Friday, 28 January 2011

In which Pilf blithers

One of the downsides to both Himself and Myself having a lurgy is that we've no energy to do anything, other than sit around, play WoW for a bit, then collapse in a heap and talk.  Now, at first glance, that's not too bad is it?  But what do we talk about?  Mhm, you guessed it. As a result of this, there are numerous half formed post ideas floating round our place, little wispy things, floating in the corners of the rooms.  Oh no... wait.  Those are cobwebs.  Dammit.  Pilf fails at house-wife as well...

This post, therefore, is going to be a repository of various fragmented discussions, some of which I might turn into proper posts at some point in the future.  Equally, Himself might.  You never know.  Lastly, please feel free to yoink them if you think you can write more coherently about them (to be honest, it wouldn't take much effort at present - I would suggest giving 10 monkeys 10 typewriters and not being surprised when they write something a little more structured and understandable then this wall of text).

But... I don't like Tauren
This is heresy to Himself, who does like them, for all the reasons that I don't.  I think they're boring - he thinks they're peaceful (quote of the week from Himself (not said in a pointed manner in any way at all *coughs*): Everything doesn't have to be neurotic and have a dark past. (He's adding to this statement as I type with "you don't have to be troubled - it's ok to be calm and sensible." Like I said: boring!  Sorry if you love our bovine friends (and particular apologies at this point to Kamelia *hugs*) - I just can't make myself enjoy playing them.  In actuality, after some more discussion, the thing that I find really troubling about them is how slowly I think they move.  Now just pause for a moment here.  Movement in WoW is quite finely tuned - does the world seem to speed up when you play your gnome?  It does to me, in the same way that it s l o w s  d o w n  a  l o t when I play Tauren.  It's relative to height; I know that they're actually moving at the same speed, but Tauren lope seems to be slower than other classes when they run... Add to that, the fact that paladins are not the most exciting class at lower levels (like 13) and it's all a bit *yawn*...

Are we drawn to playing races we *identify* with?
Do I like belfs because I'm neurotic and add a bucketload of complexity to everything?  Does Himself like Tauren because they're calm and rational?  Do we play races (and classes) that match our perception of ourselves (leaving looks completely aside for a moment), and if so, why?  If I'm feeling feisty am I more likely to want to play my goblin?  When Himself has a bad day at work and wishes he had a personal blight supply, will he want to play his Forsaken? Do we have similar views of racial 'personality' or is it something much more intimate and personal?  I don't have the answers, by the way - I'm just chucking stuff out there for my beloved readers to contemplate and digest (and maybe help me with answering!)

Why don't I enjoy playing certain classes, but I do enjoy playing others?
Example the First:  My preferred (but sub-optimal) method of playing is having a casting class, but standing toe-to-toe with the bad guys and getting smacked in the face whilst I cast them to death.  Some classes this is ok with - I know it stems from my years of playing priest where basically you just bubble and pew - but arguably the most optimal class for this method is a shaman. You have a shield, you have decent armour, you can self heal and you blat the bad guys with phat bolts of lightening (rawrrr - I am Thor-like - fear mah ire!)  Job done?  Not really.  I've played a shaman before (I actually got one to 60) and I'm playing one again for Project 10, but I'm not enjoying it.  Logically, I know I should - it ticks all my boxes, as it were.  In fairness, I'm also a dorf and, as I've mentioned before, I actively dislike the dorf area.  I've also only just hit 10, so now I have  thunder as well as lightening.  Hopefully I'll start having funsies soon.  Example the Second: I'm amazed, beyond amazed, in fact, to find that I like my warrior.  I've never gotten on with melee but dammit, Victory Rush is fun.  So is Charge.  Again, only hit 10, but I'm having fun.  But... but how can I be having more fun with a melee class with no spells than a casting class?  The force is... juddering, nevermind tremor-ing...

Nelf females are less... centrefold-like than I remember.
My rogue is a nelf.  I go through phases with night elves.  Sometimes I like them, sometimes they irritte the bejesus out of me.  I had a 'moment' yesterday whist my little rogue was standing around as I did something, not sure what now, and she appeared to NOT bounce.  Yeah *that* bounce.  The infamous one.  And I dragged Himself over to the screen and made him look, LOOK dammit - where has the bounce gone?!  As we both sat there, staring, she still didn't bounce, and then a thought struck.  Maybe this was why subscription number are dropping.  Maybe Blizz have removed the nelf bounce and everyone has gone to play Tera instead:

But it's not just all about the boobies y'know.  It's about the legs as well...

