The Death of WoW and the Circle of Life

It is safe to say that World of Warcraft is going through something of a transition these days. The change to Cataclysm's new style of play has not been easy for a lot of people – particularly people who have been playing this game for a long time.

Evidence of this is all around us. Every time someone gives up healing or tanking because it's too hard, there it is. Whenever we hear that a long time WoW player has dropped his subscription we're reminded of it. Every time that a player drops WoW for Rift and starts spamming Twitter with an incessant stream of achievement spam, we can't help but notice. Whenever a beloved, long-time WoW blogger closes up shop, a flagrantly obvious fact is right there in your face like a village full of murlocs:

WoW isn't the same game that you fell in love with six years ago.

Over the past couple of months, many notable WoW bloggers have decided to retire their blogs. Tam at Righteous Orbs, for instance, and most recently Larisa at Pink Pigtail Inn has called it a day. Many others have quietly faded into oblivion without so much as a 'farewell' post - their blogs going dark, leaving their readership to wonder. There is no question that the WoW blogging community is smaller and less brilliant because of their loss of these voices that we were so accustomed to hearing, but as Vidalya at Manalicious so elegantly put it, "other's endings are not my endings".

Being plugged into Twitter and the Blogosphere means that it's impossible to not hear grumbling and griping about all sorts of things and very rarely do we hear someone mentioning how great something is. We bloggers are, if nothing else, champion complainers - and it's not a hard stretch to imagine that hearing all the doom and gloom would affect our opinion of our game and our community to the point where we would begin to believe that it's dying.

I'm curious how a WoW player who isn't active in the community feels about this game and it's health. Do they look at their guild and the competition for a raid spot and feel that the game is hemorrhaging people? Do they think that losing a long time guild member means that there is something wrong with the game? Or do they look at it as the natural way of these things?


With any game that sticks around for a long time, it's natural for people to come and go as their level of interest waivers. I'm not sure how anyone could play the same game for five or six years - or any length of time for that matter - without losing interest or feeling burnout at some point.

Before I started playing WoW, my game of choice was Counter-strike, and I played it for a long time. I ran my own large clan of players, operated my own public server, a private server and Ventrilo server and even competed in organized league play. I was as involved in that game as it was possible to be. Over time, the game became much less fun and the only thing keeping me coming back was the relationships I had with my clanmates. Eventually I quit, disbanded the clan and moved on. It was a very tough decision.

I see the same thing happening with WoW. I know that when I left Counter-strike the game continued on just fine without me, and the same is true when someone from the WoW community leaves. This game is bigger than any of us and will soldier on as we leave.


For better or for worse is still a point of great debate, but there is no question that World of Warcraft has changed a lot in the past six years.  And whenever change happens there are going to be people who don't agree with or like the changes. There is no way to please twelve million people, and as I mentioned in my 2010 Peevie Awards, it's the definition of insanity to try.

The people who are most likely to be left out in the cold when change happens are the people who have been around the longest. These are your raid leaders, guild officers and respected, pillars-of-the-community types. And in the blogosphere, they are the ones that have become institutions.  "Oh, [Popular Blogger] could never leave, he's been here forever and he's too good to ever quit." Of course, it doesn't work that way. Quite the opposite; they are the most likely to drift away to something else.

Losing one of these bloggers or guild members is hard, but it says nothing about the game or the community or your guild as a whole. The health of any community is determined by the strength of the people involved, and as someone leaves for other things inevitably someone else will come forward to take their place. New raid leaders will step up, a guild will pick a new leader with new ideas, and new bloggers will begin writing to fill the void.


In the past few months since Cataclysm several high profile blogs have shut down, but even more new bloggers have taken up the blogging challenge. These blogs aren't high profile yet, and they don't have the readership numbers of the blogs that have quit, but they are providing fresh new voices for the community to listen to. Different styles, new opinions and formats are being injected into the community everyday.

That's what tells me that our game and our community are doing just fine. This community and game are far from stagnant, as the new and vibrant voices are showing in every corner of the blogosphere.

The circle of life continues.


Vidalya issued a challenge in her post: Introduce and link to a new blogger.  I love this idea, and even as a new, post-cataclysm writer myself, here is a list of recent blog starts that have caught my attention. All of these blogs were started around the time that Cataclysm launched, although I'm using this criteria fairly loosely.

Muradin Musings by Janyaa

Unleashed Rage by Bloody Gneisha.

Ask a Salty by SaltySlainte

Mortigan the Lock by Mortigan

Zwingli's Blog by Zwingli (An older blog that has recently returned from the ether.)

Beer Bacon Brawling by Beerbelly.

Healer Aggro by Ttrinity

The Casual Raider by Jack

Rants of a Priest by Morituri

Elfi's World by Elfindale

Cleansing Waters by Mylindara

Specced for Drama by Ama (Who turns out to have been around longer than I thought... her blogspot blog has only been around since November, tho!)

