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.