Saturday, December 29, 2007
On my way home tomorrow morning. I didn't have much time to write today, but perhaps I'll have something tomorrow evening to take place of this.
So think of this as a place-holder. I apologize for the delay.
Actually, I have an interesting idea... perhaps I'll flesh it out in my notebook on the plane flight back. Check up on me tomorrow!
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Before I say anything at all, let me say this. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope that each and every person out there has had a wonderful holiday, be it with friends, family, or even on your own. Know that no matter how many people surround you, with the spirit of the season in your heart and the thoughts of your loved ones, you are never alone.
Today, I have promised a post regarding Winter Veil. I thought long and hard how I wanted to talk about it. Did I want to compare and contrast Winter Veil with Christmas? Did I want to talk about how it is supposed to represent all winter holidays, though it clearly spoofs Christmas more than others? No, not really. It's been done, and no one's going to learn anything new.
Really, what I wanted to do was to start a discussion. Even if it's not about WoW, post your gamer Christmas (or other Holidays, of course) here. Let me know how you spent your day, or what you got for the Holidays. I'd like to know. And on Saturday, I'll reply with my own experiences.
I think I might squeak onto WoW tonight (Christmas Eve, I wrote this early), and squeak on sometime tomorrow... And send each and every one of the special people in my Guild something special for Winter Veil. I'd like to do more than just send gold, though... (I mean, no one really gives just money for Christmas, and giving a gift card is very impersonal too). If anyone has any good suggestions, I'd also appreciate those kinds of posts. =) After all, Winter Veil lasts through January 2nd. So even if you're too busy spending time with your family this Christmas and New Years, there's a little extra time to get something special in.
Happy Holidays, everyone. I look forward to hearing your stories. =)
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Well, with Christmas quite literally around the corner (and my next blog in fact falling on Christmas itself), I wanted to write some relatively Christmas-y things for the next couple. Helps me out a bit, especially since I'm now out of state with my family, and want to spend limited time on the internet (for instance, haven't played any WoW, and not really intending to log on unless I have absolutely nothing else to do while I'm here). So, next time I'll actually cover Winter Veil. For today, I want to talk about Guilds and the community that exists within WoW.
I have to say that the main reason I play an MMO is to get away from real life. I think that's the reason most people do. The best part, in my opinion, of any MMO is the community it breeds. Yes, occasionally that community sucks, but when you find a nice, warm, friendly one to make a home of, there's simply nothing in the world like it.
The guild I am in right now, Merciless, is currently my biggest online home. There are people who annoy me, sure, but there are people who are border-line my best friends. I've only been a member since early August, and only been an active raider for perhaps the last month or two, but everyone means something to me. Whether I consider them the mean old uncle I don't talk to very often, or that one awesome cousin who I would happily spend most of my time with, there's one of each. There are mother like figures, who give and take, and father like figures who spoil and punish. And I love each and every one of them, if for no other reason than that they make life interesting. XD
When I think about being with my family, too, I think about my guild a lot too. My guild is part of my life now. I have just as fond of memories with them as I do with any of my other friend, or even with my family! I find it an awesome thing that a game can bring people together that way.
I'd like to do something for my Guild just like I do for my family. There are some members I'd like to repay for all their kindness, those who really helped me get to where I am today.
I do things for my guildies whenever I can; I try to, anyway. Sure, there are nights where I feel selfish and just want to be left alone too. Sometimes I'm only on to do my dailies and then I log off to go live life. I can't dedicate myself 24/7.
Much like I can't do the same for my own family. It's a little harder for me to do so for them anyway, though; I live very far away from pretty much all my blood relatives - at least, the ones I know well.
The hardest part about having a Guild and a Family is learning to balance the two. You can only give so much time to one or the other. It is honestly unhealthy to spend all your time doing one thing, no matter how "good" that one thing may be to you. Some would argue that spending all your time with your family is a good thing... But then, if you were to do that, what would you accomplish? You're still not going to get much further than you would if you were spending all your time with your guild.
I'm not saying spending time with one or the other is a bad thing. They are both good things; it's just about balancing the good so that you're not getting too much of it. There's that proverb in there somewhere. And with the holidays here, I think it's important to spend more time with one if you have been neglecting them as of late. I've been spending my time with my family this week, and will continue to, since I only get to see them once a year. And I love it. It's refreshing.
Once I get back, I'll try to balance my real friends and my online ones a little better. That's my new year's resolution. After all, once I graduate, there are some of these friends that I may never see again.
But don't think I'm going to forget about anyone! Not a single one! Everyone I know has a place in my heart, even if it may not be large dedicated part of it. Everyone will get their gift some way or another, even if it's just a Merry Christmas or an AH item they've been watching for or a run through some instance with their alt. Something for everyone.
Because it's the spirit of the season of giving, and of love. And far be it from me to break tradition.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Well, I had a lack of questions headed my way again this time (though I did get one, so we'll answer that first before I chew into my topic for today).
acurrier of Gathering Gamers asks:
While I haven't noticed it on my server, do you find that the morons tend to congregate around one or two classes, or are they more or less evenly spread?
Thanks for the question! What I've noticed is that depending on what class I'm playing, I notice the "morons" more acutely from different perspectives.
For instance; as a Tank, I'm more likely to notice a bad DPSer or Healer. Mostly because I'm watching threat on others as well as myself. If someone is pulling aggro, it's what I'll notice first.
As a DPSer, I'm more likely to notice a bad tank or fellow DPSer, since I won't be watching the healer all that much myself and focusing on my own DPS and threat.
As a Healer, I'm more likely to notice a bad tank or a bad DPSer rather than a fellow healer, because I'm more concerned about doing my job and doing it well.
...Now that I look at my answer, it's the same each time. You'll find a moron DPS more often than any other role; but that's largely in fact due to the sheer amount of DPS classes/specs vastly outnumbers the healers/tanks. So I guess my answer would be that DPS is most likely to have morons, simply because there's a large population of them.
For the sarcastic answer: lockz r OP b/c thay take no skillz 2 play n thay shuld feel bad, lollerz.
(I do honestly find a lot of dumb warlocks than anything else, but that may just be my server.)
I hate typing like that.
Moving on, I haven't gotten to work on any of my more thought out guides (and will likely get that done over my real Christmas Vacation where I don't have work to worry about), so today is another slew of generalizations and gender studies. Again, here's my disclaimer; I'm no expert, I'm not a women's studies major. This is all from my own experience, and thus the following are my observations.
So here we go.
Over the years I have been a gamer, I have always broken down the other few women gamers I've found into four categories (that more often than not criss-cross and overlap) mentally, some of which irritate me, and some of which I don't mind at all. I find that these carry over exceptionally well in World of Warcraft, so here's my experience with it.
- "The Mom." This is your maternal instinct-loaded female gamer. Whether she is actually a mother or not, she will still act as one, desiring to nurture the others in the group, or obtain a position of power in order to have the ability to nurture. More often than not, they will be focusing on being a healer of some sort, and likely to either be a Guild Officer, Guild Leader, or Raid Leader. Generally, they'll also be the middle-man in any fight, acting as the neutralizer. After all, no one wants to make "Mom" mad.
-"The Girlfriend/Wife." This is your "I'm playing because my significant other told me to" type. They may or may not actually enjoy the game, and the primary reason they are there is because either their loving male companion wanted to include her in his hobby, or they got so curious about what was keeping him up during the long hours of the night they decided to try it out themselves. There is nothing wrong with this; it doesn't matter how you start a game so long as you continue to enjoy it. The problem is when they cross over into another realm (see below).
-The "Real" Female Gamer. These are the ones you meet at conventions that are hard-core into the games, love the games because they're games, and got into it because they thought it looked like fun. They have no motivation other than it's their hobby. So they're doing whatever makes THEM happy, and it really has no impact on anyone else. A bit selfish perhaps, but at least they're having fun.
-The "Fake" Female Gamer. Here's where I get irritated. These are the ones whom I've met more often than not that play games because they like men, and men like games. They have little to no concern for the hobby itself; it's just an easy way to make yourself look like a "holy grail" to the male gamer community. These are the ones who make me sad; yes, it's nice and all to meet a guy who shares your interests. The important part is that he's actually sharing YOUR interest, and you're not "sharing" HIS interest just because you're interested in HIM. There's no point in doing something that's supposed to be fun if you don't actually enjoy it.
Now, as I said, these are all nice generalizations. I have met some of each that only fall into one category, and I've met some of each that fall into 2-3 of the categories. I count myself as a "Real Mom" gamer, even though I'm not a mother in reality. I enjoy nurturing others and being in a position of relative leadership, although I often do it in unconventional ways because it's how I get the most enjoyment out of the game. I have met more "Fake GF" gamers than I'd like to admit (especially when I spent a few years working in a hobby shop), and it makes me sad that people take advantage of my hobby for something as petty as socialization (which, if you think about it, is kind of ass-backwards to begin with when you realize it's gaming and most of us are socially retarded anyway =P ).
