Save the Date!

Ladies and gentlemen, I’m pleased to announce that the next guide in my Kick-Ass series of guides, Kurn’s Guide to Being a Kick-Ass Raider, is scheduled to come out on Tuesday, February 18! Hooray!

I spent a ridiculous amount of time writing up a truly (IMHO) comprehensive Kick-Ass Guild Master guide last summer and launched that in August.  (Seriously, that sucker comes in at 358 pages.) It was a pretty successful project for me, so I elected to follow it up with a whole series of kick-ass guides. Since November, I’ve been pecking away at a (much shorter!) Kick-Ass Raider guide. I’m actually not quite finished yet, but I’ve always worked better with a deadline. ;)

The Raider guide covers a lot of things that are common across all raiders. I don’t focus on a particular class or spec rotation or abilities — the game is way too dynamic and constantly changing for that to be remotely useful for longer than a single patch cycle. Instead, I focus on the fundamentals that go towards distinguishing a truly kick-ass raider from an okay raider. We’re talking about specific sections about class knowledge (and how to improve it!), avoiding mistakes (and what you can do to get better at avoiding mistakes!) and even a section about how to be a better team player. There’s more, too, obviously, so do check out my sneak peeks.

I’m also planning on a Raid Leader guide (which will be next up) and probably a role officer guide, too (you know, people in charge of melee or ranged DPS, the healing lead, etc), all of which should be coming out this year. It’s a lot of writing, but honestly, what else is a retired GM/RL/healing lead supposed to do? ;) No, seriously, I’m looking forward to it.

So what should you do while waiting with baited breath for the Kick-Ass Raider guide to come out? Glad you asked!

  1. Follow me on Twitter (@kurnmogh) and keep an eye out for a daily tip (#KickAssRaider). Every day from now until launch, I’ll be tweeting a single, helpful tip in 140 characters or less, to help you become a better raider!
  2. On Sunday, February 16th at 3pm Eastern (noon Pacific), I’ll be hosting another #AskKurn session on Twitter for an hour! Hop on and ask me your questions about how to be a better raider, a better teammate or anything to do with raiding. (Note that I have very little experience on specific MoP fights, so I can’t really help you out there, but just about anything that isn’t fight-specific goes!)
  3. Keep up to date with my sneak peeks! I aim to release one every Tuesday, so we’ve got a couple of weeks’ worth of sneak peeks left before the launch.
  4. Sign up for my announcement newsletter, either over at Kurn’s Guides or over here on the blog (there should be a box that shows up on the right-hand side). Subscribers get advanced notice on a variety of things, plus special subscriber-only discounts! It’s a very low-traffic list and you can obviously unsubscribe at any time.
  5. If you want to help support my efforts, check out the affiliate program I’ve got going on. If you’re responsible for sending someone to my site and they purchase something, you get 50% of that purchase!
  6. Finally, guild masters and guild officers out there, be aware that we’re entering the period of time in which you should seriously start looking at stuff for Warlords of Draenor according to my Expansion Planning module from my GM guide! Start planning now!

So there you go, lots of stuff to do while you wait for February 18th! Guys, I’m super-excited. :D

In other news, I know I have a lot of blogging to get down to. I’ve been (happily) swamped with freelance work and I’m obviously working on finishing up my Raider guide, but I do hope to get a decent blog post out there soon, talking more about the LFRs that I experienced while I had my free week of WoW back over the holidays.

I’ll leave you with this amazing tweet from the one and only @AngryOrc1, which seems rather appropriate:


— ANGRYORC (@AngryOrc1) January 27, 2014


The Biggest Mistake

Hey gang! Happy Canada Day to you all. :)

As I continue writing my guide to being a kick-ass guild master (sneak peeks can be found over at!), I was wondering something…

What is the biggest mistake you’ve seen a guild’s leadership make?

If you are guild leadership, that also extends to what mistakes you’ve made.

(Note that if you comment, you may be quoted in one of my guide sections. You will receive full attribution and credit if so!)

My biggest mistake, as a guild leader, was not recruiting enough at the end of Burning Crusade and the start of Wrath of the Lich King. As such, the guild fell apart just about four months into Wrath.

As to the mistakes I’ve seen others make… Well, I don’t have all day. ;)

So chime in! I’d love to see what huge mistakes you’ve seen your guild leadership make or what mistakes you’ve made while helping to run a guild.

Do I think World of Warcraft is a game?

