Thursday, June 30, 2011

Super secret ninja spies.

Once again, leave it to Psynister to read my player's mind (okay, this is getting a little spooky) and write a fantastic post on Shadow Priests and PvP. Since my good paladin friend helped me navigate through the level 70 PvP gear, I was thinking to myself, "Well, gee, Zeptepi could benefit from this, too!" And like mana from heaven, there's the post. So, in between the new Firelands' dailies, the searching for Sands of Time* (yea, right...maybe between Rehoboth Beach and Malibu...) I'll see what I can do to get Zep going and all shadowy, like a secret spy, mind controlling and using psychological war tactics. As an added bonus to leveling a priest, I might...just might...change my enhancement spec over to elemental. Suddenly casting doesn't seem so bad.

*These are actually easy to find. You just need a lot of gold. It's the embers that are going to be a bit tougher to gather, a mission impossible.  Those embers are going to require a lot of guild planning, support, cooperation, and if you PUG the Firelands' raids, luck.


So sweet!
Twenty days seems like a long time to do anything, but they went by really fast, faster than a, say, oh, a WINTERSPRING FROSTSABER?!

Rivern Frostwind and the draenei girls get along just fine. He's entrusted Matty, Haanta, Luperci, and Zeptepi with the reigns of the Winterspring Mounts, which they all completed this morning. As I jokingly told guildmates, if I only spent that much time washing and waxing my truck as I did on getting those dailies done, I'd be, well, in a clean vehicle, I guess. But I wouldn't have cool tigers to ride.


Zeptepi with Winterspring Mount, Shadow Priest edition


If you want your own, seek out Rivern Frostwind in Winterspring, a bit northwest of the Everlook lodge.   The dailies are super quick, and really don't take much except for a tiny bit of patience. Besides, Winterspring is beautiful this time of year.

So, while I also have my reputation to consider, this simultaneously happened, too. Now to work on a few more reps with the good population of Azeroth. For the time being, I'm going to go wash my truck.

Theme song: 'Mustang Sally' as peformed by The Commitments*
*If you haven't seen the movie The Commitments, perhaps you may want to check it out. Get your Irish blues satisfied.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Young druid just informed me that he and his guild downed the Red Widow in two tries, and two other Firelands' bosses, too.


Always look on the bright side of life.

I full-out blew today off in a big way. I stayed in Azeroth like it was a job. My priest friend wishes me well everyday, and tells me to be good, but I was NOT today. But tomorrow is another day. As I leave the keyboard, I need to regroup a little bit.  Hours of play will leave me with a mixed bag, just like a normal day in the real world. And I do have some heavy real world stuff right now, that even the sparkly moths of Azuremyst couldn't glitter me out of. (Can that be a verb? Glitter? Sure. If I say so.)

So, before the cloudy northwest sun sets, wanted to come up with 10 things I love/hate about Azeroth:

1. Teabagging. As I was told by a guildmate, I'd better get used to it. No. No I don't. It may happen, but I will never like it or think it's funny or cute. Just can't. I first heard the term in a John Water's bio-flick called Pecker. Great movie, by the way. Martha Plimpton is an under-used actress.
2. Being a ninja. I really don't like being an ass, by error or default.
3. How needy my dog is when I play. He's a needy breed anyway, but seems to have a smaller bladder during dungeons. He is a sweet dog though. Maybe I should get a cat.
4. Mashing keyboard spells. I am more like Salieri than Mozart when it comes to my keyboarding skills.
5. Not enough compliments. The tough streets of Stormwind are deceptive: they seem friendly, but they are sorely lacking in courtesy or manners. Perhaps we need more Canadian players, eh?

1. I know, yes, I am Princess Dork, but once in awhile I can actually watch my characters do their things, and just watch them work. They are, dare I say it? Beautiful. Watching little pig-tailed Lupe face a big dragon, or Matty slice and dice a big monster dog or on the battlegrounds, or when Zep's chakras are pouring out golden light -- ah.
2. Friendships. I have said a lot about these, and without these, there really is no point.
3. Achievements: When that banners pops up, it is on too briefly, but love it. Sschwwwingg!
4. Creativity: playing has inspired me to write more. I may not have an audience, or a following, but I enjoy this part very much.

