Day 07 – The Reason Behind Your Blog's Name

This post is part of Saga’s 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge!

When I started my blog, I knew I wanted a fun name. Blogs I read at the time were named Blessing of Kings and Banana Shoulders and the like.

I knew, though, that I didn’t want to focus just on paladin stuff. Sure, I was playing my paladin in raids, but my guildies still (mostly) called my Kurn and that was still very much my in-game identity (and still is).

I knew I wanted to talk about hunter stuff, about how I hated that Beast Mastery was all the rage and all you needed was to spam-click a macro to get stupidly good DPS.

I knew I wanted to talk about raiding and the trials a raid group goes through while pushing through bosses and progression.

I knew I wanted to talk about guild stuff and what my guild was doing, both inside of raids and out.

I knew I wanted to talk about dailies and pally stuff and healing and alts.

It was going to be conglomeration of whatever I wanted to talk about. The only thing tying everything together was that these were going to be my thoughts, my ideas, my opinions.

Kurn’s Corner seemed right. There was alliteration (which I do love) and there was a broad sense to it. I’ve never felt trapped by my blog’s name — this is where I write whatever the heck I want to write. No constraints in terms of expectations apart from “this is what Kurn is thinking about today”. While I’ve done a lot of posting about raiding and healing and paladins, I know that I don’t have to limit myself to these topics, and that suits me just fine.

So Kurn’s Corner is a collection of Kurn’s thoughts about the World of Warcraft and that’s why the name has stuck since Day 1. :)

Yesterday – Your Workplace/Desk
Tomorrow – 10 things we don’t know about you

Day 06 – Your Workplace/Desk

This post is part of Saga’s 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge!

Before I started playing WoW, I sat at my desk and had a 19″ CRT monitor and a comfy office chair and a keyboard tray and speakers and everything.

I got a laptop. I started playing WoW. The laptop was miles beyond my desktop computer. The desktop wouldn’t even let me install WoW.

Thus began the era of Kurn-on-the-Couch.

I generally sit on my couch with my laptop on my coffee table. I also have a lapdesk that I use frequently if I want to sit back to relax or if I want to play from my bed (which I do, sometimes!).

I looked around for a picture of my desk at the height of my “this is my workspace” time, but I cannot, for the life of me, find it.

It’s all moot anyways — whole new setup coming in the first week of May. New computer, dual monitors, new speakers, everything. I will definitely have to do something about the TV situation, though. I’ve gotten used to watching hockey games (among other things) over the top of my laptop screen!

So tune back in then for a pretty picture of my new setup. :)

Yesterday – Favourite Items in the Game
Tomorrow – The reason behind your blog’s name

Why Bribery Won't Help — Much

Today, Blizzard announced that they would essentially be bribing tanks and healers to queue up for random, heroic dungeons in the 4.1 patch, by rewarding the least-represented role with special rewards, which may include rare mounts and rare non-combat pets.

(I won’t even talk about how one of those rare mounts is the Baron’s mount out of Stratholme. That’s someone else’s QQ fodder, but I can imagine people are going to be pissed if they’ve done 500 runs over the years and not gotten one, but some random tank gets it for running heroic Vortex Pinnacle.)

Tanks and, to a lesser extent, healers, are the least-represented roles when queuing up for a random heroic dungeon at 85. You can tell because DPS has the longest queue (30+ minutes for me on my hunter, typically), healers have a much shorter queue (about 8 minutes) and tanks have a damn near instant queue.

In a dungeon group, you have 20% of the group that heals, 20% of the group that tanks and 60% of the group that’s DPS, right? 1 and 1 and 3 makes 5.

In a 10-man raid group, you generally have 30% of the group that heals, 20% of the group that tanks and 50% of the group that does damage. (This can also be 20/20/60, so your mileage may vary.)

So far, that all seems pretty logical, right? The dungeon group percentages mostly match up to the raid group percentages.

Then we have 25-man raids. In a 25-man raid group, you drop from 20% of the group being comprised of tanks to, in most situations, 2 people tanking. That’s 8%. On some occasions, you get 3 tanks, that’s 12%. It is a lot less than the 20% in your standard random groups. You also generally go up from 20% healers to around 25% healers (6 or 7, up from 5, one per group.).

