Working Mom of Three, History Buff, Writer, World of Warcraft Addict. . .My Comments on My Crazy Life.

Archive for the ‘World of Warcraft’ Category

And Now, For Something Completely Different

World of Warcraft is in the doldrums.  Or, as many folks call it, the “Pre-expansion Period.”  We’ve been told by the good folks at Blizzard not to expect any new content for Cataclysm.  The Mists of Pandaria Beta is a happening place right now with cool new toys brought in weekly.  I have seen the wonders of AoE Looting and the new “Fairy Wings” (my term) style of effect for Rezzie’s <a href://Avenging Wrath.  I know that in MoP, Rosie will become a glorious white stag who looks a lot like Harry Potter’s Patronus, and will be able to carry Hubby or any other friend around on her back.  My hunter, Kheylar, will make a fortune creating glyphs for everyone when the game debuts sometime in the next few months.  Plus, she will have the added ability to release a “Murder of Crows” at her enemies as an AoE attack.  As an additional damage boost for boss fights, Kheylar will be able to send out all five of her pet-friends at the boss in an attack called “Stampede.”  Yes, MoP will be fun and different.  It’s just not out yet.  And we’re all bored to death with killing Deathwing now. 

I have been reading the articles on WoW Insider about roleplaying written by the wonderful Anne Stickney.  I always thought that roleplaying was something that only perverts and teenagers did on the Moon Guard Server.  Well, what I have learned is that roleplaying is something that an entire community does together.  You create a character, a back-story for that character, and then you interact with the world around you in character.  If you, for example, are playing a priest, you might go around talking about the light and blessing people when you throw a heal.  If you play a warrior, you might play him or her as an idealist, or someone who is mad at the world, or basically just somebody who wants to hit stuff. 

One of the other basic requirements for roleplaying is to understand a little about the lore of WoW.  Lore is the made up history, society norms, culture, jargon, etc. of a fantasy “world.”  Think about Star Trek.  Star Trek has its own universe made up of the aliens, Starfleet regulations, planets, and history of their reality.  To understand Star Trek, you have to get at least a little bit of their terminology.  While you watch Star Trek, you understand what Captain Kirk means when he says things like, “Beam Me Up” or “Warp Factor 1.”   If Picard goes over to a little computer panel in the wall and says, “Tea—Earl Gray—Hot” you know that he’s talking to a device called a “Replicator” and the cup of tea will instantly materialize for him.  I had to actually put the water on to boil, wait 5 minutes for the tea to steep, and then mix in the Splenda and pour it myself.  Oh, to live in the 24th Century!

I have rolled toons on roleplaying servers in the past because I have always found the communities to be more mature and helpful for the most part.  They have lower populations than regular servers, so they are peaceful out questing.  I’ve even had a few roleplaying interactions with some folks in towns and thought it was fun.  So, I wanted to go off and give it a real try.

I have created Nykka (pronounced with a long-e sound).  She is a poor goblin rogue, going off to create her own fortune and adventure through the world.  Like most goblins, she loves money.  But, the Cataclysm has left her penniless and broken.  Desperate and starving, she’ll do almost anything to rebuild her fortune.  She’s learned how to hunt animals for their skins to create her own gear, how to pickpocket unsuspecting enemies, and how to use her wits to keep her safe.

She’s completely different from the type of toon I usually play in WoW.  She’s not a caster, nor is she pious and good.  She’s bad.  She’s a thief—a petty criminal.  I have gone to another realm with her so that I can enjoy the challenge of building her up without help.  Hubby’s not going to be there to help quest or support her.  I don’t have any other toons on the realm that will send her gold or make her useful bags, potions, or glyphs.  Nykka is truly on her own, starting from nothing. 

I am so excited to get her out of the goblin starting area where she can interact with others that I can’t see straight.  I want to see how Nykka’s story plays out.  Who knows?  I might drop her the same way I’ve dropped every other rogue I’ve tried to level.  I might get to town and find no roleplaying guilds are recruiting and that people do not want to play with a total stranger.  But, I am excited about the journey—the first time I’ve been really excited and felt creative about something in a few weeks.  That means something to me.  It’s just a stupid video game, yes, but I like that stupid video game and the adventure it lets me go on.

