Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Resurrection Sixty Nine

Shammy has a non-combat rez.

Druid has a combat rez. Plus reincarnate, which is a self rez.

Lethal combination to be leveling as a duo. Run into any situation totally blind, just leroy the whole way. Between the two of us, somehow we'll find a way to avoid a corpse run.

How's about this one...the Shammy dies and the Druid forgets to rez her until after combat.

So then its time to find a mob at maximum range, load up some Moonfire and start casting the combat rez while the mob runs in.

Or when the shammy dies right as the mob is near death, mob has a few dots on it and gets to low health and runs away, druid starts casting rez, mob dies from dots, druid is out of combat. Player wonders whether casting continue. Player receives answer as shammy gets rez'd out of combat, since the casting of the rez started while in combat. Nice!

Or the battle at the top of the troll temple to get the Sacred Mallet, which will ultimately become the Mallet of Zul'Farrak to summon the godzilla boss for the carrot trinket.

Shammy dies mid-fight, Druid rez's. Fight goes on, but we're hurtin.

Druid dies, and shammy kills off last mob. Shammy exits combat, rez's the druid.

You rez me, I'll rez you, all in the same fight. Its like a resurrection sixty nine :-)

Do you want the title, or not?

Amava's guild has a bunch of people who have indicated interested in completing the Champion of the Naaru quest line.

Its been a month and a half since the first wave of titles came with our first Magtheridon kill. Facing the expansion and the obsoleteness of the current raid dungeons, we've pretty much removed Gruul and Maggy off the schedule.

So, in an effort to help people who want the title, I put a 2-hour Gruul / Magtheridon killing spree on the calendar, two weeks in advance. In addition to this, I set the guild message of the day to include some indication of the "last chance at title, check calendar" concept for the whole two weeks. And on top of that, I put a thread in the guild forum asking for people desiring the title to post where they are in the quest chain so we can try to help folks out.

So along comes sunday. About 40 minutes before the raid, I ask out on gchat "who is up to the Gruul/Maggy steps of the title quest line?" since I'm trying to form up the raid and as such, want to give preference to members who will get the title.


Ok, wait 10 minutes. Ask again.


Ok, wait 10 more minutes. Ask again.


Oh well. I suppose they want the title, but not quite bad enough? Or maybe want it but not have time to complete the heroics?

Talk it over with the officers and come up with a real "LAST CHANCE, THIS TIME WE MEAN IT" gruul/maggy run for next sunday.

And head up for another visit to Al'ar.

It must be truely awe inspiring for a raid to hear their Raid Leader and Hunter Extraordinaire announce the misdirection assignments, and only seconds later, when he was supposed to misdirect skull onto main tank for first pull, messes up and misdirects onto his pet, who gets one-shot, and a brief period of chaos as the main tank skillfully regains control of the fight.


Condoleezza still isn't talking to me.

Get to Al'ar.

Wipe twice, pretty much due to about 2k DPS too little.

We really didn't have a chance, even if people survived the firey effects in Phase 2 (which they didn't). Just too little damage output.

And analysis of the WWS chart afterwards shows, on our best attempt, 5 DPS'ers close to eachother at the top. And then a massive gap followed by a grouping of 8 people who could possibly be mistaken for tanks if this report were the only thing you observed.


Not gonna happen.

Rage Winterchill tonight. Should be fun to see, even if an exercise in futility, given numbers like that.

This one made me smile

This one made me smile too big to pass up on. Its stolen directly from Rohan from Blessing of Kings, who was quoting a WoW forum posting...

Random signature seen on the WoW forums (credit to Building of Uldaman):
Dear Blizzard,

Paper is fine, but Rock needs to be nerfed.

Thanks, Scissors

Who gets the Mammoth?

My current quandry. Or better known as "Is when I put my cards on the table for readers who are on either side to read, thus getting the anxiety-inducing feelings off my chest, and hopefully not burning the bridges on both sides simultaneously"

On the one hand : a guild, filled with lots of close virtual friends who I've spent nearly a year playing with, that I've worked very hard to forge into a raiding organization, where I have established strong credibility and reputation as a player and a leader. Playing Alliance, FTL. And a class that's a dime-a-dozen, but is well geared and very familiar for me to play. And is rich as hell.

On the other hand : a guild led by some real life friends. where I've never grouped with anybody besides those friends, and as such, have no idea what the style is like, how we gel together, both play style and personality. Playing Horde, FTW. Druid, which is generally in high demand, but is a class I'm not fully versed in, and doesn't seem like I can macro my job into spamming one key and excelling, which is largely what makes me a good Hunter.

I'm in a quandry over who to play in WotLK. One side is very well known and familiar, the other side is full of uncertainty and pushing outside of my comfort zone.

So, to start off, the leveling from 70-80 will probably not be too much of an issue. Although I've stated that I dislike leveling, that's not 100% true.

I dislike leveling while everybody else is deep (years and years) into end-game. While the rest of the people are leveling also, or maybe just recently hit 80 if they raced, I'm not as opposed to it. I don't plan to race to 80 on either toon. Not "smell the roses" kind of slow, because honestly, they're roses engineered by Blizzard to smell like the money going from my pocket into theirs, but at the same time, I'm not planning to kill myself to get just one more bubble of XP per hour.

So I can casually-ish level both toons.

Then it becomes time to prepare for raiding. I'll have to see how this goes. In TBC, before the days of alts among a team of OP mains, there was a steep curve between "I just dinged 70" and "I can solidly contribute to a team in Kara". If LK has that same discontinuity, I'll be interested in choosing one toon as the focus for raid prep, because that'll be the point where "smelling the roses" is no longer fun while I watch all the folks around me start raiding.

Did I mention that I hate gear and how it dictates SO F'ing much of how socialization in WoW works?

Also, when LK is new, there will be SOOOO much stuff to do. Right now, its pretty easy for me to split between Amava and Moody, since Amava has more or less completed everything that's accessible to her ('cept for Lower City and Keepers of Time, damn them, I spitefully choose not to ding Exalted. So there!) and has no need to grind out more gold.

Then there's the issue of play style. For 5-man stuff or general questing or BG, I'm largely fine with whatever approach the people around me take. For anything as time consuming as raiding, somewhat in 10-man, and absolutely in 25-man action, I choose to spend that time with people of a similar approach.

On my current guild, I've worked hard for nearly a year to imbue the team with a drive and spirit consistent with my own, and to recruit people of a similar approach. Walking into an existing guild, led by RL friends or not, comes with a huge amount of uncertainty, as there are dozens of other players involved besides just those friends.

In many situations through out life, my style has been known to rub off on the groups that I'm in, sort of a contagious energy, if you will. Do I rely upon that past history and hope it plays out with a new group of people? Its a big personal risk.

Its a quandry.

And the quandry becomes more intense with the introduction of the Mammoth Mount.

20,000 gold. I could care less what it does, and I barely understand how it works. Do other toons ride in there? Or NPC vendors? If its vendors, what kind? Repair guys? Reagents? Ammo? Pet food? Vials?

Who cares. I want one.


And the Quandry then becomes who gets it?

Amava can buy one the day they become available (or after a reputation grind, if that's what's necessary).

To buy one any time soon on Moody would require paying Blizzard real life money to transfer an alt who is loaded with gold to Moody's server, and then launder the gold through the Neutral auction house from Alliance (booooo) to Horde (huzzah). Blizzard would take a portion in the process, but I'd be able to earn that back up pretty quick, what with being a dual gatherer and all.

The whole "which toon to raid on" is a challenging enough question, because it involves social dynamics and a huge difference between a comfort zone and a nearly completely unknown situation.

Before the Mammoth Mount was introduced, I felt a casual approach would work nicely between the two toons, and let it sort itself out over time.

But dropping 20k on a toon would more or less seal the deal of which is the main. For once in my WoW career, I'm hoping Blizz puts in a massive grind before the Mammoth is available, then that'll buy me enough time to procrastinate the decision and see which toon becomes my main squeeze.

Some quickies

Played way too much wow this weekend. A combination of leveling the horde pair with the gf, doing a little dual boxing of the horde pair while the gf went shopping for some vacation clothes her vacation, not mine :-(, getting run through ZF on the horde pair, and raiding on Amava.

As such, here's what's floating around in my head right now:

1) Feralas looks cool. The zone feels much more like a forest than Terokkar Forest, and feels less cartoony than Ashenvale. I like saying the word Mojache. That said, the fact that they have you kill a bazillion hippogryphs, and then they send you to Hinterlands to kill a bazillion more owlkins, and then back to feralas to kill a bazillion more of the same hippogryphs. That little dance makes me not want to go back to Feralas again. And don't even get me started on Yetis.

2) The more I level, the more I dislike that fundamental concept of MMO. Time sink with a carrot hanging at the end of it. Maybe I'm being parochial, but end-game is more fun than game for me. Raiding, heroic dungeons, even level cap BG's. I want to get the horde pair up to 70 so we can play with our friends. Playing with those friends for months only via dungeon run-throughs and /gchat is not my idea of fun. The lure of WAR get stronger each time I log into WoW on a non-level capped toon, just to try out what all the bloggers are describing as meaningful grouping and interactions at all levels.

3) The recommended leveling spec for a Shammy is Enhancement. I think that's only because Blizzard didn't really include suitable leather gear, and after 40, mail gear with stats for Elemental. Leveling elemental shammy needs to wear cloth to be able to kill stuff, but that makes her squishy. Change that, Blizz. Elemental feels much more Shaman-like than doing melee stuff.

4) Mining. Getting through the later Tin stage, and then getting from Iron to Mithril can be a little challenging. Then you party like its 1999. Until about 230 or so. Mithril turns green and very sporadically gives you points. And you need to get to 245 for Thorium. But it is fun traveling in a pair with two miners. First toon hammers at the node, gets the skill point, doesn't loot the ore. Second toon hammers at the node, gets the skill point, continues looting.