So, to all you teabaggers and ninjas, your hair looks great today, and you're so funny and smart! Your friends must love you, and I am sure that mashing your keyboard won't hurt your achievements. BRB, need to let out my dog.

Drabble of the Day: Corner

*A drabble is a 100 word story. No more, no less. Sometimes I just have to write down these little scenes.

For days, she felt like a rough rock being tumbled by the wash down a flooded stream. Smoothing away the edges demands a pound of flesh. His eyes were a bit heavier too. The soldiers scraped around the holding room waiting for battle. She made one request, and he complied. The wings embraced, cracked like a whip, no escape, in the corner, and kissed her. Sustaining faith. In a splinter of a moment, it stuck. He said she was beautiful to watch. Sustaining hope. He said the words out loud, but only she heard them. Sustaining charity. Beautiful, but deadly.

Itsy-Bitsy Spider

Down came the rain, indeed.

Damn, I don't think I have a screen shot, and that is a shame, because since I'm #29'th choice out of 10-man team, if that, I may not get another chance to go back in there. I signed up for the new Firelands raid instance, figuring that since we were all new and learning together, it would be a fun and safe time to see what's what.* When I said something to the guildmaster about, "Are we there yet?" the response was "We? Who is we?" or something to that effect, I realized that I may not be included. I did get to go, only because one of the solid players wasn't on-line, in fact, two of our best players couldn't make it, so I got a spot. I am not happy about that they couldn't make it, not at all, but I guess even ugly stepsisters get a chance to go out once in awhile. It was with the clear understanding that if either one of them showed up, I would be asked to go, and was I okay with that. Sure. I'm okay with that. The guild members who have paid their dues and have more experience have earned their places a hundred times over. (Blizzard doesn't allow for a lot of middle ground on this one: you're either doing raiding or not. There is no variance for learning curve. A player must know everything, it seems, before going into any new situation, about what abilities they should use in every situation: that is the high nerd-rage end of the spectrum. The other end allows for more cooperative strategies. And I would imagine every guild, every group, usually slides between the two variances at any given situational moment.)

Oh: let me know if you want to know what you can and can't hex or elemental bind. I've got your back. 

The Firelands Raid say it's "outdoors," which is kind of like saying going on a picnic with Satan. Sure, there is an atmosphere, but damn, that brimstone...your buns will get toasted.

Beth'Tilac, The Red Widow. is a crazy fight, too. It is a Cirque Du Soleil level of a performance from first impressions: little spiders, medium, large, and there are spinners you must climb up, and in the center of it all, The Red Widow. Before you can say "Charlotte's Web," you'd better put on your contortionist face and start spraying pesticide.

It was a lot of fun though. There is a double-edged sword, however: because it was "Patch Day" many of the add-ons weren't functioning. We all went in there somewhat blind, without the benefits and blaring of GTFO, or Recount. It was kind of refreshing in a way, just to strategize, not worry about DPS races, and figure out which thing to kill first. Gulidmaster is very good at this, and very good at listening to players' suggestions.

The GM and GO made up a fun game, an entertaining distraction between mobs. Oh, and by the way, I won! It was word game, category: "alcohol." I have never actually had most of the drinks (never has a Rusty Nail or Brandy Alexander crossed my lips). I am a reader, and that's how I knew. Yes, I have read bartending guides. Want something to wash the taste of spider guts out of your mouth? This might do the trick, a Chocolate Martini:

A Chocolate Martini—7 Square Restaurant, New York City
2 oz. vodka
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 oz. Frangelico
4 oz. chilled hot chocolate

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and pour into a stemmed glass. To make it even sweeter, dip the rim of the glass in honey and then in cookie crumbs

I realize that my younger guildmates see me as this, and I cheated because of age:

For some guidance:
Videos/For the Horde:

*There are a lot of great blogs written from the guildmasters' perspectives. Frustration with players' performances, attitudes, demands, etc. It occurred to me this morning that I am relating the other side, well, at least my side, from what it's like to be a newer player, to want to hang with the big dogs, and what obstacles we face. Mostly, the biggest obstacle is truth, and the truth hurts. I do mash the keyboard when I am in a tough fight. I do lose sight of some buff or debuff. But I also try my damnedest to listen to instructions. When the boss says "Kill the red X" I will go kill the Red X. I am the Spider Killer in my house, hobo, black widow, whatever. Have shoe, will squash.

