Tips for Finding A New Guild For Pandaria

It’s a time of new beginnings in WoW – and with that, a lot of people will be looking for a new guild. Handily, today several bloggers are offering great tips to find one!

Whether you’re looking for a new guild because your old one didn’t survive the 10 months of WoW’s inactivity very well, or because you’re looking for something new in your gameplay, a new expansion’s a prime time for jumping into a new guild. But how do you make sure you find and get into one you’ll love?

First up, Rank 4 Healing Touch has revamped their old post on guild application, which remains a complete, useful and accessible guide to avoiding guild application problems

“Spelling – I’m not going to say that typos will get your application denied up front because we all make them and not all of them are caught with a spell checker (believe me I know this first hand from my blog). Keeping your application mostly clean means you took the time to write your response in software that has a spell checker and double/triple checked your work. Avoid using any net speak or childish abbreviations like “ur” (your) or “healz” (heals).

Links – Most applications will request some form of Armory link, UI screenshot and if available a World of Logs parse. Please double check the link supplied so there is no unnecessary confusion. I have seen youtube links where a character armory link was supposed to be and while I thought it was amusing at first it didn’t help the application any.”

This guide’s definitely targeted at people applying to more serious raiding guilds, and it covers pretty much everything you could think of in a guild application on that basis. For less experienced people or those looking to play more casually, some of the sections on theorycrafting and gameplay might seem a bit intimidating – remember that not all guilds will want you to be able to do calculus in order to apply! However, even if you’re looking for a more casual guild, a lot of the advice here is very useful, and if you are looking to raid competitively, this stuff’s gold dust.

On a slightly different tack, Quori has an excellent guide to finding a guild, too – this one focused on figuring out whether you really want to be in that hardcore raiding guild before you apply!

From your personal background to your playstyle, Quori’s looking at how to avoid guild-joiner’s remorse

“This is a big deal. You should really separate out into 2 columns what are absolute inflexible NEEDS versus the things that would be nice, but not truly necessary stipulations.

If you truly NEED to be in a ranked guild, then perhaps you should also know you will need to worry about min/maxing your toon and being graded and judged on your performance.

If you NEED a casual environment, then know you cannot stir up drama by whining and complaining that no one cares about heroics.

If your socio-political views are so important to you that you wear them on your sleeve, then do not join a socially diverse guild where odds are opinions will vary along with mileage.

This last one is an important factor to consider. There is nothing wrong with being a Republican, Democrat, Atheist, Feminist, Born Again Christian, etc etc. Any label you choose to wear proudly on your sleeve is not something to cast shame or derision towards; however, perhaps you should bear that in mind when seeking a new guild.”

It’s all too easy to get caught up in the “how” of any task, and something like finding a guild’s particularly susceptible to hidden assumptions. I really like Quori’s “fun first” attitude, too – the guide’s very non-judgemental and focused on getting you to a satisfying environment to play in, even if there are some bumps on the way.

Do you have any tips for people looking for a new guild as MoP approaches?

Read more →

Great New Blogger Advice from the NBI

Amongst the many benefits that the Newbie Blogger Initiative is already having on the blogosphere (did I mention what a great idea this is?, I do wonder if the flood of advice posts will be one of the most lasting.

Unlike other subject blogospheres, the MMO community has tended to be a bit short on advice posts – partially, possibly, because there’s not so much real-world money at stake here. But with the NBI, some really great writers are coming out of the woodwork with great advice for their fellow bloggers:

  • Scary at Scary Worlds writes a fascinating story of how he came to blog, and some unique advice on blogging from a phone“Most of all, I do it because I love to. Over the years my phone has become the only way I can write. I write upwards of 1,000 words an hour on the sucker.”
  • Stropp has a short, sweet, and vital piece of advice for any venture – just do it“Don’t wait. Take action now. Just Do It.”
  • Starshadow offers some generally useful tips for anyone writing online“Read your posts back to yourself, make sure it flows. Ask someone to proof read for you if you’d like an opinion before you publish. “
  • And Chris at High Latency Life offers some advice on just how to find your blogging voice“For me it was an evolution, but it starts with a vision. My vision for this blog has always been to entertain. The world loves a fool, and I am that fool. “

What are your top tips for the new bloggers at the NBI?

