30 July 2011

Day 19: The Things Aka Carried

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 18: My favorite outfit

I get really self-conscious showing pictures of my bags because people inevitably react with shock that I keep so much shit around. Do you worst...!!

Go to Day 20: On the last day

27 July 2011

Summer Vacation

I don't know about you, but I'm always more productive when I'm really busy. Is that weird? I think it's because I get on a roll working on one task, and move to the next with that momentum. By contrast, I'm completely against doing things on my lazy days. When I have a free afternoon, I am loath to mar it with a lesson, or haircut, or food shopping.

In WoW, this works out differently. On raid nights, my non-raid playtime is limited, so I rush to cram in whatever activities I want to do. It doesn't hurt that during raid downtime I can read blogs or chat and thus maintain the illusion of relaxing. (Ask me about my facebook spec) Strangely, on nights when I don't raid, I sometimes have trouble finding things to do with myself and end up afk-ing out while watching TV or playing DS. I suspect it's a sign of burnout, especially with the recent decline in raiding and two of my favorite guildies officially quitting after long absences.

I still have goals, and I still want to play the game. But with my gym schedule restricting me to 2 raid nights a week, and guild ennui making those 2 nights not guaranteed raids, I often find myself doing dailies and then thinking, "now what?" Partially, it's so hot that I can't get excited about anything. Even eating and sleeping are too much effort to do well! The daily activities I have waiting for me in game are non-time-sensitive grinds which could be good background activity for a podcast or movie, but I often log out instead.

Eventually the pendulum will swing back and I'll find myself logging in compulsively and staying up till all hours. Since that's the source of my blogging inspiration, I hope it comes soon! In the meanwhile, I'm going to finish up Saga's 20 Days of... FINALLY, then devote August to Saz's 15 Screenshots challenge. Hopefully in that time I can get a little backlog of posts waiting to entertain you and find my gaming groove again. Until then, me and Mijumaru will be battling N and his team of Pokemon supremacists!

Just for fun, I want to share with you my two favorite search terms from this week:

"bad angry cows"

"day 9 flipping tables" (<---was this a guildie?)

24 July 2011

Day 18: My favorite outfit

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 17: My favorite spot

Most of my favorite inspirations come from tier, specifically because it is designed to match and evoke a certain image. I'm not super familiar with other matching sets, but I do have a certain fondness for the Twill set. My DK-banker sports 8/8 full Twill and a Diamond-Tipped Cane. /flex epeen

Akabeko has the following druid sets:
Lately I have really liked druid tier; even Lasherweave grew on me (although that helm...eehhhh). T12 is the first in a while that made me say wow, what? The helm looks like a dog cone (obligatory worgen joke), and it's incredibly drab, neither fiery nor green.

Go to Day 19: The Things Aka Carried

21 July 2011

Goblin Journal: The Home of the Night Elves

I clearly did not pay enough attention in geography OR history. As it turns out, Ashenvale, despite being an old night elf homestead, has been consistently contested by the Horde, as Orgrimmar wants to use the forest for lumber. Just a little history lesson for you there. It’s a real shame, too. The edge of Ashenvale that borders the Southfury River was a surprisingly pleasant contrast to the autumnal brown of Azshara. Where Azshara was brown, dry, and occasionally stinking of technology, Ashenvale is dark and cool, and unexpectedly damp. Not that I mind; being from the islands means I can handle pretty much any humidity.

Of course, while I was busy admiring the trees and grass, the orcs wanted me to lay about cutting down the saplings that night elves were tending. Maybe I need to write to orcish publications about protecting the environment!

In not my proudest moment, I did it anyway. I want to be a valuable member of the Horde. Maybe serving well will make me more respected in my business ventures, although I wonder if the hypocrisy won’t tank my activist capital. At any rate, it seems like our main competition in Ashenvale is the night elves, although I’ve heard those goat-footed draenei are out there somewhere. A little weird fighting the very race I’ve been proposing to join should I flee the Horde. Not that I would.