The other week, I asked you all if you thought World of Warcraft was a game, based on this (admittedly very specific) definition of a game:

“A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.” – Sulen and Zimmerman

My first instinct was to say yes, WoW is a game. Then I realized something. While WoW attempts to set you up, right from the start, in this artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome, you don’t have to do what they’re telling you to do.

When you start a character, you are placed in the starting zone and you are right next to a quest-giver. (Bear with me, I’ll be speaking primarily of the human starting zone.)

The developers (and common sense, really) expect you to interact with the quest-giver and complete the quest. Right off the bat, there’s the artificial conflict — you need to go kill wolves in Northshire, for example. As soon as you accept a quest, you are thrust into the artificial conflict. That initial human quest (as all others, I would imagine) immediately pits you against the environment and NPC mobs (wolves or what-have-you) in that environment.

Once you accept the quest, you have three options:

1) Complete the quest (quantifiable outcome — experience, quest rewards)
2) Drop the quest (quantifiable outcome — the lack of gaining experience, quest rewards)
3) Ignore the quest (quantifiable outcome — the lack of gaining experience, quest rewards)

All of that, however, hinges on actually picking up the quest.

If you don’t pick up the quest, there’s no immediate conflict. Nothing in the starting area will aggro on to you. You can essentially run around with impunity until you leave the Northshire gates and enter Elwynn Forest.

When you enter Elwynn Forest, you will encounter NPCs that are, for the first time, hostile to you and will attack you upon sight. This is a conflict and it’s defined by rules. The rules are simple: defend yourself with attacks until either you or the NPC dies or run away, knowing that the NPC is limited to a small area and will almost certainly not run away themselves. The quantifiable outcome is either victory (you lived and killed the NPC), defeat (you died because the NPC killed you), or a stalemate (you ran away and both of you lived).

My argument is that WoW itself is not a game. WoW does not inherently force you to engage in any of its sub-games, such as questing or exploring, PVPing or raiding, dungeoning or crafting, gathering or levelling.

Having said that, I believe that WoW is host to many, many games. Everything that can grant you experience, gold, achievements or feats of strength is a game. Anything that puts your character in danger of death is another game. Healing is a huge game with many sub-games, such as tank healing, raid healing, cooldown use, mana management, as well as the various encounter mechanics. (I’m not even going to touch on PVP healing!)

It might be splitting hairs to some, but I feel strongly that WoW is not a game on its own. It is a system that hosts a plethora of games. Most of those games, like healing, have sub-games within them.

However, I feel that WoW is more than just a system. It is definitely a system, but it also comprises all the social interaction that comes with an MMO. While there can be arguments made that “the social game” is a game, I think that the social part of things is less of a game, from the definition I gave, and more of a tool that can either help or hinder you in your game-related goals.

Following instructions in a raid setting will help your team defeat the encounter (assuming a competent raid leader) while not paying attention to instructions will likely end up killing you or others in your group. As such, the game of raiding within WoW relies heavily on communication and cooperation between raid members to emerge victorious after an encounter attempt. This is, of course, very different from the “socialness” of Trade Chat.

Is Trade Chat’s “socialness” a game? Again, I would argue not. It is merely a tool to help you to know who to avoid teaming up with, or that some people may be seeking others to help them with a dungeon or raid. Perhaps people playing the Auction House game (I do believe that’s a game) use Trade Chat to announce their auctions. Chat is a tool, not a game in and of itself. And chat belongs to the system that is WoW.

Essentially, while I do call World of Warcrat a game for simplicity’s sake, there are really just a multitude of games that WoW hosts and those are the games about which we are passionate.

Cataclysm Holy How-To #2: Spells and Abilities

*** All content copyright © Kurn’s Corner, 2011. Reproduction of this guide in full or in part without express permission from the author (“Kurn”), represents copyright infringement and violation of copyright law. Please, if you like this guide, link to it, do not copy it. ***

(Don’t forget to read my Cataclysm Holy How-To #1: Specs and Glyphs before reading this one!)

Once again, welcome to an updated article in my Holy How-To series! Today, we’ll be focusing on the spells and abilities holy paladins have at level 85 and we’ll talk a bit about how best to use each of these spells and abilities in a PVE setting. Please bear in mind that this was written during the time that 4.2.2 was on live realms and, as such, may become outdated with future patches.

Continue reading “Cataclysm Holy How-To #2: Spells and Abilities”

The First Raid

You know, thinking about it, this blog has documented the fall of Apotheosis, my time on Bronzebeard, my time in my last guild and now will document my time on Skywall.

