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Archive for the ‘Blog Stuff’ Category

New Year, New Look!

Posted by Malevica on January - 1 - 2012

Type “H” For Heals has a shiny new look for 2012!

I started this blog back in 2009 and in those early days when I was really still only dabbling with the whole “blogging” thing I picked the Suffusion theme. It was free, it looked good, and it was pretty easily customisable. It’s served me well to this point, but as is often the way I began to feel a nagging desire for a change.

And this is the result. The apple hasn’t fallen too far from the tree – I still like dark, blue themes in general – but I think this one looks a bit more textured and modern than the old one.

The layout and graphics are based on the freely-available Firecrow theme, although I’ve spent a good deal of extra time rewriting the basic theme to better suit my needs. Some of that was fixing little quirks (on a dark theme, having the hover colour for links set to black is not smart…), but there were some more significant tweaks as well:

  • I added a second sidebar to the right-hand side so that I can keep more things visible above the fold.
  • I widened the theme in general, but stuck with a fixed width. I know that a fixed width doesn’t always play too nicely with small screens, although most small-screen devices have their own tricks for rendering wide pages these days. I just object, as someone with a desktop PC and 1680 pixels to play with, to viewing the web through an 600 pixel-wide window (I’m looking at you, WoW Insider…); at the same time, really wide text blocks still look slightly odd to me. I’ll accept that this is more or less a product of my own quirks, but then it is my blog, after all!
  • I moved the subscribe and contact buttons out of the sidebar and into the header, so they’re more prominent and don’t push sidebar content too far down.
  • I added sharing buttons at the bottom of each post. Oddly I ummed and ahhed over this one for quite a while. On the one hand having people think enough of a post I’ve written to want to share it on G+, Facebook, Twitter and their ilk is undoubtedly a good thing, and it’ll certainly help bring in more readers from different places; on the other hand there’s just something about putting in those buttons, even in miniature, that makes me feel like I’m being just a little bit… needy?
    Rationally though, they’re helpful to people and they don’t detract from the posts, so in the end up they went.
  • The new theme has a “Featured Posts” box; I’ve not had one before. Currently it’s set up simply to show the most recent 4 posts from my main on-topic categories, but I might experiment with setting specific posts to float to the top instead.
  • A consequence of this feature is that I’ve had to assign featured images to my posts. This is a good thing, because frankly I suck at using images in my posts, so anything that encourages me to use more of them can only be a good thing.
  • I removed the built-in WordPress nofollow attributes from external links on my posts. This way if you make a reasonable (non-spam) comment on a post, the link back to your blog counts for something with search engines as well as just people. As it should be.

Hope you like the new look!

P.S. Don’t be surprised to see further small changes as things settle in and I change my mind repeatedly about the little things, but also do yell if you spot something that looks a bit weird, because I might well have missed something.

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Categories: Blog Stuff

About My Heroic Guides

Posted by Malevica on December - 15 - 2011

I’m doing the heroic guides in the same format as the normal mode guides, but instead of doing them all at once I’ll be pushing them out one at a time as we gain experience with the encounters. Keep checking the front page, this post and the Raid Guides menu above for additions, or you could always subscribe to see new posts the minute they’re published. </shameless-plug>

I would really appreciate comments on these guides if people have them. I typically wait until we’ve either killed it or we’ve nailed the strategy before posting, but there may still be things I’ve overlooked that need including, and commenters are really valuable for improving the guides for everyone.

Big List of Heroic Guides

Yorsahj the UnsleepingUp!
Warlord Zon’ozzUp!
Hagara the StormbinderSoon!
Warmaster BlackhornSoon!
Spine of DeathwingSoon!
Madness of DeathwingSoon!

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Categories: Blog Stuff

Little Wobbles

Posted by Malevica on November - 21 - 2011

So it seems the blog experienced a little hiccup late last week that I didn’t notice until today when I saw that my page stats had plummeted. I’ve been through and think things are sorted now, so I’d just like to apologise for any problems you may have experienced.

I’ll keep a close eye on things for a while, just to be sure it’s all truly back to normal.

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Categories: Blog Stuff

The Value of Commenters

Posted by Malevica on September - 14 - 2011

Someone is wrong on the internet!

A thought occurred to me this evening while responding to comments on my gimmicks post: I write some of my best material in comments, rather in the posts themselves.

It seems odd to me. I mean, I typically draft and redraft posts, sit on them for days, remove great swathes and so on, all with the aim of hitting “Publish” on a piece of (hopefully) well-formed and well-reasoned prose. When replying to comments, on the other hand, I tend to let my thoughts flow more freely and don’t usually spend too much time on editing.

