Blogging Challenge Day 7: My Blog’s Name

Blogging Challenge Day 7! Over one third of the way through. Today’s topic is how my blog got its name. This one will be short and sweet, but look for more posts soon.

I batted around a number of ideas in my head, none of them good at all, until I put a call out on twitter. I believe it was a guildmate, Walks, who suggested going with a rogue ability. I got a few responses along those lines, but one that jumped out at me was from Kurn, over at Kurn’s Corner. Her suggestion was Tikari’s Tricks of the Trade. I liked it. Not only did it include a rogue ability, but it is a key ability (use on c/d!), and the alliteration is amazing. It also relates to one of the motivations for my blog: to share tips I’ve picked up while raiding as a rogue. So I ran with it, and here we are!

Farewell, 4.2

Sunday night, Apotheosis had what was likely our final Firelands raid instance as a group. I’m sure a few folks will go back in on alt runs or to finish up legendary staves, but our 25-man raiding group is done with the instance unless Blizzard pushes back a week. With that wrapping up, I’ve been thinking about 4.2, and everything that happened during our time in there.

From a kill perspective, we were fairly successful. There were certain bosses where our group weaknesses were magnified (HM Baleroc, I’m looking at you), but I think we kept a reasonable pace up through the patch, going 1/7 HM pre-nerf, and based on our progress on Rhyolith (to phase 2, with reasonable regularity), I think we would have been 2/7 the next week regardless. Post-nerf, we downed each new progression boss in one to two weeks, hitting 6/7 HM in early November. We took a look at Heroic Ragnaros, but based on horror stories out there and the time left before 4.3, we decided to push instead for Glory of the Firelands Raider. We had time to make two mount runs, securing Corrupted Fire Hawks for the majority of our raiding team. I think we could have gone through content a little more quickly, but I leave 4.2 feeling satisfied with what we completed.

From a personal perspective, this was a bit of a coming of age patch. Near the end of 4.1, I felt comfortable enough with the group to be more vocal during raid. That prepared me well for 4.2, and it was a good thing, because by the end, I was calling a number of things out for the raid. On Rhyolith, since our melee officer wasn’t able to attend our first progression attempt, our GM, Kurn, asked me to steer, calling the DPS targets. I was both excited and nervous. Excited because I like responsibility. I like to know the raid depends on me to do well, and I’m not being carried. Nervous, because of the flip side of that – my faults would be glaringly obvious, and my efforts would be subject to continuous critique. While we eventually worked out a good strategy for doing this, it was not a smooth road there. A number of wipes were directly my fault as I learned to compensate for the dynamic nature of the fight. I oversteered us, understeered us, didn’t make calls clearly enough… but I learned. One thing I tried to do from the beginning was listen. Our melee channel is usually vocal, but after a great number of attempts, I’d ask directly how the steering felt, how the calls were, and so on to get an idea of how I could improve my approach. The feedback there and on the forums was key to getting that kill.

Around the same time, Kurn approached me about the possibility of taking an officer position in the guild, and she asked what role I felt I could play if that did happen. Again, excitement and nervousness. I was absolutely excited about the thought. First, even being considered meant a great deal to me. Second, I liked the idea of having more of a voice in guild decisions (and getting to read the officer forums – I hate knowing there’s information I’m not privy to, even if it’s just pages of Kurn and Majik berating each other). The third reason ties in with my nervousness. I wanted to give back to the guild, but I had no clue how. I didn’t feel qualified to perform most of the typical jobs. Me write a performance review for non-rogue melee DPS? Oof. Two empty bag slots don’t make for a good lootmaster. So how could I help most? I pondered for a while, and then I remembered a Matticast episode where Kat explained her role as a morale officer in her guild. As I thought more, I realized that other guildies likely felt the same way I did – that sometimes their voice wasn’t heard. So I proposed the idea of a guild liaison, where I would be responsible for representing the opinions of the raiding non-officers in officer discussions. Kurn liked the idea, and after some discussions with the other officers, I was promoted.

Shortly after that, another of our officers privately announced his intentions to step down at the end of normal modes. It was disappointing to see him go (he’s a hell of a tank), and his absence left a noticeable void in the raid. But it was also an opportunity for me. Over the next few weeks, I started making more calls, and by the time we got to Heroic Baleroc where communication is even more important than usual, I was taking point on shard spawn calls and melee positioning. Looking back, I grew a lot as a player during this time.

One other major impact on my raiding experience this tier came from the social connections I made. Blizzcon happened during Firelands, and I met a bunch of wonderful people. It was great to meet other guildies and hang with them for the weekend. As a result, I started tweeting more often and blogging, and made friendships (or at least acquaintances) with many people around the globe.

Unfortunately, though, some of my better in-game relationships also came to an end. In addition to the tank officer I mentioned earlier, we lost a few other raiders whom I consider friends and good players. One of our officers, who has been tireless in helping the guild with thankless jobs, is stepping down as 4.2 comes to a close, and my 2’s arena partner has taken his main to greener raiding pastures. So it’s not all happy, but such is the nature of this game.

Overall, this tier was good to me, and I’ll look back on it fondly. I leave it feeling positive about things to come. For now, Darkmoon Faire, legendary daggers, and a faceoff against Deathwing loom. See you tomorrow, 4.3.

 

Your turn: What happened in-game or out-of-game that made a difference during 4.2? Did you enjoy your time in Firelands, or are you happy to be done with the place? I’d love to hear your take!