The idea that, five years from now, I could look at this entry and go “oh my God, my first raid on Skywall!” gives me a moment’s pause. Should I record everything for posterity? Probably not. Should I gloss over things in the hopes that I’ll have a shiny entry to remember my first raid by? Probably not.

As always, it seems, the right amount of detail is somewhere in the middle.

Continue reading “The First Raid”

The Search Continues

So I’m actively shopping for a new guild. I’ve been approached by several guilds due to a post on a low-level alt in the Guild Recruitment forums.

Some of them just don’t appeal to me. Sorry, I don’t want to raid for five hours at a time, five days a week. Hell, I don’t want to raid five days a week, period. I’m looking for 3-4 days, preferably for about 3 hours.

The top choices right now are a guild on Hyjal and another on Skywall.

The Hyjal guild (8/12 HM ICC25) seems really nice, with decent people and a good economy on the server. The GM is pretty awesome and I chatted with him, the healing lead and a couple of the guildies for an hour or so the other night. The raiding times are Sun/Mon/Wed/Thurs from 8:30pm-11pm ET. Those are the same nights I currently raid and 10 hours a week instead of 12, in sweet little 2.5 hour chunks. Not to mention the fact that the raid *ends* when my current raids begin! How awesome is that? I can have a late-ish dinner, then go raid, then go to the store at 11-11:30 or so if I’m missing milk or have a chocolate craving or something!

The Skywall guild (7/12 HM ICC25) raids Mon/Wed/Thurs from 9pm-1am. So I’d get Sunday off entirely and still have the same amount of raid time I do now, just a little more compressed.

“Kurn,” you may ask, “what the hell? Aren’t you 11/12 HM in ICC 25?”

“Why yes,” I would reply, “I am.”

“And you would go BACKWARDS in progression?” you may ask, perhaps with incredulity in your voice.

“Yes. I would,” I would reply.

Here’s the reason: I am tired of idiots and imbeciles. I am tired of abuse and blame.

In light of yesterday’s revelation, I better know why I’m looking for a new guild where the people don’t SUCK. It’s because I want that more social atmosphere paired with progression. I like approximately three people in my current guild. Maybe four. I loathe the MT/GM. I’m not speaking to the raid leader at the moment. One of the OTs won’t stfu when I tell him I don’t want to talk about X, Y or Z (guild politics, mostly) and don’t get me started on the moronic DPS who don’t know how to STOP DPS or how to move out of my range during Empowered Shock Vortex. Ahem. I’m getting cranky again. :)

Sure, there are a lot of 11/12 HM ICC 25 guilds looking for a holy paladin. But ones that don’t raid HARDCORE and ones that meet my requirements (Alliance ONLY, non-PVP, to start with) are pretty few and far between.

So what makes these two guilds “special”?

The GMs of both guilds not only posted in my thread but contacted me at the email address I left and then responded to questions I had promptly, politely and with a good deal of humour. They treated me respectfully, were honest with me about their progression and why they’re seeking out a new holy paladin. I also basically gave them both the third degree about their healing leads and healing teams.

So far, though the Hyjal guild has the advantage on raid times, the Skywall guild has the advantage with the healing. On their heroic Saurfang kill, the GM (resto shammy, who isn’t the healing lead) healed THE FIRST FOUR MARKS ON HER OWN.

No joke. I saw the parse. They got six marks. She handled four. They had five healers. She was the fifth mark and a priest was the sixth.

And I was bitching about handling marks 1/2 alone. Seriously, this is someone who knows how to heal. I LIKE people who know how to heal! They are awesome! Strangely, I’ve never known a great healer who was a complete tool, either.

The Skywall GM also believes strongly in working with their raiders to up their performance. Unlike my current guild who will either keep someone who sucks because they need X class (see: Idiot Priest) or will throw out someone who isn’t performing rather than talk to them about things first, the Skywall guild works with apps and members alike.

Funny story, I was going to implement that in the Wrath of the Lich King version of Apotheosis, but then Apotheosis fell apart.

The Hyjal guild has more perks, I think — guild repairs, guild consumables, etc. But I don’t think they have the level of effort and care that the Skywall guild has.

Truth be told, I was almost certainly going to go to the Hyjal guild, but the Skywall guild seems fairly compelling.

Another factor to consider with the Skywall guild is that it’s on the same battlegroup as my old server, Eldre’Thalas. The thought of renewing some acquaintances… well, either I would love to or I would leave the party instantly, haha.

So, Whirlwind Battlegroup people, Reckoning Battlegroup people, tell me of your random dungeon queues and the quality of those groups! ;)