The Altoholics Lament

There’s just not enough time.
There is so many things that I want to accomplish, both in real life and in game. I want to travel. I want to do historical research and finish my two articles I started. I want to finish all the books that I have started writing. I want to clean my house from top to bottom. I want to finish my college education. Okay, that takes money along with time, and I have neither.
I have unfinished projects like that in the game too, but they’re called “alts.” Last night I blew the dust off of my Paladin, Rezina. I had been looking at her achievements on the Armory and discovered to my dismay that my oldest character was only one zone away from the “World Explorer” achievement. So, she and I went swimming in Vashj’ir. I even did the first few quests in the zone so that I could get the seahorse mount and make the time go a little quicker. Playing her was like having a conversation with an old friend. It was comfortable and fun, but I didn’t quite understand her as well as I used to.
After I got the achievement, I took her back home to Orgrimmar and thought about taking her to a dungeon. She’s dual-specced for tanking and healing. Her best gear is her healing set, but I feel more comfortable tanking with her. As I thought more about it, I realized that playing her would mean hours of studying to learn the rotations, and running dungeons over and over for valor points to get both gear sets to where they need to be. In other words, it would take time, which is too valuable a commodity to invest.
I have this goal in the back of my mind, you see. I’d like to have ten toons, all maxed leveled, maxed professions, and geared well. So, if I wanted to, say, take out druid and heal, or take out Rezzie for tanking, or take out my hunter Kheylar and just shoot bad guys, well, I could do it.
Many people do that. Most of them are either college kids, housewives, or retired older folks. Or, they have been playing World of Warcraft since it came out in 2006. They understand the class mechanics and rotations of all ten toons. They invest the time because that’s something that they have.
I have many “baby alts” that are sitting at low levels. I started them because I wanted to try that specific class/race combination. I have enjoyed playing them and hope that someday I can get back to them. My favorite is Toshina, my goblin priest. She’s level 31, and nothing but a ball of green sass and energy. I adore their movement animations. They walk with a bounce in their steps and their ears wiggle. They hop around, looking as if casting is such hard work for their little bodies. But, they get the job done. After all, “Time is money, friend! I got mouths to feed!” (I love it when they say that!)
So little time, so many things I’d like to do with my time. Too many alts to master and play. Common sense tells me that I need to pick two or three toons and focus mainly on them. I’ve learned the hard way that I am not good playing my druid and may never be. Paladins have such complicated mechanics, I don’t know if I will ever master playing Rezina again, and I am afraid to try. So, I will continue to dabble with my babies until I find that one that I am good at and is fun for me. After all, WoW is a game to entertain me in my leisure time—not an all encompassing activity. I have one of those already, and that’s being a mommy.

Hey, You Elitist Jerk! Bite My Shiny, Metal Butt!

All this haterade bores me. (Yawn

A direct quote from that sweetheart, Wolfshead.  “It gets worse, it always does. The players through no fault of their own have become virtual slackers addicted to a steady drip feed of rewards. Shooting fish in a barrel would require too much skill for today’s average WoW player. People don’t want to work for anything anymore; they feel entitled. They want achievements for just showing up and Blizzard is only too happy to oblige.”

