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.


Note: these are changes I want to see. As far as I know, none of them have been officially announced.

  • Druid travel form is usable indoors. (Guys, really, we can use it throughout the entirety of Undercity but not in the windrider tower in Thunder Bluff?)
  • Milling is migrated from Inscription to Herbalism. Pigments get more uses than just making ink.
  • Low-level cooking recipes provide a larger range of benefits. (Right now it’s +Stamina/+Spirit or, occasionally, +MP5 until the Outland foods.)
  • Basic food and drink are rescaled so that characters just before the next level of consumables don’t have to drink twice.
  • Players can rearrange characters on the character select screen.
  • account-based chat allows for external clients like iChat and Digsby.
  • Zones have seasonal weather. Rain in Elwynn in the summer, snow in the winter.
  • Each of the capital cities offers a tabard starting at level 15 that allows the character to gain reputation for kills in instances.
  • Using the “Teleport Into Instance” option takes you to the group’s position, not to the start of the instance. (Or is that just me?)
  • GREEN FIRE Buffing someone who’s flagged for PVP and not in combat no longer flags you for PVP.

What do you want to see change in Cataclysm? Leave your thoughts in the comments!


This is part of my “Anyone Can Heal” series, aimed at new healers – priests in particular – or those who have never healed before and are thinking of trying it out.

I’ve been spending a bunch of time lately on my baby resto druid. I’ve chosen to level her almost exclusively through the Dungeon Finder (I do quests largely when they come up in dungeons, when they’re dungeon quests that I happen to run across or that someone shares, or when I need only a few percent to reach an even-numbered level), and so I’ve done a lot of PUGging over the last few days. There have been some good PUGs and some bad PUGs, but I’ve always tried to keep the principles of Anyone Can Heal in mind. So I smile, take a lot of deep breaths, and do the best I can, even though healing as a druid is strange to me (even after 14 levels of instances, I can’t get used to not having Prayer of Mending or Power Word: Shield, but I love being able to root enemies that try to run in fear). Tonight, I had two PUG experiences that I wanted to share, in the spirit of Anyone Can Heal. (This is going to be kind of long, so please bear with me.)

The Hunter

In the first, I was brought in as a substitute healer. The first healer had bailed after he zoned into Gnomeregan and saw that the tank was 24 and none of the DPS was above 28; apparently he’d said something about “these noobs” not being ready for Gnomer. At level 27 myself, I didn’t see much of a problem with it. (In fact, we completed the instance without any character deaths.) As soon as I was finished buffing and drinking, the tank pulled Viscous Fallout, and when we killed him, the Acidic Walkers dropped. They’re not leather and the nature resistance is a little blah, but they were a significant upgrade over what I had (Barbaric Cloth Boots – resto druid itemization really sucks at early levels!), so I rolled Need on them.

So did the hunter. And he won.

I didn’t make any fuss about it – no use in getting upset over an item. But one of the DPS said “hey, you still haven’t explained why you’re rolling Need on items that aren’t good for you”. The hunter didn’t respond. We kept going. I started paying attention to what the hunter was doing, though. He was pulling when the tank had stopped for whatever reason (usually for me to drink. This was a very conscientious tank and, despite being 24, very good; I complimented him on it at the end). The hunter hadn’t disabled Growl on his pet. He wasn’t drinking when he ran out of mana, just standing and waiting for it to regenerate. When Electrocutioner Leg dropped, he rolled Need on that, too, and both the other DPS started grumbling. Someone said “don’t make me have to vote-kick you”, and at that point I whispered the tank and asked him to stop after the next pull. He very willingly obliged, and when all the mobs were dead I asked, in party chat: “[Hunter], I don’t mean to pass judgment with this question, I’m just asking: is this your first WOW character?”

It was. The hunter had just started playing within the last two weeks, although he was quick to point out that he’d been in instances before (“that’s where I got these pants!”). All of a sudden, the group’s attitude changed entirely – the universal response was now “oh, awesome – welcome to WOW!” And we sat down and spent ten minutes explaining WOW group etiquette and best practices – roll Need on the things you’re going to use right away and that have the right stats for you (and we explained what stats are best for hunters); turn off Growl so your pet won’t pull off the tank (and you turn off abilities by right-clicking on the pet bar); let the tank pull unless you and the tank are experienced with running together, so that he can control the positioning of the pull; and if you do get a mob attacking you, run to the tank so he can re-control it. And bring plenty of water and arrows – more than you think you’ll need, so you’ll be sure not to run out if something odd happens.

