Saturday, October 20, 2012

There and Back Again: A WoWer's Journey

I'm terrible at being consistent, as evidenced by how long it has been since I posted to this blog that NOBODY READS, but since I enjoy writing, and I have a new keyboard (DAS keyboard to be exact), and I often find myself without an outlet for it, I figured what the hey. The nudge came when I was checking me e-mail and saw someone about google webmaster tools notifications. At first I thought this was either a mistake (I've been getting e-mails that belong to someone with the same last name) or a phishing scam. The e-mail looked to be legit, but I still wasn't sure why I got the e-mail so I went to the google webmaster tools link, and Lo and Behold! My WoW blog I had completely forgotten about!

So here's the story: When I started this blog I was in an active, growing, and progressing guild of people I genuinely liked and enjoyed playing with. As is fairly common with guilds, when the Cataclysm occurred things got a little rocky. The new heroic dungeons were very tough on healers, and dps (damage dealers) had to be very careful to "stay out of the fire" so to speak and avoid taking damage as much as possible. They were also long, requiring crowd control and careful maneuvering. We were a very melee heavy guild at the time, so crowd control was hard to come by. Epics no longer dropped in heroic dungeons, and in order to get the better heroic dungeon gear, one had to run the dungeons successfully. It was not unusual for us to wipe 5 or even 10 times on a boss if the group composition wasn't ideal, and you needed to be prepared to spend at least an hour, possibly two to finish one heroic. Blizzard was trying to appeal to the hardcore players and all the whiners who complained that the game had gotten too easy. They went too far in the other direction. Now, I remember the days when UBRS was a 15 man raid and could be an all evening event. If you got to Drak, and the hunter couldn't kite, and the warlock forgot to soulstone someone who would rez...well it was back to the beginning for you! All of this for tier .5 and random blues. I look back on it fondly, but at the time, I remember being so super perturbed that we got to the end and couldn't finish because no one was willing to start over and clear all the respawn. 

I didn't miss that aggravation in BC and Wrath. I did miss the lack of strategy, as in Wrath especially heroics were a faceroll (if you don't know what this is, look for an upcoming vocab post). When Cata first came out and heroics were a nightmare, there were actually occasions where we took so long that we had respawn...just like the good 'ole days. They call them "trash mobs" for good reason, as they are junk in between you and what you want ( a boss kill) that have absolutely no value to a level-capped character, unless they have a chance to drop good gear, which, in heroic dungeons, they don't.

The painful heroics continued on to painful raiding. It was was messy. The group composition was less than ideal. Players came in to raids unprepared and undergeared. The prepared and geared players got impatient and started playing the field. Rules were made to address these issues, but many rebelled against them, and/or they were misinterpreted or not enforced correctly. Some of the better players started leaving...even those who had been with the guild a very long time. The fun easy ccamaraderie that inspired me to start this blog was gone. I changed guilds, and at first it was great, but I still didn't know a lot of these people. Some of our group members quit, and were filled in with random players that were unreliable and often egotistical jerks. We still made progress, though it was slow, and the group continued to struggle. I forgot about the blog. And then, shortly before Christmas, I quit WoW. I played Star Wars: The Old Republic for a while. I had quite a few friends and family playing it, and even some of my WoW guildmates, though they were on different servers. It was fun at first, but the individual story-lines made a bit of a disconnect when questing together, and in trying to keep "in step" with other players, I had many lower level alts instead of a high level main. My friends rushed ahead and I was often left playing alone. The main appeal of an MMO, and it's defining characteristic, is the social community it creates. I was on one of the more populated servers, yet the community felt fragmented. It was more like a bunch of smaller cliques that only spoke to or interacted with their own. It was like high school, and I was eating lunch by myself. I continued playing for quite a while, and Bioware implemented some positive changes, but it was too little too late, and the server population continued to plummet. My friends quit. I logged in every once in a while, then I stopped entirely. When I heard that the game was going free to play, I cancelled my subscription. 