Finally, she stopped shifting her weight from side to side (booooooooring!) and she bounced.  Reality re-asserted itself and we breathed a sigh of relief... or something.  In fairness though, she's very stabby-stabby and actually quite kickass.  Himself has persuaded me that I should go Subtlety and because even I can't disagree with the majesty that is shadowstep, I've agreed.  Watch this space...

Why I don't have time for more than one MMO.
I'm sort of in awe of people who manage to play multiple MMOs. Himself has got a beta key to a game which I'll leave unnamed, lest he wants to blog about it, and I'm hiding in the corner - "Nooooooo!  Don't let me see another shiny game - I don't have time...!" Seriously people, how do you manage to play multiple time-sink games?  I'm quite capable of playing WoW for... too many hours straight before unsticking myself from the screen and going to do something more important, like, y'know eat or sleep.  (I'm kidding, I'm not that bad. Well, not very often.)  But if I had multiple games, with even more multiple alts, something would have to give.  Maybe sleeping?  I don't know.  If you do play multiple games let me into the secret would ya?  I'll give you cookies...

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Enter Lady RNG and Project 10

I'm reading a LOT of burnout posts and posts about people quitting - fundamentally I agree with Sven's PoV (and it pains me to say so, with the amount of belf-mocking comments he leaves me on this blog...)  But I've been there, in both the 'quit' and 'burnout' head spaces and it's not pleasant - and I don't want to go there again.  So - I present you with Pilf's guide to how (she's going) to not get bored with WoW:

  1. Decide that you should really start Project 10. That is, level one of each class to level cap.  I'm not, despite Himself's faux-helpful suggestion, going to level one of each class and each spec to level cap.  I'm not that much of a sucker...
  2. Decide on race/class combos.  To minimise boredom I'm going to play (stinky) Alliance as well, but as there's only 10 classes, that means leaving out skittery werewolvesWorgen and spacegoats Draenei. 
  3. Make Gant Chart table to track said alts and then sort out names.  Cuss maintenance for being just at the time that you need to be able to log onto servers and check names. 
  4. Pick Himself's brains about specs.  Add 'spec column' to table.  Ditto blogs to read.  
  5. Yay - maintenance is finished!  Make characters!!  Many characters! 
  6. Decide that it is permissible to use your druid (level 30) and your hunter (level 32) as you love them and you didn't start them until after Cata hit so it *does* count.
  7. Log onto first character and squee!
  8. Realise first character is a human warrior - I thought I'd combine the race I dislike most with the class I expected to hate the most but then I was, I have to admit, pleasantly surprised.  Warriors got a bit easier since I last tried to play them (possibly in vanilla...) She's hysterical, somehow I managed to make her look... grumpy... and the way she moves - even the way she mines, is just like "Oh my God, it's all sooooooo depressing." I think she's a Twilight Cultist who's pissed off that the world didn't end...
  9. Get them all to level 10.  Once they are all there, whenever I want to switch 'toon I'll /roll 1 - 10 and see what number crops up (yes there is a 'number' column in the table...) 

Ok, it might be bonkers, I might get bored really quickly, but them again I might not.  And it's making me play classes that I'd previously written off as 'not for me'.  And you know what?  It's fun as well... 

5.9 million years???

That's the collective time we have spent playing WoW since the 2004 release - according to 'Reality is Broken: Why games make us better and how they can change the world' (link here).  Helpfully, the review in New Scientist gives us a comparator time frame: "that's roughly how long it's been since our ancestors stood upright."

If you'll excuse me, I'm off to have a lie down, as thinking about that has left me a bit boggled...

EDIT: I'd like to add that a) I'm not a mathematician, especially when b) it's early, and c) my brain is streaming out of my nostrils, so whilst that figure is bonkers-ly large I can't break it down for you and say for certain whether it's even vaguely correct.  You can do that maths if you so desire and tell me if I'm wrong...

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

What is it with leveling at the moment?

I'm willing to accept that it's just me - it often is.  Example from earlier today:  Himself has been trying to explain to me how to play mages and hunters, and has been getting boggled by my inability to run away AND do damage.  Leaning over my shoulder this morning, he growled (words to the effect of) "Run AND damage!  NO, don't STEP backwards - RUN!"  After I'd finished whimpering and returned from the corner (*sniffle*) I gave him my best puzzled face (which he sees a lot) and asked him, well, basically... WTF he wanted me to DO?? Then he explained to me (after his amazement had dissipated) what the 'Q' and 'E' keys were for.  They'd be the 'strafe' keys that I didn't know existed.  Yes, I know.  Fail much?

So disclaimer/explanation of my ongoing ability to fail over with.  On with the post-proper.

