Posted tagged ‘shared topic’

Shared Topic: What sort of Boss would you be?

February 20, 2010

This week’s Shared Topic is another of those creative types! Sephrenia from Guild Mum asks, if we were a raid boss, what sort of boss would we be? Check out the thread at Blog Azeroth to see how everyone else answered the topic!

If you are looking for my boss form, you can find her roaming the streets of undead Stratholme, exploring the corners and grieving for all those who have fallen to the Scourge.

As for her appearance, I have to say, I’ve always felt a deep connection with the gigantic women bosses in WoW. Bosses like the Maiden of Virtue in Kara or Maiden of Grief in Halls of Stone. I suppose being the tallest kid in school most of my life has taught me to empathize with other tall ladies.

Except for instead of that silly staffmace thingy, I would totally be smacking the main tank with my Giant Spoon. My emotes would be along the lines of “Do you want the spoon? DO YOU WANT IT????

Me, though, I’m used to working with small children. My summer/part time jobs have always involved teaching or being a camp counselor. See, I happen to love kiddie games. If I were a boss, a big part of my mechanics would involve a favorite game of mine:

Every minute, I call out a number between 2 and 5. Raiders have a few seconds to group up according to that number. For example, if I call out three, they have to get into groups of three. Anyone who isn’t in a group of the correct number would be transformed into a stone figurine and stored on my shelf.

I squeal with glee at the drama that would arise from guilds deciding who will have to be sacrificed first.

Another of my featured mechanics would be my unrequited love of singing. As much as I enjoy singing at the top of my lungs, singing, unfortunately, does not enjoy me. Nor does the raid, as they flee in terror and attack each other every time my boss-self bursts into song.

Since I don’t want to be a one tank fight, I would have a chance on hit to put a “submissive” debuff on the tank every time I wack him. Once the debuff reaches a stack of 5, that player becomes completely submissive and must do my bidding. Think madness on the Yogg fight. To avoid becoming my slave, the tanks must taunt me back and forth.

I guess I should give the raid healers a little something to do as well. I’ll admit, I’d love to have fire summoning skills. Whenever my frustration builds up too much….bang! Half the raid gets hit by my angry fireball of doom! Hey, don’t want those non-pally healers to be bored!

As for loot…

Loot is always touchy. I would drop a Giant Spoon, for sure. In case you were wondering, a Giant Spoon is a 2-hander that’s classified as a mace. Otherwise, I would drop trinket. Wonderful, awesome, lovely trinkets that do nothing but be cool. Along the lines of the Deputy Pa’trolla Badge or the Super Simian Sphere.

Oh, I suppose I could drop a mount and a pet, just so that people would venture to my lair to kill me. I’m thinking of a pretty, flying mount. The style of the gorgeous Ashes of Al’ar comes to mind. As for a pet, I adore the Ammen Vale Lashling, but that already exists… Maybe a slightly more aggressive flower. A carnivorous plant that gobbles down critters. Oh yeah!

So what do you say? Do you have what it takes to defeat the Bossy Pally and her Giant Spoon?

Shared Topic: A Conversation With Your Character

February 10, 2010

(Or in the spirit of Love is in the Blog, this post is also titled “Love Is In My Character”)

Me: So Azryu from The Arcanery proposed this week’s Shared Topic.
Rykga: Never heard of him.
Me: Oh, I have, he writes about mages. He’s just not on our server. Anyway, he wants to see one of our conversations.
Rykga: No, he doesn’t.
Me: True, but he doesn’t know that he doesn’t.
Rykga: You should share the one we had during couples therapy.
Me: That was my initial plan. But after thinking about it I decided the world is better off not knowing about that.
Rykga: Shame. That was good times.
Me: For you maybe. Anyway, you should check out everyone elses’ conversations. The links are in the thread at Blog Azeroth.

So my girl and I have an interesting relationship. And by interesting, I mean deep and fulfilling. She might beg to differ. Oh, heck, I know she would demand to differ. She’s quick /hug her fellow guildies, but she’s a little colder with me. It’s ok, I know we’re BFFs. Just take a look at us on a typical Friday night in Azeroth.

Me: Oh hai, I need some retail therapy, you in?
Rykga: Do I have a choice?
Me: How much do we have?
Rykga: 64 badges.
Me: Wooooooooo.
Rykga: /tar Ophelie
Rykga: /rolleyes

We’re always there for each other, no matter what. We spend long hours talking about our hopes and our dreams, our successes and our failures.

