Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Dreadsteed of Xoroth

I recently had the chance to revisit this quest line. First, I helped a total stranger do the quest, then I helped a guildy do the quest. For those who are unaware, any warlock that hangs onto the last three components, 'J'eevee's Jar', 'Xorothian Glyphs' and 'Black Lodestone', can use them for any warlock that's actually on the quest The Dreadsteed of Xoroth. Any warlock who actually has these items and doesn't hang onto them probably has a screw loose, or is stupendously rich. That's about close to 300 gold worth of materials in those three little items.

The first time (other than when I did it myself) that I did this, I asked him if he knew what to do and where to go. He said he did.

We get to Dire Maul and ... he didn't know anything. He didn't know what section of Dire Maul he needed to be in. He didn't know you had to destroy the pylons. He didn't know you had to kill Immol'thar. He didn't know how to summon the dreadsteed. He knew nothing.

I had to rely on memories that were probably close to a year old and a brief skim through on WoWWiki. I had people going off and doing the stupidest things (like attacking Tendris Warpwoodand when the patrols were still around) which would typically get me killed.

This, to say the least, was frustrating.

The second time, I helped a guild member go through, with several other guildies. This was quite enjoyable. :)

For those who don't know what I'm talking about, I'm discussing the level 60 warlock epic mount quest. You have to do a lot of running around and buy a lot of expensive materials. Then after a brief jaunt through Scholomance, you head to Dire Maul. At the end of the quest, you create a massive summining circle. Imps and fel guard types spawn in numerous numbers and you need a warlock with the black lodestone to keep the summoning circle going (you need about 10 extraneous soulshards to do this, so don't go in with less than that.)

Doing this with a normal group was quite ... intense. I did it when I was in my low 60's, with my healadin husband and a few other guildies. Now that I'm 70, going in there was quite fun fun fun. And the summoning fight, while still intense, is rather more enjoyable than frantic. I remember the first time going 'Oh dear lord, when is it going to end? Aieeeah!'. Now I was going, 'Wait, did it end already?'

I have a good friend, Byouki (aka Owaru), who needs to do the quest. He's on the step before Scholomance, I believe. I keep telling him that he needs a fireyspikeyhorse, but he 'mehs' at me.

On a side note, my husband objects to me calling him a healadin. He says that compartmentalizes him and all others like him. He says he can tank and dps too. He wants to know if I want to be known as a dpslock. I said 'yes', and forebore to tell him that warlocks are also compartmentalized, we're affliction, demonology or destruction. So, rightly, I'm an afflock. ... which is not like Affleck. If Ben Affleck was a warlock, he wouldn't be affliction. He'd so be destruction. Probably destro-demonology, with demonic sacrifice for the extra damage.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

The genesis of names...

What's in a name? People name themselves after things, phrases, ideals. They name themselves after people, places or acronyms.

I've seen people who add extra letters to an already taken name so they can have something similar. IE: Drizzt, Drizztx, Drizzta, Legolas, Legolasx, Ligolas, Sephiroth, Sefiroth, Sephirothx, and any combination thereof.

I make my names up, with very few exceptions. I create them, sounding them out in my head until I have a name I like the sound of.

For me... my own personal names have to start with a K. If I'm writing a short story, I just pick a letter and go from there.

Some of my names have quite a bit of history behind them.

Kiya is a shortened form of Kiyamvir, a villain in a Mercedes Lackey novel, whom nontheless has an awesome name. I would have taken the full name, except I've stopped plagerizing a few years ago.

Kava is a name that I made up, which I later learned is an actual word. It's a sweat lodge/spiritual lodge in some Native American language. She's a rogue. She's a rogue because I also used the name in a story that I was writing a while back where the main character was an assassin named Kava'Ashen.
Edit: Kava is a drink. I had another character on a roleplaying game named Kiva, and THAT is the sweat lodge.

Kikidas is a name that I also made up. A long while ago, I was playing online text based RPG's. A character there I named Cryshal Kikidas. I like Kikidas especially because taken by itself, it's not very gender specific. Kikidos I suppose would be more masculine. But then you get to be called Kiki. And how cute is that?

Kathe is one of the few names I've seen by the WoW name generator that I took. It's Kay-the, not Kah-the! :)

Keyami is another of my RPG names transferred over. I played a laboi (Star Wars alien). She had a second name, but I forget what it was.
I remember her name. It was Keyazi Yumani. Obviously, Keyami is a hybridization of that name.

Kiljara is a name that I made up with a former roommate. I was trying to hook my roommate into playing WoW. So I sat down with her and I typed in a K and let her help me make a name. I also let her help me design the character, which is why the character is so very purple.

Kvasira is based on the name Kvasir. Kvasir is a godlet in Norse Mythology, a bard who is accredited with being wise.

Karika is another name I made up on the spot. No history.

Karitei is a japanese demon/god. It used to eat children, until it's own children were eaten. Now it protects children. Talk about turnaround!

How do I make names? The sound. I sound it out in my head. I have, you may have noted, a good imagination. I also like vowels. And the K, Y and Z letters. I put them together on the spot. I fix, mix, match until I get a name that sounds good to me.

I write fantasy novels, so I've had lots of practice making up fantasy sounding names. I've also made up races, religions, magic rules, worlds. It's fun. I highly encourage you to try it.

But to get back to the main point of this post. I was playing with a rogue named Leiaangel.

That got me thinking. Leia. Luke and Leia. Parents are .. Padme Amidala and Anikin Skywalker. Friends are Obi Won Kenobi, Qui Gon Jinn. Wedges Antilles. Biggs Porkins. Lando Calrissian. Han Solo. Mon Mothma. Bail Organa.

And their names are Luke and Leia.

How prosaic.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Being a Leader: Pros, Cons and Overall

My history of being a "leader" began so far back in time that ... dinosaurs walked the Earth.

It began in my original guild, Dragon Society. It was a guild run (and is still alive and doing well!) by a druid named Lizzy and her dad. Boon and myself, in some various incarnation or another, were officer's in the guild. We'd, together with our friends, do things together. To be honest, I don't recall if I was the one who organized instance runs or not.

When we left Dragon Society with some of our friends, we formed the core group of the Guardian Knights. This is when I believe my leadership learning took place. I KNEW the instances. I could (and did) write guides for them for our guild website (without being online). I knew what strategies worked well, what groups worked well, what to do, when to do it, what order to do it in. I knew what level you had to be, what loot dropped, quests that you could do. I knew all this without the benefit of Atlas Loot. I did my research on Allakhazam. I wrote my own strategies of each instance, the bosses, the loot, overall tactics. I wish that I had saved those, since the original website is long since gone and my hard work gone with it.

More than just the knowledge, I started the groups. I gave the orders (not always followed, but I was talking, anyway.). I found the people to fill in the groups. This persisted all the way up to the 10-man of UBRS/LBRS. I would organize 5-man LBRS, but not 10-man. I did assist others in forming UBRS runs. I knew UBRS well. I knew the fights. I knew where to go, how to do it. I simply didn't feel I had the playability and the charisma to lead 9 other people.

