Category Archives: educational

Do you even hear yourselves? (Or, why people complaining about the lack of a “gap” in WoW need to re-examine their arguments and then just stop)

The “Gap”

In World of Warcraft the “gap” refers to the noticeable difference between what some players can do/get and others cannot. This gap has been closing more noticeably as the years go by. The farther back you go in WoW’s history, the fewer people you find with end-game items.

Some players are indifferent about the “gap”. What someone else has or has done has no relevance in their enjoyment of the game. It has no affect on their feeling of epicness, achievement, fun, value, or self-worth.

Other players find the closing of the gap to be a turn-off, and to an extent quite alarming. From what I have read/seen, these players tend to be people that made up the smaller playerbase that were the “haves” instead of the “have nots”. With no simple distinguishable way of noticing their greatness, uberness, skill, devotion, time commitment- whatever the specific case may be- they feel like the wind has been taken out of their sails.

Blizzard has posed a question numerous times to its upset minority of players along the lines of “why is it bad for everyone to experience all portions of gameplay.” This is met with a mixed bag of responses. Things along the lines of “you diminish our achievements”, “people need players to admire and heights to aspire to”, “you’re making the game too easy”, “I spend an awful lot of time and energy on this and you practically give it away weeks/months later”, just to name a handful. These rationales evolve over time as Blizzard neatly offers a counter-arguments.

The one thing that Blizzard hasn’t brought up, and I don’t blame them from a business standpoint, is that the majority of these players likely have an exterior locus of identity- meaning that they are only as valuable as other people believe they are. Driven by extrinsic instead of intrinsic motivation, these players need the “gap” to exist or their value diminishes exponentially.

That’s cool, dude! Where did you get that?

We’ve all said it at some point: “Where did you get that?” You see a player in WoW with something really cool looking and you want to know what it takes to get one for yourself. Some responses are short and simple replies naming a dungeon or quest. Some answers include a cool story including long quest lines and weeks upon weeks of work. A big part of WoW is the visual component. We can even transmogrify our gear these days to obtain a specific look.

Throughout the history of WoW what a player has accomplished can often be observed visually. One of my favorite personal examples was the Fandral’s Flamescythe from Firelands. The weapon had the ability to turn Cat-form Druids into flaming versions of the animal form. I was one of the first players on my server to have one and it was fun to turn into a firecat and then just hang out around town. I enjoyed talking to people about it. Admittedly, it made me feel like something of a big shot.



One of the differences between me and some of the more vocal “gap” opponents is that how other people see me and my character has nothing to do with why I enjoy the game. I worked really hard to get that staff and while I did enjoy the adulation it got me for a brief time, it was a non-issue when pretty much anyone with enough time and energy could get one. Conspicuous consumption relies on the rarity of the things you own and when that’s gone, you need to have something better. The drawback of having an exterior locus of identity.

Having an exterior locus of identity is a very common thing. A simple trip to Facebook will prove that. While we criticize people for posting pictures of themselves seeking attention and approval, how can we then turn around and show off our in-game goodies seeking similar attention and approval? We can tell ourselves that we’re not engaging in the same behavior, but it’s something Blizzard has undoubtedly already noticed. Imagine people petitioning Facebook’s admins to stop allowing people to share funny pictures because “I worked days to Photoshop that joke, and only I should be able to share it, I don’t want anyone else posting it to their profile and benefiting from something they didn’t put the same amount of work into.”

Have your fun and eat it too

This is a such a great time to be considering this idea, with the world engaged in the Olympics. Why can’t we enjoy what we’ve done simply on the merits of the journey? Winning the gold and setting the world record is the best you can do in any given event. Does that make a gold medal without setting a record any less great? How about winning a silver or bronze medal? What about all the people that don’t medal? They made it to the Olympics! It’s a great achievement even if you get last place.

If you really did have that gear first- you had it first. If you put in hour after hour to get that world/server/faction first kill- you had it first. If you replied first to this blog post, you had it first.

Did you have fun?

Is it cool if everyone else has fun now?



TellMeWhen for… knowing when… stuff happens…

There are many addons that can track buffs, debuffs, stacks of things, cooldowns, reactive abilities, multi-state abilities, temporary weapon enchants, totems, wild mushrooms, ghouls, rune cooldowns, internal cooldowns, other players cooldowns, diminishing returns, spell casts, how many arrows you’ve taken to the knee, etc. TellMeWhen is a simple to use very versatile addon for doing exactly those kinds of things. Read the rest of this entry

Unsolicited Advice in the World of Wacraft

Inevitably we all witness one player give advice to another. In any situation, giving advice can be a very tricky thing. It has the ability to forge positive relationships, but also to create resentment and even outright dislike. The fact of the matter is, you can’t avoid advice in the World of Warcraft. My hope is to give you some perspective on both how to give, and how to take, unsolicited advice.
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Circle of Healers blog meme

My good pal Rades “tagged” me (suggested for me) to do this so here it is.

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

Currently, I would have to say Omegamegaman, Shaman, Restoration.

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

10 man raids.

