Thursday, December 29, 2011

The only way to get me to follow...

A bunch of random pics to share.

1. The only way to get me to follow:
I don't think I need to say much with this one except to share the chat and the pic Jess sent me:

Sigh. Jess probably wishes he had that leash on me when we were doing Nef.

2. The original Tebower
We ran some old raids last night for fun and transmog gear. I quite like the tier 6 druid set! I just need to get the chest and shoulders. Anyways we were in Black Temple and Jess pointed out that Illidan is Tebowing! Look!

3. Pushing my luck
With more game time with the holidays, I've been pushing my luck with pets and mount drops. I've been making my way back in Sethekk and Magister's Terrace lately, as well as trying to farm zone drop pets.

I think on one day over the weekend I decided to push my luck with several items in a row. I first went to try for the lump of coal pet. Then I farmed for whelpling pets in Wetlands for a while. Then I moved on to try in Winterspring for a bit. Next I went to Org to try to fish up Old Crafty. Then I went into Wailing Caverns to try for the Hatchling pet in there. My only success? Old Crafty after about 150 casts.

If I go back to equipping a main and off hand, I think it'd be hilarious it to transmog them into Dark Herring and either Old Crafty or Old Ironforge!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Holidays!

I am definitely looking forward to flying home to Chapel Hill tomorrow for the holidays. I'll be back home for about 10 days, though I will definitely have to work next week. :( Anyways, a couple of holidays related notes I wanted to share:

1. A Lovecraft Christmas!

Awesome pics of a Cthulhu Christmas tree:

2. Star Wars Snowflakes!

Geez, I wonder how long its been since I've made paper snowflakes? I'm guessing somewhere around 3rd grade? Well for all of you playing SWTOR, these are pretty awesome Star Wars Snowflakes with a pattern you can download to make your own.

3. Santa?

I was randomly checking my statcounter stats and OMG I have evidence that Santa reads this blog:

Because Santa is reading this, let me just reiterate how good I've been all year and how I deserve a ton of presents. ;)

Wishing everyone a peaceful and relaxing holiday season!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Cookies are distracting

O'hai there! Long time no see, or er blog! As predicted, work has been the pvp/bg equivalent of WoW. Pretty crazy with intense deadlines while assumptions and supporting data change by the minute. It really irritates me when I am too busy at work to blog. I mean seriously, when else am I supposed to blog?

Anyways, I have at least been able to raid. Just last week we had our first all guild run in what feels like forever. I want to say it was our first guild run since Cataclysm? So I made the boys line up and tuck in their shirts for a screenshot:

It was kind of an interesting raid for me last Thursday. Ten minutes before the raid start time I was contemplating whether the delicious cookies that the lovely Beru gave me that day were a sufficient dinner. I put it to a guild vote and it came back about 50/50.

So the raid starts with Morchok and during the spikes phase I ran to a side that I've run the two previous weeks. Except there weren't any spikes on that side this week to hide behind. D'oh. I promptly died. I might have been distracted by digging to the bottom of Beru's cookie container to see what variety of treats were at the bottom. So for the next 5 minutes or however long the fight lasted, the guild 9 manned Morchok while I ate cookies. Even better was the fact that one of the drops was for me. All in all it was a good raid strategy since I got cookies AND an upgrade.

I died quickly on Hagara as well as some spikes showed up to eat my face. But the guild got him down just fine again. I stand by the title of this post as my defense. Some folks on vent were saying that I needed to blog about dying so much. To which I responded to something of the effect of: "I only blog about stuff when you guys screw up. When I screw up, it didn't happen. This is why this is my blog". But look! I blogged about it! I still blame the cookies though (which btw were delicious Beru!).

Since I last posted I've also added Rades to my Real ID list. This way I have someone Horde side on my server and battlegroup to vent to when we're getting killed in BGs. I can also let him know when he's killing a poor little alt of mine and we don't have to resort to emotes when our toons cross paths. I thought I read somewhere that we would be able to do cross faction BGs? Is that coming soon? Did I make that up somehow? I think it'd be pretty hilarious to run around with his hunter or DK as his pocket healer. I think one thing Rades has learned about me from adding me to his Real ID list is that I'm in BGs a lot. :)

Despite the considerable amount of BGs I do, I have yet to cap out on conquest points. Getting 1650 conquest points when you're not doing arena or rated BGs is a lot. I think I'm averaging about 1000 conquest points a week. On the PvE end it feels weird to be capping out on weekly valor points. I rarely capped out on valor in the last couple of patches. But now the cap is down to 1000, our guild killing DS bosses a lot faster than we did FL bosses, and you can run through the new heroics so quickly compared to ZG/ZA.

I will vent about one thing (because really is it a real blog post from me if there is no angry venting?). The daily process of going to kill the Greench for the chance at the lump of coal pet irritates me greatly. First we have to go to IF, a city no one hangs out in anymore. Then we have to fly up to go kill the Greench. Then we have to go back to IF to turn it in. Grrr. I wish this was just like the other holiday bosses where we could just port to it quickly.


Thursday, December 8, 2011

From archaeology to pvp

My job tends to be a job of extreme peaks and valleys. It's either incredibly crazy 80 hour work weeks or an absolutely dead 20 hour work week. In WoW terms it's like the two extremes of boring ass archaeology and sheer craziness of doing pvp. Anyways, this past work week was an archaeology week, but I got an email late in the afternoon yesterday that they are putting me into two BGs starting tomorrow. Sigh.

I figure I should get a post up since I expect work craziness for a while. The equivalent of 5 melee on this poor tree like white on rice. So a bunch of random updates.

We've started running alt Firelands runs on off nights for fun and gear, but also to finish building our legendary staff. Quick side note on this. I think the casters got kind of screwed with the FL legendary vs the rogues in DS. Even casual guilds are downing DS bosses much faster than FL bosses. Our resident lucky bastard Violent got his first epic dagger as part of the quest chain during the first week. I don't remember how long it took our mage Nkm to do that, but I know it was a lot longer than that.

Oh so in our last alt run... look what drops:

Yep... the first time the f'in Smoldering Censer of Purity drops, its when I'm on my lock. I love that this drop is noteworthy enough that it defaults to the top of the weekly guild news. Just to taunt me. So now Jess' shammy has my staff. We also saw our first ever warrior hunter shammy shoulder tokens drop off Staghelm... though Jess wasn't on his warrior. However Jess ended up getting the tier 13 shoulders that dropped off Hagara.

Sigh. At least the raid is clearly aware of the basic laws of nature. This is the last line of the macro that gives our new vent information:

This week has been the Darkmoon Faire stuff, though I'm already kind of sick of the games. However I know that the guild is grateful for the fact that the Grisly trophy drops are random and not based on killing blows, unlike the Valentines Day charm bracelet debacle. I hadn't read up on the Darkmoon Faire news so I didn't know how they dropped, but when I first got the quest I was ready to get pretty irritated... charm bracelet level irritated. But I immediately went to heal a bg and saw that I was still able to collect those trophies.

I've also gotten a good number of those Darkmoon faire blues in bgs as well. I've gotten a total of 6 or 7 of them, though I have to admit that I've been doing a lot of pvp. Just make sure you remove insignias, because that is the only way you get them.

Finally, I was looking at our logs from our first week of raiding and came across the craziest thing.

What in the?!?! Tranquility right after Rejuv? Any guesses on which of the first 4 bosses this was from?


Friday, December 2, 2011

Left Claw and DS Tier 13

Last night was our first foray into Dragon Soul. I forgot to take any killshot screenshots. So here is one of my typical recreations:

Lets go around and explain. In the bottom left corner, there's warrior Jess. He's showed up as a good raid leader with raid notes! He's so cute when he goes, "hold on, I have notes". In the other hand he is reminding himself 2-2-2, which is apparently a hard number for high end mathematicians to remember. Continuing counter-clockwise we have Violent. Nothing has changed for our guild from Tier 12 to 13. The lucky bastard came out with 2 leatherworking patterns and two drops.

Next we have Nikolai who spent the better part of the raid thinking naughty thoughts about an old Czech tank friend of ours. Then we have Lorosia who has his new Holy Radiance spell but is confused with his less than half mana bar, something he has never seen before. Welcome to my world friend, welcome to my world. Next up is our friend Bubblehunter who is being all zen like and trying to meditate so he doesn't lose it on Zon'ozz like he did with his guild.

Then we have our two mages who are now both fire. The two of them got our first two Tier 13 pieces off Yor'sahj and Zon'ozz. Next is our friend Isaiah who healed for us as disc and holy. There he is with his full mana bar (disclaimer: I didn't actually check but am just assuming it was). Thus he has taken over dispelling duty from Lorosia. Then there is Chanti with his shiny new shield.