So, how does it feel to be called the worst gaming community out there? Or, better still, “Entitled, unskilled, and incompetent?” That is what a gaming blogger named Wolfshead has called us WoW players while he reviews Cataclysm as the “Worst Expansion in MMO History.” I wouldn’t even know about this guy and his “holier-than-thou” opinion until I started seeing the reaction from the people in the community who actually PLAY World of Warcraft and CARE about the community. So, I had to go and read it for myself.
I will admit, I had bolstered myself for some negativity. Larissa from the Pink Pig-tailed Inn had already stated that he was a prolific critic of WoW. I also see at the top of his page that he’s claiming to be a MMO Designer. Yeah, Okay. My 20 year old makes his own anime cartoons with Paint Shop and a animation program I paid a whopping $50 for; on an E-Machine Computer I bought him at Wal-Mart, so I guess you can call him a Cartoonist. You can catch his stuff on his MySpace Page. Since he still lives with me, and I keep him in pizza, cereal, and World of Warcraft, I guess I should just wait patiently for the checks to come in, right?
But, I let me come back to what I wanted to respond in my own blog about. I appreciate being called a “slacker” just as much as I like it when someone in a PUG calls me a noob and tries to blame me for their death when they are the idiot who ran ahead and pulled agro! I am not a SLACKER! I am a MOM! With a job, and with bills to pay, and with three children to raise! I do not have 10-12 hours every day to devote to playing a computer game to make sure that I have the “Top Skills.”
I do, however, take great pride in my characters and the achievements that they have accomplished. If I didn’t, I would not be writing about them in a blog. I have much more important things to write about. I have been inspired by the WoW Community, the bloggers, and my in-game friends and guild-mates, to attempt to share my experiences with anyone out there on the internet who would like to read about them.
I do not find getting an achievement as easy as “Shooting Fish in a Barrel” or think I am entitled to being handed Epic gear just for logging on. I think that I have to develop my skills, level my toons, learn professions, and befriend other people on my server who want to work with me. I know that I will never, ever be the greatest Tankadin known to Raiding. I will never top the DPS Chart. When I mention healing, my own husband shudders and says, “Stick to tanking, please?” I know this because I am not an elitist jerk (though I am familiar with their website by the way, ha!) and I do not have hours upon hours of time to make my toons that way. I play for the escape and the enjoyment, and yet, the challenge that the game provides me. When I earn (and yes, I said earn) an achievement, such as completing all the quests in an area or tanking a heroic dungeon successfully, it feels good. That is the payoff for me. When I play with friends to run a raid, and we are all working together as a team to complete a segment, there’s nothing finer in gaming. It means something to me.
I never got to finish ICC with my old guilds on my two Alliance Servers. Good friends ran with me, taught me how to tank and ranged DPS, tried to teach me how to play a Death Knight (LOL!). We got as far as Professor Putricide before my husband and I, burnt out on the stress and the raiding grind, took a break. When Cataclysm came out, we went Horde and switched servers. Don’t get me wrong—we’re very happy on our new server with our new guild. But, I miss the sense of accomplishment I would have gotten from standing toe to toe with the Lich King, a grown up decent raider. I can see it now, with my guildies behind me, and saying, “HeyLich King, we’re here!  You are going down, big guy!”
I still have the “Neverending Winter” Shield in my bank. I will never sell it. It is my souvenir from my raiding days with my old guild. Getting it, in itself, was an achievement for me.
Therefore, Wolfshead, now that your free trial version of Cataclysm has expired, you don’t have to darken my community’s doorstep anymore. You don’t know what you’re talking about. In my opinion, you’re an outsider making judgments on something you have casually observed, but don’t understand. You made a knee-jerk reaction based upon the ease in questing at lower levels; the crappy people you sometimes pick up in PUGS with the dungeon finder; and the funny ways that Worgen act when they idle. (Yeah, well, I’m a Hordie, I can point and laugh at Worgen puppy dogs sniffing around. . . just like I still laugh at Taurens for scratching their butts!)
Worst of all, you made a snap judgment on the entire WoW community based upon the handful of idiots who troll around Trade Chat. Hey, Blizzard gave us another nice feature. . the “Ignore” List! I have those immature jerks and haters on ignore. And, Wolfhead, in my eyes, you’re just another Trade Chat Troll. now that I’m done telling you what I think, I will have you on ignore too.

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

I’m at the eye doctor’s office.  To pass the time, I am blogging on my cell.  So, please excuse the typos.  LOL. No, my eyes are not dialated, its just that I can’t type on this phone! 

I’d much rather be home doing anything (except dishes or floors ).  I’d really like to be home playing WoW.  I tanked my 1st Cataclysm dungeon with my Pally the other day. It was not easy,and we died a few times, but we got through it.  The priest was the only one who knew it well, and even he kept having management issues.  The warlock didnt know to soulstone the healer,the hunter kept pulling ahead, and the tank kept pulling too many or in the wrong place.  Stupid tank.

It could be worse, I guess.  I understand that it’s a 45-50 average wait for DPS to get a random heroic.  I think theres two reasons for that.  One would be the new guild progression.  Guilds have been running more heroics together, leaving fewer tanks and healers available.  The other reason would be anxiety.  What’s there to be afraid of?  Well, failure, mainly.  Its much easier to do damage than it is to hold hate, manage mobs, and keep everyone buffed, healed, and free of diseases. If the hunter pulls before the tank is ready, the hunter has little consequence.  If he gets kicked out, he can just requeue.  If they wipe, the tank sucks and they had a stupid fail healer.  Its not his responsibility!

As a society, I think we fear responsibility in general.  Its far easier to point towards others than to be the one to bear everyone’s success on his or her shoulders.  I will admit that I am a nervous wreck when I tank.  DPS is less stressful, a walk in the park comparably.  SO, why tank?  Because I think everyone should take a turn. Maybe if there were more people tanking or healing, we’d wait in queue less time.  And, maybe if people were more understanding of others trying to learn how to tank or heal the new content, more would be willing to step up.

OK, so I’m home now.  It didnt take too long for the Optometrist to figure out I’m blind.  Lol. Got a stronger prescription.  Now I’m off to play WoW.  See you in a dungeon somewhere.

Old but Still Cool!

The Wildheart Set on the Far Left--I Want for My Cow!