5) Future Inscriptors must be rich folks indeed. Stack of Sungrass sold for 67g. That is insane. Amava doesn't even pay that much for Nightmare Vine, which is one of the more rare/expensive herbs, and is needed in mass quantities for the endless supply of Fel Mana Pots she drinks. She might need to join Potions Anonymous to help kick the habit.

6) If I ever do find myself leveling again, doing it in a pair is verah nice. Whether with an actual other person, or just dualboxing, it is pretty sweet with two toons. Even if one is just a healbot you go so much faster, and can pretty much rush into anything. Anything. ANYTHING that makes the grind a little less agonizing. If your healbot can drop totems, all the better.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lets keep talking Achievements

Why not beat a dead horse into the ground here.

Welcome to the third installment of my commentary on the Achievements system.

The latest comment here, by Mal-2, describes the Achievements as being divided into regular ones which are available to be achieved on an ongoing basis, and Feats of Strength which are generally the ones that were achievable at a point in time, but are likely no longer available.

Ok, ok. Now we're talking.

I like this, I can work with this.

The thing that'll make or break it for me is the user interface implementation.

Make the display of Feats of Strength be a listing of all the things the player has accomplished, and I'm a big fan. I'll be trying to add to my list whenever the opportunity arises (2010 Olympics, anyone???)

If the Feats of Strength are displayed as a list of all possible Feats, along with a check mark or bright icon to indicate which ones have been accomplished, and a dull greyed out appearance or empty checkbox, or the horror, a red X to indicate an accomplishment that's not been completed, and I'm out.

Maybe its insecurity, but I want this screen to enable me to bask in the glow of the things I have done, not shine a spotlight on those that were missed.

Probably stems from when I was a kid, I'd get a 99 on a test, and get reamed out for that missing point. And heaven forbid if my folks found out that there was a bonus question and the theoretical maximum score was 104. How's that for fun?

Patented 13 Step Phoenix-Hawk Hatchling Strategy

With about 7 weeks left before Tempest Keep is reduced to being a distant memory, I will now bring to you, my readers, the strategy that has allowed my raid to successfully handle the Hatchlings leading up to Al'ar's room. Granted, we've only been through this hallway roughly 6 times, but nevermind that, pretend I'm an expert. How's that for building credibility?

I share this with you because on three separate occasions, someone has remarked after the pull that I should patent the strategy. A different someone each time, and not people who were in the raid the first time the first guy said it, thusly, three independent rave reviews. So there, incontrovertible evidence of a solid strategy. :-P

The trash pull involves a narrow hallway, that has little archway divider things that break the hallway into two sections. At the end of the hallway is a giant room containing, among other things, two patrolling packs of trash. Each pack consists of two Tempest Falconers and 5-7 Phoenix-Hawk Hatchlings. All players get thrown back often during the fight, and need to keep their backs to a wall.

The line of sight and general visibility between these vestibules (the two hallway sections) is pretty crappy. The packs of Hatchlings are very compact and make it difficult to discern discrete targets.

So, 'nuff background.

Strategy goes thusly:

1) Designate a Main Assist. The targeting will get very chaotic in here. These trash pulls were the final straw that convinced me to implement the use of a Main Assist + assist macros in our raids.

2) All the hunters line up like little soldiers in the front vestibule, the one closest to Al'ar's room. Leave enough space such that your traps won't be on top of eachother.

3) If your raid is low on hunters, have any mages be ready just after the traps. My raids typically have 4 or 5 hunters, so we only needed to use the mages one time.

4) All other raid members stand far back in the back vestibule (the one closest to the entrance of the dungeon). Keep your back against a wall. Yes, I mean all of you. Including you, Mr. I-Like-To-Stand-In-The-Open-Even-Though-My-Raid-Leader-Is-Telling-Me-To-Back-Up-To-A-Wall-And-All-My-Teammates-Are-Backing-Up-To-A-Wall.

5) Lucky hunter in front gets to watch the patrolling mobs, and when ready, call for all hunters to drop their traps. Once traps dropped, all hunters except the first one can run back to the rear vestibule and get ready to fight. No real need to play the chain trapping / trap cooldown game, because you'll only be trapping once, just to buy your raid enough time to take a few down.

6) Lucky hunter misdirects onto tank, fires a multishot at the patrol, then trots on back into position in rear vestibule.

7) As the mobs pass the front vestibule, the first few will walk into the traps. Since the packs were so compact, there is no reliable way to choose targets for trapping, so its first-come-first-served basis for frozen turkeys. That's why we spaced the hunters out, to avoid any single mob from consuming more than one trap.

7.5) If short on hunters, you can have your mages pick up the first mobs that make it past the traps. This is why its good to have all the other players stand far back.

8) Everybody hold fire during this process. Discipline, people.

9) When the main tank has allowed all turkeys to be frozen, all lambs to be sheeped, he then chooses his first target. Once he's got solid lock on his chosen target, he calls out on voice.

10) Everybody still hold fire during this process. Discipline, its not just a priest talent tree.

11) Once the Main Tank calls out a solid lock, then the Main Assist picks up the target, and calls out on voice. "Loose"

12) Everybody open fire.

13) Keep your backs to the wall, and during the chaos that will follow, keep choosing your targets by assisting the Main Assist. By the time the traps break, you'll have enough killed for the tanks to pick the turkeys up.

And there you have it. 13 easy steps to kill the Phoenix-Hawk Hatchlings.

The first time we did this, it took a while for me to explain it. Now that we've done it a few times, I only have to remind PuG members to stay in back vestibule, keep their backs to the wall, and follow the Main Assist. No fuss, works like a charm.

For what its worth, I actually based this strategy off of one I like to use in Heroic Ramparts (or regular ramparts, but I only thought of it after I was long past regular mode, and had wiped countless times on that forsaken bridge) for the patrol and first pack of trash that stand right at the end of the bridge near the opening of the dungeon.

Sometimes you just cant predict who will be trapped, so a little communication and a lot of discipline make a smooth working team.

Now, with only 7 weeks to LK, the real strategy I'm thinking of is when I return here at level 80 to farm a second piece of T5 huntery goodness. With a Gorilla pet, or maybe a Paladin (pet). And throw all strategy out the door because we'll be so OP its not even funny.

On listening skills

Vaguely recently, I vented some hot air about frustrations as Raid Leader during a progression kill on Void Reaver.

Its a pretty easy fight to explain, not too many different things to keep track of. While trying to get the raid spread out to occupy the full physical space of the enormous room, I had considerable difficulty in getting the raid members to actually follow the instructions.

I dunno if everybody was drunk, high, and infected with the Three Hour Itch that night, or maybe they all lurk here and read my follow up article, but last night we proved it was a fluke.

Formed up the raid, preached a little sermon about how the officers need help from each and every raider to find out why we've had some sluggish attendance lately (responses ranged from school/work [understandable], all the way to apathy from lack of kills lately [zomg, we haven't killed a progression boss in 2 weeks, i want everybody in this category to personally fly to my house and pucker up and present me with a kiss on both cheeks, sorry bub, that one just dont work for me])

Sermon complete, lets head on in.

Scary sloppy on the first pull. If I was one of the 3 puggers we had with us, I would have been seriously considering bailing after that pull. But they didnt, which was nice. And we left the slop at the door.

Zip on over to Voidy.

Time to test the listening skills.

Everybody put your Brewfest kegs away and listen up. We're going to form pairs of players.

First, tanks and melee, come stand here so I don't have to look at you.

[woah, they all came right over to where I was jumping, no fuss]

Next, healers, come toe the line. Stand on the rim of this circle on the floor, leave at least a few feet between all your neighbors.

[jeez, its working, all 8 healers on the line, somewhat spaced out, only one DPS'er on the line who needed to be yelled at]

Now, DPS'ers. If you've got a healer in your party, go stand by them now. If you've got more than one healer in your party, divide yourselves up. If another DPS'er got to your healer first, go back to the door. The goal is to have pairs consisting of one DPS and one Healer.

[cut them some slack, musical chairs is fun because its chaotic]

Ok, there's four DPS left. You two, pair up and stand here, you two, pair up and stand there.

[zomg, we've now got 10 pairs of players, all standing neatly on top of eachother. we've barely been at this 2 minutes, am i dreaming?]

Now, you guys on the right, shuffle around the circle counterclockwise, and you guys on the left, move in clockwise. The purpose is to occupy the entire space. There should be ample space between pairs.

[shuffle shuffle shuffle. its working :-)]


Alrighty, last one, learning from a boo boo last time we were here. Main Tank has a looooonnnnnggg way to run to engage the target. From the time he ends his countdown, to the time he's run in and actively attacking VR, DO NOTHING. Just watch. As a matter of fact, take your hands off the keyboard and mouse.

[yadda yadda yadda]

Outstanding work everybody. Cleanest kill of VR I've ever seen (lol, only second kill of VR i've ever seen, but whatever).

The pairs strategy worked like a charm. Granted, we lost the two DPS-only pairs very early on, so the whole way, we were about 30 seconds ahead of the enrage timer, which surely kept me on the edge of my seat.

But we did it. With 28 seconds left before enrage.

I couldn't have been happier with winning at WWS, doh, i mean....er.....getting T5 shoulders.....um....uh... how the team responded to the setup process, and then the execution of the strategy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Some quickie thoughts.....

1) STV is pretty cool now that mounts come out at 30. Just finished the last quest there, except for Green Hills of Stranglethorn, which I refuse to take part of, other than making gold hand over fist selling the pages. Just dinged 45 as I turned in the last quest. How's that for well planned zones? How that happened with the new faster leveling, I do not know, but either way, I shant complain.

2) Mining is fun. I just like it. And dinging 175, which opens up Mithril, is heavenly.

3) Herbalism on a druid is even more fun than mining. You don't even have to shift out of travel form (or someday, flight form) to pick flowers.

4) Playing in a duo with a druid and a shaman is neat. Running around as a ghost wolf and a cheetah is 24% slower than mounted and wearing special boots. But I dont care, the coolness factor of cats and dogs playing together more than makes up for the speed.

