Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Longest arena season ever and Starcraft course

We're still doing 5v5 arena matches for what I call the longest arena season evah! This season 8 started on February 2. While arena seasons typically run about 5 months, this one is nearing 7 months, and I'm wondering if this will just run until Cataclysm.

We had a really bad week a couple of weeks ago where we met up against a ton of 2000+ rated teams, but it's been half decent for us the last two weeks. We're sitting around 1660 team rating and I really think we can hit 1700. Unfortunately for me, there is nothing I really want with arena points until we hit 1950 rating (wrathful helm).

Last night we even won a couple of matches in our squish burn makeup, 3 priests (2 disc, 1 shadow), a frost mage, and me. I felt kind of bad for the teams we beat, because come on, its bad when you lose to such a squishy group. We're the little chicken here:

On another note, I came across this article about the University of Florida offering a new online course, EME2040 21st Century Skills in Starcraft. Yes friends, Starcraft.

This 3 credit class, 8 week online course is apparently designed for students who already have a knowledge of Starcraft and intended to use aspects of the gameplay to teach skills for real world situations. U of F seems to have taken down the link to the course description, but from another site:

"With society becoming increasingly technology-based and fast-paced, it is important for professionals to be highly proficient in skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, resource management, and adaptive decision making.

These skills are fundamental in Starcraft and therefore make the game a highly effective environment for students to analyze and take action in complex situations. Computer and video games of all types have become a major part of today's entertainment and technology worlds.

This course includes required weekly game play, viewing and analysis of recorded matches, written assignments which emphasize analysis and synthesis of real/game-world concepts, and collaboration with other students."

Real college credit for applying Starcraft to RL?!?!


Friday, August 27, 2010

An actual WoW related post!

Awmigawd! I'm actually going to talk about stuff in game! Brace yourselves...

Anyways, so last night's LK kill was awesome because the attempt that we killed him on was so flawless. Not a single badly placed defile. Not one use of the 3 battle rezes at our disposal. Incredibly smooth transitions between phases with no adds up. It's crazy how things can go so wrong, then things can be so perfect. It was also amazing given that we had one person who had never even seen the fight before.

On an earlier LK attempt, I was the first one sucked into the sword. I said on vent, oh no guys! Get ready to die! I kind of made the decision that I was not going to do the whole switching into kitty or bear and do the interrupting thing. Its just really uncomfortable for me and I get all nervous. So yep, I decided I was just going to brute force heal it. The healing wasn't as bad as I expected actually. Hooray! I survived the sword!

So raiding has definitely slowed down a lot, but I'm glad we still can get together for some raid nights. Oh a really funny pic from last week when somehow our friend Venezia's gnome mage got onto the stage of Buns' demonic puppet show. Dance for us Rum! Dance for us!

Now a couple weeks ago, our cutest gnome mage evah Nkm asked Jess and I to help him with the crazy Scepter of the Shifting Sands questline. It's a long old world questline that opened AQ back in the day.

We went with him to Duskwood, and it brought back some memories of the good old days when Jess and I were leveling up as wee young night elves.

Awww. We then went with him to Moonglade to summon Eranikus. It was really neat to see this huge impressive event going on outside of a raid and to see all the NPCs in Moonglade come to action. It was also pretty crazy that the three of us could do it! We did have one boomkin run up to us in the middle of the event to ask what was going on. Nkm had to tell them not to kill the dragon!

Anyways, the funniest part was when Eranikus was above us and throwing down some sort of minor aoe. It wasn't a big deal for us at all. I mean, it tickled a little bit, but meh. However we were pretty close to the druid trainer in Moonglade and there was a poor level 18 or so druid that got one shot while he was training. 15 seconds later, back comes the level 18 druid and rezes right where he died. And sure enough, 2 seconds later, Erankus does his aoe again and poof! Dead level 18 druid! Awww sorry Mr level 18 druid! But you sure gave us one hell of a laugh.

Some more pics from when Tyrande finally showed up:


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Scary feedreader and douchebaggery

It might be kind of obvious that I've cut back on blogging a bit. For me, its not so much that there is less going on in the game since a lot of my blog posts are pretty random and not necessarily WoW related. But work has gotten incredibly crazy, which again is where I do a lot of my writing.

I haven't even been following other blogs too closely lately either. My feedreader right now scares me. SCARES me! I think my WoW feedreader is at over 500 right now. Yikes! My hope is that things will calm down in September and I can get back to a more regular posting and reading schedule.

I did want to take the time to call out a total asshat, since I do post about them from time to time. So who was the asshat this time? That would be me, Keredria of US-Drenden, of The Left Claw guild. Why? Well we were raiding in ICC the other night, and I won't go into the specifics of why or to whom the whisper was intended, but long story short, instead of whispering the healing done for Dreamwalker, I ended up /s it.

