Saturday, 10 December 2011

Tyrael's charger: now you see it, now you don't

I've never had any problems with Blizzard's GMs, or the in-game support that's been provided to me.  I'm unfailingly polite in my (rare) GM tickets, and always, but always have thanked whichever GM that dealt with my issue.  It's one of the things I've always thought Blizzard have had in their favour - their customer service, in my experience, has been excellent. 

Imagine my disappointment now.  I signed up a few weeks ago for the Annual Pass, mainly because I *really* wanted Tyrael's Charger for my paladin (and my other belfs...), but also because I figured that I'll still be playing WoW in a year, so it was win/win.  When 4.3 hit, my mount was duly delivered to all my characters and I really loved it.  It felt like the right mount for my paladin, but it worked well with some of my other characters as well.  Plus I could take screenies like this:

So I was a happy gamer.  A few days ago, I logged into my account, and my mounts had vanished, from all my characters.  Gone, removed, no longer there.  I wrote a polite ticket then had a quick shufti on the forums - sure enough, it wasn't just me that this had happened to.  Three days later, I repeat that:  three days later, I finally got a response to my ticket, saying that I had failed to reply to the email they had sent about my Parental Controls.  Those would be the Parental Controls that I had only set up because of the Real ID fiasco on Sven's advice.  However, a while ago I disabled it because I thought it would be nice to have the option to catch up with  a few people there.

I'd gathered, from the forums, that this was the standard response, so I wrote politely back, saying that a) I don't have Parental Controls active, and b) that I haven't had an email from them about the Annual Pass.  Could they now kindly find a solution, and restore my mounts please?  I've just had a response to this which is the exact same response.  Word for word.  Nice copy and paste job there, folks.  Thanks for that.  I have pointed this out, in another ticket...  And now I wait, with breath that really cannot be described as 'bated'...

To say that I'm unamused is putting it mildly.  I had to activate the damn Parental Controls in the first place because of the RealID privacy issue. They are no longer active.  I haven't had an email from Blizzard (and just for the record, Himself, who does still have active Parental Controls replied to the email and still doesn't have an active Annual Pass, weeks later!) anyway.  They would also like me to provide them with a scanned copy of my identification, such as my passport!  Can I just ask you to take a moment to decide whether, with all the security breaches from games companies in recent months, if you would happily scan a crucial document, such as your passport, then email it to a company who, allegedly, has reasonable cyber-security (at present anyway... But then again, I'd hazard that Sony also thought that... )

I'm incredibly disappointed.  I understand that there can be occasional issues when new things (such as the Annual Pass) go live, but the customer service that I have experienced on this occasion, has been shabby.  I thought Blizzard were better than this.   

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Responding in kind

Dear Niae

Thank you for your recent letter, and the charming pictures you enclosed.

I get that you want to ditch mining, I really, do, but sweetie, you're a paladin. Not a druid, not a shaman, not, heaven forbid, a *whispers* Tauren.  A Sin'Dorei paladin. It's not really even appropriate that you're wafting around flower-picking is it?  Be thankful that I didn't follow through with my plan to make you into a blacksmith...

And, whilst we're on the subject of paying your way, who decided that they wanted a ret spec after seeing this?  Because, sweetie, even if you get geared enough to try that stuff, I'm not sure I'm good enough to help you out! So you got your ret spec and the armour didn't you?  And then what did you decide?  That actually you felt quite squishy as ret and that you probably did almost as much damage as holy, but without losing half your health in every fight? I think I got that right...

I know right now, you don't think that you'll want to fly even faster, but trust me sweetie, you will in a bit.  And learning alchemy means a lot of time spent riding round all the places that you're I'm bored with, just to gather a metric f*ck tonne of plants.  I'd understand if you would consent to doing archeology, because then eventually we might have a shot at this but as you insist on grumbling that surveying is nearly as tedious as mining, I'm guessing you're not going to go for that.

You're doing really well, sweetie.  You're getting much more skilled and experienced.  Why, just today you were rewarded for the assistance you provided to the Horde in Dragonblight and I'm very proud of you.  Keep that sort of work up, and I'll seriously consider procuring alchemy training for you.

See you soon!

When your alts start writing to you... you have a problem.

Dear Sally

Hullo, it's Niae here.  Niae?  The Sin'Dorei paladin that you're currently playing through Northrend. I've been trying to explain some things to you, but you don't seem to be taking it on board, so I thought I'd write to you and see if that helped.

Firstly, stop dragging me back to Orgrimmar.  I like Dalaran.  It's virtually deserted now, you know.  If (for some unfathomable reason) you need me to get back to the orc city quickly, there is a perfectly good portal that the Sunreavers have gone to a lot of effort to maintain.  There are a number of perfectly acceptable hostelries for me to rest in, ok The Filthy Animal might not be at the top of my list, but the chambers in the Legerdemain Lounge are very acceptable. I know that I'm supposed to be paying my own way (more on this later) but Reginald Arcfire has stopped being quite so uppity about his clientèle and now non-engineers can use him to auction off their goods as well.

As I've mentioned the paying my way thing, can I ask you (again) to re-consider your view about me needing to have two gathering professions?  You know how much pleasure I get from herb gathering but the same cannot be said for mining.  I know you think that I need to earn as much as possible, so when I'm finally skilled enough to be sent to Hyjal or the Twilight Highlands I'll be able to fly faster but really, I'd rather fly slower and be allowed to train as an alchemist.  I'm fed up with swinging  a pick. I've been spending some time in the alchemy shop in Dalaran, the Agronomical Apothecary,  and I'm enclosing some pictures I took.  I hope they persuade you...

Ice-thorn growing indoors!
Look how many potions I could learn to make.
See how many books they have? 
Tiger-lillies growing in the middle of a city!
And Talandra's Rose!
The Agronomical Apothecary


Monday, 28 November 2011

*knock knock*

Is there anybody out there...?  Or have you fainted with shock at seeing a Moar Alts post appear in your Reader?  It's ok, I don't blame you for either not being around anymore (not sure why I'm comforting you in a post that you'll never read, though) or for being a tad shocky.  The awful thing is that I'm still playing a lot of WoW, I just haven't been writing about it.  I've not bucked the trend for Skyrim or for SW:ToR (but I have watched Himself play the beta and yeah, I don't really do Star Wars.  I'm not even sure that I've seen the films; has my geek cred disappeared totally now?) and I've unwillingly unsubbed from Rift as I wasn't playing it.  Ever.  Ok, you're up to date now, amirite?  Good.

So, Himself has a max level hunter (which I clearly don't resent him for, not a tad, especially not when my hunters all stall in the mid-30s.  I'm really ok with him having one.  Honestly. Convinced?  Excellent!) that he's kinda (I think) decided to do that extreme mad soloing thing that hunters and their turtles do, only in his case there's a scarab not a turtle.  Yesterday, when I hauled my streaming-with-cold self off the sofa momentarily, I saw that he was going into Tempest Keep.  Hey, wait!  WTF, honey?  Why are you doing that without me??  Himself muttered something about starting to solo stuff, and wanting the tier 5 2 piece set bonus thing for moar pet healz, but was very gracious when I demanded offered to come along too,  I'll bring my priest along, then, y'know, there will be healz and stuff.  Unfortunately, unlike hunters, priests don't have stealth so we had to remove some of the trash first...  We outlevel this content by 15 levels.  Ok, it's a 25 man raid but we're still 15 levels above it.  Damn, if it isn't hard though.  The Void Reaver was the one we needed to kill, and actually we got him on the first try, so Himself got his shoulders and I got mine ('mogging stuffz?  They're odd looking though...)  Himself hadn't managed to soak up all the damage from the arcane orbs on his own, so whilst I did bugger all damage, because, gee ain't silence fun when you're a priest, I did absorb 50% of the hits, giving him enough breathing space to still be alive at the end.  And y'know, I was in Tempest Keep.  Woot and stuff.  I've never been before.  Best I did in BC was Kara, Zul'Aman and Magtherion.  

