Super Bowl Stories – Pt. Three

“We are in the same tent as the clowns and the freaks-that’s show business.”
Edward R. Murrow

Super Bowl Stories – Part Three

Field Services

The Olympics is the biggest show in the world. The amount of cameras, lights, stages, speakers, microphones, screens and so much more is staggering. Rented from all over the world, of course, with equipment come the operators.

The Super Bowl is the second biggest show in the world. It only pulls equipment from all over the United States. Production companies get hired for specific jobs and are under the umbrella of a bigger company and so on.

We arrived at the Super Bowl three days early. We pulled into the venue and went to scout where we were to put our equipment, set up our gear and simply check out the place.

Naturally, I didn’t push gear around. My job was to push a button. Once.

We came down the ramp and the first thing we saw was a helicopter — drying the field. That was my introduction to the scale, scope and simply money that is part of the Super Bowl. This helicopter was about 30 feet above the field, drying the grass and paint.

My boss had been the Producer for Half-Time at the Super Bowl for the prior oh-so many years. Now she had her own company and of course was hired to do the gig. She knew everybody. She had hired or contracted most of the people in the past and was well liked. She got us all passes with Field Services on the laminate.

Field Services meant that I could go anywhere I wanted except the Media Tent and the players locker room. I had the run of the stadium for two full days!

On game day, I watched the game from the stands for a while. I watched from behind the team benches on both sides. I ate in the tents in the parking lot set up for us (hot dogs, burgers, cokes, chips; nothing fancy). It was amazing.

When it came time for me to do my job, I was on the 50 yard line in front of the winning team’s bench, right on the side line stripe. The stadium was roaring. The players were going nuts. The arena is huge.

I stood for a long time. Watching everything that I could see; fans, players, pyro, big screen images at the end zones and on and on.

It was a fun job!


Super Bowl Stories – Pt. Two

“What are you going to wear in the game Sunday?”
Julie Brown to Dallas Cowboy Emmitt Smith prior to his 1993 Superbowl game against Buffalo

Super Bowl Stories – Part Two

I was on sabbatical from my teaching gig. After seven years they give you a semester off with full pay. They used words like “creative expansions” and stuff like that but it was really to stop burn out.

A friend of mine who worked in software for a video game company had loaned me his joystick controller. As I recall, I was playing X-wing vs Tie Fighter almost non-stop. I was trying for the rank of Captain.

The phone rang:
Me: Hello?
My friend: Dude
Me: Dude

(comfortable silence)

My friend: Wanna work the Super Bowl?
Me: Prolly. What do I have to do?
My friend: Push a button.
Me: Yeah?
My friend: Once
Me: Sounds good.

Then the uncomfortable money talk …

Me: What’s the paycheck?
My friend: NBC is footing the entire bill.
Me: I’m in.

In fact, he lied. I had to push that button twice. They had an NBC executive party the night before the Super Bowl and the Beach Boys played a concert for them. My job was to push this button at the end of the concert.

The waiters saw that I was an Average Joe at this fancy party and made sure I had all the shrimp-on-a-stick that I could eat. And this chicken-on-a-stick with peanut sauce called Thai Chicken Satay — fancy stuff, really good.

I enjoyed myself a lot. I like the Beach Boys and at the end of the show … I pushed my button. Mister, I pushed that button with style!

Super Bowl Stories – Pt. One

Hollywood is like Picasso’s bathroom.
Candice Bergen

Super Bowl Stories – Part One

I lived in Los Angeles for twenty years. I lived, loved, worked, taught, got married, got divorced, had a ton of fun and then got tired in Los Angeles.

I was part of The Industry. If you are in the film industry, the Industry is the film business. If you are in the Entertainment Industry (television, theme parks, award shows, movies, rock and roll, bowling alleys) then you are in the Industry too.

I don’t think about Los Angeles much any more, it was a past life. Except during the Super Bowl. I used to go to what I called “Hollywood Parties”. These were not parties like you see on television.

These parties were for Industry people, all of our friends! During the daylight it was family and grandmas and kids; grilling and drinking beer. A huge backyard with hammocks and little zones to hang out in.

At night it was naked dancers in the hot tubs, tikki torches, dancing and coke and weed and beers. Of course, I stayed way late!

I went to these parties four or five times a year. I always attended the Super Bowl party. One reason was that the designer for the half-time show was there and I could find out how he did all the lighting and video and special effects.