Stand in the Blue Circle by Alacran

Word of Glory by Lynesta

Heavy Wool Bandage by Glorwynn

Healbot by Gina

And more!  I'm quite certain I've missed a bunch of people, and I'm sorry for forgetting you! If you have a newish blog and would like it listed here, leave me a comment and I'll include it.


Pushing a Boulder Uphill

or The Tale of a Dwarf, a Dwarfling and Not Enough Zees

The Dwarf had a fatigued look about him as he trudged along the path.  His formerly red hair, now streaked with enough grey to make his beard look snow-covered, blew wildly in the strong Dun Morogh winds.  His bright blue eyes were beset with creases and wrinkles but carried a determined squint, a defence against the stingingly bright snow of the mountains.  His head was bent forward as he pushed himself onward.

The last few weeks have been quite hard here at Battle Medic HQ.  The Dwarfling has been a part of my life for five weeks now and, as wonderful as she is, she is freaking exhausting.

My wife has been fantastic during this period, and has been trying her best to insulate me from the sleepless nights that come with a newborn baby so that I can perform well at work.  Still, I find myself up during the night fairly frequently rocking the baby to sleep or waking up when Mrs. Fannon gets up to look after her.

The snow was mercifully packed down from recent travelers along the road and it was no longer snowing, making each step the Dwarf took easier.  The Dwarf knew, however, that the journey would become more difficult.  With his hand he shaded his eyes and glanced upward towards the summit, grimacing.

The lack of sleep is really starting to get to me, and my brain feels like pea mush baby food – all green and squishy and not really all that appealing to think about.

This fatigue induced brain-fuzziness that I’m feeling lately has touched all aspects of my life and made even the most mundane tasks seem as daunting as pushing a gigantic boulder up a hill.  I find it very hard to concentrate at work, which given my profession is a very bad thing.  Most days it’s all I can do to stumble through until 6 o’clock.

He reached a fork in the road and paused for a moment.  In between the heavily snow-laden pine trees a path was visible leading up the slope.  It was apparent that it had been used recently and was kept well maintained, but the snow had blown in during the night and piled itself in deep drifts, covering much of the path so as to make any traveler’s journey up the hill arduous.  The Dwarf turned and started up the path, his feet sinking into the deep snow up to his knees, and began to slowly and painstakingly ascend the hill.

I find it extremely difficult to sit down and write for my blogs.  The words fight with me a lot more than I find they do when I have a clear head, and the wit and humour that I try to inject into each post has been missing, or at least hard to find.  I have started three or four posts over the past couple of days and all of them feel extremely tedious and repetitive and repetitive.  My normal technique of dealing with writer’s block by sitting down with my laptop and a glass of wine in a quiet room and just writing is hard these days because the house doesn’t get quiet for any length of time.

The other issue is figuring out just what to write about.  It’s a sad fact that my play time over the course of the past five weeks has been woefully restricted.  And when I have been able to play, the fatigue and fuzziness has ensured that I don’t get a lot done.  It’s tough to write a really compelling and personal WoW blog when you’re not actually playing WoW very much.

And before anyone panics, this is not a goodbye post.  I’m not leaving WoW for another game.  I’m certainly not quitting the blog – I enjoy this far too much.  I want to play, but life is conspiring against me.  I find it ironic that there are a lot of people who are leaving WoW because they’re bored with it, and I am desperate to play and can’t.

Seemingly after an eternity of backbreaking effort he reached a plateau and stopped for a rest.  He reached out his hand to brace himself against a large, gnarly pine tree; the rough bark feeling oddly warm in the frigid cold of the failing day.  He was breathing hard from the exertion of the climb and his breath had accumulated into icicles that clung to his beard, hiding any red hair that remained beneath a coating of frost.  A mountain hare sitting on a nearby stump considered him for a moment before hopping away.

The Dwarf smiled and looked up towards his destination nestled into the hillside at the far end of the plateau.  A warm and cheery glow was coming from around the sturdy, oaken door of the little stone home, and the smell of roasting boar was wafting through the crisp evening air.

The vast majority of my WoW time lately has been spent playing Fannon 2.0.  I’ve been really enjoying the levelling experience, but the most compelling thing is that I can play in small chunks with no consequences.  I find logging onto my main these days very stressful because I don’t feel like there is anything that I can do that is both fun and can be dropped at a moments notice when the Dwarfling decides that she wants daddy.  There is no pressure on Fannon 2.0.

I am still managing to raid twice a week, for the most part.  And while my wife and I have an agreement on my raiding time, Dwarfling Aggro has been a frequent occurrence.  More than once I have wiped the raid because the crying starts and I’m trying to heal and move with only one hand because I had to pick her up.  Ascendant Council is a pain in the butt with only one arm.