Me: I’m really upset. Why wasn’t I invited to the no pants party?
Rykga: That ability isn’t ready yet.
Me: I’m always excluded from stuff like that. I wasn’t invited to the epic mount party either.
Rykga: It’s too far away.
Me: I feel much better now, thanks for listening to me rant.
Rykga: Not enough room.

Even though we’re super tight, she does get a bit girly on me at times.

Rykga: If you ever quit the game, would you abandon me or leave me at the mercy of a stranger?
Me: That sounds like a trick question.
Rykga: It is.
Me: I appreciate your honesty.
Rygka: At least you appreciate something about me.

I forgive her for it though, I have my girly moments too.

Me: So, say if we hadn’t met in Northshire Abbey and you’d have met another player instead of me. Would you have gone with them instead?
Rykga: I guess so.
Me: So that’s all I am to you? The first person who came along?
Rykga: Um.

Rykga: I guess so.

I’m often asked if we fight. We don’t very often, but there is the occasional disagreement. When that happens, we sit down and talk it out.

Me: Those Beer Basted Boar Ribs look delicious.
Rykga: They are delicious! They’re soooo good. I bet you want some! You want some but you can’t have any! BAAAAM!!!
Me: So unfair.
Rykga: Yep.
Me: Wanna go jump on tables in the beer garden?
Rykga: Sure.

Some people may call our relationship unhealthy, but they clearly don’t get us. Rykga and I, we’re best kind. We don’t need words. Mouse clicks and button mashing is enough for us to communicate. We understand each other, almost as if we were the same person. Because, in a way, we kind of are.

Rykga: Ok, that was fun. Can we go kill stuff now?

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!

The gastronomy pictures was taken from
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

Shared Topic: Surviving PvE as a Melee DPS

January 29, 2010

Oh dear, another shared topic that’s out of my reach. Not because I’ve never played a melee DPS- I do go retribution once in a blue moon. It’s rather because every time I wave a two-hander around, my screen immediately looks like this:

Never fear, though, for through these extremely enriching and mind opening experiences, I have learned a thing or two about surviving in the PvE world as a (dead) melee DPS! When your face spends more time on the floor than staring at boss crotches, your beloved teammates begin to trample your dead self with insults and threats. You see the line “You have been removed from the group” more often than you read Chuck Norris, anal and gay bar jokes in trade chat. Your illustrious Guild/Raid/Melee DPS leader pulls you aside and explains that you must either learn to stay alive or leave the guild. Yes, it’s very difficult to survive PvE as a (dead) melee DPS. Fortunately, I know how to do it.

I’m excited to share with you today my take on Skip‘s Shared Topic suggestion. 5 Tips Surviving PvE as a (dead) Melee DPS is what I’ll call it. For more technical, more insightful and clearly less useful takes on the topic, I strongly urge you to check out the thread on Blog Azeroth.

Now down to business:

1- Get a “HEAL!!!!111one!” Macro

Sample of heal macros:

/s Heal!!
/y Heal!!
/g Heal!!
/p Heal!!
/ra Heal!!
/bg Heal!!

You can use one, several or, preferably, all of those lines in your heal macro.

Next, drag your macro down to your bars, or hotkey it, or mousebind it, however you happen to play the game. Just insert this macro into your regular rotation and all will be good. Every healer you encounter will thank you for it! There’s nothing healers appreciate more than being reminded that you exist and require heals.

2- Train Your Mind: Upon Dying, Your First Thought Should Always be “Who Can I Blame?”

This is an extremely important reflex. Your teammates, they are quick to yell at you the second your face hits the floor. They’ll blabber nonsense like “why can’t you get out of the fire?”, “control your aggro!”, “learn to play!” and a few lines that don’t meet the PG-13 rating of this blog. To get you started, here are some examples of people you can blame:

The Healer(s): Obviously they weren’t paying attention to your macro. Or to your health bar. When in doubt, blaming the healer(s) is a safe bet.

The Tank(s): If you suspect you were killed by a mob, then it must mean your tank(s) couldn’t carry aggro in a bucket! Quickly inform them of this. If you group with them again, be sure to call out “bucket check!” before the first (or every) pull.

