Thursday, 28 April 2011

Bittersweet

As I'm continually late to the party I haven't seen all the changes to the zones post-Cata.  Which, in many ways, is lovely.  I still have that sense of 'ooooooooohhhhh' on a regular basis, which means that I'm not hitting my boredom threshold too quickly.  As I've (mainly) played Horde since the x-pac I've seen some of them, but my reasonably recent re-rolling of some Alliance alts means that there's a bucketload more content that I've not yet seen.  Darkshore is a good example.  If you haven't yet played through this zone and it's on your 'list of things to do' stop reading now as you REALLY need to experience it for yourself.  And to be doubly sure this happens, I'm putting in a cut (for the first time ever on this blog, I might add) to ensure that it isn't ruined for you. 

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Happy Anniversary Saga!

Saga, over at Spellbound, recently celebrated her blog's first birthday. She has a beautiful blog, and is a wonderful writer. If you don't read her, well, you should! As part of her birthday celebrations she volunteered to come up with a topic for her commentators, and, bless her, gave me one that made me think:

"Okay, so for a topic.. Since you’ve recently started a gnome while you normally play horde.. How about a post comparing the two factions. Do you notice any difference in the players that you encounter as horde or as alliance – or is it really all the same in the end? Everyone always says that the kids play Alliance and the Horde are more mature players, do you find that to be correct or just an urban legend?"

Good fodder for a blog post, huh!  I have to say that my gut reaction is that there's no difference in the player base of Horde or Alliance.  But that was my instinct.  As I've always said, I'm not good with numbers or data (and that is why I have a Himself who does this sort of thinking for me) but this is mah blog post, not his, so you're gonna have my opinion, not evidence-based, data-mined facts. 

When I first started playing WoW, I read (a tiny bit of) the booklet thingy that came with the game and decided that the Horde were the 'bad' guys and the Alliance were the 'good' guys.  Therefore I wanted to play Horde.  Mwahahaha!  My first character was an orc rogue.  NB: This was just before TBC launched and I'd discovered belfies.  I was utterly new to the concept of MMOs and it took me a while to start to interact with the community on my server. After a relatively short period of time I re-rolled Alliance and got guilded, levelled and raided.  Then, with the advent of SAN I went back to being a Hordie, where I've remained until recently.   I would, with my hand on my heart, say that for me, what makes the difference is the server, NOT the faction.  

Let me explain.  I'd spent all my time, until SAN, on a regular PvE server.  RPers, on the whole, had a bit of a negative rep, which no-one ever felt able to explain other than a generalised "well... they're just weird aren't they?" thang.  But it had itched away at me... what were these servers like?  Were RPers really a bunch of cyber-lol'ing freaks?  So when SAN came around I jumped for joy at having an excuse to RP.  Huzzah.  I adored Argent Dawn.  Honestly, I cannot tell you how much I loved it there.  People were polite, they talked (in the main) in complete sentences, free of smilies everywhere and the leet speak plague appeared to have bypassed them.  However, this doesn't answer the question.

The guilds I raided with Alliance side were stuffed to the brim with adults.  SAN was stuffed full of adults.  I've gamed with teenagers on both sides.  Do I think there is a marked difference in the player base?  No.  HOWEVER, with the perception of the good/bad Horde/Alliance divide, I would suggest that younger newcomers to the game might prefer to be on the side of the 'goodies'.  Would your teenage son/daughter prefer to be a Jedi or a Sith?  See, I'd go for Sith... proving... well, nothing.  Other than I am, in fact, old...

But, if one adds to the good/bad divide the appearance of the races... the Alliance are more immediately identifiable with as, well they're all human-ish.  And in the main, can be made to look attractive.  Humans look... human.  Dwarves are short humans.  Gnomes are evil cute small humans.  Night elves are humans with elf ears.  Draenei... should just have been Broken Ok, they don't look that human.  Worgen are basically humans that howl at the moon (sorry, I know that they're lore-correct unlike the Draenei but I just can't get a handle on them.)  On the other hand you have the Horde.  Trolls are human-ish in form, but with scary tusks - it's kinda hard to make a 'pretty' troll.  Tauren are... beasts.  In the nicest way.  Orcs are... rudimentary, somehow.  Big and tough, human-like...ish.  But not pretty.  Undead are clearly humans but... rotted.  Belfs... ok, yeah.  Pretty.  And that's just the boyz.  Goblins = green gnomes? Sassy, rather than pretty, I'd say.  Is it more likely that a 'younger' player will want (consciously or not) to roll an 'attractive' character

In summary, and to answer Saga's question:  I think that faction division based on age is an urban legend.  That said, I'm always happy to be argued with - so if you think I'm incorrect... let me know! 