With a renewed vigour, he crossed the clearing and pushed open the heavy door.  The warmth from the cheery fire burning in the corner was a welcome sensation as he entered the little home.  White bear skins lined the floor and walls, and a table was set along one wall with crockery laid out for an evening meal, with two mugs of foamy ale already poured.

I suppose that I shouldn’t have expected less.  The exhaustion, the lack of time to do the things, the stumbling around like a zombie singing lullabies to your rather confused co-workers; these things are all normal when you have a newborn.

Still, I am looking forward to the day when I can play WoW and get a good nights sleep.

“Fannon, darlin’, is that yeh?” came a call from the next room over and presently a Dwarf woman carrying a bundle appeared in the doorway, her ample braids bouncing.

“I’m so glad yer finally home.  Everythin’ all righ’?” she said, passing the bundle to Fannon.

The Dwarf looked down at the tiny dwarfling face poking out of the swaddled blankets. The dwarfling’s eyes were closed, and her small, wrinkled face squirmed from the cold that radiated from her father. A drop of water from the melting icicles dangling off his beard dripped onto the dwarfling’s forehead and she began to cry.

“Aye, lass,” he smiled, his tired eyes twinkling.  “Everythin’ is just perfect.”


Zero to Wealthy in 85 Easy Levels

These days is really easy to get a new Alt started, and there are various strategies on how to get a quick start in terms of money and gear. Just recently, Big Bear Butt posted a guide for getting a great head-start on money when starting up on a new server. Starting from nothing, on the other hand, is rarely done any longer.

Rades over at Orcish Army Knife took up this challenge recently, and has inspired me to do the same.

I chose to create my new money-grubbing alt on Azuremyst, Alliance side, so that I could hang out with the Eff the Ineffable folks while I was playing. Naturally, I rolled a Dwarf Paladin and named him Fannon. Finally, my blog title and preferred subject makes sense! Of course, I haven't started healing with him yet - in fact I'm levelling Protection - but he's the right name and right class, so I'll call that a win.

My goal for this character is to level to 85 on a new server with no money, no gear and no high-level characters to help him out.  Any blog content that happens to get generated is simply a bonus.

The guild perks are going to mean that I will be getting some bonuses in terms of loot from mobs, but that's the only support I am going to accept from the guild. I joined only to have some awesome people to talk to. I've already had to turn down several very generous offers of startup cash from a very welcoming and kind-hearted bunch of people.

DAY ONE:  0g, Level 0

Bright-faced and with bushy beard, Fannon the second found himself in Anvilmar with lint in his pockets and little else.

In doing the initial quests and not spending money I was barely managing to keep a whole silver to my name.  Blizzard seems to be very tight with giving out cash at the extreme low levels, and I was scrounging to even get money for my new abilities.

At level 5 I picked up Mining and Enchanting, figuring that the low level enchanting market - which did so well for Rades on Medivh - would earn me some easy cash disenchanting any green items that I could get from questing or snag from the auction house cheaply.

I managed to scrounge together 6 silver by putting off buying Holy Light and headed to the auction house to see if I could snag a green item or two to flip or disenchant for some easy startup cash.  Six silver doesn't really buy much, even the really low level items, but amazingly I did manage to snag two green axes and disenchanted them into Lesser Magic Essences, which at the time were going for a really solid 1g99s each.  Sadly, it seems that the low level enchanting mats market is not very strong on this realm, and not long after I posted those the market had crashed down to 40s, which while substantially less, still represented a very good profit.

What really worked well for me is Copper Ore.  Even though it seemed as if Dun Morogh was completely mined out, by the end of day one I had managed to get a couple of stacks of ore and managed to quickly sell them for about 5g each.

I took the profit that I had made and reinvested it in some more greens to disenchant and relisted the Lesser Magic Essences in stacks of 10, which seemed to be selling better than singles.  Along with some more ore, I quit for the day with a healthy 6g6s and about 30g in potential sales sitting on the auction block.

As well, I was level 12 and completely finished with Dun Morogh.  I decided that Fannon 2.0 would level through the new quests in Westfall, which I would begin on Day Two.

END OF DAY ONE: 6g6s, Level 12.


Professing On Professions

This post is a response to the Blog Azeroth Shared Topic "What is your Favourite Profession?" as suggested by Amaranth of Specced for Drama.

After playing WoW for more than two years, I have a guilty secret.

I have never had a maxed out crafting profession before - on any of my characters.

I know, I'm ashamed.  How can I be a progression raider if I don't have my professions maxed out?  How can I be a blogger - someone that people come to for advice - and have my main start the new expansion at <gulp> 110 Jewelcrafting?  The priest that I raided Icecrown Citadel with?  140 Alchemy.


