Monday, March 15, 2010

Kelidara's Favor

Server: Khadgar (US) - PVE
Character: Kelidara (80 human deathknight)
Other characters: Keleili (80 human priest), Keliki (70 nightelf druid)
Other friends: Roxxlor (28 human paladin)

[OOC Disclaimer]: I don't have anything against my aunt's adorable little pally. But if any of you have read, you'll understand that... well, some characters just have a personality that you can't dismiss. And those characters can be the most fun to play. ;)

I met with Keleili and Keliki at the tavern in Valgarde Keep today. This in itself isn't unusual, as Keleili and I usually meet for breakfast in Dalaran. Today we shifted the venue to Valgarde so that Keliki, newly arrived to Northrend, could join us.

Most of the meal was reasonably pleasant. Keliki is learning to be a tank, but despite my few experiences as a tank, I had really no advice to offer her, since a deathknight tank is very different from a druid tank. But still, she told her stories and we commiserated. Then Keleili dropped the bomb on me.

"Kelidara, I need you to do me a favor."

What does it seem like the biggest pains always start with that little phrase? At least Kel didn't bother to suggest that it was a "little" favor. *sigh* She did, however, managed to weasel me into agreeing to help out with this little pet project that Keleili has taken on.

The name of this "project" is Roxxlor. Roxx is a human paladin. I know this because I have already been enlisted once, to make her some armor. At the time she was still exploring Westfall [level 12]. That was... 2 weeks ago? Geez, they grow up fast! Now she's apparently a hop, skip and a jump away from being ready to dip her toes into the great Stranglethorn Jungle [almost level 30].

Okay, that's great, I can be happy for her, this adopted padawan of my sister. What does this have to do with me, I wanted to know. Apparently, Roxxlor is having trouble with her current questing locations - Duskwood, Redridge and Ashenvale. Keleili wants to help her get to the Wetlands to quest there, even though she's already a bit too powerful for those quests. The catch? Kel wants me to take Roxxlor to the Wetlands.

Why? I asked. I mean... seriously? Why can't Keleili do it? Kel says that I need to go because Roxxlor has already met most of the other sisters. She played with Kelisse for a while and even Keliki has gone to visit. It's my turn, apparently. My turn to do what? Play babysitter to some self-righteous holy knight who is probably some elite noble's first born daughter? Please kill me now!

The first person who points out that I'm already dead is going to become ghoul-food. Did you think my ghoul's name was "Bonechewer" for shits and giggles?

Anyway, I won't tell you what Keleili did to get me to agree to this.* Honestly, it wasn't pretty. But alas, there are some things that you just have to do. Apparently, giving Ms. Noble Paladin a tour of the Eastern Kingdoms from Stormwind to the Wetlands is one of those things. So, that's what I will apparently be doing tonight. While everyone else is fighting Arthas and the Scourge, I'll be taking a sightseeing trip through Loch Modan with some Paladin baby.

Why do the gods hate me so?

*Pointing out the look on Roxxlor's face when I summon my skeletal steed might have helped. A little. *evil grin*

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Two Paladins and a Warlock.

Server: Khadgar (US) - PVE
Character: Keledine
Others: Olorina, Fashadin

Good morning!

On Saturday, I introduced all of my sisters. I'm not sure why it was my job, since I'm the youngest, but shit rolls downhill, I guess. Anyway, today I can actually talk about me. Maybe.

I was born this last Friday in Northshire. My sisters were quick to outfit me... of a sorts. When I hit level 10 and made my way to Westfall on Saturday, I was wearing a mish-mash of quest rewards, copper armor that Kelidara had made, used heirlooms and wielding a shovel that I had picked up from the kobolds that I'd fought in Elwynn. Talk about your fashion statement.