My hypothesis: Tanks are in high demand in dungeon situations because there are not enough tanks needed in raid situations.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not asking for 5 tanks, 5 healers and 15 DPS for every encounter. Or even ANY encounter. But my theory is that there are more healers than tanks and more DPS than healers because there are more spots required of DPS and healers than there are of tanks. Yes, having death knights be able to tank since last expansion has added to the number of possible tanks. Yes, more raid groups (thanks to the legitimacy of 10-man raiding in Cataclysm) will mean more geared and skilled tanks who are available.

However, what will bribing tanks (and, to a lesser extent, healers) into solo-queuing do to the random dungeon finder system?

Fox Van Allen tweeted: “you’ll wind up seeing a lot more bad, unready tanks,” although he rather likes the idea apart from that.

I tend to agree — tanks are going to be awful. This isn’t going to convince the good/experienced/geared tanks to go out and start pugging. Since they don’t need much out of heroics (once they farm ZG and ZA with mostly guild groups, at any rate), the only added incentive is this “Call to Arms” reward. Why do your daily random (or seven weekly randoms) with not one but four puggers if you can easily do it with at least a partial guild group?

I don’t think the experienced, good tanks will do this very often.

What I think this will do more of is convince that idiot ret paladin to choose prot as his dual spec and fail miserably. Or convince the moonkin that he doesn’t need ALL feral gear to use in a bear spec; after all, who’s going to actually take the time to inspect the bear?

I did a lot of daily dungeons runs in Wrath on a lot of different toons. I did them on my pally as a tank and a healer, I did them on my druid as a tank and a healer, I did them on my mage and hunter as a DPS and I did them on my priest and shaman as a healer.

Oh, the failure I saw, the lack of knowledge I witnessed, the common sense that I realized was not remotely common at all. I KNOW I’ve blogged about these experiences on this very blog before.

Oh, look. April 9th, 2010, “Yet another fail ‘tank'”.

April 6th, 2010, “OMG.”

There are more, but I digress yet again.

I have no reason to believe that Cataclysm random heroics are any different from Wrath random heroics except that they’re longer and more difficult to begin with than the Wrath ones were. Thus, based on my WotLK dungeon finder experiences, I do not foresee a lot of experienced tanks solo-queuing to get these rewards; I see a lot of DPS posing as tanks who solo-queue for the rewards, without any kind of real understanding of how the encounters work.

That’s going to translate into more groups being formed, yes — but will they be more successful? I’m sure some will be, but I would imagine that the success rate will drop, overall, at least after the initial ZA/ZG farm fest.

I really believe that the key to alleviating the dreaded DPS queue problem is to make tanks more needed at the higher levels of content. More demand for tanks should lead to more tanks being rolled, no? That said, I don’t have a good idea as to how to make tanks more needed without requiring 5 tanks on all 25-man raid encounters. I just don’t think this is the way to go about fixing the queue problem. I am actually afraid to see those DPSers in “tank” specs who will probably spec 41 points in their tanking tree and still miss out on six crucial points…

Time will tell, I suppose!

Day 05 – Favourite Item(s) in Game

This post is part of Saga’s 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge!

Oh geez. My favourite items in the game?

My bank is littered with mementos. Stacked full of memories. Here are a few of the things I hang on to because of the memories attached to them.

There’s my Royal Seal of Eldre’Thalas, which I loved because, at the time, it was a great trinket AND it was the name of “my” server.

There’s the Briarwood Reed, which I got on my paladin, even though, at the time, it was +damage/healing. I loved it because it was still an upgrade for poor little Madrana but also because I snagged it from this one guy’s mage alt. And just the satisfaction of knowing I outrolled him on it is totally worth it. (I really didn’t, and still don’t, like that guy.)

Of course, there’s the Rhok’delar and Lok’delar, too.

And I can’t forget about the Lightforge Spaulders, which actually made me feel like a real paladin, when I first equipped them. Similarly, Lightbringer Pauldrons look bad-ass.

Happy Fun Rock and I had a bunch of good times together back in Dire Maul.

And then there’s Zod’s Repeating Longbow, which I got about 11 months ago, after drooling over it for several months.