Finally there is me, back to wearing a pretty dress again. Yay! I am also holding a cookie. Why? Well, during our successful Zon'ozz kill at one point I had to blow tranquility before the group up phase. Here was the ensuing conversation:

K: I had to blow my cooldown to get us to this point.
Jess: Do you want a cookie?
K: I'm just saying, so the other two healers need to blow their cooldowns here!

So yes, there is me with my cookie, which is actually the same size as Chanti's new shield. That's one large cookie! Mmm reenactment killshot is not to scale.

Anyways, so overall thoughts? In 2.5 hours we killed 3 bosses. We went to see the fourth but ran out of time. I had read earlier in the week how quickly people were killing things, but I wasn't sure how that would translate to a guild like ours. As a casual 5 hour a week raiding guild who only ended up doing heroic Shannox in FL, I expect us to be 4/8 come Sunday night. Seriously? What the heck are we supposed to be doing the rest of the expansion?

In druidy news, I prepared myself for mana by taking 3 points in Furor and I went back to equip the spirit trinket from Tol Barad. I didn't find myself sucking as dry on mana as I expected. So perhaps I'll go back to another trinket. We'll see. Oh and I ended up getting the shiny necklace off Morchok (who my guildies decided is pronounced with a silent H).


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What 4.3 means to me

Hooray happy patch day! So what does 4.3 mean to the guild and I? Several things.

1. Back to mom and dad fighting: Jess and I have done every new 5 man that was come out since back in BC. We have this tradition of doing them together on the first night. What does this mean? Well, typically it means a return to some form of bickering.

The bickering tends to center around me getting eaten by adds and telling Jess to tank better while Jess yells that I have to stand closer to him. I point to the first boss in Halls of Reflection before warrior tanks got whatever they got to improve aoe threat. Oh and the gauntlet part of Halls of Reflection wasn't easy that first night either. More recently, Jin'do in ZG caused lots of bickering between us as well as I got nom-nomed to death by the ghosts.

I'm not sure exactly which 5 man boss will do it for us this patch, but I know it'll happen. Probably on a boss with a lot of adds? Though we've been noting that it has been too long since we've bickered, and that's it's about time we do so again.

2. Endless BGs: With the change to conquest points, I expect to be back to doing a ton of bgs again. I am going to try to remind myself that I don't need to get all of last seasons gear in one week. Though this weekend is AB weekend (my favorite) so we'll see how well I remember that...

I do think that this change is going to affect the level of competition we've seen in bgs lately. Folks who have maxed out on their gear haven't had the need to do bgs lately. This has meant that we've often found ourselves in bgs with a ton of undergeared people. I'm looking forward to seeing well geared ally on my bg teams again.

3. See if our guild luck changes: I'm curious to see how our guild luck changes in Tier 13. Ironically enough this past Sunday night, we had our first ever warrior shammy hunter token drop in Tier 12 off Rag. And ironically enough (yes! lots of irony here!) The helm isn't something either Jess or Bruenok would use. They need the shoulder tokens but the helm tokens not so much. Sigh.

I'm also betting that whatever our rogue Violent has to collect for his legendary daggers will drop like hotcakes. Just because that is the kind of lucky bastard that he is.

4. Being out of fashion?: The staff and the mace never dropped for us. Sigh. I guess I'll hope to pick up something from the new 5 mans as soon as I can. However there is no piece from the 5 mans with both spirit and haste on it. Sad. I guess I have to let go of expecting or wishing for both of those stats.

So I am going into Tier 13 today with a Tier 11 weapon. Lawl. It's as if I showed up to a party today wearing these:

Though actually high waisted pants, skinny jeans, and shoulder pads have made a comeback. See, so I'm just being all up to date with the current trend of retro fashion by going into Tier 13 with my Tier 11 weapon. Don't you guys just wish you were as fashionable as I?

Though seriously, if these really make a comeback, I'm done:


Friday, November 18, 2011

Random my ass

RNG? Seriously I think we should rename it RNGMA. As in random number generator my ass. Smoldering Censer of Purity still refuses to drop. Shared loot table? Yeah. Shared loot table my ass. (Warning, I am predicting an inordinate use of "my ass" in this post.) I don't even know how many boss kills we have in Firelands where this could have dropped. Cry.

There is actually a RNG situation even worse than my staff. We have yet to see the warrior/hunter/shammy token drop in this current tier. At all. We killed Staghelm for the first time on September 25. So we've killed him about 8 times. Our first kill on Rag was about a month ago, so I believe we've killed him 4 times, with a 5th coming this Sunday. With 12 boss kills with tier tokens, and a 1/3 chance each time that a specific token will drop, not a single warrior/hunter/shammy token dropped. I wonder if there's a way Blizz can make RNG just a bit smarter?

I think we've decided that we should change up who technically forms the raids. See, when you get as desperate as we are, we've resorted to blaming RNG on any number of silly and completely unrelated events. Jess or I always form the raids, but I think on Sunday I will make our rogue Violent form the raid. Why? Because he is the luckiest bastard in our guild! He got all of the drops he needed in Firelands weeks ago, often on our first kill of a specific boss. Let's look at Exhibit 1:

I think Lorosia logged out in his PVP gear and he also got bracers off our heroic Shannox kill last night. And of course from our heroic Shannox kill, the heroic dagger drops for Violent as well. So of our raiders I actually have the lowest iLevel. Damn 359 level weapon...

Exhibit 2: Another ranking that Guildox provides where I am on top!

I went through a crazy phase in the spring/summer where I was doing a ton of PVP on K to farm BG achievements. I haven't done much BGing on her in a while, but perhaps I will pick it back up on her. There's my little lock Kimchee in the 12th position and my gnome priest has done a bit of pvp as well. This weekend is Gilneas weekend, and I do still need a number of Gilneas achievements on K. I remember when I hit 50k honor kills, I honestly didn't think 100k was something I'd reach. If I go through another PVP achievement farming phase, it's definitely within reach.

So we got our first heroic FL kill last night. Last raid week we went in to try our hand at heroic Shannox and Staghelm, but didn't get either kills. Then last night we waltz in and killed heroic Shannox on the first pull. We tried Staghelm again, but as much as it pains me to say this, I just don't think we have enough heals to pull it out. We're pushing to 10 on the first scorpion phase, 5 leaps in the first cat phase, but then we wipe when we come back in on the second scorpion phase. The heals just can't keep up. I don't know if another heroic would be better for us to work on. Thoughts?

On one final RNG matter, has anyone gotten any PVE gear to drop in Baradin Hold? We never do. Say it with me folks. Random, my ass!


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dusting off the pets and boo to statistics

So the whole pet combat thing coming in the next expansion... a part of me finds it hard to understand why people are so aghast at it. Not everyone at max level raids. Not everyone at max level pvps. This is just another option for people to spend their in-game time. You think it's childish and don't want to do it? Then don't. No one is forcing all players to raid or pvp either.

I for one am slightly concerned about the possible huge time sink with it. I want to see what its like, but don't want to get completely sucked in since I do raid and I do pvp. Maybe it'll just take the time I used to spend doing archaeology.

Anyways, I have thought about which pets I'd want to level and battle. First it'd have to be my sproutling. I hope as part of her combat animation, there is a tree punch. Kapow! I should start bring the sproutling out more to get her prepared. I probably need to find some Red Bull for her so she stops falling asleep, which could be a problem with this combat thing. Secondly, I'd bring out old Sebastian, my name for my Magical Crawdad. He will pinch your pet to death! Sigh... hopefully I don't end up spending more time on it than I want to admit...

So in guild news, we have been clearing Rag a couple of weeks so we've decided to dip our toes into hurroics. Post nerf, there hasn't been enough fighting between Jess and I on vent. So we'll see how the heroics go.

This past Sunday was my first raid in a bit after moving to Seattle and finally getting internet. You know while I was away from raiding for about two weeks, I expected the boys to be sitting around all sad and mopey raiding without me. I expected them to miss my delicious feasts and my sass and sarcasm. Instead their conversations centered around what they would do if the Smoldering Censer of Purity dropped while I wasn't there. Specifically, ideas around how they would rub it in my face. Fortunately the staff did not drop during my absence, but to the boys in my guild... I hate you all.

So Jess wasn't there for the raid this past Sunday. I did have to note that we killed Rag in less attempts under my leadership than in a sausage party raid that Jess led the week prior that I wasn't there for (hence the sausage party, in case there was any confusion there :p). I told Jess that this all proves that I am a better raid leader than he is. To me this is obvious, no? But Jess responded with "sample size of n=1 proves nothing oh sausageless one".

