Friday, July 31

Dpsing reduces my IQ

I don't what it is about being a DPSer. See, when I am healing, I stand in strategic places, I am aware of my surroundings and chuckle when others don't move from things like Hurricane.

Yet, when I switch to DPS, all of that intelligence flies out the window. Maybe it's me watching my Squawk and Awe timers and waiting for the tanks to get agro or whatever, but as soon as I change from Bark to Feathers, I end up doing the dumbest things.

Like, last night. How many times I have done the tunnel to Hodir? Plenty, but sure enough I back up a little to spread out from others and I walk straight into a snowpile. Out pops little worms and I say over vent "Damnit." I apologize profusely while continuing to cuss to myself.

Someone suggested to just clear that pile since every night someone runs into it. I was the first to say No, it's better to mock those who ran into it. Then the MT says something about folks not positioning themselves properly only to get thrown up into the snow. I countered with "I wasn't thrown. I walked into it, thank you very much."

Perhaps its the fact that I dps so rarely on a raid that I tend to get a little overloaded with things. Healing is half automatic because I do it so often, whereas DPSing changes how I think about everything. Watching my timers, threat, positioning all matter and all require different skill sets. With more practice I imagine all that would be easier.

Yes, some would argue that DPS is easier than healing. And certainly there are cases where that is true. But, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be able to perform well not matter the role I am in. In addition, it's not like I have never done the fights before, so there are no real excuses for the little mistakes. Put all of that together and makes for awkward moments.

Please believe, I still don't want to DPS full time. I like my job as a healer. I just need to breath a little bit while nuking so I don't make dumb mistakes.

Tuesday, July 28

Balancing Morale and Fun

Not sure if other guilds have to deal with this sort of thing, but Ulduar, strangely, has been a chore in keeping folks happy.

Naxx was a little bit easier in this regard. The only way to get to KT was to clear the whole damned place. Sure, we could mix it up by starting in different wings but eventually the place had to be cleared. Further mixing up could be done by chosing to start the night with OS or Malygos instead of Naxx or any combination of the three. Despite how tedious that got, I look back on this and realize it had some merit.

Ulduar has optional bosses. This is not unlike some other instances seen before (Kara was a good example of this) but it seems a little harder to deal with in Ulduar. This is because some BiS items are off those optional bosses in either hard mode or regular mode. Throw in different raid compositions from week to week ( or even day to day) and things get a little muddled.

For a while there, every week I had some folks ask me why we were spending time on optional things when we could spend our time on bosses we haven't cleared yet. Other people asked me why we were skipping these easier optional bosses when their upgrades were on them. Sometimes I had the people ask me the same questions within the same raiding week which made my head spin. Seriously? You ask me why we aren't doing the "gear up" bosses then ask me why we aren't working on harder stuff? Shoot me now, please.

Then factor in the definition of "progression". Is progression downing the hard modes or clearing the whole zone? Is progression gearing up every member of the raid with BiS or making sure they all have t8? Ask 5 raiders and I think you might get 5 different answers or all of the above at the same time.

This makes it very challenging when deciding how to plan our raid nights. We go in with a general idea of what we would like to see accomplished but we also have to be flexible. Last minute back outs or sign ups throws things off a little. Some nights we have too many healers sign up and some nights we lose our MT. Other nights has our core dps lacking so we give our new recruits a shot.

New Raiders
We got really lucky and had some new raiders join our guild. I always cringe on those nights they join us not becuase of their performance but ours. I am always concerned about making a good impression and showing how we really roll. Catch us on a night where things just don't click and I start to sweat a little. I am learning to get over that but it's still a concern for me.

What has been slowing us down a tad lately is having to explain the fights to these new guys. Yes, it's needed, but tends to make people fall asleep. During these explanations folks seem to want to take this time to ask random crap over vent that could be said in tells (and by folks I mean officers who should know better). Just because you understand what's going on, doesn't mean that random interjections aren't screwing up the new folks from absorbing the information they are trying to get.

But I have to admit, our new guys are awesome. The strats are watered down or filled with holes (Oh yea, did we forget to mention how Phase 3 of Thorim worked? Sorry you died to lightning), but they plug along and do their best. Low maintenance recruits ftw.