     I found a really nice piece of gear for my Druid on the Auction House.  It is the “Wildheart Bracers,” part of the “Wildheart Set” for Druids.  I keep looking for more pieces and running dungeons the last few days to see if I can get another piece to drop, but so far no luck.  A single piece of a gear set is pretty much useless by itself, so I’m a little obsessed with finding just one more piece out there somewhere.  Wow Wiki and Wowhead both say that this gear set has been discontinued since the expansion.  I hope not, because I think it looks beautiful, even on cow-girl.  My son had the same set on his Druid and it looked very good—but not very um, masculine on a male Night Elf.  (But, how masculine is a tall, heavily muscled purple guy with electric blue hair anyway, I ask you?)

                I am all for upgrades and expansion packs replacing old content with new.  But, they have to actually REPLACE the old content.  They can’t just remove most of the gear sets from the loot table and just leave one or two pieces out there in circulation.  I also read that they did that with the Blackened Defias Set and I wanted to cry!

                Ahh, the Blackened Defias set—5 pieces that was designed for rogues that dropped from the Alliance’s very first instance—The Deadmines.  I have fond memories of running that dungeon over and over with my little gnome rogue to get that set.  She was supposed to be a PVP level 19 twink (until a patch made twinking pretty much obsolete).  I remember how hard I laughed with I put the entire set on her, took the tabard off, and zoomed the camera in to take a screenshot when I noticed the nipple-rings.  Yes, I had a tiny gnome rogue running around battlegrounds with her nipples pierced.  She had pink pigtails too, by the way.  I loved that set so much!  The stats were wonderful for a Rogue, and I got about 10-15 levels out of it before it needed replaced.

                People collect old dungeons sets the way that others collect mounts, tabards, and companion pets.  I would have loved to collected this beautiful set for my druid before I moved on to bigger and better sets when she goes to Outland in a few levels.

                Oh, please, don’t tell me they removed the Outland Dungeon Sets, too.  I don’t think I could stand the thought of her running around in mismatched, brown-and-black armor until she got to Northrend.  What other changes did Cataclysm make that I don’t know about?

On The Dark Side

 

For the Alliance!  Yeah, that’s been me, for two years now.  I’m the defender of the light, Champion of the Frozen Wastes, Hero of Orphans, and Protector of the Faith.   Okay, so I made up those titles. . .but they are so much cooler than the ones I actually have on my toons.  (Rezina the Pilgrim?  My blood-thirsty Death Knight Melificent is actually “Melificent the Love Fool”?  PLEASE!)

Hubby and I had a lot going on this fall.  I was working two jobs, and Hubby’s working on non-WoW related projects.  The kids were struggling to transition into their new school year.  Okay, my daughter was struggling.  My baby boy makes straight A’s and is in the top reading group in his class.  My oldest boy took two art classes at the community college and plays WoW more than I do.  My daughter, well, she was having a rough time and needed more attention.  So, Hubby and I took a WoW break.  It was a good time, since we were bored with grinding Frost Badges to gear up for yet another harrowing ICC run.  We explained to our good friends on our two guilds that we were taking time off, and went away.  We even deleted our lower level toons. 

Fast -foward a few weeks.    My daughter’s grades and behavior is improving.  My part-time job has ended for the semester.  Patch 4.01 comes out.  Our oldest boy is bopping around the house telling us about the exciting changes.  Cataclysm might actually be coming, he says. 

Later that night, the kids were in bed, and Hubby and I were on the couch watching television.  He says to me, “You know, we could go to another server, roll a Horde toon, and just try it out.  Just to see something different?”

So, we first rolled some casters–Blood Elf Mage and Warlock.  I didn’t figure this would last.  I had just deleted a level 20 Undead Warlock on the other server.  I remembered how hard the gind had been just to get her up to level 10–and she was so horribly ugly!  I cannot stand to play ugly toons.  (Space goats are not ugly!  Yes, they have birthing hips, but so do I, and I am not ugly!)

We found the new changes interesting, to say the least.  We played in little fits, here and there, not trying to let the addiction consume us again.  On the weekends when the kids are with their fatheer. we’d play a little more.  The patch changes and the new talents made leveling easier than we’d experienced before.  Our prior experience with the classes helped us understand the finer aspects of class mechanics.  Hubby’s main is a warlock, and I know mages from leveling Kayanna, so we were able to coach each other along.  Hubby taught me about the finer aspects of using DoTs, and I helped him figure out a good spell rotation for a fire mage.  We quested through the Barrens, the earth shaking beneath our feet, having as much fun with the game we had in the beginning.