I'm doing a lot of leveling at present, having waaaay too many alts who I love, but with each of them, seemingly regardless of class, I'm out-leveling zones.  I have NO BoA heirloom stuff, so that isn't the explanation.  Yes, I'm gathering, which I know gives xp, but surely not that much xp? It's incredibly frustrating; no matter what I do, if I complete the quests, the quest mobs are, at best green, and at worst, grey, before I finish the zone itself.  And, you know, with the way the quests are structured at the moment, with the high levels of linear-ness (is that a word?), I want to finish the chains.  Because I'm enjoying the stories being told.

I'm in no way advocating a return to the 'good ol' days' (*ahem*) of Vanilla/BC where you had to run all over Azeroth and hop between continents to find leveling appropriate quest zones.  I wouldn't do that anymore than I'd advocate a return to first mount at level 40 (especially as I'm currently in Stranglethorn and I remember that place when you had to run everywhere.)  But I'm just not convinced that there isn't a problem with too much xp per quest, or mob, or something.  Now, I'm not that bothered, as I'm just pootling around, but if I was actually trying to level quickly I think I'd be narked by getting halfway through a zone and finding all my quests are green.  The potential for frustration comes, like it did this morning, when Himself glanced at my screen and asked why I was in Zul'Grub (I'm level 31 - it's a fair question) and why I was a raptor.  Now Himself loves trolls, so I was surprised that he hadn't done the (very troll-ish) chain, especially as I've seen him level through Stranglethorn.  The answer?  Presumably he'd out-leveled to the extent that the quest didn't show up (I permanently have 'track low level quests' ticked) so he'd missed it.  And more so than that, that not only are 'stories' not fully played out (all of a sudden I understood why I'd been carting a lashtail raptor hatchling with me everywhere) but also the end of these long chains dishes out shiny blues as a reward (if one cares about such things).  Now if you don't want lore or stores, then surely you want shiny new gear?

So... Is anyone else finding questing a bit... OP at present?

Monday, 24 January 2011

I love it when an (RP) Plan comes together.

I'm often jealous of how easy Himself finds it to come up with character concepts - he just seems to have a myriad of ideas drifting round his head whereas I've barely ever been able to come up with a concept from scratch (i.e. before I make the 'toon, not as I play them.) The closest I came to was considering making my warlock a 'Soul Trader' but I suspect that's slightly naff and been done before... See, my head is full of important stuff, like, ummm, birthdays of relatives and what day of the week it is, not semi-formed fantasy things. Ahem. He's just bought me chocolate (and Pringles, because I am a poorly girl of poorliness *sad face*) so I'd better be nice.

But then I discovered that it's possible to have a seagull as a hunter pet - which is kinda cool. This led me to Petopia , and as everyone knows, as soon as you start browsing Petopia, five pet slots just aren't enough. However, I narrowed it down to wanting a character that had birds, lots of birds, which led onto a a falconer character (would be quite novel you gotta admit) but this led onto parrots as pets, and then, inevitably to a pirate character. And of course, once that's hit as a plan everything else kind of fades away.

So I have another hunter. She's a goblin and she's gorgeous. And made of feist. Himself was kind enough (oh dammit, he has been nice today - I apologise for mocking him earlier) to run me through Deadmines (that place has changed a LOT!) to help me get not one but two parrots - a Monstrous Parrot and Ol' Beaky. And happily, the colouring of Ol' Beaky matches that of the Cockatiel sold in Booty Bay - huzzah - I now have a Mommy parrot and a baby parrot! And he was also kind enough to make me a Swashbuckler's Shirt as well so now I look like this:

Happily, Blizzard seemed to have heard my often-voiced pleas for a pretty belf to call my own, so for a period of time they gave me Johnny Awesome, who decided that he'd come with me, rather than staying in the Sludge Fields; for an only too brief moment of time I had three pets.  And I was squeeing with glee.  He even came with me to the Ruins of Southshore.

Unfortunately I needed to go back to Undercity and much as I was looking forward to strong, muscular arms clasped around my waist whilst we rode the... bat, he vanished.  Now I'm a sad, sad panda.

Oh dear, I've been distracted by belfs.  I didn't quite mean for this post to degenerate into... belf fetishising.  My apologies.  I'd better go and retrieve my goblin and go back to fixating on parrots. 

