Posted tagged ‘wow community’

WoW Insider… /salute

January 31, 2015

I don’t play or read about WoW these days, but I was saddened when I heard the news about WoW Insider reaching the end of the line. I felt compelled to write something over here.

WoW Insider (intimate readers may call them WI, I decided) has been around since as long as it matters and I think that, over the years, they’ve played a phenomenal role in the WoW community, especially, as one would expect, in the WoW blogging circle that I’ve held so dear. They’ve been through so many staff and editor changes throughout their existence and somehow managed to uphold their standards of good writing (a celebrated rarity in for-profit online content sites!), of accessibility and of sunny relationships with their readers (and, from what I hear, their staff).

Oh, and Blizzcon attendees can testify – they sure as hell know how to throw a party!

On a personal level, in my early days, they were an inspiration to me. I remember that era when I was making the transition from “a few hours a week of relaxing leveling” to “I want to raid well”. I swear I read every article posted on WI, every day. When I started generating WoW content myself, I looked to those names on my screen in awe, wondering how they got to where they were.

Later on, as I became braver with my writing, I was sometimes given the honour of a nod in The Daily Quest, their (last seen in 2012) community link love column. If you’ve ever been a WoW blogger and linked to by WI, you know what it’s like. Your page views spike overnight and your stomach does flips as you hover between giddiness and terror, bracing for the dreaded troll comments. But soon you learn that trolls rarely bother with quiet spaces and that you can enjoy a WoW Insider-fueled page views spike worry-free.

Then I’m not sure exactly when I discovered the WoW Insider Show, but for several months (if not more?) Mike Schramm and Turpster were like household names to me. Even after my interests in the game grew past what WoW Insider could provide, I still eagerly awaited each new episode. I think I cried real tears, really wet ones, when the two hosts moved on to new projects. I’ve refused to listen to the show ever since.

Also sorely missed is Guildwatch, a column dedicated to guild achievements, recruitment and, most popcornably, drama (taken straight from the official forums). Was a short lived column. Shame. If it were still around, I’d probably still be reading it.

More serious favourites were Drama Mamas who has thoughtful and considerate advice for any situation and Officer’s Quarters which always made me feel good about the guilds I was in.

Though, like I mentioned earlier, what WI did best was throw freaking awesome asskicking Blizzcon parties.

WoW Insider Blizzcon parties are where memories are made! I remember spending hours shopping for and putting together cute outfits (I swear, I never put that much effort into outfits. You guys are just SPECIAL.) I remember showing up for the first time and being dizzy with nerves, only to be put at ease within seconds by the nicest 343948573498 people I’ve ever met. I remember sneaking around to get a view of Ghostcrawler because I was too shy to say hi the normal way. I remember spotting familiar faces from The Guild and being all “OMIGOD”. I remember getting cornered into a really awkward conversation with a lady gamer I didn’t know who was trying to convert me to some kind of angry social justice movement (I think it started along the lines of “Hi, I’m *didn’t catch name*. Don’t you ever feel oppressed?” It was so weird.) I remember watching friends meet for the first time with encounters ranging from timid nods to full on lift-hugs. And with awesome and/or hilarious memories like that, I quickly forgot about all the bar line ups!

Looking back, I feel like WoW Insider was so much more than a WoW news site. And while I was never very involved with them (I never applied to write for them – professional writing just isn’t something I aspire to – and I rarely commented), they’ve certainly added a lot of flavour to my WoW and blogging life.

I’ve been away from anything WoW for so long that it would be silly to say I’ll miss WoW Insider, but I can’t deny that the announcement of the end of era makes me nostalgic. I’ll certainly cherish the memories, those I’ve shared here and those I’ve kept to myself. I wish the best for all of WI’s staff (including those who left the site after the last budget cuts) and I sincerely hope they all find new positions worthy of their talent. (Not that I’m too worried – I’m sure they’ll all do just fine!)

/tar WoW Insider

How I’m healing in MoP – Holy Pally 4eva: Links and Ressources

January 21, 2013

So. Many. Words.