Blogging Challenge Day 6: My Desk

Day 6 of the 20 Days of Blogging Challenge is here! Today’s topic: my desk. My desk grows more cluttered during a raid night, so thinking ahead, I took this picture before raid started:

 

My Desk

My Desk

Going from left to right, I have the following on my desk:

1. Notepad and pen. On a number of fights, I’m responsible for DPS assignments, and I use this to work those out.

2. Amp that my headphones plug into.

3. Volume control for my external speakers.

4. Guinness. This is a vital ingredient to the raiding experience.

5. Logitech G13 Keypad. I don’t use this really. I’ve fought with so many controllers over the years and keep finding fault with all of them. Part of it is muscle memory, I think; I play casually on my laptop, so I don’t get much non-raiding time on this controller.

6. Speakers. I rarely use these, since when I raid or PvP, I’m on Mumble, using my headphones. Occasionally, I’ll turn these on to hear things when I’m in a different room, but it’s a bit of a pain so that’s rare.

7. iPod stand, I think. I don’t use this either. I should declutter my desk.

8. Monitor. I really love my monitor. It’s clear and crisp, has good color, and is just the right size (27″).

9. Logitech G19 Keyboard. The best feature of the keyboard is the LCD screen, which tells me when I get whispers or when a queue pops. If only I could get it to display a ready check.

10. Mouse. I admit, I rarely use the side buttons, but the mouse itself tracks well. Since I’m left-handed, finding a good gaming mouse has been a long and fruitless search. I’ve trained myself to use a mouse with my right hand, but it still doesn’t feel natural to me, especially for character movement.

11. Mousepad. I’m quite particular about mouse pads. I hate hate hate cloth ones that build up grime. This one has a great texture.

As I was writing this up, I noticed I don’t have many personal items on my desk. A lot of those are just out of view because I want to keep the space as conducive to gaming as possible. Maybe in a future blog post, I’ll share some of those kitschier items.

Blogging Challenge Day 5: My Favorite Items in WoW

Today’s 20 Days of Blogging Challenge topic is My Favorite Items in WoW. I have a large number of items I could talk about, but I’ll cover most of those when I get to what’s in my bags and bank later in the challenge. For now, I’ll discuss my top 3 (in reverse order):

 

3. Light of Elune. I picked this up while grinding out Loremaster. I’ve been known to carry it into particularly notable progression fights, hoping for that hero moment I can use it and save the day. Secretly, I hope I never get to, so I can keep it around.

 

2. Certificate of Thievery. The certificate contains the message, “The bearer of this certificate is entitled to the respect and regard that any first rate pilferer and thief deserves.” I don’t RP, but I like it from a “where my character has been” perspective. I’m glad I kept this around from my Vanilla days. Wish I had still my Thieves’ Tools.

 

1. Librarian’s Paper Cutter. “Favorite” may be a misnomer here, but this off-hand dagger and I go way back. Most folks who have been playing this game for a while have their story of bad luck drops. This is mine. For those of you unaware, this blue dagger was much better for Assassination rogues than items close to its item level because of its speed (1.3). The speed resulted in quicker deadly poison application, and that made up quickly for the lower DPS and stats it had. By no means was it the best OH dagger in Wrath, but it was by far the best BOE one, so I picked it up soon after hitting 80 on my rogue.

As I continued to gear up through PUG runs, frost badges, and the Auction House, I fairly quickly replaced all my blues with purples except this silly dagger. Meanwhile, I tried a number of things to try for an upgrade. I tried running ToC every week for the off-hand there. Unfortunately, most of my PUGs failed on beasts (seriously – DPS the snobolds, people), and the few that succeeded wiped on Jaraxxus. I ran ICC 5-mans enough times that I saw three other BoE epics drop in there, but never an Unsharpened Ice Razor. ICC OH daggers were too far in the instance for the PUGs I joined to get to (Putricide/Valithria Dreamwalker). Even when our guild group got to the point where I didn’t need to join PUGs and we could run ToC and ICC fairly successfully, I never saw a better OH drop.

At the same time, I got continual flak for having a blue dagger equipped. I’d usually get a few questions per PUG run about it, and I got kicked out of two groups before we pulled a mob because of “N00B BLUE WEP.” There were even questions about it on my application to my current guild. I eventually got the OH PvP weapon after they removed the rating restriction, and finally picked up a PvE OH dagger off Dreamwalker in my first run with Apotheosis. But I went through a lot with my trusty blue dagger, so it makes my list as my favorite item in WoW.

 

So those are my favorite items in-game. I have a lot more in my bags and bank, though, so check back on day 19 of the challenge!

Blogging Challenge Day 4: My Favorite Moments in WoW

As with all of these 20 day blogging challenge topics, I find it difficult to pick just one favorite moment, so I’ll write about two.

1. As I leveled up, each new zone I uncovered was like a whole new world to explore. I loved that feeling, and the one that stands out for me above the rest is the run from Menethil Harbor through the Wetlands, Loch Modan, and Dun Morogh to Ironforge. Making my way across that expanse as a low-level character, to find an amazing city at the end of the journey felt like an adventure, with great risk and great reward.

2. While not an in-game moment, one of my favorite moments involving WoW was attending Blizzcon and meeting many of my guildmates and other folks in person. I went on a bit of a whim, and wrapped up the weekend intent on returning next year. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t been before. A shout-out here to all the people I met at Blizzcon; you were fantastic.

I hope I experience plenty of amazing moments to challenge the two above. I’m confident I will.

Next up: Day 5: Favorite Items in Game