Again, everyone has their own definition of fun. Most folks agree that banging our heads against the wall on bosses tends to suck the fun out of a raid night. I personally like wiping in catastrophic ways. I don't know how many times I have laughed my ass off after dying to random ability no. 104 because either it was unexpected or just play from my own stupidity. Granted, I am not so fond this when it happens more than once or other die to it after I just said "Don't be dumb like me."

But Fun and Progression tends to cross into the same territory which brings me back to the same evil cycle. Keeping raiders happy is always a careful thing to handle and sadly it doesn't always work or happen the way it was intended to go.

Next week we plan to cull some of the crap and go for serious work on the General. We have a large chunk of our raiders going on an annual trip which puts a little pressure on us to get some work done. Maybe folks will have fun. Who knows?

Saturday, July 25

Summer Time

As things heat up outside (it is supposed to hit 100 in the PNW) sitting at the game feels less exciting.

Almost every weekend this month, I have been making road trips up and down I-5 to visit family and friends for all sorts of reason. This weekend, I visit my neiec for her 8th birthday. Two weeks ago, I visited friends from Georgia.

I am not too much of an outdoor person but I do enjoy the relaxation my summer vacation brings. Catching up with family and friends, catching up on T.V. I missed during school, catching up on sleep (zzzzz) all factor in on what I do with my days.

One slight side affect of all this non gaming time: little things about WoW are starting to get to me.

I feel a little blasphemous discussing my disenchantment of World of Warcraft. I blog about a game that in some aspects I am pasionate about. I love my role as a druid healer, I like the social aspects of raiding and the thrill of downing mobs alongside people I work hard with each week.

But little by little, changes into WoW have started to get under my skin. I don't want to spend a lot of time going over what bothers me about the game. Usually that kind of thing leads to comments like "Just quit if you don't like it" or "No one is forcing you to play this game." and I agree with those comments. But then again, ranting is a cathartic form of expression and I often use that for many other things this game has, namely raiding and dealing with Blizzard's changes.

I am nervous about the fine balance WoW has to walk between PvP and PvE. The latest Q&A over shapechanging and the overbalance of the resto druid is partly driven by PvP issues, but also because of developer vanity.

I worry that each patch is in effort to keep balancing classes while also homogenizing classes so everyone can have a chance to play equally.

I also worry that in effort to keep 10 million players happy, WoW is bitting off more than it can chew in doing so.

Do I want to quit? I recognize the social aspects of being in an MMO. I don't want to lose that or jeopardize it. A break? Perhaps, but a break for me usually doesn't last a week but actually longer.

I am choosing a compromise. My boyfriend has been doing this strategy for about year now and it seems to work well. My compromise is to spend time on another game for a change of pace. Casually playing something else can offer a fresh perspective on the game I have playing for four years.

So what game do I have my eye on? Aion. It has it's gimmicks and it has potential problems and potential success. But at first blush it is refreshing and is doing what several games in the past couple of years hasn't managed to pull off: launch with a polished and ready to play game.

I am in a funk that happens from time to time. Regardless of how I feel about 3.2 it will be a short term shot of interest I need to keep me going. And in two months, school will start up again and I will have less time to anything, no matter game I play.

Something to do with the Achievement Points

I've thought for a while now that a neat thing to do with all those Achivement points would be to spend it on player housing.

Consider that player housing is the only thing WoW has not implemented that other games have.

I really enjoyed how DOAC did their player housing. Aside from guild halls, but player houses were customizable and could hold things like trophies from kills.

Granted, there would have to be a special zone for all this in a WoW setting, and maybe it doesn't go with the lore all so much.

But, imagine your titles, raid achievements like killing Ony, or pvp accomplishments. Others could see what you have done in a more physical way than looking up a list on the armory.

An argument could be made that it would be a time sink, but achievements already are time sinks. PvP in WoW in a sense is a time sink.

However, people like to show off what they have done and others like to see what their friends and competetors have accomplished.

Now, I don't think points should be spent in order to buy things like housing, but all the housing things (special hearths, ports, banks, trophies) could be unlocked as you gain more points, no matter how you gain them.

Embrace the time sinks and let us show off what we have done in the game with pride.

Friday, July 17

Friday Musings

I wanted to post about my rants on shapeshifting and the comments from GC. Then I wanted to post on my rants regarding raiding and the current outlook. Every time I wanted to go off on tirade, I started to feel like everyone else who is also griping.

I still may rant. I have a lot of things on my mind, but I haven't managed to put them into words and sentences that make sense, yet.