When I started on this project back in November, I set out to do a quick FAQ/Pally 101. I discovered pretty fast that there’s no way to do justice to paladin healing which a simple model like that. 11 817 words later (counting this post), I’m finally wrapping up with links to the resources I consulted and thank yous to everyone who helped with this project.

Alright, so either you’ve read every word in this series (HAHAHAHA) and you’re begging for more, more, more pally chat. (Shoot me an email, I’m always looking for fellow pallies to share my never-ending enthusiasm with!) Or oppositely, you found my verboseness overwhelming (or you hate my writing style) and you’re looking for something more…concise.

You’re in luck!

There is plenty of Holy Pally reading material out there for all tastes and levels of nerdiness.

Other Holy Paladin Guides

MMO-Champion’s [MOP] Holy Paladin Guide 5.0: Crafted by the most excellent Getsu (Kerfax on the MMO-Champion forums) with input from the folks at MMO-Champion, this guide manages to be both comprehensive and brief. It was huge source of inspiration to me and I used it quite a bit to double check my facts and ideas. You can also find Getsu’s guide on his blog.

Icy Vein’s Holy Paladin Healing Guide (WoW MoP 5.1): I’ve only skimmed through this guide, but it seems rather accurate and very complete. Build with the intelligent page layout that we’ve come to love and expect from Icy Veins.

Taillias’ [Holy] Moar Light – 5.1 PvE healing guide: I came across this official forums guide as I was researching this post. I read a few excerpts and it seems solid.

Pardeux Raids’ Holy Paladin Class Guide: Pardeux’ guide has probably the most fun layout I’ve ever encountered. It was written either right before the expansion or very early on in the expansion so some of the wording might seem weird now, but it’s still very accurate work from a highly experienced holy paladin and raider.

Athlios’ Holy Paladin Guide: While I question its accuracy (Haste over Mastery in PvE with no explanation?), Athlios’ guide over at WoWHead is short, sweet and easy to navigate for quick references.

Shorter Articles Referenced for this Series

5.0 & You: Talents, Glyphs and Playstyle Changes at 85, by Kurn at Kurn’s Corner
Holy Paladin Talents part 1 and part 2, by Rohan at Blessing of Kings
How to Holy Paladin in Patch 5.0 including my first ever flowchart!, by Gina at Healbot
BREAKING NEWS: Holy Avenger and Holy Paladins (and its update), by Kurn at Kurn’s Corner
How to not fail at healing T14 Heroics, by Gina at Healbot
On Mana and the Glyph of Illumination at Level 85, by JoeEgo at Leveling Holy
Eternal Flame Blanketing, by Rohan at Blessing of Kings
Eternal Flame Blanketing, by Getsu at Getsu’s Sanctuary
Why I love ❤ Hand of Purity, by Gina at Healbot

Active Holy Paladin Blogs

Getsu’s Sanctuary: If you want a holy paladin guide, a fight-specific guide, reflections on patch changes, or even some insightful non-WoW musing, Getsu’s your blogger.
Healbot: For a long time, Gina spoke of paladin healing in a 10s setting. It appears she’s now jumped ship to heal 25s, like, well, all of us holy pally bloggers. I’m positive, however, that her writing will continue to be excellent with all the enthusiasm and energy we expect when reading her blog.
Healing Spec: If you prefer to listen to your bloggers over reading them, you’re in luck! Megacode produces fantastic regular short podcasts on paladin healing. He’s also very active and friendly on Twitter so make sure you fin him there too!
Blessing of Kings: Rohan only occasionally speaks on the topic of holy paladins, but everything he writes is interesting, so if you haven’t added him to your reader yet, you should get on that.
Healing Mains: Elunamakata isn’t exactly a paladin, but she does write on topics of interest to all healers, including paladins. Definitely worth adding to your reader.
Orcish Army Knife: While he doesn’t write about paladins specifically, Rades’s posts have had a delicious holy pally flavour to them lately. And anything Rades writes is pure gold, so you should add him to your reader regardless.
High Latency Life: Once a mage, Rivs is now a holy paladin. And not just a PvE holy paladin like the rest of us, no, he’s one of the rare bloggers to venture into the mysterious realm of PvP. While he doesn’t write theory posts, he has a unique writing style and chooses topics that provide a nice break from the raiding-raiding-raiding posts we see everywhere. (Warning, NSFW!)