Stumbled across this manipulated image (found it intriguing):

ChrissieCool/Deviant Art

No one can abstract-random like I can.
I am consciously making an editorial decision to create 'guild mates' as a compound word, 'guildmates.' I realize it is grammatically incorrect, but I can try to start language trends, too, can't I?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Three-letter words.

I am compiling a dictionary of three-letter words that pack a punch. These are my translations: please correct or respond as needed.

Most of these are used by dwarfs:

Aye: affirmative, yes, in a steady, forthright tone
Meh: Apathy, shrug, indifference, of no consequence
Bah: Dismissive interjection
Heh: A cross between a laugh and a smirk
Wee: Not used often, but heard it last night to describe a gnome, as in "The wee one" when I asked for clarification on a tank question. Since, as a draenei, I was not the 'wee one,' it was the frozen gnome.

Am still collecting. Meh.

Top Ten: You're Playing Too Much


Dear Matty: (Significant other and cosplay edition)

Mistress of Pain Conceptual Art (see link below)

Dear Matty,
I have a problem I think you can help me with: I love playing WoW, and have been playing for years. It got me through the boring times in college, and through some rough personal times, too, as an escape. My girlfriend says she understands when I say I have a raid on a Saturday night, but then I notice she will give me the silent treatment later. I want more than anything for her to play with me, to start a character. I've pretty much conquered what I need to, and want to hang out with her in Azeroth. I could help her level up fast, and it'd be so cool. And, there's this hot draenei girl* who's been flirting with my gnome warrior, and I'm feeling guilty. How can I convince her that it's fun and get her to play, too?

Torn Between Two Lovers

Dear Torn,
Oh, I hear this complaint or concern all the time. In fact, one of the most-read blog postings Sugar & Blood linked was an article to "It's Love at First Kill." I have counseled a few friends whose wives or girlfriends do not play, do not want to play, and will never play. This is a sticky area, for sure. I had a friend in TaeKwonDo whose husband and son became quite enamored with WoW, long before I started playing. The wife/friend and I could not fathom why anyone would spend so much time and energy in a virtual world with no tangible product. Playing WoW doesn't get the dishes done, to be sure.

Be cautious: If your significant other (SO for short) does start to play, you will have to balance patience without being patronizing. Not an easy tightrope to walk. It can often become a noose. On many occasions, my own SO was very patient, but also steered me clear of things I should have been doing, such as dungeons. Dungeons intimidated me so much, that they were something to be greatly feared, that since a year as passed I still get dungeon anxiety, and don't even get me started about raids. (Sometimes it's to the point where I am not even sure I want to attempt the end-game content, but then I'll listen in on Vent, if I'm not in the raid, and hear the same comments being thrown out to the more experienced players. Oh, wait. This isn't about me. It's about you.)

Women take criticism hard. This is a generality, and not gospel, but overall, it's true. We are hard on ourselves, and hard on each other. Even just walking a friend out to her car the other day, she apologized for it being dusty, and not having time to wash it. Any conversation two women have will include some commentary about what hasn't gotten done, and an apology, this preemptive mea culpa. I have avoided some conversations with my female friends and relatives because I don't want to hear about what hasn't gotten done, or that they can't lose those last five pounds. It does get tiresome. But neither do they want to hear about my Tier 12 gear or new mount. But my WoW friends and SO do, because they understand. As I listen to other successful female players in Vent, one characteristic they share is their ability to hear criticism, and shrug it off, or give it right back. They do so with grace and charm, two qualities I lack.

There is another aspect: it sucks to be taught anything by someone we are close to. Years ago, when a boyfriend offered to teach me how to ski, it was disastrous. As soon as I signed up for lessons, piece of cake. Was right behind him on the challenging slopes. Some things are best left to the professionals.