After cutting down trees, I stupidly helped demons defend Splintertree Post. Demons! How could I not have seen that was a bust? This required an uncomfortable visit to Mr. Hellscream himself – I thought he might bite me in half right there!

From Splintertree I was bundled off to another military post overlooking an old night elf settlement. The orcs set me to slaughtering elves and furbolgs alike (furbolgs, by the by, are grumpy bipedal bears). There were some goblin engineers in the camp who hooked me up with all sorts of new gadgets. I did a bombing run of the outpost, but it was hard to enjoy the explosions. Impressive explosions, and I couldn’t even enjoy them! This is all the orcs’ fault. Can’t they make business agreements like normal people?

In a funk, I followed summons from all around the forest. First was to the coast, where the forest abruptly opens into flat, gray sand and an even grayer sky. The southern beach hosts the Horde outpost, what appears to have developed recently. Just getting to the outpost was a challenge, what with not only wolves and irritable forest spiders, but slimy naga as well! They hiss like a popped tire and slither faster than you’d expect. Killing them was one quest I didn’t mind. Those creatures are repulsive!

They ran me up and down the coast, clearing out naga, replenishing supplies, and generally being helpful. Although it was military work, it still felt more honorable than wholesale slaughter of sentient elves. Although I’ve heard the naga are sentient, though evil. Does that make me a hypocrite?

Being on the coast renewed my spirits as well. The clouds were reminiscent of the oppressive smog on Kezan’s coasts (and the rest of it, really), but the salty air was nothing like the good stink of industry. Can’t say I dislike fresh air, though. Sometimes I think I might be breathing better! I think I’m getting stronger, too, what with all the walking and running. I lost a little weight, so I’m trying to eat more mana cakes and travel in my trike when possible. Who ever heard of a goblin without a little treasure in the trunk?

After the beach was a long trip to backtrack to a charred crater of the forest. The scorched earth is unpleasantly hot, and fire elementals have emerged to keep the flames going. I met a goblin shaman there, who with other communicative elementals was attempting to quell the destruction. I keep a water elemental with me, but this sort of collaboration surprised me. I use the elemental as I wish, setting it to aid me with enemies, but I’m sure it is none too smart and we have never spoken beyond me giving orders. I wonder what Stikwad’s elementals thought of my arrangement.

I helped them, eventually destroying the mastermind of the elemental burning with the unusual help of the shaman’s allies. Even after the threat was past, I stayed to talk with Stikwad. He is a member of the Earthen Ring, a gathering of shaman intent on saving Azeroth from the destruction and chaos created by Deathwing. And when I say shaman, I mean all types, including Alliance! I know the Steamwheedle Cartel manages to be a neutral entity that deals with both Horde and Alliance without bias, but the thought of a bipartisan organization agreeing and compromising and accomplishing goals really intrigues me! And they are in the business of saving the world, which is even better! I only wish I were a shaman, so I could help more. I wonder how they feel about mages in their number? Or do I need to start my own (for profit??) organization?

Still contemplating the nuggets of information I earned from Stikwad, I followed my last summons to Silverwind Refuge. Unlike Hellscream's Reach in the north, this elf outpost has been successfully taken by the orcs, who looked enormously out of place in the delicately carved buildings. I killed elementals, I killed spies, I killed more furbolgs. I scavenged spare parts and helped rebuild solid goblin machinery. The commander was so impressed by my efficiency that he finally ordered me off on the next caravan to Stonetalon Mountains.

No deal. Hellscream can put his bloodshot eyes on someone else for awhile. I’ve got a lot of hard thinking to do, especially about my actions and allegiances. It’s been a rough time, and I deserve a bit of a break, besides. It’s high time that I fulfilled my dream and experienced the bustling commerce of Booty Bay!

