The new dungeon finder

January 10, 2010 at 4:09 am (Uncategorized)

I don’t hate this.

Stop with all that fake fucking surprise, its not fooling anyone.

I tried to put together a list of pros and the only thing I could immediately think of was the cues are instant.  Since I don’t have to run with my guild I also don’t really have to put any effort in stuff like getting on with your group members or social niceties.  I just say hi, heal shit and leave.  Its great.  I guess that is two things.

I do tend to get matched with reasonable tanks too – for example today I ran with another astral walker.  I get shitty dps of course but I only need a good tank for it not to the worst thing in the world.

I have also not been shafted with Oculus up the ass day after day.

Which is good cause you need hundreds and hundreds frost badges.  I’ve missed the last few raids cause of the whole holidays and family thing, so I am behind on gear slightly.  Doubt that matters at all.  Healing is the least gear related thing there is.  Its all judgement and multi-tasking, probably why so many girls are good healers I guess.

Anyway happy new years all.  Lets kill that lazy so and Arthas – oh and spoiler alert (I become the next Lich King!)


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The year in review

December 24, 2009 at 8:10 am (Uncategorized)

I know – how cliched to do a “year in review” thing.  Screw it – I am going on holidays tomorrow (distinct in my mind from being unemployed – which I have been for 3 months, though I have a job now lol) and I feel like summing up.

Did this blog achieve what I set out to achieve?

Yes and no.  I don’t get many hits, or links.  Neither of these things worry me at all (ok only the slightest bit).  I have realised that I am a MUCH less good writer (that awful grammar was deliberate) than I thought I was.  I am ok with that.  I didn’t set out to be the best blogger – only to try and capture my thoughts on electronic paper AND to prove to myself that I could stick with this. 

So I regard my hundred hits a week as mostly a success.  I had some things to say – I still have some more – and I still want to blog.  I have not really become involved in anyway with the blogging community – which is somewhat surprising to me – and I am not sure if I want to?

On the downside, I prefer to be a smartass and this has mostly been a serious blog.  A serious blog about a game is something that I can’t admit to (oh and no-one I know in real life, and almost no-one I know in game, knows I write this – that awful grammar was not deliberate).

I also haven’t posted as often as I thought I would – I’ve kept to just under 2 posts a week when I thought I would do 3.  By and large they have ALL been rants too, something that surprised me.

Most popular post (lol)

By far my most viewed post is the one about healbot.  I have been meaning to do one for vuh’do as well (cause I am a total hit whore) – but vuh’do does a lot of things out of the box I had to trick healbot into doing.

My favourite post

So I skipped this question when first writing this… I don’t know – I don’t really have many “favourites”.  I like the enchanting post cause I have had that rant saved up since BC.  I think that paladins ARE the most disliked class in the gameThis post on the state of raiding and the vast chasm between normal and hard modes is almost insightful.  Almost lol

My best post

Hmm I think in terms of time and effort put into it this post on my spec is worth feeling proud of.  I also think that this piece on hybrids is well argued – not that I suspect people will support my position.

My worst post

Yeah there are a couple that I would not have written given a second chance – the one on my bad raid week was just straight out whining with a nice emo finish.  Despite setting my on the path that led to me joining a progression guild, this post on drama was also far too self indulgent.

Things I’ve learnt

Most bloggers are NOT that far along the progression line – they are thinkers about the game, not doers.  That almost all female bloggers are hot in my imagination (and in real life as I understand it) – apparently I like intellectuals.  That not every idea is a post (and apparently not every post has an idea).  That I post more often when I am pissed about something.  That I like toast….

Most random thing I’ve posted

Putting up this thing on people you meet on the forums was actually one of the reasons I started posting believe it or not – back when I believed I was going to be mostly funny and sarcastic.  It is of course now completely out of tune with the rest of the blog.  You know something *I* still think its reasonably funny.

In game in review

I have changed guilds 3 times.  I’ve been a recruit twice and an officer 3 times.  I’ve killed all hard modes currently open bar 3.  Mostly I’ve been happy to play along.  I have killed a lot more bosses than last year but none of them really stand out in my mind.  I think our Freya 3, 10 man kill was one of the best things I’ve ever seen in game.  I think killing Yogg Saron on 10 man was one of the most satisfying things (very closely followed by Mimiron pre nerf).  Fighting and killing Algalon was the most epic.