Ugh. Just ugh. I felt horrible. I'm not sure why my meters screwed up my intended whisper, since I don't think I've ever made this mistake before. But it was total douchebaggery and I apologize to everyone else who was in the raid. Again, just to clarify the total DOUCHEBAG, that would be me, Keredria of US-Drenden, from the Left Claw. /points finger to self

Why am I posting about this? Well, I do post about asshats from time to time. And asshat behavior is not immune to being blogged about just because it was me. /sigh


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chicago Clawcon

This past weekend was the second of our summer Clawcons, this time in Chicago. It was a bit of a different Clawcon compared to the west coast one we had in Indianola, WA. The west coast one was in a house we rented together. We spent most of the time at the house just hanging out and cooking our meals together. There was drinking (yay pirate night!) but it wasn't anything too crazy.

This Clawcon was at my condo, so the boys got to see where and how I live, and probably got to know me a bit better that way. When we're raiding or arenaing or whatever, they now have a mental image of me sitting at my desk in my office looking west towards the lake. So it was a bit more personal in this way, at least for me.

I did have the boys do some stuff for me at my place, as Heidi fixed my surround sound, Sam suggested wall colors, and Jess gave me suggestions for overhead light fixtures. They laughed at me and my shortness and what I have to do to get stuff from my tall ass kitchen cabinets. When we arranged to meet up with our friend Thormaine for lunch on Saturday, I told him that we'd be pretty easy to pick out of a crowd, four tall 6'1" to 6'5" guys and a short asian girl.

We went out to eat more at this city Clawcon (mmm Tango Sur... mmm Lou Malnati's), and did some touristy things including going up to the Sears (er ok Willis) Tower and checking out their four plexiglass platforms that hang over the side of the building, 103 floors up. The other difference was that this weekend was just Claw folks, no spouses or kids. Thus, I think there might have been a bit more drinking and staying up late. I also introduced the boys to shots of Korean soju.

Since I had wireless at my place, we did also take the opportunity to play together a bit.

There is the pic of my table. I also ended up pulling out my work laptop and putting it on a little side table so we ended up having all 5 of us at the same table. The 5 of us did two battlegrounds together, Arathi Basin and Eye of the Storm. I'm not sure if it was luck, or the fact that the five of us were sitting at the same table, but we totally pwned both of them!

Makes a pretty damn good case for the importance of communication in a bg, which I think we knew already. I think a couple of folks said that they were instinctively pushing their push to talk button, which was funny as well. We're not on vent kids! We can yell at each other face to face!

It was also very interesting to look over folks shoulders and see how other people play. What? Your screen looks like that? Huh? What is that there? Whoa, what are you doing with that left hand of yours? Why is it moving all over the place? What's all that clicking you got going on there? Oh the Razer Naga mouse? You use the mouse like that? What you use the arrows?

All in all, another great time!


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Behavioral interviewing

As I previously mentioned I'm in the process of looking at a couple of other consulting firms. I've had some phone conversations and have some in person interviews coming up as well. One of these firms I'm exploring is big on behavioral interviewing, a style that is based on the assertion that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation.

I've been on both sides of the behavioral interviewing fence before, so I'm pretty familiar with them. But because its been a bit of time since I've been the one being interviewed, I decided that I'd brush up by reviewing some basic behavioral interview questions and thinking through what examples I'd use.

As I was reviewing lists of questions, I found myself thinking how applicable a lot of these questions would be to WoW. I'm not sure what was more surprising, the fact that WoW has so many commonalities with a work setting or the fact that my mind went to relating these interview questions to WoW.

Anyways, need some good questions for your next guild application? Some of these I kept in there because I could give a really really funny WoW related answer to them. Hmmm maybe I should answer some these questions myself in a future post...

1. What are your short term and long term goals? How did you develop these goals?
2. How would you define "success"?
3. What performance standards do you have for yourself?
4. How do you manage and schedule your time?
5. Describe a situation that required you to do a number of things at the same time. How did you handle it? What was the result?
6. How do you assign priorities?
7. What has been your biggest disappointment or failure? What happened and what did you do?
8. What is the most competitive situation you have experienced? How did you handle it? What was the result?
9. Describe a major change that you had to deal with. How did you adapt to this change?
10. Describe a time when you were able to effectively communicate a difficult or unpleasant idea.
11. Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully communicate with another person, even when that individual may not have personally liked you.
12. What have you done in past situations to contribute toward a teamwork environment?
13. Tell us about some demanding situations in which you managed to remain calm and composed.
14. Describe a situation in which you were able to positively influence the actions of others in a desired direction.
15. Tell us about a time when you had to convince someone in authority about your ideas. How did it work out?
16. When is the last time you had a disagreement with a peer? How did you resolve the situation?
17. Describe a situation where you had a conflict with another individual, and how you dealt with it. What was the outcome? How do you feel about it?
18. What was the most stressful situation you have faced? How did you deal with it?
19. What is the difficult part of being a member, not leader, of a team? How did you handle this?