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

Riptide hands down. It’s got the instant blast power of Holy Shock, with the “here’s a little something extra” of Renew. Couple that with the Tidal Wave buff it grants you, it’s just got a lot going for it. If you don’t like Riptide I don’t see how you can like Restoration Shaman.

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

Healing Surge, because it’s really inefficient. I hardly ever has a use for it because other spells are often times just as fast for a relatively equal amount of healing but way less mana.

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

Restoration Shaman moves seamlessly between multi-target and single-target healing. Whenever I play a healing class (and these days I play all of them) I always look for a way to fill in the gaps and I love how easy it is to do on Shaman.

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

That’s a truly hard question to answer, mostly because I never find myself wanting for improvements. If I had to pick something, and it’s not really a  big weakness in my eyes, I’d have to say it’s the fact that Restoration Shaman don’t have a very exciting talent tree. It would be nice to have a bit more in the playstyle department, as in talents to accentuate your own talents.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?

If it’s a healing assignment that I’m being held very strictly to, I’d say raid healing the melee dps. They are always pretty close to one another which makes both Chain Lightning and Healing Rain very easy and efficient to use.

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

I don’t want to choose just one, but I’m going to have to say Shaman because it suits my playstyle the best at the moment.

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

Hands down it has to be my Druid. I’m not a huge fan of what I can “Investment Based Healing”. You put a hot, and hope it matures in the $$$ and boss kills. Obviously, there are ways to reduce the risk involved and take the guessing out of it, but they way my guild raids currently we don’t use very strict healing assignments, just general ones. This leads to many of my HoTs being negated by quick cast heals from other players.

What is your worst habit as a healer?

Forgetting to weave in my mana cooldowns early so that I can get a second use in later, instead of an initial use later.

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

Mostly when I have to work with other healers that don’t understand the synergy between the current healing comp. I keep advising healers to at least roll a low level version of every healer up to like, level 20 at least, so that they have a concept of how other specs work on the battlefield.

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

Yes, definitely. In 25 man raids I would assume you have a little bit less freedom to do this, but in 10 mans you can take any three healers, even if they are all the same healer spec, and do a decent job. That’s balance in my opinion.

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

Things like Recount and Skada are good to an extent. I run both at the same time. I like Skada mainly for gauging healing because it takes into account Absorbs as well as heals, which means you can easily see how much Discipline Priests are contributing. I also use tools like World of Logs to check my tactics compared to other Shaman to get different ideas and see if I’m on the right track.

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

People view Shaman as raid healers, which I generally refer to as “multi-target” healers. They’re quite good at this, but like I talked about above, they’re also endowed with great single-target healing which is often overlooked.

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

How to use Chain Heal. There is this mystery that surrounds the mechanics for new healers, and I admittedly had trouble understanding it at first as well. I initially overcame this using a Grid status mod for Chain Heal, that lights up the units that would best benefit from a Chain Heal, and then I would point and shoot. Using the addon in this way helped make it obvious what situations were best for Chain Heal, and now I hardly pay any attention to the addon when it lights up frames.

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)?

They would see that the majority of my overhealing is caused by spells that I don’t directly control, such as Earthliving procs and Earthshield heals.

Haste or Crit and why?

Haste. It’s dependable, no gambling is involved.

What healing class do you feel you understand least?

These days I would say Druid. I haven’t played it as much as my other healers and there are still some kinks I’m working out. Knowing the other healing classes as I do though, patterns do emerge and it’s getting better and better.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?

I use Grid as my raid frames. I also use an addon called Tell Me When to create icons to show me the progress of cooldowns/buffs. I’ve also started using Weak Auras for visual heads up on things, but usually as an audio remind of when things come off cooldown are fall off my target.

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

I don’t worry about balance. One of the nice things, which will only get nicer as Cataclysm gets older, is Reforging. You can really customize your gear to fit your needs and that’s a beautiful thing. You need more throughput, reforge. You need more mana? Reforge. You need faster casting? Reforge. It’s just great.

Thinking Space

John ****ing Madden!

I’ve been a big fan of Android phones since their launch. I actually just traded in my Droid Eris, which was the lower grade of the first two Verizon Android choices, for a brand spankin’ new HTC Thunderbolt. (This phone is killer) What’s even more killer than hardware upgrades, are what are known as “concept maps”.

We’ve all seen them. They are connected webs of ideas that are interrelated. Flow charts, thought webs, brainstorming maps are all pretty much concept mapping.

Recently, while browsing the Android Market, I came across an app called “Thinking Space“. The picture shown above is pretty much what the app does. This is such a great tool for visual learners. Being able to see your ideas, and check connections between them helps you keep your presentation concise.

What makes this even better, is that Thinking Space can import/export from PC programs such as Freemind, Mindjet, and XMind. I can start developing a concept map on my phone or my computer, and then export/import to the other. The app can also export to a text file, which is laid out in a manner similar to a traditional writing outline. You can also export to an image or to cloud services. You don’t even have to plug your phone into your computer, as the app will export the file via e-mail to wherever you want to send it. If you prefer not to e-mail, grabbing the file off of your phone is also quite easy.

Now all I need is a concept mapping program that will let people simultaneously manipulate the map.

Does anyone know of such a program or website?