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Do you 'win' if you 'cheat'?

But only because I cheat...

Sven's post here made me realise that actually I've got too much to say about this to fit on his comments page, so I thought I'd give him some link love (which he's been lacking lately, poor baby) and write a response on MY blog.  Go read his post then come back, m'kay?   And just to be clear from the start - I'm not  aiming to tear Sven's post apart, mainly because he'd beat me hands-down in a battle debate but also because I think he writes highly thoughtfully and intelligently about game design (and other stuff).  Like, waaaaaaaaaay better than I do.  I excel at sparkly stuff and ranting.  Not necessarily at the same time.  That said, I am going to take each of his statements and put my spin on them...  

"I’d like you to join me in a simple thought experiment. Imagine a simple change to WOW: each player is given an additional ability, called, simply, Cheat. It’s not bound to any key by default, but it’s there if you want it.  It does one thing – it instantly kills whatever (non-player) mob you are targeting."  Righty-ho - let's start with that then shall we?  Why would you want this?  Oh, because of this: "Finding a particular encounter too difficult or annoying ? Simply press Cheat and carry on with the rest of the game. Getting tired and frustrated after banging your head against a particular boss for weeks? Don’t let your raid guild fall apart - just press Cheat and there’s automatically a raid wide vote on whether to kill the boss and move on. A single veto and you carry on as before."

Ok, I think I get this.  Rather than getting cock-blocked by a (raid) boss you have an insta-death button.  So when you're grouped you vote to decide whether that will happen and the majority rules.  Oh no they don't: "A single veto and you carry on as before."   Ok.  Leaving aside (for the moment) any sense of personal accomplishment, can you think of an easier way to divide a group and make people rage-quit?  Surely there's enough entitlement/resentment towards epixx and the loot divide anyways?  What happens when your raid team is split with 50% (approx) wanting to do things the good old-fashioned way and the other half wanting free epixx NAO!  But Sven's view that: "As a result, this change wouldn’t affect people who enjoy raiding for the challenge it poses: they can get their fun as before, with the personal satisfaction of knowing they did it the hard way."  Pre-empts me.  Or does it?  I guess you could just say that this would make PuGing easier - rather than having your 'go-go-go' (wo) man you'd now have your 'cheat-cheat-cheat' (wo)man.  If you just wanted to blast through for your phat lootz you could at least do so with a group of like-minded souls... 

"People have been using cheat codes in single player games for ages, to avoid content they dislike. What’s the difference? MMOs aren’t a zero-sum game. By getting the shiny epixx from Mr Bigboss, you aren’t preventing anyone else from getting them."  No you aren't.  But really, if you want to play a single-player game... go play one.  I don't care what haxx you use when it's just YOU (and I know that's rich coming from a player who's currently choosing to play an MMO like it's a SPG, you don't need to point out the irony.)  Haxx when it's just you are one thing.  I've watched Daughter plug cheat codes into various Sims and have all the Simoleons she could spend in two lifetimes roll into her bank (or whatever) but it doesn't impact on anyone else.  I guess that you can argue this point with MMOs as well - if I'm happy to stride round with the "Mighty Halberd of Foozlecide (with New, Improved, Shadowfire Animation!)" equipped as a result of just hitting my 'cheat' button, why should this impact on anyone else's game? I guess the short answer is that it doesn't.  You can purchase BoE epixx after all, so what's the difference?  And this is where I start to get into the muddy waters of 'morality' or the 'deserving' vs. the 'undeserving'.  Which I'm not sure I'm equipped to do, but I'll give it a shot.