Unfortunately, the GK never progressed past those low-60 instances. I never did Molten Core, or Onyxia. I never downed Ragnaros. I never ventured into Zul'Gurub or An'Qirag.

At the advent of the Burning Crusade, I had a whole new set of instances to learn. New quests to learn. New skills to try out. New gear to puzzle over. I learned the new instances the way I learned the old ones. Ask some of the people who party with me regularly. I'm like a living strategy/quest guide. I don't claim to know the best strategy for EVERYTHING, but I do a damn good job of knowing a good quantity of them, for various group makeups. Likewise, I don't know all of the quests, but plop me back down in the middle of any zone I've quested in and I can probably tell you what quests you should/could do, what order you may want to do them in and what, if any, chain quests you need to consider.

What does that have to do with being a leader? Nothing much. I was just rambling.

No, I jest. What that means is that a leader isn't just the person who says "we'll do it my way", it's the person who knows, who understands, who considers, who adjusts, who listens.

I didn't spring, fully formed, as a group leader of various instances, knowing strategies innately. I began my career as a group member. I listened and watched other group leaders. I learned not just from the successes, but from the failures as well.

A leader also isn't just the person who knows the strategy. A leader encompasses so much more than that. Anyone can log into WoWWiki and look up an acceptable strategy.(Not everyone does, as evidenced by how often you have to explain a fight to someone.) A leader, a true leader, has that somewhat elusive spark to make people listen, to help them understand the strategy, to make them do what you say and to do it all without stepping on toes, egos, personalities or friendships. (I may or may not be such a leader. I am sure I am not as perfect as I describe above, but I do have to admit that in my conceit, I don't believe I'm all that terrible of a leader, either.)

True, not all leaders do that. Some say 'do it this way because I said so', and people do it because it works. I have always preferred being the type of leader that says 'do it this way because if we kill X before Y, then X can't heal Y.'. This way, not only do they understand WHY I'm doing it, but when they, in turn, someday, lead their own group, they'll know why they're doing it (or not doing it, conversely). They'll know why I sheep that person and not that one. They'll know why I advise a LOS pull as opposed to a straight pull. They'll KNOW. And in knowledge lies power.

Now, this is all my not-so-humble opinion (please, keep in mind my previous post about hubris), so if you don't do it this way, don't take any offense. But you suck.

I jest!

The pros of leadership... the heady sense of accomplishment that you get when your plans work right. The warm fuzzy glow inside when you see a group of people working together towards a common goal. You occasionally get people saying pretty little things like 'K is the best instance leader I've ever seen and a master tactician. Not only that, but her hair is absolutely stunning and I don't think I've ever seen anyone wear the Frozen Shadoweave set quite so gracefully.'.

The cons of leadership... if it fails, it's your fault. If you can't succeed, it's your fault. If three hunters want to go and you only have room for one hunter, it's your fault. Everything that does go wrong, will go wrong, and it's your fault. If people complain, it's to you. If people complain, it's ABOUT you. When people complain about you, it's never to you, but it's behind your back. If a mouse farts in Cleveland, which causes a butterfly to flap it's wings in China, which causes the healer's router to drop him in that crucial instance... it's your fault.

What this means overall? You need, as the leader, to be the best. You lead not just with words, but with examples. If you want everyone to do what you say, then you need to do what you say. If you want people to bust their ass for gear, then you should be doing that too. If you don't want to be a group leader of loot mongering rapscallions, then you need to be magnamious, generous, polite and respectful.

(Yes, eventually all groups and raids degenerate into name calling, dirty jokes and good natured teasing, but I speak in general more about an initial meeting of a group of strangers.)

If you do it this way... Will you be taken advantage of? Most likely.
Will it happen regularly? Most likely.
Is every leader like this? No, not really.
Is this the One True Way? Hell no. This is my way (meaning this is the best way, but not, by any stretch of the imagination, the only way.). Not yours. Go get your own way! Mine! Mine mine mine! My own. My preciousss...


To continue my rambling... leaders need to be able to get their thoughts across clearly, with minimal fuss, muss and bloodshed. As a leader, your group expects you to be competent, eloquent and to let them know what's going on where clarification is needed. You set the pace. You set the tone. If it's going too slowly, talk to whomever is holding it up, do it in a way that doesn't hurt their feelings and do it in a way to get results.

Tricky, no? No wonder I don't like leading.

And remember, if you're in a group of strangers, you can't take for granted that everyone knows what way you typically do things, what marks you typically use and how you play, so communication is vital and frankly, expected. But at the same time, you don't want to offend people who probably know the instance as well as you do, so you have to gingerly feel them out as to what they do and don't know.

(I really don't like leading. I do it because I don't trust other people to do it right. There are a few I do trust to do it right. But I'm also somewhat controlling. If it isn't being done my way, I'm uneasy. If it isn't someone I know being leader, or someone I trust, I'd rather be doing the leading and marking, because this way I know I won't die because someone else is an incompetent nincompoop. I'll have died because I'm an idiot. Biiiig difference. Trust me.)

Anyway, for someone who claims to be a leader, and also claims leaders need to be eloquent and get their point across in a timely manner... I do tend to ramble.

However. This is my blog. I can ramble if I want to.

I do have my flaws. Oh boy do I. I tend to let others talk over me if they're louder or more insistent. I do this because I do not like confrontations. This leads to contention and confusion. I let bad playability linger on because I don't want to hurt feelings instead of stepping up and saying 'You're doing something wrong. I'm not sure what it is. Here's the problem. Let's fix it.'

My biggest problem, IMHO, is that once I find a good strategy, one that works, one that I like, I usually avoid deviating from it. Even if someone else in the group says that they do it well another way. Especially if it's a way I've seen not work so well in the past.

For instance, I was in an allied Karazhan run, sub-leading (in my own head) by talking with the raid leader in whispers about what I would do in the given situation. Their method of doing the Curator is to stack on Arcane Resistance gear, stand on the tank (literally, stand on the tank. Not a few feet behind, but right there!), and do it that way. It worked once we realized what was going on and how to adjust our play style to the strategy given. I still think it's an odd strategy. I can see the benefits of it (no running after flares, no pivoting to find them, etc), but there are a lot of detriments to it as well. You lose (at least in my case, and probably others) damage in order to gain resistance. Everyone being where they were, a lot of spells took longer to go through because of being interrupted by the chain lightning. This makes healing also an issue as the healer not only has to heal lots of people being hit all at once, but has to do it while being interrupted. If you don't have good arcane resist gear, this will likely result in wipe after wipe.

Now, so saying, it works for Angels Wrath. I haven't done it that way in my new guild, and the one time my previous guild did an all-guild-no-allies Curator downing was with the more standardized horseshoe strategy.

The cons of that strategy are pivoting, melee damage may spend some time running and people moving out of formation when they're being hit by an astral flare. So saying, in a guild of disciplined people with good gear, it doesn't seem to be a problem.