Find a way to use this blog to either (1) get rich or (2) get laid.  Post more quality more often.  Be more positive.  Maintain a shred of dignity instead of selling out at the drop of a hat (ie reject the first offer dammit!).

In game, I’ll regard this expansion as a success if I kill hard mode Arthas before he is nerfed out of sight.  I’d also like to be enthusiastic about Cataclysm (or unethusiastic enough I quit).

Final thought for the year

For the first time I met people in RL that I had first met in game, and I met some people in RL that played WoW and were interested in it.  A lot has changed for me in game and out in the last 12 months and I am grateful to have had at least one outlet here to vent stress about some of the unimportant stuff.


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Why a flash of light set-up is viable (and why you should never play it)

December 22, 2009 at 7:16 am (Paladin healing)

Why its viable

I think it can be concluded – with some reservations – that a flash of light spec can be used successfully at this point in the expansion.  The simple reason for this is the way that spellpower has scaled and what that means for Flash of Light, Holy Light and especially sacred shield.

Flash of light has a spellpower coefficient of about 100%, Holy light sits at 170% or so and sacred shield (after some nerfing) is about 75% or so.

At low levels of spellpower the difference in base heal amount between FoL and HL is much greater (relatively speaking) than at higher amounts (where the coefficient matters much more).  Wouldn’t that mean that HL benefits more from stacking spellpower (ie the exact opposite of my point)??  No because you can’t stack SP and still spam HL.   The other drawback is that HL overheals more and more the more spellpower you add (except in certain circumstances set out below).  You can stack SP and cast FoL though.  

FoL’s greatest problem this expansion has been its inability to keep up with tank damage (and, in my view, this is STILL true).  With enough spellpower this would be less of a factor.  Where is that point though?

It seems like the answer to this is about 3k+ (this is unbuffed) – which basically means a full suite of best in slot gear + epic sp gems + 2 excellent SP trinkets + the best pvp libram.  Essentially you are getting 700+ spellpower more than an int based HL caster.  This means your sacred shield absorbs so much more each proc and so on and so forth.

Having looked into logs etc from some of the best paladin healers in the world I think its impossible to ignore their view that FoL is now viable.  That does not mean you should do it.  Just because its viable doesn’t mean its a good idea.  I was to emphasise this point, because I strongly disagree with the people spouting FoL as an alternative playstyle.  The average player (not being an elite player) will NEVER be as effective FoL as they would be HL.

The strength of the setup is that it can provide a continuous stream of mid-level healing, it can put out more raw HPS (only in short bursts) and it gives stronger mitigation.  The draw backs are simple.  It doesn’t provide the same average HPS (in this case I mean raw, not effective HPS) as a HL setup meaning that you really need an additional tank healer to dig you out of the consecutive hard hits hole (and its no good pretending that you can reactively cast HL there – reactive healing means dead tank).  It also provides less raid healing (the eHPS boost from the Sacred Shield hot is the thing that makes the spec viable).  In fact you could go so far as to say it requires a second, HL specced paladin to provide deep slow heals and a second SS buff.

Why you shouldn’t play it

You need a long list of things for FoL to be a viable spec for you.

  1. Low latency – the FoL setup requires a continuous stream of healing on the tank.  The crux is to literally spam heals – you need your FoL hot ticks to be as close as possible to a second as you can get them.  Latency is a killer here (unlike HL where you are not bouncing right on the GCD).
  2. A second, HL specced paladin – someone could potentially convince me that a disc priest could fill this role.  I don’t believe its true but its not impossible.  I think in any event the priest is a much better option as a bubble machine backing up a HL paladin than the reverse.  Oh and btw, if that paladin doesn’t turn up one night – yeah your now a liability to your raid team.
  3. A full suite of B.i.S gear – you need a LOT of spellpower to pull this off.  That means the best gear money can buy.  Meaning you have to beat the current hard modes to get gear to play this way (somewhat counterintuitive)
  4.  A superb team of raiders – your not casting any heals on the raid in this setup, so your raid healers (and by extension) your raiders need to be top draw.  If you find yourself channelling HLs through beacon you probably don’t have the team for it
  5. Exceptionally high situational awareness – FoL is not strong enough to heal with the whole time, you need to be aware of the times when you’ll need to cast HL and be pre-emptively casting then.  You’ll need to track beacon and SS as well as light’s grace to ensure that if you need the HL its there.  You need to be monitoring all the boss ability cooldowns to know when a big heal may be needed.
  6. Exceptionally high spatial awareness – this one takes a little bit more thought.  Basically the aim as a FoL specced paladin is to keep the continuous stream of heals up.  This means moving as quickly and as efficiently as possible.  Remember you can’t continually rely on HL to dig you out of a damage whole – you need to stay on top of the damage taken vs healing received or the whole thing goes to pot.

