Jumping Into the Podcasting Pool

About four months ago, I mentioned I was toying with the idea of starting my own podcast. Actually I’ve been thinking about it, off and on, for years. Anybody who knows me knows that I like talking about stuff I’m into. Every time I listen to someone else’s podcast, I think to myself, “Well, if I were talking about that thing, I would say it this way” or whatever.

The big thing that has prevented me from making my own podcast is wondering if I really have anything new or interesting to say, and also a desire to have someone else to say it with. I like to have interaction, not just me talking to an empty room. All the people I know who would be interested in doing a WoW podcast are already doing one, and there are quite a lot of them. In fact, many of the current WoW podcasters have either quit podcasting about WoW specifically, or quit altogether, or have been getting super desperate for things to talk about. So who am I to start up yet another one?

And yet, since I mentioned toying with it on my blog, some guy has done that, i.e. started up a new WoW podcast, about PvP. Some other people who already had at least one other podcast have started up a new one. Clearly I was right when I said to Mick Montgomery that there was still stuff to talk about (I was the only non-podcaster on that show). In the meantime, I was on Battlechat again, and the lovely Sil told me that she thought I should definitely go for it.

I’d tried to dip my toe in the water by recording a half hour bit with my husband, and posting it here, but as far as I know not one single person listened to it, except for Sil, whom I had to ask a couple of times (not her fault, she’s busy). I assume part of this is because you had to actually click on the media player as opposed to just subscribing in your podcast app of choice, but it did frustrate me a bit. On the other hand, now I have absolutely no expectations that anybody is going to listen to the subscribable podcast either, so if anybody does, that will just be gravy. And since the only money I have actually spent specifically on this project is the $12 or whatever for the domain, I really can’t complain if nobody but me cares. That said, I’d love it if people did in fact care and listen.

As of right now, I have three episodes up, which consist entirely of my husband and I discussing a given topic – no “news” or anything like that. We intend to go on with this format to the tune of about once a week, probably adding guests from time to time (I have promised Sil she’s the first). I’d still love it if I could find a cohost, but for now, my husband, who also plays WoW, is doing the show with me, and we have a pretty good rapport (although he’d probably rather be doing something else). But we’ll see how it goes. It’s not listed on iTunes yet, since I need to redo the cover art to their specifications, but you can get it manually from Feedburner.

I hope that you’ll join me in Raiding With Lisia! Please subscribe through the podcast app of your choice, and feel free to send the show email or participate on the Facebook page. See you there!

Warcraft: The Beginning – Review (here there be spoilers)

Hi all. Sorry I haven’t posted recently. I switched jobs in May, and because of ill health, it’s been hard for me to adjust to the new commute. However, I’m hoping to be able to publish more often now that things have settled a bit.

Yesterday I went to see the Warcraft movie, twice in fact. I will say right off that I loved it, and I will certainly be buying the DVD as soon as it comes out. That said, it wasn’t as good in some ways as I had hoped it would be. My issues follow:

The relationship among Medivh, Anduin, and Llane is core to the story – and yet, that relationship received almost no exposition in the movie. If you know the game lore, you know they grew up together and were best friends. If you read the supporting literature (graphic novel, novelization) you receive a lot of exposition. But there’s almost none in the movie. They refer to each other as “friends” but that’s not enough, and frankly, most of the viewing public isn’t going to understand why a king, a wizard, and a soldier (yes, Lothar is so much more, but that’s not explained either) would be close, never mind VERY close, friends. Likewise, if you haven’t read the supporting literature, the fact that Taria is Anduin’s sister comes out of left field. Again, the non-WoW-playing viewing public is going to be a bit staggered by the fact that a white-skinned, blue-eyed man has a dark-skinned, dark-eyed sister, even though that’s one of the things that’s so great about the game (i.e. the mix of what we think of as different races into one big whole). Giving some sort of support or exposition of everyone’s relationship to each other would have made the whole plot stronger. I think this is really my biggest complaint.

My second biggest issue is with Medivh himself, and again it’s a problem of lack of exposition. In the game lore, Medivh’s actions are explained by his “possession” by Sargeras, but in the movie, there’s no (apparent) concept of this possession; instead, the reason given is that his corruption began because he had previously begun studying fel magic so that he could combat Trolls who were also using it. However, this fact is not explained in the movie itself, but only in the supporting literature. In fact, you get the idea in the movie that fel magic is COMPLETELY UNKNOWN in Azeroth until Gul’Dan brings it in, except that oh wait, Medivh’s using it? Again, this just comes completely out of left field, and even if you’ve read the literature, you’re wondering where the Trolls got it. Now, I haven’t read the movie novelization yet (nor have I finished the Durotan novel), so maybe some of this is explained elsewhere, but even if so that doesn’t matter: a movie should be able to stand on its own, and this plot point does not.