What does this all boil down to? You may think you're leading. But you can't lead if people don't follow. Whatever you are, whatever you do, whatever other people attribute to you, you do it all with other people. You don't know best. You don't know all. No one does. Keep that in mind. Adjust. Adapt. Learn. Respect.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Who gets the credit?

So, I'm in a 25 man raid. They've spent the last 3 days trying to down a boss (Lady Vashj). Then I show up and BAM. Down she goes!

Naturally, it was because I was there, so they obviously were going to succeed, eventually. And indeed, one of the times when I was dead, they got her to a mere 7%. The next time, I was alive, and lo and behold. She dies.

So, was it just the fates that aligned the planets correctly on this chosen evening, or was it the addition of one K-themed warlock? No, seriously. Where does the credit belong on things like that. Is it seriously the difference of one individual person? Was it more than just shaking the makeup by one? (Honestly, I don't know if I was the only 'new' addition to the group this evening, but the point is the same...) Who gets the credit?

The obvious answer is everyone. Everyone had to pull their "A-Game" out, so to speak, do their best, be their best, hit their pots at the right time, get the heal off, taunt the mob off, DPS just the right amount... or it couldn't have been done. But the less obvious answer is... yes, I do deserve some of that credit. You take out my DPS, which while not the highest in my new guild, is still somewhat respectable, and you put in someone with less DPS, maybe even less playability. Would you have still succeeded, all things being equal?

Heck, even give them the same build, same gear, same gems, same time playing their warlock as I have, and just change the person behind the screen... and things may have been vastly different. Maybe that other warlock wouldn't have burned down an 'almost to Lady Vashj' elemental with a aptly timed shadowburn and deathcoil. Maybe that other warlock wouldn't have popped their healthstones fast enough to help healers out. Maybe they wouldn't have life-tapped or dark pact'd when I would have. And therein lies the difference. Possibly.

For those familiar with Lady Vashj, she has three phases. Phase 2 is the toughest phase to live through. A good portion of it is team playing and communication. Who has the tainted orb? Who does it get tossed to? Is there someone in range of the person who has it. Etc. Some of it is kiting the dang strider in a timely fashion while allowing DPS access to it. Some of it is making sure those dang elementals don't get to Vashj. It's an all around confusing fight, and I don't think there's any room at all for error. (Which makes sense, given the boss in question)

So, really... who gets the credit? Everyone who is there. There isn't one person there who did not do EXACTLY right. Because if there was, then we wouldn't have beaten her (after a million and ten wipes!)

The other thing to consider, and something we were talking about post-kill, is how quickly we learned, overcame and defeated the boss. From the start of my guild's attempts on Lady Vashj, it took us (them, me in the end) a total of 3 days to do it. Two-shotted her once we were able to hit Phase 3 with her.

According to my guild (and though there is the thought that they could be biased, I honestly have no reason to think they'd have lied), that's the fastest on our server (Alleria). Our guild is ranked 7-8th (it apparently vaccilates between us and another guild), so that's not surprising, but at the same time, it is surprising given that our server also has Risen in it (3rd ranked in the US). At first, I thought... Wow. We're doing something better than RISEN? (Granted, Risen probably cleared her a gazillion months ago, but it took them longer from start of hitting her to dancing on her corpse.)

Then I thought to myself (even as others in the guild pointed it out), we have the benefit of strategy guides and fore-knowledge of what is needed, what to do, what order to do it in, how to handle it. Can you imagine what it was like for people like those in Risen? To be the first one to see her. To be the first one to go .. "What the frack is she doing? She has a shield? What are those elementals? How do we do this?!" both the thrill and the appalling amount of gold they spent in repair bills awe me. I mean, if you didn't KNOW, ahead of time, that you had to kill and loot the tainted ores, and couldn't move when you had an ore, so had to toss the ore up to someone else, who had to use it on a shield generator, how would you know?

You certainly wouldn't be sitting there going, 'Oh, this mob has loot for me! Let me pick it up while we're in the middle of a boss battle'.

You wouldn't know the Strider does an AOE fear. You wouldn't know the strider hits clothies for 18000 damage. (I know this. I learned this part first-hand, myself. Knowing 'he'll one-shot you', is quite different from knowing 'he'll ram you into the ground, do a jig on your corpse, use your bones for toothpicks and make a pretty dress out of your skin'.) You wouldn't know the naga have cleave. You wouldn't know about the spore bats, or the entangle, or the static charge. You wouldn't have a clue. And each attempt may only get you a mere millispec closer to figuring out how to do it. Or not. Each attempt may only get you exactly where you were before, until you can puzzle out that elusive next step.

So, while we may have theorhetically done it the fastest on Alleria, 3 days and a dead Vashj, credit in that instance has to go to the pioneers of all those strategy guides, the ones who had to puzzle out what to do, what order to do it in, what people to take, what gear you need and who then gifted the rest of us slackers with the fruits of their labor.

Thank you.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The K Game

There is a very fun little game that my friends play when I'm in a group with them. It's called the K game for some reason. I don't know why. Maybe you can figure it out.

The rules are very simple but do vary a smidge depending on what version of the K game you're playing.

You pick one person. Let's just call them 'K'. Just for simplicity's sake. Then, depending on that person's class/role, the rest of the game rules will follow.

The K Tank Game: This is the most popular (most fun, and easiest!) version of the K game.

K is a tank. The game is how frequently you can pull aggro off of the tank. (no cheating, such as taunting (from feral druids), taking off salvation, breaking crowd control, attacking 'second kill' mobs, etc.) This means that in a "normal" situation, with normal buffs, etc, on, you do your damndest to pull aggro off of the tank. Bonus points are given if the tank curses, sweats, cries or otherwise indicates distress. Additional bonus points are awarded if you do this without trying. Even more points awarded if you die.

(On a side note, this is a GREAT way to help tanks learn that they need to draw more aggro, how quickly, what works best, etc. In a "normal" situation, high DPS would hold back to not pull aggro off of a tank. In the game, the tank quickly learns how to generate that aggro, or s/he loses the game, pretty dang quick.)

There are variations given if K is a healer or not. (Making the healer cry, scream, rant and rave gives you points.)

In general, the K game is usually applied with the group versus the tank. The healer USUALLY stays out of it, since the healer getting whacked by something usually isn't so grand. But the K game has versions for the healer too -- generally involving the tank doing something outrageous, like tanking four or five mobs at once. This obviously requires a GOOD tank and GOOD DPS otherwise that quickly turns into a wipe. Bonus points awarded for the healer cursing, crying, shouting, weeping or having a heart attack.

(The bonus... your healer learns how to handle large groups, how to gauge the heals required based on how much projected damage the tank is getting, and probably even learns how to multi-heal multiple people taking large amounts of damage, all at the same time. Quick shifting between targets and mana conservation...)

Personally, I play my own K DPS version as well, this one just isn't advertised. Now, every DPS is trying to get to the top of the charts. Every DPS is trying to not pull aggro. My own version is to walk that very fine line. If I die, then I lose the game. If I'm not holding my own on DPS (given similarly geared individuals), I lose. If I'm not holding my own against a warlock from Risen, well, that I can understand. If I'm not holding my own against a green-geared whoknowswhat, that... well, that makes K cry.