Instead, I will mention that I reglyphed for Glyph of Rejuvenation.

I have been staunchly opposed of this Glyph. Compared to some other healing Glyphs, it falls below optimal. But I am learning to be more open minded and try to new things lately.

However, I decided to give a try for our hard mode 10 man run, and I have to say it got some good mileage. For Heartbreaker, it was 2.3 percent of my healing-- with two other healers no less-- and 2.7 percent of my healing on our Hodir speed run.

Sadly, it starts to drop off during 25 man raids, accounting for barely 1 percent of my healing. A little more during Thorim.

I don't have 4pc T8, and I may or may not see 4pc T9 down the road where it might come in handy. I will say that as a raid healer, with between 40 and 60 percent of my healing comes from Rejuvenation, I don't quite feel the glyph is wasted. I just think it needs a little more love.

A chance to tick an extra 1k healing boost isn't game breaking nor all that lifesaving. However, it is a passive boost that I don't have to worry about attached to a spell I will be casting already.

Like many druids, we like passive things. We have enough stuff going on that having to do extra is just time (and GBD) consuming, so I kind of think of this glyph like a trinket. Not spectactualar for output, but in a small way helpful.

Do I keep it? Maybe. I might have a friend scribe a few Nourish and Rejuv glyphs for those times when I want to switch back and forth. Or I might get perpetually lazy and just keep it. All depends on if I keep my raid healing role or not.

What I would like to see changed... increase Crit chance on Rejuv, in light of the possible T9 bonus and the new idol. It could be small, like 5 percent. That would never happen, but I like to dream.

Wednesday, July 15

Grid and Debuffs

As I am sure you know, there is a lot of crap being thrown around in Ulduar. After some discussion several weeks back, a priest and I thought it would be helpful to see who is taking what damage and when.

Sadly, we were slow to realize that GridStatusDebuffs was an actual mod. However, we found that it added too many things that we didn't want to keep track of.

Instead, we have manually added the debuffs we wanted to track.

List of Debuffs from

Not all of them we use, still. Some like Biting Cold would like up Grid like a Christmas tree, though there is some usefulness to be had when you see someone with it for long periods of time.

To set it up, either go in the interface menu or click on the Grid mini map icon. You should see it look like this:

Just left click on the Auras section and this window should appear on the right:

In the debuffs section, just type in the debuff you want to monitor and hit enter.

Grid is customizable as far as how you want to track buffs and debuffs. I already use the corner boxes for my hots and the borders for poisons and curses, so I decided to use the Center Icon for the Boss debuffs.

For that, you will need to go under Grid configuration again, Frames and Center Icon (or whatever you choose to monitor it from). All the debuffs you wish to track just need to be check marked like this:

By using Center Icon, a small graphic of the debuff will display in the center of the Grid box of the player.

There is a little lag time between when the spell is cast and when the icon comes up. However, it does reduce the amount of time it takes for the healer to find the target in the grid, which ends up saving raiders.

Still working through which in the Plusheal list counts as "buffs" and which are "debuffs" so I still have some tweaking to do.

Happy Raiding!

Whew, so busy!

I know, I know, no one wants to hear what bosses I've downed or anything like that. But seriously, the last couple days of raiding have been insane and wonderful. 5 raiding firsts all back to back. Gotta love that!

Mimiron and Thorim have been our roadblocks the last couple weeks. I wrote earlier about the near meltdown Thorim gave us, and since then we set him aside to focus more on Mim.

Mimiron: our plan was to divide the raid into thirds for phase 1. I was in charge of the right side (as you are facing the big red button). It's a simple plan really. Couple hots on the napalmed folks and move to the MT when the plasma blast hits. Sometimes, if the timing was fine, I would Nourish the napalmed target a couple times to top them off, but Mim generally liked to Napalm right before the plasma blast, so there really isn't a lot of time to switch targets. Our tank is beefy (45k hit points and he isn't even a bear) but lose your concentration and he could go down like a rock quickly.

Phase 2 each side had an group healer and during the machine gun-like attacks, the sides clumped up and we let the healers do their thing.

During phase 3 and 4 myself and a priest were in charge of the range tank, while also tossing aoe heals on various groups of folks to keep them up. All that went smoothly, though things got a little nerve wracking when almost all the melee bit it in phase 4.

We all must have been in a zone because when the fight was over, several of us were like "Wow, did we win?" We were pushing it on getting all three sections down at the same time, so close that we thought we missed it.