I’m not even sure how I feel about the new Medivh explanation anyway. If there is no Sargeras, then is there a Burning Legion, or just random demons? If there is no Burning Legion, then how (why?) did Gul’Dan get his demonic power? Who is the demon that Medivh becomes, or is it just Medivh-as-demon? How did he “invite” the Orcs to Azeroth? Was all this going to be explained in a sequel? If so I really hope there IS a sequel, but with plot holes like this I’m a bit worried. The in-game lore was always a bit weird and convoluted, but I was used to it. Now I have no idea what’s going on, and apparently neither did Ben Foster, because his acting was uneven and just not really believable.

Unfortunately, I have to say that Dominic Cooper, possibly for similar reasons of not understanding his character’s motivation, did not do a great job with Llane (forevermore to be known to me as King Lame). The issue is most obvious just before Llane’s death, because nowhere in the movie has he shown himself to be a person capable of sacrificing himself for his kingdom. His command to Garona to kill him just comes out of nowhere, and the only thing that saves that scene is Paula Patton’s acting. As someone who cries at the drop of a hat, I should have been sobbing at that point, but I shed exactly one tear: movie fail.

Most of the special effects were great, but the wolves were awful and I’m very happy that they weren’t utilized very often. Most of the time, how bad they were wasn’t distracting, but the one scene where the wolf tries to attack Lothar was pretty awful; the wolf looked comical rather than frightening, which was very distracting.

The lack of blood, gore, and hacked limbs in the battle scenes made those scenes unbelievable. For instance, just before his death, Llane points out to Garona that they are surrounded, and there is a quick “air view” to illustrate that fact. The battle from that view looked like toy soldiers being blown around (which maybe is what it was?). We’ve come to expect much better from movie battle scenes. In addition, Draka’s agonized delivery of her son was rendered completely ridiculous by the fact that the baby comes out completely clean. I get that perhaps we don’t want to gross out the audience too much, but perhaps he could have at least been MOIST?

Garona was puzzling. In the original game lore she is represented as being half Orc and half Human, with this later being retconned to, or explained by, her actually being half Orc and half Draenei, the Dranei half being her mother, Maraad’s sister. In the movie, however, she indicates that she wears her mother’s tusk to remember her by, which would imply that her mother was an Orc (she also says her mother was burned for giving birth to her, which implies an Orc having done something unspeakable, such as willingly mate with a lesser creature rather than the forced mating of Orc male and Draenei female in the game lore). Yet she knows the Draenei language, which is notable, because Gul’Dan does not. She explains her knowledge of the Human language (which starts out as stilted and broken and then suddenly and for no apparent reason becomes utterly fluent) as being something that she learned from a Human prisoner brought through the portal, which makes pretty much no sense whatsoever, but no explanation is ever given for her knowledge of the Draenei language, unless it’s in parts of the supporting literature that I haven’t finished reading yet. Given that even the more recent lore explanation of her past had to be explained by “magical aging”, this new confusion just adds to the plot issues I’ve already mentioned.

Orgrim’s betrayal of his BFF Durotan is another important plot point that, once more, for lack of exposition, is a failure in terms of believability. While a plausible reason is eventually given, there is almost no leadup (one doubtful look is all we get) to his decision, so yet again I was caught off guard by something important to the plot. Kudos, though, for the agonized look that Durotan throws Llane in the same scene just before he turns to engage in the battle (and an unsurprising but unfortunate lack of apparent reaction on Llane’s part – the camera cuts to him but his reaction shot is completely inscrutable).

I think those are all my negative comments. Now for what I really loved:

Anduin Lothar was fantastic. Travis Fimmel acted the HELL out of that part; I would say it was the best performance in the movie, rivalled only by Toby Kebbell’s Durotan. (Since those are the two on the poster, I’d say it’s fitting that they were the best characters in the movie.) When Lothar pushes Garona away slightly to tell her he’s never been in so much pain, I shivered. That was just amazing.

You know what else was amazing? Khadgar. His character in general, and the interaction with Lothar were completely spot on. I could have watched an entire 2 hour movie filled with just Khadgar and Lothar, seriously. It’s kind of ironic because I was never all that crazy about either character in the game lore – well, until Warlords of Draenor, when Khadgar becomes amazing and snappy. In fact, it seems to me that the Khadgar we’re seeing in game right now is based on a man who learned some of his best sarcastic moves from his old friend Anduin Lothar, as portrayed in the movie.

Despite my saying that I could have watched a whole movie with just Khadgar and Lothar, I wish I’d seen more of Garona and Taria. I loved that they were both, in their own way, badass and yet vulnerable, and I would have loved to have seen more of that.