When I arrived in Westfall, I met up with a short gnome with bouncy pink pig-tails and a large blue shadow demon pet. That's right, a gnome warlock with pink pigtails. Now I've seen everything. Olorina is actually the little sister of one of Keleili's best friends, Olorin. Both being the baby sisters of the family, Olorina and I hit it off immediately and decided to quest together.

We were shortly met up with Fashadin, who turns out to be the baby brother of another of Keleili's friends. Fashadin is a paladin, like me. When we first grouped, I had not yet technically met Fashadin. I couldn't help making a comment about at least one paladin having a fashion sense - get it - Fash-adin? Yeah, not my best joke. But Fashadin thought it was funny and proceeded to run with it, and we spent the next 5 minutes talking about the height of paladin fashions while I rode the griffon from Stormwind to Westfall.

For several hours, Fashadin, Olorina and I quested in Westfall. We slaughtered anything and everything that opposed us and left behind us the trail of bodies of hundreds of defias thieves of varying rank. The two paladins and the warlock. (We're still not sure who is corrupting who).

Later, Olorina and I wandered to Loch Modan and quested there for a while. Oh, and I did make it to the Exodar to train my new skills in Jewelcrafting.

Now I'm level 16 and looking forward to hitting level 20 so that we can go kill Edwin VanCleef. Last night, I spoke with Olorina and she's hit level 18. I need to hurry and catch up!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Everything I need to know about life, I learned from the PUG.

So, this morning I have found, amongst the various WoW blogs that I subscribe to, no less than 3 posts on lessons and advice that have come up in running PUGs through WoW's new LFG system. Everything from "why we hate dps meters" to "mistakes healers make" to "why new tanks are terrified of the PUG". It's all interesting and as I read them, I can't help nodding my head, "Yup... yup... uh huh... oh, yeah..."

Anyway, it occurred to me that perhaps all these "lists" can be condensed into just a few useful lessons.

1. Take your job seriously.

When you join a PUG, you sign up for a role, and with that role comes an unspoken but understood agreement. A contract, of sorts. You have agreed to tank, heal or dps that instance until one or all of the people in that group put an end to that contract. You should know what your job entails, and what will be expected of you. No one is expecting you to be perfect, and there is nothing wrong with still learning how to do your job, but even so, you should handle your role with respect.

Let me offer a few examples.

In Top Mistakes Healers Make, Pyoska pointed out that when a wipe occurs, it is not the healer's responsibility to rez "that lazy bum" who can't be bothered to run back with everyone else. However, she does point out, "On the contrary, if only one or two people die in a pull, REZ THEM. Don't be a jerk." I would put this (very good) advice under the category of taking your job seriously.

Last night, Katria and I ran some instances, with her as tank and myself as the healer. We were way overpowered for the instances, so we tried an experiment. Katria ran several instances in her dps gear, which put quite a bit more weight on my healing than normal. Does this mean that Katria was not taking her job as tank seriously? NO. On the contrary, the entire time we were running these instances, Katria was highly attuned to how well I was able to keep her healed. Whenever her health dropped below a certain threshold, she immediately asked me if it was getting too rough for me. And when one boss fight during which she tanked in dps spec led to the death of another party member, she immediately switched back to her tank spec. Katria was pushing herself and me, to see how far we could go to do our jobs. She would never have attempted this with a healer who she didn't trust and who didn't trust her, and in the process, we both learned several tricks that will help us do our jobs better when we find ourselves in more challenging fights.

2. Mind your own little red wagon.

As I have just mentioned, when you get into a random PUG, you have signed a contract to fill a role in the party. YOUR role. You have not signed anyone else's contract. Therefore, your responsibility is not to ensure that anyone else fulfills their contract, especially not to your satisfaction. So, your job is to make sure that YOU are doing your job, not to ensure that everyone else does theirs.

To this advice, I will offer 2 caveats.

Sometimes you will enter into a secondary agreement with another party member, either before or during a run, to offer advice. This may be a one-time or continuous thing. When this occurs, you should take this responsibility seriously and respectfully.