The official version of the game doesn't actually HAVE points, but you can keep track if you want. Arbitrarily assign a certain number of points for each cuss word, for each time the healer shouts in desperation, "OOM!", for each time the tank has to burn challenging shout, for each time a DPS dies from pulling aggro off of the tank appropriately.

Obviously, for the DPS involved, this CAN be pretty pricey, if the tank isn't good at the game.

The tank wins, regardless of cuss-points garnered, if no one dies. :)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The worst wipes, and I don't mean the TP kind!

I was tagged by Bremm the other day and didn't realize it!

So, I need to try to recount the 5 worst wipes I've ever been witness to. This is a nearly impossible task! :) However, I will attempt to recall those FEW, nay, RARE times when I've ever been involved in a wipe. It will be hard, nearly impossible! But I shall try.

1: Heroic Slave Pens, not too long ago. My succubus had just died, in fact, I think I may have also, but anyway... I got rezzed, drank and ate, put my fel armor on. I mark the sheep. I mark the charm. I mark the skull and the X. The tank runs in. And I realize... where's my succubus? I don't take full credit for this wipe, since the X as well as my charm mob both went over and whacked the priest.

2: Curator. Multiple times. It seems no matter how often you tell people 'Stay along the back wall. He has a huge aggro radius', someone will still be dancing out on the second floor diamond. Not literally dancing, but you get my drift. Even more annoying? The soulstoned healer gets up. Runs to the back. Safely rezzes most of the party. Rezzes the person who is dead way up high, and you say 'Don't accept the rez until the Curator is safely past'. Can you guess what they do? Can you? You are correct! They do not safely wait!

3: Some Low-Mid Level Instance That I Don't Recall The Name Of. Overconfidence. Where you sit there and bang your head on your desk going, "That was dumb, dumb, dumb, dumb." You always stare at the screen for just a long moment going ... did I just really just die?

4: .... I can't think of any more! Aren't three enough? Isn't that enough soul-searching?

5: *cry*

I can't tag five people because I don't know five people. I'm a lonely lonely warlock.

Monday, December 3, 2007

The "Tank Hater" Build

Owaru has dubbed my new spec 'Tank Hater'.

We just ran heroic Blood Furnace with my shiny new spec. I'm in love. And I think, considering that Owaru wasn't pulling a lot with his shield of justice thingbob, due to sap being one of our forms of crowd control, that he held aggro wonderfully. I just need to be aware that I'm critting more often and for quite a bit more than I was previously, and be a little more careful about when I start shadowbolting.

On average, my shadowbolts appear to be doing about 200-400 more points of damage. My crits however, I have never ever seen my screen show a number that high, unless it's how much damage I was being one-shotted for. I think the highest was in the 5000+ range. It brought a tear to my eye. No, seriously. I had a tear. Even my immolate and shadowburn were critting.

I was in Gruul's Lair last night, and I was (according to my damage meters, which admittedly could be off, though I was synched) 3rd on the chart. Highest was a frost mage. Then was a rogue. Then was me. Considering the company I was in, I was very pleased with myself.

Which is hard to imagine, I know, me being smugly pleased with my damage output. :) What can I say. Every day I discover new ways to kick ass, take names, and make the tanks cry.

I should post on the K-Game sometime. It's fun and with infinite numbers of variables.

(Oh, and by the way.... I got to do my faaaavorite thing to Boon tonight. He got MC'd by The Maker in BF. Guess what I did? DEATHCOIL!)

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Aaaand I'm spent...

So, today I finally took the plunge. I respecced.

I am now 36/4/21. I took the points in suppression that I was waffling over, after reading about spell hit against raid/instance bosses. It's overkill on a lot of PvE things, but will help tremendously on things levels 72 and 73.

I kept improved imp and slapped one point into demonic embrace for some stamina. Man, I lost almost 1000 hitpoints! And I went down destruction all the way to Ruin.

Hopefully, with the additional reduction in threat that I get from destructive reach, I won't be getting whacked too badly.

Most of my affliction stuff hasn't changed, however, with a lot of my gear giving me +crit, I think the move to get ruin will help my overall DPS, since now my shadowbolts, immolate immediate damage and shadowburn all have improved chance to crit and improved damage when they do.

By the way, respeccing is scary! I kept going, oh God, don't hit the wrong button, right.. okay.. next click... don't hit the wrong button!

Recently, I've also made a few other decisions regarding my warlock. I'll get into those later though. Now, off to see if this PuG for heroic Black Morass is any damn good. Thank goodness for Armory! :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Talent Builds And You!

If you haven't yet, and you're a warlock, you should pay some attention to the various builds espoused by WoWWiki.

For the longest time, I paid no attention to the builds there, instead making up my own. I do this for several reasons, 1: I'm an 'original' gamer. I don't follow guides, I try to not look up quest information online. I want to play the game, not follow someone elses footsteps and 2: none of the talent builds espoused by anyone included my own personal build, so they obviously are insane and not worth paying attention to!

So saying, this is (roughly), my current build. There may be a point in affliction swapped around somewhere for another, but that's roughly the way it is (it's maintenance day, so I can't access my build exactly because I can't get on the game, and the Armory is down... again.). For the longest time before that, I was actually classified as HYBRID on Armory and I was a mix of affliction with a lot in demonology for improved health and intellect, improved healthstone and improved imp, and just enough in destruction to get improved shadowbolt and bane. Then I discovered that the joy of Dark Pact and the discovery of my Shadowburn and I respecced. I lost my beautiful healthstone, but clung desperately onto my fel armor.

Owaru constantly tells me that I should go full affliction for Unstable Affliction and he doesn't know how I put out the DPS that I do with the ... unusual ... build that I have.

So saying, I do look at the various talent suggestions out there. And I don't think people who follow recommended builds are robots or nonimaginative. They're recommended for a reason. They work really really really well for what you want to do and depending on what you want to do, you can have some really interesting combinations. For instance, on WoWWiki, there are 16 builds that they have listed. 5 Affliction, 5 Demonology and 6 Destruction, with a Demonic Sacrifice build talked about at the very end.

I fit none of those builds. And I haven't ever found another warlock that has my build.

Does this make me a unique wonderful individual who has found a viable new build? Who knows. Maybe. Maybe not. It probably just makes me a megalomaniac to believe that I alone have discovered something that no one else ever has. I'm sure one or two really intelligent and amazing warlocks also have my general build, but they are few and far between, I'm sure.

Last night I was partying with a warlock that was the 40/0/21 spec. Now, there are multiple ways of getting 40 points in Affliction, so I don't know exactly what his layout was, and when I decided to try to get ruin and pay some more attention to the lovely spells in Destruction, I got a layout that was slightly different than the layout that WoWWiki espouses. (For instance, grim reach bleh, improved curse of agony, yeh!)

My 40/0/21 build, WoWWiki's 40/0/21 build.

So, do I go with what I figured out? Or do I go with what they recommend? Should I change myself around at all?