One of my favorite memories was when I was hanging with my friend who was a writer for the Cartoon Network. He was the story-board editor for Spongebob for years but moved on to other shows.

Yes, I have worked for Disney. In the Industry, one says that you are “working for the Mouse.” So, I was a huge Hannah Montana fan. I watched every new episode (easy, it was on four times a day).

There was, at this party, a little twelve year-old girl who had watched the taping of a future Hannah Montana. Her mom did something; costumes or scenery, I don’t remember.

I have this terrific memory of the three of us at a picnic table in the late afternoon. I’m asking the little girl about the future episode and what it was like behind the scenes. My friend is trying to ask about other shows that he’d written for feedback from a kid. The little girl loved the attention!

I have many memories and stories of the Hollywood Parties and the Super Bowl. But the three of us huddled at the table talking about kid’s shows is one of my favorites.

Tools for Legion

“The past is always tense, the future perfect.”
Zadie Smith

The Legion Today

No, no lore. Just tools.

I’ve been using this Talent Calculator from Wowdb. The page loads slow and the ads are painful.

There must be other versions but this is the one bookmarked. It is handy-dandy is that it also has a PvP calculator and an Artifact calculator.

I can see, for example, that healing Druids will only have one extra spell to cast from the Artifact — everything else buffs what I do already.

I can also see a nice little touch when bearing my Artifact:
Druidic Touch: Casting a helpful spell has a chance to sprout a patch of flowers at the target’s location that heals a nearby targets every 2 sec.

Legacy of the Windrunners: When you cast Aimed Shot, there is a chance for 6 extra Wind Arrows to coalesce and also shoot at your target.

Flavor in my artifact!

Whether having curiosity or being tempted to plan ahead: these tools are a fun visit.

Resto Druid Legion: Raiding Talents

I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.
George Burns

Resto Druid Legion: Raiding Talents

Today’s Date is: Feb. 5, 2016

Remember, the designers want us to succeed.

Healing considerations:

  • Being assigned Tank Healer
  • Being assigned Raid Healer
  • Even damage vs Spiky damage
  • Stack up big cooldown damage
  • Raid composition with other healing specs

Every Druid healer has the same spells. Picking the Talents to compliment their role is the flavorful experience.

For Tank Healing:
Focus on the Tank with healing on the team.

  • Tier One: Cenarion Ward Protects a friendly target for 30 sec. Any damage taken will consume the ward and heal the target for [ 879.9% of Spell Power ] over 6 sec.
  • Tier Five: Soul of the Forest When you cast Swiftmend, you gain Soul of the Forest.
    Soul of the Forest increases the healing of your next Regrowth or Rejuvenation by 200%, or increases the healing of your next Wild Growth by 75%.
  • Tier Six: Cultivation: When Rejuvenation heals a target below 50% health, it applies Cultivation to the target, healing them for [ 108.4% of Spell Power ] over 6 sec.
  • Tier Seven: Stonebark Reduces the cooldown of Ironbark by 30 sec, and it increases healing from your heal over time effects by 20%.

For Raid-wide healing:
For heavy raid padding spread across all of the team.

  • Tier One: Germination You can apply two Rejuvenations to the same target
  • Tier Five: Abundance For each Rejuvenation you have active, the cast time of Healing Touch is reduced by 5%, and the critical effect chance of Regrowth is increased by 5%.
  • Tier Six: Spring Blossoms For each Rejuvenation you have active, the cast time of Healing Touch is reduced by 5%, and the critical effect chance of Regrowth is increased by 5%.
  • Tier Seven: Flourish Extend the duration of all of your heal over time effects on friendly targets within 60 yards by 6 sec.

For Big Time Damage:
Raids with the stack up and get pounded experience

  • Tier One: Germination You can apply two Rejuvenations to the same target
  • Tier Five: Incarnation Shapeshift into the Tree of Life, increasing healing done by 15%, increasing armor by 120%, and granting immunity to Polymorph. Functionality of Rejuvenation, Wild Growth, Regrowth, and Entangling Roots is enhanced.
    You may freely shapeshift in and out of this form for 30 sec, at which point the shapeshift expires.
  • Tier Six: Inner Peace Reduces the cooldown of Tranquility by 60 sec.
  • Tier Seven: Moment of Clarity Increases your maximum energy by 30. Your Omen of Clarity now affects the next 3 Regrowths.

With time, you’ll find your favorites and tend to ride them through most encounters. How different each boss is unknown.

