Sunday, September 1, 2013

Open-Heart Surgery for Noobs


This is a long post. It has to be. It has macros and stuff.

Here is how Señor wrote it:
"You went to the Black Temple and completed the warlock quest. The End."

Um, no -- not quite that simple. But I do dig his style. I feel like I am about to go up against a Congressional hearing to defend some decisions right now, but for the good of the Azerothian nation, I am willing to face my peers and share my insights. Cast the first stone and all that.

But hold onto that rock for a moment, ladies and gentlemen, and hear me out. I know for a fact I have written many times on how much I wish there were more trainings, simulations, or situations where I could learn a class thoughtfully and intentionally, such as real-time tutorials in game: not some Youtube video or caustic forum thread: for example, a shaman trainer would truly walk you through take a new spell, and talk about how it synergizes with others as the options become more complicated. "Just reading" the Tooltips does not synthesize them for my way of learning, and I would suspect I am not the only one. Learning the class is mastering its spells and abilities. I want to know why I hit this button or that, or why it's more powerful to hit this one then that, or less. True class quest chains have value and serve only to enhance the game: I am wanting these, in conjunction to these in-game training scenarios. Let me be clear: I am not that dumb. I know every quest I conquer, every dungeon, LFR, "real raid," Brawler's Guild fight, etc. is that opportunity for me to learn, practice, and synthesize my new knowledge. And yet, something is lacking.

Do you know how jealous I am of the group of mage students in the Mage Quarter when I overhear them talking about how to make a love potion as if it were a nuclear reactor? They get to hang out in the quad and discuss their studies, why can't we? When our characters are new, there is always a moment when we have to practice, usually five whole times, a new spell. It's usually at about Level 3. After that, you're on your own, sucker: don't let the door hit you in the tail on the way out.

Okay: so here is where I should plead the fifth but I won't. Young leet druid knows his warlocks inside and out, and we made a deal: he would help me reconfigure everything about my warlock, Kellda, and walk me through it with training wheels, and show me how it's done. In exchange (for he is a shrewd bargainer) I would trade something I seem to have some skill doing: leveling alts. I would take his shabby Orc mage under my wing and level him up:
Have heirlooms, will travel.
I cannot tell you the mixture of emotions from observing how a warlock is truly supposed to be played. I felt like I was in the operating observation deck watching a skilled surgeon. He completely rearranged the UI again back to Elvui, he toggled back and forth to forum pages about purification potions, and set up multiple macros, (which I will share). He did his homework. Me? I was the first-year med student with fingers made of rocks and the hand-eye coordination of a shrimp.

The emotions ranged from awe to anger: awe because WoW is, with no doubt, an amazing experience. If one is sincere about challenges, overcoming obstacles, and testing one's mettle, this is the place. If one is interested in crushing candy, then no. Who am I? Still somewhere in between, reminding myself that in some areas of real life, and in Azerothian life, no one can touch my skills. But apparently understanding all of my warlock synergy escaped me. Am I embarrassed I had to make this Dark Bargain with Young Leet Druid? A little, because I sure do seem to be defensive.

But ultimately it's not about what others think, it's about what I learned:

  • I learned the beginnings of the complexity of a fascinating class, even at Level 90 and 15 days/26 hours/26 minutes/26 seconds. 
  • I am still very much, a warlock noob. No question.
  • I learned humility
  • I learned respect
  • I learned how powerful and important enslaving a demon is, and it's not just a parlor trick in dungeon runs
  • It's not only okay, but encouraging to have real-time conversations and demonstrations on how to play a class, and ask a lot of questions. 
  • I want more class training at every level: since I am not sure how Proving Grounds will be, I will look upon my own education about a class more intentionally and dammit: take notes.
  • Players do want others to succeed, even if it's veiled as ego and elite play: read and share in forums.

Here are some of the highlights of the last fight:

  • Move the Pit Lord away from the fel hunters so they don't dispel him and they all come and eat your face
  • You will have to have many, many attempts. There are strategically located anvils for repair.
  • Bring the food, potions, and empty bag space you need - be prepared
  • It may bug out on you at the end, and when I put in a ticket, you may get the response I did from Blizzard: do it again. Nothing we can do. I call bullshit on that one.
  • Put your gateways in the center of the ring, and at 3 o'clock
  • Have your macros ready, and understand precisely when to use them, and be prepared to swap out glyphs and talents:

Here is a shot of the UI set up:

Here is what I don't like about this quest: 
  • It depended on gear: what if I never want to step foot in an LFR? What if I am tired of players getting kicked and the reason the tank phrases it is "faggot?" (Yes, that happened yesterday. I asked the tank if he was 12 - no, he said he was 26. /sigh)
  • It depended on class skills I was not completing understanding, and wish I did -- but that is no one's fault but my own. 
  • I don't like that it bugged out on me, and Blizzard told me to do it all over again. No thank you. Wait. Maybe. Sure. You know? Yes! Yes I will! My own practice simulation. Okay never mind. Unless I go in there and "they" take the green fire ability away from me. Okay. Never mind again: the capriciousness of the gods is too much to risk. But the green fire is a real spell now, in my spell book, so perhaps I'll risk it.
So: no congratulations are in order, unless you are going to congratulate me on knowing a skilled player, which is ridiculous. In the RL RNGs, I am extremely blessed, but can take no credit. Sometimes the best ability we have is to know our strengths, our limitations, and ultimately our resources. I hope I helped someone with these macros. I think the more we players voice our desires to Blizzard, the better. The game is changing, and while not everyone is on board with all the changes, as long as we help each other, it will always be a great place to be. 


  1. Congratulations anyway! I guess you'll be an Orc Mage for a while!

    The gear dependance bothered me as we get a nice solo challenge and how hard it will be is to a degree based on your willingness to do LFR. Huh.

    Also everything I read said it HAD to be done as Destro. That makes no sense to me either. It seems it would lessen ones chance of success if you need to do it in a totally unfamiliar spec.

    Anyway, one day we'll have to get together and you can show me your deadly green fire!

    1. I can only accept congratulations on behalf of having a skilled player under my roof, and is willing to trade skills. I just wish there were not these class quests that depended upon any other player - an NPC or other guidance is fun, but other humans and the RNGs are far too annoying, and in my opinion, that is not really the essence of a class quest anyway: it should be to test one's abilities to synthesize spells. But what the hell do I know? : )

  2. @Tome - agreed on the destro thing, but seeing how much AoE is needed in some cases, I sadly suspect Demo is out of the running, which really bums me (demo4lief).

    @Matty, you're a lot further along than I, so consider those grats to be at least a little earned. Happy for you! I might even try it again thanks to you! :)

    1. Please do - you and Tome are far more experienced players than I; go for it. Now I just need to learn how to live up to the Green Fire Club.

  3. Dear Matty,
    I've often been told "It's not what you know but who you know." As such you've been very successful. Knowing that you're lost but knowing just who to turn too makes you very successful.

    1. Have no doubt: this experience made me even more in awe of you (were your long elf ears burning, or got that tingle on the back of your neck? :) This "game" underscores so many truisms in real life: it's given me a rich perspective I am not sure others understand, acknowledge, or share. Considering the "warlock" I know IRL has been playing half of his life (this is not hyperbole), I still have so much to learn.



Thank you for your comment!