September 22, 2016

So I pick a new "main" each expansion...haha

I feel like the title of this post is a setup for a joke.  I don't have a punchline, sorry.  Or, perhaps I am the punchline.

The thing is, I didn't plan to race to 110 with my new Demon Hunter first.  I was going to go full circle back to my shaman, or perhaps finally tank with my paladin like I'd always wanted to do.  I'd had so many ideas of what I wanted to do.

I didn't want to fall in love with another hero class.  I'd done that once already, and fell out of love just as quickly.  I wanted to raid, and I thought the only way I'd get a guaranteed spot at the time was to be a healer.  So, in Wrath, I healed instead of playing the Death Knight I'd so loved.  It's probably a good thing.  I wasn't a very good DK.  There were just some tricks I never got the hang of, and I lost track of class changes fairly quickly with that one.  Once Arthas was dead my fascination simply waned.

So, I had a feeling that the DH would be more of the same.  I'd love the tragic darkness of the backstory, but I'd move on fairly fast.

The problem is, I love the mechanics of playing my DH.  Kalalin, pictured above, is a Vengeance DH, the tanking spec for anyone who hasn't kept up.  When I tried tanking on my DK in Wrath I did a poor job of it.  I didn't want to keep track of what abilities would do what to help, and when to use them best, and blah blah blah.  I was impatient.  I wanted to smash stuff and never die.

(Come to think of it, that's something I love about my DH.  Oh, and my Paladin that I leveled prot.  Oh, and my shaman that I leveled resto.  Um...)

The DH class is really rather intuitive for me, though.  Leaping into the fray and face smashing things gives me an unholy glee, to be sure, but the mechanics are smooth and actually kinda pretty to look at.  I don't have macros and keybinds set up yet, but if I tank more I'll be doing that.  I've never really been willing to do that for any other class, because I was always afraid it wouldn't be enough reward to justify the time investment, especially trying to learn a new thing and keep it straight in my mind.  I think this would be worth the time investment, though, even if all I'm doing is instances and not raids.

The story, of course, is captivating.  If you haven't tried a DH yet, I recommend at least getting through the starting zone once.  Delete after that if you must, but give it a try if you're even at least a little bit interested in WoW lore.  I have a Night Elf DH I went with Altruis on, and being the RP nut that I am (even though I'm not on an RP server), I have a budding backstory that explains why she chose him.  I have a Blood Elf Havoc DH, too, and I chose Kayn there so I can compare and contrast the experience.  I expect it to be an interesting diversion when I have time to get to my Belf.

Also, I leveled my first DH as Vengeance all the way to 110, only going into an instance once.  It was a lot less painful than I expected, especially after the experience of leveling a Prot Paladin through BC.  The leveling experience in this expansion has greatly improved over previous ones, for sure!

I've got three alts on deck to be my next 110.  I plan on talking about the leveling experience with each class as I go, so I suppose I'd better decide on one soon.

Nobody said having Altitis was easy...

September 16, 2016

A Damn Good Story.

None of these characters exist anymore.  They were all characters I didn't stick with, for one reason or another.  Mostly it was visual appeal, though sometimes it was just that I didn't know what I liked yet.  It wasn't until a couple weeks later, when BC had launched, that I found a character that resonated with me.  Shavra, a Draenei shaman with white pigtails and a cute face.  I'd made a Tauren shaman on Perenolde before that that was *almost* what I was looking for, but Shavra had that visual appeal and is still one of my favorite characters.

Why am I telling you this?

When I started playing (this screen shot was taken 1/15/07, when I first learned that I *could*), I didn't follow the story.  There were dragons, and naked gnome races, and I wanted to slay dragons and run across a continent woefully underleveled and undergeared through peril as part of a great group of people doing the same thing.  I eventually did those things, but along the way I started reading the quests, then the books, then the *BOOKS*, and finally I devoured every scrap of lore I could find.

My copy of the book in question
I started raiding like I'd wanted, walking into the gatehouse of Karazhan without knowing a thing about who Midivh was, or why he was cheating at chess, or what the hell had Aran's ghost so upset.  It wasn't even on farm anymore when I finally got curious about what my new guild mates were talking about and read "The Last Guardian".  It was part of this huge omnibus of stories, and I really liked them all despite what I thought I'd think.  And, tucked away in the back, was "Of Blood and Honor".

Paladins?  Ugh.  I hated paladins.  And what the hell?  It's written by some guy they named a reindeer after?  Who is this Chris Metzen person, and why did they let him write a story with these other authors I've actually heard of before?