A few nights ago, I was watching a Blizzcon documentary. I can't locate it easily on the intertubes, but one married couples' response resonated: where the hefty wife and husband couple are quoted: she basically laughs and says, (paraphrasing), if both the husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend don't play, the relationship may not last. There is also a man who says WoW destroyed his marriage. He sounds so hurt. ("She knew I was a gamer when she met me!") But like anything, until you're actually in the life experience, you really can't know how it's going to be. Like a polygamist marriage, SOs of male gamers have to share their romances with the Princess of Persia, Lara Croft, and usually a draenei or two. You must balance your time with your other "girls" with your main, real-life girl. In other words, if you think by getting your own SO to play it's going to let you off the hook with her, think again. Balance, people, balance. Strong, secure relationships are best. They allow room for friendships, hobbies, and creative thinking.

Now: I will make this offer: If you do have a girlfriend or wife who is considering playing WoW, I would be more than happy to help them. Having been through the pain of leveling a character virtually on my own and getting a whole lot of eye-rolling along the way has been painful. I have been yelled at to JUST READ IT when it comes to Tooltips (again, it's one thing to read something and another to apply it, something I am still learning to do, especially with my tank and healer). I don't judge, I don't care if their car is dusty, and I certainly don't give a damn if they can't lose those last five pounds. If you really want to expose them to the nerd rage and dork-ness that is very much a part of Azeroth, if you really don't care if she comes to you in tears when a warlock calls her a f*cktard, or when she gets kicked from a dungeon, well, all I can say is be prepared. Just as any time she comes to you with what you think may be silly or inconsequential (THERE'S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!) she's hurt. Just shut up and listen. That is how you can be her true hero.


*this is statistically a man.

Cosplay Shout-Out:
Now, this is just cool: Look what this woman made - breathtaking: I want to tell this young woman, please - go to Hollywood or New York and design costumes for stage and screen. Skip to 8:21 to see what I am talking about:

 I was considering have my own set of draenei horns crafted for me by an extremely talented make-up artist/mask-maker and sculptor, Casey Love. I may even commission a sculpture of Mataoka or Luperci.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mi amigo, lo siento mucho por la pérdida de su hermana. Sé que su fe en Dios y Jesús te consolará y te guarde. Usted no está solo.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Honeymint tea for two.

Lupe wears Matty's hand-me-downs well...
Sometimes just a change of perspective can make all the difference in the world. Leveling a tank and a healer has been revealing, enlightening, and sometimes a little embarrassing.

Luperci did two dungeon runs in Gundrak today. The first held an extremely critical, albeit monosyllabic, DK who took every opportunity to criticize, including when I asked the healer if they were "good on mana." He said, "ur not good tank ur no good."

His needling criticisms about seals, taunts, and game play finally got to me, and I told him to go love himself in a vigorous, passionate fashion and left. Apparently, his ability to taunt me was superb. I wish I hadn't lost my temper like that. As a young druid told me, that is probably what he wanted. I have no idea if the rest of the group felt that way. I needed to check his pulse for blood presence, and see if the hunter's pet had growl on. He didn't leave me any wiggle room to get my groove on. The second run was much more successful in terms of group cooperation and support. Same situations, such as the mage or rogue sometimes pulled aggro, but all in all, did what I needed to do to protect the group, take the most damage, and see it through. I love tanking. As my favorite cross-dressing rogue told me, or commented, how is it that everyone pays their game dues, and yet some people think they are entitled to perfection? No wonder why my friends who have been playing for awhile miss the days of pulling together groups to run dungeons with before dungeon finder. I don't want to play with the South Park WoW player who is flicking chips off of his belly, singularly sitting in his pool of perfection.

There is another aspect as well: the majority of my best WoW friends originated from a one-to-one interaction. A help with a quest, a passing compliment, or some such interaction is how we met, and become friends. Rogue and I were thinking that Blizzard is missing the boat on that one: how cool would it be to have two-person quests? I know there are some, and there are arenas, but I mean, true buddy-journey quests? That are challenging but doable with two? From what I understand, Diablo has these, and according to trade chat, the buzz over Diablo III is getting pretty heated. Maybe these things exist in RP realms, but I think it would be cool to be able to craft a two or three person quest chain with fabulous achievements, titles, and gold. And ponies. Don't forget the ponies.