5) Alliance begins Hinterlands in the west, where the mobs are around level 40. Horde starts Hinterlands in the east where the mobs are around level 50. This does not make sense to me, but I just don't really like Tanaris so I'll stay.

6) For the Horde. I just like hearing the Horde NPC's talk more than the alliance ones. Although the drunken dwarves (they drink all year round, not just to set themselves up to get Brewfest achievements once they're released) by the mailbox in Wildhammer Stronghold are pretty funny.

7) In lieu of a canceled raid, I did indeed take part in some Brewfest BRD boss action. Its the first time Amava ever got drunk. I got a chuckle out of that. Staggering around during the boss fight with a barrel on my head, also a chuckle. Getting a trinket equivalent of the Bloodlust Brooch? Whatever, I think I'm still an Hourglass of the Unraveller kind of guy.

8) Playing a druid requires you to press lots more buttons than a hunter. Sure, just like the hunter, you could just auto attack your way through mobs. But, unlike the hunter, you take damage while its happening. And so you press buttons. And continuously look at your energy or rage levels. Makes it hard to eat ribs while you're playing.

9) As it would turn out, my raid feels sorrow for my keyboard. My microphone is right near the keyboard, so when I activate it during combat and I'm hammering my 3 key to spam the Steady:Auto macro, the key slamming sound gets transmitted.
Some of the guildies held secret meetings (aka, random heroic runs) where they discussed (aka, gossiped about their officers) starting up a fund raiser for a new keyboard for their raid leader (aka, the coconut who pounds one key and has been know to win at WWS from time to time, and yells at everybody). This also gave me a chuckle.

10) You'd be amazed how much stress and aggravation you can vent by pounding a single key as hard as you can, over and over again, as long as its accompanied by fun animated effects, frequent bloop crit sound fx, and massive bar charts of damage output.

More on a budding hatred of Achievements

Not sure what "good" bloggers do when their readers post thought provoking comments: do you post a follow up comment, conversation style? or do you just go ahead and post a new blog entry. I often find myself paralyzed over indecision that leaves me deep in thought, wanting to write a follow up, and then leaving it unwritten. On the one side, a conversation is a good thing, and my readers often leave comments that give us good food for thought, and I'd love to validate their contribution and also share my follow up. On the other, if your readers read via feedreader, they might not subscribe to your comments feed so they wont be in on it. (h3ll, i dont even know how to subscribe to my own comments, i get them via email).

So, I'll go with the "just go ahead and post a new blog entry" technique today.

Brajana posted a reply to my article about "My new fear of Achievements". The reply describes the optional nature of achievements, and how each person is free to pursue the ones that they like and leave the others uncompleted.

True dat.

All signs point to Achievements being an optional part of the game, with only perhaps some vanity items coming from being a super achiever. No game content will be physically blocked for lack of achievements. You may have some guilds reject candidates, using a low achievement score as (possibly false) evidence of the player's general commitment, availability, or focus. I'm personally not too worried about those guilds, since I probably don't want to play with folks who evaluate people like that anyways. But I digress.

My growing unrest with what I understand to be the Achievements system is not me calling out for Blizzard to change anything. Its simply me wanting to vent about how the system may either be something I love, or hate. I doubt I'll casually grab a achievement here or there.

I look at achievements as a to-do list, once the real to-do list is done.

The real to-do list, for me at least, is the list of things that will open up content for me and my guild.

You all know I hate loot, but I do understand that Blizz engineered the game so that loot is your access key to more content.

So grinding rep with factions that provide me or my teammates better loot, that goes on my real to-do list. Hitting BG's for gear that I can wear while raiding, real to-do list. Grinding gold to pay for enchants and repairs, real to-do list. Getting the Master's Key, real to-do list. Remember attunements? lol.

Then, when I'm done with most of my real to-do list, or if I just need a break, because lemme tell you, grinding Sporeggar, I sure needed breaks from the to-do list. There's just so many drops of Shiny Fish Scales and Fish Oil that I can leave behind before all those sparkly un-looted corpses make me mental (/slap-self, you were mental before you even started).

When I'm done with the content-opening things, or the things that are simply so overly entertaining that I want to do them anyway, I was thinking that Achievements would fill the gap.

And, as Brajana writes, there will be achievements available to suit a wide range of tastes. A plethora of tastes, if you will. I know I'm going to like trying to get the Ogri'la bombing one done in 2 minutes or less. I've been trying to time it lately, that's going to be a tough one.

But there's two things that're going to drive me batty.

One. An achievement should be achievable. The 2008 Bejing Olympics was achievable. For a brief time period. If you didn't complete it before the closing ceremony, you will never be able to complete it. If you start playing WoW with the release of WotLK, this achievement was NEVER achievable by you. This does not jive for me, homey. I really hope that the Achievements UI will put these things in a very separate list, because something that is completely un-doable is silly to me. If its in a separate list, well, maybe I'll feel a bit more at ease.

Two. For the life of me, I can't remember what my point #2 is. Must have been pretty weak, eh? But, rest assured, there was originally two things driving me batty.

I suppose in the end, I'm a completionist. I really like diving in as deep as I can and going hog wild. The idea of a to-do list of fun things that I can then check off as I do them, sounded pretty cool. Even if some of those things are not so fun, and feel grindy, if I have an internal sense that the list is possible to complete, there's a good chance I'll be motivated to keep at it.

By having things on that list that are unattainable, it makes it so that me, and maybe people like me if there are any, just not really want to be involved.

Challenging but attainable? You'll have me buying a lifetime subscription to WoW.

List that is physically impossible to complete? Meh. I hear the public quests in WAR are pretty cool, maybe I should try them out.

I feel like they've taken something that would have had me engaged and highly motivated, and turned it into something of a passing novelty, where I'll occasionally pick an achievement and go for it, but probably not much more.

Oh yeah, and its not like Sporeggar was on my real to-do list. That was just for the tiny sporebat pet, and to appeal to the completionist in me. Hey, maybe that's like Achievements. Maybe I'll like those after all. Just make up your mind already, would you?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My new fear of Achievements

When I first heard of Achievements in WoW, I was somewhat excited.

I figured they'd give some nice fun little things to do when you're not otherwise occupied (for instance, you've already dinged 20k gold, gotten all the BG gear in the game, hit exalted with every solo-able BC faction and most of the instance rep ones too).

And some of the achievements are like that.

But now Brewfest.

And I'm already seeing people writing up guides for preparing for achievements and how you can save brewfest beers in your mailbox and all these things you simply HAVE to do right now.

My actual first taste of this was the other day when I glanced over WoW Head's achievements page.

And I saw some about the 2008 Bejing Olympics games.

Calendar-based event, comes and goes, and now your toon has a permanent record of the fact that you didn't participate.

Brewfest is the same way. You've got two weeks. Get your achievements done, or look at that blank part of the screen until next year.

These "time bound" achievements will either drive me insanely addicted and obsessed, or they will totally turn me off to achievements in the first place.

Brewfest comes out. Everybody's dropping everything to go do massive amounts of brewfest action.

My big activity right now is trying to get my Hordie to 70 before LK comes out. And since they wont grandfather me into the Recruit-a-friend program (created the new account a few weeks too early), its going to take quite a bit of time and energy to make that happen.

I have zero interest in doing Brewfest stuff, because that'll distract me from my primary goal.

So I'll likely remain with those Brewfest achievements undone, at least until next year, perhaps forever.

The feeling of unachievable achievements will pretty much detach me from the entire concept. Nice going.

My two cents on gear normalization

I'm not sure if normalization is the word. Honestly, I hear people throw the word around, but I'm not sure any of them, or even me, knows what it really means. And I'm too lazy to look it up because I'm just going for ignorant ranting here. So its not lazy, its ignorance on purpose. Just for fun.

What I'm talking about is gear in WotLK.

Spellpower will have all the lovely casters fighting for the same gear.

Druids of the feral variety will be rolling with Rogues and down-grading Hunters and Enh Shammies for loot.

And everybody's complaining.

ZOMG, they're gonna take my loot.

First of all, sorry, but F you and your F'in loot.

Loot sucks. I personally do not subscribe in any way, shape, or form to the whole concept of "improving your character is a cornerstone of RPG".

Sorry, that one just does nothing for me.

I want to play in dungeons and raids and battlegrounds and even small group or solo questing. The way the game is engineered, gear improvements are REQUIRED to open the door to additional dungeons and raids. So for that reason, I seek out gear. That, and I like the appearance of the one giant moving eyeball on my forehead (S3 Helm) and the two bear heads on my shoulders (ZA drop).

But I digress. (re-digress...f you and your f'ing gear. ok, back to work...).

Back to my take on gear normalization....

When you first kill a boss in WotLK, and you've got three mages, a warlock, three priests, and a holy paladin who loves pissing everybody off by downgrading to cloth, I'm willing to stipulate that you'll have roughly double the competition for a Spellpower cloth item that you had in the past.

Oh, noes. You might actually have to watch somebody else get gear.

Hopefully you surround yourselves with folks who are more interested in the game than they are in the loot, so you can still work together after you all watch some other coconut get that drop.

But, please people, lets not be quite so short sighted. (sited?).

What happens as you repeat some bosses over time.

Don't you all just love Void Crystals so much that you simply live for the moment that everybody passes on an epic so you can show us how cool your disenchanting animation looks?

Disenchanting epics sucks, because no matter how much you despise gear (did I mention that you can go f your f'ing gear?), any WoW player, loot whore or not, must understand that loot is a big part of gaining access to more content.

So hopefully, by making any one individual piece of gear be potentially useful to a wider audience, we'll see less disenchanted gear over time, as there's a higher chance that somebody in your raid is interested in any given drop on the current boss loot table.