Imagine two guilds -  Guild LolGiefEpixxNao (LolGEN) (which, by the way, will be my guild's name, should I ever create a guild on a PvE server...) and Guild WorkPlayRaid (WPR).  Guild LolGEN pile through all the raid content in one night every week and have epixx rained down on them by the benevolent gods of the cheat button.  All their players are equipped with the leetest of leet gears.  Guild WPR choose not to cheat and each week progress slowly through content.  Their players have to 'earn' DKP (or whatever) and take their chances with Lady RNG. They have to know tactics, be able to not stand in The Bad, come raid ready etc etc.  They will be badly geared when compared to Guild LolGEN.  Which guild is 'better'?  Which guild is more 'deserving' of epics?  Sven's point: "The only people who might be bothered are those whose real reason for raiding is to collect status symbols to show off to other players. If everybody gets the Mighty Halberd of Foozlecide (with New, Improved, Shadowfire Animation!), how is anyone to know how insecure and attention-seeking superior the status-raiders are?"  might be valid.  But I'm not sure it is to all players.  I'm not convinced that raiding is all about flexing your e-peen.  It's about overcoming challenges in a group.  It's about tenacity, comradeship, grit and determination.  Does that make Guild WPR more 'entitled' to their epixx?  My view: yes it does.  Sorry, but having a button that allows loot to rain down on you is taking the concept of 'privilege' a step too far.  There's no measurable impact, this goes without saying, but to me it 'feels' wrong (I can imagine Sven rubbing his hands in glee as soon as he reads that sentence...)  And not just 'wrong', it's... pointless.

Because if you have a big total annihilation button what else are you going to do?  Why are you even playing?  There's no challenge at all.  There's no point in levelling.  You can take your level one character 'Rawrrpwn' to any zone, take on any mob and win.  Is this even playing a game?  Cos it sure as hell doesn't sound like one to me, and not because I'm an e-peening raider. Because I haven't been (a raider) for a long time now.  But because I, or Himself as I guess it now stands, don't pay my subscription fee every month to hit one button.  I'm not really sure if anyone does.  But it's certainly an interesting thing to think about.  I'd love to hear your thoughts (and I bet Sven would as well!)     

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Imp Unionisation...?

Warlock Minion Heads of Department Monthly Meeting
Friday 22 April 2011

Present:
Flaaghuun  - Felguard 
Khaanom - Felhunter (Minutes)
Dartai - Succubus (Chair)
Thultaz - Voidwalker
Belnip - Imp

Apologies: 
None.  Standard dispensation from attending given to representatives from the Inferno and Doomguard Departments. 

[Please note:  what follows is a verbatim transcript of the meeting and is NOT for general circulation - official Minutes will follow.]

[Belnip] I don't see why yet AGAIN Dartai is chairing, leaving someone else with the slog of the Minutes...

[Dartai] Because, as I have explained time and time again, I cannot be expected to write and type with these *extends hands and wiggles fingers*.  My client has standards and expects a certain... style when he summons me.  Immaculate nails are all part of my uniform. Anyway, it's not even your turn this time.  However, when it is...surely you have enough free time, as one of the lesser summoned amongst us...?    

[Belnip]  I object!  All the imps in the Department work incredibly hard.   We have no choice!  We're the first one they can summon!  Some of them faff about, yanking us in and out of the Nether until they find one whose name suits them! Imagine that!  None of the rest of you have to suffer that indignity!  And who has to teach them the basics about having a minion? Not you Dartai! And I would refer you to The Manual: page 324, sub-section 16, clause 42, which clearly states...

[Dartai] If you are about to say "This is not in my contract" Belnip, so help me, I will make you regret it!  Anyway your use is so... transitory.  Especially now Flaaghuun and his crew are on the scene so much earlier.  Isn't that right Flaaghuun, sweetie? [Dartai extends her hand and strokes Flaaghunn's knee gently.]

[Flaaghunn] Dartai makes a valid point.  Now a speciality allows the clients to summon members of my team when they are so inexperienced our workload has increased dramatically...

[Dartai] Which brings us neatly to Agenda Item One. Workload Distribution.  Any immediate thoughts...?