A while back, I was in a HoL PUG where I noticed that when the tank pulled a group of mobs to him, the hunter would send his pet in before the mobs reached the tank, forcing the tank to move forward to where the pet had caught them. After this happened a couple times, I politely asked the hunter if I could offer a suggestion. He agreed, and I explained what I was seeing and suggested that he wait a couple more seconds for the mobs to reach the tank before sending his pet in. Suggestion offered, I went back to my job of keeping everyone alive, and I honestly don't know if he took my advice or not. It wasn't my business any longer.

The second caveat is this: While you go into a PUG with a single role to fulfill, the goal of defeating the final boss of the instance is a group accomplishment and requires some level of cooperation. Sometimes that cooperation involves ideas that might make a run go more smoothly or allow a group to get past a challenge that currently has them stumped. But when in doubt, Christian Belt's advice is a good one: "Before you link your [dps] meter in chat, ask yourself the following question: are the mobs dying? If the answer is yes, then why do you care?"

Thank you, Christian. I couldn't have said it better myself.

3. Don't be a hypocrite.

Other versions of advice include "people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones," or:

"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye." Matthew 7:3-5

But I prefer the simply and concise "don't be a hypocrite." Refer back to #1 and #2. Was there a wipe? If so, the first thing you ask should not be "who screwed up?" but "what can I do within my role to help out?"

Things I love to hear after a wipe: "Would a frost trap help out with that extra mob?" (from a hunter).

Things I hate to hear after a wipe: "WTF, newb, learn to tank!"

Let me also add that even if your performance was perfect and there is nothing further you could do to make a failed attempt successful (which is highly unlikely), saying the latter of those statements will only serve to demoralize the group and MAKE you part of the problem and, thus, a hypocrite. So, don't do it.

4. Have an internal locus of control.

I actually learned about this in my counseling courses. What is a locus of control, you ask? It is, quite simply, a person's belief of what causes the good or bad things in their lives. A person with an external locus of control will believe that they will never succeed because people always push them around. Someone with an internal locus of control believes that they personally have the power to control their own destiny. You've heard the phrase "when life gives you lemons...", right? Yeah, same concept.

When you go into a PUG, you can chose to let how others treat you determine whether it is a good or bad run. Or you can chose to MAKE it a good run. Your choice.

5. You will catch more bees with sugar than vinegar.

Can you tell that I love clich├ęs?

This actually has a much broader use than you might think. Do you have advice to offer? 100% of the time, how you offer that advice will make more of a difference than how awesome that advice is. I promise you. On a broader spectrum, do you want the strangers in your PUG to be nice to you? A cheerful "Hey there! How is everyone?" works wonders in getting the group started off on the right foot.

Sugar. It will get you just about anywhere.

So, there are my five pieces of advice to anyone who is running a PUG using WoW's LFG system. Or, really, to anyone who is doing ANYTHING at all. Go figure.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Intro of a Kel

Server: Khadgar
Character: Keledine
Friends: Olorina, Fashadin

Lady2beetle introduced me earlier, but I've finally gotten around to making my own post. My name is Keledine and I'm the youngest of the Khadgar Kel sisters. Until recently, I was also the least experienced, but I've also worked my way past one of my sisters (not including Kelidin, who is our bank-sister).


Keleili is telling me that I need to tell everyone just who my sisters are. Hasn't she already done that? I guess not. Okay, let me introduce to you my sisters:

Keleili, 80 Human Priest (Disc/Shadow). Technically, Keleili isn't the oldest sister. Nor was she the first on this server. Nor was she the first to 60, 70 or 80. But she's always been the top dog. She's Lady2beetle's main. Keleili also has her own story, but she never finished it. It is the sequel to Kelirien's story. Keleili loves to raid, but she (like most of the Kel sisters) is a member of the social guild, Soulbound, which she loves to death, and she would never leave. Instead, she spends her time PUGing raids or helping a few other guildies put together spontaneous raids for fun.

