Low Level Druid Gear – Strength Vs Agility For Feral Builds

When you start down the path of building out your Feral Druid the question of strength or agility comes up pretty fast. This simple question has sparked huge threads all over the web, hurt feelings, some crying and all in all a ton of discussion. As a relatively young Druid reading some of these threads and forum boards seem to require a Masters Degree in Advanced Mathematics. On top of that very often these are talking about very high level raiding and end game Druid builds which can be confusing as well. Here is a very simple break down of the two stats and how they compare. Consider this like a 101 course. You have more to learn but this will at least get you going.  

Attempting to make decisions on stats can be maddening. As soon as you think you’ve got an answer you’ll find someone else saying something totally different. The first step is to simply try and get a feel for the numbers. Remember that you can always get different gear and you can always rebuild your talent trees. Experiment and see what works best for you and your playing style. Let’s take a look at the very basic definitions of these stats and how they affect your Druid.  

Strength: The Strength attribute increases your Druids attack power on a scale of 1 strength equal to 2 attack power. For every 14 points of attack power you have your damage per second (DPS) for melee attacks increases by 1. For example if you have an attack power of 140 you’ll have an increase in DPS of 10. It might be easier to think of 1 point of strength being equal to .14 DPS.  

Agility: This stat does a great deal for us. First of all when a Druid is in Cat form he gains 1 attack power for each point of Agility. Secondly 1 point of Agility increases your armor by 2 points. This attribute also jacks the critical hit chance with weapons and increases the chance of Dodge. Again, in a different expression, 1 point of agility is equal to .07 DPS.  

So what should you gear your Feral Druid with? Looking just at attack power it would seem that loading up on strength is the way to go. The more attack power the more damage you’ll do, right? Well that is true however what do you give up by ignoring agility? You will miss out on the dodge for one. (Your dodge chance is just what it sounds like; it gives you the possibility of dodging a melee attack.)  

The basic deal is that at lower levels the best investment you can make as a Feral Druid is in the Strength stat. The harder you hit at low levels, basically, the better off you are. This does not mean to completely ignore agility however. When the decision comes up for gear with strength or agility lean towards the strength boost. At some point, at much higher levels, the favor tips towards agility but don’t get too concerned about that just yet.  

Is there more to discuss on this topic? Absolutely. This does not even scratch the surface of the issue but it should get you going in the right direction as a low level Feral Druid.   

Text Based Online Games – English As a Second Language and RPG Games

One feature of text based online games is the chance to meet many people from around the world and to form friendships, bonds, and even to learn more about your own culture through another player. Yet one of the most striking lessons one can learn is that the textual RPG game is a place where one can learn English as a second language. Since British English is often the main language of choice for RPG games, players will find themselves interacting with native and non-native English speakers.

Like many Americans who play textual RPG games, I am constantly surprised to meet others in games who demonstrate a high ability to speak, to write, and to express their intentions so well. Of course, for those who write or speak English as a second language (and sometimes a third or fourth), RPG textual games are a perfect space for players to create characters and practice language skills. In all, the textual RPG game becomes a worldwide community that bridges cultures, and allows players to interact and to learn more about various elements in and out of game through written expression.

As some new users will discover, online RPG games are populated by players who often help another non-native English speaker with his or her language skills. Many player run organizations have guides and mentors. If the player tells his or her guide or mentor that English is not the first language spoken the mentor will make it known to others to help the non-native speaker with language skills. What remains amazing is the willingness established players have to assist others to make the game an enjoyable diversion and to help players learn more about the language written (or spoken) in game as well as the game culture.

While some who read this may be timid to try an online RPG game because of English being the choice language, they will find that many clans and private clans are created by other users in games where they can speak native languages too. While English remains official languages in most MUDs, it does not prevent clans from setting rules to where other languages are spoken. So, players will find that they are never truly alone because there is always someone in game who speaks one or more languages besides English. Furthermore, some mentors and guides are fluent in two or three other languages and are willing to bridge the language gap. Plus, if they make friends with someone who speaks a language they may not know- all the mentor has to do is ask other characters who may speak the common language and the online game becomes personal and enjoyable.

While serving as a house mentor, I have often discovered that my own language skills in French, Spanish, and Italian have improved if I meet a character in game who speaks one of those languages as a first language. In private conversations (often referred to as TELLS in game) we will help one another bridge misunderstandings and even correct one another. Either way, it is a win-win situation because the learning process never ends. The player improves his or her English skills and I improve my skills in other languages.