After our success with the Reaver we went to Serpentshrine Cavern to try our luck with Leotheras. He might need a few more people...

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Self-Promotion (of a sort)

As I'm failing to find the time to blog here regularly, I'd like to take the opportunity to direct you all to I Started With a NES, a brand new new blog about games and gaming which I will be contributing to.  Aside from my usual irrelevant gibberish there will be posts from a diverse selection of gamers about a diverse selection of... games.  So c'mon people, add it to your Readers! And if you're still pining for me, the RL ranting and gibbering can be found here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Furbolgs should be a playable race

But they aren't *sulks*.  However this:

Gives me this and this. Which does this:

Click to enbiggen.

So that's ok then! 

Wednesday, 24 August 2011


Or, as you may be more used to it: archaeology.
First off, I didn't get it for months. I've tried it, as I levelled and pootled around, but it made me 'meh'.  I tried it on Pilf who hated it (no shock there - digging in, like, dirt and heavy labour - uh-huh... you do the maths) and all my other characters on my live account are low level and don't have (fast) flying and I just wrote it off.

Those who read my personal blog may recall a post some weeks ago that mentioned my lack of competitiveness. They may have confused this with sheer downright bloody-minded competitiveness, mind you, detailing as it did, how I nearly killed myself on our cross-trainer (of pain and evil) as I was determined to beat do better than keep up with Himself.  So, at the point where Himself decided he was going to take up archaeology on one of his characters, I knew I was... done for.  AND he cheated and had the temerity to use his druid so he doesn't even have to mount up.  AND he has the further temerity to do it whilst levelling and level insanely fast as a result.  However, clearly I have not let this bother me.  Oh no. Quite the opposite. You might be forgiven for thinking that, at the point when he achieved the 'Assistant Professor' title, I was concerned.  You may be forgiven for also thinking that when he showed me his shiny toys he was making I was jealous.  You would be wrong on both accounts...

For instance, there is no way that I would have re-activated my other account because it has my high level characters who have speedy flying on it. Oh no.  That was coincidental because... I... missed them.  Additionally, it is inconceivable that I have had my butt glued to the chair until about 10 minutes ago - huzzah, because I wanted to get the AssProff title as well.  That would be an unhealthy competitive dynamic to foster in a marriage - amirite? Good, I'm glad you agree... So I'm off to... ahem... just trundle around Azeroth some more.  Who knows, maybe I'll trip over some of those artifact thingys as I stroll.  Stranger things have happened.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Scrub and ding?

I've been reading 'Reality is Broken' by Jane McGonigal over the last few months.  No... I'm not *that* slow a reader - I just find it's one of those books that is best dipped into in short bursts.  She's essentially one of the proponents of 'gamification' of life,  but I'm not about to debate whether that is a 'good' or 'bad' thing.  People get exceptionally hot under the collar when it comes to gamification, from the posts I've read, and I'm not about to enter into the fray.  Just spout off a little...

Ok - who loves housework?  ALL housework?  Really?  Ok, you can stop reading now you strange person.  The others can carry on at their leisure.  Maybe I'm late to the party again (hey - it wouldn't be very surprising) and the entirety of the gamer community knows about this already, but Chore Wars?  Really?  I'm not going to explain the concept in any depth - you can go and read the FAQs for that but I'm not convinced.  I'm especially unconvinced by the thought of kids being happy to do chores in reward for 'virtual' gold as opposed to 'actual' pocket money.  When I was a young lass (many many years decades ago) we 'had' to keep our bedrooms tidy and then pocket money was 'earned' by washing the car or some other 'additional' chore.  I think if we'd have been offered 'virtual' gold (which I'm not 100% certain, but I'm making a fairly solid guess here... I don't think my local corner shop lady would have accepted in return for 'actual' sweeties) we'd have scrunched our foreheads up in a bemused manner and gone back to reading a book.  (Because, y'know we read then and we didn't have a tv...)  Maybe I'm incorrect, the site testimonials sing the praises of Chore Wars for getting kids helping out (and being happy to do so!) but I think my daughter would /sigh then /eye roll, and carry on sitting in her room in gothic gloom listening to 'music' that consists of fast guitar and angry men (like I used to...)

McGonigal writes very sweetly about herself and her husband vying to clean the bathroom because it 'gives the most xp' but it made me twitch.  I'm not sure that I can envisage a situation where Himself and I 'compete' to do the cleaning. In my view, chores are done by the person who has the lowest tolerance for clutter and /or grot.  That's it, in a nutshell.   And I remain unconvinced that a game that grants xp for ironing, for example, will change either my view that clothes should be ironed (in which case xp is irrelevant) or Himself's view that ironing is a futile waste of time (in which it would, I suggest, need to be a more 'tangible' reward before his mindset would alter.)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Lipstick on your collar

I think it's time I found a lover. 

I'm done with teenage crushes, they just don't last long enough.

I'm happily married, but occasionally I want something... different. 

A nice low-key affair, that's what I need.

NB: This is a metaphor.  Or a smilie.  Or an allegory.  I'm never certain of the difference. 

See, I had my teenage crush when I played Rift.  For a few weeks, it was all I wanted to play.  It was shiny, it was oh so very pretty,  it was briefly a very intense experience, but it wasn't substantial enough.  So the passion died and I got bored. 

WoW is my marriage.  It's been there for years.  It's solid, dependable.  I know my way around it.  I know its flaws and its good points.  I know the things it does that makes me happy, and the things it does that makes me grind my teeth.  We fit well together, WoW and I. 

But sometimes... sometimes I want something that isn't WoW.  I want something that's familiar enough, but different.  I don't want a lover who's identical to my husband.  I want one who isn't demanding, who knows the score and occasionally buys me silk underwear. But I don't want a teenage crush. I want something that'll last.  Something that I can visit when WoW gets too humdrum.  Something that I can play one evening a week, that gives me enough kaboom that I can happily toddle off back to WoW, secure in the knowledge that I can visit again, when I want to, without any demands or regrets. 

I think LoTRO would fall into the category of being too similar to my husband, as would other MMOs based in a 'fantasy' world. Now Wiki's list of MMORPGs are kinda heavy on the 'fantasy' genre. To say the least. But having looked and visited various sites I'm off to shag a superhero create a supervillan on City of Heroes.  I expect it'll turn out to be just another teenage crush but you never know...