The Last Person Who Was Targeted by a Boss Ability Before You Died: Another fair bet, the last person getting Legion Flamed or targeted by Orange Goo must not have reacted quickly enough and killed you. It’s important to call this out on vent, using the most accusatory tone you can muster. If your teammates do not believe you, just repeat yourself, speaking louder. They’ll believe you eventually.

The Raid/Party Leader: They didn’t tell you to move or stop attacking! They need to learn to communicate better. Inform them of this.

Blizzard: This fight is fundamentally discriminatory against ret paladins. It was designed for you to die and rack up a repair bill. So what if the other retribution paladin survived? They just got lucky with the RNG. Or they’ve got connections with Blizzard.

Your ISP/Computer: This is the lamest excuse, but when all else fails… There’s not a whole lot they can say when confronted with your enthusiasm for raiding but current difficult financial situation forbidding you from purchasing a new computer or switching to a reasonble ISP. Make sure you never let your guildmates know when you buy a new computer or they’ll suspect something. Lag lag lag lag. How you’ve gotten me out of trouble over and over and over again!

3- Heroics: Kick Them Before They Kick You

If you read blogs at all (and if you’re reading this, obviously you do), you know that kicking is common practice in random heroics. Heck, if you’re a melee DPS who dies often, you’ve likely experienced this firsthand. A lot. Therefore, it’s important to watch that little “dungeon finder” debuff. As soon as it runs out, vote to kick whoever seems like they’d be the most problematic. That mage who does too much DPS. The snarky healer who expects you to eat after a rez. If everyone is silent in the group, vote to kick whoever happens to have the highest gear score. (Note: Gearscore is an absolutely essential addon when it comes to survival as a dead melee DPS.) Gear with the green “heroic” label on them also warrants an insta-kick.

4- Run a Lot of Heroics to Get Your GS Up

As mentioned in my last point, if you’re to survive as a dead melee DPS, you need to get the Gearscore (GS) addon. Then, just chain heroic after heroic. As you accumulate badges, purchase T9, T10 and other gear from the vendors. Don’t worry about spreadsheets or potential DPS or whatever. You’re dead all the time, so who cares about that? You can even buy offspec gear if you feel like it. The point is to get the highest ilvl gear possible.

Once your GS is close to or above 5k, advertise it in trade chat. 5.3k GS pally LF good group daily random! At the beginning of each instance, be sure to point out everyone’s GS, especially if its lower than yours. If anyone criticizes you for dying, point out that you have 5k GS and are clearly amazing.

5- Talk. Constantly. I mean, Constantly.

It has been brought to my attention that chatty rogues are not a phenomenon exclusive to my guild. In fact, they are fairly common. Why? Because, rogues, in their squishy, squishy leather, die all the time and have learned to attract attention elsewhere. Your death will be completely forgotten if the raid is suddenly busy listening to you argue with the rogues over set bonuses. Or criticizing the positioning on the current boss. Or rambling about whether Sunday night is a good time for an alt run. Or sharing who would win if Taylor Swift and Beyoncé got into a jello wrestling match.

And there you go. Armed with this information, you are now fit to survive in the harsh, cruel world of PvE as a (dead) melee DPS! All thank you messages can be directed with donations to my (imaginary) paypal account.

Shared Topic: After Arthas

January 23, 2010

This week’s shared topic was suggested by Ringo Flinthammer from Flinthammer Hall. Taking on a very lore-focused approach, he invited us to speculate about what happens to us, our characters, our races, our factions, our world Azeroth after we defeat Arthas, the Lich King.

Ouch. Overwhelmed, but not one to turn down a challenge, I typed “arthas” into my google search bar. Yes, I’m coming from far. Unlike Zan and Littlebark who’ve shared links to their takes on the topic in the Blog Azeroth thread, I have no RP background. I find WoW lore interesting, but my knowledge of it is very limited. It just won’t stick with me.

I considered writing about what would happen to me as a player after Arthas dies. It came out as: “Well, I’ll do hard modes with my guild, polish up my paladin as much as possible, maybe find time to experiment with an alt or two.”

Rather anti-climactic.

So what’s up with this Arthas person? After scrying through WoWwiki, I summerized what I would need to know to think about after Arthas. Since I’m positive that I’m not the only lore n00b on the internet, here’s what I discovered.


Shared Topic: Looking Back

January 11, 2010

After what feels like forever, the Shared Topics are back from their holiday vacation! I wonder if I still remember how to do them.