[Belnip] *mutters about 'inappropriate liaisons' under his breath*

[Dartai] Anything... constructive?

[Flaaghuun] As I was saying: things have changed. All of a sudden, felguards are the preferred minion of choice from an early stage, which requires me to focus a great deal of my management time and effort on recruitment and retention.  Demand is heavily outstripping supply.  In my honest opinion, our clients are being allowed to wield far too much power before they are able to effectively manage it.  My lads are really under the cosh at the moment.  Stress related absence is rising, which puts even more pressure onto an already over-worked team.  If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be happy to hear them.

[Thultaz]  I'm at the opposite end of the spectrum.  My team are really fed-up and under-motivated.  I know it's not your fault, Flaaghuun old chap, but these changes have had a massive impact on voidwalker morale.  I know my boys used to whine a bit about being over-worked, but they don't know what to do with themselves now.  I've gotta tell you... I'm worried about them.  With nothing to do, they're just sitting around, talking about the old days.  They're even wanting to change their speeches when they are summoned!  They want to be given temporary respite from asking to be 'sent back' until the situation has stabilised a little.

[Belnip]  This is exactly what I was worried about!  As soon as minions become under (or over) worked, all hell breaks loose!  We'll have a strike on our hands soon enough, and then what do you think will happen?

[Flaaghuun] Oh well now.  I don't think it's that bad yet, Belnip.  That sounds a bit doom-mongering, and as our friends from that Department aren't here... That was a joke.  A pun?  Doom-mongering... doomguards...?  No?  Oh well. I did try.

[Thultaz]  I agree with Flaaghuun.  Not that much would change for my boys if there was a strike... but you're being hasty Belnip, surely?

[Belnip] Ohhhhh sure, send in the little guy. I'll say all the unpopular stuff, so you guys can keep your 'reasonable' image!

[Dartai] It's only about image if you're a succubus, Belnip.  Surely I don't need to remind you of that?  But I'm confident that Flaaghuun and Thultaz know their teams and are on top of any problems. I have every faith in them.  Khaanom, I assume that if you had anything to add you'd have sent me an engraved tablet?

[Khaanom] *nods head*

[Dartai].  Excellent.  Well, that's Item One dealt with.  Shall we move to Item Two - Team Updates, or have we already covered that?  Anyone got anything further to add?

[Belnip] I still think that we need to have a proper discussion about The Manual.  Sometimes I think that I'm the only one who has actually read it!

[Dartai] That would come under Any Other Business, Belnip.  And we aren't there yet, are we?

[Belnip] We never are.  We always seem to over-run and not have enough time for AOB...

[Dartai] Item Three then, Gender Equality.  Now I think this is unavoidable.  Times change, gentlemen and in all honesty we want both the Nether and our workplaces to be as diverse as possible don't we?  I understand that there's a long-standing 'tradition' of gendered roles for minions but I think we have to accept that our clients want more options and just accept that we're going to have male and females imps, felguards, voidwalkers and felhounds.

[Belnip] And succubi.

[Dartai]  *glares* They would be incubi. And I think you'll find that feedback from our clients suggest that of all the changes being discussed, this one is the least... popular.

[Belnip]  Feeling threatened?

[Dartai] Any feedback from your teams, guys?

[Flaaghuun] Mixed.  But generally positive.  The usual concerns about uniform and weaponry but I think if and when it happens, the team will be supportive.

[Thultaz] My chaps are concerned that they'll have even less work, but I expect we'll work something out...

[Dartai]  Super!  And we'll reconvene as soon as we have more details.  Right, well if that's everything... My client is due in a battleground in a few minutes so I'd better get ready.  There is nothing worse than being hauled through the Nether when one is halfway through one's preparations... Now where could I have put my whip?

[Belnip]  But what about AOB?????

[Dartai]  Customer needs come first, do they not?  We'll definitely find time for it next month, Belnip. Especially if you say please...

{Meeting closes}

Sunday, 17 April 2011

20 Days of Warcraft Redux - Bad Habits & Flaws

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I'll begin... What?  Oh, ok.  Apparently this refers to in-game flaws.  Not RL ones.  *Phew, you got off lightly there...