But I think that my favourite items are really things that no longer really exist. Keys. I’m talking about dungeon keys. Most keys no longer exist, but, by golly, I had all of them on Kurn. Except the Arcatraz. And screw Arcatraz. I had the Scarlet Key (SM and Strat Live), the Key to the City (Strat Undead), the Crescent Key (Dire Maul), the Skeleton Key (Scholomance), the Shadowforge Key (BRD) and more. I LOVED getting keys. And I remember a time when you didn’t HAVE a keychain and you’d make it alllllll the way up to Strat Live or Scholomance and someone didn’t HAVE the key because it was in their bank.

Relatedly, though, I do still love my Blessed Medallion of Karabor.

(Also, totally unrelated, Episode 15 of Blessing of Frost came out Tuesday!)

Yesterday – Your Best WoW Memory
Tomorrow – Your workplace/desk (photo and/or description)

Day 04 – Your Best WoW Memory

This post is part of Saga’s 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge!

Day 04 – Your Best WoW Memory

There is no way I can narrow it down to just one memory or one moment of elation or one moment of pride or one moment of accomplishment. I’ve been playing for over five years, fairly regularly, fairly steadily. That’s a lot of time and that’s a lot of memories accumulated.

What I’ll do here is narrow it down to two memories from each expansion. That still doesn’t seem “right”, but it’ll have to do.

Vanilla WoW Memory #1: The one that tops the list here is everything I went through to get my Rhok’delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers. My guild at the time wasn’t clearing MC. We hadn’t even actually killed Onyxia, as a guild. So one day, there I am in Trade, and someone is SELLING the Ancient Petrified Leaf. They had killed Majordomo and looked in his chest and there was a leaf that no one could use. So they sent someone out to Ironforge and they started spamming Trade.

500 gold later, I was being summoned to Molten Core and I looted my leaf. I’d already gotten the Mature Black Sinew from Onyxia from a pug as I was the only hunter there who hadn’t gotten it yet. So I was well on my way and could start killing some demons.

I found Nelson the Nice and Simone pretty easy, but it was Franklin the Friendly (the first one I engaged — repeatedly) who kicked my ass all over Burning Steppes, much to the amusement of my guildies who would camp out and watch my miserable attempts. To this day, he is still my nemesis. Artorius also gave me a bit of trouble. Had Majik not been there on his priest to rez me (the demon and I killed each other at the same time), the demon probably would have despawned.

All those things together make up one of the best memories in WoW for me.

Vanilla WoW Memory #2: The Tier 0.5 questline. Yep, 45-minute Baron run and all (thank you very much, we once did it in 39 minutes with my cat, Whisper, “tanking”, plus Crypt healing, Majik, Tia, Tan and myself DPSing!), this is still a favourite memory of mine. It was three years AFTER I’d done everything for the questline that I finally got the Beaststalker Tunic from General Drakkisath in Upper Blackrock Spire and got my full Beastmaster’s Armor set. The five of us basically did this questline without a tank. The only time we needed an actual tank to help us out was the extra boss in Ras Frostwhisper’s room in Scholomance and the last boss, Lord Valthalak (aka, Lord Whatshisnuts) in Upper Blackrock Spire. The rest of it was easily done on our own or with the five of us. It was during this time that Majik lagged out on Vent and we actually thought he was high on some really potent drug.

I don’t think I had laughed that hard in my life, up until that night in Dire Maul, and probably not since then, either. It was one of the best times in this game for me.

Burning Crusade Memory #1: Killing Vashj. We have a copy of the kill video over on YouTube. This was the best kill of any boss probably ever, for me. I knew every detail of the fight, micromanaged it and after a LOT of time on this, we got her down, thanks in part to my 15k crit Lay on Hands when Dayden was the last tank left. Woot!

Burning Crusade Memory #2: Probably getting Kael down and getting my Hand of A’dal title. Killing Illidan was awesome, but it was post-3.0 so it wasn’t quite the same as getting Hand of A’dal, which is the title I still prefer to wear.