Take a quick look at that list.  Do you have everything on there?  Damn sure know that I don’t.   I also know with ironclad certainly that the vast majority of people talking of themselves as a FoL specced paladin on places like plusheal (which I unfortunately do not rate as somewhere paladins should go) are simply shortchanging their raids.  They wouldn’t have ANY of those things most of them.

Which is the biggest trouble with theorycrafting for healers.  With dps its reasonably easy to give a max dps setup and what you might call a buff setup.  With healing how you heal depends SO much on how your healing team heals.  For example, the other paladin that I heal with takes something like a 54/17 spec without BoW but with improved conc aura.  He does this because I take BoW.  He probably sticks more closely to the tanks than I do – which is why my eHPS on twins is so much higher than his.  I used to heal with a druid whose primary healing technique involved keeping the raid out of dangerously low health situations – my job?  to save the raid when they got into those situations.

This has gotten somewhat off track.  In any event I think the point is this – don’t point to statements by holy paladins from ensidia saying that they stack SP as evidence you can blindly do the same (THINK about it).  Oh and FoL STILL sucks!

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Bubble sac up?

December 21, 2009 at 3:45 am (Uncategorized)

Lets talk today children about what to do with the new divine guardian – primarily in my view this is a holy paladin ability (though any ret pally should have it macroed into their bubble – you know should they ever use that).  It is the basis of the 51/17+3 holy, prot spec.

The way it used to be “supposed” to work

Damage taken by the raid was redirected to the paladin – supposedly capped at more than enough to kill you.  It would last 10 secs (in theory) but even in a 5 man the damage taken by a party would reach the cap before 10 secs.  It was suicide to use it without an immunity effect, resulting in the immediate splatter of any holy foolish enough to use it with first (and I mean first – you can’t do it the other way) using bubble. 

The way it used to actually work

If you were smart enough to bubble before you hit DS you were immune to the damage taken – meaning that you never reached the cap.  This meant a 40% raid wide damage reduction for 10 secs.  Quite literally hundreds of thousands of damage negated at times.  This was clearly unintended, probably broken and certainly not likely to stay as it was for the whole expansion…

The way it works now

The damage diversion is limited to your party (and in theory stops at 20% of your health) but you get a 6 sec 20% raid wide damage reduction by activating it.  Now its clear in my view this is a nerf from what the talent used to do (but not from what it used to be designed to do – if that makes sense).

So how do you use it now?

What is not yet clear is the best way to use this talent.  One early ptr iteration had the raid wide damage reduction and the party wide damage redistribution linked, which lead people to theorycraft that paladins would be best served in groups of their own chaining DS as best they could (keeping the 20% reduction up as often as possible).

Fortunately smarter heads prevailed and the two were decoupled.

In my view there are a few ways you could use DS now

Option 1 – put your holy paladins and your tanks in the same group.  This would be most likely to give you the full benefit of the sacrifice part.  On the downside tanks smell bad and you’ll lose the benefits of the healer group (shammies mostly).  In this case I’d still be using bubble with your sac – tanks get hit hard enough you could go from 100% to 20% (or below) right the fuck quick.  At 20% health your a very good chance of getting killed by environmental damage

Option 2 – leave your pallies in your healer group.  A good raid will have 2 holy pallies (disc is a dead spec at the moment – deal with it).  Keeping them in the healer group does give you 2 bubble sac’s for your healers.  Healers don’t generally take a lot of environmental damage (interesting side bar – healers take much less environmental damage than either tanks or dps, discuss) so you can sac without your bubble if you like to live dangerously.  This has the advantage of having the highest uptime of the 20% reduced raid damage buff (you actually won’t notice this at all really but its there).

