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Ky’s Moral Code (Ky Has Morals?!)

When I was 7 or 8 years old I remember getting mad at my younger sister a lot. She was only a year and a half younger than I and we used to compete in everything. She was a major tomboy and growing up on a farm in Bear Lake, Idaho only served to reinforce that trait in her. Being the younger sister she felt compelled to be better at everything I did. As the older sibling and feeling superior for being a boy (Hey, I was 7 or 8! Boys were better at everything! Besides girls had cooties!) I didn’t feel too threatened, but there were times when she’d just push me a little too far!

I remember one particular morning. I’m pretty sure it was a Saturday. Dad had gotten back from milking the cows that morning, finished breakfast, and was getting ready to head out again. As a young half-Japanese boy I was pretty sure that I was a ninja. So when my sister upset me, I did what any ninja would do. I jump kicked her in the chest and knocked her to the ground! Hai-ya!

Unfortunately young little ninjas are no match for 5’10” 190 lbs of muscle…

My father played football. He was in the Army. He worked on a farm. He chucked bales of hay. He fixed fences. He worked on tractors. He moved sprinkler pipe by hand. I’m talking the 40′ length 6″ diameter bastards! And probably a mile or two of it when he did! In winter time he did this in his army jacket.
In other words, he was big and he was scary when he wanted to be!

So it is no small miracle that I didn’t crap my drawers as he grabbed the front of my shirt, lifted me up, looked me straight in the eye and said in a very calm, but stern voice, “If you ever hit your sister or any girl ever again, I will hit you as hard as I can.”

As I stared at this bear of a man, my life flashing before my eyes and praying for a re-run, I choked back the tears and with a timid gulp replied, “Okay…”
Fast forward four or five years…

We had moved off the farm and were living in Eugene, Oregon. It was a beautiful, sunny (which is a miracle in and of itself west of the Cascade Mountains) Sunday afternoon. Church had just finished and I was looking forward to going home, taking off my blasted tie, and goofing off. Unfortunately, my family had a tendency to take their time once church got out. They would get caught up socializing with people in the hallways and foyers. And with the impatience of a 12 year old I decided I was going to “prompt” my family into going home by waiting for them in the car.

Wading through the sea of people I approached the exit, walked calmly through, and proceeded my way across the parking lot…

“BRIAN!”, came the yell that stopped me dead in my tracks. “Get over here NOW!!!” (Yeah, my name is Brian. How weird is that?)

Turning I saw my father standing at the door to the church in a fit of rage. Wondering what in the world I could have possibly done to have upset my father, I noticed a woman walking through the lot looking at me obviously wondering the same thing.

As I approached my dad he placed his hand on my shoulder and firmly turned me around pointing at the woman. “Do you see that lady?” he asked.

“Yes,” I gulped. Clearly more confused than ever. Secretly wondering if she had told on me for something I wasn’t even sure I had done.

“You didn’t hold the door open for her,” he said.

Blinking I couldn’t believe that my dad had yelled at me from across a parking lot at church of all places for this! Are you kidding me?! How was I supposed to know that she was there? I didn’t see her coming behind me. And I told him so.

“You didn’t bother to look,” was his only response. I could see the disappointment on his face as he turned and walked away.

I normally tell these two stories around topics of chivalry, dating, and the general treatment of women. My dad raised me to respect women and treat them differently than men. I hesitate to say better, because he wanted me to treat everyone with respect, but he did teach me to treat women differently. But for the purposes of this post, I tell these two stories to explain my own views of how to treat people in general.

1 -Just because you can do something to someone else, doesn’t mean you should.

2- Just because you didn’t know doesn’t excuse the fact that you didn’t bother to look.

This post was inspired by a recent post by Beruthiel. It reached a length over 3400 words and wasn’t close to being done, so I shortened it considerably. The other two parts will probably appear in the next couple of days as separate posts.

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PuGs: Unfairly Judged

Michelle had an interesting comment to yesterday’s post that got me thinking.

That said, my perspective may be skewed because BDF is a fairly progressed server and our trade channel PuGs are usually able to down Anub. I only run ToC25 on my main; I PuG it on my alts and have become rather sensitive to the way people look down on PuG’s. /shrug

Why do we look down on PuGs?