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Iron (Wo)man Proper

Ok dear, oh dear... I was foolish enough to go and read Vyrkerion's Iron Man post to remind myself of the rules of the challenge which I've nicked and re-posted here for your edification:

1. Use only white/grey items.
2. No spending talent points. No specialization at level 10. (Regular skill training is fine.)
2. No Primary or Secondary Professions other than First Aid.
3. No means of XP boosting (No Recruit-A-Friend, No Guild, and obviously no Heirlooms)
4. No consumable bonuses (food, potions, elixirs, etc) - Rogue Poisons are Okay.
5. No enchants.
6. No Groups. (Since clarification was requested: That means no dungeons, no Dungeon Finder, no battlegrounds, no anything that puts you in a group and no grouping up with people to quest or anything.)
7. No Death Knights.
8. No Glyphs

So when the realms come back up, I think I'm going to make a new alt *ahem*.  Pilffe. Pilf-Fe?  Geddit?  That's a sad chemistry joke right there, this one is better though:

What do chemists call a benzene ring with iron atoms replacing the carbon atoms?
A ferrous wheel.

       Fe - Fe
        /       \
       Fe       Fe
        \       /
         Fe - Fe
 (A benzene ring is is a hexagonal molecule of carbon atoms with six hydrogen atoms attached to each carbon, comme ça)
       H      H
         \    /
         C - C
        /      \
     H - C             C - H
        \      /
         C - C
        /     \
       H       H
(Well I'm laughing...) 
I need to decide on a class though.  Clearly, as she's a(nother) Pilf she'll be a belf but as to class... I'm undecided.  I need to go and play with the character creation screen a bit...

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

My mouth is full...

And my momma told me not to talk with a full mouth.  (She also told me that nice girls don't spit... but I guess that's another story - amirite?)  So... It's a good job I'm typing then, eh?  Oh, why is my mouth full?  That would be because I bit off waaaaaaaaay more than I can chew with Tranq (so named because I need valium, I'm coming to believe...)

Allow me to expound:

The curse of alt-itis
I've never been very good at what Himself calls JFDI (Just Feckin' Do It) as anyone who's heard me whinge about writing essays will know.  So I've always enjoyed levelling, but I... how can I put this.  I get a bit bored with my characters.  Even when I was levelling to be a srsbznz raider, I ran other alts that I could snatch a few minutes here and there on just to get a break from my main.  When I gave up raiding, I lost what little ability I had to focus on one character.  Now I could play around with as many as I wanted - guilt free!  Wheeeeeee!! Which, y'know, is grand an' all, but it means I don't ever get anything actually done. I love my alts, but sometimes I need someone to stand over me with a stick and make me actually level one!

The additional curse of having been playing for a while
I'm even worse at the moment because I'm going through a 'meh' phase with gaming.  I log onto WoW, I cycle through my *ahem* 48 various characters (yep - nearly at account limit) and then I log off.  I log onto Rift and I think... meh. Rift is too WoW like... Last night, Himself suggested that maybe I should play something else for a while.  'Like what?' I asked him.  He shrugged, 'I don't know - why don't you give LoTRO a go now it's F2P?'  So I went and looked at their website and thought... yeah it's another fantasy MMO.  I'm not sure I wanna play another fantasy MMO... So Himself suggested Minecraft.  Umm... nope.  (Please, take a moment to feel sympathy for Himself and marvel at his patience.)

Trying to keep it fresh
This means trying new stuffs doesn't it?  Hence teh challenge.  Don't get me wrong, I will do this - even if it takes me until the servers go offline forever.  (And I'll probably still be in Elwynn).  But it's hard going.  I need to be in the right frame of mind, which is one of the reasons why I'm struggling at the moment - dying to things 10 levels above me is ok if I'm in a happy-go-lucky mood (hey, stop laughing - it does happen sometimes!) but if I'm not, it just makes me cross and spitty. 

Further conclusions
  • I need to do this one on rested xp only.  Whilst the xp from gathering increases with level, oddly, it makes no difference whether I'm gathering herbs that are grey to me (in terms of levelling herbalism, if you see what I mean) or orange.  So peacebloom gives the same xp as wild steelbloom.  Basically, I could spend the next x number of years in Elwynn and get to 85.  I'm not sure my sanity would be intact, but theoretically, it seems like it would be possible. 
  • I am booooooooooored with being in starter zones.  Now I have prowl, I've expended my horizons somewhat (hello Duskwood, hello Redridge) but the death count goes up accordingly.  In newbie lands I can HoT, shift back to kitty and outrun mobs.  In the next zones up I can HoT but I basically still eat dirt regularly.  For sheer ease and speed of levelling, it makes more sense to circle Elwynn.  Oh god, I see my future writ large: cross kobolds and stroppy bandits...
  • The server economy in copper ore, silverleaf, peacebloom and earthroot is utter and total incomprehensible madness.  The prices fluctuate daily and I have no idea if my peacebloom is going to make 2g a stack or 20g.  On the plus side, I now have over 400g at level 13.  That's more than some of my characters had at level 70 (ok, minor exaggeration, but not much of one.)
  • I need to play malicious 'murder, kill, death' characters as well.  So I now have an orc fire mage and an undead aff'lock.  She's called Thropy - which enables my FlagRSP to be set to Miss Ann Thropy.  That makes me happy.
How are my fellow Iron-(Wo)Men getting on?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Sheathing my claws

You may recall from here that I had some slightly bonkers idea about levelling only through herbing, mining and exploring (until 20 when archaeology kicks in).

Meet Tranquilitas

Also available in kitty flavour...

Well, what can I say - I've hit level 10 and yeah, it's interesting.  I have zero kills and zero quests completed:

I was amazed by how strong my 'attack' reaction is!  I've nothing on my action bars except my racial stealth and my healing spells... It's fun to be doing something so different though.  I have to be in the right mood - running away and dying can be frustrating, but I'm getting more zen about it.

The only irritating thing is that I'm really confined to the newbie zones - I can't take hits from anything more than a few levels about me and stay alive, so it's fair to say that I'm a bit bored with Elwynn, Kharanos and Azuremyst!  However, now I've reached the dizzy heights of level 10 and can be sneaky kitty this might change.  I'm also impressed that I have 89 mining and 115 herbalism at such a low level!!

I suspect that the other folks in the Iron Man Challenge are gonna beat me hands down in terms of levelling speed, but I'm enjoying slowing right down and smelling the roses (remind me of this in a few weeks time when I'm frothing at the mouth please, loyal readers!)

Friday, 8 July 2011

D&D and you & me and us & them...

Uch - I've been trying the watch The Dungeon Masters because I really don't *get* D&D.  Himself and his long term friends are ALL gamers, who have their roots in table-top and I've had other friends who played D&D in their youth (or not so youth).  I guess, because my first exposure to any sort of RPG was WoW where everything is really taken care of for you, I get boggled by the concept of, well, having to do all this work yourself.  I'm so used to it being given to me in pixel form, I'm thrown by the idea of sitting round a table, with pen, paper and dice and figuring it out. 

Leaving aside my inexperience and lack of imagination for a moment, I think D&D still has its uber-geek image.  Whether that translates into kudos or horror is probably a personal opinion.  I know that when I moved in with Himself and went to move an ottoman out of the way, I nearly wrenched my back - said ottoman was stuffed to the gills with D&D manuals and assorted other RPG stuff.  Gods, those manuals are heavy!  I remember when he eventually got over his embarrassment enough to show me his briefcase thing which contained his  D&D figurines (all lovingly hand painted) and being really quite amazed by the detail in them.  All this stuff is hidden away, mind you.  I made some comment about making a display case for the figurines and he nearly died at the thought, and put the case away... I'm not even sure I know where it's currently residing. 