I have commitment issues
I make and murder delete alts so regularly that I often need to check whether the name that I want to use is currently in use by an 'alive' alt.  The trouble is, I'm only really happy playing casters, preferably casters who can heal... I try to convince myself (sometimes) that I could play, y'know, melee, but then I realise that that involves standing up close and actually thwacking stuff... Euch.

I'm permanently broke
Because of the alt situation I have daft sums of gold and bags in transit between characters.  And I still often delete alts without having sold/mailed everything to another character. Which is quite stupid, after 6 years of playing the game.  I'm just also really bad at making gold.  I hate feeling like I'm gouging people (because I'm a moronic social no doubt) and when I was guilded and had a high level alchemist I spent my life taking flasks, potions, etc to raids rather then selling them.  I also CBA with addons like Auctioneer.  Basically, I have no-one to blame but myself (but that doesn't stop me whinging about never being able to afford a chopper...)

I'm a bit 'all or nothing'
Which kinda screws me up when I raid. And is the reason that I don't bother nowadays.  I expect 100% of myself, all the time, so mistakes that I wouldn't even notice, if they were made by someone else, give me excuse for epic levels of self-flagellation (not as fun as it sounds... honestly!)

Sometimes I want to be sociable, other times I want people to leave me the f*ck alone...
Which can be hard work for my in-game friends.  I used to just need to be guilded, WoW was where so much of my social interaction came from that I was utterly incapable of playing without friendly green text scrolling past me.  Then when my guild stuff went... back-asswards I wanted to be left alone, dammit, to do things my way.  Nowadays I hover in between.  I loved being guilded with SAN and I like the fact that I've now returned, in a low-key way, to my original guild.  That said, I have many, many alts (!) that aren't guilded, and won't be.  I do find now, with guild levelling, that it's bloody hard to play unguilded, as I seem to be spammed by guild invite whispers... The oddest thing is, despite Himself and I getting started (as it were) via the medium of WoW we don't, and haven't ever (other than 10 minutes with some spacegoats and a few dungeons with our paladins) played together.  We play companionably, often on the same server, sitting elbow to elbow at desks, but we have very little (if any) interaction in-game.

I want the world to be full of rainbows and I really dislike confrontation
I often feel like the imp, why can't we all just get along?  This carries into RL too - I really hate conflict and even being on the peripherals of it upsets me.  It's the reason I wasn't that great at officer-dom - my instinct is to soothe and to agree (then often regret), rather than being able to be a bit more strong and upfront.  It's the 'man up princess' syndrome.  And I fail at it.  I want everyone to be happy, whilst knowing that it's impossible to please all of the people, all of the time.  And I really struggle to understand why people are ok with being rude, to utter strangers as well as people they know.  I get banter and in-jokes and mockery... with people you know, but I never understand how people think it's acceptable with being asshats to strangers.

*list subject to change and updates without notice or prejudice...

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

20 Days of Warcraft Redux - First Blogpost

Hmm this one is kinda straightforward.  My first post on Moar Alts was about the hunter class (!), odd really, as I don't play hunters.  Ahem. It makes me laugh because, at that point, I was singularly determined to actually level one.  Unsurprisingly, I didn't manage it.

My first post on a joint WoW blog with my ex is here.  Man it took me some time to find that blog...  But it was nice to re-read it.  Good guild memories.

My sadly neglected ficlet's blog's first post is here.

And the first post of my most recently started blog is here. I'm enjoying having a blog that I can throw my thoughts into, without feeling like I 'should' be writing about a specific topic.  And that does free up Moar Alts to remain (vaguely) WoW focused, so those of you that don't want all my RL nonsense don't have to sit through (too much of) it.

I hope that's enough firsts for y'all...

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

20 Days of Warcraft Redux - 10 Things (You Might Not Know) About Me

I've never known what I wanted to do with my life.  I've had many varied jobs (barmaid, administrator, soldering wires to chips that go into missiles, packing rice pudding, working with drug addicts) most of which I've enjoyed (but unsurprisingly, some of which I hated) but I've never had an epiphany about what I was born to do.  I envy those who, by virtue of knowing or being lucky, have a career that they feel they were made for.