The “Orc CGI” was spot on. I kept forgetting that the Orcs weren’t real, which means the effect succeeded. Other than the issue mentioned above – which could have been something that was cut – I also felt that the Orc characters were very well acted. In addition, I was delighted to be able to recognize Kargath and Grommash, who looked recognizably like their Warlords of Draenor portrayals. In fact, other than the skin color, Grommash looked exactly like he does in the expansion cinematic.

I loved all the little Easter Eggs in the film, such as the murloc. MRGHGALLALLAGHAG! <3 But seriously, those little moments of humor really added to the film, and I’m glad they were there.

The spell effects were also spot on, I felt, with one possible exception: Medivh’s barrier during the “betrayal battle” was more reminiscent of elemental than arcane magic. However, I’m willing to believe that the Guardian would be capable of that kind of effect, so it didn’t upset me too much. The rest of the effects were great. And bonus points for the “ding animation” as Khadgar defeated the fel magic.

In summation, I loved the movie, even though it wasn’t perfect, and I hope that it did well enough that there can be a sequel. I’m eagerly anticipating the DVD release, and I hope that it’s a Director’s cut or that the deleted scenes, of which I suspect there are many, are included.

And it makes me even more excited about Legion!

elitist jerks

Not all that long ago, something happened to me while raiding with my guild. The situation has been resolved, but the reason I want to write about it is that it touches on what this blog is all about, i.e. the “casual hardcore” experience.
I consider myself very lucky to have found a guild that is all about inclusiveness. We may not progress as fast as some other guilds, but everybody has a great time, and we all do our best, whatever our best may be. I won’t lie; sometimes I get impatient. I hate wiping over and over to the same mechanics; I get frustrated when people don’t seem to be maximizing their gear; I really believe in consistency of attendance. But I generally try to keep that to myself, and if things aren’t moving fast enough for me, there’s no longer anything stopping me from finding a group that’s further along, while continuing to help my guild progress. That’s what I did with HFC and it’s worked out fine (aside from maybe burning me out a little bit).
I raided with my current guild for two expansions before throwing my main toon in there, so I got to know some of the core members very well. There have been some new faces this xpac, but everyone has that same easygoing attitude, which I really appreciate. However, we’ve also added some people to our twice-weekly raids who are from another guild on another server. I have no idea why at least some of them have been raiding with us, but it started out with maybe four or five people and has grown to 10 or 11. At the same time, some of our own guildies who were not able to be there earlier have returned. So we’ve got 20-25 people there most nights at this point. My biggest issue has been that sometimes people from the other guild will roll need on tier pieces and then not return, when some members of my guild haven’t been getting the rolls, and I did raise the point to our guild leader and our main tank finally, which did improve things.
At any rate, the other night we were waiting for one of our guildies, who has a new healer he’s trying to gear, to show up before we killed Mannoroth, who drops the one piece that toon didn’t already have. To kill time, we decided to kill Zakuun. We were pulling the last demon that’s in his room, and I pulled the boss by accident with an errant Barrage. This was not a big deal; most of us are overgeared, and we just ran out and reset the boss. I am pretty sure nobody died, but even if they did, you can mount up right outside the room and repair, and many of us have repair mounts for people to use.
But one person, who had only been with us once before, sneered that there was no reason to use Barrage on a single target fight anyway. Now actually, this is just not true. I watch Azortharion, who in my opinion is the best hunter in WoW (even if you disagree, he’s statistically one of the top), and he recommends Barrage in HFC single target fights because you’re rarely able to stand still long enough for Powershot to be more effective. I will often, if DPS isn’t actually an issue, open with Barrage because I’m not all that likely to use it later in the fight. So I pointed this out. He said “It’s not better than Aimed Shot.” At the time, I was thinking he meant Powershot, but of course I actually do use Aimed Shot all the time.