Sigh. Damn evil statistics.


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Blogging nostalgia

I don't have much in game stuff to blog about right now since I haven't been raiding in a bit and am without internet until Saturday. The horror of no cable or internet! So what else to blog about? Hmmm... let's do the slightly pretentious but often done (myself included) blog about blogging! Hooray!

Anyways. So I had lunch today with Beru, who I'm sure I'll continue to see often as I am now an official Seattle-ite (is that the word?) and we work a block from each other. At some point I started talking about old bloggers I miss.

How is it that we establish these connections with certain bloggers? What is it about them, whether its their writing style, choice of subject, or wit/sarcasm/sense of humor that resonates with a reader? Do bloggers who start their blogs at about the same time also get tied together with some invisible string of camaraderie?

So I started mentioning some bloggers who I really miss seeing. Like Kae at Dreambound and her stick figure raid guides. I know we would have killed Rag sooner if only I had her stick figure raid guides to Rag. I miss Tamarind's wit and insight and wonder where Gerard the Kobold's adventures have taken him. I miss Meghan and in my mind she is still kicking ass in arena or bitching at people in AV all with one hand so the other can swig whiskey straight from the bottle. I miss Larisa but see her pink pigtails holding a drink next to a cozy fire. And yes, it's been a while but I still miss Phaelia, who I consider the mother of all druid bloggers. She was the perfect combination of content, insight, and style/wit.

I guess I sound like a old blogger waxing poetic about the good old days. For a while now I have felt like an old fart in the blogging world. I hit my 4 year blogaversary this past September, but didn't mention it, just like older folks don't like to highlight their birthdays after a certain age. I also think the fact that I don't use Twitter also sets me back in that old blogger camp.

Quick sidetrack, which has a point I swear! Last month when I was flying back and forth from Chicago to Seattle, one of my flights showed the movie Midnight in Paris. The central character in the movie finds himself transported to what he believes are the golden days, Paris in the 1920's. During one of these trips back he meets a woman from that era and together they are transported back to the Belle Epoque, Paris in the late 1800's. It is this era that she considers to be Paris' golden days. When they meet people from that age and ask them what they consider to be the best era, they respond that it was the Renaissance.

While the movie has somewhat of a crazy and implausible plot, I found it kind of cute, but with a great message. The central character "realizes that despite the allure of nostalgia, it is better to accept the present for what it is".

Nostalgia is a funny thing. And its probably even funnier that I have it around WoW blogs and the blogging community. But as much as I think that the WoW blogging community was definitely different a couple years ago and as much as I miss certain past bloggers, perhaps I just need to accept and appreciate the current community and some fantastic voices for what it is today.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Running out of passwords and other stuffs

O'hai there! Long time no see! It's been a crazy couple of weeks as I packed everything up in Chicago and did the move here to Seattle. I got to Seattle this past Sunday night after a long ass drive. I found North Dakota and Montana quite stunning though, and had unbelievable luck running into several bison herds in a national park in western ND.

Over the last 2 months I have logged into WoW from many locations. Two separate towns in NC, then Chicago, NM, Seattle, ND, and eastern WA. seems to let me in with the authenticator when I log in from one new location. But then as soon as I head to a second new location without returning to my previous Chicago home, my account gets blocked for suspicious activity. My account has been blocked for suspicious activity three times in the last two months. I'm running out of passwords to use that I will remember! Stop blocking me! It's called I travel a lot! /sigh

With packing, then moving/driving cross country, and now settling in, I haven't been raiding. I don't get internet at home until this Saturday because I have to wait for my stuff to be delivered from Chicago. The boys have been raiding just fine though while I've been gone. I told them to enjoy their sausage party raids. I know they miss me though, even if they don't want to admit it. Who else would be there to micromanage them?

Micromanaging or love? Hmmm. I choose the latter. And maybe if the boys wouldn't give me things that I have to micromanage them about, I wouldn't have to micromanage them. Circular argument is circular?

Anyways, the last raid that I was in, I took out my brand new chopper mount that I bought for fun. Though apparently my chopper needs to come with a warning label. Isaiah jumped in while we were waiting to pull on Rhyolith and asked me to drive him around. Instead I ended up pulling the boss and the entire raid wasn't there yet. Then on a run back, Sam jumped in but I wasn't paying attention and I pulled some trash and we died. When we zoned back in, I did the exact same thing AGAIN. Seriously I have issues.

So Jess sent me a link to the New York Times article on BlizzCon, which I am sure has been noted elsewhere. Is media and general public perception changing? I don't know. Let's let my old favorite Chuck and Beans speak on that:


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Rag down and WoW Mad Libs

There's our first Rag kill from our last raid week. It was a bit of a messy kill, as the only person up at the end was a healy priest. You should have seen him wand-ing up Rag! :) Rag did have a bunch of dots on him though.

With raiding twice a week for a total of 5 hours a week, I think we did ok this tier. Sure, we could have done better and gotten the kill a couple weeks earlier, but overall I'm satisfied. The tough part about raiding only twice a week is that it can be an entire week before you see a boss again. For the last couple of weeks we've been clearing up to Rag on Thursdays and working on him on Sundays. Having an entire week go by before you see him again just means you have to spend a couple of pulls remembering how things go again.

So Rag dropped the rogue-mage-druid-dk token, which was good news. Honestly a part of me is starting to feel a bit bad for hunters, warriors, and shammys because we have never ever seen their token drop. Not once. Not on Cho, not on Nef, not on Majordomo, and now not on Rag. Now that's a screwjob.

Now during the early part of one attempt, our two tanks Jess and Chanti were chatting with each other in gchat, asking each other to try on certain gear pieces etc etc. I mean the healers and dps are busy, you know, doing important stuff, and the tanks are playing dress up? They actually had the leisure to type in gchat during the fight? (Yes, yes, I know there's a tank swap). Freakin' tanks...

Anyways. I am going to continue to question the existence of Smoldering Censer of Purity until I see it drop. Speaking of gear, it seems like Blizz is having more fun with naming gear lately. I don't know, I just seem to notice that gear seems to have unique names lately, names that often strike a chord with me. Jess mentioned the other night that I should be wearing Wristwraps of Arrogant Doom. Haha.

The gear that have these longer, more descriptive names, have names that tend to follow a convention of sorts with three parts. There is a noun referring to the slot, an adjective, then another noun. And the gear names that follow this seem to go [noun/slot] of [adjective][noun] or [adjective][noun/slot] of [noun].

Try it yourself! I call it WoW Mad Libs. Just think of a noun to describe a gear slot, then pick a fun adjective. Then just pick another noun. Put it all together, and voila! You have named WoW gear!

The noun and adjective don't have to go together or make sense at all. I think it actually sounds better when they are totally dissimilar. Like hmm... Pendant of Petulant Promise? I mean how the heck can a promise be petulant? But it doesn't matter! It sounds better when it makes no sense!

Now when you pick the adjective and noun, you should preferably pick words that you might have studied for your weekly vocab test in high school or the SATs or something. The more letters the better. Just think, Blizz could be helping the high school kids with their vocab!

I think Blizz could also branch out with the nouns they use to describe the gear slot. I mean let's get thinking beyond the typical names for gear for our backs, waist, and feet. How about a pashmina, coverlet, or a quilt? A cincture or cummerbund? Galoshes, cleats, or mules?

Also, I think Blizz should come out with some alliterations. Perhaps all the gear that drops in an entire raid or an instance could be alliterations. Headband of Harrowing Hedonism? Corset of Credulous Cacophony? Egregious Espadrilles of Evanescence? Quarrelsome Quilt of Quagmire? Anklet of Arboreal Acumen? You get the drift. Have I given you a headache yet?

Who names the WoW gear? Do you think I could get this job? :)

(Clearly I had too much time on my hands today. Yes work is slow this week.)


Friday, October 14, 2011

Raiding, drops, and a look back

Things continue to be busy with me on a personal front so I am glad that I'm at least able to post once a week! This week I got an apartment in Seattle and accepted an offer on my condo in Chicago. Woot! Anyways, I have still been raiding, though I will probably be out towards the end of this month when I make the final drive from Chicago to Seattle.