Speaking of remembering, this week’s topic involves looking back to the beginning of Wrath and everything that we felt and thought during that time. It was proposed by Jaedia from the Lazy Sniper and, of course, you can find a link to her take as well as to all the other participants’ takes in the thread on Blog Azeroth.

Looking back to my first memory of Wrath…

The first morning of Wrath I was actually sitting in Blade’s Edge, trying to solo a group quest. Well, I wasn’t sitting there, but my character was. I, the player, in my room, was feeling pretty bummed about my solitude in Blade’s Edge. The rest of clique, my partners in crime, were online. Their locations read Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra. I wasn’t sure where those were, but I was pretty sure they were somewhere I couldn’t get to.

See, I was trying to be good. The fall semester of second year pharmacy school is the brutal one. 7 or 8 difficult courses, over 30 hours of classes a week and more than that in study time…I didn’t have time to obsess about grinding 10 levels. Besides, money was super tight and video games are an expendable luxury. I was worried about passing and about not starving to death.

But I was sitting alone in Outlands with all my friends away in Northrend, happily grouping and laughing and holding hands while prancing gaily through meadows of flowers.

Author's impression

No time or money.


All alone in Outlands.

Two hours later I was installing my copy of Wrath. I would have installed it sooner, but it takes awhile to get to the mall and back.

I remember respeccing to retribution. I remember things dying all around me and squeeling with glee. I mean, me squeeling in glee, not the things dying around me.

I remember being impressed by the quest diversity. Sure, there were the “bring me 3439483 ears” quests, but there were also vehicle quests, cut-scene quests, riding on missiles quests and torture quests. Yeah. Torturing someone with a needle until they passed out was a little, um, you know, but it was pretty original. I can safely say, before that day, I had never tortured someone in WoW with a needle until they passed out before.

My favorite moments, though, involved stepping into the new instances.

See, this was theoretically my first expansion. I started playing long before BC, but the first max level I reached was 70. When I started running dungeons with guildies, it went kind of like this:

“Now you pull this group.”

“Now you turn right.”

“Now you pull that group.”

“Now watch out for the pat.”

Kinda bland, really.

When Wrath came out, suddenly I was allowed to explore instances at my own pace. My friends were just as unfamiliar with them as I was. Together, we discovered the paths through Nexus. Together, we were confused by the Prophet Tharon’ja fight in Drak’Theron Keep. Together, we gasped as we fell a looooong way through the hole in Azjol-Nerub.

There was no one to tell us what to do, what to expect. We had to tell ourselves what to do and see what happened. We compared impressions and laughed at our mistakes.

We learned quickly, so the magic was short lived. Still, looking back, I’d have to say that those first few weeks of Wrath were probably the most enjoyable in my WoW life.

In the end, I didn’t regret buying Wrath. I still passed my semester, paid rent, didn’t starve and had a really good time leveling to 80. Which goes to show that I probably try to be masochistic for no reason.

* * *

On a completely different note, please take notice of the out-of-office sign.

I’ll be away at a conference until next Monday with very limited net access. Seriously, I’m staying at the only hotel in the country that doesn’t have free wi-fi. I’ll try to make a decent post during the week, but if I fail, rest assure that I haven’t fallen off the face of the earth and abandoned my blog.

Shared Topic: Guild Retention Strategies

December 6, 2009

I’ll admit, I had a dilemma this week. I could spend my Saturday night writing my part in this week’s Shared Topic. Or I could quit stalking people on Twitter and spend my night making a pretty account so I can follow people without feeling like a total creep. It was touch and go for awhile. Then I realized that I’d probably end up with a total of 4 followers on Twitter, 3 of which will be IRL friends and the fourth a random bot which would make me feel like an internet failure. Then I also realized that I’d probably have to answer tweets and stuff and I have enough on my hands with the one time a month I log onto Facebook. So the Shared Topic it is.

The week’s topic was again a courtesy of Windsoar from Jaded Alt who pointed out that in this era of player interest recession, guild retention strategies are something to think about. Links to the other participants’ (well, right now it’s still participant’s) post(s) can be found on Blog Azeroth as linked in the above paragraph. As you may have noticed, I’m skating more than usual this week. I mean, this topic is HUGE. Plus, having recently (because a month is totally recent tyvm) left an old guild for a new one, I have guild stuff on the mind way more than I’d like and I’m sure those of you who read this blog are sick of hearing about it.