18 July 2011

Day 17: My favorite spot

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 16: What I miss

This is a surprisingly hard question in-game. Although I do write RP-style stories, my game time is mostly spent idling wherever I happen to be when I tab out and get distracted, or in the location I need to be to do whatever I'm working on. The closest I ever came to having "a spot" to hang out in was during WotLK, when I would fly down to the old night elf arches over the lake in Crystalsong. The scenery was gorgeous, the music was peaceful, and I could idle and chat forever.

My current hangout is Orgrimmar, but my favorite spots are either Thunderbluff or Silvermoon. Both have the convenience of major cities, but both are a million times more attractive than Org. TB can be a bit confusing at times, but with a flying mount it's a breeze.

IRL, my favorite spot is typically tied to the presence of someone I care about, but since I am a bit of a homebody I do like to hang with friends lolling on the couch or dancing in the kitchen. I am currently fond of my stout little couch, which is great for lounging and napping. On weekends I use it as an epic desk chair.

Go to Day 18: My favorite outfit

15 July 2011

Circle of Healers

I have been tagged! As Kamalia pointed out, I was not around for the first iteration of Ms. Medicina's survey. Saunder is sending it around again. More responses are collected here. This is the prompt:
Post this questionnaire, with your answers, on your blog. Pick the healing class you know most about (or is the focus of your blog) for the questionnaire, and then send it over to another healing blogger you know and love who heals with a DIFFERENT class. Include a link to the blogger who sent you the questionnaire, as well as a link to the blogger to whom you are sending it.

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?

Akabeko, resto druid.

2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)

10s raids with an occasional smattering of 5s heroics

3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?

From a fun-only point of view, I like Tranquility simply because it's a beautiful spell. When taurens cast it it's not much to look at, but the old tree form had the most hilarious expression when channeling...

In raids I am a big fan of [glyphed] Swiftmend - not only does it heal for a good chunk without consuming a hot, but it leaves a happy puddle that heals not only the original target, but those around them! ...And I get a kick out of watching raiders cluster to be in it.

4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?

Probably Regrowth or maaaaybe Healing Touch. Given the right opportunity I will use HT on a clearcast rather than Regrowth, and in times of big heals I'll stand and cast HT rather than chain spam Regrowth.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?

Movement! In addition to running and hotting and running some more, I have also been known to kitty dash or cheetah if the area allows. Speaking of those other helpful forms, I will skull bash MC'D people on Cho'gall when necessary and taunt my own spinner on Beth'tilac. So versatile!

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?

I know many people cite the lack of a mitigation cooldown as a big thing. Having never played a healing class that has such a cooldown, I will take their word for it! Aside from that, I want something in between Healing Touch and Nourish - I suppose Swiftmend is supposed to fill that medium heal gap, but it's so great it needs a long cooldown. I'd like a cast that packs a little more oomph than Nourish while still not approaching the power of HT.

7. In a (changing this to-->) 10 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

At the moment I am a mana hog and have trouble keeping an eye on too many targets, so I prefer tank healing. That way I know I'll never let LB fall off because I got distracted by raid healing, but will still have clearcasts to pepper around the raid.

8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?

Probably holy pally, just because I have so many good memories of doing it back in Wrath. With attendance the way it is, I enjoy healing with whoever showed up for raid that night!

9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?

Hmm. I actually don't know about this. My most consistent experiences are with pallies and shamans. Maybe priests? But I don't know if I would say NO, I CANNOT HEAL WITH YOU BECAUSE OUR CLASSES ARE NOT COMPATIBLE unless we made a few attempts and realized it was truly impossible.

10. What is your worst habit as a healer?

Tunnel vision. Usually this results in my own death :( I'll be looking intently at my little glowing boxes and then WOOPS STANDING IN FIRE. Sometimes a kindly raid healer saves me, and sometimes it's too late. And there's no one to blame but myself!