I don’t pug. It’s one thing to invite pugs for our guild runs. We’re in control generally in control. This is important to me not because I’m a power hungry dictator seeking dominion over my fellow beings (although I’m working on that as well),

but because I have more control over my experience. The people I run with are fun people. I’m comfortable around them. This makes things easier for me, especially if they go south* and all the more enjoyable when they go well. And besides, at this point the main reason I play the game is because of the in-game friends I’ve made so if I’m not playing with them, why play?

But that’s not a good enough reason for why PuGs have gotten a bad name. It isn’t like I haven’t run with good PuGs before. So why the bad name?

Story Time

I’m not one for giving out a lot of personal information on this blog. I’m sure you’re not interested, but for the sake of this story I need to set it up for you a little.

I graduated from Brigham Young University (BYU). I am a Mormon. Which is why I especially found BBB’s post the other day extremely entertaining. 🙂 (BTW a good majority of BYU’s football team over the years have been non-Mormons.  They recruit just like any other school.) But please understand that I’m a horrible example of what a Mormon should be. I haven’t attended church in over 5 years (basically since graduating). I cuss on this blog and in real life (mostly while playing CoD which aggravates my wife to no end). And have a slew of other problems to boot. So please don’t judge Mormons as a whole based on me. They’re just like anybody else. There are good ones and bad ones.

There’s several somewhat controversial…topics, let’s say, amongst church members. For those of you that know Mormons, caffeine is one of them. Another one is R-rated movies.

Now any religious person that really wants to lead a clean and wholesome life probably will not find any redeeming value in an R-rated movie. But the funny thing is that a lot of Mormons base what they will and will not watch on the rating system. You’re basing your religious moral values on a system set up by what you consider a morally corrupt system? Hmmm. Yeah, I’ll never understand that one.

So there I am on a Saturday morning sitting in my living room with two of my roommates. We’re watching a movie and I believe it was one of the greatest movies ever made performed by one of my favorite actors of all time.

Die Hard! Rated R for violence and language and maybe a few other things, I don’t know.

While the three of us are sitting there attempting to wake up, eat breakfast, and watch the movie, the door opens suddenly and another one of our roommates with arms raised, fists clenched, and bowed head triumphantly exclaims “I macked on three girls last night!” Laughing he walks in followed by a friend of his that he met last night.

While my roommate heads into his room to change clothes, his friend stands at the doorway and quietly observes us watching Die Hard. Unfortunately he breaks the silence.

“What movie is this?”, he asks quizzically.

“Die Hard,” one roommate responds and proceeds to spoon a mouthful of Lucky Charms into his gaping maw.

“Isn’t that rated R?”, the guy asks.

“Yup,” I said wondering who the hell is this guy and does he really have the gall to come into my home and lecture me on what I can watch?

“You can’t watch that,” he said apparently possessing the gall.

“That’s funny,” I said “because I think I am.” My roommate proceeded to spew Lucky Charms all over the floor barely missing the couch.

As we sit in tense silence, the triumphant roommate returns from his room having successfully changed his clothes and heads for the door. His friend asks, “Did you grab the movie?”

“Oh crap!”, he exclaims and runs back to his room. Curious another roommate asks what movie they’re going to go watch.

Without missing a beat the guys says, “Austin Powers”.

I nearly exploded.

It’s All In The Delivery

It’s one thing to believe or know something. It’s another to then try and pass that belief or knowledge on. It’s entirely another thing if you do it poorly**.

This guy, who I didn’t know from a hole in the wall, entered my home and attempted to lecture me on what I could do. As a Mormon I agree with him that I probably had no reason to be watching that movie. It contains absolutely no redeeming qualities from a religious standpoint and some negative qualities in that regard. Disregarding his hypocrisy, which is the fun part of the story, I think we can agree his delivery was horrible.

Because of this and similar stories, I had a rough time at BYU. But even as I knew I was being unfair and judging the entire school based on these few people, I couldn’t stop myself from doing it. And so it is with PuGs.

I’m sure you’ve had a chance to PuG a 25. And I’m sure you’ve had the chance to PuG a bad 25. Was it bad because of 24 other people or was it bad because of 1 or 2?