Luperci received a beautiful black dress from her big sister. It was a gift from a priest. When she put this dress on this evening, not one but three elves danced with her, hugged her, and kissed her. She cleans up pretty good, doesn't she? Just a reminder that she's not all business, but loves to play, too.

Story Time: Chapter 5

Blackberry Winter
But he was home.
When she rode her talbuk up the path, in the late afternoon slant of light, she veered into his stables first. She could see him in the front window, his back turned, feet up, hands on armrests, mug in one, presumably, and pipe in the other, visible. The talbuk was watered, fed, and fresh straw spread in the stall. Her after-burn of disbelief, a sense of shock, handicapped her from doing much else. She snatched a few saddle blankets and went into the barn loft to sleep. She was part animal, after all, and wasn’t fit for human or Dwarven company. Her spirit wolves would appear when summoned, but even they had greater game to chase.
Guarf knew she was there, of course. Nothing escaped him. After a few days of this nonsense, this indulgent self-pity, Guarf’s ironclad patience was etched and worn down by her watery elemental erosion.
Guarf had had enough. Time for the girl to come inside.
He went out to the stables, and found her sitting on the northern side, where there wasn’t much light. She had gotten in the habit of pulling up marsh grasses to chew on. The taste was bitter, but it kept her from more harmful pastimes, numbing her thoughts.
“That’s a nasty habit, that…” he said, tapping her fingers as she held the weeds she was chewing. When he said that to her, something shook loose: a recognition, an awareness: she saw how she was. His one rough finger, tapping her hand, woke her up. He held out his hand to her, and put one hand under her elbow, helping to her hooves. She saw a mild storm in his blue eyes, of deep concern he would never express. His avuncular affection kept her steady as he escorted her inside. The house embraced her.

That was the night they cooked lamb and Guarf gave her the mage’s letter. Perhaps his timing was off, or perhaps it was perfection. Since he saw anger, and not numbness, he knew she would be all right. She was coming around to herself.

       And in the morning, when she found the dress, she balled it up and tossed it into the room’s small hearth. Like spider silk, it dissolved instantly in the heat. The sun was rising, in its race with night this time of year. She rolled over, on her back, and absentmindedly put her fingers on her stomach, as if holding herself in, retaining the peace. The veiled ceiling muted her thoughts. Anxious clouds scurried to their next meteorological appointments, allowing the shafts of sun to penetrate through the prisms of the warlock-cut crystal windowpane, reflecting a pool of iris-blue light above her. She spun over to trace the source of the jeweled light. A large turquoise-blue bottle regally postured on the floor.
There was a small card that read, “Drink UU.”
The mage was up to his tricks.
Laughing, she took a swig of the potion, and in an effluvium of blueberry-colored dragon-smoke, she created a mirror image of herself. There was a quick crackle, and out of a bent place in the air, where only a card could slide through, a cornflower blue envelope fell to her feet. It read, “ See, miss, you are double-you! More of you to love, and more of you to try to catch me!” The message and her second self vanished, giggling, into the portal opening. Her hallucinogenic avatar was truly beautiful – was that how she looked? Perhaps so. In the lies of magic, there is always some truth to bind it all together.
Between her ears and horns, a sensitive place, she felt the tingle of presence. She may have lost this one love, but perhaps it wasn’t lost, just misplaced. Years later, he would still seek her out, in friendship, debate, and discussion.
She shrugged, to no one, to nothing. Just a hunch.
At this moment though, it was time to get out of bed.
The kitchen was a carnival act, and Guarf the greasy carnie. Egg shells crackling underfoot, sausages sizzling, coffee boiling, and, was that a string of dead rabbits that needed skinning? She washed out mugs for both of them, and found the sugar pot under a sharpening stone.
“Oh, Guarf…are you making the two of us breakfast, or are you feeding King Wrynn’s army? Perhaps they will come help me clean this up!”
“Ach, lassie – good! You’re up! Got another urgent post for ya. Get your tail moving. Your sister needs you. Eat, eat!”
The places of things and things of places shifted back into order. The breakfast was sublime: chickens would lay eggs for Guarf just for the honor of being included in his cheese scrambles. The coffee was bright and hot. The sausages had a touch of Southern Barrens’ spices, a secret recipe by trolls, so tangy and sweet. And the Widow Shannon sent over sticky buns.
While Matty scrubbed the kitchen, washed and dressed, Guarf brushed her talbuk, cleaned the tack and gear, and packed the saddlebags. A gnome messenger had arrived at dawn with a request from Luperci; evidently, there was a difficult situation with an undead paladin prince that required her big sister’s expertise, a rare occasion indeed, but Mat wasn’t one to turn down a request for assistance and aid. She felt relieved, actually, to be needed again. A passing thought in her heart glanced at a paladin friend she hadn’t heard from in awhile, either, but sure he was fine. She had helped him, too, and he had repaid her kindness a thousand favors over.
Saying their goodbyes, Matty leaned against the talbuk, feeling its soft, flossy pelt. Guarf, not one for emotional farewells, said “Get on with it, girl. You’ve burnt up most of the sunlight. But before you go, there may be something that needs your attention in this satchel here…”
She reached in the smaller of the leather bags, and inside was a hand-carved dark wooden box, with a puzzle-slider opening. Inside the box, a tiny wood frog peeped. It couldn’t be that far from tadpole, it was so small, but, Matty thought, it looked, brave!
“Oh, Guarf! Thank you! He’s, I don’t know, but he is looking at me as if he knows me!”
“Lassie, there’s a bit of lip wax in there, too. You know what they say about kissing a few frogs before you find your prince, and I wouldn’t want you to be getting’ any warts on those pretty lips!”
Matty bent over, held both of Guarf’s ears in her hands, and kissed him firmly on the top of his head. She bowed to him, hoisted up. Guarf smacked the beast’s backside, and off she rode.