And by making each boss kill have a higher probability of providing a gear upgrade for someone in your raid, Blizzard is actually opening up the game and making it just a tad bit less painful to farm one boss and get sufficient gear for the next boss/instance.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Help me hide my stuff before the Scourge comes and takes it

I am no role player.

I have a loose familiarity with some Warcraft lore from the good old days of Warcraft 2.

That is to say that some of the character names evoke fun memories of playing with 3 friends on a LAN I set up in our dorm room, back before networked games played over the information super highway was the big thing. I cried when doing the quests out in WPL at Uther's tomb.

And now, based upon the server choice of some friends, I find myself leveling a toon on a Normal-RP server.

Generally not too much RP, other than I try to use more complete sentences, and maybe even some capitalization and punctuation when I text chat.

And since my toon's name is Moodyswinger, sometimes I get grumpy with people, guilt-free. I'm just RP'ing XD

Well, being on a new server, I've discovered a growing need to stash stuff away somewhere. I'm mining up lots of ores, I'd like to save them for JC or Eng once me and the gf are at 70. Cloth for a mage tailor (btw, watching my friend boost us with her mage frostnova'ing and then arcane exploding everything in sight was inspirational. back to boxing my priest and mage once things settle down. overextending yourself, ftw).

The individual bank slots arent enough. My toons like to travel in style.

So I need a guild bank for my mule.

So I need 10 signatures.

So I created 10 alts on the other account.

So I signed with the first alt.

So I signed with the second alt.

Wait, what? No signature? It says this guy already signed the charter.

Ugy. Must be one signature per account.

Well, good thing I tested this on the second alt before making 8 more. lol

Now its back to Orgrimar for some signature spamming.

Knowing its an RP server, I'd better come up with something good, rather than just "sign guild charter, plx, so i can get phat tabard and raids and be helpful and run dungeons"

I have no idea what Scourge is.

But I think its a group of bad guys. They seem like the types that would take your stuff if they found you.

And, I'm betting on the fact that most other folks on the server share that same basic understanding of what Scourge is.

So, standing between mailbox and auction house, I began to whisper any un-guilded folks that were running about (note: not anybody standing at the AH, and nobody standing at the mailbox, dont want to be rude, this is RP here folks).

"The Scourge killed my family and are coming after me. Will you please help me create a guild so I can get a bank to keep my stuff safe from the Scourge?"

I have no idea if that's 100% nonsense, or maybe its even a giant contradiction in lore.

But, it worked.

In less than 10 minutes, I had all the signatures.

Only one person declined helping me. I bet he knows what Scourge actually is.

Contrast this with Amava's server, where I offered 2 gold per signature, and still took over an hour to get all the sigs.

And, seconds after establishing the guild, I chime in on brand-new gchat...

"Thank you all for your help. I can now safeguard my precious stuff. It is with the highest regard and utmost respect that I now boot you all, lest you be an agent of the Scourge trying to invade my bank. If you should ever need assistance, prove to me that you are an enemy of the Scourge, and I shall heed your call."

So, any lore junkies out there know if I'm full of baloney or am I even vaguely on target with the story line?

And moments later I was reminded that it'll run me 100 gold for that first bank tab.

Doh. I've only got about 700g on the toon right now, so I might have to play email ping-pong with items for a little while yet.

Scarlet Monastery, the slightly less nasty version

I really hope you didn't read the previous story. I simply wrote it in the hopes that getting the experience out will help purge it from my memory. But oh well. No more potty talk. On to the WoW.

As mentioned earlier, I went on a boosting run through the Scarlet Monastery.

What a walk down memory lane.

Back when Amava was a lil baby in her mid 30's, SM was a place she spent lots of time.

That was a year ago.

Back then, it was with five players all in the mid 30's. Taking hours to clear the place out.

And today, its with a well-geared 70 mage wrangling piles of 10 or 20 mobs at a time and arcane exploding them into oblivion. Taking maybe an hour and a half, including a few breaks to clean up some nastiness, to do 4 instances.

Each corner we turned brought back vivid memories of when Amava originally went through there, and how carefully we had to do each and every pull.

Granted, at the time we were usually doing dungeons with two rogues, two hunters, and a random fifth player (rarely someone who could tank, and only sometimes with healing capabilities), so we invited our own pain, but that's neither here nor there.

It was a really fun blast from the past revisiting the different wings of the Scarlet Monastery, more so than any other low-level dungeon I've run thus far.

Lots of fun getting boosted through as a dancing bear and raking in some decent XP and loot.

Strange thing though.

My druid was level 40 and the gf's shammy was 36.

I was getting more XP for kills. Both of us were already burned through our rested XP and "felt normal".

WTF? Seems kinda backwards, yes?

I think I now know what Undercity smells like

This story is not WoW related.

It is however, a tale of an event among the top five nastiest things that's ever happened in my house. And I live in the House of Nasty, so that's sayin something.

This story pertains to this blog simply because I was doing a Scarlet Monastery boosting run with two real-life ladies (booya) when it happened, although the event itself has nothing to do with WoW.

As I said, not WoW related, but if you could smell what happened, you might have said "wow, that's nasty."

Our story involves a dog. Three dogs to be exact. Well, technically three dogs were present, but only two feature in this story. And to make the vaguely WoW-oriented connection to this story stronger, I was fighting Houndmaster Locksey on or about the time that the nastiness ensued, and he himself travels with three dogs.

But I don't think his dogs have ever done what I am about to describe. Or else we'd get a "Righteously Nasty" debuff as we entered the general vicinity of the boss.

Wanna get grossed out?

Big time?

Then read on.

Just remember later...I warned you to leave. Go!

Ah, you stayed. I see you think you have a strong stomach. L.O.-mutha-f'ing-L. I thought I did, too.

We start with a little non-gross background before we lead in with the nastiness....

Imagine you are a tiny little Yellow Lab puppy.

Little fuzzball. Soft feet slipping on smooth floors as you try to scamper about turning corners chasing a bouncy ball. Wrestling with your brothers and sisters, and generally doing cute puppy things all day long. Fighting for position to get a drink of mama dog's milk.

And then the time comes for you and your brothers and sisters to all find happy new homes who will love and care for you. So you get to say bye bye to your litter-mates and head on out with your new family. No more mama dog's milk.

Supposedly there's a timeframe that is best to wean the pup off of of nursing. Nurse for too long and the dog will have issues taking to solid dog food. Teat-block the pup too early, and an interesting habit can form.

I've no idea what is going on inside the pup's head, but as it would turn out, dogs that wean too early often eat dog poo.

There, I said it. They eat dog poo.

What's that you say? Gross? Awwww, come on. With all those warnings and build-up? And all you've got for me is "they eat poo"? You suck!

Oh, no, my friend. Do read on.

Enough background. Fastforward a few years from your premature weaning, and you're now a happy pup. Who perhaps carries some baggage from your youthful trauma. And you're watching as some people play WoW.

So I'm happily getting boosted through Scarlet Monastery. Lots of XP, lots of loot, lots of fun watching mobs get one-shot.

Then something smells funny IRL.

Yuck. One of the dogs farted. With three dogs and three people in the house, there's rarely a truly fart-free moment, but this one was especially stinky.

As with any encounter with gas, you smell it, then you pretty much cant help but laugh, because, I mean really, its a fart. They're funny. Then you realize it smells nasty and you stop laughing. Then the smell dissipates, and you laugh again, because they're funny and you no longer have a nasty smell assaulting your senses.

The cycle is as reliable as the tides in the ocean.

But this one was lingering a bit too long for the laughter to return.

And smells righteous. No run of the mill toot.

After an unreasonably long linger, I turn around and take a look at the dogs to make sure everything's alright.

And low and behold, Mr. I-Eat-Poo apparently found a tasty treat in the backyard, ate it, came inside, got a sick stomach and barfed on the floor.

Partially digested poo. Inside my house.

The smell is indescribable. Actually, it smells pretty much exactly like what you'd think it smells like. Only more so. And the gag reflex it induces is powerful.

Back in my days in the volunteer fire service, I've walked into rooms that have had decaying deceased human remains in them for up to two weeks. That smells like flowers compared to this. Sweet, sweet roses.

But it gets better, folks. Remember, I told you to leave earlier. You chose to stay.

To add to the unbelievable desire to wretch my guts out from the nastiness, as I walk over to the pile to clean it up, one of the other dogs trots over to the mess, and begins to chow down.

I sh1t you not.

I mean, eating poo? That's completely normal (no its not, but for the sake of this story, pretend it is).

But eating poo vomit? That's down right nasty.

So I light candles, burn matches, spray half a can of lysol. Take my shirt off and tie it around my face in a make-shift gas mask.

Nothing cuts through this smell.


I get it cleaned up, and try to burn my nostrils out so that I can never smell something like this again.

Back to Scarlet Monastery.

And what do I hear?

The splash of a new pile of barf hitting the floor. And, since I only heard it happen, and didn't see first-hand, I'm not sure if it was Mr. I-Eat-Poo, or Ms. I-Eat-Poo-Barf who threw this new pile.

Shirley, you must be kidding me.

Clean it up. Back to the WoW.

Splash. Number three.

I don't think there's enough therapy on this planet to take this smell out of my memory.

Thank g0d friday is garbage day because I'd have to burn the house down if these triple bagged sacs of trash stayed around for even a moment longer.

Hey, I warned you. Down right nasty.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Is when I qq moar

Its no secret that leveling another toon isnt too much fun.

Or at least to me its no secret. Some people like it. I'm happy for those people.

I liked leveling the first time I did it.

I didn't know anybody who was 70, so I had no real knowledge of what end-game was. I also had no expectations of becoming a raider, other than maybe the random Kara pug. A new player's understanding of what raiding is really comes from the hardcore descriptions of 6 days a week, 5 hours per night, being verbally abused and/or kicked out for being absent.

Thus, leveling at whatever pace chasing herbs and mineral nodes leveled me at, that was just fine.

Yadda yadda yadda.

Me and the gf are leveling toons up on a server with some friends. The friends have been 70 for a long time. We want to play together.