Monday, 17 January 2011

Rex mortuus est, vivat rex

I logged onto my mage this morning, the one who's guilded (in a casual capacity) with my old raid guild to find this as the somewhat terse GMoTD: Pum (not her real character name) has quit WoW. She was finding being the GM was having far too much impact IRL. The Officer Corps will deal with any queries. I'd add like to add at this point, that from my point of view, you reap what you sow. I never had much time for the player in question - she played what could best be described as a political game in order to obtain the GM-ship of the guild. She came into the guild as a server transfer, as an indisputably capable tank, swiftly displaced the 'main' tank after a few raids as off-tank, for reasons which I couldn't fathom, despite being a Senior Officer during the process ("Pilf, you're a healer. Don't worry about the tank situation"), was promoted swiftly to the Officer Corps, along with her husband (oh yes, we had that dynamic to deal with as well) and then, just after I left the guild, organised a coup and displaced the GM. That was about, what, a year ago, I think.

Since then, from what I can gather, she's been effective at pushing the guild forward in terms of raiding. She's also female. Without raising gender politics (not the point of this post) she was battling with a very large guild - 500+ players now, who are predominantly male. When I raided I did so with one, maybe two other women (when you use vent you have nowhere to hide your gender...) Whether this is representative or not of the player base, that was, and is the gender imbalance within the guild. The Officer Corps were (me aside as the token girl IRL) entirely male. And they're forthright blokes, the Officer Corps, not backwards about saying that they think. But she seems to have managed well. The usual gender based slurs aside ("She can be really 'bitchy' in raids, she can get 'upset' when things don't go her way", I would suggest that with a male GM/Raid Leader that would be said as "He can get arsey in raids and is bloody minded about how he wants things done..." but it would be said with an element of admiration - see the difference?) she appears to have been reasonably well respected, if not hugely liked.

So what happened? And what happens now? Because if your GM suddenly quits - for whatever reason, someone has to step up and pick up the slack. Maybe if you're in a smaller guild it can be managed by a Council/Officer Corps, with 'GM' as a figurehead, if you like, but when a guild is used to being run with a strong figure holding the uppermost rank, it needs to be rex mortuus est, vivat rex or you're going to be in a world of pain shortly. The Officer Corps has been stable for some time, and rightly so. How many Officers does a guild need anyway? The various responsibilities; website admin, DKP admin, raid leading, class leadership, recruitment, mentoring etc etc are equitably distributed, it appears. All the Officers are adults with lives, jobs, families and responsibilities. No-one, it seems, is eager to pick up the vacant position (ok, it's not vacant, there's a placeholder character, an officer alt who's name is at the top of the Roster) so being a GM isn't actually all that sexy and desirable when it comes to it? It's something I never wanted, for certain, but I'm surprised that no-one is eager to pick up the mantle. When I was an Officer I spent my life being asked, by bright young things, how one 'became' an Officer, and I always used to say the same thing: "The Officers in the guild play despite being Officers, not because they're Officers.. Trust me, it's more fun when you can just play the game" and I always got a bemused response. But then, over time, as people were promoted, they'd come back and say, "Pilf, remember when I asked you about being an Officer... remember what you said? Well you were kinda right. When do I get to just play for me...?" and I used to chuckle (quietly, in a non-bitchy way, behind my monitor.)

It's similar to volunteering, being an Officer or a GM. I can now say this with the weight of (some) volunteering experience behind me - basically you're asking people to commit their time and energy to something that they don't actually have to do. Something that they won't get any 'material' thanks for. Something that they do because they want to give back a little, or something equally altruistic. So how much should you push people, when nothing is obliging them to undertake this role? IRL, volunteering wise, without going into finer detail, I spend a certain quantity of time per week on the phone, asking people if they can cover certain shifts. People who are usually giving up some of their 'free' time anyway. And boy, it's hard to do. I'm getting better (slowly) but it still makes me feel a bit guilty. Especially when they (for totally valid reasons) can't help, and apologise or justify this. Basically, they're a bunch of good committed people, and they do feel guilty when they can't help, and yes, they commit to a certain amount of time per week, but is still doesn't change the fact that they're doing this for no gain for themselves. Responsible roles within guilds are the same - most people want to play WoW, be a bit sociable, raid or whatever to gain shinies, level alts (ahem) and then log off and do something else (broad generalisation, I know, but I think a fair one.) They don't want to deal with the dross and drama every day. They don't want to log on and be hit by a wall of pink text flooding across their screen, from people who want answers NAO DAMMIT! Who would want that?