Kelirien, 67 Nightelf Hunter (Survival). Kelirien is the original Kel. She was Lady2beetle's first character, and also her first 60, back before the Outlands were discovered. Kelirien even has her own story, the first of the Kel stories. Kelirien has sadly gotten very little time to play since the Outlands were discovered, though Lady2beetle goes back to play with her every once in a while.

Keliki, 67 Nightelf Druid (Feral). Keliki is only a little bit younger than Kelirien. She's been dusted off numerous times, most recently within the last 2 months. Lady2beetle has discovered that she loves Keliki's new feral spec and can't wait to get her to level 68 so that she can go to Northrend... but then I came along.

Keleina, 70 Draenai Shaman (enhancement). Keleina joined the Kel family shortly before Keleili. She reached 70, but while she was gearing up to join her guild in Karazhan, Keleili was born and shot to 70 and was geared and in Kara before Keleina could blink. Poor Keleina has remained dusty every since. She's still enhancement specced, and Lady2beetle has tried to take her to Northrend, but she's getting really frustrated. Now Keleina is thinking about going Resto to make surviving the cold northern continent a little bit easier, even if her leveling becomes slower.

Kelissa, 43 Nightelf Warrior (Arms). Kelissa is almost as old as Kelirien and Keliki, but she's gotten very little play time, especially since her favorite dual-wielding spec was nerfed. Now she sits in Booty Bay, collecting dust. :(

Kelidara, 80 Human Deathknight (Blood-DPS/Frost-Tank). Kelidara was the first Kel on Khadgar. She's younger than the above sisters and but she's native to the server, while the others have migrated. She was also the first to reach level 80. Kelidara has her own journal, and feel free to pester her about finishing it (we all do). Originally, Kelidara had dreams of becoming a tank, but after The Great DK Stamina Nerf of 3.1, she began to grow disillusioned and now she mostly sits around Dalaran with her Ghostly Skull pet.

Kelidin, 1 Dwarf Paladin. Kelidin is our bank sister. She doesn't like to adventure, and she's content to sit around Ironforge and sell all of our goods on the auction house. She's also good at keeping our money safe so that we won't spend it.

Kelitty, 18 Gnome Mage (Frost). Kelitty is one of the three newest members of our family. She's small, but packs a punch! When she's not being chewed on, that is.

Shadowkel, 8 Nightelf Rogue. Shadowkel is sort of the black sheep of the family. Kels have never made good rogues. EVER. Shadowkel is determined to change that... if she can ever make it out of Teldrassil.

Keledine, 16 Human Paladin (Retribution). That leaves me, Keledine. I'm the youngest, but as you can see, I've already surpassed Shadowkel in abilities, and I'm determined to get all the way to the top! My dream? To become a great tank! Hopefully before the world explodes in some gimungous cataclysm or something.

So, yeah, I wanted to talk about me, but I guess this took priority. Maybe I'll finally get to introduce you to Olorina tomorrow.

QQ! Poor Baby Pally!*

Server: Khadgar
Character: Keledine (10 Human Paladin)

Keledine joined my family of characters on Khadgar last night as the 10th of 10 girls. As such, she seems to be doomed to get nothing but hand-me downs!!

title or description

Kelirien (hunter) gave her her old heirloom chest piece that she wasn't using anymore.

Keleili (priest) purchased her an heirloom shoulder piece with emblems that she no longer needs.

Kelidara (DK) made her some mail armor with copper bars that were just sitting around in her bank.

Kelitty (mage) gave her some runecloth bags that she no longer needs.

And Keledine didn't even get any starting out money to buy herself a proper weapon, so here she is hitting the kobolds over the head with one of their own shovels!!!

QQ! Poor thing! Will she ever outgrow the shadow of her older sisters?

*Please note the intended humor. I'm not always good at expressing it over the internet. ;)