Monday, August 16, 2010

Lich King isn't anything...

...compared to kids! Yes, kids.

Let me explain. So about a month ago we had a situation where one of our folks was hacked because he had to temporarily take off the authenticator tied to his account. Why? Well, his son flushed his authenticator down the toilet.

Last night, another of our folks lets us know that her son was playing with her iPhone and continuously entered the wrong password, thus locking her out and requiring a reset. Because the authenticator she uses is on her iPhone, she had issues logging on and staying logged on last night.

You think LK is scary? Maybe Halion with the scary cutters? Hell, apparently we should be more concerned of our guildies' kids as they seem to be more of a threat to our raiding!

Honestly though, I find this all kind of amusing. :)


Friday, August 13, 2010

Blame game and putting guildies to work

We've had a lot of people in and out on vacations, so raiding has really slowed down for us. But last night I was able to put together enough to go take a crack at some ICC 10 hard modes with 6 guildies, 1 Thormaine, and 3 friends from a guild we've long done stuff with, Emerald.

It was interesting because this raid was a melee dps heavy group, while our raids are typically very caster dps heavy. Thus, Saurfang was quite different for us. It's also been a bit since we've had a good raid group to push any progression stuff, so I don't know about the others but I did feel kind of slow and rusty.

As I shared and exhibited last night, I really do think that successful raid leading is all about the proper assignment of blame. Healer somehow fails to see Mark of the Fallen on someone? Hunter's fault! Healer somehow gets hit by malleable goo at the worst possible time? Tanks' fault!

Do you have classes or people that you always blame? Hunters? DKs? In our typical runs, we don't have a hunter and while we have Qyburn tanking and Vyp dpsing as DKs, they typically don't get blamed. Hmmm, I think my blame game has less to do with certain classes and more to do with my personal relationship with the people.

Last night I alternated between blaming Bubble the hunter, Thormaine the ret pally, or the tanks. Venezia as a warrior tank had to get some blame, probably because I was transferring my typical practice of blaming Jess. I mean, I see a brown box in Grid, and its just natural and instinctive to send some blame that way.

Anyways, hopefully we can make this a decent raid week since next week is going to be tough as well with Clawcon-Chicago. This Clawcon feels a bit different to me than the last one. It probably feels this way for me since 3 folks are crashing at my place.

As I was telling Jess, it seems kind of personal and intimate that these guys are going to be seeing where and how I live. They'll get to know me in a different way. When they leave and we're online again, they'll be able to picture and envision me at my desk in my office, dropping f-bombs in arenas or bossing people around in raids.

Though with three guys crashing here, I've already put together a short "honey-do" list of things I need tall guys to do around the condo. Hahaha, I'm going to get my guildies to do a couple things for my place. Got to take advantage of it, no? Is that bad? :p


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gaming and science

Things are really slow for us in game right now, with more raids being canceled than not. Unfortunately I don't think things are going to get back into a more reliable raiding schedule until later this month.

Anyways, an interesting gaming/science news related story I wanted to share. Kinda super geeky, but I find this interesting as my undergrad degree was a major in Biology, minor in Chemistry. I've done scientific research in the past, and have two parents who work in science.

An article came out in Nature last week that discusses using gamers to solve problems in predicting protein structure (one of the most difficult problems in molecular biology) through a game called Foldit.

Foldit is similar to Tetris, where gamers use different tools to interactively twist, jiggle, and reshape proteins. Interestingly enough, they found that gamers beat computer algorithms at this because they brought spatial reasoning and decision making to the table, as well as radical moves, risks, and long-term vision. Apparently there were 57,000 Foldit players at the time of publication.

Foldit has a mix of the three main motivators in online gaming: competition (players score points and are ranked), camaraderie (teams can play, sharing strategies and dividing labor) and immersion (players can lose themselves in the game).

"The integration of human visual problem-solving and strategy development capabilities with traditional computational algorithms through interactive multiplayer games is a powerful new approach to solving computationally-limited scientific problems".

The primary investigator noted that "he hoped that "the whole genre of scientific discovery games will really take off." and that:

"We're opening eyes in terms of how people think about human intelligence and group intelligence, and what the possibilities are when you get huge numbers of people together to solve a very hard problem."

