t know. Alpha male the room or something?

And oh my God, as Recount spams the chat window the excuses start flying. “It’s because I was on the adds.” “This raid favours locks.” “I just changed specs so I’m still rusty.” And so on and so forth ad nauseum.

Never does anyone say, “hey, nice job, layte. Killer DPS, grats on topping” because…they’re asshats, I guess. Anyway, through all this prattle, the Destro lock pops up with:

“You’re welcome.”

As though he is solely responsible for her DPS. I guess he’d been throwing Curse of Elements around on the mobs during the raid, and somehow this one buff – that provides as much benefit (if not more) to him and the mages/shaman as to layte – is the only reason she topped the metres.

Nevermind that she’s good at what she does.

Nevermind that she plays the most difficult spec in probably the whole game and plays it flawlessly.

Nevermind that she spends obscene amounts of time trying to optimize her gear and spec and rotation.

Nevermind that the buff in question applies to all casters equally and therefore even without it, they all would have been sitting in the same position relative to each other anyway, and layte still would have been at the top.

He pressed one button, one time. He did it to increase his own DPS, and if the raid’s damage went up overall, hey. That’s a bonus!

But because of that one button, all of layte’s work and skill and knowledge gets distilled down and he takes credit for the whole shebang. With two little words.

Not “Grats, layte!”

But “You’re welcome.”

How about next time I’m in a raid, I take credit for all the melee DPS’ damage. After all, I’m dropping sunders like candy as part of my button smashing. Obviously that single buff is the only reason they’re doing as well as they’re doing, right?

Oh, and hey. While I’m at it, I dropped a Feast at the start of the fight. Shit, that benefits casters too, doesn’t it? So all of their DPS is obviously mine as well. They’d never be able to do that much if it weren’t for the buff I gave them.

Healers too. That Feast buff is powerful, man. Full credit to me for their epic heals. 35 spell power is a lot, man. A lot. Plus, I mean, if it weren’t for Demo shout they’d never be able to heal through the bosses damage. It’s critical, man. They’d better be grateful I’m here or they’d never be able to do anything.

All you bitches had better be grateful, man. I’m carrying this raid. If it weren’t for me, you’d be nothing. You couldn’t even raid. You need my sunders and my feasts and my thunderclap and Demo shout. If you didn’t have me, you’d never be able to do anything. Everybody knows that your knowledge of your class and your skill and your reaction time mean jack in the face of my buff to your AP, SP, and STA.

Fear my Feasts, you noobs! Without them you are nothing.


*UPDATE FOR CLARIFICATION: Samuel Tempus has written a response and clarification of the way Tricks of the Trade actually works (and I believe it’s described in the comments as well). I should have equipped the post with a disclaimer – I am not a rogue. He actually is. I’m willing to bet he knows more about it than me (but don’t tell him I said so). It’s apparently a more useful ability than I gave it credit for, and I’m intrigued by the idea of trading it with another rogue – very clever tactic. But I maintain that I don’t need it to tank. ^^

So. Healing.


At first I was excited, you know? My pally’s had a Holy off-spec for ages and ages and ages (totally copied SaveTheFails’, right down to his glyphs…I’m cheap like that, and healing is a frightening prospect for me. I wanted the comforting security blanket of mimicking someone who knows better). I was like, hey! layteknight has a shiny new tank, I’ve got this never used “healer”. Let’s, you know, do stuff.

So I shelved the shaman for the night and pulled up my raiding tank and turned him into a heroics healer. Not bad, I told myself. 3300 gearscore, better than I expected. But I had been rolling off-spec in Naxx/ULD way back when, and the rep gear is actually decent to start from. Nothing’s really gemmed or enchanted, but whatever. Good enough for heroics.

Sign us up whenever you’re ready, says I, swaggering around Dalaran in my cute little healing set, flashing my spell power around like I understand what it means. I am ready to heal.

Can’t be that much different than tanking, right? It’s like the flip-side of the protection coin, that’s all. We’re both doing the same thing in the end – keeping everyone alive. Easy peasey, shampoo squeezy.