Now Himself is a proper grown-up (as I've mentioned before) and has a Proper Job.  His gamer friends are also well-adjusted; they're in Proper Jobs, with long-term relationships, children, some are even quite easy on the eye *giggles*.  I.e. they're pretty much at the opposite end of the scale from the D&D stereotype, living in his parents' basement and existing off Doritos.  But they still refer to their gaming in code, "alligator wrestling" being a favourite, and when some of us went out for our pre-wedding dinner, there was some comment made about being "amongst friends" which was clearly code for "can we talk about gaming now?"

These are not the type of people portrayed in The Dungeon Masters.  I have to say, at this point, that Love Film (via the tv) decided to have a hissy fit mid-way through, but I've seen just over an hour of it.  Would you like to pick a gamer stereotype, because I'm pretty certain that one of the three main characters will fit into it...   The substance of the film consists of following three GMs, in both their gaming and non-gaming lives.  Two of the GMs are male, one female.  Their usage of D&D to escape from their real lives is a stick that you're beaten with from early on.  The fact that they're all portrayed (rightly or wrongly - it's all in the edit after all) as being fairly dysfunctional doesn't help one iota. 

Much is made of Elizabeth's habit of covering herself in dark body make-up (she RPs a Drow (I'm sure D&D folk know what that is) elf.)  She discusses her inability to make relationships work ("my last boyfriend used to blow me off to raid Molten Core") but also says that she's either asleep or online.  She wants a boyfriend who doesn't spend all his life in Azeroth but doesn't seem to be comfortable going out and meeting people IRL, in a non-gaming sense.  This in itself is odd, as she's clearly adored by the male gamers she GMs for. 

Richard appears to devise incredibly intricate campaigns and then send all the characters to their destruction.  One such example appeared to have lasted years and the players didn't seem to have really come to terms with all the time and energy they'd put into their creations being wiped out, on what appeared to be a whim of his.  In a similar vein, he explains how he left his first wife and step-children without telling them anything, "I asked her to drive me to the airport and when I got out the car, I said "I hope you have your keys because I'm not coming back" *shrug*"

Scott is writing a book.  His wife appears to be the breadwinner and holding everything together.  They don't seem happy - there are uncomfortable snippets where it's apparent that she'd rather he was actually contributing to their life, in a 'normal' way. 

It's just all a bit saddening really.  Whilst I accept that gaming can be away to escape from RL (and I've been guilty of it on at least one occasion) I wish that they'd made more effort to give the film a balanced view.  If you met Himself, or any of his friends you'd *never* think they gamed.  I've stopped being offended by people being amazed and telling me I'm not the "type", when I 'fess up to my hobby.  I still enjoy (kinda - depending on my mood) the look on people's faces when they find out that Himself and I met, not just online in the dating sense (like 'normal' people do) but online in an MMORPG.

I guess I dislike stereotypes and 'documentaries' such as this one just doesn't do any of us any favours.  Or do they?  Daughter has blazed  a trail through her school by being so utterly unapologetic about being an "emo" and a "geek", responding to teasing and taunts with a "yes...and?" comment.  To the point that she's gained popularity (notoriety?) with her peers - she hates this mind you, raging that if, all of a sudden she's "cool" and her "look" is being emulated, what does this leave her with?  "Do I need to dye my hair blond now, wear mini-skirts and cover myself in make-up to STOP being cool???"  She's finally accepted that she needs to wear specs (she's ragingly astigmatic) and has proper geek girl glasses, with heavy black rims.  Fully expecting grief for this, she returned home today looking bemused, "Everyone says my glasses are really cool and they want ones like them *deep sigh*" and much as we tell her that by being able to be "different" and stand up for herself so effectively, she's giving others the courage to be who they want to be, she's still anti-cool.  So here's the question:  do we want gaming etc to be viewed as cool or are we happy with our geek image?

And that's me done for the weekend - happy Friday folks, see you on Monday :)
In one of those slightly odd kismet things, just as I was considering whether it was possible to level in a pacifistic manner, a couple of people wrote posts about their own personal WoW challenges - Psynister is intending to take up the WoW Iron Man challenge set by Vrykerion and Ironyca has written about WoW's Unconventional Heroes.   I'd originally planned to make Pacifae level in this manner, then I changed my mind due to the awesomeness of hello kitteh rawr! But hey, like Psynister said - "There's always room for one more alt!" and after all, these are words from the undisputed master of alts *bows*

So I've made myself another night elf druid (I'm getting good at this!) with the following caveats, queries and observations:
  • No killing.  Anything. 
  • I need to work out if rooting stuff can potentially kill it.
  • No questing.  Not even quests that don't require killing.
  • That means no pacifistic dailies either - so no sneaky levelling of cooking and fishing...
  • Xp gained ONLY from exploring, herbing and mining and (eventually) archaeology.
  • I'm going to die.
  • I'm going to die a LOT.  But there's no penalty until level 10 *huzzah*!
  • Night elf stealth helps.
  • Prowling in kitty form will help even more.  But I have to level to get there.
  • Taking all damaging spells and abilities off the action bars helps.
  • I can (eventually) wear pretty clothes.
  • No-one will see the pretties if I'm almost always in kitty form...
  • Tranquilitas is a nice name but I can't think of a Flag RSP title to go along with it *sniffle*
  • It's going to take forever.  And them some.
  • I will learn to be patient.  And not get (as) cross when I die...


So some of you may remember the tussle I was having with my conscience with regard to RMT - specifically about buying the Winged Guardian mount of loveliness... Well, I opened my email last night and there was a lovely message from Blizzard telling me that someone had bought it for me!  I did a huge *squeeeeeeeeee* (loud enough to bring Himself running into the room going '"wtf??") and fired up WoW  to take screenshots:

So Feebs, chickie - thank you.  I love ya!!!

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Hello kitteh!

I'm so permanently late to the party that when I finally show up, I fully expect 'what's hawt' to have come full circle; the wallpaper will be migraine inducing circles, the food will be vol au vents and fondue and 'toons (the musical sort, sorry, I can't bring myself to write 'choon',  even in a heavily ironic sense) will be D.I.S.C.O.  *Himself will be wearing his leopard print flares...

So yeah.  I've known for ages that druids get kitty form dependent upon their hair colour but whenever I've tried to play a druid I've always opted for boomkin, unsuccessfully, I might add.  I want a druid - they're extraordinarily cool, but I've never gelled with one.  So when I decided that it would be interesting to make a character, with the concept of getting them to level 20, then levelling only via gathering and archaeology, a feral druid seemed like a sensible option.  Then, in the only flash of min-maxing I've ever had, I opted for a nelf on the basis of the racial stealth spell.  Rules of the game were going to be no killing.  Not even in self-defence.  So an additional aggro-dropping spell would be ftw!  So I made myself a pretty lass, with purple hair - which meant I would have:

AMG purple kitteh!!  (Yes, I'm *that* ferocious - be very afraid!)

I'm interested as to whether it would be viable (as opposed to 'possible') to level purely through dual gathering and archaeology.  I'm doing it successfully thus far on Pilf (more of that in another post) but she can fly, so herbing etc is a lot faster.  I put level 20 as the limit on questing and killing because that's when you can pick up archaeology.  I didn't expect to enjoy feral druid-ing but goodness me, kitteh rawr! is really quite effective and fun!