I know that many who read this speak English as a first language and may be shy about trying an online text game after reading this essay. However, you should not fear it. Even if you are a native English speaker and you feel that your writing is, either bad, or that you do not express yourself well in text, there are many in game that will assist another. So many players come from various walks of life that you often find players ranging from teenagers to doctors, lawyers, engineers, information technology and other professions play the games as well for fun. They are willing to extend a hand with proofreading, writing skills, and even referring you to others who can help with certain in game topics. Language can cross barriers, help forge friendships and even teach us about one another. This is one element that textual RPGs have that many graphical games do not- and that is a feeling of community, friendship and assistance. So many graphical games rely on various servers so some players never leave the confines of a server that is a single language focus. If a player dares to enter the world of text based online games, he or she may discover that language skills in English will improve, and he or she will even help native speakers improve skills too.

Traditional Hawaiian Sports

Besides doing “the essentials’ of life, the everyday Hawaiian commoner found some time to wile away the hours in pursuit of pastimes. One of their favorite pastimes was the pursuit of traditional Hawaiian sports. The Hawaiian people developed a very rich and interesting set of sports that we wished to share with you.

Holua is one of the most interesting of traditional sports in Hawaii, that dates back many years.The sport involved the use of a long, narrow sled, called a holua. The sled was made to navigate on a single runner. A small, long trench was dug down a hill, made smooth, and covered with grass.The participant would get on top of the sled, be given a good push, and was expected to ride the sled down hill, as far as possible. The good ones could stay on for upwards of a mile! This sport makes skateboarding look simple.

War Games were also very popular among the Hawaiians. Small battles over territory precipitated the development of a series of games that would improve the skills of warriors. Some examples of those games included wrestling, boxing, archery, and javelin throwing. These types of games were often the hallmark of the Makahiki celebration. Hawaiian boxing was, perhaps, the best example of this type of sport. In Hawaiian boxing, two contestants would continue to hit one another until one gave up, or someone was knocked out. In addition, it was considered bad form to block a punch. Each punch thrown by the competitors had to be met square in the chin, as it were! Captain Cook records a time when some of his men participated in such a contest, only to get themselves thoroughly thrashed by the Hawaiians! It was not sport for the weak of heart.

Games of skill and chance were also very popular among the Hawaiians, especially up to the point when missionaries started preaching and teaching against gambling. The Hawaiian people had their own version of “the shell game,” which was called puhenehene and no’a. Players had to guess where a stone was hidden under a bundle of kapa. A game called konane was also very popular. It is not unlike modern day checkers. Finally, a game that was like bowling was also popular. It is called ulumaika, and involved the use of stone disks that were bowled between two upright sticks.

Races were very popular among early Hawaiians, as they often are in just about every culture. Hawaiians loved racing on foot, in canoes, and in the ocean (swimming.) Again, betting was a big part of the sporting activity. Needless to say, gambling was taken very seriously by early Hawaiians.

Spear Catching and Cliff Diving were among the more extreme sports of the early Hawaiians… As in the case of he’e holua, these types of dangerous sports were done to impress the audiences that watched them. There is a wonderful old story told of King Kamehameha, where he told 5 of his warriors to throw spears at him at the same time. The story goes that he caught two spears, dodges two, and deflected the fifth.

Surfing has got to top our list for the most popular traditional Hawaiian sport. Surfing was one of the most popular recreational pastimes of the early Hawaiians. If the north shore surfing rage is any indicator, the sport of surfing is still greatly loved today.

There are two types of surfing that were popular among the early Hawaiians. The first was called he’e holua, or mountain surfing. The more traditional water surfing was called he’enalu. Both of these styles of surfing were much ritualized. Both styles were a way for the early Hawaiians to express themselves.

He’e holua is a sport that is over 2000 years old. It involved riding a 30-60 lbs sled down a hill of lava rocks. It was not unheard of that surfers could reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Traditional surfboards could be up to 20 feet in length, and weigh up to 150lbs. This is perhaps the most traditional Polynesian part of the Hawaiian heritage. Many ocean based cultures, though, have a history of riding of the waves of the ocean.

The Sport of Kings is probably the most unusual sport of all. In essence, the warfare that was conducted among tribes, regardless of the overall purpose, was considered sport. Even the Hawaiian word for battlefield can be translated as “playground.” Warfare, however, was banned during the Makahiki season. Otherwise, it was fair game to fight for fun! This was the Xgames Hawaiian style!

Traditional Hawaiian sports have the people of Hawaii a way to interact, have fun, improve fighting skills, and enjoy time together. More over, it was a ritualized expression of the culture itself. Traditional Hawaiian culture played hard and fought hard.

Aloha,

Mike

Codependency Is Sneaky and Powerful

Focusing thinking and behavior around someone else is a sign of codependency. We react to something external, rather than our own internal cues. Addicts are codependent, too. Their lives revolve around their addiction – be it food, work, drugs, or sex.

Codependency derived from the term “co-alcoholic,” originating in studies of family members of substance abusers who interfered with recovery by enabling.

Family therapists found that their codependent behavior developed in their childhood growing up in a dysfunctional family. In the 40s, German psychoanalyst and humanist Karen Horney wrote about neurotic behavior caused by self-alienation. She described personality types that fit codependency and believed that they resulted from faulty parenting and the “tyranny of the shoulds.”