Yes, I admit, I have always sucked at levelling my professions.  The highest crafting profession that I have ever managed, until recently, was Tailoring at 420.  The worst part about this is that my Tailor also happens to by my Protection Warrior.  I can just imagine this heavily armed Gnome sitting in a little shop in Ironforge near the Military Quarter, darning socks and hemming trousers for the victorious Alliance armies coming home from Northrend.  It's a little embarrassing, and the only reason I haven't ditched the profession is that it was my only crafting profession that was leveled to the point that I could craft something - namely bags - that people would actually want to buy.

So when the Blog Azeroth topic Favourite Profession turned up... well, let's just say that I wasn't quite sure how to answer it.

Do I say it was the one that I have levelled the highest?  That would be Jewelcrafting on my Paladin, which was power levelled just recently, although not quite to cap.  I can't say that I particularly enjoy Jewelcrafting, and frankly, the dailies get annoying after a time.  So, no.  Not that one.

Tailoring?  Again, no, because it brings up the shame of levelling it on a class that is just a horrible match for it. I created the Warrior when I moved servers and the biggest thing that pissed me off about the first server that I was on is that I had an awful time getting bags.  So I figured that a Tailor would be awesome, especially since the other profession I really wanted to do was Enchanting.

Well, then, what about Enchanting?  My Warrior - who was my main for a long time - levelled that up pretty high as well.  I do like the idea of Enchanting a lot, and some of the high-end Vanilla enchants are really quite cool:  Crusader, Life Stealing, Unholy Weapon, and so on.  It's cool, and I would say it would come in a close second, but it's not my favourite.

Cooking doesn't count.  Hell, the only reason that I managed to get any kind of a decent level - much less max level - is because of the Pilgrim's Bounty holiday.  If not for that I would have been stuck at level 230, again on my Warrior.

And don't talk to me about fishing.  Seriously.

Heck, even Archaeology could be considered.  I hate the mechanics of the profession, as I discussed before, but it was the inspiration for one of my favourite articles that I have written for Battle Medic, so I do have a fondness for it; similar to how you can't help but love the adorable puppy that keeps peeing all over the carpets and chewing up your vitally important tax forms.

No, the profession that I would consider my favourite would be the one that I started on my very first character, so long ago.  One that was such a rotten pain in the neck to level that I haven't even looked at it since.


Now, I've never actually levelled Engineering, but I love the concept.  Being able to build trinkets and robots and bombs is simply the coolest thing ever.  How can something like Blacksmithing compete with that?

Blacksmith:  "Hark!  I have beat this hot metal into an Axe!"

Engineer:  "Great!  While you were doing that I knocked together these random parts to build a motorcycle.  Listen to it roar, doesn't it sound cool?"

Blacksmith:  "My axe's name is Mittens."

Engineer:  "Umm.  Ok.  I'm going to go and hang out with all of those half-naked Night Elf girls, OK?  OK."

The list of gizmos and widgets and doo-dads that Engineers can make continue to amaze me.  To be able to drop down a portable mailbox in the middle of an instance is cool.  Jeeves is so incredibly useful that it is an essential tool to any raid group.  The Goblin Jumper Cables!  Parachute Cloaks!  Cool Goggles!  Helicopters and motocycles!  If the Engineers weren't all Gnomes, they'd get all the girls.


This Week in Raiding: Healing Omnotron Defense System

This Week in Raiding is a (hopefully) weekly feature discussing the raiding encounters that my guild tackled this week, the lessons learned from them, as well as any news or thoughts on raiding in general. This week we have the Omnotron Defense Council encounter from the perspective of the Holy Paladin, although much of this article will be useful to all healing classes.  This is not a strategy guide, but everything that you need to know to heal this encounter successfully.  If you would like a more detailed description of the fight and overall strategy, please check out Tankspot's write up and video.

The Omnotron Defense System is a group of four Golems that make up what is typically considered the second boss encounter in Blackwing Descent.  It is a Council style fight; the bosses share a health pool and have a lot of abilities, making this a complex and chaotic fight.  Environmental awareness from the raiders and clear communication from the raid leader are keys to downing this fight reliably.

My raiding team uses the following raid composition for this fight:  Two tanks, three healers and 5 DPS.  A typical raid composition for 25 man would be Two tanks, six healers and seventeen DPS.