I’ll bet you just about anything that all of your bad PuG examples are because of 1 or 2 people in the entire group. It’s because those guys are vocal and stick out whereas the good ones stay quiet. It’s the vocal ones that give the entire group a bad name. It’s those guys that cause the drama. It’s those guys that make me not want to PuG. All because I don’t want to take the chance that I’ll end up with one of them. And I’m probably missing out on a great part of the game.

*Why do we say that? Is the South that bad? 🙂 Well here’s a random song for you and one of my favorites!
**A certain hunter needs to learn that before the entire guild turns on him. Although it might be too late for that…

Need vs. Greed

I’ve been on Azgalor for a few weeks now and aside from the fact that I feel like I don’t know anyone (certain company notwithstanding) I’ve noticed one major difference between the two servers and not that it’s PvP.

On Azgalor everyone seems to roll Need for any BoE item. Green? Yup. Blue? Yup. And even the occasional Purple, although obviously not in raids.

On Arathor everyone either passed or rolled Greed for those items. And it is very interesting to me because I had always assumed it was the same everywhere.

What’s it like on your server?

The Fool You Follow

Sunday night we were attempting to finish up 25man Naxx and found ourselves at Thaddius. We quickly discovered that this fight is our new guild gear check as well as ability check.

For those of you that haven’t experienced 25man Thaddius he has 30 million health. If you don’t first have the DPS and then don’t stack, you’re gonna die. On the last attempt I was able to be a part of, I announced at one minute left “We’re gonna die” and laughed. People were shocked when all but maybe three people died instantly. Clearly people aren’t using Deadly Boss Mods or were unaware that Thaddius has an enrage timer. 🙂

Anyway back to the story at hand, after the first wipe our Raid Leader took some time to start explaining the fight a little more indepth and how important it was to make sure you are on the right side of Thaddius at the right time. (We use a positive right, negative left, two point approach.)

Visual Aids

visual-aidOur RL decided to illustrate this so people understood clearly. He had our main tank stand in position, put a mark over his head, and demonstrated how close EVERYONE should be to the boss so as to avoid transferring the chain lightning to the other side AND so you have sufficient time to run to the other side when your charge changes. (Thaddius has a huge hit box if you aren’t aware and you can stand about 10yds away.)

Our RL then wanted us to demonstrate that as we transfer to the other side we should stay to our right a little as we run around Thaddius. This helps mitigate some damage that usually occurs if you run right through him.

Kindergarten Is For Children

So we set it up. We called out for everyone to stack up and try this and inevitably a few people weren’t listening and stood there. So we waited while people grouped up so we could all understand this correctly and inevitably there’s always one that thinks…

    [Raid] [Raider #25]: this is childish

To which my response was that it didn’t matter as we wanted to ensure that every single person understood the nature of this fight. I’m not sure they truly believed that at our level even one DPS dying would mean a wipe. Remember, I said they were shocked at the enrage. But eventually we got everyone to demonstrate it.

So we attempted Thaddius again and lo and behold!

I started on the negative side and saw no less than 4 people on my side standing way too far away from the boss. The furthest out was a healer and by the time I asked for people to group up the charges hit and several people on both sides knocked out about a third of the raid.

What do we learn from this experience? That it may have been “childish”, but there were still some people that didn’t quite understand after the explanation and the demonstration. Now we’ve got experience to better explain the fight again.

The Fool

Obviously Raider #25 thought the whole demonstration before the boss foolish as he clearly understood what was going on and was eager to get on with it. But what he didn’t realize or refused to accept was that others didn’t understand it and needed that little bit of help as it became more obvious after the second wipe when people still made the same mistakes we tried to avoid. So the real fool was Raider #25.

Fortunately that night we didn’t have another type of fool, the angry fool: the guy that yells* and screams at all the bloody idiots out there that can’t get out of the fire. The guy that drives morale down even as he thinks he’s motivating everyone to do better. The guy that leads the pack for the rest of those that avoided a mistake giving us the impression that it’s OK for the rest of us to cuss you out for making a mistake, not listening, being a NOOB, and being downright derogatory.

So the question is:

the fool, or the fool who follows him?

