Over at Blog Azeroth, Ringo Flinthammer asks:

…WoW’s latest expansion, Cataclysm, only raised the level cap by 5 levels, in addition to the other content it added. Was Blizzard right to make this call?

My answer:


Given the nature of the expansion and Blizzard’s current philosophy regarding characters and how we spend time in-game, I believe their decision to make the level cap 85 instead of 90 was unequivocally the right one.

At Fun In Games, Naithin points out that “each level felt about right in terms of the content it consumed”, and I agree wholeheartedly. Getting from 80 to 81 felt about as long as it should have – and keep in mind, here, that I’m saying this having just leveled my Death Knight from 73 to 82. I know that the XP curve from 71 to 80 was just dramatically reduced, but even so, 80-81 didn’t feel like a brick wall the way 70-71 (or 60-61, back at the beginning of Burning Crusade) did.

80-81 felt right, and honestly, if we’d had the same amount of content but twice as many levels, we would have felt like they were just throwing levels at us – or, if they increased the XP required per level, like we were hitting that brick wall. (84-85 already requires nearly ten million XP!)

The amount of content is important, too, because when people are considering how short they feel the top-level game is, they’re forgetting that the top-level game isn’t the entirety of the expansion. In fact, truth be told, the new content for 81-85 is in the minority of the new content added for Cataclysm. We have two new races, with associated starting zones; moreover, the entire face of the old world has changed, with new layouts, new quests, and new storylines.

In other words, this is not just an expansion for characters 80-85. This is, primarily, an expansion for characters 1-85. Blizzard has made it clear – between the new races, the shallower leveling curve, the newly-redone zones and quests, Recruit-A-Friend, and certain perks like getting mounts at level 20 – that they actively want us to be leveling alts. If we focus only on the benefits to our level-capped characters, we are no longer playing the game Blizzard wants its players to play.

The bottom line: Cataclysm offers plenty of 80-85 content and provides it at the right pace, and Blizzard’s intent is that we get to 85 and then roll a new character. So yes: five levels are enough.


Nashoda is now level 30, and has outpaced the rogue (Tiryns) who was my “dedicated alt”.

Poor Theande is still level 81. I finished a level in Vashj’ir and decided to let her sit for a week, until the new-content hubbub had died down and there weren’t 40-50 people at a time looking for snails and eels.

I haven’t done any of the new instances yet, and pretty much all of my epics have been replaced by quest greens (sigh…), but at least Theande looks decent.

…and that’s pretty much been my week. ;) Carry on!



I’ve been back in World of Warcraft for a few weeks now, but for some reason I’m just not feeling my high-level characters. I can’t get the hang of being a priest again, and I don’t actually play my death knight any more (and wasn’t much good when I did play), so I’ve been looking for other things to do while I get the hang of the game again.

At a friend’s suggestion, nearly all of my alts have Herbalism and Skinning as their primary professions, on the theory that if I’m just leveling, there’s no real point in spending time leveling a production profession when I could be making money with the herbs and skins that I run across. So when I started leveling my rogue, true to form, I picked Herbalism and Skinning, planning to mail the materials I gathered to a bank alt each time I headed back to town.

But I noticed something odd when I started gathering herbs – I was getting experience for gathering! I’m sure this was in a patch note that I missed, but I was particularly started to discover it. The fact that I could get XP from herbs (and mining, I assumed, but apparently not skinning) really stuck in my head, and between that and the fact that I play mostly on an RP server, therein was born a project.

Meet Nashoda

Nashoda is a night elf druid and, in-character, a pacifist. She has struck a creature only once (I wasn’t paying enough attention and a boar walked in front of the herb I was trying to collect). She has no kills to her name, and no quests completed. (Well, one quest: I have the Wrath collector’s edition, and picking up the Frosty pet from that has a quest associated with it for some reason.) Instead, she has Herbalism and Mining, and she’s leveled exclusively through gathering professions and exploration.

And as of about an hour ago, she’s level 20.

I chose a night elf druid both for the roleplaying aspects – it’s easier for me to envision a pacifist druid than any other class – and for the gameplay aspects. As a druid, I have access to healing spells (for when creatures attack me while I’m traveling or gathering), travel form, and – in cat form – the ability to stealth; as a night elf, I have an increased chance to dodge and Shadowmeld, which now drops combat if I’m not in a group, and both of those are excellent for dealing with creature attacks. Herbalism gives me Lifebloom, adding to my healing repertoire, and Mining gives me Toughness, another defense mechanism. Nashoda has trained no offensive abilities (except Wrath, which all druids start with) and carries a “walking staff” (for the Stamina/Intellect bonus).