What's the reality? Well, when it comes down to it, it's ultimately unfair for anyone to generalize female gamers as much as it is to generalize male gamers. We're people; that's what it is. No matter our motivation to play, we have a reason to pay the $15 a month like everyone else, and one way or another, whether it's related to the actual game itself, we are enjoying ourselves doing it. Maybe it's even better that some who aren't in it for the game do so; after all it's making someone else happy. And if my ethics class supposedly taught me anything (*gigglesnickersnort*) it's that sometimes the overall good in a measured instance can outweigh the overall bad. Sometimes you have to "suffer" for someone else to be happy.
I'm not saying that you always should, or that those who "use" the game for their own needs are right. I'm just saying that they do and I'm not going to try to give them crap for it. Partially because it's futile, but also partially because I'd be hurting my own case. I'm here to play the game and enjoy it.
Why have others ruin that for me?
Saturday, December 15, 2007
While I didn't receive any questions ;-; this week for what I wanted to be a Q&A session, of the one comment I received, it was a compliment.
Basically, the person said I was the only competent tankadin they had ever met, at least by the measures of my post. Apparently, what I had written was thorough enough to show that I knew my stuff.
That got me thinking about what I decided to make today's topic instead of a Q&A session (Which I still want to do, so please, keep thinking of questions to ask me!). I decided I'd talk about Players vs Class competency.
Whenever I'm trolling the WoW forums, I usually stick to three forums total: the Paladin forums (of course), the Rogue forums (my closest WoW buddy is a Rogue, so I try to keep up on their changes too), and the General forums (mostly 'cause I get a laugh out of it on occasion).
I spend, naturally, most of my time on the Paladin forums, and I notice a very equal amount of a) seasoned, knowledgable paladins (of all specs), b) newbie paladins asking for advice in a generally polite way, and c) noob paladins which cause most other classes to tell all paladins to DIAF.
Of the other classes that come to our boards to visit, I tend to notice Shamans being the most courteous. I see more topics started by full level 70 Shamans complimenting us on our skill or our perseverance in dealing with the slowness Blizzard has taken to make our class fully functional (and not just made to heal-bot). After that, surprisingly, I tend to see more Rogues than anything else.
The largest complainers on our board seems to be Warlocks and Priests (especially Shadow Priests), the two of which we have more trouble against in PVP in anything else.
I find this interesting, because this says to me the whiners are only there to supplement NOT buffing us (even if there is a valid problem), because they're afraid to actually have a class that can, zomg, beat them one-on-one. Priests don't have any problems against other casters (from my limited experience), and Warlocks... well, I won't get into my feelings about Warlocks. *coughOPcough*
I've derailed a little bit; so what does this have to do with player versus class competency? Well, it's the generalization that you run into one, maybe two, of a class who is a total jerk or a moron, and instantly the automatic response is the assumption that ALL of said class is a jerk and/or a moron. I rarely talk to any of the warlocks in my guild; is this a subconscious level of thinking in that they're all jerks or that they all play an easy class? I'm not sure. I made friends with one warlock in my guild (as we were running a weekly Karazhan together). He changed my opinion. I still thought Warlocks were a tad overpowered, and while he did have a mean streak against the Alliance (I'm on a PvP server, so to be honest, most of us gank when possible because it's very much a gank-or-be-ganked kind of game at that point), he was the first person in the guild to give me a real chance to be a tank. He was the one who helped me pave my way to where I am now. He has since left the guild (and the server), and while he will be missed, I will forever be grateful to him for what he did.
I think, from anyone's perspective, the jerks on your server are immediately the class that you know you can't beat. For Paladins, its warlocks and (shadow) priests (I don't think I've ever had a Holy Priest try to gank me, though I bet it would be great fun from my perspective XD), and the occasional Hunter. (Or maybe that's just for me). For Rogues, its... well, just about everyone except the really squishy casters. For Warriors, its Hunters and Warlocks (from what I remember from playing a warrior). I think this sentiment is particularly emphasized on a PvP server, at that. You level up being ganked constantly by certain classes, because they know they can beat you. I never felt too much anger against Rogues, because even if they were a few levels higher than me, I could usually kick their asses. Same with Warriors.
Now let's talk about PUGs. For those of you who don't know what a PUG is, it's a Pick Up Group, or one that you throw together with complete strangers to accomplish a common goal (be it a hard quest/5-man instance, which is more common, or a raid, which is much less common). PUGs, I believe, are the single biggest source of misinformation. Most of the idiots and jerks run with PUGs out there, because they can screw over their party members with no sense of obligation or fear of getting /gkicked. This is where the ninja looters, dumbasses who don't know their own class, or insufferable know-it-alls tend to hang out. I really hate PUGing, particularly at 70. Before then, I had fewer problems (beyond LOL Paladin tank, /kick), mostly because I was willing and able to heal the lower content (Survivadin spec FTW).
I have met countless person after person who /tells me "Wanna heal this?" and I immediately respond with "Sorry, I'm not a healer." Usually, they stop talking to me. This is only because I stopped replying "Sorry, I'm a tank," which usually gets an "LOL" or a "Paladins can't tank," and then I argue with a complete stranger for about fifteen minutes because I either have nothing better to do, or I'm just in that kind of mood. I was pleasantly surprised last night when I got a whisper of "Excuse me, are you a tank?" After I blinked several times, I replied that I was, and was asked to link my gear. Given that I'm in almost full Tier 4 at this point in time, and I think I have a total of three blues left, I was immediately asked to tank Heroic Shadow Labs. If it wasn't so late and I didn't hate the instance so much (dear god, how I hate it), I might have gone along, but I was happy that they were actually actively seeking a paladin tank, and told them good job, keep it up.
I wonder if they ever found another one to take; SLabs honestly only is worth doing with a Paladin tank, and Heroic, only with exceptionally geared individuals. But I digress.
This whole post has been kinda garbled and tangential, but what I'm basically trying to say is that the reputation of a class is always, ALWAYS based on the individuals that play it. Because Warlock seems to be an easy-mode kind of class (at least to basically function), more people play it, and therefore, it's likely more unknowledgeable/jerk-off players populate it. Paladins and Hunters are honestly the same way, and I hear there are a lot of jerk-off Rogues out there too (I've just never had a huge problem with them). What anyone, everyone, need to remember, though, is that each class has its good players and bad players. Each game, for that matter, has its good players and bad players. And some players are better at some things than others (for instance, I blow monkey chunks at PvP, but I get daily compliments on my ability to tank).
Long story short, never judge a book by its cover. Avoid mishaps by Armory-ing people before you invite them to group.
Next Tuesday, if I have enough questions, I'll proceed with my Q&A. If not, well, I guess I'll just have to surprise you all again. =)
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Since this seems to be the biggest issue with most uninformed people out there, I decided to put off the guide I had been planning on releasing today (Tanking 5-mans) and release this first. In addition, I’m moving up a couple of shorter topics so I have more time to dedicate to fuller, more comprehensive guides (One that takes you through all of K arazhan, for instance).
So what this is all about is that I’ve noticed that most people seem to think a tank is a tank, they hold the big boys, get the crap kicked out of them, and let the rest of the raid do all the work.
There is a time and place for all three tank types to be used equally, and there are situations where one type is flat out better than another. So here, I’m going to break down the three classes that can currently tank (Warriors, Druids, and Paladins), and list both their strengths and their weaknesses. This is as researched and objective as I can make it without having fully played either other type of tank myself, but from the opinions of others who have. It’s mostly a compilation, I claim only the amalgamation of the information.
So enough big words. Here we go.
-Most versatile. Warriors have the largest selection of abilities at their disposal. Not only that, but they often have more than one ability that functions similarly (stuns, disarms, silences, etc). So if one fails, they have another to try. This makes them easily usable for just about any situation.
-Spell Mitigation. Warriors are the only ones who have an outright ability to mitigate spell damage. (Paladins have a flat percentage they don’t take, but it’s very small, and Druids just have the hit points to deal with it) Between Spell Reflect and having a higher overall percentage of damage resisted, Warriors are the only real choice for spell-heavy fights.
-Best Single-target agro generation. Warriors, overall, will generate the most agro against a single target. Generally, they are the preferred tank for most raid bosses.
-Take the least damage overall. Warriors have the highest flat percentage of damage just not taken. Druids have next to none besides armor, and Paladins trail behind by about 4%
-Easiest to gear. Warriors probably have the best itemization, as they’ve been the most viable tank for the longest amount of time. It’s a matter of waiting for something to drop or grinding the right rep like any other class, where as both Druids and Paladins have to jump through a couple more hoops.
-Best OS (Oh SH!T) buttons. Warriors have the best abilities to bounce back from potentially dangerous situations.
-Cannot handle many adds. Warriors are not built to handle tanking more than two, maybe three things at the same time without an incredible amount of skill and some luck. Even then, I doubt too many people could tab between 5-6 adds to keep agro on them all.
-Easily Crushable against fast-melee bosses. A Warrior’s shield block has fewer charges than a Paladin’s Holy Shield, causing them to be more vulnerable to crushing blows against quick-melee bosses (such as Prince’s phase 2).
-Slow Initial Aggro. This means your DPS starts later, which can be important in timed fights.