Last Thursday we had one of our more amusing raids in quite a while. I'm not sure what was in the water, but it was clear from the beginning that it was going to be quite a raid. During the raid Jess said something about tanks staying alive through some skill of their own or some crazy talk like that. Of course I had to chime in and tell him whose skill it really was that was keeping him alive, which led to these comments:

Tree of keeping people in line... I like it! Then later in the night we had one of the most amusing comments I've read/heard in a long time. I can't even recall why we were talking about tramp stamps, but Jess and his statistical self shared this:

OMG Sam and I just about lost it. Hilarious. I'm not even sure exactly what it means... but hilarious. Now it also seems that during our raids someone will discover about 4 or 5 bosses in, that they are missing something:

People are in the wrong specs, wearing Wraps of Unity, or other similarly wrong gear. I guess this tells you how nerfed the content is. Anyways. Let's talk about drops for a second. Majordomo is back to dropping the pally priest warlock shoulder token, though he did drop mage druid rogue dk for two weeks. I wonder if we got that different shoulder token to drop because I bitched about here enough.

So here's my next bitch. Why the hell hasn't Smoldering Censer of Purity dropped? It is on the shared loot table, but with all those times I've killed those first 6 bosses, I have yet to see it drop once. At all!!! Gah! Even worse is that my arch nemesis Lorosia has enough healy axes to dual wield them:

Finally a look back. I know there's been a lot of posts in the blogosphere for a while about the game and perhaps the decline of the game. I haven't really blogged about my thoughts on that yet.

When I look back to BC or Wrath, it's not so much that I miss some aspect of the game or game design from back then. I'm definitely nostalgic for the raids and the people that we ran with. So I miss those folks and those raids that we had, but I also think that we are also establishing memories with our raids and raid makeups now. Memories to look back on with nostalgia in another year or so when who knows how our raid makeups will have changed.

Ultimately, I guess game design or specific features means less to me? Or affects me less? As long as I have the people I want to play with, however the game changes, whatever Blizz does, I think I can adapt to it.

I just don't think that a game like this can be static. It's going to change and evolve, and I think it sort of has to. Whether you want to adapt to those changes or whether you need to move on either because this game is no longer for you, or because your real life has changed where the game can no longer fit in it, that's a decision everyone has to make for their own.


Thursday, October 6, 2011

Some philosophies on raiding

Remember how just last week I blogged about being in that brand new job phase where I was turning things around probably way too quickly? Well, just one week later, and I am in a completely opposite phase. I've had so much to do this past week that I've been working until anywhere from 9pm - midnight. Crazy excel models FTL.

This means I haven't had to time to log in at all, even to unwind a bit:

Oh my goodness I love Chuck & Beans!!! Anyways, today and tomorrow will be slower before picking back up again on Monday, so I have some time to finally do a post I've been planning for a while, sharing some of my philosophies on raiding.

First, Jess created this for me the other day:

The story here is that I bring the seafood feasts, which means that I get to choose whether the raid is worthy of being fed or not. And if its a fight where we are learning a certain phase, I tend to not put down feasts. I guess I think its wasteful if we are clearly just learning something. If then we show progress, I give the raid a /headpat and feed them. Isn't the image so cute? See how its a tree? Giving the fuds? Get it? :p

Second, I'm going to confess something that perhaps some of you may not completely agree with. Ready? Here it is. I tend not to watch boss fights before encountering a boss. Why? Well yes, of course we all like winning:

But for me, I want to see and experience a boss for the first time on my own screen. Watching a video of someone else do it somehow cheapens that first experience for me. I also tend to be very much of a experiential learner, so that watching boss fights don't help me learn or do any better than just knowing general strats and learning through experience. So generally I just tend to read what a boss will do or what happens in a fight and go into new fights with that information.

I know this drives some of my fellow raiders crazy, while others tend to be more on my side of the fence. And yes, raiding is a team activity so that one person's performance affects the rest of the raid. But I think for the most part our raid has found or perhaps accepted the duality across the raid in terms of watching videos for raid preparation.

I think we're lucky in that Jess is a pretty good raid leader in terms of explaining new fights, so this helps us. The few times I've had to explain fights, there was a lot of "ums" and "so there's this thing" and "then you do that thing" and "then something happens". And perhaps this only works for us because we aren't a hard core raiding guild.

So while it may not be the popular course of action, I for one am here to admit that I don't tend to watch raid videos before seeing a fight myself.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

How the new job reminds me of our guild

I just started a new job in Seattle last Monday. My new office is actually just one block south and one block over from Beru's office. How crazy is that? I don't remember exactly when or how Beru and I started to chat and connect outside of our blogs, but I never would have thought that we'd end up working so close to each other. We were able to meet up for lunch yesterday, which was fun!

I'm still in the new job phase where I'm being super productive and finishing things really really fast. Probably too fast. I realized the other day that I need to slow it down a notch so that they don't expect that all the time. So there was something that I could have turned around yesterday that I decided to wait to turn around until mid day today. I need to set expectations and look ahead to when I'll be back to procrastinating a bit!

My new workplace reminds me a bit of my guild, in that the people are definitely nice and welcoming but not overtly in your face friendly. While I got taken out to lunch every day last week, outside of that I was mainly left to my own devices. Perhaps in part because I was assigned to two projects by the third day and had things I needed to do.

I've met and talked to a number of people in the office, and I think my plan is to just slowly and gradually get to know other people. I'm taking the opportunity to get advice about the job as well as living in Seattle, and I'm asking the younger consultants out to lunch to do so. But all very slowly. In all my previous jobs I've formed really good friendships with female co-workers, but it has taken time. And I don't think this job is going to be any different.

I don't know how you could explain an environment like this to someone new joining our guild. What do you say, that it'll take time for us to get to know you and vice versa? So don't expect us to be holding hands and singing kumbaya in one weeks time? That you can't expect to come right in and be on the same buddy buddy page as everyone else? I don't know, but perhaps Jess and I can do a better job trying to explain it to future new guildies. Though part of me also thinks that if we have to explain that to someone that perhaps they aren't the best fit.

However new guildies, especially new male guildies, will have to prepare for a certain guild environment as depicted below:

Just to explain a bit, Sam/Nikolai/Anjelique has a thing for pallys. Especially ret pallys and when ret pallys, um... (I'm a bit embarrassed to be typing this out right now on the blog)... but when ret pallys divine storm... all over your face.

So yeah. As a female in this guild, you have nothing to worry about. If you're a guy? Watch out.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Yes, that really happened

1. I haven't posted in two weeks:

It's been a crazy couple of weeks for me personally, as the week of the 12th I was frantically getting my condo in Chicago ready to put on the market. It's funny how staging a home means making it an environment that no one really lives in, i.e. nothing out anywhere! Then last Monday I flew to Seattle for my first week of work. It was a tiring first couple of days from the mental aspect of just getting used to a new work environment, as well as dealing with jet lag and the crazy Seattle hills. Hopefully things will settle down so I can get back to a more regular posting schedule.

2. Baleroc provided some lols:

You know the trash on the left side before you get to Baleroc? Well for some reason a couple weeks back, I could not run back to Bal without grabbing aggro. I swear, I think I died three times on a single run back. After the third death, I just asked someone to rez me. /sigh

It was another night on Baleroc where dps and healers were learning our respective transitions. I was having a hard time hearing my arch nemesis Lorosia, who is pretty quiet on vent. I joked to Jess it was because the dps were too loud on vent and that they needed to simmer down. He goes, "Seriously? lawl".

As we were learning the fight, the healers ended up going to another channel, which we've never done before. It was nice in a way because we could then openly blame everything on the tanks and the dps. But it also felt isolating because you couldn't hear everyone else. I don't think I want to do separate vent channels until we absolutely have to.

3. There is more than one rare dragon in Deepholm:

A week or so ago I was farming herbs or lavascale catfish or something in Deepholm when my NPC scan went off. Ooh, a dragon! Now I sorta knew in the back of my mind that there was some rare elite that drops a mount or something in Deepholm. I guess I figured this dragon was that dragon. First I called Jess to come help. I thought that the two of us could kill it. Um... 20 something minutes later and the dragon ended up disengaging. I think he was laughing at a tank and a healer trying to kill him.

Thus, we called Nikolai to come help us. Even then it took us a good while. The dragon then drops its loot and what? There is no mount? Oh... this is Xariona, who just drops 359 elites. Not to be confused with Aeonaxx, which is the elite that drops the mount. /sigh

4. We are cursed:

The Left Claw's first kill of Majordomo? Guess what shoulder token drops. Yep, pally priest warlock FFS. FFS!!! We only ever saw pally priest warlock tokens drop off Cho'gall. I'm not quite sure what we need to do to change our luck. Perhaps make an offering to the loot gods? I don't know perhaps we can sacrifice a hunter or a DK or something.