Here's what I figure. The warlock I spoke to last night was right. The way I'm set up right now, my crit bonuses (from gear and gems) are worthless on DoT's, but only useful really on Shadowbolt. And in 5-mans and some other instances where I'm not DoTting as much and using more Shadowbolt, improved crit from Ruin will be really nice. Not to mention that even as I'm set up now, 35-38% of my overall damage is from Shadowbolt. Why shouldn't I increase my chance to crit with it?

That got me to thinking and I took a good long look at the talent calculators. A problem I have (a big problem!) is aggro generation. My current spec only has improved drain life which gives me 10% less threat from my affliction spells, but nothing for my shadowbolt and immolate spells. I also don't have much in suppression, which really pisses you off when your amplify curse/curse of doom on the Curator is resisted. According to somewhere that I just read this morning, only 2 points in Suppression is needed to reduce resistance from mobs "my level" by 99%. Now, I'm not sure if raid bosses count as "my level", but we'll see. I do really miss fel concentration, but as Owaru pointed out before, I shouldn't be doing too much drain tanking in raids and heroics. If I am, things are horribly horribly wrong.

The new 40/0/21 spec that I generated (for myself, not the one wowwiki handed me) I think will help with my threat generation and up my overall damage from my shadowbolts (which, again, 35-38% of my overall damage) especially as a lot of gear and gems out there are +spell damage/+spell crit rating. I know crit isn't as important for 'locks as it is for some other classes, but why not make the most out of the gear and gems that give me +crit and take a nifty ability called Devastation (what warlock wouldn't like to have an ability called devastation? How cool is that name, anyway? :) that boosts my crit by my shadowbolt by 5%?

Aaaand I suppose I'll also try out Malediction. I tend to use curse of agony, but if I'm doing lots of other DoT's and 35% of my damage is from shadowbolts, I probably should use curse of shadow on occasion to up my shadow damage. I'll save curse of agony for little things that die "fast" and farming.

Whatever your cup of tea is, don't feel intimidated into doing what the talent recommendations are. If you want to make up your own (like I did!), DO IT. It's a game. It's YOUR game. Play it the way you want to play it. However ... don't do what I did and dig your heels in, put your head down, and ignore anything that doesn't fit in with what you want. Now... I'm not saying DO IT, but consider it. It may open your eyes to something you weren't considering before simply because ... well, you've never done it that way.

The next time you see me, I may be respecced. How daunting is that?

And worse of all? I'll lose my demonic aegis. Bye bye improved fel armor by 30%. Poor Bremm isn't going to get anymore insane healing numbers off of me anymore. Just normal bigassBremm heals.

Monday, November 26, 2007

5/5 Ranks in Advanced Hubris

As you may have noted, I tend to type with a vast degree of hubris. Warlocks >>> anything else. K >>> anyone else. However I type though, that is so very much not the case in real life. I tend to have some self-esteem issues, so I overcompensate by imitating two men who have no humility what so ever when it comes to their paladins, Owaru and Boon.

Owaru and Boon have this ongoing 'who is the better paladin' stream of consciousness no-joking aside tit for tat competition. It's vastly amusing for everyone listening on to listen to them. They pull random people into it and random people respond by poking gentle and sometimes not so gentle fun back at them. Each of them tout theirselves as the most awesome paladin and poopoo's the other as the least awesome (or 2nd awesome) paladin.

In my not so humble opinion (see title!), Owaru is the best tankadin I've ever partied with and Boon is the best healadin I've ever partied with. Toss in me (the best warlock EVER! See title AND see previous post to read this statement correctly), maybe BigPappi (a kickass Fire Mage) and some other type of good DPSyperson (Shadow Priests are nummy), and you've got the best group in existence!

You're only as good as the people in your group to a certain extent. If you have someone doing poor DPS, you're overall DPS in comparison is going to jump up. Instead of doing 25% (the other three DPS ideally doing also 25%), you'll be doing 33%. If you have someone doing insane amounts of DPS (and you know who you are...) other people's DPS will be lower in comparison. I can't put out the massive amounts of dots and DPS that makes me a happy happy warlock without a kickass tank to keep the mobs off of me and a kickass healer to keep me (not to mention the tank) alive.

So, what I'm saying is that.. my hubris is directly proportional to the abilities of the people I party with. So... since I'm the GODDESS OF WARLOCKS, what does that tell you guys about.. you guys?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Top of the DPS Chart!

As a DPS class, everyone knows all that matters is that you're the top person on the DPS chart. Who cares about aggro! It's the tank's job to keep it off of me, not MY job to keep it off of me! Pfft.

Now, to some extent this is true. There is nothing worse to a high output DPS character than to have a tank that doesn't generate good quick strong aggro.

On the other hand, a GOOD DPS class isn't just all about the output. It's about aggro management and staying alive. Which is something that poor DPS shaman's had such an issue with for a while, though I hear with the new patch, Blizzard made it a bit easier on the poor poor shammies. Most (not all) other DPS classes have some way of dropping aggro. Poor shammy's really only have death to drop their aggro. (Did I really just spell shaman in three different ways? Why yes. Yes I did.)

Today I was in Shattered Halls with some guildies/mixed pug. I've posted before what happens to my DPS when I'm in a 'normal' instance with good DPS. We had a BM hunter, an elemental shaman and myself. Things were dying like.. things should die! It was lovely. But the shaman was out DPSing me. Now, this shaman has been in Karazhan with me, where I'm way out over him on DPS usually. Granted, he's updated his gear quite a bit since our last Kara run together, but he was still quite shocked about matching me for DPS in the instance. Myself, I was dismayed at my performance. After a little bit of finangling with what I was casting, I caught up.

And bonus, he didn't die! Which is grand. I died more often than he did -- PUG healer was very very good, but probably not expecting the amount of hate that I tend to pull. I died two or three times before the healer learned -- the warlock is going to tank more than the tank sometimes. Gotta watch her! In those cases, it was a bit of me and a bit of the tank not doing what we should. Live and learn! I gotta remember when I'm not with my faaavorite tankadin, Owaru with my faaavorite healadin, Boon, I need to be a good little warlock and not play with Seed of Corruption and multiple dotted targets.

Anyway... I won't go on again about how in longer lived mobs and bosses I tend to be high on the DPS chart, because I've already talked about how in longer lived mobs and bosses, I tend to be high on the DPS chart. And there's no need for me to reiterate that on longer lived mobs and bosses, I tend to be high on the DPS chart, since this isn't about how on longer lived mobs and bosses, I tend to be high on the DPS chart!

Later on, I was asked to go into Zul'Aman for the last boss, because the raid leader wanted some good DPS. I was #4 on the charts -- but, the last boss of Zul'Aman has a phase where you CANNOT DO MAGIC. This is, I think, entirely unfair.

Not only do melee DPS have no mana to watch (excepting hunters), but then you make a boss where you can only do melee DPS? I mean, the boss in normal Mechanar is bad enough in the whole 'melee, magic, melee, magic' switcharoo, but at least the melee have to stop DPSing for a time too. This boss -- no magic. It was a very sad sad time for me. I had to sit and watch others do all the DPS. I was a very sad panda. A very sad warlock panda.