-No direct raid utility. All warrior direct buffs only affect people in their party. While useful, they don’t last very long, and odds are they won’t be as frequent to keep it up if they have ten other abilities they need to be juggling in a fight. (Their indirect buffs, like sunder for instance, are very useful, but not part of this category).
-Vulnerable to disarming. A disarmed warrior is severely gimped in comparison to a disarmed Paladin (who can still fully function), or a druid who can’t be disarmed.
-Generate the least DPS. Warriors generate the least amount of DPS in comparison to their Paladin or Druid companions. Much of their agro comes from flat abilities, not from actual damage.
-Difficult to play. Warriors have many more abilities to sift through than a Paladin or Druid, requiring a greater knowledge and extent of training to master.
-Mass HP. Druids just plain have more stamina than Warriors or Paladins. They also have less stats to gear for or worry about, so they can itemize for stamina easier than the other two.
-Mass Armor. Same reasons for Mass HP.
-Best Dodge Formula. Druids receive the most benefit from Agility to Dodge, and their Dodge is almost always infinitely higher than any given Warrior or Paladin. Therefore, when something is mitigated against a Druid, he always takes zero damage.
-Deal the most damage. While tanking, a Druid will pump out more total DPS than either a Warrior or a Paladin, as most of their threat is derived from flat damage.
-Best Off-Tanks. Period. Druids have a slightly lesser reliance on Rage to generate threat, and can easily off-tank any encounter. In addition, they can easily off-tank from a DPS perspective (kitty form) while in their tanking gear, and easily swap to a tanking position should something happen to the primary tank.
-Best secondary role. A druid tank who is not in a tanking position offers the most in a different role, given their spec. Since their DPS and Tank tree are one in the same, they can make a gear swap for DPS and perform leaps and bounds above a Warrior or Paladin in a secondary role.
-Good raid utility. Druids offer all their normal Druid spells to the rest of the raid, including Mark of the Wild, Thorns, and in extreme emergencies, innervate and battle-resurrection.
-Always Crushable. Druids cannot parry or block, and thus lack the capability of becoming immune to Crushing Blows.
-No overall avoidance/mitigation. Druids have armor and HP to make up for this lack of mitigation, but a string of crushing blows or heavy hitting spell damage will still take one out.
-Oh SH!T button is weak. I don’t even know what the Druid OS button is. Someone please enlighten me.
-“Frontloading” capability. Paladins start with a full “blue rage bar,” and can open up any fight with a heavy spike of threat, allowing DPS to start quicker.
-Least likely to be crushed. The Paladin shield ability (Holy Shield) has more charges and lasts longer. Specifically, against quick-melee bosses, Paladins have the highest probability for survival.
-AOE tanks. They are unique in the sense that they are the only tank that can effectively tank several mobs at once. In theory, they could hold agro on an infinite number of mobs, due to their reactive high-threat damage.
-Wipe Recovery. Beyond a druid’s once every half-hour resurrection, a Paladin can always resurrect others after a wipe. In addition, if too many healers or DPS has died, the tank can opt to Divine Intervention a remaining individual with a resurrect ability.
-Ranged Taunt. Paladins are the only tank with a ranged taunt ability, as clunky as it may be.
-Excellent Raid Utility. A Paladin’s Auras and Blessings are always welcome, if not ultimately desired, in any raid.
-Mana/magic dependent. This is a problem against enemies or bosses that are immune to magic, can silence, or can mana-drain.
-Poor Off-tanks. Paladins do not generate nearly enough threat to be good off-tanks without being over-geared on spell-damage, as most of their usual threat is reactive damage from being directly hit.
-No single-target taunt. This sucks. It really, REALLY does. A Paladin needs to be able to front-load damage on an enemy to “taunt” off a fellow tank. Their only two “taunts” will not work at all in this situation (as one will pull off multiple targets, and the other causes all enemies to go to the next person on the agro chart, which isn’t always the paladin).
-Tanking Buff can be dispelled. While a Warrior’s Defensive stance is static, Righteous Fury can be dispelled, and it’s a very expensive spell to cast. This can cause a severe mana-drain for a Paladin tank.
-Take slightly more damage. Where as Druids have straight armor and the hit points to take blows, and warriors have a higher damage reduction, Paladins have nothing to compensate for having only 6% damage reduction.
-All abilities on GCD. All of a Paladin’s abilities, with the exception of Judgement, are on the Global Cool Down. Paladins require a higher amount of ability micro-management than either Druids or Warriors.
Here’s the short version:
Warriors – General preferred MTs, most versatile.
Druids – Best OTs, most HP/Armor
Paladins – The best multiple-mob tanks.
This is not to say that any of the other tank types can’t function in those other roles; they can, and quite effectively so. But what a good Raid Leader or Guild Leader for that matter should know is that there are times and places where individual tank types can rise to the challenge above others and be given the chance to shine. And hopefully, if they possess the basic knowledge of how all three function, they’ll know when and where those situations arise.
Next post! (Which WILL be done on Saturday, come hell or high water) I want to answer your questions! Send me your questions via Private Message or even just replying to this post, and they will be answered! Anything posted on Saturday before I start writing (likely in the morning, around 10AM Central) will NOT be accepted. So please send me your questions! They don't even have to be about Tankadins; Anything WoW related will do, though do remember I know next to nothing about Druids/Hunters/Warlocks/Shaman, and my knowledge of the other classes beyond that is limited (though I know a bit about Rogues, Warriors, Mages, and less about Priests). I'll also answer any questions you have about myself, but I will try to keep it on-topic about WoW as much as possible. =D
See you Saturday!
Saturday, December 1, 2007
I felt it was time to address another gender studies topic, so today is about how finding a female, and actual female, behind the role of a tank is a rarity, and analyzing why this may be. May I forewarn you that everything further is entirely personal opinions and observations; this is not a research paper, it's a log of my thoughts. So don't expect any fancy pants citations. =P (I do enough of that in college already.)
I did want to do some research, but I simply haven't had the time or the ability to. What I can say is that in my guild, I am not only the only tankadin, but I'm the only female tank. I have never run across another female tank in game, though I am sure that they are out there. I'll likely revisit this topic and do a little polling on the WoW forums, MainTankadin.com, and perhaps in game on my server (and maybe a couple others just to average statistics out). Either way, I think it can be assumed in most people's experiences that the population of female tanks, is very low.
Naturally, this means what do I actually see women playing? Healers and DPS, since that's all that's left. If I think about the people in my guild, I can think of two female shaman healers, one mage, one warlock, there used to be one hunter and a second warlock who have left... and if there's any more, then I'm either unaware of who is in reality female, or they are alts. If I want to use those as (skewed) statistics, then out of a population of seven total (including myself), 14% are tanks, 29% are healers, and 57% are DPS.
Again, I know this has to be skewed, as many of the other women I see posting on the forums (who say proudly or at least generally admit they are in fact female), are healers in some way (or at least a class that can be a healer). I would wager a guess that statistics wise, it should look a little more like:
50% of women are healers
40% of women are DPS
10% of women are tanks
Again, I don't really have stats to back this up, it's just a wide generalization.
Why would more women choose to be a healer over any other class? Is there something more appealing to it to women, or is it something that the male counterparts they may be playing alongside request them to do? How many of these women play healers because they were asked to, not because they chose to? How many of these women play healers because they enjoy healing, and if that's the case, why do they enjoy it?
My theory is that the majority of female healers in the game are healers because they were asked to become healers, not because they wanted to be. I could very well have ended up as this exact example; the first role I was asked to fill was that of a tank, simply because we had few tanks. When that was remedied, I was immediately asked to become a healer instead. When the Paladin class was made available to the Horde, I was asked to become a Paladin, but it was not clear what role they wanted me to fill other than "Paladin." It is likely, though, I would have ended up specc'd Holy and never have even thought about tanking if I hadn't been so damn adamant about it on my own. (Incidentally, I'm glad I made that choice. =) )
In addition, most of the male healers I know play healers because they wanted to, not because they were asked to. Some people in general do enjoy the thrill of keeping someone safe and alive; I feel the same thing, just from a different perspective (I protect by being the person taking all the damage; I keep others alive by being the protector - all seemed very paladin-like to me). DPS seems to be a much more aggressive instinct, with the desire to pump numbers as high as possible, doling out the big damage and reaching prestige from that perspective.
That being said, is healing a maternal role, and therefore generally delegated to female players? And is tanking a masculine role, and therefore generally delegated to the male players? Females, traditionally, are the nurturer. I can understand why they would become the healers of the world; they care for others around them, and are therefore responsible for others' well-being and health. Males, traditionally, are the protectors and providers. I can understand them donning plate and stepping out in front to prevent any harm from coming to his woman, or his children, or his fellow comrades. All very stereotypical, but also understandable simply from a generalized historical point of view.