And its a long and dreary road.

Been going on for several months. Putting the time in here and there, and we now have a level 40 and 36.

At the rate we're going lately, we might be in Outlands by the expansion pack, which means we might miss out on leveling up 70-80 with those friends, unless they choose to wait for us, or they play Death Knight and join up with us through Outlands.

And since we made the new account before Recruit-a-friend, we're stuck at normal XP. And riding on a Kodo instead of a Zebra. If they'd let me pay a flat fee to ding 70, i'd drop the cash in a heartbeat. To buy a third account and still have to do the grind, even if accelerated, bah, not gonna do it.

The routine is all (A) run solo or in a pair doing questing and mob grinding (B) the occasional PuG dungeon with players around our level or (C) boosting runs from friendly level 70's.

(A) is fun if you're taking your time. It really sucks if you're anxious to go play with your friends.

(B) is fun if you're taking your time, but as everybody knows, PuG's are like a box of chocolate. And since we want to go play with our friends, the wasted time trying to find a group is, well, wasteful.

(C) has some fun factor with it, and levels you pretty quickly, but it gets really boring for the 70's.


And staring me in the face is a variety of interesting reviews of Warhammer. Tobold's description of how much variety there is right out of the starting gates at the very first levels and continuing through the leveling process is intriguing. I'm debating trying it out, just to see if its an initial hype that feels new and fun but will shortly wear off as the populations at low level dwindle, or is it really the action packed variety show that people are describing.

But, I can't play Warhammer now, since Blizzard is making it take forever for me to reach the same level as my friends. The clever bastards!!!

Ap'arllo 13

You know, the title sounded funnier before I had my coffee this morning, but oh well.

But, when you spend another 2.5 hours wiping on the same boss, you get a little slappy.

We came, we saw, we wiped.

Sadly, Al'ar got down to 13% in Phase 2. So stinking close to dead.

Each part of the fight, we had a good handle on how to deal with it.

The platform tanks for Phase 1 are spot on with their jumping and running.

The add tanks for Phase 1 are picking up their targets and positioning them away from everybody.

As we head into Phase 2, people doing good job of dropping aggro.

In our best attempt, we had all ranged DPS in Phase 2 go for the adds while melee stayed on Al'ar.

Everything was going nicely. We were 2 minutes ahead of the enrage timer. The raid was alive and in good health and mana. We had 3 battle rez cooldowns ready to pop.

But those AoE fire clouds crushed us.

I think we got too bunched up in one half of the room fighting the adds, so when a cloud appeared, at least 2 or 3 players would take major damage.

So we couldnt do it.

And that makes 3 nights of wipes on Al'ar. With less than 2 months to WotLK, we're setting our sights elsewhere, and he very well may have to stay un-killed by the guild.

Hydross Sunday and maybe Monday.

T6 and Mt Hyjal maybe Monday and definitely Wednesday.

At least we'll be wiping with style :-)

So everybody go scoot and get your Medallion of the Alliance.

Big Red Daddy

Spent saturday out in the rain with my daughter and gf. We went to an amusement park, not quite raining, but some what ominous looking. I had been given free tickets on friday, good only for saturday and sunday. So, why not. We drove all the way out here, its not raining as of the moment we pulled into the parking lot.

As soon as we handed over our tickets and got our hands stamped, the skies opened up.

But the three of us weren't about to let that ruin our parade. We continued to have a blast going on rides, soaking wet, eating funnel cake under an umbrella, soaking wet. The water didn't stop us from having fun all day long.

Long story short, saturday evening, I was exhausted.

Shortly after getting home, I passed out for a nap.

And, being equally tired, my daughter asked to go to bed a little early.

So, the gf got her all set, read some stories, and was ready for lights out, when the lil'en say she wants daddy to sing a song.

So over comes the gf, shakes the sleeping giant, and begins to rapidly describe the past hour's activities.

As it would turn out, that was perhaps a bit too much information for my still-sleeping-ears to take in. Shall we say disoriented and a bit overwhelmed?

After the fog cleared, and she cut to the chase and let me know what I needed to do, all was well. Rockabye baby, twinkle stars, and what not. Peacefully sleeping child.

A while later, she says to me, "wow, when I woke you up and started telling you about bedtime, you got all confused and angry and turned all big and red like Amava does."

Funny, because I'm not spec'ed Beast Master IRL.

Big Red Daddy, FTW!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mexican Hats bring the clique back together

Tried to form up two ZA raids. Failed.

Formed up one ZA raid.

Those of us not in that raid looked around at our fellow non-raiders.

And low and behold, its our old clique back from the guild's original raiding days.

See, we went through this period where all the new folks were hating on us because we seemed cliqueie.

I suppose we were, because the 5 of us ran dungeons together all the time, rarely with other people. We raided together all the time, in a time where we didn't yet have a stable second 10-person team.

So we got yelled at for being cliqueie. As a result, the 5 of us have only done a single 5-man dungeon together in the past 4 or 5 months.

One guy wanted Keepers of Time rep, and another one had some quest about a hat.

Why not give Heroic Old Hillsbrad a shot? Its supposedly one of the harder heroics, and we're all sick of blowing through Mechanar or Slave Pens in 35 minutes or so.

Best. Dungeon. Run. Ever.

You'd have thought we all ate catnip before the run.

Just totally goofy. Potty humor. Insulting eachother's heritage, speech impediments, s3xual preferences and abilities. Oh, and continuous and brutal attack on each person's ability to play the game. Using some pretty creative language. And much laughter. And not the phony, typed "lol" variety.

At one point, true silliness bit us. One of the raiders in ZA popped over to our vent channel and asked if his cousin could listen in, because he's interested in seeing what the atmosphere is like in one of our raids (or dungeons, to be exact).

Really? Ok. But you picked the WRONG night for that, buddy. What an earful this visitor must have gotten. Talk about making a bad first impression. I can only imagine what the conversation between our guildie and his cousin was like after the run. "Those are the coconuts you're always raving about? They're certifiable!"

We spanked the place. Thrall has the biggest pair of brass balls in heroic mode. I won't say the run was easy or flawless, but we hammered it, and all I got was 2 pieces of knothide leather scraps off of the end boss.

Then came the hat.

We forgot to do the hat quest (which we all picked up in Gadgetzan before the run). We ran all over trying to find Don Santos. Nowhere.

Check Thottbot.

DOH. Supposedly you can't do it after the dungeon is clear. Crapola.

Once you're saved to a Heroic Raid ID, you can't reset it for 24 hours.

Next thing you know, somebody links in the hat that Don Santos drops from their atlas loot or something.


Given the already nutty nature of our team this night, that was just the last straw. We all wanted that damn dog so bad. It became all consuming.

So we left. Reset. Went back in.

Found Don Santos.

Slaughtered him.

Looted his hat.

Only one drops.


Try again. Leave. Reset. Go back in.

Repeat until we've all got hats.

Nobody is allowed to summon the pup until we've all got the hats.

w00t, 5 hats. 5 pups. Well, 6 if you include the Shammy who went in Ghost Wolf form, which looked awesome.

Now, Amava is no role player. But she does draw the line at stripping. She likes to keep her clothes on.

But, in OHB, they slap some Human disguise on you. Oh, ok, that's fine then.

Naked Mexican Hat screen shots anyone?

Then we all went back to Shatt City, and paraded around the Aldor Rise and the middle part, wearing our hats and with our pups heeling.

Immediately bombarded with people wanting to know how to get them.


Just an awesome night. Gotta find more of this in the game, because it was just plain old fun.

Aside....Do cats eat catnip? Or is it scented thing that gets them contact high? Whatever it is, we did it.

Ding Two Zero

So its official. 20,000 gold mah pockets.

Not quite sure what to do with that.

Its kind of taken on a life of its own. I thought I could stop grinding out gold via daily quests and skinning for profit.

I was wrong. Its an addiction.

Must. Stop. Getting. Richer.

Respect - revisited

In the past month or so, my Guild's DPS is getting better and better. Amava's proper spot at the top of the damage meter is no longer guaranteed. Still there sometimes, but there's some rogues, a warlock, a mage, and the horror, a couple hunters that're all landing at the top from time to time.

Que spiteful reaction called "delete toon".

Luckily, before I follow through and delete my toon, as the Raid Leader, I get to give out assignments, so don't be surprised if you find yourself clicking cubes, banishing abyssals, tanking Krosh, or going without any shammy in your party on the raid following a time when you top the queen. lol. My spite might even go so far as to instruct the paladins to not bless you :-)

Not one to be discouraged easily, I need to find a new avenue through which to inflate my fragile ego.

Without any real conscious effort, I've found myself turning more and more to Guild pride. You've read my recent Respect and Dedication posts. If you go through the past month or so of posts, excluding the occasional rant about void reaver positioning, the general tone is one of pride in the guild, our success, and so on and so forth.

So, lets take a look at the most recent taste of that slice of pie.

There's a well known Holy Priest on the server. We were looking for one more healer. Somebody said that the guy was available to raid. 10 different people in the raid confirmed something along the lines of "he's awesome, lets get him". So the guy's got a great reputation as both a player and a person. I actually had him on my friends list from a run through Scholomance nearly a year ago.

He chooses to not be a regular raider with his guild, and rather prefers to raid PuG style. He's seen nearly every boss fight up to early Black Temple, but being a PuG'er, he's geared similarly to us, T4 with a dabbling of T5, plus badges and the like.

Yadda yadda yadda. Well respected player. Has seen just about every kind of raid group there is to be seen on our server.

Midway through the raid, the normally silent guy begins to whisper me, singing the praises of the team.

He said he's never seen a group that listens and follows instruction this well.

He's never seen a raid where a player can make a colossal mistake, such as running directly at Gruul while setting up and explaining the fight, wiping the team before we even started up, and get a response of "you're a silly goose" from the raid leader and no complaints from the team. Just run back in and kill the boss.