It's so much fun that my plans for non-violent levelling have been shelved - despite her now having a completely inappropriate name (Pacifae would be fine for, say a resto druid, it's less fine for a feral kitteh rawr! one) and I'm blazing through content.  Somehow I've hit level 24 without really trying hard.  I hit a few buttons in hello kitteh rawr! form, shift out to HoT myself, shift back and go through mobs like a hot knife through butter.  Why did no-one tell me levelling as kitteh was this easy?  

I have no clue about what I should be doing, by the way.  Energy is something that I'm not familiar with, so I'm hitting mangle, claw, rip (I think) then bite as a finisher (if they're not already dead) and relying on Pawn to tell me what quest rewards I should be taking.  from which I assume that it's +agi, + stam, ignore everything else...?

And of course, I'm more ferocious than the kitteh in the picture above.  I'm actually this ferocious:

Be very afraid...

*Himself does have a picture of him dressed in such attire.  If I was less lovely I would post it.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Hoisted... by Picard

Like any couple who have been together for a while, Himself and I have our own shorthand for various things.  Some of it is game-related; f'r'instance I struggle quite badly in crowds for any length of time, in a "Get me outta here NOW!" way, not just a "Oh it's a bit busier than I'd like it to be..." way.  We refer to this (in public) as the framerate dropping, as in "Can we leave please, I'm getting a low framerate!" or "Are you ok honey - is everything getting laggy?"  Whilst, yes, it's geeky it does allow us to communicate stuff that's a bit personal in a slightly cryptic manner.

We also have various other phrases  - "a bit corgi" for example, describes a certain type of person, as does being full of "eastern monosodium gultamate" (serious *highfive* for anyone who gets the references - but really?  You're *that* sad as well...!) And some that have just crept into our vernacular after I've had a dizzy moment - sunlight is now pixels rather than photons...  And, as the post title may suggest - in the house of Himself and Myself, one is not hoisted on one's petard but rather by a famous Captain - usually indicated by Himself yelling "...Picard to Bridge!!" or something kinda like this.

Right - there is a WoW lead here, honestly, mainly to do with a Picard-related incident. I've been vaguely opposed to RMT/micro transaction thingys - not hugely anti mind, just a bit... grouchy about it.  I've never wanted any of the pets in the petstore, cute though they are; with the exception of the plushie windrider that has an in-game baby one too, that I got for Christmas - but that was wanting the plushie, the ingame pet was a bonus rather than the original want.  Yes, I realise that wanting a plushie is probably worse, but thanks for pointing it out...  I never wanted the Celestial Steed  - I want sparkle form not a sparkle pony, but Ghostcrawler seems to be unaccountably unwilling to notice my QQ!  So when the Winged Guardian mount was released I went "Hmph, another way for Blizz to make money from the masses."  And carried on.  Then I began to see them ingame.  And you know what - I really like them.  I like them a lot.

Which leaves me somewhat hoisted - I've muttered and grumbled to Himself (and on this blog) about RMT things.  I've poured (small amounts of) scorn on people who pay RL money for ingame stuff (sorry!) But now I find myself at the Blizzard store, stroking the screen wistfully and thinking how nice some (all?) of my characters would look on it.  And I can see the appeal in having a mount that does it 'all'.  A mount that ups speed and flying capability depending on your riding skill.  I know that mounts are small change these days, but having a Winged Guardian on all my current and future characters is quite appealing.

But... we're in self-imposed financial penury due to wedding spending, plus we've just all had to have new glasses (in my case three pairs - one long distance, one short distance and one set of prescription sunnies!), the roof on the car appears to be fucked (thank you complicated electronic folding roof - come back manual soft-tops - all is forgiven!) etc, etc, so do I *really* need to spend £17 on a virtual item?  No of course I don't need to.  But I kinda want to. And the bad bit of my brain says, 'that's only three bottles of wine... that's less than the bottle of champagne that you and Himself opened at 5pm last night... that's about what it costs for you all to go to Costa...' and I try to ignore it.  (As an aside - we don't usually drink champagne on Mondays.  At 5pm.  Or at all.  We'd bought a bottle to celebrate our first anniversary and forgot to take it away with us and the bottle was bunging up the fridge... And it was lovely on the balcony, in the sun, watching the tide go out and yeah... that's my excuses run out...) 

But the Winged Guardian is soooooooooo strokeable!  So c'mon folks - opinions from the peanut gallery requested:  should I be hoisted (and spend money) or remain firm and principled...?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Just when I'd convinced her Azeroth was safe again...

Poor Pilf...


Himself and I watched the trailer for the new Age of Conan thingy over the weekend; not that either of us had any intention of actually playing it, but now it's Free To Play we thought we'd look.  And also do a boob count (I've only ever heard about AoC so I wanted to see if it was as bad as I'd been led to believe.)  In fairness, the trailer only had one (!) topless woman (and it did also, I should add, have bare-chested men) and my abject loathing for the game dissipated fractionally.

Then this morning this post from Killed in a Smiling Accident popped up in my Reader and I nearly put my fist through my (new, lovely) monitor. Just to be clear:  I'm not criticising KiaSA in any way at all. (In fact, I should almost be thanking them - it's been a while since I wrote a properly 'frothing at the mouth with fury' post.) I'm raging over being able to purchase women in game, sorry, my mistake - they're not mere 'women' but 'pleasure priestesses' who make those "long nights by the campfire much better." Seriously?

I could write pages on how cross and ranty this makes me but then I figured that a) y'all would agree with me anyway and I'd be preaching to the converted, or b) that you wouldn't agree with me and frankly, if that's the case, I don't give a flying feck what your opinion is anyway.  So very brief rant follows:

Women (or men, or children) are NOT objects to be bought and sold.  Do NOT tell me that they're 'virtual' so that makes it ok.  It doesn't. Do NOT tell me it's 'just a game' - that line of defence is ludicrous under most of circumstances and downright offensive in this case.  If you think that objectification of ANYONE is acceptable, do us both a favour and remove me from your Reader. Ktnxbai.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Conversations with characters

I'm really enjoying Azeroth again.  I've masses to do - more, probably then I'll ever actually get around to doing, but I have this niggle.  Everytime I log in, I see Pilf at the top of my screen, and I get a little twinge.  I miss her.  Often.  So I ventured off to Nagrand, to her home in the clouds and we had a chat.

  What do you want?  Why are you here?
  Well, it's been over a year.  I've given you space and time.  I've left you here, with Lenore, floating, but maybe it's time that you continued with your journey now.
  No. Leave me alone!
  Look, I know you're scared.  But you're better.  You're ok now.  You've beaten it all.  All your scars have faded, they're gone.  There's no trace of fel left on you, or in you.
  How do you know?  How can you be sure?  Here... here I'm safe.  I'm fine.  It's peaceful.  I don't need anything.
  You can't run forever.
  I'm not running.  I stopped running when I got here.  Now go away, please.
  Pilf... I can't do that.  I need you to be brave and to take a chance.  I need you to trust me.  I won't let you come to any harm.
  But you did!
  I know.  But things are different now.  I'll protect you.
  Why should I trust you?  Why should I leave here?
   The world is changed.  Have you no curiosity to see what The Sundering wrought?  The new lands?  The havoc wreaked by Deathwing?  Are you not running low on gold...
  I'm managing.
  But for how long?  You're willing to waste all your training, your talent?  You'd rather sit here until your money runs out?  Then what?
  Then I will work for one of the villagers in Garadar.
  What can you offer them that they don't already have, Pilf?  Outlands is all but deserted now.  Shattrath is almost a ghost town. 
  You want me to return to the North?
  I'd like you to consider it, yes.
  For whom would I work?
  I don't know.  Whatever you're comfortable with.
  Can I not just collect herbs to replenish my reserves?
  Just do that?  You don't want to assist your kin with the ongoing effort?
  I don't want to think about my kin.! This was wrought upon me by a Sindorei!
  Ok... ok.  It's ok.  If you're happiest starting off with herb gathering, that's ok.  There is a new craft now though.  It's hard work, so maybe best left until you're stronger...
  A new craft?
  Yes.  Archaeology. But it's physically hard labour. 
  When have I ever been afraid of hard work???
  You haven't.  But you will need to go to a city to speak with a trainer... Can you do that?
  I'll think about it.  Give me a few days.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