Wrath of the Lich King Memory #1: My different guilds in Wrath, all of them. Even the one with the crazy, abusive raid leader. Resurgence of Bronzebeard, the Proudmoore one and Choice of Skywall. After being in my own guild for two years, I was nervous and scared and not remotely confident about my abilities and value as a player. But Resurgence and Choice welcomed me with open arms. My Proudmoore guild, though less warm-and-fuzzy, allowed me to raid with my RL Friend the Resto Druid for several months and got me my ICC 25-man drake and, for the first (and last) time, allowed my friend and I to earn a title together — Astral Walker. So I’m indebted to all three of the guilds I spent time in during Wrath.

Wrath of the Lich King Memory #2: Killing the Lich King with Apotheosis on 10-man with Kurn and on 25-man with, well, 24 other members of Apotheosis. (Although this 10-man LK kill was pretty epic as well.) This happened at the tail end of Wrath of the Lich King, after the 4.0 drop, I believe, and honestly, seeing this team of people working together to successfully defeat the Lich King was great. When you take into consideration that a lot of them hadn’t ever seen the fight, it really makes me proud.

Cataclysm Memory #1: Just one memory so far for Cata — the fact that, three months into raiding, my guild is still alive and kicking. We’re still doing 25s. We’ve still never had to cancel a raid (although we moved the raid from Superbowl Sunday to the Monday). We’ve never had to drop into 10-mans. We’ve gone 11/12 normal modes and 1/13 heroic modes all on 25-man. We’ve lost a lot of people who originally threw their hats in, but we’ve recovered and gained some valuable members as well. Despite the stress and frustration and aggravation I’ve experienced so far, the best part about this expansion, for me, is that I’m raiding with people I know and love and, if I don’t love them, I at least respect them. We’re quite an interesting crew. And I love that we’re still together, conquering content, one boss at a time.

Looking over my answers, boss kills are generally my big moments of “YES!!!” in this game, followed closely by guild-related things. Amazing how much my favourite memories really rely on other people. I’m glad I’ve got a group of folks I really can rely on.

Yesterday – Your First Day Playing WoW
Tomorrow – Favourite item(s) in game

Day 03 – Your First Day Playing WoW

This post is part of Saga’s 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge!

Day 03 – Your First Day Playing WoW

What’s funny about this is I kind of have two “first days” of playing WoW. Somehow, before I went out and bought a copy, I had found an online copy of WoW with a private server attached. Of course, I had absolutely no idea what a private server was, no idea what I was doing. I just followed the instructions with the download and found myself at the character creation screen.

I created a human male warrior and then logged in to the world.

So there I am, level 1, standing in Elwynn, completely amazed at the graphics and level of detail and everything.

And then I decided to go exploring.

There weren’t any NPCs, no mobs, not a soul. It was crazy. I ran, I actually RAN, from Elwynn, over to Redridge, up through Burning Steppes and then I saw Blackrock Mountain.

I went into Blackrock Mountain from the south side and I have this very strong memory of running up the spiraling ramp and running up and down the chains.

But, there was no one there. At all. It then dawned on me that I was on a local server, not an online server, so I went digging around and discovered I needed to buy the game to connect to the real game servers.

It was over Canadian Thanksgiving that I did so, so that’s mid-October of 2005, and showed my brother the game. I had elected to roll a male night elf hunter, because I was trying to keep a low profile. As a woman, I’ve been harrassed a LOT in online communities by creepy guys, so I was prepared for that happening and decided to fly under the radar with a male night elf.

So my first day of playing WoW for real was me running around Aldrassil and Shadowglen, playing like a scrub. I’d shoot something once, it would come at me, another autoshot might get off and then I’d melee the mob down. Somewhere in all of this, I convinced my brother to start playing and he quickly went out and bought the game and rolled a druid. (He beat me to 60.)

My first real day of WoW play was pretty awesome. I loved dinging. I knew I wanted to do more of it. I really felt like a hunter, too, stalking my prey. I had no idea what it meant that a mob was red or yellow or green to me (both in terms of friendliness and level) and I was constantly getting lost by the spider tunnels.

I also remember that Shadowmeld got a lot of use from me right from the start and I was SO sad that I couldn’t move while stealthed!

Honestly, though, what I remember most about my first day of playing WoW is how gorgeous Aldrassil was. This lush, green place, a huge tree… it was really amazing. I was blown away by the graphics and I loved running around Shadowglen. And jumping. I loved (and still love!) the male night elf jump. Somersaults!