Read more →

What is Heroic Raiding like?

OK, I’ve got a confession here – whilst I’ve been a WoW player since a month after the game came out, I’ve never done any Heroic-level raiding. Indeed, I’m expecting to set foot in my first current-expansion Heroic raid in a week or so.

I suspect that’s the case for a surprisingly large number of people. Heroic raiding has become more accessible as time has gone on, but still, only a small percentage of the player base of WoW or any other game plays at that level.

That’s why I found today’s post from Malevica at Type H For Heals such interesting reading. She’s just started Heroic raiding herself, and today she writes a lengthy post alternating between advice and personal experience, describing in detail what to expect if you’re making the jump from normal to Heroic-mode raiding

“. When an encounter is really stretching your team’s limits, when your tank is fractions of a second away from dropping dead and when those green bars just don’t seem to ever want to come up again you absolutely have to pay attention the whole time. Glance at your chat log and someone might end up dead. Fail to spot an enemy spell cast and don’t hit your cooldown in time, someone’s dead. Stand in the fire for a second too long and your HPS will be zero for the rest of the fight.

And it’s not just paying attention, it’s also having to constantly think. There’s so little time that you can spend just mashing the same button and waiting for a big blue DBM warning; instead you’re watching timers or learning to feel the fight so you can be ready for the next big thing to come at you, switching spells and healing targets on the fly, and working out what your fellow healers are doing.

And let me tell you, this gets exhausting. We raid 9½ hours per week spread over three nights which isn’t much by some standards, but we generally raid hard for those hours with quick re-pulls after wipes and as little downtime as possible. By the end of good progression nights I’m quite often completely frazzled and no use to anyone for a while afterwards. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy myself, but it’s hard work, mentally, and if you can’t keep it up for the duration of the raid then you’re just going to be wasting time by the end. ”

Malevica has put a lot of time and effort into assembling her thoughts in this post – it’s an unusually well-structured read that I sailed through despite its length. She covers a lot of points from the personal to the practical, and whilst some of them have been repeated elsewhere, others (like her extensive discussion on motivation) are both novel and useful. It’s focussed on healing specifically, but covers a lot of ground that will be useful to everyone.

I’m going to be reading through this post more than once in preparation for our upcoming trial by fire!

So, how many of us ARE hardcore Heroic raiders, and how many are more casual? Let me know in comments!

Read more →

Have you seen these MMO-playing couples?

It’s taxonomy time today, as Stubborn from Sheep the Diamond concludes the spotters-guide series he’s been running – to the types of couples you’re likely to run into if you’re playing an MMORPG.

Part 1’s over here (technically part 2 of the series) and part 2 arrived today

“Grizzlies are famous for being fiercely protective of their young. Thanks to the American TV sensation Sarah Palin (who I will not call a politician because it would be like calling the Hamburgler a master criminal), we even have the term “Grizzly Moms” to bounce around. In couples, Grizzlies thrive on their self-independence, and any threat to their dyad is met with vicious attacks. These couples work well because their independence is so highly dependent on each other, and their insular nature makes them close, even intimate. The only real threat to their relationship can come from the outside.

This type of couple is what Matticus described in his post; when one in the couple is threatened, the other charges in, stands up on their hind legs, bares their teeth, and roars in fury. It can be somewhat unsettling. Obviously, dealing with either one of the couple implies dealing with both, and that can mean a 2 on 1 meeting that devolves into defensive attacks from the pair while you simply try to make your point. If both of the pair are performing well, then you wouldn’t necessarily even know the difference between Grizzlies and, say, Penguins, but when they’re not, you’re in for a hell of a fight.”