The upshot is, that one of my most favourite people in Azeroth (no, not Sylvanas) is going to take on GM-ship, and god love him, but it won't work (last time he stood it for 2 weeks before he couldn't handle it any longer). He's a wonderful guy, a fantastic raid leader, a committed Senior Officer and one of the founding guild members, but he's not GM material. I've talked about it with him in-game today, and tried to talk him out of it, and whilst he knows it's a sub-optimal outcome, he says that if he doesn't do it, the guild will either fall apart quietly or will crash and burn spectacularly and he doesn't want that to happen. And the sad thing is, he's probably right. The even sadder thing is that the guild has been running for about 4 years now and needs to fall apart so it can be rebuilt again. It's got such ingrained issues, that just aren't addressable in the current culture. If it went kaboom, it could rise, phoenix-like, from the ashes and start again. But it's like a divorce isn't it? How do you choose who gets what? How are the material and intangible things distributed? And with the guild levelling system and the perks the guild has, it's even more likely that Mom and Dad will stay together, miserable, so as not to disrupt the children's lives. It saddens me, when people feel they 'have' to do something that isn't right for them in their game time. It saddens me that people find the pressure of gaming so extreme that they quit. It saddens me further that so much guild culture seems to be based around an 'obligation' on the few to make life good for the 'masses' and that the few aren't clapped more for what they give. I'd like a guild culture where Officers and Raid Leaders (as well as the GM) can take a Leave of Absence from their responsibilities and just be allowed to play sometimes. But I know that within progression raid guilds, that's easier said than done.

And this post is too long....

Friday, 14 January 2011

If you only read one blog post today

... read this courtesy of NowIAmTree . It raises an incredibly interesting point and is insightfully written. My view is similar (you may have gathered from my ranty posts on the subject) but I'm not any closer to a sensible and viable suggestion. But damn it makes for an interesting discussion. Why are you still here? Go and read!

Thursday, 13 January 2011


This is going to be one of those posts where I basically shake my head over a sieve and see what falls out. You’ve been warned, ok?

I have too many alts. This is becoming apparent, but at the same time, I’m SO enjoying my gaming again. My druid got boomkin form last night – huzzah! And is now going onto some well earned rested. She’s also the first of my characters that’s done the quest line in Silverpine that starts with Welcome to the Machine. Best quest line evar! No contest thus far. You get to be a quest giver, which is all shades of awesome in itself, and then you have the wonderful NPCs who are just fabulous. And, yes, as Himself warned me, belfs are resoundingly mocked *sniffle*. I’ve given up on my Forsaken hunter in favour of a Dark Ranger style character, who, once she hits level 10, will be off to the Forsaken start zone pronto to get a spider as her pet, and start gaining rep with Sylvanas’ crew. Because, seriously, you can’t have a Dark Ranger riding a turkey can you…? My goblin warlock is now 30-something and has dual spec (dual spec! At 30! That costs pennies!) so she now has her felguard of pwnage to… assist her. It makes a change from her ‘personal assistant’ succubus… Irritatingly, and without heirloom gear, I’m still finding that I’m outlevelling my gathering professions. I’m being good and gathering as I go, but I’m still having to stop every so often and go flowerpicking or mining to get my skill high enough for the next zone, which is irksome. I can’t remember if this has always been a problem or if it’s relatively new. It’s doubly odd because, partially, I suspect, due to phasing, there seem to be more nodes around. Oh well, one of life’s little mysteries I guess.

I’m also frantically server-hopping, trying to keep up with everyone I know. Because I was so violently anti RealID from Day One, I haven’t bothered keeping up to date with any changes that might have happened, so if what follows is incorrect/outdated, please let me know! I currently have characters in SAN on AD, characters on Moonglade because a RL friend plays there, yet another one on…. ummm, another RP server whose name I forget because another RL friend plays there, and two on Khadgar which is my old home server because I miss my old guildies and friends, one of which is guilded and one of which is a ‘secret squirrel’ character that only a few people know about. Oh, woe is me for having too many people to keep up with, right? Yeah, I know that I’m ungrateful. There are also people who play mainly on other realms (hullo Jae, hullo Jakk, hullo Kao, hullo Seph, hullo Issy et al) who I’d like to catch up with again… and the list goes on. As a result of this I have far too many characters now, and I’m having Groundhog Day moments, as I seem to do one area over and over again, then another area over and over again ad infinitum, ad nauseam. Christ, I’ve gotten so desperate for variety that I’ve even rolled some mages! Yeah – that’s how bad it’s gotten…! (I’m actually enjoying them at present but shhhhh…)