Occasionally Updated Holy Paladin Blogs

Leveling Holy: JoeEgo doesn’t update often, but when he does, it’s guaranteed to be informative and relevant. Add him to your reader so you don’t miss out.
Pardeux Raids: Pardeux hasn’t updated for about 2 months, but his series (on raid management, on healing technique among others) are still very relevant. Keep an eye on him for when he returns with his next series of posts. And if you stray off the blog and onto the rest of the site, you’ll find a wealth of information on classes, boss strats, videos and more.
fullspectrumholypally: I only discovered this blog as I was researching this very post, which is a shame as Bouchbagette has written a number of pieces that would have been useful to me for past posts. He (I think)’s been very quiet lately, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’ll return with some new juicy numbers.
Kurn’s Corner: Kurn, who dominated the holy paladin blogging scene during Cata, has unfortunately left us for the scary Outside World, but does stop by once in awhile to say “hi“.
Dwarven Battle Medic: Fannon is another holy paladin blogger who spends most of his time in the Outside World, but I’m not ready to give up on his blog yet. (Also, I get to babysit his daughter sometimes!)
Holy Shock: Ruthra updates in splurts, and from what I can tell, he’s still running as a holy paladin.

Holy (and Multi-Spec) Paladin Message Boards

MMO-Champion Paladin Forum:
This was probably my number one reference for writing this series. Lots of great conversations going on over there. Worth hanging out at, even if all you do is read.
Elitist Jerks Holy Paladin Thread: Not as active as it used to be, but on the bright side, it’s easier than ever to keep up with the thread. What little holy paladin theorycrafting is happening can be found within.
Wowhead Paladin Forum: Not the most active of paladin forums, but it’s there if you want to share your thoughts with Wowhead members.
Plus Heal Paladin Forums: Deceptively quiet. While there’s little chitchat going on, there are very friendly members who watch the forum like hawks. If you post a question, you’re very likely to receive a solid answer.
Official Paladin Forums: It’s the official forums! Very lively, with some good conversations going on.
Official Healing Forums: Less paladin centric, but the perfect place to hang out if you want to get into Holy Paladins vs everyone else discussions.

Biiiig Hugs and Thank yous

To Talarian, Trading Post, Ngita, Fearana, ithilyn, Boranos, Joe Ego, Rades, Sol, Saif, Megacode, Viktory, Rohan, cebrafin, grimmtooth, Shy, Malva, repgrind and Ace;

Thank you so much all of you for taking the time to read and comment on the Holy Pally 4 eva series (and/or the Garalon post). Whether it was to report a mistake, offer an alternative view or just say a “hi, I read this!“, your help, advice and support has been invaluable.

Huge thanks as well to everyone who retweeted me, who posted links on their guild forums or Facebook or who shared my blog on their own corners of the internet. You kept me motivated and excited while writing all these words about paladins.

Haters can say what they want about WoW players and the WoW community, but, me, I am constantly amazed at how much support and positivity go around in our circles.

And with that, cheers to WoW’s Holy Paladins, and may we never run out of internet dragons to slay (or heal)!

Treasured Memories from the Calgary Expo

May 1, 2012

It was touch and go there for awhile. Will I go? Will I not go? Calgary is quite far and with the tension sky high at work, I didn’t dare ask to adjust the schedule. But I did have Sunday and Monday off. Turned out the boy had those days off too. I asked him if he wanted to come to the Expo with me. He said sure. And thus we found ourselves arriving in Calgary early Sunday morning, tired from the long drive but excited to get our geek on. (It’s times like that I wish I lived within reasonable distance of an airport. My life would be 100% more time efficient if I could just fly places.)

Calgary Expo-what?

What a time was had! The guest lineup was intense. The entire main cast of Star Trek TNG reunited. Stan Lee. Billy West. Adam West. James Marsters. Dave Prowse (also known as Darth Vader). Adam Baldwin. Commander Sheppard Mark Meer. And those were just some of the super famous people present. Yet, for some reason, convention organizers were surprised when more than 50 000 fans from all over the world showed up.