But I read it.  And then I went back to Eastern Plaguelands on my alt so I could do Tirion Fordring's quests and know what I was doing and who I was helping, because I was so moved.  It wasn't the smoothest narrative in the book, but it was one of the better stories, I thought.  I wanted to know more, and I started loving these characters, the more I read.

The first time I saw a Blizzcon, I smiled to myself.  Ah, so this was that Chris Metzen person, the kidnapped reindeer, the puppetmaster behind Warcraft.  Hm.  I thought he was a little too California for my tastes, but other than that he seemed cool.  But, with each Blizzcon I streamed after, I gained a huge respect for him and his enthusiasm.  I became a huge fan of his stories.  I wanted to know more and more.  And I was nearly moved to tears by his "Geek is!" speech in 2010.  I'll NEVER forget it.  I felt like this was someone who understood me.  This was a member of my tribe.


I've been wanting to brush off this blog and start anew since I started playing the build up quests leading to Legion.  The problem has been that I've been too busy PLAYING in my spare time to sit down and write.  I've loved every minute of it.  Every damn moment.

But Varian's death, and Thrall...my old shaman, Shavra, taking up the Doomhammer sent a chill down my spine.  What the hell?  And my paladin, Jerasha, now has the Ashbringer, and while I was thrilled I was also concerned.

Metzen announcing his retirement a few days ago finally set the gears turning.  I had a dream that night that I won a chance to meet him and pick his brain for an hour, and say thanks for all the good stories.  Sure, this blog has just as much a chance of reaching him to express my thanks as that dream did, but I knew when I woke up that it was time to get my words of appreciation out there.

I'm shocked, but I'm not surprised.  He was already saying goodbye with the stories he was writing.  I mean...yeah, I want more.  This is a guy I'd love to have the chance to play D&D with or talk books with, or just hang out with for an hour.  But I already got that with all the video games he's been behind the stories for.  He doesn't need to hear my voice, because he's heard the voice of our tribe.  All of us.  And we're all thanking him for the stories he's given us.

It's going to be a very different world.  I'm looking at my virtual ticket for this year's Blizzcon with a bit of trepidation...what will Blizzcon be without Metzen?  It's going to be weird to find out.  But he's got a family to enjoy, and as a mom who stayed at home for ten years to be with my own kid, I get it.  I can't begrudge him this chance.  And Legion is a hell of a note to step down with.  Damn...

October 2, 2014

Slow Fade


Okay, it's not a picturesque sunset.  It almost seems to fade to black, but we all know that's not what's going on here.

So it's a pet battle!  Yes, I'm playing PokeWoW.  Shut up!  That's not ALL I've been doing the last few years.

Is it?

It might as well be.

Somewhere along the line life got in the way of blogging.

Don't get me wrong!  I didn't stop playing WoW!  A girl must have her priorities.

The problem came when I stopped doing anything interesting.

So, everyone lost interest in this blog.

Okay, okay, I lost interest in this blog.

It happened somewhere about the time I got engaged to a non-WoW-player.  Guys, men, a lot of you know what I'm talking about.  You love this game, and then you find The One and this mythical creature of absolute perfection who actually gives you sex...is just not interested in the game you enjoy most.  Woe.  But, you know, the sex kinda trumps the game.

I never thought I'd be one of those players, of course.  I'm a girl!  I'm the one with the power!  Right?  Uh, no.  Equality works both ways, I'm happy to say.

I thought I'd give it time.  Getting engaged and planning a wedding out of state is a HUGE time sink.  It's like...winter saber grinding, the old fashioned way.  You know, before they turned it into a few dailies that take a week or so if you're lazy.

So, after the wedding I figured I'd have time to get back to raiding at least occasionally.

It was not meant to be.

Just a couple of months after the wedding my father-in-law got sick.  He walked away from it with a weird and lingering case of laryngitis that just wouldn't go away.  A few doctor visits later and they came back with a paralyzed vocal cord that probably wouldn't be too hard to fix, but they had to do a few other things first.  Even the prostate cancer they said could have killed him in the next ten years was a low, low, low priority.  He pretty much had cancer of the...everything.  Possible skin cancer, but they never actually got that far.  Esophagus, stomach...I'd go on, but I can't even remember.  It was a tumor in his liver that finally killed him the day after my first wedding anniversary.