The role of DPS seems to be the only one that doesn't have a particular gender to it; it's simply destructive. Really, it's the antithesis of both other roles, though the game doesn't function without it. DPS is one of those things that confuses me; I'm never really sure if I enjoy it or dislike it. My two other favorite classes besides Paladin are Rogue and Mage (both undeniably DPS). I enjoy the stealth aspect of being a Rogue, and there is admittedly a little enjoyment in the whole backstabbing part of their functions (call it my sadistic side). Mage I really only like because I've mimicked one of my favorite and highest level D&D characters every time I've made one; beautiful but deadly, and on the inside, rotten to the core. Again, a very stereotypical character design, but it's one I've come to love. There's always an odd sense of entertainment that comes from lighting someone up. But again, that kind of hits the sadistic side of my personality; so is DPS only that? An extension of our desire to harm others?
Since I've already mentioned my take on DPS, let me re-outline the other two roles from my perspective:
I love tanking. I love the challenge in keeping the monster in my face and away from my friends. I love the idea that I am protecting others, a role I've always felt I'm never going to get to experience anywhere else - after all, to anyone who simply visually perceives me, I look like a little girl who needs to be protected (I'm 5'3" and weight less than 110 lbs; just the other day when I was getting carded at a grocery store, the clerk told me I looked 14). But I'm stronger than that, and being allowed that opportunity through a game is a treat for me. A taste of what I can hopefully one day do on my own. I guess I have more paternal instincts than I previously assumed. I can understand that; I grew up around two elder brothers and I'm daddy's little girl. I'm very tomboyish.
In antithesis, what is it about healing that I hate? I don't really know; I just find it boring. I would sit back and relegate myself to healer any time before level 70, simply so I could progress myself. Every time, I found it rather boring. I prefer being in on the head-to-head action. Somehow, even though I know I'm in one of the most important roles as a healer, I just don't get a sense of satisfaction out of it; I feel disjointed from the encounter. I hate it even more when I'm healing while still specc'd Prot simply because someone else is the "better tank" for the situation; because now I'm neither optimal, nor really contributing. They could be doing this just fine without me, and if I stood and did absolutely nothing, the odds are no one would notice until the healing charts were posted. That leaves me with a sense of dis-accomplishment (if that's a term, but hey, I'll use it anyway); I prefer leaving with a sense of "Hey, I did this and I did it right" rather than "Hey, I did this and I don't know if I did it right because they probably didn't notice or care."
Or maybe I just prefer being in the spotlight, being needed and wanted. Maybe it's a sense of belonging for me, of knowing everyone is happy for me to be there because I'm part of the team, and I'm important, loved, liked, whatever. Maybe it's for a sense of social security, even if it's in something silly like a virtual realm.
Beyond that, it might even be that I just like being unique and different. That sounds about right; after all, I'm an actor, right? And we're all full of ourselves. =P
I guess what it really comes down to is playing what you want; and everyone's tastes are different. It just happens to be interesting to note a pattern in relation to gender; that's really all this analysis is about. So even if I'm a little strange and go against the grain, it's not going to stop me. I love what I do, and I probably always will. Same goes for everyone else.
And really, I wouldn't have it any other way.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Once again, I'm going to take a moment to apologize for my lengthy absence. I've already given the reasons, so I'll just go ahead and plow on to today's topic.
Anytime you log on to do your Arena-ing for the week, it's rare that you'll run into a Tankadin during your battles. We simply aren't built for handling Arenas; all the defense rating we built up is going to be next to useless, and if we don't have resilience gear, we'll be as easy to push over as a clothie against the more serious teams. However, this doesn't mean you can't do it, and even more importantly, that you can't have fun doing it.
First off, if you're going to do it at all, know now that you CANNOT take it seriously. Do not expect to get a high rating, and if you breach 1500 points after the first couple weeks of a season, consider yourself lucky. Being a Tankadin in Arena is a serious detriment to your team, so make sure the people who have invited you (or that you have invited) know beforehand your intentions. It's not going to be easy.
Personally, I do it for good old "S&G's." I think it's kind of hilarious when the warriors or rogues charge me from across the map and end up killing themselves on all my defensive abilities because they thought I was a Holy paladin. I also have a hell of a lot more survivability than my rogue counterpart does in my 2v2, or even than the feral druid in my 3v3. Mostly due to sheer hit points, dodge, parry, and block rating. (Ardent Defender is really aggravating for an opponent too.)
Now for the actual advice part. Let's break this down into equipment advice, abilities, other class compliments, and tactics.
-Stam, stam, and more stam. This is what you have going for you. Stack stam and resilience gems in any slots you might have if you're going to be taking this "seriously."
-Arena gear: Get the "prot" set. I haven't done this myself yet (what can I say, I'm lazy and don't PvP often), but with the availability now of Season 1 gear, you might as well go grind out the honor and stack yourself up. The resilience will only increase your survivability, and that's the game you're playing in Arenas. The extra spell damage will be nice too, since you'll actually be able to dole out some damage on those foolish enough to actually come after you.
-Prioritize a little more Int: This won't be hard with the arena sets, since they provide Int, but remember that it's unlikely someone's going to be healing you in arena (and if anything, you'll be the back-up healer), so your mana regeneration is going to suck (or be non-existent). Given that you can say "screw it" to defense and a lot more of the mitigation abilities, this will be relatively easy to do.
Blessing of Sanctuary - This, in my honest opinion, will be your strongest blessing for Arenas. What you want to do is draw people TO you. A good 90% of teams will not realize that you are, in fact, protection-specced unless they take a real good look at your buffs and are familiar with protection paladins themselves. (Though they likely will notice something is up when they see how small your mana pool is, and may deem you Retribution instead.) The trick of the game is to get them to hit you and for you to survive it, so stacking all your passive damage effects is a must.
Retribution Aura - Again, stacking passive damage. Use it; all your other auras will be relatively useless unless you're in a 5v5 with a group of casters (Then go ahead and use Concentration Aura). Devotion won't give you enough damage reduction to be worth it, and the resistance auras generally don't seem to help much. Crusader Aura is kind of fun to toss up if you manage to get mounted; I've had a lot of infuriated opponents chase me around the arena trying to get a lock on me.
Righteous Fury - If you're prot specc'd and understand the spec, you know why you should have this up. Obviously it's not for threat generation, but the 6% less damage against EVERYTHING will be your best friend, especially against those spell casters who you have so little defense against. Costly to put back up in battle, though, so I'd only cast it at the beginning, or later if you have a lot of mana or are getting a lot of heals. It's also nice to have as a dispell buffer so your opponents wipe that out first rather than your blessings or any other buffs your team might have given you.
Avenger's Shield - This is mighty useful in Arena, especially when your enemy decides you (or your other teammates) are a force to be reckoned with and try to run away. Again, the element of surprise is key; not only does it look like a heal spell while you're casting it (for the whole 1.5 seconds), but no one's really going to expect to be hit with a flying shield in an Arena match, so they probably won't have anymore cooldowns to blow when running away, leaving your daze in effect. If you have a lot of spell damage stacked, this can also be one hell of a hard hitter, especially if you can manage to bounce it off multiple opponents. Very nice.
Consecration - The Stealth finder. Down-rank this and have fun walking around finding the stealthers before they find you. You stop caring about the damage when it's only costing you about 100 mana per cast.
Seals: Generally, I'll judge Crusader and go to town with Seal of Blood (as a Blood Elf) or Seal of Righteousness. Judging Seal of Light can be fun, especially if you have some quick melee hitters on your team (like rogues, feral druids, or fury warriors). Usually, though, you're not worried about doing anything else but providing support. Holding up Seal of Justice and judging it can be good times too; slow down their movement and stun casters. Seal of Wisdom I've only used in one fight ever, and I'll explain that one later.
Hammer of Justice: Your one and only stun (barring Seal of Justice, but it's so unreliable it doesn't really count). Know it, love it, use it for interrupts. Seriously, the best thing you can do to support your team is keep casters busy. They'll likely be after you anyway once they figure out you're not what you appear to be, and shutting down the healer is the most important part of any Arena match. Doing it when they're about to get a big heal off is just a little self-satisfaction icing on the cake.
Hammer of Wrath: Too much fun, really. Try to spam this as much as possible if your opponent gets under 20%. It's one of the few ways for you to do a lot of damage really quickly.
Avenging Wrath: This is for going all out on someone, but it's not something I use all that much since it instigates the Forbearance cooldown. I'd avoid usage, especially early on, as you'll likely need to bubble later once they figure out you're spell vulnerable.
Racial Abilities: As I'm a Blood Elf and I've never played a paladin of another class, I'll be sorely lacking in this information. Arcane Torrent is, by far, the most useful racial you could have as a paladin in PvP. It gives you another interrupt, and against all-caster arena teams, you will be the bane of their existence (Well, every 2 minutes anyway). The Drenai's Gift of the Naaru ability is really nice to toss up, though I'd always expend healing on your teammates before yourself (you should have the hit points to deal with it anyway, and it's likely anyone else on your team will be squishier than you). A Dwarf's Stoneform is amazing for cleansing yourself of those nasty bleed effects you normally can't get rid of otherwise, so save it for the Rogue/Warrior/Druid abilities that stack up. Lastly, there's the Human Perception ability; yet another way for you to catch stealthers, and let you place perhaps a full-rank consecration on top of the unsuspecting ones.