Boom. Loading Screen. Gundrak.

Sudden influx of fear. Wait, Gundrak? Isn’t that like…high level or something? Couldn’t we have started with UK? Wait, maybe we should have done a normal first. Wait, am I supposed to use Sacred Shield? I Beacon the Tank right? Spam Flash of Light? That’s it, right? Just click on the little green bars on Healbot?

No. I got this. I totally got this. I’m good.

I’m awesome.

I can totally do this.

Step 1 – Beacon of Light on me, because I figure – with all my healing prowess – that I’m never not going to be healing the tank, right? It’s heroics. People don’t take damage in heroics. So this way if I take damage I don’t need to worry about it.
Step 2 – There are some snakes.
Step 3 – There is a snake boss.
Step 4 – Everyone is taking damage all day all the time.
Step 5 – Waste precious time trying to heal a Phase-shfited Imp because I thought it was a person.
Step 6 – Hunter in nova, but healing him would mean letting the tank die because for some reason I thought it was a good idea to put Beacon on ME.
Step 7 – Hunter dies.
Step 8 – 60000000000 snakes on me, but I can’t remember whether I’m supposed to consecrate them or not. My brain wants to tank them. It wants to tank them so bad. They’re on the warlock! They’re on the warlock!
Step 9 – Warlock dies while I try to remember how to heal in the sudden inrush of tanking instincts and panic at being unable to find Righteous Defence which I’m totally not supposed to be touching anyway.
Step 10 – Overgeared Shaman kills the boss without anymore party member deaths.
Step 11 – Find the hunter’s body to rez just as he reenters the instance.
Step 12 – Find the warlock’s body to rez just as she reenters the instance.
Step 13 – Overgeared hunter pulls next group with misdirect before I’m anywhere nearby. Patrolling snakes join in the fun.
Step 14 – Realize that Beacon of Light apparently has a really short duration. Completely unable to locate it on Healbot. Don’t know what the icon looks like by sight (and all pally icons look the same anyway).
Step 15 – Hunter dies. Warlock dies. Overgeared shaman kills the pat.
Step 16 – Get asked, in a nice way, whether I’m new to 80. Friendly advice to put Beacon on the tank.
Step 17 – Text SaveTheFails to cry about how I suck at healing.

So…that’s what? Four pulls in, including the first boss, and I had four deaths. Now, to be clear, I have no intentions of taking full responsibility for them. The DPS were largely overgeared and not watching their threat. The hunter pulled FOR the tank (a curse upon him!) before she or I were ready. Yadda, yadda, yadda, typical bullshit.

But the fact of the matter is, I should have been able to keep them alive anyway, and I failed. Epically.

I think I sulked for a good hour afterward, even though people stopped dying and I eventually located Beacon of Light on Healbot (why the fuck did I put it there?).

Oh, did I mention I had fucking Fire Resistance Aura on and neglected to buff anyone until halfway through? That’s not even healer fail, that’s pally fail.

SaveTheFails very patiently texted me back, reminded me I’m not going to get it on the first try, let alone the first pull, told me to keep Beacon and Sacred Shield up on the tank at all times. Spam Flash of Light constantly, and throw out a Holy Shock if you’re having trouble keeping up with damage.

Part of my problem was that we were PuGging. Had it been a guild group I wouldn’t have cared so much. I’d’ve epic failed just as hard, but we could have laughed it off and moved on. I feel a strange sense of responsibility to not fail with strangers though. They didn’t sign up to have to bear with me as I try to find my spells or learn, on the spot, how to prioritize my healing targets. Which is a topic for another post, I think, because why is it okay for me to get my guildies killed over and over again, but not complete strangers who are generally behaving like idiots anyway? These people deserve whatever death my unskilled hands can give them.

Moorabi drops my Shaman’s fist weapon just to spite me.


So we finish Gundrak, I teleport out to Dalaran, and spend a few moments huddling in a corner of the bank coddling my wounded pride.

I let people die. I who has incorporated a short-form for Protection in my alias. I who has built a Warcraft career on not letting people die. I who judges a fight by how clean and efficient the kills, and how healthy and hale the murderers.