Magmatron is the fire boss.  He has two abilities that are going to make a healers life difficult: Incineration Security Measure and Flamethrower.  
  • Incineration Security Measure is a raid-wide area-of-effect flame ability.  It has a very obvious flame graphic that is impossible to miss.  You can't avoid this damage, even thought the graphic makes it look like you can, so don't try.
  • Flamethrower is a single target ability that shoots a jet of flame, does a lot of damage and is preceded by Acquiring Target, which projects a very large and obvious red laser beam at it's target for four seconds.  The raid needs to run away from the path of the laser beam, and the person targeted needs to stand still so that they don't spread the damage to other people.  The healers should start precasting heals or use mitigation cooldowns on the target in order to ensure survival.  As a Paladin, if you Divine Shield yourself while the laser is targeting you it will cancel the effect entirely, and Magmatron will not cast his flamethrower.  Hand of Protection has no effect on this ability.
Toxitron is the poison boss.  His bag of tricks consists of Poison Cloud and Poison Protocol.
  • Poison Cloud. Toxitron will periodically spew poison clouds at a random target that gives whoever stands in them a 50% increased damage debuff.  This includes the boss, so it's likely that your tank will try to stand the boss in the cloud, so be ready to heal through the extra damage if your tank isn't positioned perfectly.
  • Poison Protocol is the ability that caused my raid group the most difficulty.  The boss will release 3 poison slimes that will randomly target a player and move towards them.  If they reach their target, they explode and create a large poison puddle.  Getting hit by a slime is instant death.  They are untauntable and need to be burned down by the DPS as quickly as possible.  Avoid them at all costs (See below).
Electron is the lightning boss.  He does Electrical Discharge and Lightning Conductor.
  • Electrical Discharge is a fairly straight-forward chain lightning ability.  Spread out a minimum of 8 yards and be mindful of other people moving close to you.  It is not hugely damaging unless it's being spread to a lot of people.
  • Lightning Conductor is placed on a random raid member and will do electrical damage to that person and anyone around it.  If it is placed on you, run out of the raid.  As well, be aware of other people around you who have it and stay away from them, especially if it happens to be on the tank.
Arcanotron is the magic boss and he is responsible for Power Generator and Arcane Annihilator
  • Arcane Annihilator is a large damage, single target ability that will be the responsibility of your tanks and melee damage dealers to interrupt.  As a healer, be aware of sudden health dips when Arcanotron is up.
  • Power Generator is a hugely important mechanic for all casters, including the healers.  Arcanotron will put a puddle underneath his feet which will increase his damage significantly.  It's the tanks job to move him out of this.  The ranged DPS and the healers should stand in it for a damage boost and mana regeneration (See below).
Shields:  Two bosses will be active at any given time (except the very beginning), one active and one protected by a shield.  It's vitally important not to attack the boss with the shield active.  Each shield has a powerful effect that will go off if it is damaged, so target switching is extremely important.  Even a stray Judgement can cause a ridiculous amount of damage to the raid.

The only exception is Toxitron's Poison Soaked Shell, which will put a stacking damage-over-time debuff on anyone who attacks it, but also gives a large burst damage increase.  This debuff can be Cleansed, but many raiders will pick up a couple of stacks intentionally for the extra damage.  Ask beforehand if your raid leader wants it cleansed, but in my experience, just leave it if the person who has it is in no danger of dying.  Watch their health closely though, in case they get a bit overzealous in grabbing stacks.


As always, Judge as often as you can for the mana regeneration.

If you are using your Focus Target to determine your Judgement targets, it's important to put it on the right person in this fight.  It is not optimal to Focus/Judge on a tank on this fight because 50% of the time the tank is going to be targeting a boss with his Shield up.  It's better to Focus on a Ranged DPS who is reliable at switching targets, and it's even better to focus on the Raid Leader who is calling out the switches, if possible.

Judging the wrong target on this fight could potentially cause a lot of damage to your raid.  Be careful of your targets!

(or Using Power Generator for Fun and Profit!)

Arcanotron will create a blue puddle on the ground which will give him or whoever is standing in it a damage buff.  Your tank will move him out of this puddle.  You need to stand in this puddle as much as you can, as it regenerates mana while you stand in it.   

Power Generator also grants a damage buff as well, so your caster DPS is going to want to jump in the puddle with you, which most of the time is fine.  It gets problematic when Arcanotron and Electron are up at the same time, however, the chain lightning will cause an insane amount of damage if half the raid is stacked up, costing more mana to heal than will be gained from the puddle.

It's best to keep the DPS out of the Power Generator in this case, and let the healers regenerate their mana.  The damage caused by Electrical Discharge chaining to the 2 or 3 healers (5 or 6 in 25man) is very easy to heal through.  Talk to your raid leader about this if it becomes a problem.


There is no excellent and obvious period of low damage in this fight to regenerate mana using Divine Plea, so I recommend using Guardian of the Ancient Kings to offset the 50% healing reduction.  Since GAK has a 5 minute cooldown, you can only do this combination once during the fight.  If you are having major mana problems, use Avenging Wrath and Divine Favor in combination with Divine Plea throughout the fight.

If I am on the ball and using the Power Generator wisely, I find that I only need to use Divine Plea once during this fight, so GAK is a perfect offsetting cooldown.  Use your discretion based on your own mana needs.