These days, everyone and their cat has a sudden renewed interest in the offline world, which can be a pain for the rest of us who still want to do 25 man raids a few times a week. What is there to do? The annoying answer is: the same as before. You have to use the same tactics to keep players around as you did back when Wrath was shiny. The only difference now is that you have to use them. So lets break it down to the different levels of membership and my personal and biased suggestions to keep them motivated. Some of these are applicable to officers, some are applicable to anyone and some are not so serious (but still quite valid!).


Shared topic: Of PTRs and News Websites

November 28, 2009

It’s time for another shared topic! This week, the excellent Windsoar of Jaded Alt asks about our thoughts concerning the PTR and all the news it generates. Does having all upcoming information on hand spoil the game? Check out other responses on Blog Azeroth!

Aww look, I downloaded the PTR client, just for you guys

I’m going to share my honest, honest, honest opinion here. I’m taking a page from Rajjs‘ book and say that, as hard as I try, I can’t bring myself to care. Last week, my blog feed showed me angry blogger after angry blogger, up in arms about gated progression. At least, it looked like they were angry. I wasn’t able to hold my attention past the pictures and first line of each. I wanted to share the feeling, I wanted to yell “OMG ITS THE END OF WOW” and burn my keyboard over it, after all, I’m all about fitting in. I don’t fit in, though, at least not in that respect. For me, until I’ve experienced something first hand, it’s not real.

It’s my personality. I’m the same way about anything. In the hallway before a practical exam, my classmates are reeling in fear. I watch them squirm, wishing I was nervous too. My nerves don’t kick in until my hand touches the doorknob. Once my brain registers “the beginning”, I sweat and shake and say stupid things like everyone else, but not a second before. Same goes for fun things. I love travel. I mean, I LOVE to travel. I’d live my entire life out of my backpack if I could get away with it. Yet, an hour before any grand departure, I’m still reluctantly packing, whining about the hassle and god why the hell did I decide that it would be a good idea to fly across the continent again. The magic begins when I get in the cab. Finally! It’s real and I can’t be happier.

I remember trying to write about emblem changes way back. I’m not even going to link it, it’s that embarrassing. Surely, I would have something to say about it! I must, I must! But I wrote the whole thing coldly and my conclusion can be summed up by one word: meh. It took a week or two after 3.2 for me to think, “Yeah. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I like that.”

Ok, so what does that have to do with knowing about instances, boss fights and loot tables before they go live?

Well, for one, I’m not going to actively look them up. They’re not real to me, I don’t care about them. If I do hear spoilers or see pictures, they won’t register. When I watch boss videos or read guides to prepare for a fight, I even have to take notes otherwise I don’t recall a thing. I have to live it to believe it.

Oh! but how I do love going into fights blind, observing and trying to figure out what’s going on. I remember the first two weeks of Wrath, experiencing the new instances, poking the new bosses with sticks to see how they’d react, laughing at our silliness… That was such a happy WoW time. In the past, I have looked for a guild that did boss fights blind, but found none. I do my raid homework only because I’m part of a team and there’s no good in being the only clueless person on that team. I probably would be a good candidate for PTR fun but I’ve never tried because…because… I’ve just…never tried.

And loot tables? Uggg, don’t bore me with loot talk! To me, loot is means to an end. I want to raid and I want things to die. I need X, Y, Z in order to raid and for things to die. Ok, fine, lets get X, Y, Z. There are exceptions and I do have some sentimental pieces stowed in my bank. What makes those pieces special, though, are the circumstances of their acquisition and not their mere existence. Do you know when I look up loot tables? Do you? Do you, really? It’s when I get asked what I need from somewhere and I don’t want to look like an idiot. Not a second before. (EDIT: Because there might be some new 80s reading this and getting the wrong idea, yes, I did read loot tables when I was first gearing up for Naxx. When you need to make large, quick upgrades, there’s no way around it.)

I must admit that I do enjoy listening to people talking about upcoming changes. I like listening to the guys on vent, I like listening to podcasts, I like to see which blog addresses which topics. What really interests me, however, is what person X feels strongly about as opposed to person Y. How does that fit together with their personality and how they play the game? Absolutely fascinating!

Who doesn't recognise the MMO Champion Logo?

I’m quite sure I’m in a minority among serious players. Good WoW news sites get tons and tons of traffic. Even I get a lot of search engine hits from people looking for news (I bet they‘re disappointed!). There’s always a lot of excitement, anger and other varying emotions buzzing when changes are announced or discovered. I would say that, as a general rule, the PTR and news sites add to the gaming experience.