I got an itch to try something different–to see another starting area before the major changes occured.  And so, I rolled a Tauren Druid.

I had leveled a Tauren Shaman all the was up to level 12 once.  I love the Native American-style lore behind the Tauren, but I do not appreciate the way they move.  They lope around slowly;  graceless, oversizsed cows walking on two legs scratching their fleas.  Luckilly, with the new patch, druids can go into cat form at level 8.  With the touch of a button, she goes from lunky cow to graceful lioness.  I fell in love with my Tauren, and have been solo-leveling her ever since.  In a little under a month, I have her almost to level 40. 

Questing changed last week, when “The Shattering” occured.  Now, one week away from the new expansion pack, hubby and I are enjoying new quest chains in the Southern Barrens and the Hinterlands.  We have found the quests to have engaging story lines with interesting objectives.  Now when we are told to kill 10 spiders, we’re actually given a reason that makes sense.  We laughed at one quest giver in Razor Hill–a blonde headed goblin girl.  She flirted with my hubby’s toon when she spoke to him, but she called me a tramp and told me to get away from her men!  I am starting to become intriqued by goblins, when before I had no interest in playing one.  After all, they are not the most attractive creatures. 

So, does this mean I have converted to the dark side?  Have I abandoned my Alliance Toons completely?  Not on your life.  They will all need leveled up to 85 after the expansion pack is released.  And maybe I will earn cooler titles for them while leveling them up. 

But, I play on sticking with my new Warlock and Druid as well. . . and maybe making a sassy little goblin chick too.

As they say in Orgrimmar–“FOR THE HORDE!”

Finding Cuteness in a Video Game about War

It started with a Baby Blizzard Bear.  That tiny polar bear came in the mail with a letter congratulating me for logging in during the 4th anniversary.  I even got an achievement when I learned him:  Can I Keep It?”  He followed Rezina around Stormwind, sitting on his fluffy rear when she stopped in the bank and the auction house.  I was enchanted by his cuteness. 

The second pet was a bunny rabbit.  Oh, not just any bunny—it was the “Spring Rabbit” reward from the “Noble Gardener” event.  Rabbits are one of my favorite animals in real life, so I was very happy to have a rabbit.  Even more excited when my rabbit did what every real life rabbit does, and mated with my husband’s rabbit, the rabbit that belonged to my guild-mate, and the stranger’s rabbit she met in the bank in Ironforge. 

When we started running randoms and raiding with our guild, I observed the variety of WoW companions that people collected.  It was no surprise to me that other gal-players would have a cute pink piglet from Children’s Week or the tiny White Kitten they bought from Timmy in Stormwind.  What amused me was that men—macho, gaming men who delight in playing “tough guys” in their game, would collect moths, mechanical squirrels, and parrots.  Our guild’s Death Knight Tank/Mentor had a Pandaren Monk that he summoned regularly during slower guild runs.  This is even more hilarious because this Death Knight just happens to be a gnome—and the pet is close to the same size!  They more look like little fighting partners instead of pet and master. 

I started reading up on pet collecting when I first noticed that there were achievements for it.  I meant for my Mage, Kayannagrace to be my main pet-collector, but it’s too much fun to leave anyone out.  I routinely do the holiday events on alts that award pets, do pet related quests, and scan the auction house for low-cost bargains.  I do not yet have the “Shop Smart. . . Shop Pet Smart” achievement for collecting 50 pets or more, but that’s probably because I spread my efforts out over alts and servers.  Being the victim of my own scattered focus has always been the story of my life!

I am not sure which pet is my very favorite.  My own Death Knight, Melificent (Meli for short) has the Toxic Whelpling that was a drop from the “Love Fool” holiday.  I like to bring him out during ICC Run breaks so he can feast on spiders.  He grows in size with every “critter” he devours, which is always entertaining to watch.  I am always asked, “Where did you get that?” and “Will he eat my pet?”  I’ve told some of my gnome friends that if they don’t behave, he may just eat them.  I also love the Perky Pug, simply because he looks and acts like a real dog.  My son has even named his Maggie after his real-life dog, and macroed summoning her with the command, “Come, Maggie.” 

Patch 4.03 has brought new pets with it.  I saw one the other day, a singing sunflower, standing beside someone fishing.  I must have the cuteness. . . and so, I will be completing the quests around the Dalaran Crater soon.

Helpful Links:

WarcraftPets.com:  http://www.warcraftpets.com/  The database for pet collecting!

WowHead Companion Database:  http://www.wowhead.com/?items=15.2  A simplified place to find information on all available pets.