I let people die.

I am a bad player. I am a bad healer. I am once again Fail made manifest and given flesh to roam the world and wipe the innocent.

Healing is not like tanking. Healing is not like tanking at all. Healing isn’t the opposite side of the protection coin, it’s a different fucking coin, in a different fucking currency, from the opposite side of the world.

You want to know why most good tanks tend to be anal and uppity? Why they throw hissy fits if you pull for them and don’t follow the kill order? Because tanking is about control. In order to be a good tank, you have to control the fight. You control the timing, you control the mobs, you control positioning. You have to control the environment, and to some extent your party. You have to control what mobs they’re on, or you can’t tank. You have to control where everyone is standing or things get difficult. You have to maintain control of the situation, or it becomes incredibly hard to get things back on track.

I’m used to pulling. I’m used to charging. I’m used to setting the pace, going at my speed, and indicating what mobs are to be killed when. I’m used to enforcing the positioning rules with an iron fucking fist. People can ignore me, but they do so at their own peril. The rules are there for a reason, the kill order is established for a reason. Chaos means people die. Order means they live. It’s at least partly the tank’s job (almost entirely the tank’s job in Heroics) to impose Order on the run, otherwise it becomes impossible to do their job.

I’m used to having control.

Last night I didn’t control anything. Not a single piece of that fight was mine to affect. The tank handled most of it, the DPS took some of it away from her, and I could do nothing to affect the outcome except shriek and sob and thrash in panic as I tried my best to spam Flash of Light and keep Beacon and Shield up on the tank. I didn’t even have time to type anything in the chat. I couldn’t have yelled at them if I wanted to (and I did).

I could preempt nothing. I could change nothing. I could do nothing but react to the little squares on Healbot lighting up at inopportune times.

I spent the next instance mourning my loss of control, ability to impose order, and sanity (and fucking Lavanthor dropped my fucking Shaman’s boots just to spite me).

I was miserable. I was having fantasies about sending every healer I know a thank you card and begging them on bended knee to never, ever, ever, ever stop healing or force me to do it. I was, and remain, in awe of the required reaction times and instinct required for healing. I didn’t know, I swear to God. I knew it was harder than it looked, but I had no fucking idea. And those of you who can actually decurse, and buff, and all the rest of it between heals? What are you people, robots? Every time I tried to slap Hand of Salvation on an overgeared, undersmart rogue (oh rogues, how I love you) the warlock would dip dangerously close to dying.

It wasn’t until the last instance of the night that I actually stumbled on some kind of groove. One guy was sitting on a 5K gearscore, but everyone else was in the 3-4K range. Ironically, these “undergeared” people were a million times easier to heal – I assume because the threat of death is much more real to them. As SaveTheFails pointed out later, fear helps.

I had time on this run to engrave my keybindings into my head. Left Click Flash of Light. Shift+Right Click Beacon. Middle click Shield. Shift+Left click Holy Shock.

I had time to figure out how to cleanse between heals. I had time to find Hand of Protection on healbot (naturally, no one in THIS group needed it). It was still hard, but it wasn’t so frantic. Not so hectic. I had time to THINK, which, for me, is integral to actually LEARNING anything.

If not for that last group I would have probably been incredibly reluctant to ever heal again. Partly due to my own unrealistic expectations of myself, but partly due to the fact that it just wasn’t fun. It was worse than tanking.

But in a good group it changed, as most things usually do. Once I had time to understand what was happening and could actually think and decide how best to react to it, I started enjoying myself more. I began to understand the synergies between spells, what spells cause what buffs which means I now need to cast which spell. I had time to start building a flow chart in my head for the role.

I would be willing to heal again, I think.

As a parting note, in that last group, after we dropped Keristraza (who, in turn, dropped my fucking Shaman’s fucking trinket just to fucking spite me) one of the party members said: “thanks for the group, guys – great tanking and healing.”

You have no idea how much that one simple compliment meant to me. Maybe he was just being polite, but it made the whole escapade worth it. Up until that run I had been doing and feeling like shit, plain and simple. That little bit of positive reinforcement is one of the big reasons I have not given up on healing entirely after the stress-bath that was the first few runs.