Aside from that, I frequently forget cooldowns. I mean, important ones. Like hey, you could have used your healthstone there instead of blowing Nature's Swiftness on yourself! Or now would be a good time for ToL since you let yourself get OOM and now it's time for healing! Battlegrounds have taught me a lot about versatility in forms and cooldowns, but these were not part of the lessons :(

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?

Freakin line of sight! Short of that, running into an awkward out of range place. There's only so many people I can chase down at once!

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?

Sure! We have a good time ragging on each other about the healing meters. Epeen indeed.

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?

Did my target die? Did I cause undue stress to other healers by doing moronic things myself? Did I snipe heals? Was I struggling for mana? I used to peek at our combat logs after raid, but not only have we not had many recently, but I don't think I was ever really looking at them correctly. Jasyla made some wonderful "how to read logs" posts, so maybe if we start getting more consistent raids going I can have another go.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?

That we can't tank heal? Do people still think that? I might be dating myself here.

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn? 

You still have to cast. Or maybe that's only if you're totally new, in which case a more seasoned healer would rely too much on casting and not enough on hotting? I think it's important to not forget the many good reasons to use our casts. Aside from that, I wonder if it's hard to remember using some situationally useful tools from other specs.

16. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?

Probably plenty of overhealing, but also high output as well. I use big cooldowns frequently, rez and buff people.

17. Haste or Crit and why?

Haste please! I want fast casts and I want all the hot ticks ever. Haste is so very in right now.

18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?

Priest? I say that with the caveat that I actually have never healed on any other class so in reality I know the least about any class that isn't druid. But I've heard lots of pallies and shamans complain about their healing, so that's kind of like knowing how it works. At this point I expect that each healer will volunteer themselves for things they are capable of and enjoy doing.19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

I use Grid and its host of plugins. I do not, however, use Clique, although that seems to be a thing commonly paired with Grid. Grid allows me to track Lifebloom stacks and duration, other hots (rejuve, regrowth, wild growth) and their duration, and debuffs on the raid. 

I also use Power Auras, which alerts me to cooldowns on Innervate, Tree Form, and Rebirth, procs of Clearcasting, Power Torrent, and Tree Form, and shows huge icons when I am not fed or flasked.

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?

I definitely go out of my way for haste and spirit, with a kindly eye turned towards mastery.

Tag someone!
I want to hear from Ttrinity at Healer Aggro!

14 July 2011

Waffle Bites Interview!

I was recently interviewed by the Team Waffle druid podcast! You can listen to me wax poetic about healing, vanity pets, Nuts jokes, and raiding here. If you are a fan of druids, or would like to become one, you should definitely check out their full-length podcasts!

12 July 2011

Day 16: What I miss

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 15: Wallpaper

This has me stumped! I know I miss queuing for heroics solo, confident that I could heal anything while half-paying attention and be done in 30 minutes. I unfortunately need badges at the moment, but I am sad that I don't look forward to heroics anymore because they are so freaking long. Even when I can queue with guildies, I feel like I'm losing a lot of time.

I miss some zones that have become a little less beautiful, like Loch Modan and Azshara. I miss secret quests that you stumbled on by chance, rather than being directed to the area by an unrelated but well-meaning quest. Although I am mostly down with the quest updates, and the ease with which you can get a zone quest achievement, I want there to be more quests tucked away, to be sought out or stumbled upon at random.

I also miss attunements /ducks tomatoes. I know that predates Cata, but there it is. Even if it were just a quest chain requiring some heroics or what-have-you, even if it were account bound, I would like to feel like I did a little bit of work to break into the big bad raid instance.

Go to Day 17: My favorite spot

11 July 2011

IRL Ding

Congratulations, you have reached level 24!
You have gained 5 pounds and a 4-drink maximum.
You have gained 2 heartbreak resilience points.
Your Strength increases by 2 pounds.
Your Intellect increases by a nominal amount.
Your Spirit increases by enough to make it through a day of elementary school.

09 July 2011

The Leatherworkers [Tier 10]

The burly orc adjusted the leather straps of her pauldrons and tugged on thick, metal-plated gloves before hefting a crescent-bladed axe to her shoulder.