It must be said that it’s very reassuring to see this type of post at all! No matter what the media says, the gamer audience has grown well beyond the single male teenager (even if LFR sometimes feels like it ain’t so), and it’s fascinating to see the wider spectrum of life intermingle and interact with gaming.

This series is also a good source of info in general – not just for raid leaders, but for anyone seeking to understand the behaviour of one half of a couple in-game. It reminded me rather of the breakdown of couple types in the pop-psychology book “Life and How To Survive It” (which is a high compliment), and succeeds in being insightful without being too judgemental. Worth a read, either to help you with the next time you need to talk to one half of your “Grizzly” raiding couple about their DPS, or just for interest – or even self-awareness!

How have your experiences been playing with couples in-game?

Read more →

HOWTO: build a transmogrification set

With transmogging around the corner now, more and more WoW players are waking up and realising that we need answers to questions we didn’t need before – answers like “does this axe go with blue?”, “where can I find a shield that matches my hair?” and “does this robe make my toon’s butt look big?”.

In all seriousness, for the next little while advice on What Not To Wear In WoW is going to be valuable. Thus, today, I was particularly cheered to run across an excellent piece from a blog I’ve only just started following, Dreams of Isorath, with Aeliel discussing exactly how to go about choosing a transmogrification outfit

“What looks good on one character might not necessarily look good on another, even if they’re the same class. There are factors such as gender, skin color, hair color and race to consider. Because of this, I always use WoW Model Viewer to build my sets. If for some reason you can’t or don’t want to use WMV – well, there are other ways to build a set, such as using Wowhead’s item comparison tool to view the items you’re picking on a 3D model. Whatever way you use, always try out the set in game using the dressing room once you’re done with it, just in case.

… Unless you plan on scrapping your set when you get a weapon upgrade of a different type than the weapon you were using when you built the set, you should try and find matching weapons for every single type of weapon your character is likely to end up wielding.”

This post is mostly fairly simple advice, but it’s also solid, and not all of it had occurred to me – in particular, the idea of checking for other appropriate weapon types, so that you don’t end up wrong-footed when an upgrade drops, and also the suggestions about basing the entire outfit around a single piece. The latter’s very sensible – although there are other ways to do it, such as basing your outfit on a colour palette or a real-world equivalent, building from a single piece is easier to start on, visually, and will create some pretty awesome looks for your character.

Do you have any other advice on how to start building your transmogrification set?

Read more →

The WoW Noob: 10 Things You Need To Know After The Shattering

Right. The Shattering’s done its thing to the world. So what do you need to know? Good question, and I suspect over the next couple of days there will be answers aplenty for everything from world to class changes. But Melfina over at the WoW Noob has beaten everyone else to it with a list of the top ten things you need to know. Y’know, since your world has just been torn asunder by a grumpy dragon.

Melfina’s list is just what you need as you prepare to face the changes. Some of the items on her list are confirmations of things you can or can’t do yet – information you might have seen elsewhere, or seen contradicting things over. Well, she’s confirmed em one way or the other, no bones about an argument. Other things on her list are little quirks she’s noticed that we didn’t hear about pre-patch. I’m looking forward to checking out #2 and #10 on the list and really hope that #6 is a bug for anyone trying to get that achievement.

Sound mysterious? Aye, well, Melfina’s post is short and to the point – it’s the list and nothing else. Oh, except a screenshot backing up point #9, which is also quite cool. Either way I’m not going into too much detail to spoiler you nor quoting part of the post, so as not to spoil Melfina’s thunder.

But go read it for yourself, and meanwhile let me know in the comments if you’ve spotted anything else cool, worrying or downright unexpected!