The rest of the instance went without a hitch, and the hunter gave nobody any more reason to grumble. At the end, I passed the hunter 5g so he didn’t have to feel poor or like he couldn’t afford water, arrows, or training – I don’t have any 80s on this server, so gold is harder to come by for my characters there than it might otherwise be, but I figured I could make 5g back pretty easily with gathering professions – and thanked him for coming along, and the rest of the players welcomed him to WOW again and wished him the best.

The Mage and the Paladins

My resto druid is level 29 now, so over the last few levels I’ve been in Gnomeregan a lot. This particular run, I came in at the beginning of the instance, and was the Dungeon Guide (my first time as a healer!). Apparently there’s a tactic for Horde groups in Gnomer that I’d never seen before: at the first turn, instead of running around the edge and going down the canonical pathway, you can instead go straight and jump off the ledge, landing on a giant gear at the base of the room. This takes off about 50% of your health if you hit the jump right. So we cleared the area at the top of the instance and jumped off.

Well, except for the paladin tank, whose connection glitched out during the jump. He remained running at the edge of the upper platform. We watched him run in place for a few minutes, and then he disappeared. His character icon was replaced by the “disconnected” lightning bolt, and the mage initiated a vote to kick. It passed (without my help), and we were without a tank. Meanwhile, the mage pulled Viscous Fallout: “ill tank lol”.

Mages are not very good at tanking, it turns out. I healed him to full, dropped Regrowth and Renew on myself, and swapped into bear form, stealing aggro from the mage and successfully tanking the boss (with the judicious application of a health potion and Lifebloom). The mage had some choice words for me about taking away his chance to tank, but we continued; I had a quest to turn in in the Clean Room (Grime-Encrusted Ring), so we headed that way. I HOT/pot tanked the troggs on the way, and in the middle of one group, another paladin tank appeared. He effortlessly pulled the troggs off me, and I went back to healing.

(We discovered, incidentally, why Horde groups prefer to jump down: the “safe room” is hostile to non-Allies. Good to know!)

Once we reached the clean room, the mage decided to express his displeasure with not being allowed to tank Viscous Fallout by running around and pulling every gnome in the room. I tossed a HOT on him and went back to the tank, who was picking up the gnomes as he could (one only has so many taunts) and tanking them centrally. The mage’s health was dropping, and he decided to start berating me for not healing him better: “heals” “HEALS” “GOD F$%^ING DAMMIT I TOLD U TO HEAL ME” “Y ARE U SUCH A FAIL HEALER, U NOT HEALING AT ALL”. When combat was over, he was unceremoniously vote-kicked. Again, I abstained, but only because the vote passed too quickly for me to do anything about it. We got a new mage in, who was quiet but knew her stuff – apparently Frost is the leveling spec now! – and we continued on.

In the face of the mage’s abuse – I was not the only one he’d yelled at in party chat – I decided to compensate and make the rest of the run as pleasant as possible. I normally make a point of congratulating people on leveling up and on particularly impressive displays of skill, but for this run, I went out of my way to be reassuring and kind, and to make people feel like they were appreciated. I complimented good DPS, offered suggestions, and guided the group through the instance (apparently none of them had had a group hold together beyond Electrocutioner 6000 before). At Electrocutioner 6000, one of the DPS had to drop group, and we pulled in another character who ended up being a tank (the previous tank having queued for tank/DPS). He switched over and the new tank (also a paladin) picked up on the tanking handily. We didn’t have another problem the entire night, and since nobody but me had been through the instance, I directed the tank in how to proceed, and continued to be supportive and gentle.

At the end of the instance, after we’d defeated Mekgineer Thermaplugg and the group was disbanding, the paladin who’d come in to replace the first tank sent me a whisper. “That was a really great run,” he said – capitals and spelling and all. “When I logged in and saw the mage, I thought this was going to suck, but it was the best PUG I’ve been in since I started playing this toon. Thank you so much for being the dungeon guide.” Then he dropped group before I could respond.

The Upshot

If you take nothing else away from Anything Can Heal, take this away: you have the power to change the dynamic of any group you’re in. If the hunter is screwing up and ninjaing your loot – maybe he’s new. If the mage is berating and belittling everybody in the group – maybe you can turn it around. You have the power and the opportunity to make your dungeon runs great for everybody else. All it takes is a good attitude and a willingness to give people a break.

(A postscript: That hunter from earlier, I discovered, is actually on my server. We got to talking after the instance. He really is a brand new player, and although he has a guild leader who’s helping him out, apparently that GL is not always the friendliest person. We’ve friended each other, and I plan on making sure that he has guidance when he needs it. I won’t be a crutch, but I can’t say no to being a teacher.)