Option 3 – scatter paladins through the raid like the winds.  Have your pallies in different groups to each other, get them to pop their sacs at different times (the raid reduction doesn’t stack I believe).  If (like H Twins) you have a group of people who will take extra damage (or you put your mouth breathers in one spot so you know who to let die) give them a pally to play with.

My personal view is that the most valuable part of DS is the raid damage reduction.  I’d have your paladins grouped in such a way as to have maximum uptime of that buff (options 2 or 3) unless there is a very specific reason not to do this.  Oh and pallies – save your bubble for times when you sac up and take damage yourself.  That way you can get 3 uses out of it for a 6 min fight rather than just 1.

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December 18, 2009 at 11:23 am (Uncategorized)

Oddly enough, I’ve not had WoW for nearly 3 weeks (aside from some brief trips to the local internet cafe to raid).   I’ve been back on 2 days and yet I am bored. 

Now, unlike the abomination that was ToC, I think the first 4 bosses in ICC are well tuned.  They are not difficult but they aren’t immediately and easily puggable yet.  There are a lot of guilds that are not yet 4/4 coming to the end of the 2nd raid week.  Our first clear took most of a raid night (this week was about 90 mins).  The trouble is that there just isn’t that much else to do.

We burn through ToGC to Anub pretty easily (we are still a long way from an Anub kill – frustratingly, since we’ve been substantially held back by the inability of the tanks to correctly position the adds).  That is the only live content we have.  No real point in doing normal ToC.  No real interest in finishing the remaining Ulduar drake achievement (Yogg 1).

I tried the new 5 mans.  Words cannot express my absolute horror at some of the pugs I’ve gotten in the new dungeon finder.  The average dps’er has blue / green gear at or near 175 I-lvl.  Are you serious?  What have these people been doing the last 8 months?

Anyway, I’m going to bed 🙂

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I have internet again

December 16, 2009 at 8:53 am (Uncategorized)

So posting will resume on a (semi) regular basis… for a week (then xmas hols).


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Paladin itemisation in Icecrown

November 22, 2009 at 4:31 pm (Paladin healing)

Its crap.

While I could (and maybe should!) end this post here I’ll keep going cause damned if I will say 2 words when I can say 200.

The basis for all the problems with paladin itemisation (which has been terrible since we left Naxx for Ulduar) has been the differing views on crit.  The developers, for reasons that I am not privy to, believe that crit is a throughput stat.  They treat it like a throughput stat, always have.  They were uncomfortable with Paladins in sp/crit/haste gear because, from their perspective, its all throughput.  The fact that it also provided all necessary regen (which even then was far from true – int is the paladin regen stat and has been all expansion) in their eyes meant paladin healing was too strong.

They may have been right, though I don’t think so.  Crit however is the worst throughput stat a healer can have.  The reason for this is that healing is not dps.

Healing ebbs and flows, its not like dps where you have to do X damage over the course of the fight and then you win.  Increasing the total healing done by a player is not the same as increasing the healing effectiveness of that player.  Requiring a certain amount of crits over the course of a fight to meet a dps target is easy – as sample size increases, the sample mean approaches the actual mean (so your recount chart crit% approaches the number on your character sheet).  Over the course of a boss fight you will cast hundreds of spells.  You can fall behind the dps required by going through an unlucky patch of crits amd (statistically speaking) you’ll catch back up.  Either you have the dps required or you don’t. 

Healing is different.  If you fall behind by more than the tanks health at any time, the fight is over.  Which is why you can’t rely on crits.  Sooner or later that unlucky patch means a dead tank.

Haste on the other hand is always useful, because it reduces the amount of time all your spells take to cast.  Meaning that it is predictable and therefore reliable.

I am not saying that crit doesn’t increase healing done (because it does), I am saying that, because its not predictable, because healers can’t rely on it – its not a throughput stat in the proper sense of the word.  Your throughput increases when you get more crit but you don’t stack crit for throughput.  Again, healing isn’t dps, the number at the end of the fight is not the key thing, its the numbers in the middle – you always have to keep the tanks health about the amount that a boss swing would take off at a bare minimum.  Its not a fucking average.

Yet paladin gear is choked with crit and mp5.  My feelings on mp5 ought to be well known.  Its not as useless as it was but its not far from it.  As mana pool sizes increase and increase mp5 (because its a non-scaling stat) becomes less and less useful compared with a scaling stat (like int).  Of course, paladins are not quite at the ulduar level of ignoring their mana pools but I see no reason to believe they won’t get there shortly into icecrown. 

