Posted tagged ‘food’

Blizzcon and the longer way home

November 22, 2013

Now that everyone has forgotten about Blizzcon, I’m finally home with some time to write about it.

When I booked my vacation 6 months ago, I thought it would be a good idea to put Blizzcon in the middle, so I could participate in anything happening before or after. I didn’t expect to be flying East to New Jersey, then West to Anaheim, then East to New Orleans, then West home again. But it was worth it! And I did get to read a lot while in planes. I haven’t had time to read in so long, I was surprised I still remembered how.

Blizzcon was both a blast and a blur. I ran from panel to panel, from party to party, in hopes of seeing everyone and everything. During my past Blizzcons, I was all “COMMUNITY COMMUNITY COMMUNITY!”. This year, I barely socialized and spent most of my time enjoying the company of my guildies (of past and present).

I also stressed out a lot about the hotel. Like a lot! For the 4 months leading up to Blizzcon, my stomach was a knot and anyone who spent more than 5 minutes with me got an earful about how I was afraid the hotel would rip me off and about how I might disappoint my roommates and and and! To all of you, I am sorry! And I am pleased to say that everything worked out and no one got ripped off and my roommates were lovely and seemed happy.

It’s probably a surprise to those who know me only a little bit because my reputation as a carefree traveler precedes me, but the truth is, I stress just as much as the next person. Perhaps more. It takes me forever to make bookings, if I slip and make a mistake, it’s a tragedy, I spent a lot of time at night awake thinking about the things that could go wrong. And I don’t travel well at all. Flying makes my IQ plummet, screws up my sleep-wake cycle and makes me weepy and confused. But I do it anyway. Traveling is hard, it’s really really hard, but the payoff is worth it.

Anyway, I flew home Friday, in hopes of having a day off between then and going back to work on Sunday, but sadly, Alberta has been plagued with snowstorms and, consequently, sheer ice roads. I stayed with Fannon overnight, and spent all day Saturday driving home. Quite the harrowing experience, but I did make it back safely!

Blizzcon

There were, um, a lot of panels. I watched most of the WoW ones, which were interesting. I was happy to see how seriously they were taking the movie. I have hope that we’ll finally see a decent movie come from a video game. The new expansion is a little…well, we’ll see how it plays out. I don’t feel strongly about it because I don’t feel strong about WoW news until it hits me in the face and because it’s highly unlikely I’ll be playing with any seriousness in the next expansion.

I tried the demo. It was kinda fun. I was pleased until someone asked me what I thought of the new paladin abilities. Then it occurred to me that I didn’t even do the demo with a paladin. I just picked whatever happened to be highlighted on my screen, which ended up being a warlock. I’m such a bad blogger. (I also accidentally turned off the computer after I finished the demo, causing a lot of annoyance to the staff on site. I’m such a bad tester. I’m a bad warlock too. I spent more time running to my corpse then actually playing.)

Speaking of not playing the next expansion, my little heart broke a bit every time I’d excitedly start a sentence with “Next year/expansion/Blizzcon” only to remember that I have bigger plans in motion. I’m super excited about spending a year overseas, discovering a different world, but it’s harder than I expected to not see myself playing this game. It’s been so central in my life for the past 8 years. But it is time to move on. There’s a big world out there, and after that, I would like a family. There are also lots of lessons I’d like to take, other hobbies I’d like to experiment with and other work opportunities I’d like to explore, but that I haven’t been able to because the rare evenings I’m off work are tied up with raiding. Plus, I feel like my health is wavering. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t start moaning about how sleepy I was 2 hours into raid. And I raid super early. Until now, I wrote it off to spending up to 16 hours a day at work without so much as a pee break, but even on vacation, even after I was rested, I couldn’t do anything for more than a few hours at a time without sleep attacks. As my life becomes more and more of a struggle to stay awake, it seems like raiding probably isn’t the ideal after-work activity for me.

On the Blizzcon people side of things, despite my apprehensions, I absolutely loved my roommates (Anafielle, Kalesti and Ellumina). They were all so different and it was a pleasure to get to know each of them and hear their unique perspectives on WoW, on WoW players and on the convention. I also came across Elfie, Vidyala and Vosskah (I kept running into them everywhere…there’s a force that brings Alberta gamers together, I think!), Hestiah (who is so nice! She waited with me when I forgot to print my ticket confirmation and helped me find my friends when I got lost!), Jasyla, Rhidach and others that I don’t remember because OMG SO MANY AWESOME PEOPLE IN SO LITTLE TIME!