_You can find The WoW Noob’s homepage here_

Read more →

Psynister’s Notebook: How And Why To Give Your Toons Hand Me Downs

So you know when you got given the dog-eared hand me down jumper that’s been in the family for generations and is made of something you don’t want to speculate on but you swear moves of its own accord that you just had to wear it, at least once. Even though the sleeves were twice the length of the rest of the thing and fell down no matter how tightly you rolled them up. Right? But there’s something magical about hand me down clothes. Sure, there’s something a lot of other things about them too that we’re not going to go into, but Psynister is writing a series recounting the benefits of hand me down clothing.

In World of Warcraft.

No, stick with us. His series is a great idea for anyone who’s thinking of startng a new character no matter how long you’ve been playing the game. It applies to both newish and veteran players just about to roll another toon and find out if they warm to it. And his idea of creating a wardrobe of hand-me-downs (which he calls HMDs) that your characters can share to get off the ground is a great one. He’s not talking about heirlooms: he’s talking about preparing sets of equipment that doesn’t bind to a character and you can ship to any new toon you fancy. Just so they have something to run around in while you get an idea of how they play, and so they can smite things without getting chilly.

So if you’re trying to decide on which class to role, or what to go take one for a test drive for 10 levels or so before deciding whether or not to keep them, this is a great way to get a feel for how the class is going to play for you without putting in investment that’s going to be wasted. Since these items can be passed around due to their lack of binding, it’s not a big deal to roll a character, gain a few levels, scrap them and reroll another, and so on until you find a nice fit.

He explains why you’d want to do this better than me, in his posts.  In his series he’s taking a look at gear sets for specific classes, some of which can then be shared for similar classes – like mages and warlocks need roughly the same stuff, at least at first. He suggests items to get, and then enchants to put on them. Why? He says that enchants are actually more effective than heirlooms. The only downside to this is that you need a character capable of providing some capital for this venture so it’s probably not accessible for very new players, but overall it looks like a greay longterm investment for anyone looking to try new classes. And I’d guess that’s most of us after, say, tomorrow (or whenever patch 4.0.3a does drop).

What about you – going to try this out or sticking with heirlooms for your new critter?

_Quote taken directly from Psynister’s post, one of a series

_

_You can find Psynister’s Notebook here, which is also where the rest of the posts in the series are._

Read more →

You Yank It You Tank It: How To Prepare For The Shattering This Weekend

The Shattering’s coming. Well, probably. It’s a game changer and it’s going to affect all of us as soon as we login after downloading the patch it’s a part of. And that might be as soon as next Tuesday. Argh! Good job, then, that Askevar over at You Yank It You Tank It has written a survival guide of what to do to prepare for the Shattering.

Askevar’s got a knack for writing guides to make sure big changes don’t confuzzle us. As ever this guide is very down-to-earth. Her approach is: it’s coming, so just get on with these things and you’ll be fine. She’s recommending specific things to do to prepare yourself and your characters before patch day. Given that might be just around the corner ready to jump on us and eat our faces – kidding, at least on the jumping part –  it’s a good idea to have a read through her list and see if you’ve forgotten anything.

Askevar’s list comprises six main points. Some of them will help you prepare mentally, a bit like making sure you’re ready to go into an exam or interview so you don’t bounce off the walls when it actually happens. Some of her points are plain good practice advice, like clearing out your various banks. Some of them could also be extended to your guild, once you’ve done everything else.

Clean out your banks on every toon.  Vendor whatever you can stand to get rid of, bank what you want to keep.  If you have a personal guild/vault – clean that out as well.  Even if you keep old mats, knowing what items are where can maximize your efficiency or ability to sell them in the early days of the expansion.

Clean up your bags.  Give yourself a clean slate to begin questing again…  Dump that gray that got mixed in with your gear, restock food and any reagents needed [mostly mage I believe?].

Looks like we all have busy weekends ahead. How’s it looking for you – are you prepared, or did Askevar’s list help you get focused and ready?

_Quote taken directly from Askevar’s post_

_You can find You Yank It You Tank It’s homepage here_

Read more →