Yesterday – Why You Decided to Start a Blog
Tomorrow – Your best WoW memory

Day 02 – Why You Decided to Start a Blog

This post is part of Saga’s 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge!

Day 02 – Why You Decided to Start a Blog

I’ve been keeping blogs and journals since, well, I think it was probably 1998 or 1999. That was back before Blogger even really existed. My first blog was hosted on my own personal website and it was something I updated manually. Yup, designed it myself, coded it myself and wrote all the content into the HTML code. Having a blog was nothing new to me when I first installed WordPress here and made Kurn’s Corner. (Hilariously, my very first post was dated April 4th, 2008. More on that on day 9!)

So I started one because it was easy for me to do so. I had the web hosting for the Apotheosis site already and I made the subdomain for myself and installed WordPress.

What was I going to write about? Primarily, at the time, I wanted to write to educate people. When I started writing, we were about six or seven months out from the release of Wrath of the Lich King. I was getting frustrated, so very frustrated, by the idiocy of people I would encounter. I’m not talking about my guildies or my friends, but just the random people I’d bump into who were clearly doing it “wrong”.

I like to do things well. If I can’t do something well, I don’t like to do it. (Doesn’t mean I won’t, but I will always try to do it to the best of my ability.) So when I see other people trying to do something I know how to do well and I see they’re NOT doing it well, it drives me a bit nuts.

My second post on this blog was about jewelcrafting and explaining how to get all the different cuts. It was about educating people and telling people that an orange counts as both a red AND a yellow and that metas need to be activated.

Looking back over my first posts, though, I spend a lot of time talking about Apotheosis and Lady Vashj and then pally stuff.

Really, my blog’s purpose hasn’t substantially changed since I started it. I really started it to educate people and I like to think I’m still doing that. I quickly started to use it as a place to talk about what I was doing in-game. I’m definitely still doing that. :) I also used it as a place to ponder aloud about paladin stuff. Pretty sure I’m still doing that, too! If anything, my blog has brought in more paladin stuff over the last year, which is good, since it ties in with the educational slant.

I guess the short answer to this is that I started a blog to educate people and to give myself a platform to talk about stuff in the game that’s important to me and just to chatter a bit about what I’m up to in the game and because it was easy for me to do.

Yesterday – Introduce Yourself
Tomorrow – Your first day playing WoW

Day 01 – Introduce Yourself

So I read over at Dwarven Battle Medic that Fannon is taking part in a blogging challenge that Saga of Spellbound came up with. I know I’ve been neglecting the blog lately, what with all kinds of other WoW obligations and some RL obligations too, so I figured at least this will get me to post daily. :)

Day 01 – Introduce Yourself

Hi, my name is Kurnmogh, but you can (and should) call me Kurn. Please do not call me Madrana, even though that’s the character I play on more often than not, nor any derivations thereof. Kurn is just fine, please and thank you.

I’m a female 30-something-year-old Montrealer who has been playing WoW since before I was in my 30s. I’m finishing up a sociology degree from a university here in Montreal and I do some contract work to do with web stuff, both design/coding and the online community aspect.

I’m the guild master and healing lead of Apotheosis, an Alliance raiding guild on the Eldre’Thalas (US) server and spend a lot of time healing in raids as a holy paladin. I still love my hunter to bits and pieces, though, but I realized at the start of Wrath that being a DPS doesn’t satisfy me the way playing a healer does.

I love to write in my spare time. Does this surprise the frequent visitors out there? I think I’m pretty much known for my absolutely epic-length posts (both blog and forum variety) possibly more than I am known for any paladin expertise I may hold. Sadly, I don’t get to do this as much as I’d like to, due to the aforementioned “guild master” title, but I am definitely a writer at heart.

I also watch a stupid amount of television, usually not at the same time as it actually airs. Current shows I’m watching weekly include, but are not limited to: Castle, How I Met Your Mother (a guild favourite!), V, Glee, The Big Bang Theory, Grey’s Anatomy, 30 Rock, Survivor: Redemption Island and I occasionally keep an eye on House and Desperate Housewives. I just finished watching Season 1 of Community and am trying to catch up on Season 2. I also catch as many Montreal Canadiens hockey games as possible, which is probably about 35% or so of them, primarily because they play a LOT of games on raid nights.