5. Gamers are succeeding where scientists failed:

Finally over a year ago I posted about Foldit, an online game that scientists created for players to collaborate and compete in predicting the structure of protein molecules. Well get this. Through Foldit, gamers have solved the structure of a retrovirus enzyme from an AIDS-like virus, a problem that had long stumped scientists.

The research program director noted that "“Online gamers have solved a longstanding scientific problem, perhaps leading the way to new anti-viral drugs". An article that talks a bit more about this concludes by saying "The ingenuity of game players is a formidable force that, if properly directed, can be used to solve a wide range of scientific problems.”

How cool is that?


Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Totally non WoW related post today. Two years ago I posted my 9/11 story. Given the 10 year anniversary of the event, I couldn't help but think back to that time, recalling what I saw and felt. Thus I went back to edit and add a number of details and thoughts to my story. So I am reposting the edited post along with some of my personal photos from ten years ago. Picture above is from a dinner cruise I took around the city just about a month before 9/11.

In the fall of 2001, I was living in New York, in my last semester of my first grad program. I was living in a student apartment on Columbia's Health Science campus up on 168th and Broadway where my program was located. Half of my classes that semester were during the day and the other half were at night. Thus, I was also working part time where I had interned the previous summer. This office of a public NYC agency was located downtown, about 8 blocks from the WTC towers. I used to go down in front of the towers quite a bit while I worked there, because my favorite department store, Century 21 faced the towers.

The three years I lived in New York I was pretty crazy about shoes. I used to wear 3-4 inch high heels or strappy sandals all the time. That Tuesday morning, I walked out of my place and headed to the elevator. While I was waiting for the elevator, I was kind of shifting my feet in place, because my feet were still a bit sore from the previous day's beautiful, but killer pair of sandals. The elevator came and the doors opened up, and I thought to myself, "You know what? I can't do this again today. I have to wear some sensible shoes today". While typically I would have just stuck with the shoes I had chosen to wear, that morning I actually walked back into my place to change into a really comfortable pair of flat sandals.

Once I changed my shoes, I got myself back out the door and onto the subway to head downtown. I got off the train at the Chambers St station and headed up the flight of stairs that I always walked out of, a flight of stairs that opened up to a clear straight on view of the WTC towers. Now as I'm heading up the stairs, I see and hear a woman wailing and crying at the top of the stairs. My typical NYC thought? "Oh gosh, there goes another crazy person". When I got to the top of the stairs, I quickly realized she wasn't just a crazy person. It was about 8:50 am and the first tower had just been hit.

I stood there confused, wondering what was going on along with everyone else near me. I asked some one else what had just happened. What? A plane? How could this have happened? The mood in the group of people I was standing with was one of confusion and shock. As we were standing there, talking to each other, trying to grasp the reality of what we were seeing 7 blocks away, we heard a very very loud sound. People ducked or whipped their heads, the sound was so loud and felt so close to us. I then saw first hand the second plane hit.

The mood in the group quickly turned to fear and panic as people quickly realized this wasn't an accident. People started screaming and running. I headed into my work building to touch base with my boss and the office director. I was told that because our building was a federal building, it was being immediately evacuated. My boss told me that I should probably get right back on the subway and head back uptown because she was certain that the subways would quickly be shut down. We left the building and I said goodbye to my boss and director, who both immediately got on the subways to head home.

But I couldn't leave. I'm not sure exactly why. I'm not sure if it was curiosity, wanting to know what was going on, or seeing if I could help somehow. But I just couldn't get myself to leave. Instead I got a cup of coffee from my steady every day coffee cart guy, and walked back south, to an open area about 6 blocks from the towers. I found myself back in a crowd of people who perhaps also couldn't get themselves to leave.

We stood there watching a scene that my eyes told me was real, but my brain told me had to be a movie. We stood there discussing how this could have happened, who could have done this. We stood there sharing information, as someone with a radio was telling us the Pentagon was just hit. We stood there feeling helpless as from that distance we could clearly see people hanging out of the windows waving their hands, some piece of cloth, their clothes, anything to try to ask for help. We stood there in horror with hands over our mouths as we saw multiple people make the decision to jump.

While I was in this crowd, I struggled with the decision of whether I could do anything. At the time I had an active EMT certification, and while I hadn't practiced in a year and a half, I knew that I could perform basic functions. So I would start walking closer to the towers, thinking that perhaps I could help. But then I would look up at the magnitude of what was going on and wonder how much I could really do when I knew there were emergency personnel all across the city already responding. Since 9 am you heard constant sirens heading south. So then I would walk back north to the open area I was standing in before. But then I would see the people desperately waving from the windows, and I would start walking south again.

I probably did this back and forth two times or so and had returned to the open area. What I heard next is something I will never forget. It was this low guttural rumbling sound. It started out really softly at first, like a whisper. It was such an unfamiliar sound that everyone was looking around trying to see where it was coming from. I then looked up to see that it was the sound of the first tower collapsing. Since we were about 6 blocks away, people really started to panic, some were screaming, and most were running north.

Thinking back, one thing I learned about myself is that I am pretty calm in the most stressful situations. People were screaming and running around me, but my thought process was more like "Oh, maybe I should walk north now?". Or maybe I wasn't calm, maybe I was just dense? I don't know, but I stood there for a bit looking at the huge smoke cloud that was now rising from where the first tower stood, looking at a smoke cloud that was starting to expand out. It took a police officer waving his arms and frantically yelling at us to head north for me to put some speed to my walk.

On my walk north, I stopped at Canal Street and remember looking to the left and right, to see an incredible stream of thousands of people pouring into the streets and sidewalks, all heading north. I also distinctly remember seeing one woman who was so distraught that she was sitting on the sidewalk, hysterically crying. It was comforting to see two strangers tell her that she had to keep walking, help her back up, and give her a bottle of water.

During my walk, there were incredible lines at the few pay phones since all the cell phones were down. I remember seeing 30-40 people in line at some pay phones. I stood in one of the lines for a little bit, but then quickly decided it wasn't worth it and kept walking north. This was about when I marveled at the fact that I had made the unlikely decision to change my shoes that morning. There was no way I would have been able to walk so far if I had my original shoes on. There were tons of women around me who were walking barefoot with their cute shoes in their hands. Some manicure/pedicure places along the way were giving out those foam flip flops you get when you get a pedicure and a number of women were wearing those.

I got to midtown around 12:30 pm, and headed for the place where I had interned the previous fall. My cell phone was still not working, and mainly I wanted to get hold of a land line so I could call my family. I stepped into my old office and called my dad's office. I knew that my mom and sister would gather there with my dad to wait for me to contact them. Now I mentioned before how I had been pretty calm this whole entire time. While I teared up as I saw people in the windows of the towers cry for help or jump out, I hadn't really cried yet. But talking to my family, I guess I could just let it all go, and I just totally broke down.

I stayed at that office for a while, as everyone I used to work with wanted to hear what I had seen. They also wanted to make sure I was ok and that I got something to eat. I left around 2 pm, and headed for the subway which was running again. I remember getting on the good old A train and seeing folks in my subway car who were covered in gray dust. I also realized that I still heard sirens in my head, which I had heard constantly since 9 am. I knew that I couldn't be hearing sirens down in the subway, and I was a little concerned about that, but hoped it would go away.

When I got back on campus, the word had spread that they were calling for volunteers. At this time, we all figured that there would be thousands of injured people. Because there was a medical, dental, nursing, and public health school on campus, along with the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, everyone mobilized to help out. I went to sign up and list my skills as well as my cell phone number. I remember seeing how long the list of volunteers were. Little did we know how few survivors there would be.

Now that semester, I had class every Tuesday night. I figured oh, given everything that had happened, it must be canceled right? NYU, other colleges across the city, colleges all across the country ended up canceling classes that day and many the next day as well. Nope, not Columbia. I had class that Tuesday night. I remember sitting there in my Epidemiology class not listening to a word, replaying everything from that day in my head.

Soon after class let out, the phone calls started. That first night, my closest friends were finally able to get their calls through. The next day, it was friends and relatives who I didn't talk to as often who called, followed up the subsequent day by long lost friends and international relatives who I hadn't spoken to in forever. It blew my mind how many people ended up contacting me, and I realized then how big this was and how much it touched everyone.