One of the highlights of the convention was the pally meetup (I think it was planned/promoted by Theck and Anafielle, thanks guys! You rock!). I wasn’t sure if holy pallies were invited, but I showed up anyway because I do that. I ended up running into Megacode and some of his guildies and a few other holy pallies. Here’s a picture of me and Megacode (all good Blizzcon posts should contain pictures).

holypallies2

And, of course, the guildies, with whom I spent most of my time. Both the Conquest crew and the Cadenza crew were fantastic. To the point where I wonder what I must have done in past lives to deserve having such awesome people in my current life. These people are what make Blizzcon so much fun. I don’t have to worry if I say stupid stuff (worse case scenario, they’ll get a good laugh at my expense), I don’t have to worry about being awkward or too nerdy, and well, I just don’t have to worry. It’s a welcome break from the pressures of the non-WoW people world. And the jokes are funny, and the beer flows, and the hours get so so so short. Oh, and this year especially, the food was good. With Conquest, the official guild meetup was held at a fun brewery, and Cadenza’s meetup was at a japanese barbeque. Both times I ate until I was about to burst! The choice of restaurant for each guild was pretty appropriate because the two different styles really reflected each guild’s very different (but equally delicious) cultures.

Pre/Post Blizzcon

I find it funny that people seem surprised that things went really well between the boy and I. I don’t know if it’s the internet thing, or the distance things, or my fierce independence, but every time I say “It was awesome!”, I get a reaction of “Really?”. You’d think they’d know me by now. I never do things the way I’m supposed to, and that includes dating.

Anyway, I got to meet his parents (he gets to meet mine over Christmas). They’re quite traditional and from a different culture, and even though I was preemptively briefed on proper protocol and stuff, I still panicked a little during the initial gift exchange. (“OMG WHAT DO I DO, WHAT DO I SAY, I WANT THEM TO LIKE ME!!!”) They seemed ok with me, though, and they were very nice, despite the fact that I was absolutely terrified. (Perhaps, even, it may have been the first time in my life where my ridiculous and disproportionate shyness came in handy.)

We went to New York city for two days and I got to see my first musical on Broadway! (I have seen Rent in the past, with the Broadway cast, but it was in Toronto so it doesn’t count.) Rock of Ages was most excellent, and OMG THEIR VOICES! Even though I went in expecting the best of the best singers in the genre, I was still blown away by how beautiful and breathtaking their voices are. I have so much trouble believing that this music was coming out of real human beings.

Our hotel in New York, The Paramount on Times Square, was pretty cool too. I’d been warned that hotel rooms are tiny in New York, and yeah, it was pretty small. The little bed barely fit in the room and I barely fit in the bathtub. But the location was awesome (RIGHT ON TIMES SQUARE!), the smart use to storage space gave me ideas (I have picture of how the towels were stored behind the bathroom mirror. Brilliant! I want that in my house.) and the design fit the Broadway ambiance. Got a good deal on it too. Barely 100$ for a 4 star hotel on Times Square? YES PLEASE! (Just to give you an idea, even the 2 star hotels at worse locations we looked at were above 300$/night.)

And we ate, and ate, and ate, and ate. I feel like all I did that trip was eat and sleep! We ate ramen (and I got an authentic New York experience of waiting an hour to get a table), Japanese buffet, Philly cheese steaks (we went all the way to Philly to get cheese steaks!), Italian pasta, Korean barbeque (where I met my guild/raid leader for the first time! He’s much less scary in person than online.), some Chinese homecooking (after all that restaurant food, it SO nice to eat some yummy homemade food!), Dim Sum and a few meals of Pho. I’m probably even forgetting something. After that leg of the trip, I think it was the first time in my life where I wasn’t sick and still didn’t feel like eating anymore.

After Blizzcon, we met up in New Orleans. Again, we ate a lot! I really enjoy cajun cooking so I led us from restaurant to restaurant until we were both worried about bursting. I made it to some live music at the Spotted Cat this time and we did the swamp tour, both things I regretted not doing last time I was in NOLA. We were really unlucky with the weather, though. It was so cold. Even for someone coming from Canada, it was freaking cold. As a result, we didn’t see much wildlife during the tour and I didn’t want to spend much time outside. We drank disappointingly very little alcohol because, seriously, who wants cold drinks when you’re freezing?