Anyways, I guess that’s sufficient for now! Much more and there won’t be a lot left for the next 19 days! :)

Tomorrow – Why you Decided to Start a Blog

Al'Akir – 36, Apotheosis – 0

(No, no clever April Fool’s trick or gag.)

In February, on a night I desperately wanted to sit myself out due to a migraine (but ultimately couldn’t, due to lack of healers that night), we went in, killed Conclave for the first time and then pulled Al’Akir 16 times. All wipes. Some were comical in nature. Most were frustrating.

On March 31st, we went back to Throne, killed Conclave for the second time and then pulled Al’Akir 20 times. All wipes. Some were comical in nature. Most were frustrating.

Yeah, I see the trend, too.

We got him down to 27% on our best attempt. The trouble is that our best attempt was, oh, before the midpoint of our raid.

Picture it, if you will.

I’ve spread everyone out on the platform. 7 groups of 3 people and 1 group of 4. This is due to the lightning that bounces around.

So there’s me and Majik and Dayden standing there and Dayden runs in and pulls.

Time and time again, the damn Squall Line hits us riiiiiiiiiight when Wind Burst just comes off of cooldown. It’s so ridiculously dumb when the following combination happens:

– There is ice on the back of the platform.
– The gap is in the middle of the Squall Line.
– Wind Burst is casting OMG NOW, so you HAVE to move forward.
– The resulting Wind Burst throws you to the back of the platform, where the ice is and even when you USE Blessing (goddammit) Hand of Freedom, you can’t get there in time, not even with Holy Radiance/Speed of Light.

That EXACT scenario happened to me at least three times and possibly a fourth over 20 wipes. I also ate a few Squalls and Wind Bursts while trying desperately to avoid the other mechanic.

So, being relatively new to the fight, we tried moving me to a place that would require less combinations like that. I was feeling like ass. Was it really always just me getting screwed over by this Wind Burst/Squall Line combo? Or was it really bad luck? Or what? I mean, Dayden and Majik were having trouble, too.

So I switched myself with Walks, because there’s a point where you just have to start throwing things at the wall to see if they’ll stick.

Walks got blown off the platform!

Sorry, buddy, you know I think you’re awesome, but I about cheered. This terrible combination is NOT just my fault. That was a pretty huge weight off my shoulders and I stopped feeling like I was a horrible failure, even though I am not the best on mobility fights. At least I wasn’t a liability to the raid. That combo was giving everyone problems.

So I shifted everyone one pattern over to the right, as we faced him. Just to see what would happen. Football joked in officer chat that “hey, wouldn’t it be funny if it was in the same place and it’s all dependant on where the MT is standing?” and then a raider said the same comment two minutes later in raid chat.

So what happened? That’s right. The same damn thing. The spawning of everything happens in direct relation to where the main tank is and is PURPOSELY DESIGNED, as far as I can tell, to ENSURE that the MT will have to juggle Wind Burst and Squall Line within a second or two of each other.

(Five minutes with the joker who designed this. Five minutes and a sturdy hockey stick.)

So we went back to our usual positions and we had Fog, the OT, grab aggro first. Once the squalls had spawned, Dayden taunted and THAT seemed to change how things were spawning. And, for some reason, we had the two Squall Lines intersect without one of them despawning.

On our last attempt of the night, we tried that again, Fog pulling first, then Dayden taunting off, and while a lot of people had to re-adjust to the way things were spawning for them, which was completely different than how it had spawned for the entire night, we saw that the colliding Squall Lines was a fluke of Lady RNG, since it didn’t happen again.

So Al’Akir lives to torment us another day. From what I can tell in a bunch of videos I’ve watched since the raid ended, the tank (the one who pulled) and others with him just deke the Squall Line BEFORE the Wind Burst comes up. I think it’s just something we’ll likely have to deal with (someone will need to deal with it at any rate) and then burn the crap out of him so that we get through P1 really fast.

On the bright side, we’re probably just going to kill Nef on Sunday real quick (haha, hopefully, anyways) and then come back to Throne and… wait, that’s not a bright side. Ah, well!

It was educational, if nothing else. :)

(Okay, not five minutes. Three minutes? How’s that? Three minutes and a wiffle bat!)