I've been married twice before.  The first time was when I was 18, so as far as I'm concerned, it barely counts.  How many of you would be happy (in your 30s) with the boy/girlfriend you had at 18?  Being married at 18, though, does give me the option to bat my eyelashes and flick my hair when someone remarks on the fact that I don't look old enough to have teenage daughters: "I was a child bride you know...". The second time, I thought it was forever.  This time (11 June) I know it's forever.  I'm terrified by being in love like this, but it brings me more happiness and joy than I ever thought possible.

I'm proud of what I've achieved.  It's very little, in the grand scheme of things, but I've raised two happy, healthy girls.  One of my biggest sources of pride is that, just occasionally, something I've said to them in passing, sticks with them.  Some small thing: how you behave to people, how you show loyalty to your friends, what equality means, your social responsibility, having someone's back, the importance of having an informed opinion.  The words that mean the most to me are 'you're a good mum.'


A year ago I couldn't cook.  Anything at all (other than cakes and cookies, fried breakfasts, kiddie food (fishfingers and potato waffles etc) and the occasional roast lunch.)  The first time I had to cook for Himself (who's veggie) I had to have a colleague explain to me, through gales of laughter, how I cooked vegetable stir fry.  Now I actively enjoy cooking.  Sometimes, in the supermarket, I don't recognise the person who looks like me, but has pak choi, tofu, root ginger, rice vinegar, fresh herbs, sambal oelek and shallots in her trolley. 


Warcraft was my escape from being 'me'.  Online I could be Pilfkin, or I could be any character that I was playing.  Gaming gave me the ability to become someone else.


I'm really bad with 'pop' culture.  My family didn't have a tv until I was 11 so I read.  Voraciously.  We used to have to make two trips per week to the local library, where I'd max out my ticket and my mum's ticket (my sister maxed hers and my dad's).  I still rarely (if ever) watch tv and I generally prefer books to films.  I loathe 'celebrity culture' and have no interest in reality tv shows.  I usually feel out of step with my peer group, but I'm used to this now. 


 My mum took me to The Rocky Horror Picture Show at the theatre when I was twelve.  Twelve (for a lot of girls) is an... impressionable age.  And seeing your mum flirting with men who are beautiful, who can walk on terrifyingly high heels, and have better legs that you'll ever have, is quite an experience, at such a tender age.  I blame my mum for my predilection (now thankfully fixed, but that plagued my late teens and early 20s) for men in leather and eyeliner. 


I adore writing.  I adore talking.  I need people around me.  I send myself up all the time.  I'm not even sure who I am some days.  I'm one of the most self-obsessed people you're likely to meet (but I'm also kinda nice.)   




For many years I looked like this *points up*.  In my head, I still look like this now.  Then daughter plays me the music she likes, which I would have liked when I looked like this, and all I can hear is frantic drumming and roaring and it makes me tired, and makes my head throb.  I am no longer gorgeous and in my 20s. 

All I want from life is happiness, for me and for those I love.  Ideally, I'd like the world to be happy, but the older I get, the more I realise that you can't fix everything and everyone.  I want to believe that if everyone made the effort, the world would be a better place.  But I know that humanity isn't that easy to fix. 


Monday, 11 April 2011

Come here so I can bite your ankles.

So this whole 'being a gnome' thing is the exact opposite of the 'being a Tauren thing' and I don't just mean the faction.  The issues I have with Tauren; the fact that they seem to be loping along in slow-mo, which I can't handle, translates to gnomes, except that gnomes move in this coked-up fast-forwarded pace, like a child who's OD'd on E numbers and sugar, and the world is big.  Really extra-ordinarily HUGE.  The gnolls in Westfall tower above me like bloody skyscrapers - I'm glad I'm a caster class so I don't have the ignominy (see that - that was a pune, or  a play on words!  And *huggles* if you knew the reference without needing to follow the link) of having to savage their ankles with a sword or something... But she's soooooooooo cute.  And she has freckles.