He's never seen a raid where the RL gives an overview of a boss fight for new folks in clear, concise language. He's either seen a leader go on for 30 minutes on farm content telling each player a detailed list of exactly what buttons they are to press at exactly what time, or he's seen a leader just sort of gloss over assignments and just sort of run in there.

So there you go. The latest installment of Guild Pride Week at Amava Knows Aggro.

And, since its my blog and my fragile ego, I'll interpret things how I want to and take full credit for all the things he liked about raiding with us. So there! You can beat me at WWS, but can you beat me at finding things with which to thump your own chest?

NOTE: ok, fine, so I'll share credit with the awesome group of officers and guildies that make up the raid. But what fun is that to write about? Way more fun to be the spotlight-hogging prima donna that I wish I actually was.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


So it would seem that I'm using blog titles based off of those silly inspirational posters you see all over the walls of corporations across the country. Fun fun.

Let me paint a picture here for you.

Late January 2008.

My guild, made up of a bunch of late comers to WoW, starts venturing into Karazhan.

One of the members of this green bunch of folks was a rogue.

Slowly but surely, we pushed our way through lower and then upper kara.

Eventually, it was time to form another 10-person team and raid side by side.

The guild was massively heavy on DPS, specifically rogues and hunters.

Our rogue friend happens to also have a paladin. He offers to run with the new kara team on his pally, even though he's a big fan of raiding on his rogue.

Since then, the chance to raid with his rogue has been limited. He's been a strong member of that team, bringing leadership, experience of the boss fights, and personal skill with his toon.

As we progressed into 25-person content, he expressed his wishes to run with his rogue I try as hard as I can to fill that tanking spot so he can wear rouge, but most often I've had to ask him to pop over to the pally, which he does without ever complaining.

As we progress as a guild and build up a strong reputation on our server, we've brought on board a few new high quality tanks. This has allowed our friend to raid on his rogue some more, which is nice, although he makes Amava have to push those cooldowns a little bit harder to stay on top of the one and only thing that matters in raiding, namely winning at WWS. lol.

Fast fastforward even further through a couple of 25-person boss progression kills, and you've got our friend raiding on a mix of paladin and rogue.

Ends up watching lots of his guildies get the Champion of the Naaru title, while he's got two toons, each half attuned.

Close, but no cigar. Here you have a team member showing his dedication to the Guild, and enabling us to succeed with raiding. But he's not getting rewarded on par with that dedication.

So last night was his night to shine.

Group up for a sweep through Gruul's Lair. Bring your Paladin, because the more tanks the merrier with HKM.

Spend an hour waltzing with Gruul and company.


Swap out the Paladin for his Rogue.

Fly over to Magtheridon to give him a stern talking to.


End result for the evening...roughly 14 epic lewtz distributed to the team, lots of Champion of the Na'aru titles bestowed.

And best of all, our friend gets not one, but two toons awarded the title in the same night. And his Pally got a cool sword to boot.

Pretty cool way to celebrate dedication to the team.

But, his Rogue did just barely beat Cube-Clicking-Amava at WWS for the Magtheridon fight, so next time, I think I know who is gonna get magically assigned to clickery. Its good to be the king :-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008


I wasn't sure if I was going to write this one or not. In my head, it started tending towards ePeen-ery. But sitting in an airport gets pretty boring once, before you take off, you finish the book that you planned to read on the airplane.


For the Guild.

I'm not sure what happened, but over the last several weeks, it feels like the reputation of my guild, Kishi Kaisei, has exploded.

In a good way.

Everywhere we go, the guild is getting noticed.

Stand at the summoning stone for just about any dungeon or raid in Outlands, and there's people congratulating us on our recent progress, and saying how they've heard that Kishi is pretty cool place to be.

Buying some food for Condoleezza in Lower City, and the guy next to me sends his gratz, referencing a specific recent boss kill.

And here's my personal favorite, what with my being an ego maniac and all.

PuG a run in Mana-Tombs for some LC rep.

The leader invites in the fifth player. I've never met the person, and his guild isn't one that I work with.

Shortly after joining the group, he's all...

"You're Amava? Raid Leader for Kishi?"


"I've heard about you. It's a pleasure to be running with you."

Thx. and stand up, boy, I'm not the Pope.

It was just a strange feeling.

Made me pretty proud of the team. We've been working really hard to keep some momentum to our raids through out the summer. And now that school started back up, even more issues getting players. And with the patch on the horizon, even harder.

But we've been getting the runs together. And been pushing through the bosses.

I bust my ass to try to keep the environment fun but focused. Find the right players. Not waste too much of everybody's time. Never make anybody feel bad for messing up. And at the same time, not let over-underperformance slip too far.

It is nice to get some feedback that its actually working.

And then it got me to thinking a little bit about the progress the team has made lately.

In the WoW community, it feels like you get two schools of thought...

Hardcore: If you're not in Black Temple or Sunwell, you're a scrub.

Casual: Another Kara canceled, maybe we'll kill Maiden next week.

But there's a middle ground of guilds who have made it through Kara but not all the way to end end game.

And for us in the middle, its hard damn work. And we're pretty damn proud of doing a good job with it.

If the response we've gotten from the community on our server is any indication, it would seem that there's a lot of players who don't quite fit into either of the extreme categories, and they respect the accomplishments of guilds, members, and leaders who can get the job done.

But, we're not in Sunwell, and I don't have a bear mount, so I must be a scrub ;-)

The Big Two zero

Mmmmmm. I get on an airplane in a few hours.

When I land and get home, I plan to log in.

And check my auctions.

And I fully expect to ding 20,000 gold.

I'm right on the doorstep now, and if my hotel's housekeeping hadn't swung by with a mint for my pillow a little early, I would have completed the 5 more daily quests needed to ding the big Two Zero.

And I can now rest in peace, and pretty much put Daily Questing on the shelf for a lil while.

Lag, not just for jets anymore

Small aside.

Playing from my hotel last night, raiding Al'ar.

Latency averaging around 1,500ms, peaking at 1,900, with one D/C right before a boss attempt.


The Al'ar fights would look like 1 second of 20 arrows flying from each hunter, 10 arcane missiles flying from the Mages, 10 bolts of what ever Warlocks do flying out of their hands. Followed by about 5 seconds of nothing. Just nothing.

Frozen in place. No movement. No firing. No potion drinking. No trinket activation. No Rapid Fire. No Bestial Wrath (poor Condoleezza, she was so sad, she needs a little BW lovin). Zero Drummers Drumin'.


Ended up gimping my normal DPS output by about 300-400.

During one Phase 2 attempt, the lag unfroze, and I was laying there dead. Stupid AoE flame hit, and I was lagged out and couldn't react.

Luckily, I fly home tonight.

Flame Buffet

Al'ar casts a spell called Flame Buffet.

Is that Buffet, as in Jimmy Buffet of Margueritaville fame?

Or is that Buffet, as in Moon's Chinese Buffet, $7.99, all you can eat.

I dunno, personally I'm a little leary of mass quantities of raw shellfish offered hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean for only $7.99, but that's just me.

Personally, during the raid, I pronounce it like the all-you-can-eat version, (A) because its more fun, and (B) I think its wrong, and hopefully people get a kick out of hearing their high almighty raid leader say stuff funny.

Either way you pronounce it, its been kicking our ass.

And Flame Quill. And Meteors. And Phoenix Embers. And whatnot.

Spent a good number of hours last night wiping on Al'ar.

The team has pretty much mastered Phase 1. Not too much fuss once your platform tanks learn how to properly identify and react to that one effect that requires them to jump down then run back really quickly.

Phase 2. We made it 50% of the way through Phase 2 which was pretty promising.

But then we lost our focus and started having sloppy deaths early on during the fight and other nastiness like that.

Seems like Phase 2 has so many different effects going on, everybody needs to be on top of their game and avoiding the various explosions that are going on around you.

Getting close, though, so I think Al'ar is ready to take a dirt nap.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Figuring out what went wrong

In a recent ZA run, we struggled to take down Halazzi.

By "struggled", I mean "failed".

As a Raid Leader who would like to recover from this and return to kill him, I'm interested in figuring out what went wrong so we can fix it.

A pretty simple fight, so there's not too many elements to explore, but here's my thinking.

I'll need you, the readers, to help me figure out where to go to determine which of these elements is the problem.

The raid composition was 2 Tanks, 2 Healers, 6 DPS.

So, here's some things that can possibly go wrong with the fight, along with my thoughts on how to determine whether it is the root cause of failure or not:

  • Shared Cleavage: Both tanks must stand on top of eachother to share the "cleave" effect. If this were the problem, I think I can verify with WWS to see if both tanks are taking roughly equal "cleave" damage.

  • Lynx Form: Occasionally the boss farts out a lynx avatar. One of the tanks must pick up that mob instantly. I think I can verify that via WWS. I'd have to find out what kind of damage that mob does, and see if anybody besides the tank took damage from it. Also, this one can be verified intuitively. Meaning, I was there during the raid, and I saw the lynx mob get picked up instantly each time. But I like something more scientific than my own intuitive observation.

  • Flame Shock: Flame Shocks must be dispelled. Quickly. And, if you have more than one toon capable of dispelling, you need to have them all participate. I can verify with WWS how many flame shocks each player dispelled. But I cannot easily verify how quickly they reacted. Perhaps I could look at the damage we all took from Flame Shock, and compare it to the amount we took during a successful kill.

  • Corrupted Lightning Totem: When the totem shows up, it has to be killed verah quicklah. I'm not sure how to tell if we killed them quick enough or not. Like Flame Shock, I can look at WWS to see how much Chain Lightning damage we took and compare it to a successful kill. Alternatively, I can look at each DPS'er and see how much damage they did to the totems and yell at anybody who was too low.

  • Tranquilizing Shot: Halazzi likes to go into a frenzy and whoop your tank's ass. Most Hunters don't keep Tranq shot on their action bars. As a result, sometimes they realize half way through the fight that they forgot to pull it out of the silly Marksman page of their spell book. I do not know how to determine the timeliness of the Tranq shots. Is there a way to see in WWS how much frenzy damage the tank took?