It’s never going to replace tanking as my preferred role, but it’s something I could probably do from time to time for a bit of a change of perspective. The backline is a strange, foreign place to me. A lot more happens back there than I realized.

And to every fucker who ever told me healing was easy and healing heroics a cake walk – die in a fucking fire (couldn’t save you if I wanted to).

…and my boss said: “play around with it and figure out how it works.”

So…I did!

As I was hoping to, I ran a string of LFG heroics yesterday on my shiny new DK tank.  I took SaveTheFails with me as my healer and Protflashes as one of 3 DPS.  Despite the horror story Prot felt the need to relate to you, it was actually a positive experience overall.

For ye experienced Blood tanks out there, some questions:

  1. I hear you can do a double Blood Boil when you open up on multiple targets.  Problem is, I don’t seem to have the runes available to do that after I throw down D&D/diseases/Pestilence — I usually have to immediately blow Blood Tap in order to get the runes back to do one (not two!) Blood Boil.  Which seems…wrong, I guess.  Thoughts? 
  2. Is Blood Tap a ‘Oh shit!’ button for you, or do you use it regularly?  What do you use it for?
  3. What do you do if a party member pulls an extra group and your D&D is unavailable?  After taunting one mob and using Death Grip to grab another, the only option available to me short of blowing something like Empower Rune Weapon seems to be to use straight up melee to get the new mobs’ attention…  Is that right?
  4. Where gear is concerned, how much T9 are you wearing, and what Emblem of Triumph gear did you buy?  I’m sure buying full T9 isn’t worth it.

They say Blood is weaker on AoE threat than Frost and that’s probably true, but whatever — I want to play Blood.  The only thing that drives me nuts is how many GCDs you need to get through in order to set up threat on a group of mobs…  I suffer a small heart attack every time the DPS starts AOEing  halfway through me laying down diseases.  That’s the sort of thing that would cause me to hover over the Empower Rune Weapon/Blood Tap abilities and seriously consider wasting their CDs right then and there just so I get can a couple Blood Boils in before things get out of control. 

Threat gen on single targets seemed fine, though — even VS substantially better-geared DPS (which is not hard: I’m taking with a green weapon, for God’s sake).  That was cake.  Too bad the days of single-target DPS are long gone, and the only thing that matters now is AoE…*sigh*.

Despite that, I will not be so easily discouraged.  I specced into Corpse Explosion to ease the burden, and I have to say it’s been pretty handy!  It just doesn’t help build initial threat.  If I’m to be really, truly honest with myself, though…I specced into CE in part for flavor and in part for nostalgic reasons, so I’ll have to review how practical it really is once I’m more familiar with all my abilities.

Now.  All that being said, in the vast majority of cases where the DPS weren’t deliberately being asses, I was able to hold aggro on mob groups without issue.  I installed the Tidy Plates > Threat Plates mod to get a better view of what I have threat on VS what I don’t, and, from what I could tell when it was toggled on, everything seemed alright.  So that’s good news!

Doing heroics from the tank’s perspective was both reasonably familiar and oddly alien.  It occurred to me only partly through UK that I should be turning the dragons away from the party when I run in & engage.  Hehe…yeah.  The idea of turning the mobs around such that I am facing the party and the mobs are facing me is the weirdest thing.  As DPS, you just don’t care about that stuff (most of the time, anyway).  I also realize that I need to learn how to do certain pulls.

Luckily, despite having seen many PuGs commit all manner of tank-enraging atrocities, I didn’t get that many bad party members.  Most people were dead quiet (I can never quite decide if I like that, or if it annoys me), but fairly well-behaved.  I got zero negative comments about skill-related stuff, and I think that’s why I came away with such a positive outlook on the experience in the end.  That, and the fact that I haven’t been tanking nearly long enough to have invested any real pride in it, so I’m unlikely to get super-pissed or overly stressed beyond the usual noob-tank performance anxiety (which, BTW, has disappeared almost entirely).