That night I lay in my bed in the dark, watching the constant TV coverage. It was difficult not to just start sobbing. It was strange to see on TV what I had seen first hand, and I started to wonder what I had seen first hand vs what I had seen on TV. I finally realized around 2 am that I needed to stop and that I should go to bed. As I was trying to fall asleep, I could still hear the sirens in my head. I thought to myself, "Seriously? Am I going crazy? This better go away tomorrow!". Luckily the sirens did leave my head the next morning. About two days later I was meeting up with friends for dinner and I freaked out because I heard sirens again, even though I didn't see anything. I turned to grab my friend's arm and asked, "Oh my gosh please tell me you hear that too", then two seconds later an ambulance passed by on the street. I breathed a sigh of relief.

Starting that morning and for days afterwards, there were military fighter jets flying over the city. After seeing the first one, you knew the military jets were there. But every time I heard another one fly by, I'd tense up and remember what it was like to hear and see the second plane hit. The reaction was instinctive. Seeing the fighter jets protecting the city was quite a vision. This wasn't some air show. It was real. We were in a war zone of sorts. Also for months afterwards there were military personnel with automatic weapons all over the city, especially in the subways.

No one was allowed south of Houston Street for a while afterwards. Houston St became a spontaneous memorial of sorts.

My co-workers and I had to work in a temporary office in midtown. When we were allowed to go back to our offices about three weeks later, I remember tasting a metal taste at the back of my throat from the air. My eyes, which are pretty sensitive, were itchy. People who worked downtown were then allowed south of Houston Street to gather stuff from our offices. This was when I had the chance then to walk down to the site, which was still a complete disaster area. I remember looking into the storefront window of a jewelry store that faced the WTC towers and seeing a display case that was completely empty except for a thick layer of dust. Realizing what that dust was, I cried.

The other thing I remember immediately after 9/11 was the thousands of flyers posted all over the city, from people looking for their loved ones. These were people holding out hope that their loved ones were one of the very few who had somehow made it out alive and were in a hospital somewhere. It was heartbreaking to see these flyers all over the city. It was difficult not to tear up.

I think about those who lost loved ones. I was so incredibly lucky that no one I knew died that day. Soon after 9/11 the New York times started running a new section called Portraits of Grief. It gave a face, a story, a history to the number declared dead. I read these portraits religiously, eventually buying the book when it was compiled.

When I think about the families, I think about not only how devastating it must be to first have lost someone, but how excruciatingly difficult it must be to have lost your loved one on such a public tragedy, one that gets so much media coverage. To be haunted by the constant images of the towers being hit and collapsing, knowing that you are watching your loved ones die... I can't even imagine.

I especially think a lot about seeing the 5 or 6 people who were forced to jump from the smoke and the heat and I wonder who they were. What were their stories? Where were they from? Who did they leave behind? I've also mentioned several times hearing constant sirens heading south that morning. I've wondered how many of those emergency personnel I saw made it out alive. How many of those fire fighters and police personnel I saw driving south were in the towers when they fell?

9/11 was such a historical event, that everyone has a story. Everyone remembers where they were that day. I've verbally told a condensed version of my story many times when people talk about where they were that day. Recalling all of these details and writing my story down, it's almost like I can feel again my emotions from that day and the subsequent weeks. I can hear the constant sirens from that day. I can see the billowing cloud of smoke as the first tower fell. I can remember the smell of the burning metal and how it tasted in the back of my throat. I close my eyes and I'm right there again, ten years later. I wonder if it'll still be as vivid in another 10 years.

There is no way I could ever forget. For me that day is the closest that I have been to that much death, pain, and evil. But if there's anything I take from it, and what I also remember each 9/11, is to be grateful for what you have and to try to live your life fully.

Pictures below are from Ground Zero about 3 weeks after 9/11


Friday, September 9, 2011


Things have been a bit crazy in the last week or so, which will only increase in the next couple of months. My last day of my old job was last Friday (huzzah) and I start my new job in Seattle on the 19th. I'll start by commuting to Seattle weekly before making the final move sometime later in October or November. I'm currently in the craziness of getting my Chicago condo ready to put on the market.

I was in New Mexico this past extended weekend spending time with my best friend. It was interesting because for two days I ended up taking care of her 4 month old. I discovered what its like to play WoW with a baby! Even though I wasn't with the baby long, I definitely had the feeling of needing some escape after the constant rotation of baby sleeps, baby eats, baby needs to be entertained, baby needs a diaper change. So when the baby would go down for a nap, I'd log on and have enough time to do a couple of quests.

Drop wise in raids, I got the healing helm off Beth a week or so ago. Perhaps my luck with FL drops is changing! The guild went back to Cho'gall on Sunday night without me and I was told that the pally priest warlock token dropped yet again. I swear, we're cursed! Seriously its the only token we've only had drop! I'm not sure what we need to do to change our luck. Pray to the loot gods?

Guild wise Jess and I were talking about our guild and our kids (the guildies). I started talking about wondering what would happen if Jess and I weren't around to lead a raid or if we were to quit the game. We started discussing who would take over GM duties. I think we came to the conclusion that we are not sure that anyone else would want the job. Thus we realized that we are leading the guild not out of any sort of ability or skill, but out of default. :)


Monday, August 29, 2011

We're real people... who screw up sometimes

Something happened in our raid last Thursday night and I couldn’t quite decide whether I should blog about it. But after thinking about it a bit, I decided I need to. Not only to give others some insight into how I see things or what I think, but also because writing it out always helps me to better understand what I think or feel about something.

So long story short, Jess and I screwed up… again. We had Part Two of Jess and K Fight on Vent (if you remember, Part One was during Cho’gall a couple months back). We then proceeded to wipe horribly on Rhyolith, a boss that we’ve killed before. I know that our fight affected the mood and thus the performance of the rest of the raid. And I know and readily admit that Jess and I did not handle things the best way and we need to find a way to change it.

But I will also say this in reference to Jess and I. And while I don’t pretend to speak on the behalf of every single GM and RL, I believe that what I have to say applies to them as well. We are human. We are real people. We thus react to things and situations, situations that affect us for the better or worse. We have our own issues and personality quirks that sometimes clash with each other. And sometimes (even often) we screw up. We aren’t stone statues who lead the guild and run raids in a vacuum without being affected by anything. Have I mentioned that we are real people?

Jess and I talked this weekend about what it means to run the guild and run our raids. Because we are real people, sometimes we can be in a particularly shitty or sensitive mood. And while you may be able to tell when a raider is in a shitty mood during the raid, it’s different when it comes to the RL or GM. When you’re running the raid, your behavior has a larger impact. As Jess said, our behavior is more on display, thus its different for us by virtue of being the leadership.

I’m not trying to excuse our behavior on Thursday night because clearly Jess and I need to work on communicating better and not taking things public. I need to try to be more clear (which is hard when I call most things by the wrong name or just add a “–y thing” to it, such as “freezy thing” or “marky thing” or “sparky thing”) and perhaps be more patient and not shut down (Jess says I should just be nicer to him). So while Jess and I recognize our issues and we have talked about how we could do things better, I guess I just wanted to highlight some other things I’ve thought about.

Ultimately though things did work out. The kids were worried that mom and dad might get divorced, but I explained to them that we went to counseling on Friday and that all was good. We also went in last night and proceeded to one shot Rhy. AND not only that but Rhy dropped the chest piece I was drooling over so now I am one drop closer to my pally arch nemesis Lorosia. And what could be better news than that?


Monday, August 22, 2011

Why is it that...

1. ...achievement tracking keeps getting reset?

I always have a number of achievements tracked on my UI. For over a week now it keeps resetting every time I relog back in. WTF? Anyone know what is going on?

2. ...doing BGs seem less an event against the Horde and more against your fellow alliance?

This past weekend was Eye weekend. Ugh. If I have to say one more time that 3 towers>middle/flag... When you are down 3 towers to 1 and 75% of your team is still standing around in the middle (when its clear Horde are holding the flag), all I have to say is FFS. I ended up giving up on Eye yesterday and going back to my old stand by Arathi Basin.

3. ...we have such a limited sell back window?

I finally finished up Loremaster of Cataclysm this past weekend, finishing up all the Vashj quests 8 months after most people (heh). With all the quest rewards you get, plus all the random stuff you get off mobs, they really need to increase the number of sell back slots. Twelve slots is definitely not enough when you are hard core questing.

4. arch nemesis keeps getting upgrades?

I've blogged plenty about my arch nemesis, he of the endless mana, our pally healer Lorosia. Can I just say that Lorosia has gotten like 4 drops from Firelands so far and I have gotten none! Zero! Zilch! Nada! It's just so so so wrong... grrrr. Freakin' pallys...

5. ...our guild has gotten screwed on RNG lately?