The 12-step program Codependents Anonymous (CoDA) was founded in 1986 by Ken and Mary, two therapists who had grown up in abusive families.

Definitions

Codependency is considered a disorder in the American Psychiatric Association, due to lack of consensus on a definition and empirical research. However, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders does list a dependent personality disorder, described as someone more passive, submissive, and dependent than most codependents. In 1989, experts at a National Conference arrived at a suggested definition: “A pattern of painful dependency on compulsive behaviors and on approval from others in an attempt to find safety, self-worth and identity.” Other definitions by experts in the field include:

* Melody Beattie: Allowing another person’s behavior to affect him or her and obsessing

about controlling that person’s behavior.

* Earnie Larsen: A diminished capacity to initiate, or participate in, loving relationships.

* Robert Subby: Resulting from prolonged exposure to oppressive rules.

* John Bradshaw & Pia Melody: A symptom of abandonment – a loss of ones inner reality and an addiction to outer reality.

* Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse: A brain disorder that leads codependents to seek the relief of soothing brain chemicals, which are released through compulsive behaviors, including addiction to work, substances, gambling, food, sex, and/or relationships.

* Charles Whitfield: A disease of a lost selfhood.

Beattie’s and Larsen’s definition centers on relationship behavior. I agree with Bradshaw, Melody, and Whitfield that codependency resides in us whether or not we’re in a relationship. I also agree with Wegscheider-Cruse that addicts are codependent and that relief is sought through substances, processes, and people. However, unlike Cruse, I believe codependency is learned behavior that’s trans-generational. Other influences are cultural and religious biases. Although research shows that some teens had brain abnormalities even before they became drug addicts, their twins did not become addicted, so the full impact of genetic and organic causes is still unclear, particularly in view of the brain’s plasticity in adolescence.

Core Feelings and Behavior

Codependent feelings and behavior vary in degree on a continuum. Like a disease and addiction, if untreated symptoms become compulsive and worsen in stages over time.

Core feelings include:

  • Denial
  • Low Self-esteem
  • Painful emotions: Shame, Guilt, Anger and Resentment, Anxiety, Depression
  • Core Behaviors include:

  • Dependency
  • Intimacy problems
  • Dysfunctional communication
  • Dysfunctional boundaries
  • Control of oneself and/or others (includes Caretaking)
  • Core feelings and behaviors create other problems, such as, people-pleasing, self-doubt, mistrust, perfectionism, high-reactivity, enabling, and obsessions. Codependents are usually more attuned to other people’s needs and feelings than their own. To quell anxiety about rejection, they try to accommodate others, while ignoring their own needs, wants, and feelings. As a result, they tend to lose their autonomy, particularly in intimate relationships. Over time, their self-worth declines due to self-alienation and/or allowing others to devalue them.

    Codependents have varied personalities, and symptoms differ in type and severity among them. They also have diverse attachment styles. Not all are caretakers or are even in a relationship. Some seek closeness, while others avoid it. Some are addicts, bullies, selfish, and needy, or may appear independent and confident, but they attempt to control, or are controlled by, a personal relationship or their addiction. Sometimes that relationship is with an addict or narcissist. A relationship that is one-sided or marked by addiction or abuse is a sign of codependency. But not all codependent relationships are one-sided or abusive.

    Recovery

    Untreated codependency can lead to severe anxiety, depression, and health problems. There is help for recovery and change. Recovery goes through stages that normalize codependent symptoms. The goal of recovery is to be a fully functioning adult who is:

  • Authentic
  • Autonomous
  • Capable of intimacy
  • Assertive and congruent in expression of values, feelings, and needs
  • Flexible without rigid thinking or behavior
  • Become informed. Get guidance and support. Codependent patterns are deeply ingrained habits and difficult to identify and change on your own. It often takes an experienced third party to identify them and to suggest alternative beliefs and responses. Therapy and 12-Step meetings provide this. In recovery, you will:

  • Come out of denial
  • Let go of others
  • Build an autonomous Self
  • Raise your self-esteem
  • Find pleasure – develop friends, hobbies
  • Heal past wounds
  • Learn to be assertive and set boundaries
  • Pursue larger goals and passions
  • Self-Help and Therapy

    Codependency is highly recoverable, but requires effort, courage, and the right treatment. A therapist should be knowledgeable in treating codependency, shame, and self-esteem, as well as be able to teach healthier behavioral and communication skills. Cognitive-behavior therapy is effective in raising self-esteem and changing codependent thinking, feelings, and behavior. In some cases, trauma therapy is also indicated.

    Recovery can generate more anxiety, so it’s important to maintain a self-help support system such as, Al-Anon or CoDA 12-Step programs to build self-esteem and become more assertive.

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