Now, this guy’s DPS is better than mine, sure. I can get the exact same numbers he does, but I often don’t. But that said, other than him, my DPS is higher than anyone else’s in the guild (well, except my husband’s if he’s not tanking), But it didn’t even matter on this fight, and frankly, it wouldn’t matter on any fight we were planning to do that night, because two hunters doing 72K DPS weren’t going to make the difference between downing and not downing the last two bosses in Normal HFC.
I work constantly on my DPS. I could probably work harder than I do, but I work 40 hours a week, have a family, and have a chronic illness, so I do have other priorities. I’m also in my 50’s and my reflexes definitely aren’t that of a person in their 20’s. My guild knows all this, but of course, this guy did not. So I whispered the guy from his server/guild who had brought all these new people in and asked him to tell the new guy to please STFU because I did not need this.
They (apparently) had a whispered conversation about me, because all of a sudden the guy I’d whispered sent me a whisper which said “I don’t get why some people get insulted instead of wanting to improve.” It turned out that the whisper was meant for his elitist pal, about me. When I asked him where he got off, he told me he was sorry he’d mistyped, but really, he didn’t get why I should be upset when his friend was just trying to help.
Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I don’t believe “help” should be delivered in a snarky tone. If Mr. Elite wanted to help, he would have sent me a whisper saying “I see you are using Barrage a lot. Can I offer some advice?” Like him, I’ve cleared Heroic HFC, and I wasn’t carried. My raid leader in that group did, in fact, have some suggestions for me, such as switching to Marksmanship from Beast Mastery, that he he delivered in a kind and polite way. So I wasn’t buying it. At that point, particularly since I was also in Officer Chat in my guild telling them what was going on, and having several people initially disbelieve me when I said the second guy was now saying less than nice things to me, I ended up leaving. I suppose you could say I rage quit, but when I later discussed it with our GM, he said that he didn’t feel that it was a rage quit under the circumstances. I’m pretty grateful for that, because it’s not a thing I typically do. But I did feel pretty bad about it, because while I’d assumed that everyone would just go on without me, it actually broke up the raid for the night.
Here’s the thing, though: you don’t come in my house, where I’ve been raiding with this group for literally years, and start making snarky comments. If you’re new to a group, doesn’t matter if you know stuff better than other people, you keep quiet in voice chat. If you feel someone’s screwing up, you talk to the raid leader or, perhaps, just message the person directly and let them decide if they want your “advice” or not.
As I said to my GM later on – and he agreed – if it hadn’t been me, he was going to anger somebody else at some point, because I was not the only one he was addressing his snark to. So even though I don’t feel great about the fact I quit the raid (which was an emotional response to a LOT of stuff, not just his remarks and what was going on in game), I don’t necessarily feel bad about it either, because it’s clear that I was speaking for a lot of other people and their frustrations.
We’ll be raiding again on Wednesday, and I have no idea what the composition of the group will be. My GM actually offered to toss everyone from the other server/guild out, and I told him that the only thing I wanted was that this one guy not be invited back, so we’ll see. By the time I post this, it will have already happened.
(Update: the second guy, who also has a toon in our guild, was there, along with the other members of his guild who have been with us for a while. Not surprisinly, the elitist eejit, and the other extraneous members of that server/guild, were not.)