If you have any Spirit trinkets - like Core of Ripeness - use those on cooldown.


In the 10-man version of this fight, your raid is going to be spread out a lot making it difficult to hit the 5 (or 6, glyphed) people needed to really make Light of Dawn worth it, so Word of Glory is a stronger choice most of the time.  With the increased amount of people in a 25 person raid, Light of Dawn would be the go-to Holy Power heal much of the time.  Just be mindful of how many people you will hit with your LoD before you cast it; if it looks like you won't hit 5 people (pets count too, remember), then go with WoG.

When everyone stacks in the Power Generator, Light of Dawn will be much easier to use effectively in 10-man.


For a healer, range awareness is key to this fight, as everyone will be moving around a lot and can easily get out of range at a crucial time, causing a death. Stay in the middle of the room as much as you can, and be prepared to move to either side as the situation warrants. Keep an eye on your tanks and make sure that you keep them in range.


One of the tanks will get the Beacon of Light. There will be only one boss when the encounter begins, so put your Beacon on that tank.

If you are finding that one of the tanks is out of range a lot, put the Beacon on him instead. Beacon of Light has a 60 yard range, far greater than any of a Paladin's heals. This way you can ensure that if a tank is out of range he is still going to be receiving some healing while you reposition yourself to get within range again.

Unless your raid has incredibly high DPS, this fight will last longer than the five-minute duration of your Beacon, so be prepared to reapply it as needed.


Probably the single most frequent cause of wipes on this encounter will be Poison Protocol.  It sounds simple in theory:  Avoid the Slimes.  It's a bit harder in practice, however.
  • First thing to do is position yourself as far away from Toxitron as you can while he's active.  Space can get a little tight when both Toxitron and Electron are up, but I'd rather let an Electrical Discharge chain once or twice than be too close to the Slimes when they spawn.
  • Set up your Raid Frames to show Aggro.  I have a big, menacing looking red box around my frames to indicate aggro that is hard to miss.  Hopefully your Raid Leader will call out the Slime targets as well.  Either way, once you realize you are targeted by a Slime, start running away from it.  The Slime will only explode if it hits it's target, so it's absolutely vital that it doesn't get to you.  Healing does not matter as much at this point.
  • Run around the outside of the room to give your DPS the most time to burn down the Slimes.
  • Use the Speed of Light speed bonus from Holy Radiance to put some distance between you and your Slime.  This will also spread some heals around the room as you run.
  • Do not let it get too close to you.  It has a much larger range than it would seem.


Try to have Resistance Aura up so that can use Aura Mastery during Magmatron's Incineration Security Measure AOE. If you can time it correctly, you can have double resistance for the entire time this ability is active, substantially reducing damage.

Devotion Aura is much less useful for a Holy Paladin in this fight, as the incoming physical damage is very light. Let another Paladin or a Shaman put that buff on the raid.

Save using your first cooldown until the second boss activates. Aside from Magmatron, the damage caused by a single boss is very minor - Toxitron especially. Divine Favor and Avenging Wrath should be used as often as you can, unless you are saving them to offset Divine Plea (see above). I prefer to save them and hit them just after a boss switch. Magmatron is the big AOE damage dealer in this fight, so if you are assigned to healing the raid, save your cooldowns for when he's active.

Hand of Sacrifice is best used on the target of Flamethrower, or on a tank that is taking extra damage from standing in a Poison Cloud.

Save Divine Shield for Flamethrower. If you are targeted by Acquiring Target, hit your bubble and the flamethrower will not go off at all. If Divine Shield is on cooldown, use Divine Protection to help mitigate some of the damage.

Guardian of the Ancient Kings should be saved to offset the Divine Plea debuff (see above).


Omnotron Defense Council drop two items that are good for Holy Paladins: Security Measure Alpha and Life Force Chargers. Both are worth getting.

* Big thanks Ophelie and Leetsauced for answering a few questions on Omnotron 25, and Rades for helping me get the Wowhead hoverlinks working.  Thanks, everyone!


Favourite Weapon

This post is part of a Blog Azeroth Shared Topic "What is your Favorite Weapon" as suggested by Dangfool.

Throughout the course of levelling and raiding in World of Warcraft, it's safe to say that each character goes through enough weapons and gear to arm two small armies.  From ridiculously oversized maces, sexy swords, daggers, or gigantic, hideously dangerous looking axes, there are a plethora of awesome weapons.

And there is nothing more satisfying than bashing your enemies face with your favourite one.

I gave this topic a lot of thought.  I get emotionally attached to my characters, and especially to their appearance.  In thinking about it I realized that I did have a favourite weapon, and even though it is one that you can't put Crusader on it's great fun to bash people in the face with it.