I did, however, get a winner of a whisper from a Ret pally that told me that I shouldn’t be tanking ‘without Frost’.  I asked him what he meant by ‘Frost’ and quickly checked to make sure I was in Frost Presence (and I was, haha!), and his reply was something like: “frost pres, spec gear armor and u shouldnt be using a 2h”.  Very nice, LoL.  I thanked him for the advice and asked him to let me know if he detects any issues during the run.  The guy was below me on DPS and never came anywhere near me on threat…so I dunno.  Kinda hard to get upset at stuff like that!  Only other comment was the dodgy one from the pally (what is it with these pallies?  Do all the catty ones come out on Saturdays?) in VH that Prot posted about earlier.  Again — the comment was gear-related, so it didn’t really put me off.  

It was tons of fun overall, and I’m absolutely going to continue with it.  I netted a load of upgrades during our runs and even got my T9 gloves, as well as a new 245 sigil to replace my iLevel 70 one (yeah, I still had the one they give you in the DK starting area).  So I call that a win.

So layteknight’s trying her hand at DK tanking (she’ll post more on that later I’m sure). She’s freshly 80, and freshly geared for heroics (meaning mostly iLevel 187 blues and a few solid greens).

This post isn’t about that. It’s about how, as we were running some random heroics for gear and fun, I called someone a douchebag to their face for the first time ever today:

I was so mad. So unspeakably mad. It doesn’t matter that it’s technically true:

  1. How the Hell did the LFG system pair up a 5.9K gearscore paladin with a group ranging from 2-4K?
  2. Given her gear level, she probably won’t be able to tank for him, though I maintain that if he’s even a fraction as good as he seems to think he is, he could play it easy and not have TOO much trouble.

Nobody has the right to talk to another human being like they’re nothing. The condescension is uncalled for, rude, and unwelcome – on anyone. Layteknight kept saying: “It’s fine, it’s true, my gear’s shitty and he’s going to pull off me, whatever.” But it’s not about that – not for me, anyway. I’m a principles person – it’s the principle of the matter that matters to me, and the principle of the matter is he was being a rude piece of shit, and no amount of factual accuracy can justify that.

Maybe I’m oversensitive – Christ, I’d believe it. Maybe I’ve just been on the recieving end of this kind of attitude for too long. Maybe he didn’t mean it as shitty as it came out. But it sent me through the roof.

There are a million different ways he could have made those points. For instance, he could have said: “Shit. Sorry in advance if I pull off you – I’m overgeared for heroics, so it might be a bit rough.” Or even: “My gear’s really high level for this place and I’m probably going to do too much threat – did you want me to just tank it instead? :)”

But no. He has to ask a completely unnecessary rhetorical question, simply oozing with arrogance and disdain. And when layteknight confirmed it in a good natured fashion – while, I might add, telling me to calm down and not freak out and it didn’t matter – further suggest that he was just going to have to “ret tank” it because she’s obviously so shitty in comparison.

Do people not understand tone? Do they not understand how they sound when they speak? It’s so easy to put someone down or crush someone new to some aspect of the game. Layteknight’s not in danger of being crushed, but what if it was someone else? Someone newer to the game, with ZERO tanking experience, coming up against this attitude all the time? Bashing their heads off it constantly? I see it all the time and it’s to the point where I can’t stand the thought of letting it go, even though I recognize that may be wiser or easier or healthier for me in the long run.

It wasn’t necessary to summarily dismiss a person – a real person on the other end of the intertube – you’ve never met based entirely on your own opinion of how good you are.

Fucking. Douchebag.

I regret nothing.

So I continue to spaz out. We hit one of those pulls, on the left side of the instance, on the top level, where it’s a group of four and they split into two groups. Instead of waiting back with the tank like an intelligent DPS (gearscore or no), the pally rips up one side and decides to go without the lot of us because he’s just that uber. None of us are surprised. He’s been playing like a retard since he got in here.

We let him go. Layte runs over and gets the other half, the rest of the party follows her.