Needless to say, on the heals of our Mimiron kill we moved to Thorim and smoked him, too. First time on either and we did them back to back. Whew!

Thorim is rough, I don't care who you are. We came in after a couple week break on him, which also meant upgrades and it nice to finally smoke him. We honestly didn't think we would get that far so quickly and the raid leaders forgot to mention a couple things to the raid: Chain lightning hurts so don't blow up your friends and move away from the little lightning... um... railroad tracks. I called them skittles over vent, which I don't think helped folks move out of the way very well.
They kinda look like skittles

I will also say this... Talenn kicked ASS on Thorim. I don't normally call people out by name, but I was really impressed with how far our fearless leader has come when it involves raid healing (normally he tank heals). Just an amazing job in the arena. So much so, that I had to check the stat reports to just see what he was doing that I was not doing. (Note: more WG and Rejuvs) Great Job!

Next up... our Tuesday 10 man hard mode run. Our little group has been slowly working our way through the towers for FL and some other progression type stuff for a while now, and this week we resolved to hunker down and actually get some good hard modes done.

I wish I had some words of wisdom for healing through Heartbreaker. I spent a good portion of it pacing back and forth between the same 20 yard area in order keep hots on everyone. Rejuv, Lifebloom and Wildgrowth were my friends while the two paladins kept the tank up. Yes, we ran it with three healers and I will admit I cussed a lot as folks were running away- for good reasons- out of my range.

Hodir- we have gotten close on him before (like, 30 secs off the speed timer mark) and last night we tried it once again. I was slated to dps for the fight, but asking two paladins to duo heal it was a little much so we asked one of them to switch to his hunter and I moved back to healing.

Nothing new from my end, rejuv, lifeblooms on everyone. After five or so tries, things weren't looking any better and it was getting late. We called for a Last Try, no holds barred and kill him regardless of the timer.

Then... BAM... without even paying attention to it, we downed him! The cache had a beautifulIcecore Staff, and I was holding my breath while the SP and the Elem Shaman sat on the roll window deciding on taking it or not. Silly dps... sexy staves are for druids :)

(Ed: skittles photo from Flickr by Special

Sunday, July 12

Things that make me sad...

Pugs who don't move from Flame Wave. Still.

Druids who still spam Healing Touch then wonder why my Disc Priest out heals them.

Mages who's tables have come and gone before any buffing has started.

Skinners who insist that each worm in Hodir's tunnel is precious and reminds us over vent to loot them. Every time.

Those who ask "where do we go?" after we said what the next boss is only to then ask "which teleport is it?"

People who move out during light bombs or gravity bombs when they didn't need to but now are out of range for heals.

Finding out that I didn't have to spend points on my off spec Idol, when it will be on the vendor in 3.2.

Getting all excited that my alt hit 75, only to forget that Cold Weather Flying is at 77.

People who like to blow up others with the bomb bots before Mimiron.

People who would rather go without consumables for a boss fight even though the guild bank provides them.

Saturday, July 11

Forums make my head hurt

While trolling through the forums this morning (WTB less unscheduled downtimes for my server, kthx), I ran across a debate on the importance of haste for 3.2.

I was curious about the thread though it seemed to derail from haste to Revitalize and its value on a raid. I must admit, I didn't think it was all that good, since the tooltip is misleading. But, I spec'd for it anyway after my DK friend suggested it.

It seems to be a good move. We run a rather melee heavy raid set up, with upwards of three DKs and three rogues/kitty druids. For our frost DK, Replenish gave almost 300 runic power, and for the yellow bar crowd it gave usually over 150 Energy. This pales in comparison to their innate abilities, but since they were getting HoTs anyway, it is free dps for them and no strain on me. A win-win scenario.

Not everyone will have the same results. It still pales next to Replenishment for mana gains, but that is nothing new. But to totally dismiss Revitalize altogether I think is an easy mistake. I know I was reluctant at first but I haven't regretted my choice to pick up since. I see it as added utility. If we were a caster heavy group, I could see the mana gains laughable at best, but with all the melee we bring, anything to boost their dps is a win in my book.