Her companion was similarly outfitted, an enormous tauren covered in plate and well-practiced with his shield and mace.

They hardly noticed the cold after the climb into the pit, although Icecrown was many times colder than any natural winter that had ever existed in Kalimdor. Both paused for a moment, excusing the hesitation by glancing at their abandoned packs or testing a weapon.

"Well, let's get this over with," the orc said gruffly. She stalked towards the edge of the pit, away from what little glow could reach the center. Her companion followed, stepping in front of her and raising his shield.

As they neared the wall of the cave they slowed, listening intently to the sinister rustle of their quarry. Steeling herself, the orc lit a flare and tossed it lightly over her partner's shoulder. It landed just ahead of the pair, illuminating their target.

The writhing mass of thorns stood as tall as a full grown orc, and when confronted with the light immediately lashed out, striking the tauren's waiting shield. He grunted at the impact, weathered a few more bone-shaking hits, then returned fire with his mace.

His goal was not to kill the plant, but rather subdue it. He smashed each vine that snuck around his shield into the ground, stunning several. As he continued to taunt and goad the plant into attacking him, his orcish companion darted in, axe raised, and began to hack off tips from the incapacitated vines. She worked quickly, darting in and out to snatch the hewn pieces from where they lay squirming and toss them towards the center of the pit.

This went on for several exhausting minutes before the plant gave a sharp hssss and the lesser vines retreated. Now both orc and tauren tensed, willing themselves to be more alert, more resilient.

From somewhere within the wriggling nest of vines emerged a conical bulb. It arose on a vine thinner than the others, and what it lacked in thorns it made up for in the snarling, toothy maw. The bulb hissed, and as the pair watched, a second bulb snaked up to meet it.

"Two pods? Earthmother help us," the tauren breathed.

The bulbs attacked, aiming at the heady scent of flesh hiding behind the shield. The tauren fought back, shield flashing in time to parry both pods. They bounced off and immediately struck again, and the tauren was kept busy merely avoiding the attacks. While the pods were occupied, the orc slashed at their vines, hoping to lop off a bulb. This drew their attention, and a previously-severed vine emerged to encircle her ankle and tug her off balance.

The raw end of the vine oozed a viscous, awful-smelling liquid that made her armor boil and smoke. The orc roared in pain, but managed to twist in time to avoid a pod hurtling full force towards her chest. In the same moment, she bent, severing the vine around her ankle from the plant and rolling to her feet in one smooth motion.

Her companion was still shielding himself from more blows, but was now managing to return every other attack with a swing of his mace. The orc pulled herself together and charged back into the fray. A bulb left off attacking the tauren to harry her, snaking eagerly towards her neck.

The tauren struck, cracking it solidly on the head. It fell unceremoniously to the ground, briefly stunned. The orc darted forward, pulling a prong-like tool from her belt that she used to pin the bulb's vine down while she hacked off the head.

The tauren gave a cry as the second bulb flashed past his shield to punch full force into his bicep. He groaned, regripped the shield, and swung it around as the bulb struck again. This time, the pod bounced wetly off the plate, flopping stupidly until the orc's blade flashed quick and deadly. Now in retreat, the orc scooped up the severed head and backed away, brandishing her axe. The tauren remained in front, ready to confront any leftover vines that may attack.

Back in the center of the pit, the tauren cleaned and repacked the heavier pieces of his armor, then set about nursing his bruised arm. The orc remained in her armor, having switched her axe for a pair of tongs which she used to stow each of the thorny vines safely in a reinforced leather pack. Each of the pods she packed separately, and after sealing all bags carefully put the whole lot into a larger leather pack. It twitched as the vines inside suffered their death throes, and occasionally groaned and hissed as the pods snarled their annoyance.

Only now did the orc begin to remove her armor in preparation for leaving, and the tauren waited patiently, offering her a flask when she had finished. The liquor was harsh, fortifying her strength after such exertion.