Adding On

In a recent interview with the Girls Gone WoW podcast, I mentioned (all too briefly) that I like to use addons when I play, and mentioned a couple. Raven (if I recall correctly) didn’t really agree with everything I said, but what I really wish is that I’d actually gotten more time to discuss the topic at hand (“casual hardcore” raiding, which is the subject of this entire blog) and the addons I use. That’s not their fault though, and the show was really a lot of fun.

But since this is my blog and I do have the ability to do so, I will go into addons a bit more. First of all, I’ve used a replacement for Blizzard’s raid frames since, I think, 2009, long before I started to actually raid. My current favorite raid frame replacement is actually a full UI replacement, ElvUI. I cannot recommend it enough. In addition to the base UI mod, I use the following addons, which I install through the TukUI client rather than Curse (which I use for all my other addons besides ElvUI and its mods):

  • Cecile Meter Overlay
  • Dragon Overlay
  • ElvUI Autolog
  • ElvUI Channel Alerts
  • ElvUI Color Tags
  • ElvUI Extra Action Bars
  • ElvUI Priest AoE
  • Location Plus
  • New Openables
  • Raid Buffs Checker
I also download ElvuiStillEnhanced (WoD) from Curse because for some reason it’s not maintained on the main site.
None of these, or even ElvUI itself, is anything I would consider necessary for successful raiding. I just really like the UI and I like a lot of the mods as they make my (playing) life better personally. Raid Buffs Checker is really great though, since I can see at a quick glance what raid buffs I do and don’t have, and (if I’m playing MM Hunter, as is often the case) I know if I need to provide a specific buff with Lone Wolf.
Following is a list of addons (I use Curse to download them) that I consider useful for raiding, in order of importance, along with a short description:
  • Deadly Boss Mods/DBM (all modules) – unless you really, really, really know the fight cold, including knowing when to tell OTHER people to do things, you should have DBM installed, and in fact many raid leaders require it. DBM tells you when when something is happening that you have to pay attention to, both with voice warnings and text on your screen, and it’s highly configurable. If you’re the tank and/or raid leader, you get even more options, such as pull countdowns, countable interrupts, and so on. It’s useful in situations out of raid too, but for raids I consider it imperative.
  • GTFO – Stands for Get the F Out, and what it does is play a (configurable) annoying sound when you’re standing in stuff, or close to stuff, or taking damage from stuff. Not absolutely necessary, but very helpful.
  • Omen Threat Meter – Gives you a graphic and/or plays a sound if your threat is getting high. Mostly useful if you’re always grabbing aggro, or think you might, or want to make sure you DO have it.
  • Weak Auras 2 – highly configurable interface for letting you know when you have to do something. It’s not all that easy to use, but there are tutorials, plus it’s easy to find scripts to import. So for instance you can have a set of icons on your screen to show you how long you’ve got till a certain buff/spell wears off, or a bar showing you cast time for a spell on your target, or whatever. For the latter, it’s true that DBM has a lot of the same functionality, but sometimes more warnings are better than not. 
  • Bitten’s Spellflash (all modules) – flashes the next spell or spells you should cast for optimal performance, based on SimC theorycrafting. Hitting the flashing buttons has certainly improved my deeps on my hunter, plus on classes that I don’t know as well, has helped me learn them.
  • OmniCC – This is probably duplicated in something in ElvUI, actually, but I’ve had it installed for a long time, and if you don’t use ElvUI it’s definitely useful. Puts the cooldown for your spells on your action buttons so you know how long you’ve got till CD. 
  • MikScrollingBattleText – Cool looking and configurable, easy to see, scrolling text for buffs and debuffs and such. As a bonus, comes with configurable sounds for when cooldowns pop. Can sound quite hilarious but the point is to alert you to something you might have missed. As I said above, the more of that the better.
  • Pet Attack – for classes with pets, lets you know if your pet is not attacking. 
  • Pet Selector – for hunters, tells you what pet will provide the most useful buffs for your party. 
  • Recount (and/or) Skada – I have both installed but use only Skada currently as it’s less of a resource hog. Gives you a report on how much damage or healing party members are doing, with various configurable types of reporting and so on. I’ve put it lower on the list simply because it doesn’t provide any utility itself; it’s mainly useful so you know how well or badly you (or others) are doing. If you’re the raid leader you definitely want to have it up. As a healer, I use the DPS meter so that I know who to rez if several DPS have died. 
  • Who Pulled? – Mainly useful so you know who to blame.
  • Decursive – I actually use this a LOT, because my healing class doesn’t have a mass dispel so I can only dispel one at at time anyway. Allows you to remove curses, poison, diseases, and so on if your class is able to do so, with a click (or you can macro-ize it). Saves action bar use. I put it low on the list because it’s only really important to have if you’re a healing class.
  • BonusRollPreview – In the last two expansions, there have been “bonus tokens” that you can spend on an extra roll for gear (or gold). This addon gives you a drop-down menu to show you what all the possible gear is, if you don’t happen to know.
  • Afterlife Crowd Control – Warns you when crowd control is about to break. 
  • AskMrRobot – Allows you to import your current gear profile into the AskMrRobot site so that you can maximize your gear (according to their theorycrafting method). 
  • Pawn – if you’re not sure whether the drop you just got is better than what you’re wearing, Pawn can help you decide. 
Following is an audio clip of my husband and I discussing the addons we use for raiding. My husband, Ouro, is our guild’s raid leader and one of the tanks, and while he hasn’t been playing as long as I have, he’s really good with his Paladin.

The Lore of Yore

By now, I hope everyone who wanted to get Chronicle Vol 1 has gotten it…because from what I hear it’s sold out, or close to it, at least in the hardcover edition. And while I myself love ebooks, this is one you’re going to want in hardcover. You’ll want to hold it, caress it, stroke its pages…oh er hi.

Yes, I enjoyed the book. I can’t wait for the second volume (and all the others) to come out. In the past, I’ve always had trouble keeping track of Azerothian history, perhaps because I didn’t start playing Warcraft until 2008. This book and its companions will definitely help.

Another reason Warcraft lore has been difficult for me to keep track of is because it’s so cyclical in nature. Oh look! Here comes the Burning Legion! Ah okay, we’ve defeated them. No wait! Here they are again! Never fear, we’ve got this. Oh hey, alternate time line, gotta defeat this guy we already defeated! Also, here are some books with more alternate stuff! Whew! Wait, what’s Archimonde doing in this Orc expansion? OH HEY HERE COMES THE LEGION AGAIN…

Why? Why do they keep coming? Why do they have such a hot nut for Azeroth? But this book has helped me understand what’s going on. I get it now. And wow, they’ve been hinting at some of this all along. For instance, all the Titan artifacts we’ve been finding all over the place, and the Titans’ relationship to the Old Gods, and why the Titans haven’t come back…all explained.