I did my job.  When I had time off while my husband was still at work, I played WoW or Diablo 3.  I played a lot.  The novel I'd been poking at for years?  No.  I couldn't concentrate for that long.  Rep grinding, pet battles, leveling, questing...that's about all I had in me.  There were plenty of short and sweet Facebook posts here and there, but anything longer than a paragraph was beyond my powers of concentration for a very long time.

End result: Shavra, draenei shaman, level 90; Ceraan, night elf druid, level 90; Tsarat, night elf mage, level 90;  Jerasha, human paladin, level 90; Hiiro, pandaran warrior, level 90; Shaelek, pandaran monk, level 90; Ebraere, night elf priest, level 90; Yosaphbridge, human rogue, level 90; Weeinsanity, gnome death knight, level 90; Aislen, draenei hunter, level 90; Ahrianna, worgen warlock, level 90; Romanaii, blood elf hunter, level 90; Bivran, undead priest, level 90.  Hell, I won't even count Aranisera, Joulaim, Oddbit, Frale, or any of my other low level alts.  I'm not even looking at any server other than Moonrunner.

That's 13 level 90s, and not a real preference for any one of them.

My altitis had grown worse.

And after we'd grieved, after we'd started to feel like life might even out and give us some sense of balance or peace, my husband lost his job.  He found a new one that cut his pay by a few dollars.  And then it was announced that my hours would have to be cut down to 30/week.  And...I decided to stop.

I can't play WoW like this.

I just can't.

I don't think this is the end, but it's coming after a long and painful fade to black.

The second draft of my novel is done, and I'm going to try to do more with the drive I had put into this game.

I don't know if this is goodbye.  If it is, it can't be unexpected considering how long it's been since I posted a thing.

It was great fun while it lasted.  I met some wonderful people.  The game time on my primary account has already lapsed, and my second account will follow soon.  I might indulge in a one month for my birthday/WoW's 10th anniversary, but I might not be able to afford it.  (How sad is that?)

Safe travels, friend.  Time is money.  Keep your feet on the ground.

July 27, 2010

Days of Yore

Once upon a time, there was guild that did 25-man content in BC. They were an okay guild, but they'd been founded upon ideals of friendship and loyalty. There simply weren't enough raiders on the server who upheld those ideals, or if there were they were already loyal to other guilds. Recruitment brought in more and more people who saw a chance to raid in TK and SSC, but who didn't particularly care about the core values that had formed the guild in the first place. These newcomers, by and large, came and accepted their loot and then they moved on.

A few of these new raiders stuck around. Some of them learned from their new companions, and formed loyal bonds of their own. It wasn't enough to fill a 25-man raid when Wrath came out, but by and large the guild was content with that, and the guild leader said, "I don't care about loot. I care about content. We don't need the headache of larger raids."

The guild leader had a loyal cadre of friends that he filled his 10-man raids with, and this left a lot of the newer people to envy. Some of them left the guild in a blazing fit of guild drama. Others sought pugs and thought that this would be their lot in life. A few weeks after the first group was formed, however, a new raid group was formed from the leftovers and alts.

There were difficulties. People couldn't be sure they'd be able to show up. Some people were more serious about attendance than others. Some people just had different obligations pop up, and couldn't always make it. Wrath had just come out, and some people just couldn't find the time to level up to 80 as fast as the others.

The "leftovers" group started with a DK and a warrior tanking. There was a warlock in the raid who more often than not brought his shaman to heal because it was so hard to find healers. There was a paladin healing by his side, and his real life friend who played a rogue. There was a boomkin reroll who wanted to bring her DK to dps, but ended up respeccing to tree because there was always a shortage of healers and she REALLY wanted to raid and never have to sit out and feel like a sidelined reject again. Nobody likes to feel left out, after all. And there were more dps who came in and out, but the group had fun no matter who was doing what. There was a bit of drama and frustration because people couldn't always play the roles they wanted, but for the most part it was fun.

People came and went. Our tanks didn't want to have to always be the tanks, so new tanks were brought in at times. By the time Ulduar came out we'd pretty much settled on two paladin tanks. The warlock and the boomkin/dk became the shaman and the tree healers with a parade of other healers until a priest finally stuck around. The dk tank became a mage, the warrior tank became a hunter, and slowly the other dps positions filled with people who could show up regularly.

Finally the core had formed, and the group solidified until it surpassed the guild leader's group. And, having met that unspoken imaginary goal, and having beat the final boss in the game, their competitive spirits had nothing to unify them any longer. The many and various dps replacements had taken a toll on this group, and changed the personality of the group, and finally turned the group against each other. They did not know it, but that day a great darkness came.