Cross-realm chat is an awesome idea. It always was. I can understand why the diehard RP’ers and/or the diehard PvP’ers didn’t like the thought of cross faction stuff, but fundamentally I would really like the option of being able to play whichever character I’m in the mood for, whilst being able to catch up with people I know. So I’d really like to get RealID. Of course, my grand plan is dependent on other people having it as well…! But more than that, it’s dependent on it having an OFF switch. One of the reasons that I’ve historically run a multitude of alts (even in the days of only playing on one server) is that I really need my downtime away from people. I’m happy to be chatty and shoot the breeze when I’m in the mood to, but for a percentage of the time, I don’t want to have to be ‘on’ and be ‘Pilf’ and be the life and soul of the party. But, for example, when I’m trying to understand the mystery that is archaeology, I’d be happy to witter away, whilst I trawl Azeroth trying to find which bloody zones the digsites are spawning in. Even though I know the answer to that question: whichever zones are FARTHEST AWAY FROM ME. It had REALLY better be worth it, though I have a sneaking suspicion that, you know, it won’t be… But when I’m trying to level a character I’d quite like to be hidden away, thank you, because I can’t seem to type and stay alive very effectively. And even if I manage not to die every few minutes, typing away really does slow down my questing a great deal. And much as I’m enjoying the new starter zones and stuff, I’d quite like to get a character to 40. Maybe even to Outland...!

Of course, the advantage of running huge quantities of alts is that I don’t get insanely attached to one of them in particular. (Certainly not. Especially not my druid. Oh noes.) Which in turn means that I don’t get my head into end game space. My old guild has bonkers levels of guild perks and is raiding already but whenever I’m on there I find myself going *lalalalalala* and ignoring the offers of boosting with levelling and gearing up so I can raid with them again. It’s very sweet that a year of absence on, they’re still willing to yank me up gain (especially as they’ve gotten even more srsbznz in that year) but I don’t want to. Not just to be boosted, but the fact that it’d mean someone got benched because an old-schooler decided to re-appear and raid (and how much would that piss you off? It’d piss me off a lot!) and also because it’s the thin end of the wedge into raiding madness.

Last point - why, on my PvE server, do so many of the Worgen have massively offensive names? Surely, like the Forsaken, Worgen would have basically 'human' names? I'm sure there isn't quite such a reliance on having 'rape' as a prefix or 'killerz' as a suffix in other races... or IRL, for that matter.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Hungry like the wolf!

(Seriously - I might have to continue with Worgen just to see how many dodgy song lyrics involving wolves I can make into post titles (I have a list, by the way) and I'm showing my age, again!)

So my first impressions are somewhat 'meh'. I liked my human voice - I sounded rather like a lady of a certain age (which I'm clearly NOT) who'd been to Rodean (which I clearly HAVEN'T - I was educated by the State, rather than by Mummy and Daddy's wealth) but it was much better than the normal human voice! I was rather hoping I could keep it... And here's when another one of my assumptions went (I think) out of the window. I'd somehow gotten it into my head that I could flick between 'forms' much like druids do - if I wanted to be human, so be it, if I wanted to rawr! then I could be Worgen. Sadly, this appears to not be the case (so bang goes my 'Pilf is posh' fantasy!) So the actual change thingy was a bit sad - but not unexpected (when a bite starts growing hair, you know to be worried, surely?) and Lord Geoffrey (or is it Lord Godfrey??) was a bit... freaky, but nothing that knocked me backwards and the rest has been yeah... meh. But with comedic moments.

Why am I rescuing Children of the Corn?

The Gilnean accent makes me want to gum up my ears with glue, really, come back Dick van Dyke - all is forgiven. For realz. But at least they know when to use the word kitty, rather than pussy. (Sorry, smutty Pilf is smutty. Ask Himself.)

Yeah - leave Grandma's kitty alone, y'all hear?

And occasional Rawhide moments, which made me happy. I might be too young to remember Bonanza (seriously - what was that programme all about?) but even I know the Rawhide theme tune!

Hit 'em up, roll 'em up...

I'm about to hit 10 (woo-hoo!) which means that I'll get my felguard (huzzah!) and continue with, whatever the storyline is. I haven't quite grasped it yet, I have to say. I get the Forsaken = bad thing (and I had to kill a Dark Ranger!) but I haven't got much beyond that. Other than I find this new thing whereby you get hemmed into the new starter zones and can't escape until the phasing lets you (and see Sven's post here for a way to use this to your advantage) quite claustrophobic somehow. Lemme out!! *hammers fists on invisible walls*

Ok, who's playing Worgen then?

From the get-go I was determined NOT to have a Worgen. I've always found that whole concept somewhere between creepy and oh-dear-god-not-werewolves-please. I'll admit to having looked at them on the character creation screen and thought (briefly) "I wonder..." but then shaken myself and not done anything about it.