  • And now for my favorite loaded question, Healer Out of Mana: Ah, the very best of the best of the finger pointing comes when a healer goes out of mana. First, the finger gets pointed at the healer himself. "Your mana pool isnt deep enough, or you're casting inefficient spells, or you're overhealing too much". Pish posh. Maybe that's it, but perhaps not. Lets dig a bit deeper.

    Another reason a healer might go oom is if he's got a massive dispel duty, burning his mana on non-heal activity. Examining WWS can show if there's an unequal balance in the dispels with one player doing all the work and burning all the mana. Lets keep pointing fingers though, because its fun.

    Maybe a healer goes OOM if the tank is taking an inappropriate amount of damage. One easy no-brainer would be that shared cleave going unshared. I can verify that. But what if the cleave is shared, and the tank has too low avoidance? Maybe the tank geared overly towards threat generation, and skimped out of proper avoidance stats? How do I determine something like this?

    Next up is overall raid stamina. Maybe all those DPS'ers with 7000 health are just too fragile, and require way too much attention from the healers. If you have 9 or 10k health, you give you healer a little breathing room and you also buy yourself some time to bandage or wait another 10 seconds for your potion cooldown to drink another health pot. I have no scientific way to verify that this is the cause, other than to just examine the health of each player and go with an intuitive notion of whether we have enough stamina or not.

    And lastly. One that's very near and dear to my heart, DPS too low. Maybe its just taking your team too long to kill the boss. Boss alive too long, requires healer to heal for too long, poof, healer oom.

I think it would be fun to yell at somebody, and I'd like to have quantitative data behind me when I yell at them.

NOTE: I really don't yell at people. In my head, I yell. When it comes out of my mouth, its generally a pretty rational, non-confrontational discussion, aiming at allowing people to make mistakes, have fun, and also keep making progress. But I do like to fantasize that I'm like Drill Instructor Hartman barking at a fresh class of recruits.

Perhaps everybody smoked crack before the raid?

I dunno what's up. I published my earlier post entitled "On the road again", but it's not appearing on the blog or in my feed reader. But it appears as "published" in my Blogger control panel. Oh well, if you haven't read that one yet, you're really missing out on a gem. Not. Edit: an hour later, it showed up on the blog and in my reader. wtf?

My boss used his infinite powers of persuasion to convince me that dinner with coworkers was in my best interest. So, being the resourceful little sneak that I am, I went to the event coordinator during a break and used my infinite powers of persuasion to make sure that she arranged dinner such that I will be available for my raid.


Dinner was nice, steaks, salmon in some weird but tasty sauce, a variety of other goodies. Open bar, not that I was overly anxious for booze. Got back to my room intime to get ready for the raid.

On to the show.

Zul'Aman bear mount run.

Not for the weak of heart.

What's the best way to start off a potential bear run?

Wipe within 30 seconds of initiating combat in the gauntlet on the way to Akil'zon.


We haven't wiped in that area in months and months.

And we walk in with aspirations of seeing just how far out of reach the bear mount is, and we wipe instantly.

Oh well.

We regrouped and pretended that we were still pushing quickly. One shot akilzon. Whatever.

Waltz over to Nalorakk. We've been one shotting him for months. Wiped 3 times.


I said, "ok, F nalorakk, lets go practice speed progression through the scout gauntlet on the way to jan'alai."



One shot Jan'alai.

Ok, since the timed event would have expired about an hour ago, lets go slowly and make sure everyone knows the path to Halazzi.

In the three times we've gone to Halazzi, we wipe 4 or 5 times each night while screwing up trying to jump through huts and windows and stuff.

Somebody fails to jump through the window and aggro a patrol, a hunter fails to dismiss pet and jumps through a window and then pet comes running aroudn the outside with 10 mobs in tow.

So this time we actually did the Halazzi trash reasonably smoothly.

Go figure!

Couldn't kill Halazzi.

Perhaps everybody smoked crack before the raid?

Otherwise it seems that there aint no bears in our future.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

On the Road Again

So I'm on business travel again.

Finished up raid last night at 12:00 midnight. Woke up at 4:00am to get ready for the airplane. Flew. Currently sitting through uber boring work session. Was instructed by boss that dinner with coworkers is non-negotiable. Tried to instruct boss that my being back in my hotel at 7:30 tonight is non-negotiable, what with my Zul'Aman team making our first serious Bear Mount run tonight. We'll see how it turns out.

Probably no ribs on this business trip, but then again, even last time, no ribs either. They've hinted at steaks and salmon, so maybe this trip will turn out ok anyways. Oh, and a couple hours of open bar, which might put a little more zest into would-be a ZA bear run.

You know its sad when the only place you can find beef ribs in your home town is at the stupid Cheesecake Factory at the stupid Mall.

But I digress.

Went after Al'ar in Tempest Keep last night. Had full 25-person team ready 7 minutes before scheduled raid start time.

For first time ever, actually had to tell 4 players in the guild that they cannot raid because the raid is full. Felt bad telling people NO, but I tried to be factual about what the raid requires and people seemed to understand.

I was hugely confused from WoW Wiki's write up and some youtube vids. So I delegated strategy planning to one of the other officers.

He did a good job explaining to everyone how it should flow.

We tried it. And progressively went from getting spanked, to doing OK, to doing quite well, to making it all the way through Phase 1 and a little bit into Phase 2.

Really fun to see the team evolve through the learning experience and get better with each subsequent attempt.

That's more or less it. I think I'm too tired at this point to write anymore, and I need to conserve energy for my steak & salmon fiesta and maybe even a side of Amani War Bear.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Choosing the next boss

After the Void Reaver kill, one of the raid members asked me if I could provide advance notice of which bosses we'd be doing on which nights.

A perfectly valid question.

For which, I had only a vague answer.

Casual guild, no attendance requirement.

What this means is that I have only a limited view of who I can plan on attending on any given night.

We use Group Calendar for signups, but the usage is spotty.

And if we have 20 people online, and I have to PuG some members, I have no advance notice of what classes or people to expect.

So its tough as a Raid Leader. Which then in turn becomes tough for the Raid Members.

I explained that the best I can do is offer a short list of the next potential bosses.

Read up on Hydross, because if our resist tanks show up, we're going there next.

Read up on Al'ar, because if the resist tanks don't show up but we do have 2 solid warlocks, Al'ar is up next.

If our resist tanks and warlocks are not here, then probably into SSC for Leotheras the Blind.

If you still have questions about Lurker or Void Reaver, research on them, because we're gonna kill them both a couple more times before we push forward.

I wish I could have given a more clear or specific answer, but in light of how our attendance is like a box of chocolates, I could only provide this vague description.

And, as a big giant LOL in the face of the upcoming patches and expansions, I'm going to propose to the officers that we take a stab at Mount Hyjall, just to see if we can do it.

Liquidation Sale. Everything Must Go!

WotLK is right around the corner.

The patch is coming that's gonna prep us for WotLK, perhaps only a few weeks away.

I have no idea what will happen to the economy when all this goes down.

I've got 4 full guild bank tabs filled with junk.

Junk that people are willing to pay for.

At least, they're willing to pay today.

I've no idea if they'll be willing to pay once the patch or xpac come out.

So its all for sale.

Giddy. Simply giddy to come home, and rake nearly 2.5k out of my inbox.

I'm sure I'll have to keep relisting some of the stuff, but for now, its all going like hotcakes.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tag, I'm It

Loronar at 35 Yards Out tagged me.

Full disclosure. I'm usually one to opt out of the blogging wildfires that sweep across the land. I've seen a bunch of these crop up, and haven't fully followed them. But on blogs I read daily, I have been scrolling to the bottom to see if I was tagged, out of respect for the authors.

That said, here's where I was at various times in history:

September 11 Attacks: September 11, 2001

The city of Buffalo, NY is a funny one for somebody who grew up near NYC, and therefore had ingrained since birth that all cities should look like NYC. Buffalo has dozens and dozens of buildings, ranging between 5 and 10 stories. Relatively small, I'd say. Then, there's this one building. Its the big one. 40 stories tall. And has a very visible, high contrast, primary color logo of a major international bank at its peak. That's it, just one big building. Sticks out like a sore thumb.

So, on a day that there's a report of an unknown number of airplanes crashing into large, visible buildings, in what was at the time an unknown number of locations/cities across the east coast, you pretty much don't want to be in the giant building with the target on top of it.

I heard the news on the radio, then somebody whipped out a small portable TV and we watched the footage.

Although no corporate-wide instruction came out yet, I told my team to evacuate immediately. Most of them wanted to stay and make sure their work was saved and checked into the remote servers and stuff. Very responsible people, outstanding to work with. I grabbed one by the shoulders, and said "GET THE F$%K OUT. RIGHT NOW!" and we all left.

I was a volunteer firefighter at the time, so the story and relief efforts for the families of the FDNY were a big part of life in the following months and years.

Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster: January 28, 1986

I was in grade school. Hugely into airplanes and flight and outer space and all sorts of stuff like that. Some kids like dinosaurs, I liked NASA. Some kids read Go Dog Go, I was reading WWII: The Airman's War: Life in a B-17 Over Europe. Naturally, I was pretty excited that we were given the opportunity to watch the launch on TV at school, which was a pretty rare treat.

This particular launch was also of importance to me, because it was the first to include a member of the Teacher in Space Project. My father was a science teacher, I had been following along with his application process to join the project. Who knew that overeating and underexercising would prove to be a good thing, since it disqualifies you from being selected for a NASA mission.

Hurricane Katrina: August 29, 2005

I don't really have a particularly close connection with this one. I watched the news, was appalled at the complete incompetence of our government to provide timely and effective help for the people impacted by the disaster, but then again, it was just another cluster fu$@ in a long chain of clusters fu$@.