The darkness is growing. It's feeding. And it's here.

Cataclysm can't come soon enough.

May 19, 2010

A Night to Celebrate



In the midst of a much needed week off from school, this finally happened.

I can't even begin to say how excited that made me. Tears came to my eyes at about 20%. So close, but two of our dps were down. 15% and another dps died. We had used both our battle rezzes earlier in phase three. It was so close. There was panic in the air, and over vent someone called out, "We just need to get that last three percent." What? We were at 13% already?

12%

11% and I knew we were going to make it.

10% and the rest of us died in a single careless blast from Arthas.

It was epic.

This fight took all we had and then some. We 0nly raid two nights a week, as I've mentioned before. A total of eight hours a week, not counting afk's and people trickling on as much as half an hour late. We're a casual raiding guild, after all. Just 10-mans, and we don't min-max or anything. Okay, we do take it pretty seriously in that we don't want to let each other down, but one of our highest dps doesn't even flask on a regular basis (you know who you are).

For a few weeks now our MO has been to clear ICC on Tuesday and spend all Wednesday on Lich King. The first couple of weeks we hit our heads against the brick wall of phase one over and over. The disease is tricky to manage and took a while to master. Aggro is touchy in phase one, too. A couple of our wipes those first few weeks happened from over-eager dps grabbing aggro at the wrong time. Mostly though? The fault was in us healers who just couldn't keep up.

Our priest went from disc to holy, and that made a HUGE difference. We've seen a lot of guides that encourage disc priests to bubble everyone before infest, but that was time consuming and didn't work well since only two of our healers can cleanse the disease. We had a few bumps on the transition phase, and then phase two kicked our collective asses.

Phase two you have infest, defile, and a val'kyr carrying a random raid member off the edge.

Phase three you trade the val'kyr for being drawn inside Frostmourne...and lemme tell you, that was fun. My first time in there I wiped us because I was trying to remember what a strat video had said about going in there as a tree. Something about interrupting something-or-other. Forget that. Just heal. Trust me, unless you're undergeared that's safer. And if you're undergeared you probably would have died in the process anyway.

The fight is badass. There are a million and one things going on at once, and anything can go wrong. It's about the most fun I've had playing WoW since my first trip into Kara. I'm a little sad that it's behind us now...it makes me want to go back to Ulduar and defeat Algalon. Pretty sure we could, and I want one more shiny title to add to all the rest.

March 29, 2010

State of the Me

I'll get back to this. I swear.

Going to school. Have a job. Losing ground on the whole "being able to raid" thing, though. Work schedule conflicts. I'll be able to raid the next two weeks, but I'll have another dry spell a while after that unless the raiding schedule changes.

Sindragosa is kicking our ass in phase three, and I've only had one night of attempts on her ass. This makes me SAD! But I hope I'll see her at my feet (roots) this week. They deserve that much, and I want to help them get there. I never disconnect in the middle of a long night of attempts because I'm bored. I might get cranky. I might get pissy as all hell. But I don't EVER give up.

In real life.

In WoW.

Don't EVER give up.

February 3, 2010

Well it's fun for me!


Good news, everyone! The slime is flowing again!

It's pretty easy to tell from his voice that Professor Putricide is having loads of fun while trying to kill you and your team. He's not the only one enjoying his job, until we introduce them to the floor.

But we're the players, not the NPCs. What about us?

Imagine, if you will, walking into Marrowgar's room and finding a pile of bones and some loot. What if the Princes declared their undying love to every pretty female toon in the party and showered them with gifts (and sparkles) every week? I don't even want to think about walking up to the Frozen Throne and having Arthas ask if it's comfy and if you'd like to hold Frostmourne and try on his armor a while.

It might seem cool to those less experienced with games for a while.

My nine-year-old would love it.

But after the first week, after the first month, after a year of having everything handed to you...would you still be playing? Would it still be fun?

To have a reward be worth the effort, there must be a challenge. If you don't feel like you've earned it, it's just not rewarding. It's just as true in writing as it is in games. If the reader or the player don't feel that the end was challenge enough, there's no satisfaction in the happily ever after.

Next time you start wondering if it's worth all the flasks, fish feasts, and repair bills, try to remember what the alternative is.

Big smiles everyone! This is fun!

Good news, everyone! I think I perfected a plague that will destroy all life on Azeroth!