Tag Archives: blogs

The bloggers who make me think

In the spirit of Listmas, I’ve been thinking about all the blogs I follow and the ones that most often make me think or want to comment and share my opinions. If you don’t already follow these blogs, you should check them out.


Void at A Green Mushroom has some eclectic game taste and shares first impressions of the games he’s playing. This can be quite handy for getting a quick look at games I haven’t played and deciding which should move up on my list of games to play. When he’s not reviewing games, Void asks interesting questions like Do you use the default character in games? or Is there a popular series that just doesn’t connect with you?


I think Liore‘s blog might be the one I comment on most. She doesn’t constrain her blog to games, and also talks a lot about movies and other pop culture. From thoughts on why she’s not watching your stream, to the occasional calling out of nonsense, to lists of the best horror movies, her posts are always interesting and welcoming of other people’s opinions. She also does TWO podcasts, which you can check out on her blog.


And then there’s the progenitor of Listmas himself, Murf! Besides all he does to encourage blogging and participation in the blogosphere, Murf writes a lot of great posts and isn’t afraid of controversial opinions like MMOs are boring or DPS is dumb. He also makes a lot of cool little games and things like this MoviexGame mashup quiz and words gamers use.


Azuriel manages to get out solid blog posts multiple times per week. I wish I could do that. Recent posts on Gameplay and Pacing in recent big budget titles have particularly resonated with me, and I enjoy reading reviews of popular games that aren’t afraid to point out their (sometimes considerable) flaws.


Dahakha‘s Steam challenge is a series of posts that particularly interests me, and occasionally gets me to post more about my own Steam backlog. Though I don’t always share his opinions on games, I like reading other thoughts on the games I’ve played like Mirror’s Edge or Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery.

Recommended Reading and Listening

It’s almost Christmas, and Dragon Age: Inquisition was my whole gaming life for a few weeks, so I think it’s time for some link love. I haven’t done this in a while. Here are some blogs, sites, and podcasts that I heartily recommend.

The Toast – One of the few non-gaming related sites on this list, The Toast is where I go when I need a laugh. Or a reason to have an evil smirk on my face (though I’m usually pretty good with coming up with my own reasons). The Toast does amazing things with classic works of literature and art, from dark rewrites of childhood favourites, to turning classic characters into dirtbags, to the fantastic Western Art History series. Also, amazingly for a larger site, it’s a place where it’s totally fine to read the comments.

Critical Distance aims to find all the great writing about games on the internet. Their This Week in Video Games feature is a great place to start if you want to find a good read and discover new blogs and writers.

A Game of Me is Carolyn Petit’s tumblr, where she writes a lot about video games and video games culture. Carolyn is a fantastic writer. Whether it’s a best of the year list, a quick piece of what games mean to her, or thoughts on the feminist agenda, I always find these posts worth reading.

Go Make Me a Sandwich focuses on sexist imagery used in geek spaces. Not just video games, but also tabletop, pen & paper, and comics. Some of my favourite posts involve criticism from an artist’s standpoint, and breaking down just how unrealistic and ridiculous the design of women’s bodies in games often are.


I only listen to a handful of podcasts, so I can recommend them all.

Justice Points is the podcast I’ve been listening to the longest. It’s a really great look at feminism and social justice in video games. Over the past year, Tzufit and Applecidermage have had some really amazing guests and have covered some topics that I don’t get to hear much about otherwise. Always worth a listen.

Cat Context features Liore, Arolaide, and Ellyndrial talking about the games they’re playing. They cover a wide variety of games and sometimes movies in a nice, short podcast. One thing I really enjoy is that the hosts don’t always agree, and the arguments are great to listen to. Aro in particular has a way of arguing that makes me feel like everything I once thought is wrong.

Isometric looks at video games from a different perspective, and these different perspectives are the highlight. Bri, Maddy, Georgia, and Steve all have wildly different tastes in games and it’s refreshing to hear about a game from many different sides at once. Occasionally too much time is spent on in-jokes, but it’s a very entertaining podcast and the hosts work really well together.

Less Than or Equal pursues equality in geekdom. Aleen Simms hosts a number of great guests who bring diversity to their chosen fields and hobbies. From the video game industry, to tabletop gaming, to books, Aleen and her guests bring something new to the table and give me things to think about.

Polygamer is a podcast I just recently discovered, that focuses on diversity and equality in video games. I’ve only listened to a couple episodes so far, but I think it’s going to be a mainstay in my podcast list. The conversations so far have been very frank and thought-inspiring.

I’d also recommend Contains Moderate Peril, though sadly they’ve just announced they’ll be ending the podcast soon. Still, if you’re not overly concerned about timely topics, the episodes are worth a listen.

 Do you have any recommendations for me?

My Favourite Blogs and Websites

This is Day 10 of the 20 Days of WoW Blogging Challenge.

(What happened to day 9? Shh…)

I think I’ve talked about my favourite WoW blogs enough. And most of them are in my blogroll, so you can see them there. So instead I will talk about the non-WoW sites and blogs that spend the most time reading.

