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Circle of Healing Podcast

Posted by Malevica on June - 30 - 2010

I have a few chunkier posts in the works, including looking at Heroic Sindragosa and levelling in the middle levels, but since they’re not done and there’s been a bit of a gap lately, here’s a quick comment on the new Circle of Healing Podcast.

Recently Dawn Moore (WoW.com’s healing priest columnist and Disc Priest), Matt Low (a.k.a Matticus, of World of Matticus, the sadly-neglected NoStockUI and WoW.com), and Kinaesthesia of the US guild Vodka released the first two editions of their new healing podcast. I had a listen through the episodes and wanted to give my thoughts.

If you prefer to make up your own mind before reading other people’s thoughts, you can find an introduction and download links at World of Matticus. Just remember that these are very early episodes.

The first thing to say is that it’s great to have another way to access information on healing. The podcast is quite accessible, and wisely tends to steer clear of trying to present complex technical information in an audio medium, while still giving a fairly in-depth discussion of the healing issues and topics. It’s also a good way to keep up to date with the big upcoming changes for healers and their implications, although it’s not aiming to be a news-focused show.

However it’s early days and it’s very much not a finished product yet, which unfortunately shows. The golden rule for content creation (blogs, podcasts, videos, anything like that) is to produce the first three, file them quietly away, and begin your public releases with the fourth one. The thing is that there will be technical issues, stylistic shifts and just a general development of personal interactions in the first few episodes, and in theory these will settle down by episode 4. You can always re-record and re-use the content later.

For example, in the first podcast Kinaesthesia had trouble being heard on the VoIP solution they were using for the podcast, something which the listener probably didn’t need to be made so acutely aware of.
The presenters also seemed a little uncertain about when to speak, wary of talking over each other, and the exchanges felt a little stilted. Some podcasts get over this by having a parallel text chat (inaudible to the microphones) running for cueing, but whatever means you choose, this is something you can best hammer out in the early episodes before you go public.

The other thing that bothered me a lot about the podcast was that the presenters, Matt in particular, seemed to be doing other things during the recording. At one point Matt had to have a question repeated because he wasn’t aware what he was responding to, sounding like he just wasn’t listening. Edit it cleverly if you like, but at least maintain the illusion that the presenters are paying attention to the discussion and each other.

I suppose this is partly a stylistic thing, and some people will undoubtedly enjoy the quirky, slightly haphazard, frequently tangential and very laid-back approach, it’s just not what I prefer to listen to.

The final caveat I have is that all three presenters are Priests, one Holy and two Discipline (although Matt plays both), with limited experience of other classes. Hopefully they will settle soon on whether they will just stick to Priests or incorporate other classes as regular guest presenters, otherwise I fear that they may struggle for credibility a bit.

Wow, that sounded pretty rough! It’s not all bad by any means.

By the second episode all the technical niggles seemed to have been ironed out and the discussion of the new Priest talent trees was quite interesting, with a more fluid and informative discussion taking place. The listeners’ questions section also promises to be quite valuable, once people are submitting questions for real.

Dawn, Matt and Jerome (Kinaesthesia) are people who are playing their healers at quite a high level, with a good understanding of the class, so it is a valuable resource, and definitely one to keep an eye on.

On the whole I expect the podcast to settle down from here, and the presenters to get into their stride, so I’d recommend keeping an eye out for future episodes. There’s great potential in a healing podcast, and the niggles I have are really more superficial than deal-breaking.

The website is still under development as I write this, but the links from World of Matticus will let you listen the first couple of episodes for yourself.
The podcast is also apparently on iTunes under the Video Games section of Games and Hobbies, or if you prefer regular RSS there’s a feed as well.

Oh, final point of feedback, please make the volume louder and better-normalised on the mp3. I found I had to turn it up very high to hear, and then someone’s laugh will be almost deafening. Small point, but being able to hear the podcast over traffic is handy!

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Categories: Opinion

3 Responses so far.

  1. dawn says:

    Hi Malevica! I was going over our webstats and found your site. I just wanted you to know that http://www.circleofhealingpodcast.com launched today, and episodes are going to start getting back on schedule again. (my computer was in the shop for half of July) We’re still working out some technical difficulties, but the quality on episode 3 is a big step in the direction I’d like to go. Thanks for listening, and thanks for taking the time to write a very thorough review! -Dawn

    • Malevica says:

      Hey Dawn, thanks for dropping by!

      I did listen to episode 3 today when it popped up in my Google Reader, and I have to say I was much more impressed with this one, you’ve clearly been refining it a bit, which shows.

      The dialogue felt a lot more slick and less meandering, and it almost felt like the three of you were in the same room having a chat (which for me would be the ultimate aim of a podcast), and there was a lot more in-depth discussion and practical information without too much digression. Hearing you and Kinaesthesia talk about how you handle Sindragosa heroic was really useful and interesting.

      I’ll probably put these and maybe a few more thoughts that occur to me into a full post in the near future, it would be good to have a more unambiguously positive review up.

      Thanks for producing the podcast; the work you all put into it is appreciated and it’s great to see the podcast improving and hopefully it’ll continue and thrive. I’ll be awaiting episode 4!

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