Does the PTR and the news it generates take away from some people’s enjoyment of the game? Maybe. Some people love surprises on patch day. Some people, like me, love learning boss fights firsthand but can’t because they need to keep up with their teams. However, my thought on this is that if you need to learn things the hard way that badly, then perhaps an MMO isn’t the right kind of game for you.

On a side note, I do want mention that I loosely keep track of paladin changes throughout the patch testing, but it’s more to avoid panic on patch day than anything else. After a change, I want to be polished up and ready to go as soon as possible. I am what I am, but I don’t think it’s an excuse to be any less of a player.

I still try to care, I really do, but I don’t think there’s any hope. Sometimes I feel a smidge of guilt about not being more in the know. Just a tiny smidge. After all, it’s a pretty big game and there are other things to talk about than upcoming changes. There’s no rule that says “you must care about changes to game X amount of time before they go live”, so yeah. To each our own.

Shared topic: Best Change to the Game

November 18, 2009

I’m really having fun with these shared topics. They kind of feel like a creative writing course assignment, but with an interesting topic instead of a crappy one. I get to work my imagination, then compare notes with others afterward. I find the exercise to be quite beneficial, and I’ve discovered some awesome blogs in the process. /end testimony

So this week’s topic is Best Change to the Game, proposed by Lathere from Hots&Dots. My first reaction was along the lines of “OMG you want me to pick just ONE?” I thought about a lot of convenient changes, like easing the leveling between 1-60, allowing flight in Outlands to level 60 characters. I thought about tiny changes that you wouldn’t notice unless you read patch notes (Patch 1.8 – Due to popular demand the general goods vendor in Undercity now sells Morning Glory Dew.) But there is one change that had a major, major, major impact on me.

Patch 3.1.0
Players level 40 and higher will now be able to visit their trainer to pay a one-time fee and access the dual talent specialization feature.

Yes, everyone likes Dual Specs, blablabla. You don’t understand. Let me go over this a bit. My paladin’s stats list me at 50 respecs. I’m not sure, but I think that number only covers my number of respecs since stats were implemented. I make a point of being as up to date and skilled as possible in my three talent trees, plus I also experiment with PvP specs when I’m feeling adventurous. Some people build alts to experience other sides of the game, I bend and twist my paladin any way I can. I can live with keeping several sets of gear current and polished. In fact, I affectionately say that I prefer building dps sets over actually using them. But! Several times a week, having to pay for respecs, having to redo my bars and spell bindings? Gross! It was such a huge waste of gold and time.

The day dual specs came out, the sun shone a little brighter. My gaming spirits were lifted. I was overcome with relief and satisfaction as the dual spec achievement flashed on my screen.

The first few times I made use of my dual spec in a raid setting, I would call it out on vent: “Hang on guys, I need to respec. Hang on, hang on, ooooooooh, done!” I probably annoyed the crap out of everyone, flaunting my bispectuality around (I don’t get credit for this expression, but I like it so much that I have included it into my everyday WoW vocabulary), but can you blame me? After long, painful respecs for years (slight exaggeration), I just felt so happy and liberated and needed to share that with my raidmates. I’m sure they would have done the same.

Since then, I’ve usually kept my specs as raid tanking/bubble holy, but depending on who’s around, I’ve messed with other combinations. Being in a casual guild for most of Wrath, our raid roster was different every night and, on many occasions, spec flexibility played a huge part in successfully getting a good 25 man raid on the go as well as keeping many people happy in our 10 mans. It was a relief for those who wanted to experiment with different roles but didn’t have the time or motivation to level another character. While there were some loot concerns among the officers before dual specs went live, it was actually beneficial. Offsets meant less stuff got sharded, and we didn’t have to put alt runs together to make sure we had some geared backup healers/tanks/dps. As I hinted to earlier, our mains could be their own alts.

Is Dual Spec perfect? Hell no. WTF, only two specs? I *still* have to respec fairly often. I can’t have two PVE healing specs, two tanking specs, a ret spec and two PVP specs all at the same time. (Me? Demanding? No wai!) But it’s so much better than before. My WoW life is significantly improved. Thank you Dual Talent Specialization.