In all reality, since you're likely not taking this seriously anyway, play with whomever you want. The point is, after all, to have fun with it. One way or the other, you're going to end up with silly stories and a lot of interesting memories. But, for those of you wanting to maybe accomplish a little more, I'll tell you what's worked for me.
My 2v2 partner is a rogue, and this works out quite well. He's hemo-specc'd, and everyone assumes I'm Holy and charges after me. During the confusion and frustration where they discover I am not a healer, he'll have already toasted a clothie or at least stun-locked their healer. If I can keep the melee busy, he'll sneak up and kill the ranged, and that works out rather lovely.
I would therefore then assume that a feral-specc'd druid in this role would function equally well. If you're playing the decoy game like I do, you want a stealther in your group.
I haven't tried out much else (there's no one else in our 2v2, and I can't blame them; our rating was terrible last season XD); if you have an obvious healer, they'll go kill them first. The theory could work with a warrior. They'll probably still assume you're Holy and go after you. If you have any ranged, though, it's probably likely they'll try to kill the ranged guy first; even if you WERE a healer, the ranged person is a helluva a lot squishier and likely to get burst-down. At this point, blow what mana you have on keeping them alive (or Blessing of Protection them). You want them coming after you; end of story.
Again, I keep stealthers about me. We're a Feral druid/Hemo rogue/Prot pally combination, and boy does it work out nicely. With both of them in stealth, everyone comes after me and they have the opportunity to sneak up and just utterly tear apart one of their team. Once we get them down to 2 opponents, the win is pretty inevitable.
If you're not going this option, then I'd take people who can disable others; a mage and a warlock with a prot pally would be interesting, with Polymorph on one guy and a Fel Hunter on a caster. But again; you're likely to be a detriment. You don't do a lot of damage, and if your casters are the ones doing everything, the other team's going to catch on pretty quickly.
I have the least experience here. I've only done a few, and I respecc'd Holy for a couple of the matches. There honestly isn't a whole lot of room for a Prot pally in 5v5. The chaos is ultimate, though you may benefit your team by taking a lot of the crowd control from the other side, or being single targetted first (earning your team a little head start on killing someone), forcing them to burn through your massive amount of hit points.
5v5's are so varied that I can't honestly offer much support advice; after all, you *are* the support. I'd say start out as a healer in 5v5 (even in Prot gear; just spam Flash of Light), and with two healers on whoever is being single-targetted, or you being forced into crowd control over your true healer, you'll have done a lot right there.
I've offered a lot of my tactics already, but here's a quick run-down again, as well as advice on what classes will screw you up and who to look out for.
-Be the Decoy. This is going to be your best bet; your job in Arena is to soak up the damage that could otherwise be directed onto your teammates. It's like tanking in that regard; except your enemy has a wild aggro bar that you can't hold. Play the healer for a while, get them on you, and let the passive damage do the rest of the work.
-Stack spell damage. If you want to be dealing damage, stack spell damage over everything else. Your passive damage abilities will be dealing the most when you're in the ideal situation, and there's nothing quite like throwing 800+ Avenger's Shields on a regular basis. (I keep hoping I'll crit for 2k someday. =O )
-Toast Warlock Pets. ESPECIALLY succubus pets. Most others will tell you to leave them be, but this is what'll kill you in Arenas as a paladin. Succubi in particular have a lot less health than other Warlock pets, and your Exorcism will make quick work of them. And if you happen to have a Fel Hunter against you, drag it away from the rest of your casters in the group and take it out yourself. It's better to have you spell-locked than your healer or your major burst damage mage spell-locked.
-Leave Hunter pets alone. If there's a pet to leave alone, it would be the hunter's. The damage they do in the long run is negligible and a the hunter himself is a lot more dangerous (especially if he has Silencing Shot).
-Buff your party members. A no brainer, but hey, I guess it couldn't hurt to mention. Don't bother with greater blessings; Arena matches shouldn't last longer than 10 minutes, and if they do, rebuffing in combat isn't hard if you have the Pally Power add-on (WHICH EVERY PALADIN SHOULD, RAWR, ).
-Have fun. Don't get frustrated if you don't win; you shouldn't be expecting to win! Prot is entirely inferior in arenas, and my advice is only going to help you aggravate the other side and maybe win every once in a while a little more often. Prot paladins are a PvE spec, and you should never expect them to excel in anything other than what they are good at; tanking.
I'd like to leave everyone with a hilarious little treat; sometime last week before Thanksgiving, I popped on to do my 2v2 with my good buddy Kaitou. I'm still wondering if I set a record or something, because one of our matches lasted an hour and six minutes.
Best 7 point win EVER
There's the screenshot. It was basically about an hour of me and a feral druid running around in circles, disabling the other so we could heal, then running around in circles some more. Finally, the druid thought he might be able to burst me down by exiting combat, stealthing, and pouncing me. So I worked my way over to Kaitou, bubbled, and rezzed him. We won shortly thereafter.
Remember, Prot paladins aren't GOOD in arena. But... they aren't always bad either. ;)
Friday, November 23, 2007
I just wanted to make a note that I am taking a temporary break and will be back Tuesday with more WoW goodness. The past week or two has been very hectic between my two part-time jobs, final exams, the holiday, and a convention this weekend (I'm actually typing this while half awake after the first day of 14 straight hours of Dungeons & Dragons).
Things will be back to normal on Tuesday, and I'll go back to my regular Tuesday/Saturday updating schedule. To give you something to think about, my next post will be about the amusement, but ultimate futility of playing a Prot-specc'd Tankadin in PVP Arenas. There will be much mischief-making and amusing stories to be told, so please do stick around.
Again, I apologize for the delay, but everyone gets burned out every once in a while; I'm just sorry it happened so early in my blogging career.
Be back soon!
Saturday, November 17, 2007
First off, I apologize for this post being late. As such, there will be a second post going up later tonight; I try to keep to a Tuesday/Saturday posting schedule, and as a senior in college with finals this past week, this blog just fell to the bottom of the priority list. It's back up though, so don't expect me to miss much more in the coming weeks.
This post was meant to be up on Tuesday, which would have been wonderfully ironic given the release of patch 2.3. Patch 2.3 signifies the solidity of the paladin tank, and allows us one less argument as to why warriors and druids will always be "better" than us. That barrier, specifically the health barrier, no longer exists, and I am happy to observe such an important day in the history of WoW for the Tankadin.
However, not everyone looks at the new numbers. There are likely still many ignorant guild leaders, class officers, or other general players who will continue to insist that paladins are "priests in plate." So I still feel the need to finish this article. At the least, you can take this as a reflective post on the things I had to overcome to get to where I am today; it's all very relevant, as I know I'm not the only one who struggled to this spot, and I know I won't be the last either.
Now that that's all out of the way...
Being a paladin tank is only easy before 70. Before 70, anyone in plate (or bear form) is suitable for the job, regardless of what their spec or gear looks like. Lower level instances just aren't designed for the necessity of a dedicated tank. On the flip-side of the coin, it's just as easy for tankadins (or retadins) to be recruited as healers. And at low levels, there's no reason to say no. Your fellow holy paladins are probably being asked to tank from time to time, and there's no reason for them to say no either (well, unless they're walking around in cloth). It's just not a big deal until end game.
Which brings up the point. So you've hit 70! How do you prove yourself? There's two things you need to do:
-Gear yourself up. This includes solo-questing, rep-grinding, and/or profession grinding as well as running instances for lucky drops. Don't rely on your guild or on others to gear you up. You want to tank? Make it your responsibility to be where you need to be to do so.
-Run Shattered Halls. No, really. Shattered Halls is, hands down, the best place for a paladin tank to prove their worth. Admittedly, the first time you pull an entire group of elites and your group freaks out, it's pretty funny. But you really should let them know your game plan. Especially for the pulls that require you to run out of line of sight in order to get the casters and archers to come your way. Run an efficient AOE group through Shattered Halls (which can be done anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, though I average about 45 minutes), and you'll be frequently asked for return performances; I guarantee it.
Why is all this proof necessary though? There's a lot of reasons. There's the initial stigma, which seems to be worse on the Horde side than Alliance (at least on my server), there's the hybrid assumption, and there's the gear issue.
The initial stigma, of course, is that paladins, being related to Holy, are obviously only meant to follow that path. WRONG. Paladins are crusaders of justice, warriors of light, meant to serve and protect. If nothing else, the tree that describes that the LEAST is Holy. Prince Arthas himself was a Retribution paladin, fighting with a two-hander for the light until he lost his way. When the most iconic character of a class has their tree represented the least, there's a problem, wouldn't you agree? Holy was the first tree to be "fixed," and to date is the strongest tree the paladin has to offer. This is true; paladins are the strongest single-target healer in the game.