On Saturday, convention goers discovered why most other major conventions have limited tickets. The inside of the convention centre was packed like a Tokyo subway car at rush hour (considering that a lot of geeks get nervous in crowds, I can only imagine how much panicking must have occurred that day) and the outside grounds, crawling with those who’d been locked out, were overrun. Going on Sunday ended up being the best idea ever.

We got there early in the morning and I had pre-bought and printed tickets for the two of us, like the wise convention goer that I am. We had a last minute addition to our party who didn’t have a ticket but, fortunately for her, I was at a pub crawl in Winnipeg about this time last year.

That’s right. While getting drunk in Winnipeg last year I befriended a fellow backpacker. A backpacker from Calgary. Who happened to text me on the way to the Expo, asking if I needed an extra ticket. After I pulled some sophisticated lineup strategy maneuvers, my Calgarian friend found us just as we were reaching the front of the line. We yanked him in, I paid for the ticket and, yep, all 4 of us got our passes. The moral of this story? Never turn down a pub crawl.

The WoW Crowd

The WoW community meetups are often the best part of these big conventions. Vidyala and Vosskah hosted a potluck on Friday night (I couldn’t go, unfortunately, since, well, I was at work 7 hours away) which I heard great things about. I did, however, make it to the supper on Sunday. The early planning went kind of like this:

Vid: Oh you’re coming! We should go for supper!
Me: We should! Can I invite people?
Vid: Um, ok.

A few days later, Vid, Voss, Darthregis, Chawajen, Kalesti, Rades, the Fannon family and the Bossy Pally party found ourselves seated at the downtown Milestones sharing Expo stories, WoW stories and housecleaning stories. Also drowned a donkey and a mermaid in Peach Bellinis. The night was too short, too short, too short. I could spend an entire week with these guys and still want to be around them.

I say I start planning my own conventions, just to draw out awesome WoW friends.


Unlike the rest of my party, I planned ahead. I printed out the panel schedule, studied it, rated the panels based on my interest in them and came up with a plan. One panel title was “How to just barely survive as a Hollywood writer“. It caught my eye. I’ve no ambitions to become any sort of pro writer (if I got offered a paid writing position, I’d turn it down). But while my personal goals aren’t in the field, I love reading or hearing about writers. Oddly, I kind of relate to writers.

So I read the description. Andy Rheingold, Josh A Cagan and Pete Williams. Pete Williams sounded vaguely familiar…

I got to the next line: Undergrads.

OMG Undergrads!!

How many hours did my friend Val and I spend in high school expressing our appreciation for Gimpy? How many times did my brothers and I make each other laugh with Cal imitations? How many family nights did I spend with my siblings, watching Undergrads reruns on Teletoon? How many friends did I force to watch introduce to the show? How many flashbacks have I gotten of Rocko reading Cosmo and saying “I think we’re all feeling a bit… *flips pages* premenstrual“?

I sat up-straight throughout the whole panel, drinking in every word. I squealed when Pete Williams did a Cal line (he sounded way better than my brothers and I ever did due to, you know, being Cal’s actual voice actor). I really, really, really wanted to run up to them after the panel and give them a hug.

Undergrads was one of the rare shows that played a huge part in my young adult life and I never in a millions years expected to meet the writers. Especially not in Calgary, 10 years after the show was cancelled (after 13 episodes). And if the experience was surreal to me, it seemed to be surreal to them too. They made my day when they said (I think it was Josh who said it, but I’m not sure) “It’s like we’re in Sliders, in a parallel universe where people have actually heard of our show.

Of course, they were bombarded with questions about the eventuality of a season 2. It sounded like they were absolutely ready for season 2 but the usual red tape (show rights and financing) was holding them back. But the attachment they showed toward their show, even 10 years after being forced to move on, made me very happy. It was wonderful to be sitting in that room with about 30-40 other fans (another upside to Sunday! Saturday’s panel apparently packed 250 people in the room and turned 100 away. Much less intimate.) and the 3 main writers, sharing our love of Undergrads.