Anyway, the point of this is that I tend to be too focused on the DPS meters. I hate seeing myself not in the top 1 spot. Seeing myself down at #4 or #5 is even more hideous, but something I need to get over, because at times, when I'm crowd controlling (see previous post on why the warlock is the premier crowd control class! :), or saving the butt of the healer (deathcoil FTW!), or trying to stay alive after I pulled aggro from five mobs at once... my DPS isn't going to be so hot, but that's okay... because I have more important things to focus on other than merely being the top of the DPS charts (though it's nice to be there, anyway.)

I'm a good warlock. I'm a good DPSer. But I'm not the best. No where CLOSE. But I'm still pretty dang good.

Monday, November 19, 2007

How to Kick Ass and Take Names (in pre-BC instances)

So recently my husband asked me to run his shaman through Maraudon. I said sure thing, no problem.

And then he said 'Can you do it by yourself?'.

I nearly wanted to weep. Can I do it by myself? CAN I DO IT BY MYSELF? What does he take me for, a warrior or priest or mage or some such like that?

My secret is siphon life. And seed of corruption. Especially in combination. Toss out a SoC (or two, two is good, three is better, after that, you're usually being hit too much to cast a timed spell, so now switch to instant casts!) and then siphon life + corruption, tab siphon life + corruption, etc. By that time, the SoC has likely gone off, setting off the other SoC, and you've done a gazillion points of damage and everything is dead (oversimplification, but not by much).

For instance... They do 100-200 damage to you with every hit. Siphon life heals for 400+ damage every three seconds. So, in three seconds, from five mobs, you take, maybe 600-800, maybe even 1k damage.

In three seconds, from five mobs, your siphon life heals for maybe 2k. (I'll have to go into an instance and actually count this number out. I'm curious now about exact numbers.) Depending on the instance and your particular spell damage and spell healing bonuses, you may gain or slowly lose life through the course of the fight.

This is why Shadow Embrace (set bonus from Frozen Shadowweave set) is nice to have -- 2% of the damage you deal is returned to you. So, not only does your siphon life heal you, but while it's damaging and healing, it does more healing! It's a beautiful thing. And the burst damage/healing from SoC is also a nice thing to see go scrolling through your screen.

Now, to be honest, I haven't solo'd an instance above Sunken Temple (and my 'solo' did include a group of high 40's/one 50, but I could have solo'd it without an issue). I have trio'd Scholo though. And I'm wanting to try an experiment and toss a SoC on a few mobs and then on Mograine before clearing the cathedral and see if I can do it! I know a holy paladin (Boon) who can clear the entire cathedral without dying, all at the same time.

My most favorite instance of all time? VC -- You don't stop. You just siphon life + corruption EVERYTHING (non-elites, just siphon life, that's all it takes), life tap, keep going, and just life tap whenever your life starts to get full. And let someone else pick up the loot. You literally, quite literally, do not need to stop going. It's a rush. :)

Some other fun ones -- the temple scene in Zul'Farrak -- again, siphon life, life tap. I haven't been in there recently, so I'm sure SoC would be fun to try. And those beetles! And Antu'sul. Mmm.. crispy basilisk. Nummy.

The Scarlet dudes that come running in after Herod dies. One SoC and BAM. It's fun. They die all in the same motion. It's like synchronized swimming... only with death.

The statue sequence in BFD -- all at once!

The whelps in ST -- toss a SoC on a whelp and on an elite, dot the elite, dot the other elite, watch two SoC's go off and all the whelps die. It's beautiful. Except that it's dragons dying, which is sad. :(

Oh, and pissing off a skinner by running around, dotting everything, keep going using my patented siphon life / life tap method, and not looting, so he has to loot everything AND skin and eventually say "I HAVE NO MORE BAG SPACE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, STOP KILLING AND LOOT SOMETHING!" -- which isn't really an instance, but was fun anyway. :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

For Pony!

I've been on and off with my webcomics lately -- I used to read Queen of Wands (when it was updating), Something Positive, Two Lumps and VGCats.

Now, the only comic I read is
LFG. In Looking For Group, a quasi-WoW-thematic group goes off and has various adventures.

What I love the MOST about Looking For Group is Richard. Richard is an undead warlock (who has abilities that no warlock really has, but hey, it's a comic. Suspend belief! :) who wants to do nothing more than main, kill, slaughter, bathe in blood and have a good time, all in the name of Pony.

So, I hereby addict you to Looking for Group. In order to make sure the addiction sticks, I hereby make you watch this video.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Heroically ready and heroically dead!

Many many people of awesome talent, ability and gear are suddenly able to do heroics that they previously could not do, simply because they did not want to run the same instance.. over and over and over and over again to get the reputation. With the new patch, the reputation required to purchase your heroic key has been lowered to honored.

This is good news to the people I have mentioned above, those of talent, ability and gear! Note I said AND.

Something I've already encountered, and something I'm sure I will be encountering more and more are people who have talent, or ability or gear, but not talent/ability and gear.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'll be the first to say that it isn't gear that makes the player. I've partied with epic'd out idiots and with normally geared genius's. However ... to a certain extent, you need the gear to survive a heroic. You need to do the DPS. You need to do the healing. You need to survive the tanking. Whatever gear it takes to do that, you need to have it.

With the opening of heroics to people who are only honored, we not only get a lot more people trying to do heroics, which is all to the good if you've ever tried for 4 hours to get a tank for a single heroic run.... but all to the bad because now we'll be trying for 2 hours to get a tank for a single heroic run and die and die and die and wipe and die and wipe s'more if s/he isn't appropriately geared. I don't know about you -- I don't mind trying if there's a chance of success. I do mind mindlessly wiping when there isn't a snowballs chance in hell (unless you believe in Dante's version of hell, then it's a different story!) of success.

Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE heroics. I went into heroics with blue gear and after tons of heroic runs, I'm now decked out in pretty pretty purple. And I had a blast doing it! But I was pulling my weight (even if at times it was slightly substandard) and I didn't try to do heroics that required ridiculous amounts of heroicness to complete. I think EVERYONE should do heroics. But just like everything else ... be prepared. Know what you're doing. Know what healing/dps/tankability you need to have to pull it off.

You'll die in heroics. I know this. You know this. Everyone knows this. But you shouldn't go from 100% durability to 0% durability and only be at the first boss because a: the tank keeps dying after two hits by a single mob, b: the healer spams their biggest, best heals and the tank just keeps losing health over a period of time until he's dead or c: the tank is doing great, the healer is keeping the tank up, but it's taking too long to kill the mob and the healer runs out of mana.

I love being DPS for just that reason. Even if I'm somewhat slacking in gear or ability, I have two other people who will hopefully make up the difference, though it will make the instance harder. Doable, but harder.

However, this doesn't mean that I should walk into Heroic Ramparts with green gear and 150DPS. That ain't gonna fly. But I do get some slack. A tank and a healer however, poor blokes, need to be at the top of their game because there isn't another healer to take over (in your typical 5-man), or another tank to take over if you just aren't up to doing the job.