And that concludes the summery of my vacation

I got a lot of stuff done before I left on holidays and things have calmed down at work (most of my free time over the past three months was dedicated to writing this application for my work, hence the lack of WoW and pally-ing), so I finally have some time to myself. I actually sat on the couch this morning for, like, an hour. AND IT WAS GLORIOUS. I can seriously get used to this time to breath thing. So yeah, I’m hoping that this break from all the stress will help me write some more.

As for the next trip? Christmas at my parents house in Cape Breton. I can’t wait!

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Stats

November 2, 2012

Miss me much? I would have updated sooner, but I was too busy doing dailies.

(I actually kind of like not mind the dailies, but then my first three weeks of Mists coincided with a nightmare at my real life job. I was grateful to lose myself in dailies here and there, whenever I could spare a few hours.)

You and me, we’re going to play a little game called Can Ophelie churn out an entire MoP Paladin healing guide (which will undoubtedly be outdated before it is even finished) before flying off to Hawaii? I predict a lot of excitement and suspense. Ok, not really, but holy pally talk is always a good time.

Lighthearted comments aside, I’ve been meaning to write this for awhile, as I’ve been telling the many people who’ve asked for my advice. And you know that when people are resorting to asking an absent blogger who always was a little behind on the news, info the holy paladin world must indeed be scarce.

Surprisingly, things are not as dire as one may think: when I did my research for this series of posts, I found several very resourceful writers/bloggers that I wasn’t familiar with. These resourceful people need to start advertising!

I will share these secret links, but only AFTER my own guide is complete (unless references are necessary). So lets gets started.

Short Second Intro

I’m writing the posts in the order I would want to receive the information, if I were a newly 90 pally looking to get started with 5s. To my greatest satisfaction, this order also tends to coincide with the order that other pallies ask me questions in. Therefore we’ve got:

- Stats (with gems, enchants and reforging)
- Talents and Glyphs
- Basic healing (base spells)
- Intermediate healing (cooldown useage)
- Advanced healing (tricks and techniques)

This is the post on stats.

How Will I Know if My Stats Really Love Me?

This is the general consensus on holy paladin stats in MoP:

Spirit > Intellect > Mastery > Haste > Critical Strike

I say general consensus because healing is all about adapting to new situations, and because you’ll always find that one player who maxes out the least favoured spec and just rocks every fight that comes along. But, as my writing teachers always told me, make sure you master the ground rules before breaking them.

Lets have a closer look at these stats.

Spirit – We love you now

With our newly fixed mana pools and Intellect no longer affecting spell regen, your ol’reliable pal is now Spirit. Love it, stack it, show it off.

Especially at first, you’ll want to collect as much Spirit as you can. Try to pick up gear with Spirit on it, if you fail, reforge to Spirit. Enchant for Spirit when available, gem for Spirit.

As you gear up and feel less mana-starved, you can relax a little (but not much) and do things like gem for socket bonuses. But even at that, while a lot of pallies gem for socket bonuses, I still come across some high end holy paladins who ignore socket bonuses and go pure Spirit.

Intellect

Intellect is your strongest throughput stat. It’ll always be on your gear, so don’t let it keep you up at night.

I wouldn’t gem for pure Intellect, but if you do want to match a red socket bonus, a Purified stone (Intellect and Spirit) is pretty sexy.

There’s also some debate between Intellect food/flasks and Spirit food/flasks. I’ve tried both and didn’t notice much of a difference, but I do tend to prefer the Intellect stuff because, as Derevka details brilliantly here, point-per-point, Intellect costs more than Spirit, and thus 300 Intellect is much harder to acquire via gear than 300 Spirit. (Derevka explains it very well, so if you want to know more, I highly recommend his post.)

Mastery? But my Heals Are Taking Too Long!

Mastery has pretty much established its reign as our current top secondary stat. It’s been tried and tested and now all the cool kids are reforging to Mastery.

But I haven’t seen a whole lot of math backing this up (Getsu does do a very good job on his guide at MMO-Champion though), and I’m a translator, not a theorycrafter.

What our Mastery does (just in case you’re a new paladin) is put an absorb shield on your target whenever you heal them. Mastery affects the percentage (%) of the heal that becomes the shield and the shields do stack. There is a maximum strength the shield can reach, however, that seems to be dependent on Intellect (I experimented with some reforging and gear removing). Other than pre-shielding before a pull, though, it’s unlikely you’ll max out your Mastery shields. The shield is called Illuminated Healing, if you’re looking to track it, or find it on logs.

The nice things with Mastery are that it’s mana friendly, makes our overheals worthwhile (as a Divine Light-happy pally I get a lot of overheal) and it allows for a lot of strategic healing.