I’ve spent most of my time in Elwynn Forest; Teldrassil doesn’t have any ore, and Elwynn is open enough that it’s easy to make circles around it. At very early levels, I stuck mostly to the mountains around the edges – there are fewer creatures there to avoid, and quite a few earthroot and copper nodes to level on – but as Nashoda’s grown, I’ve moved farther into the forest proper. Part of me feels like I ought to be moving on to other zones, but the way XP from gathering works, peacebloom, silverleaf, and copper ore still offer enough XP per gather, and Elwynn’s nodes are so dense, that it’s actually still more efficient for me to make my rounds around Elwynn Forest. (The extra XP from higher-level herbs and ore is outweighed by the fact that in the zones I can get to, there aren’t as many of them; my XP per hour is still higher from the lower-level herbs and ore.)

The Future

I’m not sure how long I’m going to continue playing Nashoda, but I’d like to see if I can make it to 85 without killing a single creature or completing a single quest. It’ll take a while – right now I’m averaging roughly a level every hour and a half, and if that keeps up I’ll have about five and a half days /played when I hit 85 – but I like the implications. (I may also go for the Explorer achievement, since I’ll be doing a lot of circles around a lot of zones…)

(And if anyone from Blizzard is reading, “the Pacifist” as a title would be a nice Christmas present. ;)

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments here, to find me on Twitter as @etherjammer, or to find me in-game as Nashoda of Moon Guard-A. :)


Seriously, this is what happens:

Wake up in the mornin’ feelin’ like V. Wrynny
Got my totems, I’m out the door, I’m gonna hit this city
Before I leave, brush my teeth with a pint of the Captain
‘Cos when I leave for my BG – comin’ back? that ain’t happenin’

I’m talkin’ Stamina on our hats, hats
Lookin’ at all of our stats, stats
B.net blowin’ up our chats, chats
Group-queuin’, playin’ our MP3s, 3s
Zonin’ in as a party
(Might be a little bit tipsy…)

Don’t stop ’til it pops
GM, buff my class way up
Tonight, I’mma fight
‘Til my honor’s all right
Tick tock, queue goes up
but the BGs don’t stop, no

Ain’t got a care in the world, but I got plenty of Dew
Ain’t got no gold in my pocket, ’cause it’s on my bank toon
And now the n00bs are lining up ’cause they hear we can pwn
But we kick ‘em to the curb, we only run with our own

I’m talkin’ ’bout everybody getting HKs
Guys tryin’ to farm? That’s OK
POM-Pyroblast with my mage, mage

Now, now, we fight ’til they kick us out, out
Or maintenance shuts us down, down
Servers goin’ down, down

Don’t stop ’til it pops
GM, buff my class way up
Tonight, I’mma fight
‘Til my honor’s all right
Tick tock, queue goes up
but the BGs don’t stop, no

You build me up
Then you nerf me down
My Bloodlust rocks
Yeah, I got you

With my hands up
I got you
Nerf me to the ground
I still got you

You build me up
Then you nerf me down
My Bloodlust rocks
Yeah, I got you

With my hands up
Put your hands up
Dammit, stop wasting GCDs

Well, the BG don’t start ’til I zone in

Don’t stop ’til it pops
GM, buff my class way up
Tonight, I’mma fight
‘Til my honor’s all right
Tick tock, queue goes up
but the BGs don’t stop, no

Don’t stop ’til it pops
GM, buff my class way up
Tonight, I’mma fight
‘Til my honor’s all right
Tick tock, queue goes up
but the BGs don’t stop, no

Yeah, there’s something wrong with me.


The venerable Lightwell has been the victim of more than its fair share of criticism, all of which boils down to this: it’s a healing spell that requires its target’s participation to the exclusion of other activities. Healthstones, healing potions, etc. don’t require that the person using them de-select their current target in order to use them. This was particularly galling for rogues, who, in classic WOW, lost their combo points when they switched targets – and even though that’s apparently changed, first impressions make a lot of difference.

However, Lightwell isn’t inherently a bad spell. It just has a bad reputation. Since we know Blizzard is keeping it for Cataclysm, here are three ideas for fixes that improve the usability of Lightwell without impairing its intent.

Lightwell 1: No target switching

Lightwell creates a holy Lightwell. Friendly players can click the Lightwell to restore 4620 health over 6 sec. Clicking the Lightwell does not change your current target or trigger the global cooldown. Attacks done to you equal to 30% of your total health will cancel the effect. Lightwell lasts for 3 min or 10 charges.