Who's the more foolish: The fool, or the fool who follows him?

*I understand and agree that there are times we need to yell to get a point across, but I do not condone name-calling, cussing people out, publicly ridiculing someone, or treating someone with disrespect. Regardless of how some people may feel that it encourages improvement, I believe that it encourages bitterness, resentment, and destruction of morale. There are ways to encourage improvement by calling people out without embarassing them, ridiculing them, or generally being a complete ass. BE RESPECTFUL! (My final notice, btw.)

A Newbie Raider’s Guide: Learn To Take Criticism

Raid Leaders often take for granted that everyone understands raiding like they do. What they forget is that “once upon a time”, they were just as ignorant…

Learn To Take Criticism (or Putting Up With A-Holes)

This is perhaps the most important thing for you to learn if you want to raid. This isn’t to say that you should put up with abuse, but remember even the A-Holes have good advice if you can get past the crap they spew and past your own pride.

Keep your emotions in check at all times. Sure some nights are worse than others, but if you find yourself upset follow these guidelines:

  • Swallow your pride.
  • Clam up. If asked a direct question, give short answers without elaborating. People will probably know your upset, but the main thing is to not say something you’ll regret.
  • Stay with the raid. As hard as this is sometimes, the raider that stays, even while upset, usually makes a better showing than one that leaves the raid or asks to be replaced.
  • If all else fails, ask to be replaced, but do not abandon the raid. In most raiding guilds that’s grounds for removal.

Find The Positive In The Worst Situations

Very few people seem to be able to give constructive criticism. Most times it comes off in a negative way, but there are ways to find the positive in the worst situations. It appears to be human nature to point the finger at someone else, because I can’t possibly be the reason why we failed! So learn to ignore the person, but listen to what he or she is saying.

If someone tells you, “you suck”, try to figure out why they’re saying that. It may be because they just need someone to blame. Calmly analyze the situation. As a healer you might ask, are my heals not good enough? Are my targets dying? Am I running out of mana? Why am I running out of mana? Am I using the right combination of heals?

Let’s say you’re running out of mana. Why? Do I need better gear? Are other healers experiencing the same problem? If not, what are they doing different? If so, is the dps just not there and the fight is taking too long? What can I do outside of raid to better prepare for this situation again? Are there upgrades somewhere else I can easily get to boost myself and help the raid?

Sometimes analyzing the situation only leads you to believe that it isn’t your fault. Raiding takes a group effort to succeed, but it also takes a group effort to fail.

Remember, unfortunately there’s a lot of jerks out there and John Gabriel’s Greater Internet Dickwad Theory seems to hold true. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn from it! 🙂

Quick Update on Wrath

Pavlov's Dog– Finally dinged 80 last Tuesday…I think.  As only the 2nd level 80 healer in our guild I was quickly asked to fill in.  I still had most of the pre-Wrath healing gear so that wasn’t good.  I leveled as Ret and took most of the upgrades I could from that, except where I thought I wouldn’t get better until I ran instances and heroics.

– Hit 80 by the way without a single quest completed in Icecrown or Storm Peaks.  Average quest in those two areas awards me 13g instead of the experience.  Wow that adds up!  🙂  Started with roughly 2500g pre-Wrath and now have over 7500g!!

 

– Got the achievement for Storm Peaks quests.  I was always big into Norse mythology as a kid and it was a lot of fun finding the comparisons.  Got the lesser shoulder enchant.  Working on Exalted.

– Started working on Icecrown.  Having more fun there than I thought I would.  The instance is so dark and I was not impressed with the undead in either of the Plaguelands.  Icecrown however has been done so much better.  Hope to finish it in the next couple of days.

– Hit a few heroics.  The daily and heroic daily yesterday were both Utgarde Pinnacle.  Fantastic instance by the way.  Didn’t do it on normal.  Took a long time, but found some great people to pug it with.  They were patient and we did it!  Now up to 34 Emblems.  One more and I could get a shield, but debating if I should wait for a belt.  Get a little more bang out of that one.

– Forgot to wear a tabard on the first 1.5 heroics! DOH!!! Working on Wyrmrest Accord. Almost there.  Only 6-7k left.  Finally flew around and picked up the rest of the tabards.