The complaint I hear most often about choosing Mastery over Haste is that it feels like spells take forever.

This actually gets a lot better as your gear level increases and Haste finds its way to you, but until then, unless you’re a highly competitive player, it’s totally viable to follow a “Haste until comfortable, then Mastery” rule. (I’ll admit I personally have a lot of trouble reforging away from Haste.)

A Summery just for you!

Enchants:

Head: None! Yay!
Shoulders: Greater Crane Wing Inscription (Crane Wing Inscription is the cheap alternative, but usually the inscriptions aren’t expensive. Scribes can use Secret Crane Wing Inscription)
Cloak: Enchant Cloak – Superior Intellect
Chest: Enchant Chest – Mighty Spirit (Glorious Stats can work too but I prefer Spirit)
Wrists: Enchant Bracer – Super Intellect (Mastery works too, if you’re cheap.)
Gloves: Enchant Gloves – Superior Mastery (Greater Haste is an alternative if you can’t give up Haste.)
Belt: Living Steel Belt Buckle
Pants: Greater Pearlescent Spellthread (Cheap alternative: Pearlescent Spellthread)
Boots: Enchant Boots – Pandaren’s Step (Again, Greater Haste if you’re stuck on Haste.)
Main Hand: Enchant Weapon – Jade Spirit (Cheap alternative: Windsong)
Off Hand: Enchant Off-Hand – Major Intellect

Gems:

Sparkling (Spirit) gems can be used in any socket, if you don’t care about bonuses.

Meta: Revitalizing or Ember Primal Diamond (Burning exists too, but it’s really not as good.)
Blue Socket: Sparkling (Spirit)
Red Socket: Purified (Intellect and Spirit)
Yellow Socket: Zen (Spirit and Mastery)

Consumables:

Food: Mogu Fish Stew (Way of the Pot – for Intellect, my preference) or Steamed Crab Surprise (Way of the Steamer – for Spirit)
Flask: Flask of the Warm Sun (Intellect – my preference) or Flask of Falling Leaves (Spirit)

Potions: Potion of Focus (if you have time to use it) and Master Mana Potion (for when there’s no time). Potion of the Jade Serpent (for Intellect boost) and Darkwater Potion (or any other running speed boost) have occasional situational use.

Stats in Action Notes

I went into heroic 5s without paying too much attention to my stats (I even forgot to reforge some pieces to Spirit) and I did fine. So I wouldn’t stress about finding Best-in-Slot gear right from the getgo. Start by getting the best Intellect plate you can, to increase all your stats. Once you’re comfortable with your mana and the strength of your heals, you can start funneling toward better itemization.

Raiding requires a crapton (which is more than just a ton) more mana regen than 5s, mainly because the fights are 3x times longer. Don’t be surprised if your previously never ending mana bar gives you a wakeup call after you make the jump. In terms of differences between 10s and 25s, I didn’t feel much regarding stats. I feel them equally mana demanding, and Mastery tends to be the preferred secondary stat for both types of raiders.

LRF, as opposed to typical raiding, depends on how much effort you put into the fights. I run out of mana in LFR, but I like to pad the meters. The healers who tend to just stand there (typically LFR consists of 2 active healers and 4 healers who just stand there) are always at full mana.

AND THAT CONCLUDES STATS! Back to teh dailies!

Shared Topic: Leave of WoW Absense

February 4, 2010

Eek! I’m doing a Shared Topic and it’s not Friday night/Saturday! What’s wrong with me? I’m never ahead of schedule like that!

So this week, Nim from Ankh = Life suggested the Shared Topic. He (I think it’s a he!) has recently recovered from a month without WoW (we are glad for his recovery and return) and, in true WoW blogger style, began reflecting on what he did with is time away from WoW, then asked what other WoW players do when they’re away from the game.

I recently wrote about how I deal (dealing badly is still dealing!) without the game, but perhaps I could talk a bit about some of the things I like to do when I’m not playing WoW. BECAUSE I DO LIKE TO DO NON WOW THINGS SOMETIMES OKAY!

1- Getting Involved at School

Yes, even when I’m not playing video games, I’m a nerd. What started off as a ploy to keep busy during my four extra years of school and maybe help with my excessive shyness (HAHAHAHA) backfired. I fell in love with my national student association and found myself dedicating increasing amounts of time to it. While I still get nauseous and shakey at the thought of making phone calls, I discovered that I really enjoy the administrative side of running a local chapter of a national association. Among other things, I’ve had the opportunity to plan a Career Fair, to travel around Canada to meet incredible, inspirational people and to be involved in the writing of an official position statement.