If only I hadn’t been too shy to go to their booth afterward and talk to them…

Video Game Voice Acting with Mark Meer and Quinton Flynn

Do you know who else is awesome, besides writers? Voice actors. They’re the stars you never get to see, who you don’t often think of. In fact, if the better job they do, the less you recognize them. They don’t get the screaming fans and the big bucks. But when you do meet them in person, you’re quickly smitten, so much their passion and talent is captivating.

Mark Meer, I was familiar with. I’m playing a lot of Mass Effect these days. I didn’t, however, realize he lives and works really close to me and that I could go see him act all the time. Which I totally plan to. He’s hilarious. You know else who is awesome, besides writers and voice actors? Improv actors.

I didn’t know the name of Quinton Flynn, but the second he started talking and doing impersonations…oh yeah! As my friend Skip puts it, Flynn is “one of those 12 voice actors who are in everything“. It was just incredible to listen to him. From his normal speaking voice, you wouldn’t guess that he was a voice actor, but the second he slips into a character…wow! Suddenly you’re sitting in front of Timon (I totally watched Timon & Pumbaa as a kid!) or Raiden or Axel or Johnny Quest.

In was interesting having them give the panel side by side since they both have very different careers. Meer does a lot of impov and theatre acting, as well as consultation work on designing voices, while Flynn has been voice acting for cartoons and video games since I was a kid, and has a lifetime of experience. They had different elements to bring to the table and it made for a very enriching panel. But like all panels, it was way too short.

And again, I wish I had had the guts to go up to their booths after and ask for an autograph and a hug.

Moments of Awesome

Vid called me while I was hanging out by some booths. “Can you pick up Volumes 1&2 of Questionable Content for me? I didn’t think to get extras for my brother.

“Sure!” I said.

I was familiar with the name. But not being a fan of webcomics, I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. A few moments later, I’m standing in front of Jeph Jacques (I totally interrupted his lunch too), knowing that I’m in the presence of someone amazing, but not knowing exactly the extent. He was super nice to me, autographed the books while I felt like a total poser.

I flipped through the books a bit before I turned them over to Vid. Definitely looked like something I’d enjoy. I was half tempted to keep them…

I’m now hooked. Questionable Content has a new fan. And that’s what conventions are all about.

Asked Vid and Rades if From Draenor with Love was going to have a booth next year. Conventions are about that too.

As the day was drawing to a close, a girl, maybe a few years younger than me, walked by, excitedly yelling on her cell phone: “I got hugged by the voice of Axel! You know! The voice of Axel! He gave me a hug!

Conventions are definitely all about that.

Not necessarily about getting hugs (since I was too shy to ask for any), but about getting excited with other people, notably strangers and celebrities, about things you’re not usually allowed to be excited about in public. I can’t wait until next time!

This Is Me, Getting Mushy About Blizzcon. While Sober.

October 30, 2011

It’s been more than a week since Blizzcon. Since then, outrage has, well, raged, on all fronts, from the game-related announcements (what cute, zen pandas aren’t badass?), to the step backward in the evolution of gaming culture taken at the closing ceremony (I honestly didn’t notice the slurs until someone pointed them out to me- contrarily to what some bloggers wrote, the closing ceremony nerdrage was heavily censored- but yeah, I agree that there are ways to express nerdrage without hatespeach). And I believe I may have been drawn into, without my active participation or even knowledge, a social outrage (I feel so famous and important now).

So much excitement, and I missed it all.

Curse you, internet drama, for only happening while I’m busy looking out of train/bus windows instead of at my computer screen!

While the rest of you have discussed Blizzcon to death and have moved onto the bigger and better things, I’m just getting started.

Yep, only picture I thought to take during Blizzcon. Too busy to take pictures!

I had a great Blizzcon.

I really did. Blizzcon exceeded my expectations by millions and millions of…whatever it is you measure expectations in.

Oh, I’m not sure what I think of Pandaria. I got to play it a bit – the world is gorgeous and I love the Asian feel, but, um, I like me some epicness. Place me in the “wait and see” crowd.