Another thing I appreciate is that they explain the “madness” of Sargeras. As someone who grew up with mental illness, I never appreciated the idea of a villain who was irrevocably evil simply because he “went mad”. I get enough of that crap as it is. People don’t just “go mad”, and “madness” doesn’t make a person irredeemable. Perhaps there’s nothing I can do to change that person, but I want to believe that every bad person has some little spark of good – of Light – in them. There is probably nobody who can “reach” Sargeras now, but the fact that, in his own mind anyway, he is justified and “right” in what he is doing makes a huge amount of difference to me. There is still a little too much of the idea of “absolute” evil for my taste, but at least it’s mitigated a little by understanding some of the motivations behind the darkness.

So yes, I loved this book, and I will continue to buy the Chronicle series as they come out. I do have one complaint about this book, though: the writing style. It’s so very overwrought, with “untold” this and “towering” that. There’s so much of this in fantasy writing, and it’s really not necessary, even when you’re writing about “ancient” subjects. Tolkien got away with it in The Silmarillion, but most writers simply can’t pull it off, and the authors of Chronicle are no exception. However, to find out the answers to my lore questions, I’m willing to put up with it.

And here’s my guilty secret: I might even (gasp) commit fanfiction, based on some of what I’ve learned. I haven’t done that in years (and I’ll admit to only one attempt, complete with overwrought language), but I’m feeling rather inspired. Stay tuned!

What Do You Mean, There’s Nothing to Talk About?

I was listening to a new (to me) podcast this morning; the hosts said, as so many other podcast hosts have been saying, that there’s “nothing going on” in World of Warcraft, no news to report and so on.

Meanwhile, I just bought Chronicle Vol I. My Twitter feed is constantly exploding with new Legion stuff that’s been datamined or announced. There’s a movie coming out this summer (it’s not being well-publicized, which is curious, but it definitely looks good from what I can tell). Hearthstone just added a new character that you need to level a new (or under 20, anyway) toon to 20 in WoW to get. And that’s just the stuff I can think of off the top of my head.
But there’s nothing going on…
Listen, I get it. Blizzard originally announced that this expansion would be only a year in length, which meant that everyone pushed even harder than usual to level their mains (and as many alts as possible) to 100 in anticipation of a short raiding season. Then, after less content than was a) usual and b) promised, Blizzard dragged the final content raiding out for a year anyway (it hasn’t been a year yet, but it will be at least that by the time Legion drops). This expansion is definitely a bit shorter than previous ones, but not enough so to justify the relative lack of content, plus the huge blowup about flying has left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths. It feels like there’s nothing going on.
And Blizzard is probably being a little bit more quiet than is usual before an expansion. I can think of a couple of reasons for this, though. One is that they hyped Warlords of Draenor half to death, but they ended up losing a lot of subscribers by the time patch 6.1 dropped. Possibly they don’t want to go crazy with marketing for Legion, for that reason. In addition, a couple of tentative decisions by the developers have been met with a huge outcry (and in at least one case, outright abuse) by the player base, and so there may be less of a desire to talk about plans because of that (although I don’t necessarily agree that that’s a good idea, I can understand it). 
So I can agree that, relative to early in the expansion, there is not a lot going on. There wasn’t a lot going on at the end of the last expansion either, or the one before that, or the one…you get the idea. Yet the hosts of the podcast I was listening to seemed to feel that it was the end of this expansion in particular that had nothing going on, as opposed to the end of any other expansion. And that’s what I don’t get.
I’m not talking about what there is to do in game. Depending on whether or not you actually want to do it, there is a ton to do: farming old content, alt leveling, gearing up, gold making, and so on. Nobody actually disputes that, whether or not they actually want to do this stuff. What they say is that there’s nothing to talk about.
And I just don’t agree. There’s always something to talk about. For instance, you can pick a spec and talk about what you think it might be like to play in Legion, given the things we now know. Most players who don’t want spoilers are talking about the story line, so it shouldn’t be a problem to do that. Or you can talk about the history of something. Or how you are (or could be) making gold right now. Or raiding.
But that’s been done to death! you might say. Oh, has it? How many podcasters are there, all talking about the same game? No matter what you decide to talk about, you or someone else has probably already covered it at least once. But maybe your audience has shifted in membership. Maybe you have a new thought about it. Maybe you have a potential guest who hasn’t held forth on that topic before and can present some new opinions. Maybe a new player to the game (and there are always new players) hasn’t heard it already.
Some of my favorite podcasts involve people just talking about whatever aspect of playing the game comes into their heads, no matter if it’s “new” (or “news”) or not, just because they love playing. I never hear them say there’s nothing to talk about. In fact, they have to rein it in sometimes because they’re about to run over their time. 
Another podcast I really like had a whole series on starting zones. So many of us have so many alts that we’ve played every starting zone a billion times, even given the reboot when Cataclysm dropped…and yet, that series was interesting, because it was new to (at least one of) them. Talking about stuff that everybody already knows doesn’t have to be boring. 
I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a podcast of my own, off and on – I’ve had a lot of encouragement, but I’m not 100% there yet. I’m hesitating because I’m not sure I have the time to commit. But I am not worried about having enough to talk about, in this end of expansion lull. I’m more worried about being able to stop talking.