Guides will tell you which Talents are best. They won’t break down assignments, encounters and composition. Learning the Talents and choosing by event is the best way to go.

Happy Healing!

Resto Druid in Legion

“…But our princess is in another castle!”
Super Mario Bros

Resto Druid in Legion

brez me, bro.

Today’s date is Feb. 5, 2016 — things can change.

Things can change but they won’t change much, the Devs have been pretty happy with Resto-Druid design. I could quibble, but I love my healer!

At first blush, the spec is getting a lot of flavorful quality-of-life improvements. Good things and some fun things.

  • Balance Affinity for DPS (or feral or guardian).
  • Ursol’s Vortex is a spell now (baked in) and Hurricane can be cast several times, stacking up for more damage.
  • Thorns is back! It lasts 30 freaking minutes; back are the days of racing through mobs and pulling them all, standing in heals and casting hurricane! So, so very much fun.
  • Mark of the Wild, the raid buff may be changing == stay tuned!

But, we are healers at heart.

There is a synergy between talents. One can choose to be very bursty or focused more on tank healing or overall raid healing or even five-man dungeon healing.

We will learn our talent tree well, I’m positive. We might find a favorite set of talents but we’ll probably be malleable.

The big change to see is the change in our Harmony.

Mastery: Harmony: Your healing is increased by 5% for each of your Restoration heal over time effects on the target.

You might think that is keeping very busy but there are a LOT of HoTs in our toolkit. Even Ironbark on the tank counts as a HoT.

What we do now: mushroom, lifebloom, rejuve and wild growth are already in our rotation — so nothing is changing except the painful need to keep Harmony up and the boost we get for doing more and more healing!

Harmony won’t stay at 5%, as you gear up this number will increase. Potentially you could see your heals riding at 60% over a long period of time!

Innervate is back! It is a free ten second run of heals at no cost — blow all of your cooldowns for free. You can cast it on other healers. I can see some Shammy Healer who thinks he’s amazing asking “Innervate me, bro”.

The tanks had better love me. Ironbark with the Stonebark Talent and rolling Lifebloom on top of a nice padded mushroom is some major tanking love!

Context and Perspective
The first pass through these talents makes me want to jump for joy. A big dollop of fun on top of a yummy talent tree will make Druids very good at padding the raid team — BUT, those thoughts are based on how I play today.

If mana is an issue (no Spirit!), I won’t be as free-wheeling with my spells.

In Mist of Pandaria, there were designs for huge bursty damage in which the raid team would stack up for a pounding. In Warlords of Draenor, the damage is much more even while still having some hot spots for big heals.

In Legion, while I don’t know, I imagine we’ll be back to “stack for a pounding” for our times of big bursty healing on everyone: otherwise, we’ll simply be out of mana.

They’ll have to design some mana regeneration time into the raid design.

I’m very pleased to see that some spells work much stronger “outside of a raid”. They are folding into the tooltips even now for dungeon healing.

In conclusion:
It will be totally fun to Resto-Druid heal in Legion. We will continue to do what we do best: run HoTs and sustain a raid plus decent tanking love.

Healing in Legion

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Sigmund Freud

Healing in Legion

Today’s Date: Feb. 4, 2016 — Legion is a long way off!

I’m reminded of when our guild first began dungeons in Wrath of the Lich King. It was Utgarde Keep. We were in either the new questing greens or min/maxed Kara raid gear.

After every pull, we had to sit, eat and drink. If the dps didn’t bring their own food, they had to be healed by the Healer who would have to sit back down and drink again. Mana regeneration was slow, very slow, in that early gear.

Loading screens remind us that we can now eat and drink at the same time! That was from Wrath of the Lich King.

Today we could not imagine stopping after every pull. After a tough boss maybe, but not after every single pull on a group of mobs.

I wonder how well Dungeons will be designed in Legion. Dungeons will offer gear that is almost as good as raiding gear, a big change from Warlords of Draenor. There will be a lot more emphasis on dungeoning, for sure, part of our weekly life-style. Looking for that one trinket to drop …

I can see mana management in a raid with two other healers over a five to twelve minute raid encounter. I can see that it could be part of the fun as a healer.

In a dungeon, there is one healer. How can the management of mana for the entire dungeon run be part of the fun — say 20 different groups of trash and 5 to 7 bosses?

Our Spirit will be gone in Legion. Our mana bar will fill up with a steady but slow tick, tick, tick.

We might want to learn First Aid after all!