And I don't know about you, but when I see the disaster footage, the thing that really gets to me is seeing the animals. Cats, dogs, farm animals, wild creatures, all clinging to roofs and tree tops to keep out of the floods, starving and exposed to the elements. That's always a tear jerker.

Reagan Assassination Attempt: March 30, 1981

I was a lil kid at the time. Lil kids growing up in the overprotective environment of American suburbs don't really understand the concept of assassination, so while I was vaguely aware that something bad happened, not really a significant moment in my life.

John Lennon's Death: June 8, 1980

Even lil'er than when the Reagan thing went down, so yeah, I'm gonna have to go with no on this one too.

Kurt Cobain's Death: April 5, 1994

Never a big Nirvana fan. A strange part of me both lol's and cries at the memory of this one.

Earlier that year in highschool, one of our classmates killed himself. The kid was a bit of an outcast, not really accepted by any of the social cliques in the school. There was some small uproar over the tragedy of his death, but the school more or less kept on keepin' on.

Then Kurt. And you'd have thought the world had come to an end. People tried to organize sit-ins and memorial services and stuff.

WFT? Some popular musician living in a far off part of the country eats a bullet and you're all up in arms, but your socially unpopular neighbor and classmate goes down the same path and you barely notice? Get some perspective here, ppl.

John F. Kennedy Assassination: November 22, 1963

My closest connection with this one was the Seinfeld episode where they recreated the event, replacing killers with NY Mets baseball players, and bullets with loogies.

Tank Frames and Main Assist

I run XPerl unit frames (and raid frames, I think).

It has a cool little feature where it provides a little box with each of your tanks in it. And their targets. And their targets' target.

Hugely useful, because you can always be sure you're picking up a tanked target as you switch between targets.

For the Main Assist (a dps player who everybody else should be /assist'ing to change targets), a tank frame is vital. Everyone is depending on that person to choose the proper target.

In Tempest Keep, there are a few very chaotic trash pulls near the beginning. Using a Main Assist is clutch, to keep people focus firing and burning mobs down, rather than everybody fighting their own target and having 7 half-dead mobs.

The problem with the tank frames.

Out of the box, XPerl will populate your Tank Frame with all Warriors in the raid.

Ok, nice, our Main Tank is a Warrior. And one of our normal Off Tanks is a Warrior.

But what about my beautiful Paladins and Bears? No where to be found.

And what about that Fury Warrior? He's in there.

Makes it tough for the Main Assist to pick up targets during the chaos pulls.

oRA2 to the rescue.

I installed oRA2 last night.

Fiddled a bit, and figured out how to designate the tanks, so my Fury Warrior was out, and my Pally and Bear were in.


But other players in the raid didn't get the updates. I was hoping that the Raid Leader could specify the tanks, and everyone would get it.


But wait, that's not all folks. Then while twiddling my thumbs, looking for a second Warlock to bring along, I found a nifty "Broadcast" button.

Click. And presto, everybody's got their Tank Frames updated.

Very nice. I should have installed this puppy months ago.

As we burn mobs down, when the current target hit 5%, I was able to choose the next target from any of the available tanks, and as soon as the current target was dead, the raid could easily choose their next target immediately since I was already switched over.

This was far and away the most efficient use of the Main Assist that our Guild has ever done, and the progress through the trash showed massive improvement.

Space yourselves out

The following will make more sense when you get to the end....on a lighter note, it only took us about 10 seconds to make a near perfect shoulder-to-shoulder lineup around the corpse for the screenshot.

Back to the doom and gloom that is this blog post...

When fighting Void Reaver in Tempest Keep, for anybody outside melee range, keep space between you and your neighbor. When either you, or your neighbor, gets targeted with an Arcane Orb, just turn around, and run directly away from VR. Watch explosion behind you. Turn around, and run back.

Oh, and use every aggro-reset capability you have at every opportunity you have.

Backing up a step, before the boss fight, during our inaugural visit to The Eye, I noted how tricky the trash was.

Bah. Just first time jitters.

We flew through the trash this time. Everybody was listening to positional instructions, CC'ers remained focused on their jobs rather than trying to top the meters and let their assignments one shot all the healers, the tanks kept us moving quickly, the stars were clearly aligned during our trash clearing.

Night and day compared to our first visit.

Then came Void Reaver himself. And things took a strange turn.

During the raid, or actually in any situation where I'm leading a group of people, I prefer to give as few instructions as possible. Generally, its better to have people make their own decisions. That's easier for me, and also empowers people to figure out the best way to do stuff and have the freedom to act on it independently. Win-win so to speak.

So when I do give an instruction, its usually for a pretty specific reason.

Case in point.

"Spread yourselves around the perimeter of the room. To help reduce the impact of any Arcane Orbs, its important to have maximum space between you and your neighbors."

And then, while setting up, I have 4 other ranged players standing directly on top of me while, roughly 90 degrees to our right, there's a mile and a half of empty space. Ok, easy enough, I'll trot on over to the empty space myself. Only to have now 5 players standing directly on top of me.

And when I say "directly on top", I don't mean "vaguely near". WoW has no collision detection of players, so they're standing directly rendered inside my toon. Lengthy, lengthy setup time just getting folks into position, for what should be reasonably straight forward to find empty space in this massive circular room.

"Look to your left, look to your right. Memorize who's standing on either side of you. When you or one of your immediate neighbors is targeted with an Orb, turn around and run directly away from VR. Once the orb explodes, turn around and return to your original position."

And then, orbs incoming, I see 4 players running circles around VR. As orbs drop, they avoid the one targeting them, but then run directly into somebody else's orb. And they then stand there, in the wrong spot, which now trains additional orbs onto people who didn't realize they had a new neighbor. Major wipe fest.

"Once in position, until the tank has engaged the target, don't do anything. No consumables, magics, bandaids. All buffing should be done by the entrance."

And then, while standing there, actually having gotten the whole team into good position, somebody decides to bubble himself. Aggros the boss. We run out to reset. Ok, only a few minutes wasted, but now I gotta make sure everybody's back in their positions. Ok, on this one, the guy in question was really sorry, he knew what he did wrong immediately and came clean. Fine fine, he learned his lesson, we can recover pretty quickly.

"Other than dying during the boss fight, if you die, The Eye has the shortest corpse run in the game. Release and run back."

And then, after we reset VR, most of the players get back into position like good little soldiers. Nice, we can recover quickly from that bubble boo-boo. But, somebody decides to rez the dead bubbler. Aggros VR and we gotta reset once more. And this time, all chaos ensues getting back into position, wasting nearly 10 additional minutes.

I'm not sure what was going on. We usually dont have very much issue like this. Of any of the problems here, the one that really got to me was the positioning one during setup. I basically had to individually go around the room and call out individual names as I identified clumps of 4 or more people standing directly atop one another, with giant gaps of available space.

That wasted so much time, and so much of my concentration / energy. For something that really should need to be spelled out other than floating a single comment like "everybody space yourselves out around the edge of the room".

In the end, the team did an amazing job and our progression attempt went pretty smoothly (other than 4 people migrating towards me during the fight, so I was suddenly getting nailed by 4 arcane orbs and died at 17%, which kinda ticked me off, but ah well, we killed the boss).

I got pretty annoyed though, specifically at how hard it was to get a reasonable spacing between players during initial setup. I'm wondering how much of it I was able to hide, and how much came through vent. I hate to have the joy of a progression kill tainted by negative emotions, but it really just sucked the wind out of my sails to have to work that hard to get the spacing even vaguely close to right.

Anybody from the raid read this? Only guildie I know who reads this wasn't online last night till late. Wanna share what an annoying jerk Amava was last night :-) ? Or did it hide reasonably well?


It has been two weeks since I set foot in the Arenas.

Since then, the sky looks a little bit bluer, the grass a little bit greener, the flowers smell a little bit sweeter.

The incoming freshman co-eds at the nearby College look a little more....well....nevermind 'bout them.

That is all.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Always in the middle

Not WoW related, but read on for fun.

Imagine you're in a corporate office. Cubicles and the like.

Now imagine you're in the bathroom of said corporate office.

No, this isn't going to devolve into potty humor, so if the first line of the post didn't convince you to leave, just keep reading.

Imagine its the men's room. And imagine you're a man.

You've got a wall with three urinals on it. The old school kind that were built before people started getting antsy about privacy and personal space, so there's no dividers in between them, and they're uncomfortably close together.

When you enter the bathroom, there's only one other occupant. He's standing at the middle urinal.

So you get to choose between interlocking ankles with the guy and pressing shoulders together and delicately gazing up towards the wall/ceiling so as to avoid staring at eachother's junk while you both pee (did I mention that they're close together?), or you can choose to go to one of the stalls for your activity.

Imagine you chose the stalls, because you really only like brushing up against other men while pee'ing in a trough at a football game, three sheets to the wind in sub zero weather, in which case, everybody's junk is so cold and shrunken its actually kinda funny to peer over.

So you finish up, exit the stall and head over to the sinks to warsh up.

There's three sinks.

He's standing at the middle one.

So, with no other option, you kinda shoulder past the guy and take the spot at one of the side sinks.

Finish warshing up, turn to go to the solitary paper towel dispenser in the room. And he's standing there, boxing you out like Charles Barkley.

And he's taking his sweet time, taking his glasses off and cleaning them while standing there, and huffing and puffing rubbing the damp towels from the hand-water they absorbed on his face.

So you reach kinda past and around him to get a paper towel.

And now he decides to abruptly turn around and dash right into your chest, as though you weren't there.

You awkwardly squirm around eachother.

Dry your hands.

Turn to leave the bathroom.

And, he's there, at a complete standstill, right around the corner but still in the bathroom. And you run into him because you're pretty much fed up with this bathroom visit to begin with and ready to run back to your desk, since you're on a recent kick of work-related motivation.

WTF is he standing there for?

The longer you make me stand here, the more you make my resistance to WoW and the blog crumble!!!!!!!


Ah. There. I feel better now.