What Does It Take?

I had a discussion with my husband a while ago about what, if anything, should be the minimum that a person “should” do in order to raid. We were not in full agreement.

On my main, Lisia, I have the legendary ring (upgraded a few times), plus as of last week I have the heroic tier set and the normal class trinket. I also have the heirloom trinket from mythic dungeons (I have several of them actually), and the cleave trinket that the council group drops, although I don’t have the Censer trinket at this point (bad RNG). I’ve downed Heroic Archie with my group, many of whom are actually better geared (although I’m catching up).

My healer is a little less well geared. I don’t have tier gear (other than LFR) on her, though I do have the ring. This is because I actually thought I was going to be replaced as a healer, which I was okay with, so I stopped working on her. However, I’m still needed in that capacity, so I’ve been going on gear runs, although nothing I need is dropping for me.

Anyway, that was sort of the crux of our discussion. What does it take, to be a raider? My husband feels that, if you want to raid, you’re a raider, and you should be able to come along.

I’m not 100% opposed to that way of thinking. I do believe that, if you want to raid, you should be given a chance, and in this xpac it’s easier because you don’t have a set number of people you can allow, meaning that not everyone has to have superior gear.

But where we diverge is my feeling that if you want to continue to raid you should be willing to follow certain guidelines which will make progression easier. For instance, you should have or be getting the legendary ring. You should have or be working on a tier set. All or almost all of your gear should be epic. All or almost all of your gear should be maximally upgraded. Your talents, while in the raid group, should be chosen for maximum raid utility, not your personal convenience. And if you’re not doing all that, my question would be why are you raiding?

But my husband pointed out, and he’s not wrong, that it’s a slippery slope. If someone doesn’t have the time to put into getting the ring – and it is a time sink, though thankfully there’s no insistence on PVP like last xpac – but they show up every week and put their all into learning the fights, does that mean they should be tossed off the team? On my old team, that would have been a yes, at least for the main raid team. But on both the teams I’m in now, nobody has even asked if I had the ring. On both teams we’re doing okay, and the main reason for that is that we’re working in synergy, regardless of gear level. We’re a TEAM.

When I was considering how to get my moose, before we joined the heroic team, I looked at what pug groups (aside from friendshipmoose) wanted. I didn’t make that cut at the time, because they wanted tier set, ring, a certain ilvl, and “ahead of the curve” for an earlier raid in the xpac. I had the ring and the ilvl, but not the tier set (at the time), and the only AHOC I had was from last xpac. Maybe I could have squeezed on, I don’t know. But now I’m set to get the mount and I didn’t have to prove anything, just show up and learn the fights, while making new friends in the process. Getting the tier set and upgrading my gear was a goal I set myself, not something anyone made me do, and the outcome is going to be the same.

So in the end, what does it take to be a raider? It’s not worth it to me to run with a team that has no heart and synergy, and while I still think gearing is important, I’ll take that heart any day. I count myself lucky to be a part of two fantastic teams, and I’m hoping we run together for a long, long time.

My Raiding Background

So who am i, to talk about raiding? Clearly I don’t belong to Method, so…

I haven’t been in raiding for long. As mentioned, I started playing right around the time WotLK came out. I was new to MMO gaming, and I took my time leveling, so it was at least the end of 2009 and possibly into 2010 before I hit level 80.

At that point the boyfriend who got me into WoW and I belonged to a nice and friendly guild that unfortunately later fell apart. We did do a lot of dungeons, including some heroics, but I don’t think there was ever any thought of raiding.

Raiding was different back then. LFG was just being developed, and there was no LFR to ease you into content or help you gear beyond heroics. It was something that really serious, really elite players did, and I dreamed of being that good. But I knew I wasn’t. I could maybe live through heroic dungeons, and in fact do quite decent DPS, but that was about it.

Cataclysm hit, and along the way, my boyfriend and I broke up and I married my current husband. I joined a new (to me) guild, leveled my main up to max, and ran heroics. LFR came out and I dipped my toe in. And then another new guildie told me his other guild was running 10 man Dragon Soul and could use another dps. I ran with them a few times, and I was hooked. I never actually finished Dragon Soul on any strength besides LFR (though obviously I’m farming it now), but I knew I loved raiding.