This is the smallest change, but might be the hardest to implement: Lightwell no longer transfers your target when you click it, and doesn’t require a GCD. This makes it quite a bit more attractive to DPS and tanks, who no longer have to stop DPS in order to receive healing from the Lightwell. (They do still have to be near the Lightwell, however, which makes traveling mobs difficult.)

Lightwell 2: Buffing

Lightwell creates a holy Lightwell that radiates healing energy. Friendly players within 20 yards of the Lightwell receive the Lightwell Radiance buff; removing this buff heals the player for 4620 over 6 sec. Players who trigger this effect become Enlightened and cannot be affected by Lightwell Radiance for 30 sec. Lightwell lasts for 3 min or until 10 players have become Enlightened. Attacks done to you equal to 30% of your total health will destroy the Lightwell.

This removes the need for clicking on the Lightwell altogether. It does remove finding and removing a buff, but my recollection is that there are macros that can do that; in fact, I suspect that if this version went live, there’d be a UI mod that added a “Trigger Lightwell!” button dead center on your UI.

Addons and macros aside, the advantage to clicking a buff rather than clicking the Lightwell is that you know where your buffs are. Part of the problem with Lightwell is that sometimes you have to hunt it down, or it’s in the middle of the boss, etc. By making it a buff to be clicked, positioning of the Lightwell only matters insofar as you’re within its buff radius.

Lightwell 3: Auto-healing

Lightwell creates a holy Lightwell that radiates healing energy. Every 6 seconds, Lightwell heals the friendly player within 20 yards with the lowest health for 4620 over 6 sec. Players healed by Lightwell become Enlightened and cannot be healed by the Lightwell for 15 sec. Attacks done to you equal to 30% of your total health will destroy the Lightwell. Lightwell lasts for 30 sec.

This takes all of the interaction out of Lightwell. Instead of requiring DPS to trigger their own healing, Lightwell becomes a hands-off smart heal. While I do like the interactive aspect of the first two versions, I also like how this version of Lightwell becomes a complement to Prayer of Mending.

What do you think?

Are any of these worth pursuing? Should Blizzard just get right of Lightwell altogether? Or do you like it the way it is?


Dear WOW players,

I know that keeping the names of various abilities straight isn’t easy, especially when there are so many of them. But I think we can pretty much all agree that we’re never going to see priests casting Presence of Mind. Thus:

  • POM (or PoM if you’re feeling pretentious) is Prayer of Mending.
  • PROM is what you attended when you were a junior and senior in high school. (Or will attend, if you want to make me feel old.)

We don’t need “ProM” to distinguish our healing spell from the mages’ self-buff. Nobody’s actually going to make that mistake. Yes, a mage can occasionally have POM and POM on at the same time, but here’s a protip: it doesn’t actually matter unless you’re making the point that you can have POM and POM on at the same time.

Remember: POM is a spell. PROM involves formalwear. You can remember this with this simple mnemonic: “R is wRong.”

Thank you for your time. Refreshments will be served by the mages.



The Reason That The Arguments In Favor Of RealID Doing Exactly What Blizzard Wants It To Are Missing The Mark: a play in three acts.


BOB, a person who loves flowers.
ALICE, a person who grows flowers.
LINDA, a mutual friend who doesn’t really speak for either of them.


BOB: Boy, it sure would be nice to have some roses around the house.
ALICE: Growing roses sounds like an interesting idea! I’ll see about it for next year’s garden.
LINDA: I can’t wait to see Alice’s roses!


BOB: Hey, did you get around to planting those roses?
ALICE: I’m working on it! I think you’ll be really excited when you see them.


ALICE: Hey Bob, here are your tulips!
BOB: These are great, but I was really looking for roses.
LINDA: Shut up! These are what Alice wanted to grow.
BOB: Okay, but they’re really not what I wanted OR what I asked for.
Alice is silent.
BOB: I guess Alice never actually SAID she was planting roses, and I should be grateful for getting anything at all, but I’m just not as fond of how tulips look.
LINDA: Just don’t use them if they’re not what you wanted.
BOB: That’s not… it doesn’t have to be black and white. I’m just saying, I was hoping for roses, not tulips.
LINDA: Why can’t you get it into your head that you don’t always get what you want?
BOB: Okay then.

Exeunt omnes.



Hi all!

I know that a lot of you write blogs, and most of the rest of you read blogs (and if you don’t, well, now you do!). I’ve become curious about people’s preferences regarding blog reading and writing, and so I’ve set up a survey asking about those preferences. I’d really appreciate it if you’d go through and give me your responses!