I hadn't been planning on playing the new WoW expansion. I thought adding pandas was dumb. Yet the longer I went without any online gaming interaction, the lower my gaming standards became. I started playing social Facebook games. You know the ones where you have to spam everyone on your friends list to send you items so you can build something? I was staying up late and using my husband's account to try to get my project completed before the time ran out, only to have the server rolled back and my reward taken away. I realized how stupid it was, but I needed that feel of accomplishment. One of my old guild members sent me a "Scroll of Resurrection" that let me return to WoW for 7 days for free. I thought, hey, what can it hurt? I don't have to resub or anything. So I did it. Upon logging in I had numerous whispers of "welcome back" and "how the heck are ya?" "Long time no see!". I never had any of that in SWtoR. As corny and cliche as it sounds, it felt a lot like coming home. That relaxed sense of belonging. So I bought the expansion, and reactivated my subscription. Sure, Pokewow and Farmwow are silly, but it's a fun little diversion. The pandas aren't as bad as I thought they'd be, the new quests have some interesting mechanics, and the zones are very rich visually and in story.

So that's the story of how I neglected my blog and came back again! I'm sure no one will read it, but it's nice to get my thoughts down anyways! I have to go run the Headless Horseman so he can NOT give me his mount for the 6th year in a row!

Happy Hunting!


Friday, November 19, 2010

Gnome Bashing for fun and profit

Feeling a bit mischievous?  Torture your friendly neighborhood gnome! Here's a few ideas to get you started.

How's the air down there?  'Cause I just had broccoli and onions for lunch...
How cute, a mini-me!

What's it like to be at eye level with my pet's rear end?

Hey, T-Pain called, and he wants his Shawty back.

(chanting) PUNT! PUNT! PUNT! PUNT! PUNT!

Sorry I couldn't heal you, you must be 42" tall to ride.

(upon asked to earth shield the gnome tank) Dangit I'm a witch doctor, not a babysitter!

Can I put you in a stroller and take you to the park to help me pick up ladies?

Sorry, my hearing range doesn't include squeak speak.

You look like you'd make a good footstool.

Get in my belly!

A circus somewhere is being deprived of it's midget

And last, but not least, just point and giggle!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Vocabulary Word: Aggro

Ahh, aggro, how interesting you are. Some may think you are a horticulture class, or a college major for people who want to be farmers. Alas, this is not the case. For those, like myself, who do not "tank" (more on that later), you are an unwanted annoyance that often results in upset interjections over vent.  

"Jengus, if you want to tank, go defensive stance!"
sigh "Rynnia's dead...again"
"Oh come on! Learn to feign death!"
"Fubar did it!"

These comments represent your typical in-game aggro scenarios. Example: Boss is pulled. Death Knight is trying out his new spec and wants to see how much dps he can do. Death Knight blows cooldowns and attacks .5 seconds after the tank pulls. Death Knight now has aggro, and is, essentially the current tank. Death Knight is not spec'd or geared to tank. Death Knight dies. If tank can taunt and re-establish aggro, all continues with a single (deserved) casualty. If tank cannot, Boss selects next highest aggro (probably a squishy mage or warlock) and wipes the floor with them. Squishy dies. You get the idea. If this is a heroic 10 man, you now have too many dead to continue, must commit suicide, and start over. Congratulations.

Where the term aggro (which, I think is short for aggression) becomes extra interesting is when it is applied to non-game scenarios. Hence the phenomenon known as "wife aggro"
"Hey, EpicHealz, you there?"
muffled clanking and arguing in the background
30 seconds pass
"Yeah, just a second.  Major wife aggro.  I have to take the trash out, be right back"

This scenario can also apply to "husband aggro" which is usually of a different nature.

"OK, let's review the combat log from that last attempt. What killed you FluffyNugget?"
(typed response) Sorry guys, I have to go. Major gas from a bean burrito!
 [FluffyNugget has gone offline]

FluffyNugget is then unceremoniously dragged to the bedroom by hubby (who, if you didn't catch that, was the one who typed in her game chat about the bean burrito), who does not care how many weeks the guild has been working on the boss, or that the last attempt the boss was down to 3%, OR that you are the only boomkin online and they will have to find a pug, fill the spot with a less desirable class, or call the raid hanging 9 people out to dry.

There is also "baby aggro" which is usually accompanied by the sounds of a child screaming in the background, and followed by an afk to change and dispose of an atomic diaper, to administer a band aid or provide overdue sustenance, usually in the form of microwavable Mac n' Cheese.

If you are unfamiliar with WoW (or MMOs in general) a lot of this may sound like gibberish.  Not to worry! Keep reading. These terms will be explained so that you can understand what your 14 year old is posting on his facebook, or what the tech support gurus chat about in the break-room.