Anyway, this is all moot, Blizzard will itemise the gear however they want.  I really wish that just once we’d get the right gear.  T7 was itemised reasonably well, T8 was garbage until 3.2 nerfed us into it, T9 was itemised perfectly (if you assume the nerf didn’t happen) and T10 seems the worst yet.  I don’t like taking shammy mail but I will if I have to.  Its not like I haven’t done it before

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Icecrown raid structure

November 20, 2009 at 3:51 am (Uncategorized)

Its interesting, I don’t think I have ever been part of the Blizzard target raid dynamic.  I was a casual back before it was cool and became more hardcore at the same time that Blizzard went the other way.  See this.

I tell you this though, I just don’t understand why I am not allowed to go and explore and have fun in the new instance the way I want to.  I just don’t get it.  There are some truly baffling (and a couple of genuinely offensive) decisions in that thread.  In no particular order

Limited attempts

I do not like the limited attempt mechanic.  I have never liked it, because (1) I raid from Australia which means that connections and lag play a big part in my raids and (2) it actively discourages people from taking undergeared, underexperienced or underskilled players.  The idea that one person fucking up on Putricide takes away 20% of your attempts is ludicrous, especially on normal.  5 attempts is a stupidly small number, its like the pressure of tribute to insanity.  Since I’ve cleared ToGC 10 without wipes, having a single wipe at any stage of the raid means a step backwards.  I don’t have 50 attempts remaining, I have 1.

I don’t understand who this benefits?  It forces people to spend time out of game researching and reviewing strats (which is completely against the current Blizzard thinking – see the Cataclysm stat changes for example).  It actively punishes even the most casual raid team very heavily for even minor slip ups.  It encourages serious raid guilds to run alt raids and otherwise try and “game” more attempts.  In fact the only reason that I can see for it is to artificially extend the life of the content. 

We recently killed Algalon, which we did on the second attempt of our 4th week of trying.  I think we would have killed it in a single raid night had we been able to spend unlimited time on the fight, probably in about 2 and a half hours.  The fight itself is easier than firefighter in my opinion (which took us a full raid night basically).  However it took 4 weeks rather than a single day solely because of artificial time limitations.

Which concerns me, because after the debache (pronounced dee-bar-shay) of ToC, ICC and raiding in general needs to regain some credibility.  It concerns me that Blizzard has so little confidence in the life of this instance that they need to artificially extend it.

Heroic and normal sharing attempts and lockouts

So if I want to kill the Lich King that week I need to back off heroics before I run out of attempts or I am locked out of the top end of the instance?  Are you fucking serious??  What is it that people are supposed to do??

We raid three days a week (including both 10 and 25 man content).  At the moment we barely have enough content for that period of time.  If not for the struggles we have had in ToGC the last few weeks we’d have a full empty raid day.  Now I cannot for the life of me imagine ANYONE volunteering to spend more time in normal ToC so come 3.3 (which is 2 weeks away at most) our raid schedule will have about 11 bosses on it.  Algalon (maybe), Yogg +1 (again maybe), ToGC and the first four bosses in ICC.  I say maybe because I don’t see a lot of enthusiasm for full clearing Ulduar just for those bosses every week, even if it is pretty quick these days. 

We have a fair bit of 258 gear at the moment, which makes me think that ICC will be the faceroll that normal ToC was, so its going to take an hour a week for the first month.  After which we get a second wing and probably drop ToGC.  Until heroic modes unlock in 2 months there will not be more than 2 days raid content.  We aren’t a top guild by any stretch of the imagination either, we’re ranked about 500 in the US. 

“a sustainable, measured, and ultimately more enjoyable pace”

What is this bullshit?  Someone on mmo-champion compared this to fat kids with cake (an analogy that people liked), with all due respect, I am not interested in this paternalistic nonsense.  I think, as an adult male, I am more than capable of determining for myself what I find reasonable and enjoyable without Blizzards help.

Of course some people are in favour of this.  There are some people in favour of everything.  The most vocal supporters are the minority of vocal, jealous casuals.  I say jealous because, despite their bluster that they don’t care about the likes of Ensidia and that they can enjoy the game anyway they like, the truth is they actually want to be able to clear content like them and are pissed they can’t.  The whole casual vs hard core thing has gotten out of hand.  In both cases they are saying the same thing – that the other group doesn’t deserve to play the game the way they like.  Everyone has to play the game the way *I* do because if you played it exactly how I do, I’d be better than you and that makes you a shit person –  basically.