Say What?
What confused me in the thread was this comment (not posting the commentor's name):

...more haste will help you cast regrowth faster, which you will more than likely use more than nourish anyway

Huh? Since they glyphed Nourish, I rarely use Regrowth anymore. Now I am really wondering if I am missing something. There are some fights I use it for (Mimiron, Thorim) but I use it as I think it was originally intended to be- a long slow HoT. For me, its a preloaded hot when I know folks are going to be taking damage at some point, just not immediately. It is not my emergency heal. It is not my primary Tank heal. In Naxx and in my early heroic days Regrowth was my go to spell, but with my role as raid healing, I find other tools to use. My targets usually have a HoT on them (Rejuv or Wild Growth) and if I need to burst heal them, I use Nourish.

Ill drop my 1 point in imp barkskin and drop a point from natural perfection

I didn't think Imp Barkskin was that good, but I haven't done a lot of hard modes (just 10 man versions). I still see it as more of a pvp talent for where I am at in progression.

It depends on raid healing vs tank healing

To me, this is what makes the druid great right now. We have the chance to fill a couple different roles and perform them rather well. We are still jack of all trades in some areas, but to be able to make choices about the direction we want to take as healers puts us above the rest. I agree with some sentiments made that 3.2 will further streamline these directions.

Since I don't foresee my role changing in the future (especially with one of our shaman quitting the game), I will leave the tank healing to the Priest and Paladins. When we do 10 mans, my spec is flexible enough to get the job done, but MT healing will not be my primary job.

I do feel that Empowered Touch coupled with Tranquil Spirit and a handful of other talents will cause some tough choices to be made with tank healers, and Revitalize seems the best way to cut points in order to make the most of that role.

Wednesday, July 8

Is it time to clean my bank?

Hi, I'm Kir and I have an addiction.

I open my bank every day and stare at the bags full of stuff. Often, I have no clue if it's worth keeping. "Oh it has agility! Oh it has crit!" It's leather and kinda feral looking but I have no idea if I should wear it. I keep picking up more gear and dumping into the bank.

I don't have a clue because I stopped being feral about a year ago but I can't let go. My second spec is Boomkin. I carry it in my inventory. But I can't seem to shake this feeling like I would need my subpar feral set at any moment. Problem is I haven't looked into feral in ages. The new Lich King feral druid baffles me. No defense? Is straight AP better than going for stats?

I marvel at the prospect of so much space if only I got rid of the feral gear. I know it blows. Some pieces are good but frankly they came from instances. It's not like I can't just get them back again. The rest are hold overs from BC.

We don't need ferals, hell we don't need melee dps period. When I switch to boomkin on some fights, folks cheer at my crit and spell damage modifiers.

So, with a heavy heart, I went through most of my gear and sold it to the vendor. I kept the various pvp gear I picked up from VoA and some cherished items. Badge of Tenacity, oh you beautiful thing :)

Some of the stuff I did keep had some memories attached to them. That Badge? I got it for 40 gold off a guildy before he was booted from the guild. He was a dick. I enjoyed getting for discount. It took me through some rough times in BC as well.

I kept my Pocket Watch. Weeks and weeks in Kara tanking my ass off to finally get that. Along the way I bonded with some new and old friends back then who are with me in my current guild today.

Berserker's Call Again, a reminder of the hard work our little group put in to finally clear ZA.


Kitty pew pew and Bear RAWWWR... I will miss you.

The 200g will be put into a donation in your name. The Upgraded Kirin Tor Ring Instead of Feral Gear Foundation.

(Maybe in a few months I will tackle my trinket problem)

Glyph of Innervate 3.2

Glyph of Innervate - Innervate now grants the caster 45% of his or her base mana pool over 10 sec in addition to the normal effects of Innervate.

Is this a boost or a nerf? I did some math this morning, but didn't get all the factors right... (note to self: no math before 8 am)

As it stands right now, it seems to give roughly over 2500 mana to the druid if they cast it on some one else. I know that seems low, but I checked the logs of my comrade in branches over three fights (two Mimiron and one Iron Council). Hardly empirical but since I don't have the glyph it's the best I could come up with.

Does this mean that the return will be like 1500 over 10 secs? If so, ewwww.

In unrelated news... OMG Peggle Warcraft edition!!

Download it. You know you want to. I wish I could upgrade my Deluxe Edition to a Warcraft Expansion :)

Monday, July 6

Where do you stand?

We all know we have certain places we need to stand during boss fights, but what about during trash?

See, a lot of trash either throws out cone and aoe effects which tend to rip through the raid has they crowd around each other.

But what if there are other places to stand?