But they're the only tank that can handle 6-10 mobs and not allow themselves or others to die. And I'd put something interesting in here about Retribution paladins, but I honestly know nothing about them and don't want to say something ignorant or uninformed. But they're cool! XD
The hybrid argument, that being that all hybrids are meant to be healers, is the worst argument anyone can throw at you. If hybrids are meant to be healers, go tell that to the feral druids who are taking my job. Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against people who like playing feral druids (until they whip me in arena, then they can DIAF), if that's how they like playing, more power to them. But I have issues with Blizzard buffing a leather-wearer to be a tank first over the other plate wearers. How does that make any sense?
The gear issue is the worst, though. There is, arguably, very little gear for tankadins, ESPECIALLY in the way of weaponry. Beyond our tier, you're not going to find stuff with much spell damage and defensive stats (though Zul'Aman brought some real nice goodies). Our weapons are total crap; we have to fight with the warlocks for the stam/spell damage swords, because they don't want to give us something like Crystalforged Sword, except, you know, epic.
Just the same, what it all comes down to is the amount of dedication you give the class and spec. Persevere! If you stick with it and you show people what you can do, no one can stop you. It will be hard. But in all honesty, I believe it's worth it in the end, especially if you get to play the way you want to play. I know it's possible.
After all, I did it.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
I'm sure this is a constant question that goes through people's minds when they talk to me, especially right after finding out my gender. Why on Earth would a woman go out of her way to play a male character, and even moreso, partially obscure the fact she is in fact female?
Well, beyond the fact that I find it highly entertaining (Oh, come on, like you wouldn't enjoy the shock and reactions from people if you did the same thing), I do have some rather valid reasons. Let's plow through these one by one, shall we?
-If men can use the excuse, so can I.
By this, I mean that when men are asked the same question ("Why aren't you playing your gender?"), they tend to retort "Well, I don't want to stare at a guy's ass for 70 levels of grinding." Okay, I give them that. I can agree. While I am, in fact, bisexual and can't use the exact line of thinking, I do overall prefer men to women. So yes, I would rather stare at a nice looking male than I would a nice looking female. But that's my personal preference.
-To avoid being treated unfairly.
I don't think anyone will disagree with me when I say women are treated differently than men are in an MMO. Either telling people you're female gets you a flood of tells akin to "A/S/L plz!" or gets you the ridicule of "gurlz dun play gamez, lulz." Neither of which I particularly care to read or deal with. I'm not going to argue the FACT that I am female; you're not going to believe me anyway, so what's the use?
Say they DO believe me though? What does that get me? It gets me put up on some pedestal I didn't asked to be placed on. The entire reason I even play an MMO is for the sense of accomplishment I get from earning my place in the virtual world. Suddenly, by being female, I'm instantly privileged and treated better than everyone who doesn't have a vagina. I don't want that. Sure, I receive a little of it regardlessly from time to time, and sometimes it's nice (mostly the people being more courteous to you than anything else), but on a whole, I don't want to be treated different because of a trait I have that's irrelevant to the game. It's stupid; let me earn my keep, damnit!
-It's something different
Yeah, this reason is simple in itself. It is something different. All my previous characters on all my other servers were female. It gets tiring doing the same thing over and over. It was a very refreshing change, and it continues to keep me more amused than my female characters ever did.
-Wanted to be a Paladin, but didn't like my other option
Female blood elves are a terrible example of women to begin with. They're even MORE sexified than the other female races, and they perpetuate the "perfect woman" ideal. Why would I support an ideal I don't agree with or enjoy a walking pop culture reference that I absolutely loathe? I understand the male blood elves aren't much better, but the males rip on one of my own personal favorite fandoms (the anime fandom), tearing up the idea of the bishounen (or "pretty boy," for those of you who are unfamiliar with the term) which will always amuse me to no end.
I will continue to advocate my hate for the Napoleon Dynamite dance though. That's just dumb.
Oh, in addition, I didn't roll Alliance because all my friends roll Horde on a PvP server. So... yeah.
I had to bring this up again. It's just damn entertaining to masquerade as a male, even if it's inadvertent. Most people assume I am male until I slip up in conversation, or they hear me in Vent. Sometimes, this can lead to hilarious conversations.
Such as the one where I mentioned my roommate was cooking dinner, and therefore she was awesome.
"What, you live with a girl? Is she your girlfriend?"
"No, no, she's just my friend; All three of us get along really well though,"
"Three of you? Does her boyfriend live with her?"
"Nah. Both my roommates are single. They're both really cool girls though,"
"YOU LIVE WITH TWO GIRLS?!"
"Yeah. They're pretty hot, too,"
Okay, so yeah, by the end I was totally intentionally jerking their chain, but it's funny how easily people jump to conclusions. I started going out of my way, eventually, to hide the fact I was female from guilds I was applying to until I appeared in Vent. I have a very soft, feminine voice, so at that point it becomes near-impossible to fake it.
Though I will always be eternally entertained that even while my guild application to Merciless stated my quite feminine name at the top, people still didn't figure out I was a girl until the first general guild meeting when I spoke up about paladin tanking. =3 It will forever be a fond memory.
-So why the name?
Ahh, yes, I didn't cover that one specifically, did I? I picked the name "Prettyboi" for two reasons. One, the name "Prettyboy" was taken already (lol), and two, I knew going into rolling a blood elf was entitling myself to be a walking stereotype. I knew hundreds upon thousands of people were going to be rolling blood elf paladins in particular. I could have tried to be different and come up with a creative name like I do with my other characters (Melna the Orc Warrior, for instance, who's named after a Dominic Deegan character; or Nishta, my Troll Priestess whose name simply screamed "troll" for me). Instead, I chose to run with the hole I was digging myself, and dig it a little deeper.
And you know, with how much fun I've had with it in the end, I have never, and doubt I will ever, regret it.
Incidentally, yes, I do know the connotation for having "boi" spelled with the i. For those of you that don't, it generally announces a level of ambiguity or even outright homosexuality. I'm fine with this; especially when I flirt with my male guildmates anyway, and even more so when it's in general chat in the middle of Shattrath or Orgrimmar.
I consistently wonder what people think about that. Either way, it leaves a goofy mischievous smile on my face, and isn't that all I need to make it worth it?
I hope this has shed some informative light on myself, as well as on possibly other females who roll male characters too. Next time you do find out there's a ZOMG GIRL on your server, treat them with the same level of respect (or hell, the same level of disrespect XD) you give your male players. I guarantee you that they'll appreciate it.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
This has been posted on the Blizzard forums, but because I had many wonderful replies over there, I went through and edited it a third time and feel it's ready to release again. I hope to post this over at my guild's website someday, but I'm waiting to do so until I get permission from either my Class Officer or from one of the higher ups. It's an interesting read, but do keep in mind that this is designed not for Tankadins themselves, but for other people who interact with Tankadins. It's basically a list of do's and don'ts and what you can do as your class/spec to best compliment your Tankadin.
If there are any continuing errors, please leave me a message and let me know! I'm always trying to improve what I've written, so it's good to hear from people. =)
Prepare for the wall of text right about now:
Prettyboi’s Guide to Having a Pally Tank (v3.0)
First off, I want to say I’m no expert, but I’ve learned quite a few things. I want to share my knowledge with everyone so that when I am in a group with other people, I don’t have to repeat or explain myself a billion times. And who knows, hopefully some day I won’t be the only active Pally tank in our guild. =) This will also be immensely helpful for if you snag a Pally tank in a run outside of the guild. Without further ado, here we go.
To all DPSers, in particular off-spec Warriors, please remember that Paladins need time to generate aggro as much as any other tank. Yes, we are quick aggro generators, and you’ll likely have to wait a shorter amount of time. However, we also have spell hit to worry about, so if something gets resisted or missed, we fall behind. Wait for the aggro! Especially given the fact that we have much fewer ways to pull than other tanks (our only distance pull we can use on any mob bounces to two additional targets, which with crowd control being mandatory in some places, makes it difficult to consistently use). Paladins dealing with crowd control will generate MUCH less aggro since they’ll likely have to body-pull. For most pulls, let us get about 2-3k. For bosses, like most tanks, allow for 10k.
As well, ALWAYS watch your aggro generation. This should go without saying no matter what kind of tank you have, but this is especially important with Paladin tanks! We have Blessing of Salvation for a reason. We give it to you because it’s part of how we generate aggro; by slowing down your aggro generation. We have a need for both physical +hit and +spell hit, neither of which consistently comes on the gear given to us to tank (read: Warrior gear). Thus, it is likely we miss, get dodged/parried/blocked, or get resisted A LOT. Blessing of Salvation is like aggro generation for us, so if we have problems keeping up with you and you know this, just take the blessing. You’re helping your fellow players by lowering the chance that you pull aggro off us and kill yourself or wipe the rest of the group.
Marking in a paladin's group usually isn't necessary if you pay attention, and remember this: DPS order should 80% of the time be healers>dps casters>slow melee>fast melee. Exceptions being when a specific mob has a nasty debuff, spike damage, etc that needs to be taken care of first. Whoever is group leader should mark in those situations.