Otherwise, I’m excited about Diablo and I’ve felt stirrings of an urge to fire up Starcraft 2 again (how awesome was the Blizzcon tournament finale? I’m not sure what impressed me most, the competitors or the emotional involvement of the audience). And the cinematics panel! How I love the cinematics panel! Again this year I squirmed in excitement, admiring the work that goes into making a game cinematic (in this case, the Diablo III trailer).

And, of course and as usual, the community was the greatest attraction at Blizzcon.

Really, what a great group of people! Not perfect by any means, but to me, our imperfections only make us even more awesome. We come in all shapes and sizes and colours and ages and social backgrounds but we’re all gamers, and proud of it. We do great things and we do stupid things. Geeks we may be, but we’re all so totally human.

I met so many fellow bloggers, podcasters and twitterers. I won’t attempt to list them as I’ll likely forget several and I don’t want to play favorites. But there is one encounter I do have to share!

Why I wouldn’t make a good socialite

It was early in the WoW Insider party. Not quite warmed up yet, I was chasing after my friends, trying not to lose them in the big, scary mass of people. I’m shy and it’s been awhile since I’ve come face to face with a crowd. I was debating sketching off early. Too many people, too many nerves, feeling sick and lightheaded.

Then out of nowhere, I hear: “Hi I’m Theck!”

I was a little confused for two reasons. One, I was kind of expecting Theck to be a sort of ethereal godlike creature, not a normal-looking human being. Two, how on earth does someone like him know who I am?

I stood there with my mouth open, speachless and starstruck. All I could squeeze out was a lifeless “I’m such a huge fan”

Yep, I’m just an endless reserve of social grace. I hope he forgives me.

The 1 Year Guild Reunion

In case you enjoy emotionally-charged guild stories and were waiting in anticipation with big bowls of popcorn… I did see my old guildies again. I was expecting to run into them at some point, but I had no idea what would happen. What impression did I leave behind? Would my hard feelings cause me to make an ass of myself? And most importantly, would they even remember who I was?


All I can say is this:

It was perfect.

Or at least as close to perfection as all our personalities would allow. I had some great moments at Blizzcon. Some engaging conversations with interesting people. I had a lovely dinner with my ex-guildie, conveniently named X (to whom I certainly owe one). But the highlight was Friday night, after TNB, after hanging out at the Hilton for a bit.

I found myself in the same hotel room I partied in last year, sitting on the same floor I sat on last year, watching my friends play the same drinking game I watched them play last year. It was also reminiscent of all those nights I spent idling on vent/mumble listening to their banter.

Yeah, I know I’m stupidly sentimental, but I don’t think I can be happier than I was at that moment. It wasn’t quite the same gang as last year – some were missing and there some new faces, but the feel was exactly how I remembered. Though Conquest sort of branched off into two separate guilds a few months after I left, my ex-guildies from both sides were hanging out and getting along great. I savoured the moment. For that little snippet of time, I was home.

I think it did help a lot that I’ve grown to love my current guild and I really enjoy working with my raid team. Seeing my former guildies made me realize how much I missed them, but it wasn’t a “I wish I could play with you” missing. It was a “I’m so happy to spend time with guys again” missing. I could really lean back and enjoy the night without any bitterness.

They were also nice enough to walk me back to my hotel at 5 am (which took about an hour!), to put up with my guild history blabber, help me look for my ereader (which was likely stolen by hotel housekeeping, grrr) and even drive me to the airport on Sunday.

The Uncomfortably Sentimental Ending

As I float from city to city on my post-Blizzcon tour, I spend hours (and sometimes days) gazing out of bus and train windows with nothing else to do but think. And the thoughts that surface the most are about those fellow gamers all over North America (and sometimes beyond!) that I’ve had the honour and privilege of being acquainted to.

My awesome ex-guildies of course, but also my awesome current guildies, and the many others who’ve given me kindnesses without asking for anything return. Fannon and his family, Voss and Vid who, though we’ve only met a few times feel like a brother and a sister to me, Oestrus, my eternal partner in crime, all those who’ve supported my silly little WoW projects, who’ve read the blog or listened to the podcast, who’ve emailed me, who’ve talked to me on Twitter.

I have no idea what I’ve done in my past lives to deserve such kindnesses and the company of such wonderful individuals, but I am grateful. So, so, so, so extremely grateful.