(Unwilling) Oppression

After I'd completed the 'can you pick cactus apples' challenge, the cook baked me a pie from my spoils of... well, not war.  Fruit picking.  The spoils of my fruit picking?  Oh dear.  What will I tell my father?  He'll misunderstand me and think that I spoiled fruit.  Doubtless with my axe. "See how brave my daughter is?  She triumphed over fruit! With the axe I gave her! (Wait.  Did you really say fruit, daughter?  Did I not mishear you?  Perhaps you meant to say... foes?)"  I think I may wait longer before I put quill to parchment and advise them of my progress...

I was asked to report to Foreman Thazz'ril who was allegedly in urgent need of my assistance. So I ran through the dust, eager to offer him my services.  He explained to me that his team of workers were not up to scratch and they needed to be deal with.  He then handed me a wicked looking blackjack and instructed me to savagely beat the peons I happened across who were napping. Beat them!  With this horrible looking thing!  I took it gingerly - what else could I do?  My parents raised me well - I'm respectful of my elders, but I wasn't sure quite what to do with it.  When I looked questioningly at the Foreman he raised his hand in the air, and brought it down in a swift, striking motion. "Look under the trees, Steka - that's their favourite spot for snoozing.  Lazy good-for-nothings..."

I walked away, hoping that all the peons I happened across would be hard at work, and sure enough, the first few I saw were chopping wood diligently.  Maybe I could report back to the Foreman now?  "They all seem to be hard at work Mr Foreman.  No dozing, no slacking off..." but then, as I watched one, he dropped his axe and curled up by the pile of logs.  Within moments he was asleep, mouth agape, snores rattling round the Valley and echoing off the rocks.  Oh great.  Half the problem seemed to be the noise.  If only they could sleep quietly!  It would be a lot less noticeable.  I shuffled towards him slowly and put my hand on his shoulder.  I shook him hard, but he brushed my hand off, muttered something intelligible and went back to snoring. 

I looked at the blackjack in my hand.  Unwillingly, I poked him gently in the ribs.  No response.  Oh for goodness sake!  I'm trying to make this easy for you, Mister...  I poked him  a bit harder.  He muttered something I couldn't catch (it sounded like "Me not that sort of orc" but I suspect I misheard!) and turned over. I straightened up, sighing.  In all honesty, he didn't look like he had much gumption.  He was an orc - he should be wielding his axe (which looked a LOT sharper than The Axe of My Father) with pride!  Even if he only was using it to chop wood.  I tapped his shoulder gently with the blackjack.  A cloud of red dust flew up from his leather jerkin but he remained motionless (but not silent - alas!)  Giving up, I raised the blackjack in the air and struck him with it.  As he stood up I grabbed for The Axe of My Father - expecting to have to defend myself, but he squinted at me and picked up his axe, "Ok, ok Steka.  I go back to tree-hitting now."  He appeared to hold no grudge against me for the abuse I had visited upon him.  Heartened by my success I found others and when I had awoken a good number I returned to the Foreman. He gave me a handful of small coins and instructed me to go to the cave to the east and retrieve his mining pick. 

I am unwilling to do this.  I fear that whilst the blackjack was a horrid, weighty thing, at least it's blunt!  What will happen the next time the peons nap?  Is he planning to attack them with his mining pick?  Whilst I'm certain this would ensure he had their attention, I fear that he would soon have a much reduced workforce.  Perhaps I need to ask him (tactfully) if he felt able to resolve the issues he has with his employees in a less... violent way?  Or would this be dis-respectful?  Oh dear, I rather thought being a warrior would involve less moral dilemmas than it has done thus far...

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Does not play well with others

Manalicious recently wrote about how playing alts might be harming your game play, and as a confirmed altoholic I went over and gave it a read.  Unsurprisingly, it's an insightful and balanced post, and as I was planning to write something about alts and player capability I thought I'd use this as an intro point.  Usual disclaimer:  all points about raiding are now historical, and filtered through the (rusty) sieve that is my memory. I don't raid anymore, blah, blah, blah, y'all know this already...

I love mah alts.  You may have noticed.  I love them enough that one of the things that has pulled me back to Azeroth (again) is making myself a new Project 10, on a server that I have no heirlooms, gold or bags on.  I'm starting 100% from scratch (so I'm even more n00b-like than usual) for a real challenge.  But I have always had alts.  Mainly very low level ones.  I only ever raided on my priest.  As I begin to play classes I've not played before (very much) I find myself going through the 4 stages of competence that most people are probably familiar with.  For those of you who aren't (and who CBA to clickly the linkie) the basic premise is this:

Stage 1 - Unconscious Incompetence
Translation:  you know fuck all but don't realise this.  (You shouldn't be raiding. Or doing anything with others until you've gotten to Stage 2.  Play on your own, learn your own shit, m'kay?)

Stage 2 - Conscious Incompetence
Translation: you realise you know fuck all.  (You should be running instances/grouping with others, reading blogs or forums or whatever, and taking advice.)

Stage 3 - Conscious Competence
Translation: you know stuff, but damn if it isn't really hard work keeping on top of it. (Raid.  Work.  Learn more. Practice.)

Stage 4 - Unconscious Competence
Translation: you've known stuff for so long that it's all now automatic, i.e. you don't need to be told to get outta teh bad! (Your raid leader loves you.)

I usually sit somewhere between Stages 2 & 3.  I rarely hit Stage 4 and I'm my own harshest critic so I don't spend much time (I hope) in Stage 1.  In raiding you need to ideally be at Stage 4 but Stage 3 is ok for a bit.  I would think that if you raided with more than two characters, you'd be hard pushed to remain in Stage 4. 

The people I raided with who were deep, deep within Stage 4, were those who just raided with one character.  They'd raided with that character for some time (not that they'd never raided with anything else, but they'd done a lot with the current one) and you knew that they'd know the fights and their role inside out.  In my experience, these players tended to just be awesomely dependable folks.  They signed up for raids, turned up (on time, flasked, repaired and with reagents etc) without fail, didn't grumble about wipes etc etc.  The backbone of your raid team, in other words. 

Having raiders who had numerous max level characters can be helpful.  If you're a healer down, and someone has an alt, better that than no raid?  Probably.  I've raided with a few, very few, players who are just good.  They can tank, they can heal, they can dps.  But they're a rarity.  I've raided with a lot of people who think this applies to them.  And that, as a raid leader, is headache inducing.  Syl recently wrote an excellent and painfully honest post about raiding. If you haven't read it, you should, but the one point that really resonated with me was her point that, if you're a raider, you have a 'contract' with your guild.  If you applied as a dps, tank or healer, that's what you were taken on as.  Along with multiple other things like attendance etc.  I used to hate seeing someone's alt signed up on the raid calender.  Why??  Why are you suddenly signing on your rogue not your priest?  Why is our top dps warlock suddenly signing on his tank?  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot???