In a similar vein as in addressed under the DPSers message, paladins have a much harder time dealing with crowd control, if crowd control is needed at all. If you are a CCer who can crowd control during combat, please do so after the paladin pulls. There’s no point in sheeping something if it’s gonna get hit with a shield. If you are a CCer who crowd controls before combat has started (looking at you Rogues out there), if it’s a large group, try to get the guy at the end. That way the Paladin can still use Avenger’s Shield and not hit the mob you CC’d.
While I’m not about to tell you healers how to do your job, if you have a full or near full mana bar after any encounter is absolutely wasted on a paladin tank. Just because we have good defense and don’t take a lot of damage does not mean you can stop healing us. Paladins, unlike Warriors or Druids, have a mana pool. Because we have to sacrifice a lot of our stats in favor of defense and particularly stamina, we have TINY mana pools. (Fully raid buffed, I currently have about 6k, and that’s likely only ever going to go DOWN.) Blizzard gave us this wonderful ability called Spiritual Attunement where we get a 10% return in mana from the amount we are healed by other characters. Therefore, a pally tank’s mana pool is only as big as his healer’s. We go through our mana in the blink of an eye (a typical rotation of abilities is Seal of Righteousness (~200 mana), Holy Shield (~220 mana), Consecration (~660 mana), Judgement (~180 mana), lather rinse and repeat. That’s approximately 1260 mana each rotation, which is roughly 8 seconds (the time it takes for Judgement’s cooldown to finish). This means that in less than 40 seconds, without heals, I would be entirely out of mana. For Kara, the amount of mana I use is much higher as I have more abilities (Exorcism, ~440 mana), and that gets added to the rotation. Bottom line, even if you see a pally tank at near full health, if their mana bar is low, toss them a little heal at least. The small amount we gain back can make the difference, even if we’re only missing a couple hundred points of health. Besides, shouldn’t we always be “topped off” anyway?
Most of the tanks I have run with side-by-side have been druid tanks. And I tell you what, I love me my druid tanks. They’re there for me when there’s a fight I can’t do because of my lack of stam ( ;-; 2.3 patch, where are you?). We have much the same relationship as a Warrior MT with a Druid OT. I have OT’d with both warrior and druid MTs, and the results have always been the same; I can grab and keep my aggro just fine, and sometimes a little *too* well, accidentally pulling the aggro off the MT and onto myself.
Thus, in my opinion, Paladins make, by default of their abilities, a better MT than an OT, and I’ll elaborate on why. If a Pally tank is not tanking in a fight, he or she is being wasted. Paladin tanks, unlike Warriors or Druids, don’t have something else we can do without a full respec. We can heal, sure, but about as well as a shadow priest can. It becomes entirely gear dependent and we WILL run out of mana, no matter how good our gear is. DPSing is a laugh as a paladin. The Retribution tree needs work as it is, and a paladin tank is not going to be optimized for dealing damage, he is optimized for generating aggro (which are two very different things to a paladin).
It’s not that we’re “taking your job,” other tanks. We’re just competitively working in the same field. I do not feel that a Paladin tank is any better or any worse than a Druid or Warrior tank. If you have better gear than me, than likely, by default, you are a better choice than I am. And that’s fine. Either way, there are situations where you will be better for a job than I am, and I respect that. I just hope you respect that there are some jobs I am better for than you are as well. =) (I’d love to see any group in Kara that isn’t over-equipped where they lack a pally tank and the AOErs don’t die from the groups before and after Moroes.)
Tips and Tricks
There’s a few things from classes that Pally tanks like to see. Here they are separated by class. Some are no-brainers, but I tossed them in there anyway.
-Food and water. Pally tanks are the only tanks who need copious amounts of water, and boy howdy do we ever need it. I typically down water after almost every pull because of how small my mana pool is. Don’t be surprised if at the beginning of Kara you handed a pally tank two stacks of water and he asks you for more later.
-Arcane Intellect/Brilliance. Then we’ll pester you for water a little bit less. =)
-Polymorph after the pull. Addressed in the Crowd Control section, but I’d like to reiterate it as I’ve had problems with this one before. In addition, the further away you place your polymorph, the happier your pally tank will be. If we can still Consecrate, you’ve done your job exceptionally well. If we can’t, well, it’s not the most desired, but we’ll survive. =)
-Polymorph Casters or Ranged Attackers. We hate dealing with them anyway. =P If there is neither, pick the slower swinging warriors over the faster hitting ones.
-Counterspell Casters. We find it highly amusing as well as helpful with the casters come charging blindly into our Consecrate.
-Air Totem. I found this one out on my own, but ZOMG does Air Totem rock! Any pally tank should gladly take Air Totem over Windfury Totem. It can double the amount of aggro we generate, or beyond that if your pally tank has low +spell damage to begin with (though admittedly, he shouldn’t). Any extra spell damage for a Pally tank is love.
-Windfury Totem. This is fine if we're in a raid group with nothing but other melee DPSers. I mean, then it just kinda makes perfect sense.
-Tremor Totem. If we are fighting something that fears at all, this is REQUIRED. Barring trinkets, a paladin's only way out of a fear is bubbling, and even when specc'd, that's once every four minutes (and it temporarily wipes aggro until we unbubble, so we try not to use it at all). If we don't have this, we're kind of boned, and I don't know about you, but I'm not terribly fond of armor bills.
-Commanding Shout. I know this is a spec thing, but DEAR LORD IN HEAVEN are those extra hit points nice. Anything which increases the survivability of your paladin tank is obviously a huge boon to your group, be it a casual run or a raid.
-Accept Blessing of Salvation. If you are not OTing, ask for Salvation because YOU NEED IT. Warriors, no matter what spec they are, generate A LOT of aggro. I don’t care who you are; if you’re “watching your KTM,” you’re going to see a lot of down time where you’re not DPSing AT ALL because you’re generating aggro so fast. Suck it up and take Blessing of Salvation. As I say to all DPSers, if I give you Salvation, it’s a compliment; it means your DPS is so leet that I can’t keep up with you.
-No Stunning. Please don’t charge and stun. What you are doing is causing me to lose valuable aggro. Pally tanks gain a lot of their aggro by being hit, so cut it out! If you want to charge and stun, please go back to being a tank and not DPS.
-Sap on the End. Stated in Crowd Control, but I felt the need to reiterate. Please please please please PLEASE always try to sap the END target of a group. If your tank is marking, this shouldn’t be a problem, but if for some reason he’s not, then this is a good rule of thumb.
-Accept Blessing of Salvation. Generally, I will give rogues the Blessing of Might they want. However, the MOMENT you pull more aggro than I do, you get Salvation. No ifs ands or buts about it. I know you want to do more damage; but overall, you will do more damage if you can have at it and unload on him without stopping yourself than you will by the extra attack power boost I’m giving you. Please stop whining about it when it’s only hurting your group when you die.
-No Stunning. I know it gets you combo points and happy fun-time damage, but you could be Eviscerating instead of Kidney Shotting. It hurts paladin aggro, and while it’s necessary to kick or stun some caster mobs, which is fine, just don’t stun in general, especially at the beginning of a pull.
-Silence Casters. This is for the Shadow Priests out there. Like the mage’s counterspell, we enjoy seeing the casters charge blindly in to kill themselves in our consecrate and by melee-ing us. It’s helpful as well as hilarious.
-Stack Buffs. Another kind of “dur” statement, but talk over with your pally tank about what buffs they’ll be giving, and what buffs you’ll be giving. (Or install Pally Power which just kind of does it for you) My general rule of thumb is to let the Tank hand out Blessing of Kings and the other tailor to the needs of the raid. It just seems easier that way, especially since not all pallys besides Prot-specc’d pallys have Blessing of Kings and the first place. And everyone loves BoK.
-Judge Crusader. If you have the opportunity to judge, tack on another Crusader for us. It’ll increase the amount of aggro we generate, and even if you’re Holy, it’s a nice little boost at the beginning of a fight.
-Imps. Imps are love. They give Pallys much-needed stamina. We love Imps, and we love buffing Imps. If we don’t, set your pally tank straight on that. Imps being buffed makes the Warlock better, and makes us better too.
-Succubae. Succubae are also love (in more ways than one, of course =D). We rather like having a backup plan if an extra mob decides to wander off. A pally tank will always prioritize keeping as many mobs on them as possible, but sometimes we can’t get ‘em all. Succubae eliminate that need, so they’re a very helpful addition.
-Fel Guards. TURN OFF THE TAUNT. We don’t need the competition between your pet and ourselves for who’s tanking. Paladin tanks get half their abilities from procs that only happen when we get hit. If we’re not being hit, we’re a lot less effective. In addition, watch your Cleaving; if a Tankadin’s already suffering the loss of not consecrating because of crowd control, then you shouldn’t be cleaving things either.
-Voidwalkers. See Fel Guards. You’re better off using something else, though I have less problems with Voidwalkers.
-Fel Hunters. I like these guys. They take care of the mages so that they run stupidly at the group and I can begin to consecrate and have them beat the crap out of themselves by wailing on me. Fel Hunters are good in my book, though I rarely see them used other than in PVP. Really, I wouldn’t mind seeing more Fel Hunters around.
