The Cranky Sysadmin A world of technology, fun, and ignorant rants.

June 24, 2008

Animal Abuse in Zul’Aman

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 4:00 am

We got 3 bosses down in Zul’Aman last night. We missed the timers because of a wipe on eagle, but I think we have finally learned the dragonhawk boss. For a healer, these are fairly easy fights.

  • Bear requires nothing special from a resto shaman except that the tank can take a lot of spike damage, so it’s good to help the MT healer with Nature’s Swiftness/healing wave if the tank is really low.
  • Eagle boss requires everyone to converge on the person with the storm debuff, and then run back to original positions. Eagle produces a lot of raid damage, so chain heal will be in almost constant cast mode.
  • Dragonhawk boss requires a lot more from a healer. Raid damage is pretty significant if positioning isn’t good due to flame breath. Since everyone is spread out, chain heal is hit or miss except on melee. He teleports to the center of the room, drops agro, and throws bombs around several times. I had to stop healing for a few seconds, and find a safe place to stand. I didn’t get killed by bombs at all this time.

After the smoke cleared, I picked up 5 badges, and a Mojo-mender’s Mask, which is a good upgrade over the t4 helm and is worth breaking the t4 set bonus.

June 23, 2008

The Fun and Unfun of 25 Man Raiding

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:06 am

25 man raids are a lot of fun. The ordered chaos of 25 people running around avoiding AoE and trying to slay the boss appeals to me a lot. The problem is getting 25 people into a raid at the same time. During the summer with vacations, getting 25 people together can be unfun. Our guild has attempted a hyjal raid 2 weeks in a row and failed to get the people together. This seems to have an impact on morale, but I may just be imagining it. We do have enough for 10 man raids, so I suspect I’ll see a lot of kara badge runs and ZA runs. This is fine for me since I still am green on some of the Kara bosses and I’ll still see upgrades. ZA is a ton of fun, and has some nice healer gear too. It will be nice at the end of summer to see 25 mans happen again. I didn’t spend four grueling days doing PvP to get my trinket just to have it. I want to see a lot of dead Rage Winterchill.

In the mean time, I’m looking at doing any 25 man pugs I can get into (I seem to find one every 2 weeks or so) and badge gear. Specifically for resto shaman, Anveena’s Touch, Clutch of the Soothing Breeze, and Wave of Life Chestguard all look good. The first thing I want to save badges for is the Gavel of Naaru Blessings. It’s probably the best healing mace that I would see before SunWell. I probably won’t see the inside of that instance before the expansion though.

June 18, 2008

Chain Healing Mechanics for Non-healers

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:03 am

The most beautiful thing a resto shaman sees is a chain heal cast on the tank that hits the rogue and the fury warrior too. The saddest thing a resto shaman sees is a chain heal cast on the mage which hits only the mage, especially when AoE has caused damage to the whole group or raid. I’m not picking on mages… Well I am, but it applies to all ranged DPS. Chain heal, in my experience, is rarely as effective on ranged DPS as it is on tanks and melee DPS.

When chain heal is cast, it hits its target and heals some amount of damage we’ll call X. If there are friendly targets in the raid or party (excluding elementals, but including pets) who are within 10 to 15 yards (I haven’t found the exact range) and who need healing, chain heal will jump to the target who has taken the most damage. This jump will heal for about half of the healing of the first target (X/2). Following the same rules, chain heal will find a third target and heal about a quarter if the healing applied to the first target (X/4).

If there are no targets that need healing in range when calculating the next jump, chain heal won’t jump. What does this mean to people who are taking damage and want some healing from your raid healer? If possible, get fairly close to whoever the shaman’s chain heal target is. You can’t predict this, but most shaman will target the person who has taken the most damage, or who are the most valuable to the raid. In fights with lots of short range AoE damage, cuddling up to your buddies might be hazardous, but when there is raid damage, or really long range AoE, it’s probably better to stand near some other folks if you’re interested in getting some chain heal love.

I love toys, and there is a new one out called GridStatusChainRule. It’s an addon displays the efficiency of chain heal in grid at various ranks. It can also display how many jumps a target is in range of who need healing. Sadly, this functionality requires people in the group or raid to be using the helper module, “ChainRuleHelper”. Both are bundled in a zip file at: It’s a fairly new module and I haven’t raided with it yet. I’ll probably post a review once I’ve seen it in action.

June 13, 2008

Meet Your New PvP Expert

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 8:20 am

Clearly, after my third day doing battle grounds, I’m an expert. Actually, yesterday was a pretty bad day in BG’s for me. I didn’t see a single win. I plugged away and got 2k honor in 2 hours though. I’m a day and a half from my escape trinket at this rate. Here are some things I’m noticing about BG’s from a resto shaman’s perspective:

  • I don’t seem to do well in small groups of two or three. Every enemy notices the healer and comes after me. This makes WSG a little tough because almost everything is done in small groups.
  • Applying heals and well timed shocks can turn the tide of large battles, even when our side is outnumbered.
  • Grid/Clique works just as well in BG’s as it does in raids.
  • I haven’t been afraid to run right into big battles, drop my totems, and chain heal away. It’s more fun, and I seem to get more honor then defending nodes.
  • To my last point, I don’t seem to be very good at defending nodes. I don’t have much to stop or damage the enemy a lot. Even with my good survivability, I tend to go down fast when 3 enemies focus their attention on me.

If you’ve never done BG’s before (like me 3 days ago) I suggest just getting in a queue and trying it. The easiest one to grasp is Arathi Basin. You can even see some of the objectives from the starting point. If you’re a pre-kara player, the gear is pretty good. If you’re looking to break into arenas, BG’s look like a good way to get some resilience gear.