I was really disappointed when Blizzard took Shield of the Righteous away from Holy Paladins and made it only for those silly Protection Pallys.  During Wrath of the Lich King I tried to heal every heroic boss in melee range so that I could whack him in the bum with my giant, spiky piece of arm candy once in a while.  It was very satisfying.

I learned that I had a fondness for shields when I got to Northrend with my Warrior and decided to try out tanking.  I loved the way that Protection played, even during questing. The noise that Shield Slam made was the sound of distilled awesome.  I bashed and devastated my way all the way to level 80.

I turned out to be a lousy tank, but my warrior is still Protection, simply because I enjoy the playstyle and the fact that I get to wear a shield.  There is nothing cooler looking than a two-and-a-half foot Gnome carrying a six foot tall chunk of wood.

Equipping this shield gives +100 Awesome
My all-time favourite shield is the Grand Marshal's Aegis.  It is, by far, the best looking shield in the game.  The model is used by a lot of NPCs, but is only available for a player through PVP rewards at level 60 and again at level 70 as the Grand Marshal's Barricade.

I have this shield on my Paladin main, Thosif.  I levelled Thosif as a Retribution Paladin, but I armed him with the Battleworn Thrash Blade and a shield. In terms of levelling efficiency, spec synergy or common sense it didn't really work, and frankly I'm not sure why I didn't just pick up a Protection spec and go to town on 10 mobs at once.

But damn, Thosif looked cool.

In order to get this shield I spent the vast majority of levels 50-60 in Arathi Basin, farming Honor points.  I hate PVP with a passion, but I really wanted this shield so I sucked it up and spent a lot of time watching the Resurrection timer in The Stable graveyard.  I finally got it, and I kept it equipped for most of Outlands until I finally switched to Holy.  It is still in my bank, and it's one of the few items that I keep purely for sentimental reasons.

Luckily, Holy also gets to have a shield.  Probably my most thrilling drop of WotLK was when the Lost Pavise of the Blue Flight dropped off of Sindragosa, and one of the weirdest moment of Cataclysm so far was when I replaced it with a rather boring looking off-hand healing sceptre.

I'm now using the Elementium Stormshield, which has awesome stats but doesn't look anywhere near as cool as the Grand Marshal's Aegis or the Lost Pavise.

But I just wish I could bash someone in the face with it.


Light at the End of the Tunnel

When Cataclysm launched I set a goal for myself to complete the raid content while it was current.  I came very late to the raiding scene in Wrath of the Lich King, and missed a lot of really great content.  I did not have the chance to clear Naxxramas or Ulduar while they were relevant, and still haven't made it back there to run them for nostalgia reasons.  I didn't want that to happen to me in Cataclysm.

We're getting there.  The last couple of weeks have seen very good progress.

Shadowgarde is now 8/12 in current tier content, having downed Ascendant Council for the first time last week. We had a couple of good looks at Cho'gall last week as well, even though they ended with some embarrassingly quick wipes.  Only Nefarian & Cho'gall remain in their respective instances; then it's on to Throne of the Four Winds, which we haven't looked at yet.

It's nice to be able to see that the realization of my goal is in sight.  There is still a long way to go, and three of the four encounters that we have remaining are the most challenging of the expansion, so, like the Dwarfling, they're not likely to go down quietly.  But the end is within reach, and that feels pretty good.

For my part, despite the changes to my life, I have managed to attend my raids and keep my focus well enough, although I have hardly been at the top of my game.  Lack of really restful sleep and a hell of a lot of distractions (most due to the relatives that have been visiting us non-stop; welcome to Hotel Fannon) have made things harder on me.  I'm still managing to get the job done, but I don't feel like I've been playing with the same level of skill that I was before.

For example, last night on Magmaw and Omnotron (which are admittedly farm bosses for us now) my use of cooldowns was very spotty.  Ooops.  Nothing earth-shattering or anything and no healing-related wipes, but hardly efficient and I expect better of myself.  I did much better once I realized that I was playing lazy and the pulls of Maloriak and Halfus were much better.

Tonight we'll be tackling Atramedes, Chimaeron and Ascendant Council, and hopefully we'll have enough time to get some more attempts on Cho'gall.  Time is going to be very tight, however.

As I mentioned previously, our Raid Group has a hard time cap; we're done at 10pm server time, pretty much no matter what.  We have managed to squeeze a lot into those 5 hours per week, but we're beginning to run out of time to work on the progression bosses because we're spending all of our time downing the 8 bosses just to get there.

It's a hard choice:  Extend the lockout to work on progression or continue to reset so that we can get the gear.  As of right now, the gear wins out, since a majority of our raiders still need a significant amount of upgrades.  I have yet to see a single piece of Plate Healing gear drop yet, for example, and I know that there are others who have been RNG's bitch as well.  The Resto Shaman that we don't have has been making out like a bandit, however.  Maybe that's another reason that I decided to level one.

