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.


You may be aware that I’m a professional web programmer and WordPress theme author. As such, I tend to tinker around with bits and bobs related to web development and WordPress, and occasionally my profession and my hobbies cross paths. In this case, I ended up writing a WordPress plugin for guild websites that displays current recruitment status in a sidebar widget.

You can download WOW Recruitment here. (It’s a ZIP file so that you can upload it directly into WordPress.) The plugin adds a widget to your sidebar options; if you have a widget-aware sidebar (go to Appearance > Widgets to find out), you’ll be able to place it wherever you want in the sidebar. It also has an options page under Settings that allows you to dictate which classes and specs you’re currently recruiting. Normally, the widget will display each spec of a class separately (and in Blizzard’s color for that class). However, if you choose to recruit all specs of a class, the widget will simply display “[Class] (All)”.

I’m distributing the plugin as a ZIP file so that you can upload it straight to WordPress. Just go to the Plugins menu in the dashboard, click Add New, and then go to the Upload link at the top. WordPress will extract the ZIP file for you, and all you’ll have to do is activate the plugin, place the widget on your sidebar, and start drafting! (All of this is explained in the ReadMe file in the ZIP, just in case you don’t bookmark this post.)

Please feel free to download and share WOW Recruitment. Let me know what you think in the comments!


There seem to be an awful lot of people who don’t understand that running low-level instances isn’t the same as running heroics. The format is the same, but the tactics are much different, and people used to running heroics need to be prepared to change their strategy when they take alts through the Dungeon Finder.

In no particular order:

  • Even though dungeons become available at level 15, tanks don’t get most of their good threat-generating abilities until later than that. If your tank is level 20 or below, she probably won’t be able to hold more than a few mobs at once, and will have difficulty pulling mobs off multiple people.
  • Along the same lines: focused fire is your friend. Yes, AOE is awesome and boosts you up the DPS charts like single-target spells never will. But if you’re AOEing mobs, you’re competing with the tank on the threat meter for all of those mobs. And see above: low-level tanks don’t always have the AOE threat abilities that they will at higher levels, so you’re far more likely to peel a mob off the tank if the tank’s under level 20 or so.
  • Your healer needs mana. Mana regeneration in heroic-level instances is so high that yes, it’s possible to blow through an entire instance without stopping to drink. In low-level instances, though, healers are often starved for mana – especially if they haven’t been running instances constantly and aren’t entirely in blues. The default party interface shows you your partymates’ mana levels. (If you have a custom interface that doesn’t show them, get rid of it or mod it so it does.) Pay attention to those levels. Don’t pull the boss when the healer’s at 25% mana, or you’ll end up with a dead group and an angry healer.
  • Sometimes people want to do all the bosses. That’s okay. It means more XP for you. If you’re XP-locked, it means more chances at loot for you. Don’t whine about not going straight to Amennar the Coldbringer; you’ll get there eventually. Pouting and dropping group – or doing nothing and getting votekicked – and getting the deserter debuff would probably take as much time as just doing the damn bosses anyway.
  • Nobody really cares how much DPS you’re doing as long as you’re taking the mobs and bosses down. Put your Recount back in your pants.
  • Complaining that a member of the group really sucks is more likely to get you votekicked than them. Just saying.
  • Remember that itemization kind of sucks pre-70. Yes, you really wanted that cloth caster belt for your warlock. But there isn’t anything better in leather for the shaman healer at that level, and she wanted it too. Just because there’s a “better” armor class that a character can wear doesn’t mean that the “lesser” armor class doesn’t have the better gear for her.
  • You’re not expected to know the ins and outs of everybody’s class, but don’t assume that everybody has the same abilities as they would at 80. People asking the level 35 priest “lol if u shadow den y no shadowform”*: this means you.
  • The Satchel of Helpful Goods that you get at the end of the instance does its best to adhere to your ideal armor class, but other than that, it’s not very good at giving you useful gear. We’ve been doing the Dungeon Finder for 20 levels now. We know the Satchel gear kind of sucks.

* Direct quote. From someone whose main was a “rading shadow preist”. Someone asked for an Armory link and he dropped group.



I promise I’m still here. I haven’t had the chance to play WOW much this week, but I’ve been thinking fondly of it and sending it imaginary I-miss-you notes. In the meantime, two new things that may be of interest:

  1. I’ve re-opened applications for The Story Thus Far, my WOW-blog hosting service. If you’ve ever wanted to write a WOW blog, or if you’re unsatisfied with your blog’s hosting, drop by and check TSTF out.
  2. If you’re looking for a custom web design but not hosting, I’ve gone into business offering just that at Stop on by!

That’s all the news for now. Don’t forget to tip your waitresses!


Warning: this dog is shaggy.

The druids of Teldrassil were certain that they had a powerful new weapon against the Scourge. With the help of Denalan, they had bred new species of plants with innate offenses – some had spikes, others released poison clouds, still more could lob dense seeds over long distances. The plants seemed to work well against the elementals rampaging around Lake Al’Ameth, but when the druids received word that the Defias were threatening Northshire Abbey and that plagued wolves were coming over the border, they saw an opportunity to test the plants on humanoids and to start their work against the Scourge. So they packed their seedlings up and traveled to Stormwind.

At Northshire, the tests went well: the plants proved an apt defense against the Defias and helped to drive back the plagued wolves. The druids were excited about the prospects for reclaiming what were now the Plaguelands, until one morning they awoke to find their plant defenses gone, dug up in the middle of the night. It seemed that some members of the Brotherhood of Northshire had gone rogue, corrupted by the Defias, and had stolen the plants and broken ranks. Through spyglasses the druids could see their plants freshly sown around Garrick Padfoot’s shack, flowering gaily in the sun and surrounded by the rogue clerics. The druids who went to retrieve their work were driven back by their own defenses.

In desperation – for they couldn’t reclaim their work and didn’t want the plants to fall into the hands of Edwin VanCleef – the druids called on the dwarves of Ironforge, who came to Northshire with a herd of rams, specially chosen for their vast stomachs. In the dead of night, they sent the rams across the river, with shepherds to make sure that the ravenous beasts ate only the druids’ plants and didn’t bother Milly Osgood’s vineyards. The rams, however, turned up their noses at the plants, and the shepherds finally had to drag them back across the river to the abbey.

The druids were devastated. Now, they thought, it was only a matter of time before VanCleef fortified the Deadmines with rows of their fighting flora. They sent word to Gryan Stoutmantle at Westfall Keep to be prepared, but were shocked when Stoutmantle himself came riding up the next day. “You’ve been going about it all wrong,” he said, and gestured behind him, where human shepherds had corralled the sheep that roamed Elwynn Forest. “Is that all of them?” he called.

The head shepherd nodded. “All the females, sir!”

“Then send them in!” Stoutmantle rode forth and the sheep and shepherds followed, and within minutes the sheep were happily munching on druid-enhanced plants while the druids themselves looked on in shock.

“How did you succeed with common sheep when the stout rams of Ironforge could not?” demanded one of the dwarves.

Stoutmantle laughed. “The druids would have known too if they’d paid attention to the flyers being distributed in Stormwind. Any human child could tell you-

Only ewes can prevent florist friars.