Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Odds and Ends

Trinket Macro

Mystic Chicanery posted an absolutely beautiful macro for those of us who juggle multiple sets of trinkets. Simple and elegant. You see it, and it's an immediate "I can't believe I didn't think of that" moment.

Raiding as DPS

I got roped into a Gruul's Lair raid on Valarin. We got High King Maulgar down, and a decent attempt on Gruul. It was an interesting experience as DPS. It's a lot less stressful than healing, but there is a distinct lack of feedback. I would rank my performance as pretty poor (~400 DPS, was doing Curse of Tongues/Shadows), though to be fair I haven't put a great deal of work into Valarin. No enchants and 55 hit rating makes me sad.

The other thing I find that drops my DPS significantly is having to switch focus. I had to banish/enslave a felhound once or twice, and I'm pretty sure my DPS plummeted during that time. As a healer, I'm used to switching targets on my interface, and not selecting targets in the actual game (or even Tab-targetting). It's a skill that I really need to improve.

The other thing that was interesting was seeing a guild that had not really learned how to raid yet. I really pity the paladins in that guild. Everyone was demanding different buffs. Also, there were a couple wipes from mistakes like people accidentally aggroing mobs. I think Tharok put it well when he said that people "have not learned to respect the encounter". Simple things like running beside the wall while positioning, maintaining maximum distance from the mobs.

The best part, though, was that my repair bill was less than 5 gold.

A'lar the Phoenix God

My guild is attempting A'lar at the moment. We have Phase 1 down, and are working on Phase 2. It's a neat encounter. One of the biggest things in this encounter for healers is range. Trying to maintain range while tanks are switching off is pretty hard. I might have to go get a UI mod which visually marks people who are out of range.


I'm experimenting with Google Adsense, and have put an ad on the sidebar. I think it doesn't clash with the visuals too greatly. Adsense is fairly easy to use. My biggest concern is that I can't seem to block goldselling/powerlevelling ads. As it isn't really very lucrative, I'll probably end up taking it down in a week or so.


I've been thinking a lot about the difference between Time and Difficulty in an MMO. Which should be rewarded more: beating a difficult challenge, or beating a challenge which requires a lot of time? Is there an equivalence point? Does it matter if game time matches real-time? Is there a difference between a task which can be accomplished in 5 hours at a stretch or one where you have to spend an hour a day for 5 days? Which of those two options should get a greater reward?


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Grr, my last comment didn't come out correctly.

    Resto4life has an even better article about using trinkets in a macro and tying them to your spells. I use a combination of firing a trinket off whenever I cast Holy Light, and cycle in a few trinkets whenever one is on cooldown to maximixe my ... trinkery? :P

  3. RE: Time v. Difficulty

    IMO, everything in WoW is linked to time.
    First, and most obviously, it is not difficult to level a character to 70, it just takes time.
    Second, and perhaps less obvious, is that one can obtain just about any gear in the game through an investment of time:
    - Questing
    - Craft gear
    - PvP
    - Instance / raid

    All of these paths are - bottom line - time investments.

    The key is the 'bait and switch' that a game has to pull off:
    Achievements need to look and feel like they are not "time" achievements, but are rather "difficulty" achievements (especially the PvP and raid elements).
    WoW managed to pull that off, and that's one reason it's spectacularly successful.

    That's my take, for what it's worth, and it guides my direction in the game: I don't get in a snit about gear, because gear boils down to time and/or chance...

  4. For healing, I recommend either Xperl or Healbot. Personally, I use both.

    Xperl has a wonderfully configurable layout, which you can set so many things that are useful for raiding. However, I am a click-healer, and for that Healbot is amazing. I make the window rather small too, so there's a lot less manuvering. With a simple three button mouse you have 12 different combinations of spells you can target cast. Flash on left-click, Holy Light on right-click. Down rank with shift, BoP or Righteous Defense with alt-clicks... really does make things easy.

  5. Xpearl is an amazing addon that I love dearly. The problem with it has always been memory usage (it is a huge addon). When I redid my UI for 2.2 I switched to Grid. It works well, gives status reports for everyone in the raid, and requires just a few little tweaks to be as functional as Xpearl was. Both also have a rangefinder that is set to 40 yards by default.

    Al'ar was my favorite fight in TK (though the new Solarian is pretty awesome too, I always loved Baron Geddon in MC). One of the things we also had problems with is people spreading out too much during meteors. As a general rule of thumb we try to have everyone in the center glass thing except the add tank(s) and his healers.

    If you're one of the MT healers you can actually stand right on top of Al'ar. He has no cleave and no AoE, you just have to watch for Flame Patches. It also lets you melee in between heals to keep up a judgment (I always do wisdom for the shadow priests since most of the other ranged is on the adds).

    And congrats on the new boots. I still wear those things, they are quite awesome.

  6. Grid is an amazing raid frame for healers. It keeps all the raiders in one neat block, and you can tell who is in range and out of range. Plus it shows huge icons for people who need cleansing and such.

  7. On Time...

    Rewards should be linked to accomplishments. I’m not sure if this is what you mean my challenge exactly. Too me it’s simple, if you accomplish X then you get Y as a reward. If some folks accomplish a hard challenge quickly (let’s call this person Leetpeen), they just get the reward quicker. The person who fumbled through it and eventually accomplished the goal after months of persistence deserves the goal just as much. They just had to pay more (in time) to get it. Mean while Leetpeen has already moved on and made many other accomplishments and taken the rewards.

    That said I do believe it is good game design policy to place attainable accomplishments in the game more geared toward persistence than outright skill. This is good for keeping a variety of interests involved in the game. It also allows anyone to work on something alone or in small groups if they don’t feel like raiding. Crafting items, faction grind items, and even to some degree heroic badge items are great outlets for this effort. Leetpeen might not bother with many of these as he has access to slightly better stuff though his many accomplishments, but that is ok.


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    BTW: I agree.. once you see those macros you're amazed that you didn't think of them sooner.


  9. My personal favorite unitframe mod is Pitbull. I use mouseover macros for healing, and I like how it will highlight the frame I'm mousing over so I'm sure my mouse is positioned properly. It has the range-fading feature you mention. What I like most about it is that it is *completely* customizable.

    I can make text say whatever I want in whatever color I want wherever I want, and hide whatever information isn't important to me. I can see casting bars for my party/raid members and see what they're casting. I can set their frames to highlight in a color corresponding to the type of debuff they have that I can cure. And it has a built-in five-second-rule spark to watch my mana regen too ^_^

  10. My dad told me a long time ago that you usually have one of two things in life.

    Money or Time.

    Rarely both...sometimes neither....

    I have little time - but love to play. My hour a night is worth as much or more as an unemployed college students 8 hour binge. The game can easily accommodate both.

    Daily quests that allow me to build value over time are HUGE...otherwise - I might never get anywhere.

  11. "I had to banish/enslave a felhound once or twice, and I'm pretty sure my DPS plummeted during that time. As a healer, I'm used to switching targets on my interface, and not selecting targets in the actual game (or even Tab-targetting). It's a skill that I really need to improve."

    Trouble I used to have here was that I first had to target the beast (and he seemd to appear in a random position each time, possibly due to lag, I don't know).
    Once enslaved he had a habit of running towards me and completely blocking my view. Then I had to get him out of my face before I could target the Ogre with him. Such a big waste of time.
    A macro makes life so much simpler:

    /Target Wild Felstalker
    /cast Enslave Demon
    /target Olm

  12. Why don't you simply use a focus macro on your banish ?