Having been so enthralled by the Forsaken story-line, I was more determined then ever to not go near filthy, dirty wolves; disgusting things who were overrunning Silverpine, sneaking about ('Liberation Front' my ass) and trying to bring down Sylvanas. Then Himself (who had played a Worgen in the Beta) pointed out that if I'd actually ever bother to play the Gilneas zone, I might find out who my sympathies really lay with. And I was a bit intrigued, I'll admit, but he refused to be drawn further (and quite rightly - despite gaming side by side we're quite good at containing out *squee* moments, so as not to spoil it too much for the other when they get to that point.) So I've remained resolutely Worgen-free.

As I've mooched around, on my Horde characters, I haven't come across many Worgen. And then yesterday, as I was shambling through Arathi, this... this thing skittered past me, and honestly, I got gooseflesh all over my arms - what the hell? But it had gone. Then when I went into Stromgarde something similar happened, only this time I managed to click on it as it flashed past and then I realised: it was a Worgen, and Himself told me that the skittering that makes me shudder is their equivalent of a mount. Torn between disgust (ewww, why would you want something that moved like that?) and awe (holy shit - to genuinely creep me out IRL is a fantastic achievement Blizzard!), and finding that I still have available slots on AD I had a closer look at the character creation screen this morning. Now, I'll admit that I've never been a fan of humans visually (in WoW only - most are fine IRL) - the men are steroid-y and horrid and the woman just look a bit vague somehow but they've either made them better or I've gotten more tolerant. So as I was fiddling around with faces and hair, in the interests of research, you'll understand, trying to work out if I could get a set of pixels that I could stand to look at (and switching back and forth between the human and Worgen model - it took me a while and a bit of head scratching, clicking on the 'ears' option with the human model active and thinking "umm, nothing's changing...") and then having got a human I could bear, I looked at the Worgen model and wow. I was quite impressed. So I appear to have created another warlock. Shuddup - in Wrath I was all about priesting - now I'm all about lock-dom, m'kay?

I don't know anything about the zone. I know very little about the lore (other than what the creation screen tells me) but I have an itch to go and find out all about it. But I don't want to hate the Forsaken, and that's my one big reservation. I'm planning a Dark Ranger character so I really want to stay as one of Sylvanas' cheerleaders (because she's just gorgeous isn't she? And now she has Val'kyr too *swoons*) but I have this feeling that having done the Worgen bit I might feel differently...

Thursday, 6 January 2011


This post from Jae popped up in my reader this morning, and I read it with with degrees of both sadness and recognition.

One of the things I'm really enjoying about Cata is that, having stepped back from raiding, ummm pushing on a year ago, and having stepped off the gas in WoW-terms generally about 6 months ago, I haven't had a need to do anything specific post-expansion. When Wrath hit, I was all about hitting 80 and gearing up to be raid ready - hey let's get moving on that gear treadmill as soon as, yeah? And whilst I had fun initially, my second character to 80 basically didn't go near dungeons or raids because I really couldn't face doing it all over again. I remember the Tournament coming in and really resenting the dailies almost from the get-go: the jousting didn't help, to be sure, but mainly it was feeling of 'here I go again, another grind, as if the Sons of Hodir grind hadn't been bad enough...' And I don't want my game time, my down time, my escape from RL time, to feel that way. I want it to be fun dammit - gimme funz nao! I'm happy to accept that for a percentage of people, gearing up and raiding is the game, in the same way that I accept that hitting gold cap and playing the AH and the markets is also a big part for some and that PvP is what it's all about for others. It's just not my thang.

I'm one of the most anti-social casuals around now. Whilst I still have characters in SAN I'm playing alts that only I (and Himself) know about. I'm still on RP servers because frankly I find regular PvE ones really hard going nowadays but I'm levelling alone. I'm playing classes that I'm relatively inexperienced in - it seems like quite a good time to be doing this now, with so many recent changes to class mechanics, so I'm having the joy (and it is a joy to me) of not really knowing what I'm doing again. I'm not having to re-learn 'my' class so I'm not frustrated by anything that I perceive to be a nerf. I'm really enjoying the changes to the world, some big and some much more subtle. Making that head change from being part of a guild to going it solo is bloody hard. I did it through sheer necessity, too much RL recently to be able to 'commit' meaningfully to a guild, and it was odd to start with certainly. I was reminded of my early WoW days when I bumbled around, being bemused by the concept of guilds.