June 10, 2008

Shammy BG PvP

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 9:25 pm

Well, I finally got in the queues tonight for the pain that is BG’s. I’ve never done BG’s before, and I hit all of them. We didn’t win the daily, but I was in a wsg win, which I’m told is rare on our server. I figured that my purpose was one of two things: 1) Chain Heal spam 2) occupy as many horde as I could as long as I could so the objective could be taken. It was a lot of fun, and my repair bills are nothing like raids. For my first evening, I was involved in 97 honor kills, and I racked up about 1900 honor in less then 2 hours. I can see how pvp could be addictive. I’ll have my Medallion of the Alliance in no time.

June 8, 2008

So this is Mt. Hyjal

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 11:44 pm

Today was my first trip to hyal in the caverns of time. I wasn’t planning on going, but I logged on to check my mail, and the next thing I know, I’m in a raid group. We downed the first boss after a wipe, and we wiped on the second boss twice and didn’t down him. Nothing healing flavored dropped for me to bid on with my whopping 25 DKP. One of the cloth items fetched 185 dkp or something crazy like that. That’s about a year worth of raiding I think.

The good news for me is that even with my dead time, I was second or third in healing, and first on the second boss (lots of AOE to chain heal). The bad news was that I died a lot on the first boss. I just couldn’t click on the potion fast enough. Two ticks and I was down. One time, I used a mana pot, and got frost bolted right after that. I really need to grind out some battle grounds and get that trinket.

That Which is Measured…

Filed under: Navel Gazing,Programming,System Administration,World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 11:59 am

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of pickup groups in World of Warcraft. If we’re doing something hard, those that ask what my healing bonus is seem to do the best. If no one asks me about it, the outing almost always ends in disaster. In my work experience, small companies which measure their performance and their team’s performance seem to do better then those which are fast and loose with metrics.

The Hawthorne Effect describes a situation where merely measuring workers improves their performance for a short period of time. I think something similar, but better is going on with WoW pickup groups and small companies. If you’re willing to measure yourself, you’re more willing to learn to perform better in fundamental and permanent ways. Can measurements be gamed? Maybe they can. In WoW, I will forgo other stats to bring my healing bonus up. This is probably not great for my long term raiding viability, but it is the one thing that other non-healers know how to measure. Fortunately, in WoW, there are ways to cover up the slack in some of my stats. I can eat buff foods, and drink elixirs to cover up my woefully low stamina for instance. For me, this leaves a guilty voice in my head that says I’m not measuring all of the stuff I need to, so yes I’m beginning to look for gear with more stamina and mp5 so I can stay alive and contribute longer.

In real life, I hate being measured and measuring myself. I’m a fat-body because I don’t like to get on the scale. I’m not a great programmer because (among other reasons) I’m not willing to profile my work and measure it against the good works out there, or against any performance goal. I just want to slam in the code and pray that it works. As a sysadmin, the idea of measuring my work by the number of warnings and alarms that nagios produces annoys me, but if I make good alarms, they are actually a passable measure of how stable the system is.

So what do I have to do? I have to think briefly about whether I’m measuring the right things about myself and then start measuring.

June 7, 2008

Dumping my green trinkets

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 2:59 pm

I finally dumped my last two green trinkets: Heavenly Inspiration, and the Oshu’gun Relic. I finally made my Redeemer’s Alchemist Stone and I picked up Essence of the Martyr with 41 badges. I suggest farming the rep for Redeemer’s and making it if you’re an alchemist healer. It’s probably the best healing trinket in the game, and it doesn’t require you to be a raider. I probably won’t replace the Redeemer’s until the next expansion. If they don’t nerf it for new potions in WotLK, I may keep it a long time. Goodbye Heavenly and Oshu’gun. You served me well.

I’ve also passed an interesting milestone of +1800 healing, but my unbuffed mp5 is around 94. Redeemer’s potion buff will help me cope though.

June 6, 2008

PUG’ing Gruul’s Lair

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 12:31 am

Most of my new guildies hate PUG’ing. I’m so used to it from Velen, that it doesn’t bother me. Today, I saw an advertisement for a healer in Gruul’s lair and jumped at the chance. I’ve never seen the inside of the place, and there is some t4 stuff in there. We got the High King down and he dropped 2 Pauldrons of the Fallen Champion and I got one. Woohoo! After a couple of wipes, it was pretty clear that we didn’t have the DPS to take down Gruul. At the 17th growth, we struggled in vain to keep the tanks up, and the rest of the raid went with minimal heals. It was still a lot of fun, and I turned in my token for some Cyclone Shoulderpads to get the 2 piece bonus of about 7 mp5 from mana spring.

Did I mention that pugs can be fun?

June 5, 2008

2/6 in Zul’Aman

Filed under: World of Warcraft — Cranky Sysadmin @ 5:31 am

Last night was my first time in Zul’Aman. This instance has a lot of character. I really like it except for all of the dying. I got three badges out of it, but no other loot. This instance has a timed event involving knocking down all of the animal bosses before time runs out.

Our plan was to do Eagle, Bear, Dragonhawk, and Lynx. We got Eagle down in time, but wiped on bear because one of the tanks died during a silence. The lesson there is that the tanks must stay topped off to get through.

We also wiped once on the way to Dragonhawk. One of the scouts made it to a gong, and lots of mobs came for us. We didn’t get Dragonhawk down, and I’m pretty sure it was my fault. I didn’t recognize the bombs as a threat until after we called the raid. The raid leader mentioned it in passing. I missed the description of the bombs in the strategy guides. Well, next time I’ll know what to do, and the Enamelled Disc of Mojo shall drop.

Some other things I should keep in mind… I had to stack stamina and my mana suffered. I’ll have to be more careful of over-heals. I need to remember my mana oil. :( We had 4 shammies in the raid and we all dropped mana spring. I should probably drop healing stream instead.

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