Know what crowd control you can and cannot do. Know how your tank pulls (sap's are terrible with pally tanks, unless there are more than three mobs and even then know how the pally shield is likely to bounce and sap the one that is least likely to be whacked, etc), know what mobs can be mind controlled, sheeped, charmed, cycloned, blinded, gouged, trapped, feared, etc. Even the best tank will have problems if 3 super-elites are whacking on him (or her). Know what your kill order is, and for heavens sake, do not ever ever DoT something that should be crowd controlled until the tank is whacking it! Sometimes there's an accident, I understand that. But I hate hate hate rogues who say 'I was just getting it off the priest!' but OH NOW IT'S POISONED, !@#@*#&!^!. You know what I say to that? DEATHCOIL! Deathcoil gets it off the priest and goes away in 3 seconds, ample time to get it reCC'd.

But I digressed. Crowd control is vitally important in heroics. It just is. Don't argue with me. Accept what I say.

This is why warlocks are the superior crowd control class. We can charm humanoids. We can banish demons and elementals. We can enslave demons. We can chain fear anything except undead (and a few other exceptions).

What can a rogue do? Oh.. I can sap a humanoid... but only before battle... and it can't be reapplied.
What can a mage do? I can sheep a humanoid or a beast!
What can a hunter do? I can trap a single target! Maybe two if I'm really good. (oh, and I can fear a beast every so often)
What can a druid do? I can hibernate a beast or cyclone a target for 6 seconds.
What can a priest do? They can mind control humanoids, so long as the priest doesn't take damage and the priest can't do anything while mind controlling and gains a ton of aggro if the MC'd mob doesn't die.
What about a shaman, warrior or paladin? Nada! Ya'll suck! (just kidding, love you guys! :)

Now, a warlock.. well.. we can charm a humanoid (as long as our succubus stays alive) while banishing a demon/elemental (which can't be broken, just has to wear off). Or we can banish a demon/elemental while enslaving another demon and use it as our minion, still attacking all the while. Oh, and that thing hitting the priest?


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

PvP + Kikidas = Dead 'Lock

I was contemplating naming this blog 'PvP and Me and Why We Don't Agree', but I decided it was far too rhymy. (Yes, rhymy, if it wasn't a word before, is now. Deal with it. :)

The only time I have ever PvP'd was to get the war ram for my night elf warrior. Because I wanted a ram and I had just spent oodles of runecloth getting my night elf rogue her horse, I said to myself, "All I have to do is PvP a little bit, and I can get the ram. Free mount? I can handle that."

O. M. G. I about hated every PvP I did with the exception of Alterac Valley. Part of it is that the Horde PvPers seem to work together better than Alliance PvPers. Part of it was that I'd get into a Horde Song Gulch and look at the opposing team and they'd all be from the same server (which typically means the same guild!) and we'd die in two seconds flat and lose in five seconds flat. Part of it is that I'd get into a Arathi Basin and look at the opposing team and they'd all be from the same server (which again, same guild.) and before you knew it, they were camping us at the BG entry point graveyard, 5 capping us. The last part of it is that I seem to have the mental mindframe of PvE, and I cannot seem to make the mental twitch to get to PvP thinking.

It wasn't so bad in Alterac Valley, because I wouldn't PvP there, I'd do the PvE parts of it. I'd capture towers and help with graveyards, pretty much go offensive. That was kind of fun, unless a turtle was happening. :P

Well, yesterday a friend of mine asked Boon (holy pally) and myself (affliction/hybrid lock) to go PvPing with his ice specced mage. I went, because I was asked. I went, kicking and screaming and crying and weeping and generally being a pain in the ass (one of the many things that people love about me is my ability to complain about PvP, yet be resistant to the suggestion of 'if you don't like it, don't come!', to which I say 'Noooo, I'll goooo.' in a long suffering voice). One of the things about PvP that stuns me (and others!) is that it turns me into a potty mouth so quickly that people who normally group with me are left sitting, saying, "K? Did you just... curse? I don't believe it! Oh dear lord, my ears are bleeding!"

So, there I go, into Arathi Basin first! I can't tell you how many times a Horde 'lock would RUN and HOWL at the same time. Or a priest would run and scream. Or a warrior would run and intimidating shout. I don't have excellent stamina gear, I'm at just over 10k health with both fort and imp buffs, and my armor is laughable. So I go down like a wet tissue over sandpaper.

Aaaand we lost. Yay. :)

So, we try an Alterac Valley. That one was a bit more fun, because I did what I always do in AV, and ignored the enemy players and went after the NPC's. Dots, dots, dots, yay! I just had to live long enough since there aren't such things as tanks or healers wandering around healing me and keeping aggro off of me. But that wasn't so bad. There were usually enough other things hitting the mob that it was slow to reach me and quick enough to die.

I think a big problem is that I'm something of a competetive person. I don't like to LOSE. Losing/dieing in PvE is one thing. It's a matter of me doing my job better in some way. Still frustrating, but handleable. Losing in PvP isn't any fun at all! It isn't me doing my job WRONG, it's someone else doing their job BETTER than ME! (Hard to believe, yet, the evidence is overwhelming.) My job is to do dots. Dots dots dots!

So, I have reinforced my first impression of PvP as something I will avoid like the plague (which is still endemic in Colorodo. Just saying.) unless I make a hearty effort to switch my spec to something along the lines of demonology or destruction (or I suppose full affliction for unstable affliction, which has that nifty 'remove me and you'll take damage and silence yourself! Nyah!' aspect to it), make a heartier effort to get stamina and PvP gear, and somehow lose half of my brain.

On a side note... did you guys notice this little thing in the patch notes?

Primal Fury: This talent will now be learned correctly even if purchased while the Druid is dead.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Please don't kill so fast, kthnx!

A phenomenon I've noticed, especially as I've started to do more and more heroics with better geared people, is that my DPS actually drops when I'm in a group of people who are similarly geared.

At first, I was quite puzzled. Why did my DPS drop so much, though I was doing everything I always did and in fact, had better gear than ever before?

It finally dawned on me (I, at times, have very thick skull). I kill through damage over time spells, mainly. That means that if the mob dies fast, my damage doesn't get fully applied.

This puzzled me as to how to rectify the situation. Do I continue to put all my dots on a mob, even though they aren't even all the way through half-done by the time it dies? Especially concerning is curse of agony, as it does more damage towards the end of it's application. Do I play 'shadow mage' and just spam shadow bolts?

I've finally hit on what seems to work best, given how fast it dies.

If it's going to do super-duper ridiculously fast, I toss a corruption and siphon life on it (or just a corruption), then whack it with shadowbolts. In the last bit of it's life (and the % of it's life I do this at depends, yet again, on how fast it's dying!) I toss through something that I've only recently respecced to get, Shadowburn, for some yummy instant burst damage. (I'll get to that in a second!).