-Trap far back. This is also something your tank needs to pay attention to, obviously, but you also should do your part. The further away you trap, the better off your pally tank is. We like to use Consecration. It is part of our general rotation of aggro-generating abilities, like Sunder Armor is to a warrior. I’m more than willing to admit this is a two way street, though. We need to be paying as much attention as you do.
-Misdirect. I love Misdirect. Any possible chance you can Misdirect onto me, do it. Adding aggro to a paladin’s plate is a welcome thing. We never mind another mob beating on us, as it only makes our abilities proc more frequently, and thus, make us harder to kill.
-Pull the Clean Mobs. Meaning, go after and trap the mobs which either were not a target of Avenger’s Shield, or were missed by Avenger’s Shield. A good idea as to which ones were missed are the ones that are charging full speed, since they didn’t get slowed.
-Pets. TURN OFF GROWL. In the same vein as the Warlock’s Fel Guard, we appreciate being hit and being able to, you know, do our job. Please don’t make us have to compete with your pet. It’s just dumb.
-Insect Swarm. If you want to help your Pally tank take less damage against a nasty hard-hitting mob or boss, this is your best choice. Not that we dislike your HoT’s either.
-Run TO the Tank. We won’t bite you, we’re aiming for the mob that’s making you run away like a little girl anyway. Dragging it further away from us is only going to get you killed.
I hope you have found this guide useful and informative. I understand that there are some no-brainer tips and comments in here. For those of you who note they are such, obviously you’re already a smart player and I didn’t need to tell you that to begin with. For those of you that didn’t know some of this, then you’ve learned something new! And remember; all this doesn’t only apply to Paladin tanks, but to other tanks as well. Treat your tank nice, and you survive! Not a hard concept really.
Now, who wants to join me in Shattered Halls? =)
Wednesday, October 31, 2007
First off, I want to say hello to everyone who finds their way here. I hope you find some interesting information here that gets you to keep coming, and I hope you're willing to respond to some of the things I post, give me positive feedback, and help me become a better player. And I hope in return I can give you a different point of view and give you some different advice than you hear elsewhere that is neither better nor worse than others, but simply from another perspective.
Now that I've finished all that cheesey introduction stuff, let's get started. I promised this first post would be a short history as to where I'm at now, so here we go.
I started playing World of Warcraft sometime early in 2005. A friend of mine played with all his buddies on some server which name is now lost to me. It was a general server, and they played Horde. Finally convinced that I should join in the fun, I rolled an Undead Mage named Teristya.
I've always been big on the spellcasters, at least in MMOs. I came from the world of Shadowbane, where I played an Aelfborne (read: Half-elf) Summoner (read: Sorceress; no, they don't actually summon creatures), and really had some fun with it when my Dad started playing with me. He rolled a Dwarf Decon (battle priest) and we had many a fun time blasting others into oblivion.
I figured I'd try to emulate the same thing when I came over to WoW. However, stuff didn't last long for me. I tired of leveling by myself, since my friend and his buddies were in the 30-40's range and only increasing the gap day-by-day, and eventually they all quit the game, leaving me entirely alone. I was going to give up WoW too, but by this time my Dad had joined in as well as a lot of friends from home, so instead I rolled alliance on their server. My dad, after all, wanted to re-make his dwarf character. I ended up rolling both a Dwarf Paladin and a Gnome Warlock to futz around with on the Hyjal server.
I ended up having the same symptom, though. All my friend leveled quicker than I did, and my dad lost interest with it much quicker since I was away at college and we couldn't play side-by-side like we used to with Shadowbane. By this time (only about 6 months later than when I started, really), though, I'd made a lot of new friends at college, and found out they not only all played WoW, but had their own guild, too! So, I moved to my now-home of Mug'Thol, and rolled what they asked me to; an orc warrior by the name of Melna.
They asked me to roll a warrior because they said they needed an end-game tank. Okay, guess I'll go level that. I was having a lot of fun with it, but I was also working hard at school and trying to get good grades. Naturally, I ended up taking a couple of long breaks from WoW, mostly around mid-terms and finals. I was only in my 30's when the guild (Havok) came to me and asked me to re-roll a priest. "You're not that high anyway, and we could really use a healer," they said. "Well, okay. Sounds interesting, I've never played a healer," were my thoughts, and so the next character became Nishta, a troll priestess.
I was leveling my priestess at a much slower pace; after all, she didn't really have the firepower to grind well. I was only 22 when suddenly Burning Crusade was looming around the corner. Immediately my guild ran back to me, declaring, "Burning Crusade is coming out! We're going to need some paladins. You're not that high level yet, do you want to reroll?" I rolled my eyes, but agreed anyway. 'Why not?' I thought. 'I liked being a warrior, I liked being a priest, isn't a paladin just the best of both worlds?'
Despite my initial irritation with being asked to roll a character a third time, I got over it rather quickly. One of my newer friends, both in WoW and at college, who we shall call Kaitou, camped out with me at a Gamestop for our copies of Burning Crusade. I remember being one of three women at the release; and the only one who was actually buying a copy of the game for herself and not her boyfriend or son. I took an odd level of pride in that; I'm a professionally trained actor, I take pride in a lot of silly things. =P
As soon as we got back to my friend's place, I immediately rolled my paladin. I had been talking to Kaitou about it and had definitively decided to roll a male Blood Elf paladin. My reasoning had been "Well, hey, if all you guys can roll females so that you 'have something to look at,' then why can't I?" I wanted to name him as stereotypically objectified as possible. Prettyboy was already taken by an Undead Priest on our server, so Prettyboi it became.
I immediately loved the entire Silvermoon City area and the 1-20 Blood Elf leveling areas. After having been through The Barrens and Durotar three full times, it was a nice change of pace. I was also enjoying a lot of the more creative quests. Learning how to master your mana tap racial ability, for instance. I was actually one of the highest level Horde paladins on our server for a while... basically until I decided it was late enough and had to go to sleep. I would never be close to that high spot ever again.
Levelling went slowly. It took me about two-thirds a year to reach 70. In fact, I only reached 70 in August of this year. But I was still proud of myself. Prettyboi had become the single character I'd stuck with, the single character I never lost interest in, and the single character everyone always wanted in a party. It was nice having the utility of both a healer and a tank, though in all honesty, I truly enjoyed tanking far more than I ever would healing. As I breached 50 and plowed through 60, I had realized this, and decided that I was going to dedicate my efforts to becoming a tank. I had no idea at the time how difficult it would be or how few people on my server in particular hated the idea of a paladin tank, thinking them weak or even entirely useless.
Despite the hardships that were coming, I still don't ever regret my decision.
By the time I had reached Outlands, my former guild, Havok, had fallen apart. Our guild leader had grown out of WoW and was close to graduation, and no one was willing to step up to take over the job. We bid him good luck and farewell, and Havok disbanded. It was a shame; we were actually one of the most advanced guilds on our server for a short time... It would have been nice to have been a part of that.
Finding myself guild-less and almost 70, I needed to figure out what I was going to do with myself. Kaitou's former guild (he hadn't been in Havok with me) had also disbanded, so we were both kind of floating around with no direction other than getting me to 70. While tanking through a run of Slave Pens, the group I was with was massively impressed with my skills, and invited me to their guild, Sinister Sacrament. They seemed like nice enough and enjoyable people, and I'd had a lot of fun jerking their chain around on being male (they honestly had no idea; it was rather amusing, at least to me), so I joined up. I got Kaitou an invitation shortly later, and just before I hit 70, they invited everyone to go Zul'Gurub to test out their raiding skills.
Unfortunately, it didn't really go well.
See, Kaitou was actually the only person who had actually DONE Zul'Gurub. No one in the raid, in particular the raid leader, would listen to him about it. A group of 15 67-70's WIPED in Zul'Gurub because of the lack of organization and other general stupidity.
I did rather enjoy /gquitting the next day, though. Kaitou stuck around about 5 minutes after I caps locked announced "I'M A GIRL!" and /gquit. Apparently the responses were hilarious.
Kaitou and I had already found a new guild when we quit Sinister Sacrament. A lot of his buddies from his old guild had reformed into a newer one, and thus, we both applied and got accepted into Merciless. I am proud that I am still a member of Merciless. =) We are a primarily raiding guild that, at this time, is just starting SSC, and I hope some day I can march beside my fellow guildmates into these high-end 25-mans.
My next hurdle, which I have made a lot of progress in, is being able to stay a Tankadin through and through. If I never have to respec Holy... Then I might be a server first in that regard. To my knowledge, I don't know of another dedicated Tankadin on Mug'Thol. Please, if you know one or are one, contact me. I want to learn from you. I want the advice.
If not... Well, I hope I can be an inspiration to other future Tankadins on my server. Or other future Tankadins in general. I've been learning as much as I can, and I'll be relaying that knowledge here.
I still have a lot of history and stories to tell. But those are for another day. I hope you guys stick around. I think I'm going to enjoy doing this.
**EDIT** Edited Zul'Farrak to Zul'Gurub because I mixed up my names. But yes, it would have been much funnier if it had actually been Zul'Farrak. XD Also fixed a couple inconsistencies in statements. Now they're accurate and correct.