– Still need to research if there’s more than one daily quest for Kalu’ak.  I want that Mastercraft Kalu’ak Fishing Pole.

– Biggest notice on Pally healing: my mana doesn’t last like it used to.  I’m using more Holy Light than not.  I’ve had to learn how to incorporate Divine Plea. Who says pally healing is boring?

– At 425 on Enchanting.  Too cheap to buy mats, so I quest for items to DE.  7+ gold for Infinite Dust and 25+ gold for Greater Cosmic Essence is ridiculous in my opinion!  This is why I have over 7500g.

– Maxed out mining in Sholozar Basin mostly.  Mined Saronite and Titanium.  Laughed at Horde and Alliance ninjas alike!  Saw three guys fighting over a node.  One mined it and refused to loot.  The other two bided their time.  I moved on and found a Titanium node not far from them.  One of them would have gotten it if they’d not been such idiots!  ROFL!

– Spiced up questing by switching weapons.  Got my achievements for getting 4 skills up to 400 and Unarmed up to 400.  Continued on and maxed out Axes, Swords, Maces, their 2H equivalents, Polearms, and Unarmed to 400.  Now what?

– Absolutely loving phasing!!!

Being a Team Player; What You Do Affects Others

We recently had an Officer leave our guild. Several of us saw the frustrations building over the past few weeks and wondered where it would lead. The other day we saw exactly where that went.

On his way out he left a message for the guild expressing his frustration that many are not prepared for heroics, let alone raids. In his opinion, many are attempting difficult content without regards to abilities, gear, group make-up, buffs, etc. He expressed his frustration at those who unwittingly bring down others by not being prepared and waste the time of those who are geared. One of his complaints was evidently the 10g repairs required before even getting to the first boss in a heroic. As a clothie, this may be a valid concern, but don’t ever make the mistake of complaining about a 10g repair to anyone in plate! Remember, 10g is one daily quest which isn’t a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.

Regardless of how the officer left, which wasn’t shall we say professional, he does have a point. There are many people in casual raiding guilds that aren’t ready. Part of the responsibility rests on the officers’ shoulders and the majority rests on the player.

How do we fix that? The old adage that “knowledge is power” applies. There are so many resources available to us that it’s a crime to not take advantage of what’s available. There are links to so many websites that will assist you in enchanting, gemming, and evaluating your gear, evaluating your talents, or even blog sites such as World of Matticus and Resto 4 Life for healers, Big Bear Butt Blogger for Feral Tanks, and Big Red Kitty for hunters just to name a few. There’s dozens of sites out there and each one of these has links to more. After a while you’ll find what’s useful and what isn’t.

But what do I look at, you might ask? Well here are a few tips:

Talents

In my guild, the officers have noticed that some of the talent builds we’ve seen on our members are what we might consider…odd. Although many of us have little understanding of other classes, there have been a few raised eyebrows from those that do. If you haven’t looked at your talents in a while, visit some sites dedicated to your class to see what’s out there. Just by redoing your talents, you may find that your heals, dps, or tanking abilities will increase dramatically. What worked while you were leveling up is not necessarily going to work as well in raiding. What works in PvP, almost never works as well in PvE, and vice-versa.

Give it a chance. Find something new. Try it out. If it works for you and you’re happy, great run with it! If it doesn’t work out, try something else till you find what does work. Everyone’s play style will be different and the so-called “optimum” builds may not really be that “optimum” for you.

Gear

In every guild I’ve been in, I’ve seen a lot of linking loot that members find on other players they happen to be running past. This can be a great tool for motivating guild members as to what awaits them, but it can also be detrimental when that player focuses on trying to attain that gear without having a plan. I’ve seen players pass on obvious upgrades because they believe that they may as well wait for that piece they’re after, not realizing that the small upgrades get you to the larger ones eventually.

Research your gear upgrades. The WoWArmory has the ability to search for upgrades and this is a useful tool. The only part I don’t like about it is the inability to exclude certain categories, such as Sunwell. There are other websites out there that do allow for this though.