I especially love this quote from the article:

"Our results indicate that scientific advancement is possible if even a small fraction of the energy that goes into playing computer games can be channelled into scientific discovery."

Wow, gamers and scientific discovery, eh?

* Press release here.
* NY Times article here
* Economist article here


Friday, August 6, 2010

WG asshats

I used to post now and then about asshats I've encountered in game. The WoW universe must have known its been a while since I've done such a post, so it presented me with some asshats last night.

So Kimchee is 80 now, right? Thus, she tries to get into Wintergrasp every time its up so that she can collect the WG marks for PvP gear. Well last night she got into a WG run where a little over a minute before we were going to win, I got booted from the raid group. By the time I ported back to Dal, ran back to the WG guy, and rejoined a WG group, the victory had already been recorded. This means I did not get the 3 WG marks I fought for.

Apparently I was not the only one. A bunch of people were kicked from the raid I was in. People were hot! Hot, I tell ya! As was I. Turns out the offenders were from a ridiculous all caps guild (always a good predictor of a fail guild). After they booted a bunch of folks, the 3 of them obviously purposefully stood on top of the quest givers on mammoth mounts, for at least 10 minutes. I know this flavor of asshattery isn't new at all, but it was just icing on the cake after kicking people from the raid.

I wonder if Blizz can do anything so that WG groups don't get assigned a raid leader who has the power to kick people from the raid. Asshats and guilds who obviously get off on screwing with people are using this tactic to compensate for their ridiculously small, shriveled, and underutilized private parts.

So Gankafish, Moron, and Therealchazz from FASHION POLICE (no, I don't feel bad at all posting their toon and guild names): Fuck you.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kimchee hits 80!

Throughout this game, I have never been an alt person. I found there was enough to do between gearing K up with pvp gear or making money and going for gold cap. But I did start my little gnome lock Kimchee a while back. And while guildies were making fun of my slow leveling (I was busy leveling professions or doing pvp), she finally hit 80 last weekend. So yes, finally I have a second 80!

There's definitely a different feel playing her. She's little bundle of spicy cuteness and there is a sense of feeling more bouncy or cheery when playing her. I definitely relate to her shortness since I'm 5'2" IRL. And yes, there's probably some cute underhanded evilness I also relate to. :p I'm going to play her affliction and have an PVE and PVP affliction spec. As I've joked with the guildies, the pvp rotation she likes to use is dot-fear-giggle. It's a good rotation.

That I did my friend, that I did. I love seed of corruption. Love! Though doing a ton of bgs on Kimchee does make me appreciate K even more. It's hard to find healers in bgs.

Now I was saying on guild chat a while ago that somehow I feel like K and Kimchee would be best of friends. Like when I log off, they hang out together and go adventuring or something. I could see the tree stoically protecting her little spicy friend. Shat said that it might be like the Keebler elves, with Kimchee living inside of K.

Hahaha... precisely Shat, precisely.


Monday, August 2, 2010

Blizz art exhibit and murloc hoodies!!!!

Two interesting bits of information recently posted on Kotaku. First, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Taipei will host an art exhibition by Blizzard running from August 20 to October 10. The exhibit, called "The Fights, Flights & Frights - Inside the Storm" will feature 800 paintings, sculptures, installations, and videos from StarCraft, Diablo and WarCraft.

There is so much incredible art produced by Blizz. I think it's neat that it'll be featured in a museum of contemporary art.

Secondly, murlocs. Ok so it may seem that I have a slight fascination of murlocs as exhibited by some past posts. But, check this out. Dinohoodie has created murloc hoodies!!! ZOMG!!!

Ok, ok. I admit it. My name is K and I like murlocs.


Mmmm humble pie

Last week we took what we thought was going to be a quick saunter (yes, saunter) back to RS to see Halion. It had been a while since our last Halion kill, but we had done it before so I think everyone figured it'd be cake.

Now our raiding schedule has definitely slowed down a lot due to folks being out, and we took a week off for Clawcon west. But perhaps we were really out of practice because after a perfect first attempt where we wiped at 2% due to something crazy (I don't remember), we screwed up every subsequent attempt after that.

It was just crazy because we had clearly done this successfully before, yet there we were making random mistakes. I joked that we must have been cursed that night, cuz we were just so so off. The funniest part of it was that around 4 wipes or so I spoke up on vent, saying something to the effect of "Ok guys, let's focus and not screw around. We're wasting time". Then what happens? Very next attempt, I do something ridiculously stupid and die. /sigh Mmmm humble pie so so tasty.