The Left Claw seems to have the worst luck with the RNG boss lately. Baradin Hold seems to only drop pvp gear or pve gear for classes not in our raids. And Chogall, the little f'er, will only drop the pally/priest/warlock shoulder tokens! I will now never forget the fact that pallys/priests/warlocks share the tokens because the number of times that we've said "Pally/priest/warlock again?!?!? FFS!"...

6. ...I haven't blogged in a bit?

There have been a number of RL decisions I've had to make lately. I mentioned a while back that I went to Seattle to interview for a job. Well, ultimately I got the job and I have made the decision to accept the offer. Yes, this means that I am moving to Seattle! Holy crap! I anticipate a bit of an erratic raiding and blogging schedule for the next 3 months as I not only deal with the stress of a new job, but with moving to Seattle as well.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

For the gnomes!

K was created in February of 2007 and not long after that, I created a human priest named Calexis. Well poor Cal has been sitting at level 60 something for pretty much forever. The funny thing is that in the over 4 years that I've had her, she's leveled with pretty much all of Jess' alts: his shammy, his druid, his hunter. As Jess' alts each hit max level, Cal just stays where she is.

I wondered that perhaps I didn't feel as strong a connection to her because she was just a simple human toon that was kinda meh to me. So after a couple of bgs on K where I remarked once again that it is so darned cute that there are gnome priests, I did it. I race changed my priest to a gnome and renamed her to a K name.

So I introduce to you Kakigori, my new gnome priest:

OMG the cuteness overwhelms me.

Kimchee is my spicy Korean lock. Kakigori is now my sweet Japanese priest. Kakigori is the name of a Japanese shaved ice dessert. This is my third gnome as I also have a gnome DK who is my inscriptionist. Yes, I love gnomes. Its true. They just make me happy when I play them because they are so darned cute.

Jess even said that he wondered whether I may race change K if gnomes could be druids. Especially if they could be small and cute when they shapeshifted. Can you even imagine a mini tree? A healing bush? Or a mini kitty or bear? Awww. They'd be the same size as companion pets! Though honestly if that were the case I probably wouldn't race change K, but would level a new gnome druid.

Anyways, so what have I been doing with Kakigori? Eventually I think I'll pick up a disc spec on her, but for now I've solely been doing bgs with her as shadow. And you know what? Shadow priests are way OP right now. For me to go into bgs pretty green on the toon and spec, and to be the top dpser, its insane! I was in one WSG where she was just totally kicking ass and had like 15 HKs. As I told the guild, respect bitches!

I was also in a number of ABs where I immediately took her to the lumber mill because mind controlling folks off the LM is just so evil, yet so fun. If MCing folks off the LM is wrong, I don't want to be right. I just kept doing it over and over and over again. :)

I also love the fact that this cute little bundle of evil energy can generally kill a Hordie one on one. I mean you see a big mean green orc DK or warrior or whatever, and Kakigori can just own them, all while giggling and chewing pink bubble gum. They're powerless. I love it.

The Horde seem to have a special dislike for gnomes. And for them, Kakigori says, "See you on the battlefield!"


Monday, August 1, 2011

Needing dramamine to raid?

When the heck did it become August already? The summer is almost over! Anyways, some random updates.

We raided last night for the first time in two weeks since a week was taken off for Clawcon. On a personal front, I hadn't logged into the game since I was on for about an hour last Monday night. Before that, I hadn't been on for about 5 days. So basically I haven't played much in 10 days.

The amusing or not so amusing part for me was going back to dealing with the motion in the game. Every time I take some time away from the game, even if its just a week to 10 days, I come back to getting nauseous from the movement. The whole perspective of running and flying around just makes me queasy.

So yet again I log on midday yesterday for my first real extended play time in 10 days. I set about to go do my dailies (which I haven't done in 14 days... slacker!) and ugh, queasiness. I felt queasy the entire 2 hours or so that I was on and I really got worried that I would have to take dramamine to raid last night.

I did log on about 75 minutes before raid time to see if I still felt sick. I did a couple of BGs and a successful Tol Barad defense (heck yeah!) to test myself before the raid. And huzzah! No more queasiness! I have issues, I know.

Outside of the whole is K going to hurl on her laptop question last night, there were other ups and downs. Last night was our first raid without our old lock Buns. I really missed her. This also meant that last night was our first raid where I was the only female. Clearly this means our raid was thus lacking in maturity and general awesomeness. Sigh. I miss the days of running with 5 out of 10 raiders being female.

On that front, we could probably use another raider or two if anyone is interested or knows of anyone. A dps/healer or a tank/dps dual spec would be awesome. A female would be double the awesome so we can increase the average IQ of our raid. (I kid, I kid! Or not...)

Our raid last night also consisted of 3 pallys (1 tank and 2 healers) and three, yes THREE mages. Perhaps not the most ideal, but you know what? We make things work best they can. I would rather take people I like playing with and let those people bring their mains than create a more optimal raid composition. It also worked out because on any given wipe I could just blame a mage or pally. It was true! The numbers say so!

So just as I was bemoaning missing Buns last night, lo and behold our old holy pally Nico logged on after being deployed for a while! Huzzah! I'm excited to see him safe and sound back in the states, even if it means that he and Lorosia now tag team gang up on this poor little tree. Hopefully we can get Nico geared quickly and joining us in raids soon!

Finally I had a great time grabbing dinner with the lovely Beru last Friday night. I was back in her neck of the woods for the second time in less than a week for an interview. It boggles my mind that this game and the corresponding blog community has forged these sort of relationships. I knew that I'd be in Seattle for a couple of days so without question I shot Beru a note to say, lets meet up!

We talked about everything from work to real life to books/movies. And yes of course we also talked about the game, raiding, our guilds, the blogosphere, and specific bloggers. We specifically talked about you Rades! :) You never know how long you're going to play this game. But I find it pretty awesome that my time in the game and the blogsophere has forged these kind of friendships!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Quick Clawcon debrief

I'm supposed to be catching back up on work and all my emails, but I thought I'd do a quick Clawcon debrief from this weekend. This was effectively our third Clawcon since we kind of did two Clawcons last summer, one in Indianola, WA and one in Chicago. This time we were in Port Townsend. The view from the back deck of the house this year:

Most of us had done this before, so we were pretty comfortable with everything. Nkm, who did not attend a Clawcon last year remarked how closely we sounded like we did on vent. Imagine that! :) I have to give a lot of credit to Chanti, who came out despite knowing and playing with us for the least amount of time. I hope that our old friend and guildie Rap did not scare him away. We joked that he better not gquit when he got back Sunday night.

Anyways, we did a lot of eating. We joked that we probably ate better than those top raiding guilds would eat if they got together. You can have your world first Paragon or whoever is getting world firsts lately... I bet we eat and drink better than you when we get together! (I'm sure they're hurt).

Jess made breakfasts of blueberry pancakes one morning and french toast the next. Jess, Wut, and I made yummy dinners as well. (We are maxed in cooking IRL). There was a lot of fish and seafood feasts to be had given we were in the Pacific Northwest. We got some dungeness crab one night and I joked that we needed to put it in a pot and take a picture of it as our seafood feast (since we didn't have lobster). Unfortunately I forgot to take the pic... it would have been so cute!

Not to be out done by the eating, there was also a lot of drinking. Lots of dark microbrews from the region, very nice bottles of wine from Wut and Chanti (heck we even had rose champagne one night), and I think the boys were drinking fancy scotch or something Friday night.

So yes, the two pallys Wut and Chanti bonded over their shared love and knowledge of nice wines. I also made them pose together with a pillow that Rap brought:

OMG Carebear stare! At one point I was hugging the pillow hoping that the never endless pally mana would somehow rub off on me.

And yes, of course there were references to WoW as we were out and about. When we went to Fort Worden and were walking around there, we were walking up a narrow path. We had to step to the side to let this guy on a lawnmower through. Good thing Chanti called out, "Pat!" so we didn't grab aggro.

Also when we were walking around the abandoned artillery batteries there (which were so freakin creepy... I am convinced that place is haunted), Jess walked down into a pitch dark walkway. I did not want to follow him so I was kind of lingering at the top of the steps and waiting. But then Jess called out "Heals!". Gosh we're such dorks.

We also spent some time walking around up at Hurricane Ridge in Port Angeles. It was quite stunning up there.

I came across an interesting sign there:

Huh? Tree skirting? Chanti offered that perhaps its the tree version of t-bagging. Yeah! You better not mess with us trees... we'll tree skirt you!

So on Saturday night we were treated to a fancy dinner from Wut. There were two non WoW players at this dinner and at some point we did talk about the whole phenomenon about us getting together. This one guy said that he was just so surprised, or that it was just something that he couldn't imagine, that we would all gather together to share a house with people we didn't know.