If it dies relatively quickly, but not ridiculously fast, I open with an immolate, often while the tank is beginning to get aggro, corruption and siphon life, then shadowbolt it. The nice thing about being a warlock is that you build aggro slowly, initially. The longer a fight goes on, the more times your dots tick away, the more likely it is that without you even actively casting anything, you'll outthreat the tank. That's usually not so good. Thank goodness for soulshatter. :)

If I'm doing the most damage, because everyone else is doing next to no damage, then I toss the whole kittenkaboodle of dots on the mob. (or if I'm in a group with Bigpappi and the other DPS is doing less damage than the protection warrior...)

I'm somewhat of an odd affliction warlock, in the fact that I'm truly a hybrid. I don't have unstable affliction. (What, you gasp, an affliction warlock that doesn't use unstable affliction? Are you NUTS? Possibly I am, but I enjoy my fel armor too much to give up the points in it and I enjoy improved shadowbolt and bane too much to give up those points, either. Perhaps one day I'll respec to unstable affliction and lose points in something, but I will do as my friend Bremm is planning on doing, and I'll be making a science project of it, so I can see exactly how much damage more or less I do to any given mob) So I can only apply immolate, corruption, siphon life and curse of agony.

If I apply them in that order, as I'm sure many many warlocks already know, you can reapply in roughly the same order without any one dot being gone from the mob for any length of time (if you do it right, everything is applied as soon as it is cooled down.) (I highly highly recommend both necrosis and dot timers for any fledgling warlock. Necrosis is an organizational warlock tool that makes it so your hot bars are freed up for all the many things you really need out on hot bars, with openable/closable menu buttons for demons/fel domination summoning of a demon, self-buffs, curses/amplify curse, healthstone creation/soulwell creation/healthstone trade/healthstone use all in one button, felsteed/dreadsteed button, soulstone creation/application and the actual necrosis center itself serves as a lifetap button... it's yummy. Dot Timers is just a nicer version of something that necrosis also contains, whose name is somewhat self-explanatory.)

Anyhoo, by using the above, I've managed to keep up with fire blasting fire mages and rogues and all sorts of other 'ooh, lookit me killing it fast, yay!' people.

Something that for the longest time I spurned was Shadowburn. Back when I was way in Redridge and futzing around with all the skills, I took Shadowburn. And hated it. What was the point, I wondered, in using an ability that you burn a shard on, and unless you kill it in 5 seconds, you don't get a shard back for?

How foolish and young I was! You see, I watch those sneaky fire mages towards the end of a mob's life. They run in and dragon breath and fire blast and all sorts of INSTANT BURST DAMAGE.

How is a warlock supposed to beat that, unless they happen to have Shadow Trance go off just then and there? The answer, I discovered, is Shadowburn.

Now, on boss mobs, I tend to use Shadowburn whenever it's cooldown is up and simply keep in mind that I need to carry more shards than I normally do. But on regular mobs, I've developed my own INSTANT BURST DAMAGE. (hah, fire mages, eat my shadowdust! :). Is it the edge that keeps me up when I used to lag behind? Is it the changes I've made in my dot application?

Who knows. But damn is it fun to run up and *crack* Shadowburn! You have gained a soul shard.

So... to all those sneaky sneaky rogues and burst damage mages out there -- don't kill so fast, plzkthnx.

Deathcoil the Paladin for fun and profit!

So, everyone seems to post their WoW lives on blogspot. Or at least, all the people I know do.

Since I am very much someone to follow the bandwagon (and it's 4:30am, and everything seems like a good idea at 4:30am), I made my own. I also creatively called it 'More dots', since that's what people seem to expect of warlocks. :) (I don't always follow the bandwagon, but at 4:30am, it seemed like a catchy phrase to use to start my paragraph.)

Kikidas did not start out as my main. She's actually the 6th character I made. She was not the first to 60, nor the first to 70. Through the course of playing, the roles needed by my guild for various instances and runs, Kikidas has not only become my most well geared character, but also my favorite to play. While leveling her initially, I enjoyed warlock but was not enamored of it. Now I can safely say that I adore playing a warlock.

We're multi-talented and a warlock is useful in any situation (except perhaps undead, stupid non-fearable non-charmable non-banishable undead. All we can do there is kill. With pleasure and enjoyment, but we're shackled (hah, get it, shackled?) into being merely DPS (which, don't get me wrong, I quite enjoy doing nothing but DPSing, but it's rather irksome when people assume I won't crowd control.)).

(and yes, I do sometimes write in run-on sentences and sometimes reading what I write is comparable to trying to muddle through a passage written by William Faulkner. I can't help it if I tend to write in stream of consciousness. At least it's a semi-amusing stream.)

I have to say, one of my favorite moments as a warlock was when I deathcoiled the healer in my group. It was, perhaps, not the brightest move I could have made, yet it was thoroughly enjoyable. And since no one died, no harm, no foul!

We were on Pathaleon the Calculator, or perhaps the Maker in Blood Furnace? when my husband, who was the healadin of the group, was mind controlled. I believe I had an imp out at the time, so was unable to charm or taunt the paladin away from whacking on the more delicate party members. So, I did what I do in any emergency situation where something is whacking on my frail cloth-wearing form. I deathcoiled him.

Keep in mind, this happened ages and ages (okay, a few months) ago, and to this day... any boss that MC's that I'm about to go up against, Boon is sure to say 'Be careful, the warlock will deathcoil you if you get mind controlled!'. It was extenuating circumstances! And fun. And highly unlikely to happen again. Unless you're the healadin and you're mind controlled. :)

No harm, no foul, right? :)

Now, uncontrolled fearing in an instance is very bad. Even a poorly timed or positioned deathcoil can cause untold amounts of havok. Yet, I use it very frequently and have yet to have it cause a problem. (not fearing, but deathcoiling)

I typically try to save the deathcoil for some very specific situations:

1: It's whacking on the healer and the tank won't get there in time or has burned their cooldown. Deathcoil! And voila, the tank can now pick up the mob before it gets back to the healer.

2: The paladin tank is consecrating, and my succubus (or a mage's sheep) crowd control has walked into his consecration. Deathcoil! and have the succy or the mage start casting their crowd control spell. By the time the spell goes off, deathcoil is over with, and the target is out of consecrated ground and once again controllable.

(3: Mindcontrolled healadins who are married to me. It's endlessly entertaining.)

I've had people try to tell me that I'm going to wipe the party with my deathcoil. And perhaps one day that will happen. I won't say it never will. But if I'm doing it correctly, and we're pulling mobs appropriately, the mob should be no where NEAR another group of creatures that it can aggro. And even if it is, if I'm doing it to try to prevent a party wipe by knocking something off of the priest? Well, the deathcoil will likely not get that far... and if it does, well, we were probably going to wipe anyway if the healer dropped. I don't use it carelessly. I'm very aware of where I am, where the mob I'm deathcoiling is and what s/he/it may run into.

Just because something is a dangerous ability does not mean you should fear it. (get it? Fear it? I crack myself up.) Like any ability, the more you know about what it does and how to control it, the more applicable and useful it becomes.

And remember...
Deathcoiling healadins makes puppies and kittens live forever.