Maybe its the trash tedium getting to me, but I tried to find different places to stand. Of course, it doesn't always work out well for me. I get teased every raid for being in front of the trash leading to IC. "There's a warm spot up near me," says the MT. Yes, I took some fire damage and died rather quickly.

The goal of my placement hunting is to just be away from everyone else. I don't like clumping in a group while folks are frozen in place yet zapping the heck out of us. Or, eating hurricanes. I'd rather give them than receive them.

Of course, sometimes its helpful to be close to others, especially when the raid damage is unavoidable. At that time, you want to clump with others for the aoe heals. But when the damage can be avoided, why put yourself in harms way?

Take Ignis for example.

I am the tree in the foreground. The picture is small, but notice how the bulk of the ranged are in a nice little group in the center with just me and a hunter away from the group. If I am the target of those tornadoes, it will make a straight line to me, but won't hit everyone else. I will just shapeshift to travel form, run straight up the ramp and no one is pwnd. If you choose to stay in that little group over there, make sure you run in a straight line behind you so that folks can scatter away to the sides. Otherwise, its just going to be a lot of bouncy bouncy.

Being away from others is easier as a healer. As long as you are close to the tanks and the bulk of the other raiders, you don't need to be right up in them.

Again, off to the side.

Here, I made use of a water walking potion. I stand on the pool, away from everyone else. If I do end up taking damage, thus falling in the water, I just stay in there. Being in the water a little won't stop my heals. If I get concerned about a hurricane, I move up to the land, but still away from the bulk of the fighting. By the way, being on the pool also works well when I have to CC the drake on this particular trash because I can pull him away from the DKs and Pally aoes.

Just about any trash has places I can stand that aren't in the line of fire. Hodir's trash is rough because of the narrow hallway. Mimiron's trash has me sometimes hugging a wall.

Also, I make sure I have a good camera distance and angle. Mine is constantly set beyond the standard maximum out of habit, which ends up being helpful when trying to see where I am standing in relation to all the bad stuff. I tend to angle it 3/4 style or even directly top down.

So, where do you like to stand during trash pulls?

Sunday, July 5

Flex for me baby!

So, I totally was going to make a resto post today, considering lately my posts have been anything BUT resto stuff.

Then, this afternoon, my boyfriend got a new pet on his alt:

And now, I am truly a gamer girlfriend because I got so excited for him, I made him take a photo-op :)

Grats Dhoom!

Saturday, July 4

Humor in WoW

While trolling Blog Azeroth for blog stuff, I ran across the latest Shared Topic idea. My take:

Does it work to add pop culture and outside-the-game references in a video game? I think so, but it depends on how it is done.

Take Tabula Rasa for instance. This futuristic, sci-fi MMO interjected a fair bit of product placement in the form of Dell computers at all the terminals. Seriously? Our planet was wiped out by space critters and machines but Dell remained as our tech source? This ruined a little of the game for me; this small non-lore reference didn't really need to be done.

WoW is steeped in pop culture, and in many cases its fantastic. I totally got giddy when I saw the hatch reference from Lost in Shalozar Basin (crap, does this explain why we couldn't visit Northrend 'till now?) or Linken's quest line in U-Crater (that boomerang stayed in my bags for as long as I could).

Things get a little weird when you see them in boss fights, though I think what makes the Mimiron fight so much fun is his emotes:
"Gaze upon its magnificence! Bask in its glorious, um, glory! I present you... V-07-TR-0N!"

Not only does that fight toss in some fun and levity, but also a Voltron reference, which my 6 year old self can't resist. Of course, I tend to stop listening to them as my grid lights up with Napalm and Plasma Blast icons. At least I know when someone has died early!

Spending a lot of time working out strats and wiping on bosses gets old, so for me, some interjection of fun into a raid helps lessen the pain a bit. Sometimes, these references are an icebreaker on a raid. More than once, we have had raiders say "I do not think it means what you think it means." or, "Kill the one in the dress!" which gets folks laughing and breaks the tension.

In fact, the game is full of what is referred to as Easter Eggs (click to see 12 pages of 'em) which the designers have added numerous references to everything from classic literature to movie characters and the list keeps growing. I like the subtle references (read: anything in Undercity) and sometimes the not so subtle ones (Chasing A-Me)

Am I in the game or not?

Unlike some other games, WoW never really went out of it's way to be immersive. The sense of wonder and awe kind of get lost when you are fighting mobs that hold a cartoonish quality.