Light a fire under you.

Firelands...about to ignite:

Throwing poo.

No Evil.

It is becoming more and more clear to me.

Leveling Zeptepi the Once But Isn't Anymore Patient and Pure as a Holy spec healer, with a dose of Shadow Priest on the side, through the same dungeon grinds as Luperci the Aggro Junkie, is--an interesting experience.

First of all: Worgens.

I see worgens in my sleep. Thousands of 'I Was A Teenage Werewolves' running around all over the heat and fumes of Outlands. They are everywhere, ubiquitous. I have spent a fortune on flea baths and dog biscuits, and none of them is helping.

In one of those swampy, spelunking Cenarion Expedition dungeons - Slave Pens? Tasty Freeze? The sewage treatment plant of dungeon runs, the tank must have had some fungus in his ears, because I kept politely asking to wait until I could get mana back after a few two or two hundred resurrections of a very squishy warlock. No go.

Not much group awareness, okay, that's fine.

But the kicker was at the last boss, I warned them all that Quagmirran is a bit tricky. He barfs a lot of stuff on players (and I was fresh out of Pepto Bismol), and sure enough - pull, barf, dead. I see those big ol' angel wings and say a lot of bad words. A bit incongruous, I know, a cussing priestess. We wipe - no biggie. It happens. But no one can rez. So we all run back. And that is a long, long damn run. Tank asks for a rez. I tell him, normally it is good manners that if no one can rez, and the healer is dead, all should run back. I had to help a druid find her way, too - getting back in Coilfang isn't intuitive either, and once you swim to the bottom of the sewer pipe, you still have to find your way to the exact instance. I forgot to leave bread crumbs, too. Since the tank chose not to run back with the group, his patience must have been wearing thin. Finally, (huff, puff, blow your house down...) I am standing over his body, about to reach out and HE RELEASED!*

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! My fluffy little worgen puppy tank, don't you know I have weeds to pull and dishes to wash? I just wanted to get Zep to level 64 without a fuss.

(I am having to take deep breaths as I type this.)

He got lost getting back. And asked us all if WE WOULD DIE SO WE COULD RUN BACK TOGETHER.

In a word, the answer is "no."

A hunter, worgen hunter, who joined our group, brought along her monkey.

My own serenity had run out, and I asked if she had another pet.


Only monkeys.