I had to correct him though. You may not have never met or shaken hands with each other, but we KNOW each other. I would argue that many of us know each other probably better than some of the people we physically interact with daily, like at work for example.

If you really think about it though... it does take some level of comfort to be ok with sharing a house together. You're cooking together, you're seeing people sleeping, stepping out of the shower with towels wrapped around their head, etc etc. But I don't think anyone had any reservations about sharing a house together. It just seemed so obvious. There is no one in our guild that I would even second guess feeling comfortable about sharing a house with.

We also talked about how this is the kind of guild that we want to play or raid in. Its not just about the phat lewts. I would not trade a guild further progressed for the guild that I have. That's not what is important to me in the game. I am pretty sure that many of us would not be playing this game anymore if we weren't in this guild. It's the people and the relationships that have kept us in this long.

All in all it was a good time but I also think it helps people understand each other in game better. When someone does something in game, or says something, meeting and having spent time with them gives you a context for all of that. I hope some of the other guildies can make it out next year.

We did have a little bit of sad news on Saturday. Buns our gnome lock let Jess know that she was leaving the game. I was really sad to hear that. Besides Jess and I, Buns was our only other current raider who dates back to Kara with us. That's a long time. I'm also kind of sad that we're losing a female raider. I think back to some of our Kara runs when we were usually 50% or sometimes even 60% female. I miss that. We need more women!

Buns' name came up over the Clawcon weekend, as did all of our other guildies who were not there. When we had all these bottles of really nice red wines, we mused that Buns should be here. Buns has this wicked sense of humor and sarcasm that sneaks out from time to time. She's been a long standing member of the guild and I am really going to miss her.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

This is so my leadership philosophy

I'm kind of old fashioned in that I still like to buy books. I don't have an iPad or a kindle and don't really plan on buying them soon. So not only do I like to buy books, but I buy them in hardback. I know. I'm a dinosaur.

Quick side note though, is anyone else playing Tiny Tower? I want to play it on my iPhone but the tutorial keeps resetting itself. Chanti says that I shouldn't be too upset because it is virtual crack, in 8-bit form. That I should stop now before it takes over my life. But I'm intrigued! The game looks cute! I told him I may have to play around with his game this weekend.

Anyways, so the other day my latest book order finally got delivered to the hotel. One of the books I got was Tina Fey's book Bossypants. In the introduction, she gives some thoughts on how to be a good boss:

"... to get the best work out of people you may have to pretend you are not their boss and let them treat someone else like the boss, and then that person whispers to you behind a fake wall and you tell them what to tell the first person".

I immediately jumped when I read that because it was just so spot on in terms of Jess and I and our guild. You get to guess which role Jess plays and which role I play in this example. :)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Healers blog meme before it gets too too late

Rades tagged me for the healing blog meme that went around. I figured I should do it before it gets too too late, even though its already kind of late. I'm probably the last one doing it, but hey, I'm ok with bringing up the rear.

1. What is the name, class, and spec of your primary healer?
Keredria, resto druid.

2. What is your primary group healing environment? (i.e. raids, pvp, 5 mans)
From what I spend the most hours per week doing to the least, it'd be pvp, 10-man raiding, and the occasional 5-man. We've cut down raiding to 5 hours a week this expansion, so pvp definitely wins out from an hours/week standpoint. We dabbled with a bit of arena at the end of last season, and perhaps we'll do some more in season 10, but I do a ton (and I mean a TON) of bgs.

3. What is your favorite healing spell for your class and why?
Mmm probably rejuv as my in both pve and pvp. It's instant and heals for a decent amount!

4. What healing spell do you use least for your class and why?
Toss up between Healing Touch and Regrowth. I only use healing touch with nature's swiftness, and regrowth just makes me go oom too much. I used to use regrowth more, but now I'm scaling back on it until I feel better about my mana.

5. What do you feel is the biggest strength of your healing class and why?
Combination of mobility and output. Can I just take a quick side note here and talk about how AWESOME tree form is in bgs? Not so much for the extra healing, but for the instant roots. The ability to pop tree form and have no cast time on your roots is so awesome in bgs like Strand, Warsong, or Twin peaks.

6. What do you feel is the biggest weakness of your healing class and why?
Probably what every single druid has said... lack of mitigation. I think our barkskin should be raid/party wide! We already have the spell just let us cast it on others!

7. In a 25 man raiding environment, what do you feel, in general, is the best healing assignment for you?
I love that the original question makes it seem raiding is only a 25 man thing. So in my "less than" 10 man raiding environment (/sarcasm) I end up rolling hots on the tanks and healing the raid. I have long healed with the same healers week in and week out, so this is what I just end up doing without "being assigned" to do so. Sometimes Jess tries to assign me a healing assignment, but then I set him straight.

8. What healing class do you enjoy healing with most and why?
Pallys. Because I can sit and read a paper and eat a sandwich all in order to regen mana while the pallys will heal everyone with their 80% full mana bar. (And no, I don't really do this.)

9. What healing class do you enjoy healing with least and why?
Pallys. Because their always full mana bar often makes me see red with rage or green with envy and when I can't see well it distracts me because I can't see my grid boxes.

10. What is your worst habit as a healer?
Blaming everything on the tanks. Even if its true. Oh and trying not to do everything myself. ZOMG must heal everyone!

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in a group environment while healing?
This doesn't happen in our raids, but as the adage goes, "I can't heal stupid". In pvp, it'd be people bitching at me for not healing them when I am healing them like crazy. And when I check out their gear, not only is it not pvp gear, but its blues and greens. At this point in season 10 when folks are stacking near 4000 resilience, if you are in a bg with pve blues and greens, I don't care how strong a healer is... you're going to die. And trust me, I bitch right back when I get bitched at this way in bgs.

12. Do you feel that your class/spec is well balanced with other healers for PvE healing?
I do. We can heal tanks or raid and generally I feel good with where we are. Now if only we could do that judging nonsense that pallys do...

13. What tools do you use to evaluate your own performance as a healer?
I use World of Logs but I'm not checking them after every single raid like the srs bness raiders. I probably check them every other week or so, or if I want to look at something specifically.

14. What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your healing class?
That we are rejuv and wildgrowth spam bots.

15. What do you feel is the most difficult thing for new healers of your class to learn?
Besides mana management I'd say the fact that we are always casting. With the power of our mobility comes the responsibility to be always casting. So you have to learn to track your hot countdowns. You don't want your lifeblooms to fall off and now we need to throw in those direct heals to keep up our mastery buff.

16. If someone were to try to evaluate your performance as a healer via recount, what sort of patterns would they see (i.e. lots of overhealing, low healing output, etc)?
As a druid, I'm always going to have overheal. And as much as I complain about mana, WoL will show you that I regen just as much mana as Lorosia does because I'm maximizing use of cooldowns. It's insane to me that I regen as much mana as he does. I call bollocks on the logs.

17. Haste or Crit and why?
Duh, haste. But I am never going to hit the haste break point for a 9th WG tick because most of the time we raid without a shammy, boomkin, or a spriest. So without the haste buff I need something insane like 2700+ haste. This makes me sad, but it is what it is. So there's another argument to the fact that 10 mans are not always the "easier" option, since we don't always have access to all the class buffs. Anyways, back to haste. I do keep it above 1600 for the 5th Rejuv tick.

18. What healing class do you feel you understand least?
Honestly, I probably understand all of them equally... equally little. I have a general idea of their strengths, but don't know specifics. Sometimes Lorosia will reference a pally spell and I'll say something like "and that means nothing to me". He then will link the spell, but then I won't read it because OMFG why do pally spells have like huge paragraph long descriptions. I lose interest after reading the first two lines. Oh look a shiny!

19. What add-ons or macros do you use, if any, to aid you in healing?
Grid is probably the main addon I use. I generally don't use macros except for when I can't speak on vent. I've been spending a lot of time lately at my parents house and when I raid from there, I can't speak. So the macro is for when I need to desperately cry out for a hymn of hope. Generally the hymns are planned ahead of time. But if they are not, I have a macro that gives a raid warning that says something like "Sam, hymn me my dear!" I think the "my dear" part balances out the pushiness and annoying factor of asking for a hymn via a raid warning. :)

20. Do you strive primarily for balance between your healing stats, or do you stack some much higher than others, and why?
I've already mentioned that beyond 1600 haste, I no longer worry about stacking haste. So then its intellect.

Phew! Lots of questions! I won't tag anyone else because uh, I think the blogosphere is already beyond this. This was so two or three weeks ago. So yeah... bringing up the rear...