Pandaria, unfortunately, brought some life changes for me. My computer could no longer handle WoW graphics, plus for a while I didn’t have a really great Internet connection. I bought the xpac and leveled my main, but it was after SoO dropped before I really got back into things. With the encouragement of my guild, plus a new computer, I geared up and started flex raiding. Right around that time, my husband also started playing, and once he was max level we wanted to raid together.

My guild didn’t have a place for us on the main team (although I eventually downed Garrosh with them), but the other guild I’d raided with before had a spot, so I split my time between the two. Due to the lockout system in place at the time, this ended up causing me quite a bit of stress, but I made it work. My guild ended up downing Garrosh, with me on the team, less than a half hour before the WoD prepatch hit, and I got my wolf mount. I was really proud, but at the same time I felt like I wasn’t really good enough.

Early into WoD, my husband and I made the decision to leave the guild we were in and join the guild I’d been part time raiding with, and we’ve been really happy with them. Unfortunately, several core members have had RL aggro, and our progression has been a little slow, but I’m really happy to say that as of this writing we’re 11/13 Normal HFC. Last night we almost went to 12/13, so I’m confident we’ll be facing Archimonde soon.

With my guild,  because we’ve temporarily lost one of our healers, I’ve geared up my resto druid and have been running with her. I don’t think anyone actually expected me to be any good at it, because I’d never done it before, but it turns out that I’m actually pretty decent. My biggest problem tends to be situational awareness, but I’m learning to keep one eye on raid frames and another eye on mid-screen so I can move out of stuff.

I’ve been running my main with another group (on a different server). They’ve already gone 13/13 H HFC but then started again with some new people (including us), so the present group is 12/13. We’re looking at facing H Archie tomorrow (as I write this), so I should have my moose soon! And then we’re going to be trying Mythic difficulty, which has me both scared and excited.

So that is where I’ve been and where I’m at in raiding. I don’t know really where that puts me. On the one hand I’m a lot more serious about raiding than a lot of people I know. On the other hand I’m not exactly server top. So what is that? Casual-plus? I’ll take it.

Raiding! With Lisia!

It occurred to me a little while ago that I spend a lot of time playing World of Warcraft (some might say an inordinate amount of time), but I don’t really talk about it anywhere. Since, as anyone who knows me can testify, I talk a whole lot, I decided to blog about this little hobby of mine.

Thus was born Raiding With Lisia, which is a pun on the Raiding With Leashes achievements in WoW. At least it is if you’re pronouncing Lisia correctly. Say it with me: LEEsha. Not LISSeeah, not LissEEah, but LEEsha. There we go.

In case you’re wondering, Lisia is an alternate spelling of the Irish Gaelic name Laoise (pronounced the same way), meaning “light”. Most of my WoW elves have Gaelic names, just cuz.

I suppose I hesitated in starting this blog mostly because, while I do raid and have for a while, I suffer from a bit of impostor syndrome. I’m not what you’d call hardcore, although I’d also say I’m a step or two up from casual. As of this writing, I haven’t yet gotten my Grove Warden mount, which I refuse to do in a carry group. Given all the really kick-ass raiders out there, I guess I’ve been a little intimidated to speak my piece.

But then I realized that actually, I’m pretty good, and I’m in fact set to get my moose in a week or two, and possibly even the mythic mount eventually. And there are lots of people who aren’t as far along as that who are viewed as having very valid opinions on raiding and such. So I can claim my voce too.

So let me introduce you to Lisia, my main and in fact my very first toon. She’s a night elf hunter with a penchant for armorkinis, and I’ve been playing her since 2008, first as Survival, and currently mostly as Beastmaster. Currently she’s finishing up Heroic Hellfire Citadel (12/13) with a group mostly consisting of members of the guild The Indelibles on US/Ravenholdt (along with other friends from other guilds and servers).

I don’t actually play on that realm; my main server is US/Blackwater Raiders – Shadow Council, where I have about 15 toons total, mostly Alliance, some Horde. I have 9 100s, mostly on that shared realm with one on US/Mal’ganis. And boy do they keep me busy.

Besides Lisia, the toon I probably play the most is Brenainne, a resto/feral druid. I am immensely proud of the fact that, although I never played a healer until a few months ago, I am able to keep up and even get quite a few compliments in groups. She’s not quite as well geared as Lisia, but I do raid with her in my guild, Kingdom of Light, which is currently 11/13 Normal HFC.

I’d just like to pause here to shout out to my guild. I have been raiding with them off and on since Cataclysm, which is when I first got into raiding. I belonged to another guild at the time, but my husband and I made the jump to KoL about a year ago, and we are very happy there. I say without reservation that it’s the best guild I’ve ever belonged to and is a big part of why I stay on this server.

So that’s me and my two main toons. I’m going to stop for now, but in my next post, I’ll go a bit deeper into my raiding experience.