I think the reason why I personally feel I write better in comments is that I’m responding to something specific, which focuses my mind and forces me to really examine my thoughts and opinions in one particular light. When I’m writing the initial post I can find myself trying to corral multiple thoughts on a given subject down into some sort of coherent whole, sometimes in quite a short space of time, and sometimes there are inconsistencies and things I’m not 100% settled on that make it through.

Commenters are very good at spotting those, as well as throwing new thoughts into the mix that help crystallise things for me. Comments can make you ask “Did I mean to say that?”‘ or “How could I express that more clearly?”, as well as thinking “I really hadn’t considered that side of it before”. All of which makes for a better blogger.

Anyway, this is all a roundabout way of saying to blog readers that their comments are extremely valued, much appreciated and a hugely important part of the process, and to bloggers to embrace the dialogue that you can have with commenters even if they don’t share your point of view.

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Categories: Blog Stuff

Back in the Game

Posted by Malevica on September - 4 - 2011

So it’s been an odd few months for me. I’ve moved homes both in my real life and my virtual life, and my WoW time dropped significantly for a few months. Now though I’m getting back some semblance of stability and I feel able to raid and blog once more.

The New Hotness

Tellisa, the pink-haired gnome Priest, and her ghostly companion standing on top of the walls of Stormwind

Tellisa, the pink-haired gnome Priest, and her ghostly companion

So, meet Tellisa. Cute, isn’t she!

My first proper character was a gnome warlock, and there’s just something about gnomes that draws me to playing them, so when my partner and I decided to move back to the Oceanic realms again as we’re in the process of moving to the region we just had to go Alliance.

She reached level 85 about 3 months ago, and in the last few weeks has begun her raiding exploits. She’s currently at 6/7 Firelands, and blasted her way through the Tier 11 content a couple of weeks ago (damn, they nerfed that hard!).

A Fish Out of Water

I’m a healer and a raider, that’s just what I like to do in game. Doing dailies is a chore at best and an exercise in frustration at worst (I’ve probably already complained about Blizzard’s tendency to give high level mobs boosted HP without boosting their damage, thus not making them “harder” but “longer”, but it annoys me enough that you probably haven’t heard the end of it from me!), and there’s only so many Zandoms you can do without going slightly barmy.

Now don’t let me give you the impression I’m ranting about the hopelessness of pugs in the new 5-mans. Actually I’ve generally had good experiences in there, give or take the odd over-zealous tank or under-prepared DPS. (Just one thing though: on Venoxxis, you do have to let me take the middle spot, or I can’t reach everyone).

The problem with doing these over and over again, at least for me, is that after a few runs there’s a dropoff in the amount of new learning that you can do, and learning is what I find the most fun about the game. Valour points are a very poor motivator for me.

Instead, I threw myself into achievements – those are points I can really get into! Malev got to just over 10.5k points before retirement, and while that number is a long way off for Tellisa that’s not going to stop me from accumulating points anyway. I’ve broken the back of Loremaster, and I’m always on the lookout for reputations to bring up to Exalted. I seem to be drawn to the grindier achievements, probably because you can track your progress which makes it somehow more manageable.

Enter <Abraxas>

Being a raider at heart, I was interested in raiding, but being in a very different timezone than your home server doesn’t open up many opportunities. Raiding on Aussie time would have meant raiding right across the middle of the day UK time, which just isn’t compatible with trying to get things done. What I needed was a New Zealand-based guild, and as luck would have it, a promising-looking one started up.

The GM of Abraxas has definitely been there and got the T-shirt, hanging around on Stormwind his Glory of the Cataclysm Hero drake, Blackwing’s Bane title on display, 1/7 heroic in Firelands. He’s also, far more importantly, a nice guy who knows his way around the fights, and who can wrangle a semi-pug raid into a pretty well-performing team. So I have high hopes that this guild can go places.

We’ve been semi-pugging for a couple of weeks, and we’re just about rounding out the team now; I think we’re looking for a good melee DPS with a tanking off-spec, so it’s beginning to feel a lot more like a guild now. There’s even a “gnome jokes” thread popped up on the forums, that’s how much like a normal guild we’ve become!

The only temporary downside is that I need to start raiding at 7.30am or 8.30am depending on the day, but I have an alarm set and when that fails to rouse me I have my loving partner to make my phone buzz in my ear until I get myself out of bed and logged in. I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it sooner or later, and in the meantime they’re being very understanding!

Back for Good?

That’s the plan.

Now I’m back playing and raiding again I intend to bring TH4H out of mothballs and resume posting my thoughts on raiding, healing, Discipline, Priest and whatever else crosses my mind, just as before.

I’m back, baby!

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Categories: Anecdotes, Blog Stuff