I never thought in a million years that I’d enjoy it this much. I have the lingering feeling that once I graduate, I’ll find myself screwing up election speeches for the grown up version of our national student association.

2- Gastronomy

I’ll admit it, I love delicious food, all sorts of delicious food. I read cookbooks before I go to sleep at night. I spend tons of money on groceries and restaurants. Upon making friends with people from other cultures, the first thing I ask them is about their ethnic food and could they share some recipes, please, please, please. When I travel, I judge cities by their restaurants. I’m not big on loud gatherings with lots of people, but food parties and potlucks are the exception.

Typically, when I tell people about my food obsession, I get the following response: “OMG! How can you love food and stay thin?

It’s actually quite simple. Good food is either:
1) Freaking expensive
2) A lot of effort to make
3) All of the above

Considering that I’m both a poor starving student and really busy all the time, calories are never an issue. I live in an area where uncommon ingredients aren’t easy to find either, which is another limit to my indulgence.

3- Traveling

Typical scene in my life:

Guildie X: Guildie Y is coming to visit me this weekend!
Me: OMG! I’m so jealous! I really want to hang out with you guys. Um…would you mind if I come too?
Guildie X: Sure, if you want.

They never believe that I’ll actually do it and get all shocked when I call them from the airport a few days later. I’m the queen of discount plane tickets and last minute plans. Yes, I have financial constraints like everyone else, but I’m pretty good at working a budget and traveling cheap.

I love youth hostels!

I also have a killer sense of direction in real life (unfortunately, this gift does not extend to video games…um…which side is Festergut’s right again?), a more or less photographic memory when it comes to maps (I find myself giving directions to locals all the time) and knack for getting myself (and others) out of trouble. I’m fearless and I get this crazy rush whenever I’m on a trip, so I have quite the extensive repertoire of freaky travel stories.

4- Reading

When I travel, I always keep a book in my purse. I don’t get the chance to read much in my regular life but, since I can’t stand pesky people cramping my style, when I’m on the go, I spend a lot of time on my own. Airports, public transit, meal times, evenings are made much more enjoyable with a trusty pocketbook on hand.

I’m absolutely crazy about Nick Hornby. I’ve even come to refer to various trips by the name of the Hornby book I was reading at the time. Also, High Fidelity is my breakup book. Whenever I’m bummed about a breakup, I pull out my (very used) copy of High Fidelity, tear through it in a few hours and automatically feel better.

A series by a different author that I enjoy as well is the Kushiel series by Jacqueline Carey. I have to admit that I wasn’t able to get into her other works (I am dying to get my hands on her Namah series, though!) but her graceful narration in Kushiel is such a treat. Even if the story wasn’t amazing (and it is amazing), the characters not likable (and they are very likable), Kushiel is worth reading for the narration alone.

5- Drinking coffee


Coffee and I have an interesting relationship. For one, I’m most likely allergic to something in most types of coffee. I’ve become good at knowing which coffees will be gentle on my lymph nodes, but I’ve spent many painful days experimenting! I’m also pretty sensitive to caffeine. I get the shakes, the sweats, the palpitations when I drink coffee.

You would think that someone with an anxious personality like me would hate that, but I don’t. I love it! It makes me feel sooo happy, like I’m excited about something. Beyond the physical boost, I love the act of drinking coffee. Coffee drinking is a very social experience and, unlike social experiences like bars or rowdy parties, it encourages conversation and (this is probably just me being weird) creates a feeling of intimacy. I’m not the most social person in the world, but I love discussion.

Furthermore, I do love to mix business and pleasure. Since I associate coffee shops and coffee drinking with happiness, friendship and thinking, I find myself doing most of my work from my favorite shop. And it helps. When I graduate, I’m considering sharing my diploma with Hava Java as this degree is definitely a team effort!

See! I do other things than play Wow!

If you now think I’m even more of a nerd that you suspected, well, you’re probably right. But it’s ok, I’m a happy nerd. I had to pick my five favorite things to do outside the game because I’m so wordy, but no worries, I don’t limit myself to 5 non WoW activities!

To see how others spend their non WoW time, be sure to check out the thread at Blog Azeroth!

Notes:
The gastronomy pictures was taken from http://www.losinj-croatia.com/island-losinj/gastronomie-gastronomy-gastronomija-gastronomia
The youth hostel picture is from my personal collection and was taken in the Hostelling International Hostel in Santa Monica, California.
The Coffee picture was taken from http://fredericpatenaude.com/


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