First, I love to cook and eat, so I frequent a lot of food blogs.

Tiny Urban Kitchen is probably my favorite food blog. Jen does such amazing restaurant reviews that make me envious of all the great restaurants she gets to go to. I love her series of Las Vegas reviews (I <3 Vegas!), and all the reviews she’s done of her hometown of Boston makes that once of the places I really want to travel to.

 Joy the Baker has amazing recipes with great pictures to go along with them that have me salivating at my computer every time she posts a new one. Pickle friesrosemary lime cocktailssalted caramel cheesecake pie. Yum. Beware of reading this site on an empty stomach.

The Pioneer Woman‘s cooking section is amazing. So many great recipes that overuse ingredients like butter and heavy cream…mmm. This site is what first convinced me to make my own crème brûlée, for which I am forever thankful (though my own recipe is better than hers). In addition to making me hungry, this site makes me green with envy. This woman lives on a ranch full of horses and cowboys, she spends her days cooking, taking pictures and blogging. Can I have her life please? (minus the 4 kids).

Other sites I really like:

Television Without Pity – I have a confession to make. I am absolutely terrible at spoiling tv shows. If I PVR something to watch later (which is what I almost always do), I will look up spoilers for the episode before I watch it. I can’t help myself. TWOP is where I go for my spoilers and as a bonus the episode synopses are full of snark. I’ve ruined many a surprise for myself on this site.

Listverse – New lists every day! The lists are sometimes a bit hit-and-miss, but I particularly enjoy the ones about arts and entertainment. Best X-Files episodes, creepiest movie characters, most disturbing novels, doomed cinema romances…there’s a list for everything.

Script Shadow – This site reviews movie scripts and I can’t really explain why I like it so much. I’m not a writer, much less a screenwriter. I have no plans to write a screenplay at any time, but for some reason I really like reading script reviews and writing tips. Maybe it’s just a reflection on my love of movies. One of my favorite series of articles was about the Start Wars movies – it broke down exactly why Empire Strikes Back was completely awesome and Attack of the Clones was complete shit (and looked at the other movies as well).

What are your favourite sites? Have any recommendations for me?

Recommended Reading

First of all:

Firelands Achievement Screenshot stolen from Kurnmogh

Woohoo! Ragnaros is dead. On Thursday Apotheosis strolled in to Firelands and knocked out Baleroc, Majordomo and at long last, Ragnaros. That fight is a lot of fun and it felt great to finally kill him. I’m super-excited to get started on heroic modes next week.

Now, on to the link love. Here are some great posts related to raiding I’ve read recently:

  • Morynne at Marks-365 takes a look at 10 vs. 25 raiding, examining the benefits and drawbacks of both. I’ve been meaning to write a post on this for quite some time and I always other people’s opinions on it very interesting.
  • Sunnier from A Sunnier Bear looks at what it means to be in an end-game raiding guild. It’s a really good reminder for those who currently raid and good information for those who are looking to start.
  • Kurn from Kurn’s Corner writes about the difference between an explanation and an excuse. I only stood in that lava wave because my cat jumped on my keyboard. And then caught on fire. Honest.
  • Beruthiel from Falling Leaves and Wings asks how you define exceptional. It’s a good idea for every raider to ask themselves what makes them good (or great) and what they could work on to be even better.
  • Srsbusiness from Simply Business gives a very thorough rundown of the Firelands Legendary Staff quest. For those people who, like me, are unlikely to ever experience this it’s an interesting read. Also great for those who will be embarking on the quest themselves and want to know what’s in store.


Circle of Healers

Miss Medicina’s Circle of Healers questionnaire holds a special place in my heart since it was the thing that convinced me to start this blog (18 months ago!) and made up my first real blog post. Saunder at Non-Squishy Heals decided to resurrect the questionnaire and I was tagged by both Beru and Kurn to fill it out myself.

I wonder how my answers have changed in a year and a half?

What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Jasyla, resto druid

What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
25-man raids, the occasional 5-man dungeon.

What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
This is hard. I love all my healing spells. I’m going to go with Regrowth. It’s fast, it almost always crits, it heals for a good amount, it procs Living Seed, it’s Swiftmendable, it triggers Harmony… Regrowth doesn’t make up nearly as much of my healing as spells like Rejuv and Wild Growth, but I feel like it can be the difference between someone living and dying when used at the right time. It is my most used direct heal.

What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Healing Touch. I’m assigned to raid healing 98.7% of the time, so HT is too slow, and generally too big to cast very often. Besides the occasional cast on a tank, or combined with Nature’s Swiftness it doesn’t get a lot of use.

What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Two things – mobility and output. We can heal very well while on the move and we can put out lots of healing on lots of people at once. We excel at any fight with high raid damage (which is…all of them).

What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
It’s been a while since I’ve felt weak in any way as a druid. I guess I have to go with the old standby of not having a mitigation ability. It would be nice to have something to add to the raid to help reduce damage taken, even just a little bit. Mostly I’d just like another spell to manage – compared to most other healing classes druids have less healing abilities to use.