Mr. Douchebag6KGearscore decides that 50% health is just too low for him to tolerate, so he fucking bubbles and SaveTheFails picks up the aggro. Layteknight pulls the adds off him before he dies.

I start ranting out loud, and in whispers to Save, something along the lines of “Nice “ret-tanking” you fucking asshole” and how I wish, oh I wish, I could say it in Party Chat, when all of a sudden I see this:

And THAT is why SaveTheFails is my hero today.

Guys! You guys! Oh my God!

Okay, so long story short we had the best PUG ever last night (sure we only had to fill two DPS slots, but these guys were wicked!). I will talk more about that next week when I’m not typing up a post on my iPhone on a hurky-jerky bus (I can barely read what I’m writing except at stoplights). It’s actually a boring story outside the fact it never happens!

Anyway, as a result of this PUG, and the actual source of my excitement right now, I have learned a new way to tank hHoR (my least favourite, worst-performance instance on my warrior) – and it works! Mostly. I still hate the instance more than I hate bad PuGs, and with said bad PuG, no strategy in the world is going to get me through it. But with a good, or even moderate group it makes it so much easier.

I’m probably going to sound like a big tool for this, as I imagine you’ve all known about it for ages, but we didn’t (even our pugs had never done it, only heard about it). It comes down to this:

Fuck the alcoves. Fuck them hard.

Come in far enough that you’re not going to get locked out when the door shuts, then stay there. Backline hugs the door, melée wait with them until the mobs come, tank stands up front, at the edge of the room beyond.

All the Mage said was: “I’ve heard some warriors say they prefer to tank them here.”

And I went: “Oooooooooohhhh!” in an excited way, because benefits were obvious immediately. To me anyway. To the point where I couldn’t understand why we’d never tried it before.

  1. The tank can actually see the whole room and pinpoint mobs as they spawn. You’ve even got time, if you’re quick, to mark a priest or two.
  2. Everyone in the party can see. I’m not staring at a solid wall of ghost crotch, unable to see what the rifleman and Mage are doing and to whom, my nameplates are visible, and I can actually see if there’s bad on the floor. The ranged are able to actually select mobs to fire on.
  3. There’s space between party members and mobs. If there is bad on the floor, there’s room to move. CC (ha ha!) is less likely to be broken. I have room to move and charge and shockwave.
  4. You can still use the walls to LoS the mages if you need to (just hug them).

Seriously. It was the most manageable, least stressful time I’ve ever had in there. I still lost the odd mob, but was able to react instantly and get it back – something I can’t do in the alcoves. It made it almost okay. We were with an excellent group and I actually had fun.


In hHoR.

You don’t understand how impossible that statement is.

If you’ve tried this strat before, please let me know how it went for you. If you haven’t, give it a shot and THEN let me know. I’m so curious.

With my DK inching ever closer to 80, I’ve been doing some serious thinking.  I run a Blood/Unholy spec and have been levelling with extreme ease, and I always assumed I’d be DPSing my way into heroics & beyond…but, as I take a closer look at what the class has to offer, I realize that I’m no longer so sure DPSing’s what I want to do at 80.

I want to tank.  Yeah — for real.

I find the DK versatile overall, but for some reason it seems particularly attractive as a tanking class.  I’ve played a couple other tanking classes to varying degrees (pre-60 and past-70) and gave them thought to try to figure out what I like and don’t quite like about each; the conclusion I came to is that I like options.  I like having a good toolbox I can plunge my hand into when shit hits the fan.  I like knowing that I can react in a situationally appropriate manner. 

From what I can tell, I think the DK can do that.

But I’m not there yet.  I have a tanking ‘set’ (i.e. 3 greens and an old trinket, yay — PuGs are gonna ditch like mad when the random hooks them up with me!) saved up in my bank and am hungrily eyeing my XP bar as it climbs towards the-point-where-I-no-longer-have-to-log-in-an-inn, but I have no experience.  I’ll be surfing the net to find info in the next couple days, that’s for sure. 

Any folks who’ve DK tanked before have any spec suggestions, rotation ideas, or general advice to offer?  I’d love to hear it, as it’s all golden at this point!

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.”