I've got there, with the big 'who is this mysterious lady' reveal, and it was nicely done.  Mind you, I spent about an hour traipsing around the tunnels leading towards the Deadmines dungeon entrance being thoroughly... directionally challenged.  I am teh fail.  It's official.  But the black and white film noir cut-scene was worth it, as was the revenge (mwahahah)  Having been sent off to Stormwind with orders to report to Varian, whilst she razes Westfall to the ground,  I kinda felt like I was on her side.  Especially when I saw what he'd done to his castle.  Tosser. I've still got some quests to finish up there, I suspect, despite being at the upper end, level wise, for them.

My guild (as in the guild that I'm in, not 'my' guild...) has recently reached guild level 23 which is kind of cool.  They have a multitude of perks (most of which are utterly inapplicable to me due to my guild rep being at neutral and the fact that I'm only level 16) but they have the additional xp one which does knock on to me.  Grr.  Even without BoAs I'm still exceeding the content level. I know I've ranted about this before (and if I could be bothered I'd link the post) but it does annoy me that there isn't an off-switch for additional xp.  Especially as all the stuff is new Alliance side, and I'd quite like to actually see it... Le sigh.

It's nice being guilded, though.  I'm very much on their coattails; with them, but not of them, if you see what I mean, but I'm ok with that.  Familiar names and jokes are nice.  The main-character-shuffle is a bit confusing but I'm getting there.  One of the funny little marks of the 'old school' crew is how people are still referred to by their original character names, despite the fact that they probably haven't played them in a few years.  I will always be Pilf (and actually that's ok, as I'm now Pilfette) but Kin remains Kin, despite his namesake warrior having been no more than his bank alt for years, Eve is Eve despite the DK (I think) having been deleted.  Bob is Bob despite the retirement of his warrior.  You get the picture.  I've gotten my vent running and I can still easily pick out voices I haven't heard in a year or more.  But I'm kinda avoiding voice chat.  I don't want to get dragged into the game being my life again, and automatically firing up voice chat along with the game is a sure way to make that happen for me.

The oddness, though, lies in being on a PvE realm again.  Lore?  Pshaww... What do you want to bother with that for?  Character traits?  Yawhatnow?  Quote:  Pilf, stop being one of those weird RPers and just go back to being you.  What if I stopped being 'me' in-game a while back?  What if being my 'character' is now the norm? Huh? It's a strange headspace - neither fish nor fowl, as it were.  I'm sure that eventually I'll slot back to being the Pilf that they know and recognise, but it might take some time!

Friday, 8 April 2011

20 Days of Warcraft Redux - My Desk

Ok, here comes Day 6 in Saga's (horribly neglected by me) Challenge. Gods, I've seen some of the other responses to this, along with pictures of shiny, ordered desks and... yeah.  Part of the sitting room in our flat bears a striking resemblance to a LAN party... We have, like, Daddy-Bear, Mummy-Bear and Baby-Bear computers and our desk(s) are usually chaos!  No I'm not being falsely critical, they're a state... see:


No modesty here folks - this is me, warts and all!  I actually did a count the other day, to see how many (working) points of access we had to the interwebz and came up with 8.  For 3 people.  Methinks that's a trifle excessive...?

When I moved in with Himself his desk was in the bedroom and mine was out here.  Then we realised that basically, that's kinda anti-social.  We moved in together to actually spend time together (whereby 'spending time together' is defined as being in the same room, communing with the interwebz, ok?) so we re-arranged the sitting room so we could at least sit elbow to elbow and... talk.  It works well actually, and sometimes we're  a proper geek family, as daughter will be doing her homework on the laptop next to me.  More usually she's in her bedroom with music blaring communing with Facebook via her netbook... i.e. the default state of teenagers everywhere.

I'm realising, as I write this, that I'm totally procrastinating.  I have the Parental Visit tomorrow (that's right...) so clearly, I should be making concerted attempts to lessen the chaos, rather than blogging in a pseudo-proud way about it!  So yeah... happy Friday people, and have a fabulous weekend.  I'll be spending Sunday watching my utterly MAD sister run a marathon and thanking god that it isn't me!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

You're not in Kansas anymore, baby!