WoW has strayed a bit from the original idea- putting yourself inside a real-time strategy game- to taking a little bit of our RL world inside our game world. It flows back and forth, as well.

The books Arthas: Rise of the Lich King and Day of the Dragon are rather popular. I poured over the compilation book which featured the story of how Kara was formed. It was kind of cool reading the back story based on the place I spent my nights online. Then again, I also enjoyed the Myst books as well. This flow between the game world and the so-called real world intensifies and enriches my game.

I will argue that while the fun and humor in the game is a nice change of pace from the Hack n Slash, some of it does go a bit overboard. He Feeds on Your Tears and I Love the Smell of Saronite in the Morning names are just silly. I do worry about the time and energy spent into coming up with achievement names.

Blizzard intends to keep the light-hearted humor coming, and I hope it doesn't degrade to cheese too much.

You can make s'mores on that thing

What would be a 4th of July without restos purposely setting themselves on fire? Now, which way is the fireworks display?

I hope everyone had a safe and fun holiday. I hope no one accidentally let some firecrackers whiz by their kid's heads or let your dad teach you how to set off bottle rockets in your hands. Sigh. Never mind, that was my childhood lol.

Friday, July 3

You'd think vacation means I'd get stuff done

I work just a few hours a week, and school is out, so much of my time is spent online now.

I should be doing my dailies. I mean, there are Champion Seals to get, two more baby crocs to find, and more JC tokens to stock up on.

What am I doing instead?

Making Circles.


Croc Circle, get it?

I am working on my rep. I just need a few more before I get the Exalted title so I have been working on Steamwheedle and ZG. Only, I get twitchy and can only do them for short periods before I move on to something else.

Don't inspect me
My brother found me in the bank the other day. He was baffled that I wasn't wearing two pieces of t8 gear.

Instead of ranting and raving, I just instead mentioned that our rng has been favoring the Paladin, Priest, Warlock crowd and my hat is about the same as the t8 so no need to get it. I am not a huge fan of pugs so I haven't been doing VoA (not to mention we make a guild run each week on 25 man).

I probably have no real excuse for not wearing it, but I have reach some Zen-like acceptance that I may or may not get all the pieces. Besides, Spark of Hope is all I am really after lately, especially since another healer has it /shake fist.

So, back to ZG I go and maybe I can snag some more idols and coins.

Such Frustration. Or, I'm a noob!

Nothing special here. Just been working on getting the comments enabled on my blog.

It has been a to-do thing for a while, but now that I am actually trying to work on it, the project has been pretty fruitless.

Enabled things on the Dashboard. Compared my code with a friend's. Tried some tips on Blogger Buster. Tried some tips on Blog Azeroth.

Nothing seemed to work.

Then, lo and behold!

I finally found the box that wasn't working properly. Sheesh. Only took a few hours of hunting, code tweaking, blah blah.

All I needed to do was enable some small little box in my template.

I can roll hots like there is no tomorrow, but figure out my blog? Newb.

(Thank you Keeva and Ashimbo for pointing out my glaring error which made me get off my arse and get it fixed)

Thursday, July 2

hardcore, casualcore, softcore, whatever.

It's not your fault.
Being casual is not killing WoW. Being hardcore is not either. Neither is being a pvper beast, habitual farmer, 5 man junkie, or alt fanatic. How you play the game has about the same impact on how Blizz designs and treats the game as much as the next guy.

See, the debate was posed on a more than a few blogs, notably Tree Bark Jacket and Jacemora between casuals and hardcore.

Being in a guild that's somewhat in between, I find it hard to choose a side (not between them, but in the debate as a whole). I have never really cared too much. I have only been in a top guild once and the schedule was too demanding. I have been in a "casual" guild and there wasn't enough action. Hence, my participation in a casual-core guild (my brother's term, not mine) where I can have that balance of both. If I need to step away for a few days because of classes, my guild will let me. If I want to raid every night of the week, someone in the guild has posted a raid or I can form my own.

However, what makes someone a casual, at least for our guild, is someone who would prefer to not raid at all or raids so occasionally it ends up being more headache and work for them to try to fit into our rotation. Taking this definition further, let's look at the state of the raider right now.