Luckily, there is lots of time.  With Blizzard's decision to delay the next tier of raids until patch 4.2, we have at least a couple of months before we move on to another raid.

But the goal for this tier is progressing nicely:  75% of the way home, and still going strong.


Dear Dwarfling...

I promised myself that Battle Medic would not turn into a 'Baby Blog' when the Dwarfling arrived.  Of course, as a new parent, a great deal of my waking (and sleeping, honestly) thoughts are devoted to this puffy, red screaming poop machine that is in my house now, so I think it's only natural for me to want to write about her.

On the other hand, this is a World of Warcraft blog, and I'm quite certain that most people don't come here for diaper talk.

So with that in mind, I've created a new blog: Dear Dwarfling... 

The concept for this blog is going to be a series of letters written to my newborn baby, describing her life and my reactions and observations of her.  I have no idea how interesting it's going to be, but if you're curious about Dwarfling news and photos, check it out.


Gettin' Jiggy with the Shammies

Oh god, that title isn't dating me at all.  I was considering some variation of ShamWoW, but slapped myself and moved on in the nick of time.

Over the past two weeks since the arrival of the Dwarfling, I have been getting the Alt-itch.  You know the one; it's the itch you get when your main is geared up enough that nothing but raiding drops will help and you're looking for something else to do.  This feeling actually comes at a good time, since as I expected my play time has become much more restricted than before and I don't have as much time as I'd like to devote to heroics or extra raids.  I hear that they're working on an ointment to cure this, but it's not ready yet and all you can do as of now is to scratch it.

So this past Sunday, I asked the Twitterati which alt I should focus on:  The Dwarf Shaman or a Druid.  The replies were mixed.  It didn't get all that ugly, but do you ever get the feeling that if you put one hundred Druid players in the same room with one hundred Shaman players that eventually a no-holds-barred knife fight would break out?  We healers are a passionate bunch, aren't we?

In the end, to nobody's surprise, the Dwarf Shammie won the day.  You have read the title of this blog, right?

Thallie, looking badass in her mismatched heirloom gear.
This is Thallie, my newest and cutest dwarven battle medic.  She was created as soon as 4.03 dropped and the world changed, but has been languishing a little bit as I have been leveling and gearing my Paladin.  I took up the call of the elements and spent a little time leveling her on Sunday.

Oh, and just because I'm a little nuts, I've decided to level her as restoration.

The original plan was to level her through dungeons as a healer.  As an unrepentant Wrath Baby, I did not get the chance to see a lot of these dungeons at the level they were meant to be seen; either I soloed them at max level or was run through them by guildies while leveling.  The desire to see these dungeons and run through them as they were meant to be seen is very strong and would be a fun way to level.

The major drawback of leveling through dungeons and the thing that is really bugging me is that I am going to miss all of the lovely new quests that Blizzard has created for us.  I really enjoyed the changes to Dun Morogh  and Loch Modan and I am really torn about missing a large chunk of the rest of the zones.  The experience gains in dungeons are amazing and even with a mix of questing and dungeon running I'll end up out-leveling the zones extremely quickly.  I've run her through three dungeons now, pretty much doing levels 14 through 21 without questing at all and in doing so I completely outleveled Loch Modan and had to dump most of the quests and move to Duskwood (also as recommended by my Twitter peeps).

Riding into Darkshire took me back, however, since I was immediately ganked by a party of level 85 asshats burning down the town.  I've never understood what makes that fun, honestly.

Anyway, the low level dungeons are a lot of fun, even though there is not a great deal of healing required in them.  During the Wailing Caverns run that I did on Sunday I spent more time dealing damage than I did healing, letting Earth Shield do most of the healing work.  I had never been in that instance before, so it felt really good to see some "new" dungeon content.

By the way I am really a terrible DPSer.  Just plain awful.  "Please, Mr. Tank, take some damage so that I don't look like I'm being completely carried through this dungeon!"

I think in the end I'm going to end up doing a vast majority of dungeon leveling where I can squeeze in the time to do it.  The questing will naturally come when I either don't have time to do an instance, or while I'm waiting for the dungeon finder to get a group together for me.  But I just have to accept that with this plan I am not going to get the full story that is being told in each of the zones.  The lore nerd in me cries as the prospect, but that's the price for quick leveling, I suppose.

How do you level your Alts?  Do you prefer LFD leveling or questing?  Or are Alts something that you don't have time for?

I would like to give a special shout-out to Mylindara of  the Crimson Blades guild on Sargeras for helping me out with the screenshot featured in this post.  I was stuck at work with no access to the wow armory and he was good enough to grab it for me.  Check out his blog Cleansing Waters at http://mylindara.crimsonblades.info/.