Another great resource is AtlasLoot. If you don’t have this add-on, I recommend you get it now. Hell, I DEMAND that you get it NOW!!!! Best thing in the world is to know what gear could potentially drop so you know what to look for. This speeds up raid times while distributing loot allowing your group to down just “one more” boss before the end of the night. Remember, one more boss is more badges and a couple more pieces of loot that will assist the guild in running it even better next time. (I swear if I have to sit through another 5 min loot distribution routine in Kara again…)

AtlasLoot will also assist you in knowing what badge gear to go after. This add-on has the ability to create a wishlist by holding Alt and clicking on the item. There’s a wishlist button at the bottom. No more will you have to spend several minutes at the badge vendor to search for the item you found the other day and can’t remember how many badges you need.

Heroics/Raids

Know which heroics/raids you are capable of and which you aren’t. Did you know that Slave Pens, Underbog, and Ramparts are considered the easiest heroics? How about Mechanaar being the easiest after that? Did you know that Heroic Magister’s Terrace is the hardest? Did you know that even regular MgT is the equivalent of some of the regular heroics? It’s amazing how few people I run into even realize that the difficulty differences that exist between the regular instances translate even more so in heroics.

Know which heroics/raids require what types of CC and how many you should bring. Karazahn has 3 types of CC that are effective: priests can shackle, hunters can ice-trap, and warlocks can banish the few demons that are present. Knowing something like this can prevent you from making the mistake of bringing Rogues for the sole purpose of CC. I’ve actually participated in the Moroes fight with only one CC because someone wanted to bring their alt in. It wasn’t pleasant.

Pay attention in heroics and raids. You may never know when your knowledge of another class’ responsibilities will come in handy. There are certain mobs in Slave Pens that can’t be sheeped. Know which ones? Ever been in a group that relied on sheeping only to find out too late that it was resisted and you wiped? Personally, my biggest regret was not paying attention to what others needed to do as I now run these instances.

Know the advantages of group make-up. When does it make sense to have more melee than ranged dps? What classes should be grouped together on raids? Want an example courtesy of BRK? Look here for some of the responses.

Point is there’s a lot of different ideas and information out there. Use it.

Know Your Toon

You’ll often see requests from friends and members about whether or not they should switch out certain pieces of gear or what badge gear they should go for. I’ve often been asked by someone looking at badge gear as to whether they should buy A or B first. The issue isn’t so much about which piece as both are generally needed and obvious upgrades. The issue and question is what does your toon need?

Every class/spec has certain stats they need above all else. It’s your responsibility to find out what that is. This information is freely available on websites and from opinions within game. Know which stats are most important and in which order the importance should be placed.

Here’s a major problem I’ve observed in my own guild regarding DPS players. It makes me cringe when hearing about a DPS player wanting to stack crit to get the most damage possible. Why? Because first off, anyone relying solely on crit to deal damage is going to be ineffective and low on the DPS report. First, you have to be able to hit the guy. All your stats should be working towards that and making sure you can’t miss before concentrating on crit. Also, crits are great but only after the tank has gained enough aggro. Someone who tries to get as much crit early on in a fight as they can is asking to die. Dead DPS is NO DPS!! (I’m speaking to you Mr. Mage, who always wants to start casting before the pull so the spell hits instantly after the tank pulls!!! Wiping the party/raid is not the way to increase DPS!) We’ve all heard it, we all know it, but some people get too excited and forget. The DPS player that concentrates on steady damage will out damage the one who focuses on critting, guaranteed! Know where you should be stat wise.

Be Courteous, Be Responsible

The Officers of any good guild, as well as its members should be taking an active interest in helping others and advancing their progress. But it’s often hard for anyone to approach someone and try to give them advice. So for those of you on the receiving end, remember it’s more awkward for someone to approach you than it is for you to hear it.

Please be courteous and learn all you can about your toon. What you know or don’t know affects more than just you. What you do to prepare affects more than just you. Every action you take in a guild has the potential to affect a great many others both positively and negatively. One of the most devastating effects a casual guild faces is attrition. Casual guilds will often attract geared and experienced players looking to potentially lead others or just for a more relaxed raiding atmosphere, but they will often leave if others don’t attempt to improve and make progress. Each one that leaves then makes it that much harder for the guild to stay together.

Be courteous of others and responsible for your place in the guild. When you do that, even casual guilds will thrive.