Because Blizzard has put in parallel progression, being in a 10 man guild is not long considered casual. Period. Done. 10 man guilds all over are busting out progression just like 25 man guilds. So, what makes them casual? The fact that they are happiest as a smaller guild? That they choose to not merge with another guild or leave for a larger guild entirely? Their gear ilevel is not the same as others--which I argue hard mode 10 man is higher ilevel that regular 25 man and the item levels and itemization are very similar in many cases--or they don't have legendaries?

1. Occurring by chance.
2. a. Occurring at irregular or infrequent intervals; occasional
b. Unpremeditated; offhand

This is not to say those who play casually don't care what they do inside the game. Raiding casually does not have to mean flippant or ambivalent raiding and playing.

I want it all!
I disagree that WoW should be accessible to everyone if the reason is entitlement. Just because I pay for the game does not mean I am entitled to everything for that reason. Blizzard has chosen, from the start, to make the game more user friendly that its predecessors and continues to stay competitive in the market because of this choice.

Reminds me of a learning curve chart a friend posted on our guild website last year.

Some games just prefer to have a sharper learning curve than others and that works for them. Other games like to have complicated combat systems, while others have tried other "hooks" to make their games stand out. All of these are choices and those who play the games can either accept or reject those choices. I am not sure I could say because I played a certain game I should expect to see everything the game had to offer. Maybe that's just how I look at things. But that goes back to my oldschool days. Sure, I may have beat the game, but did I get that damned Golden Chocobo? No. Did I try? Yes, but I didn't and does that mean the game was somehow less enjoyable because of it? Not for me and I am ok with that.

Not an island.
What we might want to look at is how we all fit into the larger picture. Putting on my sociologist hat, I can't help but to see our game as a large social system. I mean, I already feel that as gamers we are part of a subculture.

There are over 10 million subscribers all over the world who play this game. And through out this large game, subsections of the social structure play their parts. Blizzard is now not just a developer but also a government managing everything in order to keep where we play fun and enjoyable. They have chosen to pay a nod to each group of folks.

This also means managing a lot more in terms of game mechanics and game design. Holy Dueg! mentioned that WoW is special from other MMO's because it actually takes in a lot of feedback from it's player base. Again, this may be due to the accessibility of its forums and the money they is willing to spend on hiring people who look at forums all day. The fact remains, it does want to listen to the players. Downside to this is when one group gets more attention over another group, tempers flare and jealousy abounds.

"Well, its my 16 bucks a month! I am paying for this service!" I am sorry, but this has grown to be much bigger than you. Yes, Blizzard is providing a service, but each one of us represents a separate section of a population.

All of these changes: mounts, traveling, leveling, gear acquisition, raid access, are all things the designers are doing to enhance the way each player interacts with the game, and ultimately, each other. I am not saying I am on board with all the changes every time. Please believe, the mount change makes me sad as does the ease of which getting gear will be. But looking at it in a different light, I can at least understand why the changes get done.

(Small rant: Don't ever complain about traveling until you have played EVE Online. Seriously. Getting from Minmitar space to Gallante the "safe" way beats anything I have done in WoW.)

In short.
Whether or not you are here for the social aspects of the game, chances are what you do in here affects others around you, thus making you part of the social structure. What Blizzard does also affects not only the game play, but how we feel about as a collective group of people. While you may have the right to get all hot and bothered over something, how you deal with it ripples far wider than you might think.

Wednesday, July 1

I don't want a pony

So, I've always been one to keep a good stock of gems on hand. I never know if the mood will strike me to be generous to those who are looking for a gem badly or when I get a few heroics in for Icy Prisms. When I heard the announcement of epic gems, I cried for a new gem bag. When I saw the mats for said new epic gems, I stared at my lonely bag and wished for something more. I even made posts in the tradeskill forums and the suggestion forums. Yes, it's a QQ but it's difficult to see the other professions get new bags. Please, GC, no need to bring me a pony, but a shiny new bag would be awesome!

Ok, this is the last tradeskill-y comment I should be making for a while *crosses fingers*.

I lied. I should also mentioned a PLd an alchemist alt. After the depressing testing done on the PTR regarding prospecting, I decided to make myself a little more self-sufficient. With the cooldown on the transmute, I know many guildies will be badgering our alchemists like they did when the expansion first came out. With my boyfriend not an alchemist anymore, I felt it was time to take matters into my own hands.

Of course, things will settle down after the first few weeks and it won't be such a big deal but what's the point of an army of alts if they can't work like a dog for you?

(How many times can I type the word "bag" in a post? sigh)