And when I logged in, I'd say, hey - whats with the change in 'toon? and they'd say, oh, I wanna swap my main - that's cool isn't it? and I'd *headdesk* and then try to explain that well, whilst no-one wants to tell you who to raid with, you need to, y'know, discuss this sort of thing with an officer or someone, rather than just assume it's ok to suddenly change.  'Cos, you know, you've been gearing up as 'role x' and we kinda need you in that role, and how well geared is this other character?  Oh, right.  In blues and stuff.  Well, that's going to be  a bit difficult as we're currently x/y bosses through [insert raid here].  And if you switch then others are going to want to... and *headdesk*.  And some people were fine about that and some weren't.  But if people start to switch then lots of others want to and all of a sudden you're progression is... stalled. And your main character players (the Stage 4-ers) are frustrated and then drama happens. And we all hate raid drama, amirite?

I'm fine about bouncing between my warrior and my mage and my hunter, getting confused about the buttons, what class of armour I should be wearing what what (and where) my 'oh shit' button is.  But I'm levelling, on my own, so  Stage 1 & 2 is fine for this.  I'm resigned to my anti-socialness.  But if I was to ever raid again (which I will, when hell freezes over) I'd be pretty determined to raid on one character, and be at least comfortably ensconced in Stage 3.

Monday, 20 June 2011

The Axe of My Father

I am confused.

In fact, I am irked.  Irked and vexed. 

For years and years my parents had regaled me with tales of the brave orc warriors, my kin, who had fought vicious wars and covered themselves, the Horde and the Warchief in glory (and presumably a fair quantity of blood).  I had relinquished my dream of following a more peaceful, shamanic path some time ago.  They had not been granted sons, I heard (almost nightly), and therefore I should go out into the world, when I was of age, and make them as proud as any sons would have made them.  And ok, you have to respect your parents wishes, don't you?  So I agreed that yes, when I was old enough, I'd take the battered, chipped old axe that my father had killed many... things... with and I'd present myself at The Valley of Trials for conditioning and training.  And hope that they didn't take one look at The Axe of My Father and fall over laughing.  They might even, I supposed, provide me with a decent whetstone to sharpen it with. 

Obviously, I was expecting some warning.  Some conversation nearer the time.  I knew that they'd tell me that it was time I went, rather than ask me, but I didn't expect to be frog-marched into the Orgrimmar barbers and have some greasy goblin clamber onto my shoulders and hack away at my hair.  This, apparently, was their way of telling me that it was time for me to go.  I'm not vain, I'd like to add, it's just that I'd thought maybe if I kept my hair long, they'd look at me one day and reconsider, "yes, clearly Steka looks much more of a... wise woman than a warrior.  Perhaps we should think again about what SHE wants...I'll see if that shaman wants an apprentice..." that type of thing.  But no such luck.  What I got was a giggling goblin shaving the sides of my head and slapping something probably made of crushed beetles over the remains (to darken the colour, it turned out - not just for his amusement) and then taking the remaining hair and gluing it (with I don't want to think what) into three long spikes.  Then he poked me until I bared my teeth at him and then my parents were proud. They took me to the tavern, gave me some quite disgusting mead to drink and my father proudly presented me with his axe.  It looked even more battered than I remembered, frankly, but I held it reverentially and promised him that I'd make it look like a true warriors axe (i.e. cover it in blood and gore) as soon as I had the opportunity to.

My father made some gruff speech about the world changing and allegiance now being shown to Garrosh and how I'd need to prove myself even more under his rule (oh joy!) and then they whistled up an incredibly hairy wolf, strapped me on and waved as this thing charged out of the city, it's tongue lolling out of its mouth, its tail wagging madly.  What a perfect send off (did you note the sarcasm in that sentence?)  It deposited me unceremoniously in the Valley and after brushing off the worst of the dirt and strapping my axe to my back, I presented myself to Gornek.  He couldn't have cared less about The Axe of My Father - all he wanted me to do was to go and kill boars.  Not wild, roaming boars with huge tusks mind you.  Just small, grey boars in a wooden pen.  I'm still not sure why - they were hardly a threat to the locals, but it doesn't do to ask questions, so off I went. 

I'd like to tell you that this was a truly epic challenge - that The Axe of my Father served me well and that despite it's battered and chipped appearance it was a weapon of keen sharpness, but I can't.  And for the record, the boars were so docile that I could probably have beaten them (slowly) to death with a soggy piece of parchment.  Their sole method of defence was to snort. So I returned to Gornek, not especially blood coated, to be sent off to see a cook who required me to collect some apples.  Apples!  Ok, they were from moderately prickly cacti but I'm an orc!  We have quite tough skin...

I'm not sure that this warrior lark is quite the same as it was in my father's day.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Azerothian utopia, dystopia, whatever...

First off:  I have impetigo on my faceLess than a week before I get married.  For those of you that are lucky enough to not know what it looks like you can see it in all its glory here.  That isn't my chin and mine isn't that bad (and thanks to the wonders of health care on a Sunday and mega doses of antibiotics it hopefully won't get that bad), but  I do expect sympathetic comments by the dozen.  Yes, /sympathy does count.  Beggars can't be choosers. 

In the spirit of trying to cheer me up (or something), Himself decided to tell me what he plans to say when the Registrar rings this week to do the final 'marriage chat-ette' thing they do now. Himself's view is he'll say something along the lines of "Pilf.... who?  Ohhhhhhhh, Pilf!  Yes. The one I marry soon.  Hopefully this English girl will stay married to me, so I can stay in England, yes..?" (Because that's the sort of thing Himself finds amusing when I'm having 'wedding fret'...) And I told him he had the dodgiest pseudo-Eastern Europe/Russian/whatever accent imaginable (he did.  It was terribad...) Which (somehow) led on to us discussing Turkmenistan.  There is a reason that this is a Warcraft post.  You just need patience.

For those of you who don't know, Turkmenistan was, until December 2006, ruled by a... fairly eccentric dictator (this isn't a political blog, nor is it a political post, this is for teh lols, ok); the self -styled Türkmenbaşy who had a habit (it seems) of being a trifle... capricious.  Amongst the things he banned were: ballet, opera, circuses, long hair (on men) and beards (presumably on both sexes), dogs (from the capital city), libraries (outside the capital city because the only books people needed to read were the Koran and the book he had written), the use of lip-synching at concerts, gold teeth, and most epically, in my opinion, smoking, after heart surgery meant he could no longer smoke.  It's the last one that pleases me the most.  That 'if I have to suffer then dammit, everyone in my country will suffer with me!' view of the world.

In Azeroth therefore, I would introduce mandatory sparkle-form for warlocks.  Or maybe not mandatory... just a 75% damage reduction debuff when you aren't in sparkleform.  All warlock headpieces would look like this:

(And the 'hide helmet' option would be grayed out in the Interface Options)

There would be added Tinkerbell stylee sparkle sound effects when casting a spell.  And pink minions, a la Saga.  And spell effects that are no longer threatening balls of dark matter but stars, kinda like this:

Soooooooooooo. If you could outlaw/enforce anything in Azeroth - what would you choose? Serious, insane, funny, downright bizzare and bonkers. All donations are welcome, and will be donated to the good cause of Making Pilf Laugh Even Though She's Pissed Off.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Making your own challenge?