Now I realise that there are two 'M's in 'MMO' and, once I'd gotten comfortably ensconced in a guild, I was confused by why anyone would choose to be totally solo, but I'm realising that there are positives as well. With the changes to guilds (which I know less than nothing about, by the way) I assume that people are expected to 'commit' much more to their guild now, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, but possibly means that being ultra-casual won't make you hugely popular within guilds...? And as the most fun I've had in guilds were in SAN when we were all starting out afresh, and in my old PvE guild, where again, we were all new and starting from basically zero, I don't have a burning desire to be guilded where not only is there raid progression to worry about, but also now guild progression. In my perfect world, as, I assume, in most people's, there exists an idealised version of a guild, where there are around 15-20 people, with a good class balance, who all want the same things, get on well and generally meld into a healthy, happy mass. Somewhere where there is no drama or internal politics, where raids aren't stressful, where there isn't a blame culture, where fun > progression, where people aren't bigots, where the sun always shines and no-one ever Moonfires the bunnies. Where is this guild??? Oh, that's right - it's in my head... I don't want to be somewhere that doesn't significantly enhance the fun I have with my gaming. As selfish as it sounds, if I'm not going to have any more fun playing with others than I will playing alone, I'll stick to being unguilded. If, by being guilded, I'm going to 'have' to do x y and z then I'll stick to soloing, that way neither I nor anyone else feels like they're getting a rough deal. I do miss the sociability of guilds, the nattering in g chat and then general feeling of being a part of something, but I can live without it.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Up close and personal.

(Or: In which Pilf is an alt-whore. You pick.)

One of the gorgeous things about an expansion, is that it gives you the ability to step off your well trodden path and look at other things, in the spirit of new experiences and all that stuff. F'rinstance: I don't 'get' melee classes at all. It continues to amaze me that I had a max level paladin. I'm not quite sure how that happened, but RaF and BoAs might have helped, along with my deep seated stubbornness that meant that even though my then-guild mocked me, I was determined to have a loladin and that she would be called Rainbow. So there.

My ability to play a melee class is miniscule. Seriously. Add to this, my inability to play a class that can't self-heal - and no, that doesn't mean bandages and potions, I mean proper heal, with spells and shit, so this then equates to huge discomfort with rogues and warriors, quite uncomfortable with enhancement shamalalamas, less so with paladins and vaguely uneasy with feral druids. My druid, who I adooooooore, by the way, hit level 20 today. Yes, I am the slowest leveller on the planet and I don't fucking care (as an aside, I should point out that I'm 36 (ish) hours into quitting smoking and kicking a 20-odd year habit is NOT FUCKING FUNNY so if occasionally I cuss, or type in CAPS or do anything out of character, well, just thank Fates that you're not Himself or Daughter who is having to live with me IRL, m'kay? And no, nicotine replacement doesn't help! What would help, right now, is something cute and furry to kick...) because playing a balance druid is fun. It really is. Himself, who used to have a lazer-chikken as his main (he may still do - I lose track of his characters) has been on hand to offer advice ("root it, DoT it, run, repeat") but is as blown by the Eclipse mechanic as I am - basically I hit Wrath until the moon-thingy procs, then I hit Star-blat until the sun-thingy procs then I repeat... It's working so far. But, crucially, I can heal so if I have to (or want to) go kitty or, heaven forfend, bear, I can just put a HoT on then go rawr! then repeat. TL;DR: Drood = good. Troll drood = exceptionally good. Ja come get da voodoo, darlin'...

Insanely, I also made a dorf rogue. I'm not quite sure why. It was something to do with getting a character that looked as like me as humanly (dorf-ly?) possible, a feat which I have managed exceptionally well. At the point where I had nailed it, Himself appeared behind me so I turned to him and said "Oh, honey, I really am a dorf aren't I?" His response? "Hair needs to be longer now." Clearly, this is NOT the correct response... (He was right, I had a weave before Christmas and now my hair is halfway down my back. But dorf in-game looks like me IRL pre-extensions.) But Pilf, why rogue? I hear you ask. The answer is I'm not sure. Other than I NEED NICOTINE AND I NEEDED IT YESTERDAY WHEN I MADE THE CHARACTER. I think Himself has a view that I'm somewhat rascally and therefore rogue was appropriate if I was making a 'me' character but I think that really it's his revenge or because he HATES ME BECAUSE ROGUE IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLAY. Seriously, I have never spent so much time on a character dead. And I don't know why I die so much. In theory I get how rogues work, Sinister Strike until I have a few combo points then thingy. Finishing move, you know the one. And now I have Stealth and Assassinate to it's easy etc etc. No is bloody isn't! And Kharanos appears to have been made even more irritating post Sundering. As far as I can tell, all other areas have been improved bar this one! Why??? TL;DR: Rogue = what is this, I don't even...

Ok, I'm away to stuff my face further with more crisps and stuff. By the way, do you reckon the 'sharing bag' lettering on the Doritos is an order or merely a suggestion? Anyone else fancy joining me in some oral fixation...?