Edit: Yes, the survey is now closed. It was meant to be a quick snippet, not something long-running and comprehensive.

Thank you to everyone who participated (or tried to)!


So, hi.

I’ve been away for a while. Part of that is that I haven’t actually had a computer that runs WOW for a few weeks now. You can imagine how frustrating this is. The worst part is that what destroyed the computer wasn’t necessary (although, in hindsight, it probably would have destroyed itself anyway). You may read the story at the bottom if you like.

The other part is that I’ve been starting a business. My work in that area is in delighting website audiences and turning them into evangelists – basically, the things that make people say, “This is so cool – you’ve gotta try it out.” I’ve been focusing on small businesses and non-profits, but it occurred to me today that I could apply this work to WOW guilds as well. RP guilds want people who are going to be happy to log on and roleplay with them, so that nobody’s ever at a loss for someone to interact with. Raiding guilds want people who are excited about raiding with them, not just raiding in general, because that means that nobody’s going to bail 45 minutes before the raid saying “lol <Anal Blinkstrike> has beter loot sytsem”. (That’s if they say anything at all.) Social guilds want people who are going to actually socialize and not just sit around and raid the guild bank every now and again.

That’s my job. I can help you find and keep the guildies you want to have around, while quietly discouraging the players you don’t want. If you’re struggling with player retention, I can help. If you’re keeping the wrong kind of players, I can help with that too. I’ve run two guilds, assisted with two more, and been an active member of several beyond that – RP, social, and raiding. So I understand the dynamics that come into play and the special considerations that WOW guilds need.

If you’re interested, head over to Delight Specialist and check out the description. (It’s more general than this one!) Also, because I know the WOW guilds that don’t have a lot of money available often need help the most, I’ve arranged a special discount – if you’re arranging a consultation to help with a WOW guild, use the discount code DTPGUILD when you check out to bring the price of a one-hour consultation down to $25.

Now go kill Arthas for me – he’s got it coming. I just wish I could be there to see it.

The Story

My left speaker had started cutting out, but unplugging and replugging the cord almost always fixed it. I figured it was a problem with the rear audio jack, but when I assembled the computer I hadn’t realized that my case had a front audio jack and so I’d left those jumpers unconnected. So I went into the case to connect the front audio jack.

When I reassembled the case and turned it back on, nothing came up on the screen and the POST beeps indicated a video error. So I reseated the video card; no luck. I opened the case back up and re-seated everything, including the CPU, and that’s when I noticed the disaster – when I unseated the CPU, several pins fell off. They’d been corroded by something, which was visible both on the CPU and in the socket. (Oddly, nothing else on the board showed signs of damage.) Naturally, the CPU didn’t seat properly again.

So at minimum I need a new CPU and motherboard; I may need to replace pretty much everything. I know the RAM, the hard drive, and the CD drive are good, but beyond that everything’s up for grabs.


So, guys, while I love that my SEO is working, you’re all finding my blog because of things that I actually wrote about. That makes it hard for me to do “funny search terms” posts! I was looking forward to it because I haven’t done one in a while, but now you’ve gone and actually found what you were looking for. It hurts, guys. It really hurts. Not even Rosanna Arquette can soothe my troubled soul.

I guess I’ll work with what I’ve got.

  • duct tape and a prayer – Yep, you’re here! Welcome. We have pie.
  • discipline priest best in slot items – I don’t actually think I’ve done one for ICC gear, but BobTurkey has a good Disc priest Best-In-Slot list.
  • greed vs disenchantthis is the post you’re looking for.
  • disc meta gemEmber Skyflare, Insightful Earthsiege, or Revitalizing Skyflare.
  • priest t10 4 set bonus – it’s simpler than the old version, and not as fun for the more advanced players, but to less-skilled players it opens up another tier of gear.
  • borrowed time and gcd – yes, Borrowed Time reduces the global cooldown, to a minimum of 1 second.
  • haste for disc priest – we loves it. 433 is your soft cap; with Borrowed Time up, that’ll reduce your GCD to 1 second, which is (as above) the farthest it’ll go. You can make your spells faster than that, but if their cast time is 1.5 seconds or less, you won’t be able to cast more of them in the same amount of time.
  • power word shield scale with spell power? – yes, PW:S gets 80.57% of your spell power applied to its absorption.

Edit: goddammit, I used the “desperately seeking” joke the last time I did a search-term round-up. I gotta get me some new material.