Forgive me for writing another 'Rift' post on my main blog, but I'm using Rift as an example - not the be all and end all.  And I'm not saying, in any way, than game x is better than game y. Just to be clear about that...

My (admittedly) limited MMO experience is based around the so called 'holy trinity' of roles - tank, healer and damage dealers. But Rift added a new string to that (for me - probably not a new mechanic, I'm sure!) - the buff/debuff role.  Now I can imagine that that type of role can cause difficulty with balancing - ok, I get that in a raid group (and I think that raids are 20 players in Rift) you can tune the fights around having at least one 'support' role, but how does it play out in 5-mans?  If you require a support role to manage boss fights, that leaves another 'necessary' role, along with the inexorable tank-healer combo so only two DD slots.  Hmm. However, that was a tangent.

I'm a cussed sort sometimes.  I levelled my priest in WoW from 1 - 70 as holy (before the days of dual spec) and I didn't find it that much of a big deal.  (Until I levelled a warlock and things just fell over.)  I know tanks had, to a degree, the same thing.  You took the 'pain' levelling for the 'rewards' of end game.  Period.  Then dual specs made it much easier to have a DD 'off spec' or vice versa and all of a sudden, the need to take the levelling 'pain' was removed.  And levelling got easier.

In Rift I'm playing mages and clerics.  For the unitiated (or those who have been hiding under a rock...) clerics can tank, heal or DD depending on soul choice.  Mages can heal, DD or fulfill a support role.  So clearly there are specs that are 'easier' in terms of levelling progression than others.  Himself is playing a shaman as his 'main' spec and is sliding through packs of mobs 2+ levels higher than he is like a hot knife through butter.  I think he gets a bit bored sometimes...

I love my necro but it's not exactly challenging when you've got a pet tank.  Same with an elementalist who has a rocky minion as a (sort of) tank.  Various warrior/rogue builds get pets etc etc.  You get my drift.  Now having been levelling my cleric as a total healer I did start to get a bit... frustrated by how long it took me to level, but boy I had fun in groups.  My latest addition is a support mage (an archon, to be precise) because I wanted to see how viable it is to level in a 'support' role. 

So the point of this post really, is to seek opinion on whether we can make our own challenges in-game.  If it feels to easy levelling as a DD, should we try making levelling harder for ourselves, rather than wanting the game designers to increase the diffiuclty levels?  Or is that just bonkers...?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

RL quests are epic!

Map showing quest objectives/quest givers.

Quest overview.

Transport choices.

Arrival completion!


Woo-hoo!  First reward...

[To be continued as I remain determined to hang on to my sanity via the medium of self-mockery...]

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Don't stop shining

I miss you.  I think of you often. Happy 21st.

Friday, 27 May 2011

20 Days of Warcraft Redux - This Upsets (Bugs) Me.

It's Saga's meme time again - huzzah! And unfortunately I fell into a bottle of vodka last night (quick tip: vodka is only the answer if you know what the question is) so I have the hangover from hell.  But today gives me a chance to be ranty about stuff that generally sticks in my craw.  Yay.  Mind you, my last few posts haven't exactly been happy and smiley, so apologies... I'll try to minimise shouty CAPS and profanity...

Let's have a bitch fight
I hate blog drama.  Really, I do. I'm incredibly bad with confrontation that involves me personally, but I also loathe it when bloggers start splitting themselves into 'factions' and taking sides.  Healthy, productive debate is fine.  Disagreeing with people in an intelligent manner is fine.  Challenging people is fine. Taking agin people for either no discernible reason, or for some 'reason' that's so minuscule it's on the pinhead, dancing along with the angels, just upsets me. And then using that 'reason' to troll people's blog saddens me further.  I read again today, a slightly vitriolic post (that I'm not linking to because it's the kind of 'churn' post I hate) which consisted of someone spouting off about a known blogger/podcaster (that I'm not over-endowed with fondness for myself but I just kinda... don't engage with it) for seemingly no reason other than they disliked each other (I do get the feeling it was mutual...) and predictably the comments, in the main (with some exceptions) were not particularly relevant to the alleged 'point' the blogger was making but were along the lines of "OMG [other blogger] is win!!11 U r fail!!11"  /yawn.  See that /yawn.  Not even /popcorn.  Let's just make like the imp and "all just get along..."

Trolling and being a jerk
See above.  But also on forums, on blogs, and in-game.  BE NICE!  Don't be ableist, sexist, racist or a bigot in general.  If you must insist on maintaining these charming personality quirks, please keep them out of game. Seriously, my 13 year old daughter wants this t-shirt.  If she can be mature - so can you. Also, don't be an elitist jerk.  Don't tell people to L2PlayN00b.  It's utterly and completely futile. Chances are they aren't deliberately playing badly... and if they are - well that won't make any difference anyway.

I can't jump.  In Blackfathom Depths you need to jump up early on - I need a half an hour head start to swim round in circles cursing.  In Wailing Caverns I fall through the hole because, even with a run up, I usually can't make it.  Raid bosses that require me to jump (I'm looking at YOU Thaddius!) make me sweat and grind my teeth Even with levitate, even with speed potions, chances are I'm going to unintentionally kill you with bad polarity as I try to get across.  How do you do it so easily?  How??

I don't know why.  I don't get PvP.  I'm sorry.  It upsets me that with so many bad things in Azeroth, you'd want to kill each other... /takes tongue out of cheek. Nope, sorry, still don't get it.  I love the fact that you love it. It just bugs me that I can't understand why you do.  PvP has one use in my life:  to serve as a cheesy pickup line to use on Himself (*yoinked* from Bell's Valentine's Day post) "Hey baby, you look like my WoW character.  Why don't we go back to my place and PvP..."

So there ya go.  It's a short list;  be grateful for the fact that I'm dehydrated and my head hurts.  Happy long  bank holiday weekend fellow Brits, and have a good weekend all you poor souls who have to go to work on Monday...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011


1. The fact of having a right to something.
2. The amount to which a person has a right

Ok - all clear about that?  Good. 

So... you are not entitled to anything in a game. Other than what is in your standard T&Cs.  If Blizzard so chose, they could take all the WoW servers down tomorrow and other than refunding the subscripition fee for the remaining 'game time' you have purchased, you are entitled to nothing.  Zip, nix, nada, rien, niente. 

You are not entitled to new content, raids, zones or battlegrounds with new patches.

You are not entitled to assume that because you feel your particular class is over-powered/nerfed in a specific situation/context that this is a game breaking situation for other players and Blizz should devote every millisecond of their dev time to fixing it NAO!

If Blizz so chose, they could implement this and there is bugger all anyone can do about it.

You are, however, entitled to vote with your wallet at any point.  If you don't like the move towards RMT stop playing.  Seriously, if it bugs you that much cancel your sub and go play something else.  If you're not at this point, know that you can reserve your right to cancel at any time in the future.  That's what being a consumer is about. 

Blizz will milk their cash cow for as long as they can (and before it turns into a dog.)  Activision is a business.  It reports to shareholders.  Shareholds don't give a fuck about class balance or content.  Nor do they care about what you think you're entitled to...