Because I loathe and despise Kharanos (apologies to all who don't - but seriously - what is WRONG with you?) I've taken Pilfette to the human-lands, where I've historically levelled all (but my Draenei) characters when I've played Alliance side.  I'm still chuffed to bits with the insane amounts of flight-paths that have been added - I'm not 100% sure that the run from Goldshire to Stormwind was so tedious that it really required the ability to fly from one to the other, but nevermind.  Goldshire, in the main, is pretty similar to how I remember it. I'm still required to rob kobolds, for reasons which remain unclear; the dearth of gold dust and candles hasn't ever really been explained... at least not to me.  They still need logs at the Eastvale camp, and the wolves and bears continue to be a menace.  Ok, all pretty standard stuff.

Then I got the quest that requires me to go and have words with Hogger, and massacre the general gnoll populace en route.  So there I was, smiting away (ok Hogger, you might be bigger than me, but I'm a disc priest.  I can (and will) bore you to death if that's what's required) when out of nowhere charge representatives from the Stormwind posse.  What?  Why can't I kill Hogger?  He's got one hit point left!  ONE point - lemme finish the job already!  But, no.  Not this time.  This time they take Hogger into custody and transport him off to The Stockades.  Now this is one of the times where I'm SO pleased that I hadn't read all the Cata spoiler stuff, because I didn't know this!  So it gave me IMMENSE joy.  And then I rushed off to WowHead to confirm that YES!! Hogger is now the final boss in the Stocks!  Win, win and some win-sauce!

So after this joy, it's only right and proper that I come back down to earth with a thud in Westfall.  Horse-icide and CSI moments aside, Westfall is now Not Nice.  Varian really appears to be a bit of a tosser right now.  I don't like the quantity of drifters and vagrants, and I really don't like the poor children who appear every time you've killed someone and rob the body.  That's just... nasty and unsettling.  But.... Oh but I do like the shadowy (female) figure who's up to No Good.  God, I want it to be Jaina.  Please, please, please let it be Jaina (it's ok, l I know it isn't... But dammit - that would be cool, wouldn't it!)  I've only just started in the zone... so you'll have to forgive the short post... but I really want to go back and find out how it plays out.  And that's what really makes me happy - that wanting to play, not to level up, but because I want to unravel the plot...

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Dynamite comes in small packages!

Having given quite so much love to * whispers* Rift recently, and gotten halfway through a post (which I will eventually finish) about raiding, I figured that before I started writing about WoW again, I should really like, play it!  So I had a think about what I wanted to do and decided that actually I'd kinda like to catch up with my old guild... that's where a lot of the people that I originally played with are still playing and though they're pretty srsbznz nowadays I figured (correctly) that they'd probably have a slot on their guild roster for lil' ol' me (and I was right - huzzah).  I also realised that this would require me to be (stinky) Alliance so I decided that at least I'd be cute... and Pilfette the gnome priest was born.

She is just darling, and the gnome starter area is all shades of awesome.  I was a bit busy gossiping catching up with all the old crew, so I died... a few times.  But what really caught me was how, having not played for a few weeks, and more than that, having played something else instead, how out of practice I was.  Daft as it sounds I really had to think about what I was doing!  And, you know, baby priests aren't exactly complex to play: shield, SW:P, smite.  How hard can it be?  Well, the map was different, the interface was different, there was a cogwheel not a hand, I had to think more. And that's the biggest difference.  I hadn't taken in quite how much Rift spoon-feeds you stuff.  I'd gotten used to not really having to engage my brain much - the map really takes you by the hand and leads you to where you need to go (much more so than WoW does, believe it or not) and it just required me to engage much more of my brain than I was used to.  Plus I don't appear to have talents (sulk) nor can I have a mount until I reach 20... Bah!  But all (tongue in cheek) comparisons aside, it did feel nice to be back in Azeroth.

I haven't played priests since... well, since before Cata so I gather it's all changed a bit.  Like, holy is now a viable levelling build??  So I'm torn between holy and disc.  I figured that I'd try and not take the easy route of shadow until I'd really given one of the other specs a decent shot.

So wish me luck as I again venture into Azeroth...

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