I don’t care at all if Ensidia clears the whole instance in a single day.  I do care that I’m probably going to be held back from the hard mode experience for 2 months because the developers seem to think that it matters how long the world first guilds take.

This takes some of the shine off ICC, I quite enjoyed Ulduar for a long time and no-one I’ve spoken to liked ToC – yet they are following the ToC model and not the Ulduar one.


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Whats my main?

November 17, 2009 at 2:38 pm (Uncategorized)

Yeah so my last post was a bit emo.  One the great things about a semi-anonymous blog that very few people read is that I can be a bit self-indulgent from time to time.  We all got flaws so sue me 🙂

Even if I don’t post, even if I don’t play I usually read the blogs that I keep track of every few days.  I love insight, even if I don’t get it all the time, even if its about something meaningless ultimately.  Insight like roxors!

Which brings me to this – B3 is a fantastic blogger who I don’t actually read that often.  If this proves anything, its that you don’t need to be downing H Anub to understand things.

The reason I bring this up is partly because I realised the fact again today that most raiders have a class / spec / role that they are noticeably better than others at.  I could get clever and link this to my stance on hybrids.  How do these things even fit together?  Its because in a crisis you automatically revert back to “type“.  You will never perform as good on your alt as you do on your main – even if they have the same job – because as Big Bear Butt so succinctly puts it, some classes just click.

I noticed this because I raided tonight on my mage, for the first time in quite some time.  I realised that at some point I had crossed the line and was no longer THE mage.  I was just a mage, pretty good for my gear level, but it wasn’t as instinctive as it used to be.

I remember clearly what it used to be like – the best example I can think of is that we were 4 manning mana tombs or some other heroic back at 70.  One of the mobs would fear / mc / something the tank and the rest of the buggers would immediately drop threat and chase the healer.  Anyway the tank gets feared and the mobs just all rush at our priest, knowing that he is just toast.  I blinked forward, dragon’s breathed the mobs and went back to the skull target in the time it took them to halfway cross the room.  Priest lives, pack dies and we move on.  I don’t pretend that this is particularly heroic (like that pun?) it was purely instinctive.  Therein lies the point, those instincts are gone.  I can still meet out damage but the higher level of skills aren’t there.  They are with my pally now.

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Bad raid weeks

November 14, 2009 at 2:39 pm (Uncategorized)

Heading is reasonably informative.  Its been a bad raid week thus far.  We got tribute to insanity on 10s.  With a badly undergeared alt healer no less.  That run was far from being without incident but that is truly another story.  Aside from that I have *not* had a good time in Azeroth these past 3 days.

I think I’ve mentioned before about bad days as a healer, the days were the second you take your eyes off your target he dies.  This wasn’t even like that.  It was the RNG gods tearing me a new asshole over and over again.  At least 6 – 10 times a tank took 50k+ damage inside of a second.  Maybe there is nothing that can be done about that but its exceptionally demoralising to wipe over and over again because of it.  Last week we reached Anub with almost a full set of attempts remaining.  This week we are yet to kill Faction Champs and we almost down to half.

I wasn’t the only one who was having a bad week.

I wouldn’t have thought much more of it but for last night.  Last night I went into a friend’s 10 man run.  Aside from me, there was a player with the legendary mace, two other starcallers and a death’s demise.  It was a brutal night of wipes the likes of which I hadn’t seen in months.  Plus bickering and complaining the whole way.  I was so dispirited when I logged off.  I had hoped for a night of quick, easy clearing to recharge my raiding batteries, not so much.  I actively avoided logging on today, knowing that my old guild raided tonight and simply not being able to face it.

Maybe its just a couple of off days strung together, and I did get insanity this week.  I am a little concerned for my new guild.  I am not so sure that they are stable, there are more applicants than raiders at the moment – fuelled by a continual influx of new raiders, mostly looking to skip the progression hurdle and get into hard modes.  Most aren’t ready.

I think I am a really good healer mostly because I have a lot of confidence in my abilities.  I’ve never met or raided with anyone I thought was better than me.  As good sure, but better?  not once.  And maybe I was wrong…

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