Shared topic: Relationships within Azeroth

November 3, 2009

This is my first time doing a shared topic. If I did shared topics all the time, I would write “as usual, I’m using this shared topic as a starting point but am totally going to derail.” Since I’ve never done a shared topic before I can’t say that. But I’ll derail anyway.

So “Relationships within Azeroth”, courtesy of Naithin from Tank’n’Tree.

As your friendly local amateur anthropologist, I jumped on this topic. I had this great informative post planned out to help the many people I’ve run into in WoW who were experiencing a common confusion. It was all about how to tell the different between eHarmony and WoW. Unfortunately for people who don’t actually play WoW but use it exclusively to flirt with the opposite gender everywhere, I decided to quit my beloved guild of two years and moved on to a guild that seemed to better fit what I want out of the game. So instead of an lovely, not snarky at all, educational article, you get a sappy post about getting attached to guildies.

Around my family, I’m not allowed to refer to people I know online as “friends”. “They’re not friends, they’re epals” my mother says. I don’t talk to my family all that often, but I’ve been careful to use the term “people I game with”. But are the people I game with friends? I don’t know them very well. I know bits of their personality – whether they’re fast or slow learners, perfectionist or not, quiet or loud. Some of them, I know about parts of their life, I know what they do for a living, I hear funny stories about their kids. And I care when something great or something bad happens to them. After all, these are the people I hear on vent night after night as we fight dragons and sometimes each other. When I was an officer, I’d run down to the library on my breaks to toss some emails back and forth with the other officers. Day after day. For so many hours in our lives, we laughed together, worked out strategies together and cheered each other up when our strategies didn’t work as expected. Whether I really knew them or not, I got attached.

When I said goodbye, I tried to do it the right way, being all polite and offering to pay back anything I owed them. I said we could stay friends. All those things I do at the end of a romantic relationship. OMG I broke up with my guild!

While I knew it was time to move on, I couldn’t stop the memories from playing in my head:
My first raid.
When I was learning to play a paladin and my class leader asked me what stats I was looking for to which I answered “spirit”.
The first time I got through Lurker without being killed by the spout.
The first time I got pissed off that others were STILL dying to spout on Lurker.
When we had a naked dance party in Magtheridon’s Lair for an hour because one of our healers went offline and we had no replacement.
Our drunken Kara nights.
When our warlock put me on ignore for pugging a heroic and I then went out of my way to make sure he died at every opportunity.
My first BG.
Our awful Arena teams (“dead before you are” and “5 dead guys”).
When we celebrated my birthday in Mount Hyjal.
When one of our priests decided she’d teach me to tank in Shadow Labs. In my healing gear.
When I discovered you could ride in the robots on the way to Mimiron (I bet those who were there that night still have my squeals of glee ringing in their heads)

And those are just some in-game ones. Meeting face to face with some of my Azeroth “epals” was also very memorable. For those of you who’ve never met an online friend before, here’s what it’s like: you have a stranger in front of you, that you’ve never seen before in your life. Then out of that stranger’s body comes a familiar voice. That voice talks about familiar things with a familiar train of thought. It’s the weirdest and coolest experience ever.

Less pleasant, but fortunately much rarer, memories occurred too, however, in retrospec, most of the conflicts that happened seem so silly.

Are the relationships within Azeroth different from real life ones? Yes. I find my online friendships to be much more “in my head”, if that makes any sense. Imagination and personal perception have a larger role than in my offline friendships which are more “in my face”. I do much more overanalysing of my online frienships and I get way more anxious about them because there’s so much left to the imagination. But some things are the same. The same personality traits bug me online and offline and the personality traits that I admire are the same as well. I care about my friend’s happiness and sadness the same whether they’re online or offline. I’m just as sensitive to rejection in the online world as I am in the real world. And I can have the same amount of fun with an online friend as I can with an offline friend (however I *do* need to mix it up, too much online sends my imagination into overdrive and too much offline exhausts me!).

As I say my tearful goodbyes to my guild, I’m filled with mixed feelings. On one hand, I’m excited to meet new people and have a refreshing environment. On the other, I’m reminded of the good times, of the caring, of the laughter. I feel bad for letting down those who tried so hard to keep me happy. I even cried a few times yesterday. Yes, cried for probably losing touch with people in a video game. I’m a huge sap, but it’s ok, I’m sure some people still love me anyway.

That’s the story of my relationships within Azeroth. Tune in next time for something a bit less introspective and awkwardly personal.


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