"Thanks," she muttered, wiping her mouth and handing the flask back to her companion. "How's your shoulder? Did it break the skin?"

"No," the tauren replied, wincing as he moved the arm tenderly.

"You were lucky. Just last month Mareg broke a bone, and she's one of the strongest shielders we have. And before that, Jotesh was poisoned pretty badly."

"Lucky indeed," he agreed. "I'll be glad when we get some new inspiration for crafting. These Lasherweave pieces are ten times of impossible to get."

"Be careful what you wish for," the orc cautioned. "Who knows what other horrors might make for good druid armor?"

06 July 2011

Day 15: Wallpaper

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 14: /flips table

I usually pick screenshots for my desky wallpaper because they are guaranteed to be the right size. I take a metric fuckton of screenshots, so I have plenty of options. Every month or so I go poking through the unorganized bits and pick out something recently taken to update my wallpaper. I started this project so long ago that my desktop has gone through the following wallpapers while this post was waiting to be published...

99 bottles of Junglevine Wine on the wall...

I stood in the fire.

The new hotness. Emphasis on the hot.

Go to Day 16: What I miss

03 July 2011

4.2 means more screenshots

So, I was gonna make another list similar to my T11 gear list, but I figured it would be easier to just link you to some of the more useful 4.2 preparation posts I've come across and instead dedicate a post to talking about what I've been doing in game.

First, check out these things:
Jasyla at Cannot Be Tamed has an incredible list of resto gear. She's even gone so far as to organize it not only by item slot, but by boss and profession.
Beru at Falling Leaves & Wings has new Power Auras to track your Harmony mastery buff.
Keeva at Tree Bark Jacket gets you set on the new Hyjal dailies.

This week I had a stroke of amazing luck, which I shall consider to be an early birthday present! After farming Attumen half-heartedly for several months, I punched a pony in the face and was rewarded with...a pony! I call him Petals.

I've been pretty intent on my Fire Festival dailies, so I didn't get around to the new Hyjal dailies until this weekend. I hit up all of the fires on Aka, netting a disgusting amount of gold, and got my paladin to 85 with the fire experience gains. Some other alts I have tried to take through as many fires as I can get to with a ground mount, but with the festival winding down it will be dictated by how much time I have between other obligations.

I'll save you!
The new quests are pretty neat, although I found it a little strange that after saving Thrall from being torn to metaphysical pieces, we watched him get hitched to Aggra rather than finish the ritual deemed important enough to interrupt and...tear Thrall to metaphysical pieces. Oh well. Then I had to watch my Archdruid Hamuul get put through the ringer while Matoclaw is all "Whatever! The mission is compromised!" At least my new Horde balloon can cheer me up.

Nah, I'm not actually gonna get the staff.
We did an alt raid of BWD for shits and giggles on Friday night, and I finally got my bracers upgrade and the accompanying gear achievement. Since then I've stepped into Firelands twice and put in some attempts on Beth'tilac. The trash leading up to her was giving us a fair amount of recipes (although I heard they hotfixed that?) which was exciting. The boss fight itself is really enjoyable; I was picked to follow the tank up onto the web, and it adds a really interesting dynamic that makes me feel like I'm doing hugely epic stuff. We will be fighting, get our web strands in hand, go up in succession, and then beat the boss around until it's time to drop back down. We leap through a hole in the web, using the sticky strands to break our falls, and when we hit the ground there's some time to throw out group heals before the next round starts. "Sorry baby, my ride is here," /climbs up web

Our best attempt so far has been 40%, so I'm hoping we can get this kill quickly. However, it has occurred to some that we might benefit from filling those last pesky blue gear slots by hitting up old raids again. I'm not complaining; I still want to see Nef and Al'Akir dead, and I still want a new helm! Happy 4th of July!

Oh okay. Let's have a wedding, I guess.
Have a nice flight!