In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
Raid healing. Druids are perfectly capable of tank healing, but I think we’re the strongest raid healers so it’s best to leave the tank healing assignments to other classes. One of my favorite things about being a druid is that even though I consider myself a raid healer I still put a large amount of healing on the tank through Lifebloom ticks and refreshing LB with direct heals.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
I love me some Disc bubbles. I think Disc Priests and Druids have great synergy. Shields absorb damage while HoTs have a chance to fill up the health bars at their own pace. Beautiful.

What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
Other druids. I love druids (obviously) but I’d rather play with a class with different strengths and weaknesses that compliment my own better.

What is your worst habit as a healer?
Trying to do everything and heal everyone. It’s not that I don’t trust the other healers – they are awesome – but I see damage and automatically want to heal it, even if it’s not my job. This is especially bad when learning a new fight. I tend to overreact, overheal and watch my mana bottom out very quickly on the first few attempts of a new boss.

What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
This doesn’t happen often, but I get very annoyed when people say I can’t do something because I’m a druid. Things I’ve heard: druids can’t be tank healers, druids can’t be portal healers on Valithria, druids can’t be Caustic Slime healers on Chimaeron. Wanna bet?

Do you feel that your class/spec is well-balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
Yes. We can fill any healing role and adapt to the other healers we are playing with.

What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
I’m addicted to World of Logs. I dissect every raid. My spell breakdown, how my uptime was on Harmony and Lifebloom, how much I used Barkskin, Tranquility and ToL, how much bad shit I stood in. I try to make all those numbers a little better every time I do a fight.

What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
That druid healing is easy. In BC all we did was cast Lifebloom, in Wrath all we did was Rejuv, in Cata all we do is Wild Growth/Rejuv. Untrue. While spamming Rejuv and Wild Growth can put out some half-decent HPS, it doesn’t make you a good healer. Being an average druid healer is not hard but it takes a lot of finesse to be a great druid healer.

What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
If it’s someone who is used to playing a more direct healing class, like a paladin, it can be hard to learn to trust in your HoTs. Know when more healing is needed immediately and when you can just let your HoTs do their own thing, on their own time. I’m sure it’s nerve-wracking for those used to health bars filling up immediately to watch them increase slowly. For those healing for the first time, I think it’s a challenge to learn the best way to use your cooldowns – ToL, Tranquility, Barkskin, Innervate, Nature’s Swiftness all need to be timed well.

If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
Very high HPS, I use my output cooldowns as much as I can, love Barkskin and will usually get heals on every single person on any given raid fight. They will also see that I almost never use my healthstone.

Haste or Crit and why?
Haste all the way. I want 2005 at all times.

What healing class do you feel you understand least? Holy Priests. They have so many spells. And Chakra? Stances are for warriors. Very confusing.

What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
VuhDo! The ultimate healing mod. I also use Power Auras to track things like Harmony and my Swiftmend cooldown.

Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
Int is obviously my number 1 priority. As for secondary stats, Haste is the thing I stack. It goes up to 2005 before I think about any other stats.

Now to tag the healers to do this next:
Lunarsoul of WTS Heals (who seems quite eager)
Alacran of Stand in the Blue Circle (if he hasn’t gone completely over to the dark side of warrior dps)
Windsoar of Jaded Alt (I’m not supposed to tag another druid, but I can’t be bound by such rules)

Hello Goodbye

This week the WoW community lost a couple great bloggers. Larisa from the Pink Pigtail Inn and Derevka from Tales of a Priest declared that they were hanging up their blogging boots. It’s always sad when prominent bloggers call it quits, but as Vidyala from Manalicious astutely pointed out, this is not the end for everyone – there are a lot of veteran bloggers still at it and new bloggers are popping up every day. Vidyala issued a challenge: find a new blog and link to it, and generally be encouraging to new bloggers.

I’m far too indecisive to link to only one blog, so I’ve got a few to share.

Reb Noob Diaries – Rezznul shares stories of his often hilarious travels through Azeroth as a resto druid and self-proclaimed noob.

Middle of the Forest – Middle of the Forest provides opinion and analysis for the casual 10-man resto druid.

standinthebluecircle – Alacran talks about all things resto shaman and tries to pass on the message – Stand in the Blue Circle, ffs!

Raid Trauma – Rax gives his holy priest perspective on raiding, healing and guild management.

Scribblings on the Asylum Wall – Stormy is an altoholic with a lot of opinions, if you like clever rants, you’ll find them here.

If you’re on the lookout for new blogs to read like I always am, go give them a look.

As for me, I’m not going anywhere. I am really enjoying raiding in Cataclysm, and despite being a bit busy lately, have a number of posts and additions to my guides in the works.

Happy blogging!

Blogger Map

Are you a blogger? Then MMO Melting Pot wants to know where you live!

Okay, that sounded much more sinister that it should have. Larisa and Syl came up with the excellent idea of creating a blogger community map to show were around the world bloggers are writing from. I think it’ll be neat to see how many different locations are represented and possibly even discover bloggers nearby.

If you are a blogger and want to get on the map, go visit this post and leave a comment (or sent an email/tweet) with your information.