As I am writing this, I am feeling a little ashamed of myself, but just a little bit. I have made so many downright stupid mistakes in this game, things that seem so logical to more experienced players. I guess where the guilt stops, though, is that when I tried to help, tried to make things run smoothly, I was met with impatience and rudeness.

Guildmate came to the rescue. Took me through a quick run through one of the Hellsfire dungeons: got to level 64, two new shiny rings, and am a hair's width from being honored with the good soldiers in Hellsfire.

So I'm glad my off-spec is shadow, because, this little angel is not feeling it today.

*Do the gods get angry when the little squishy humans keep doing stupid things, too? Is there a larger metaphysical question here?

Theme song: Licking Stick/James Brown

Postscript: Bad moments in gaming history

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thing of beauty.

My art skills are as rusty as a blade left out in the Darkshire rain, so I am a standing here as a critic and not an artist. Contemplating on a quick conversation about fanart yesterday with a friend, I described most of the art I've seen in the idiomatic term "cheesy." That's a tough one to explain, as most idioms are. I defined 'cheesy' in context of the fanartists as being those who are trying for 'high art' and falling short.

Liger: Bred for its skills in magic.

There is a lot of cheesy fanart out there. Skillful artsits and real talent are rare. Figurative art, or art that relates to the human form, is especially tricky. It can become cartoonish quickly, and unless the artist wants it to be cartoonish, usually ends up just looking awkward. In college, I spent hours in figurative drawing classes, drawing both males and females (unfortunately, there were no ligers). Mountains of charcoal vine sticks were destroyed in order for me to try to capture the curve of a hip, or the subtle bend of an elbow.

I may pick up my sketch pad again, and see what I can do or attempt. In the meantime, I think this is one of the better renditions of a draenei female I've seen. It is still on the cartoonish side for me, something you might see air-brushed on the side of a party van, but really, it is beautiful and well-done. I know I couldn't do any better.

Click here for a link to this art.

Friday, June 24, 2011

The sleepy tank.

Ambien, anyone?

There is a joke that here in the northwest, west of the mountains, summer doesn't really start until after July 4th. I remember having lit a fire in the fireplace on while watching fireworks, it was that chilly. (Yes, neighbors put on quite a show. Of fireworks. Yes. They are illegal. What can I say? We here in the States like to blow stuff up.)

And, to be fair, I did stay up too late last night. It is lighter out longer, and went for a walk in twilight near 10PM. I've been doing a fair amount of heavy lifting, too, and wow --if you've seen that gi-normous shield Lupe's toting around, she's virtually a little fatigued, as well.

 But this makes me tired, too: tanking posts by expert players. 

It's not them, nor a criticism. It's more a deepening epiphany. This devotional understanding of a class and its nuances fascinates me.

So, I'm going to go take a quick nap. I worked hard to get to level 75 on Luperci, with the help of an expert player who could read that blog post and probably translate it into three languages before I can grab a teddy bear and blanket. (I'm right, aren't I?)

But at least I can share this, my friend. For about a meter's worth of knowledge, anyway.

The best.

Congratulations to my friend, Kaylyne the Skillful, who also completed her Long Strange Trip. We are fortunate not only to have received our beautiful drakes, a string of titles and creeds, and a full closet of beautiful clothes, but we achieved the best boon of all: friendship.

We met in November during the Pilgrim quest chain, and our ability to coordinate knowledge, game mechanics, insights, tips and tricks are, to me, the most enjoyable part of playing. We all could wish that our colleagues at work were so collaborative. She has graciously given me her time and knowledge, and been a respectful listener when I had something to offer, too. Rare gifts indeed. 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Horny toads.

Well, gee. Guild recruiting.

Everybody dance now.

A few days ago, I read a blog posting about how important it is to have potential guild applicants fill out a application.

It made me kind of laugh: I thought of how I joined RWS, and what my initial "title" was (I had to ask someone what it meant), and for the most part, I have been really happy. I say for the most part, because there was one moment, when I finally got the Long Strange achievement someone made a comment that I didn't appreciate, even though I am sure this comment was unintentionally painful. (As Isa and other of my WoW friends know, I do have shamanistic rage-issues - quick to anger, but it dissipates quickly.)

Recently, there have been two recruits who may have benefited from a vetting process. The guild didn't offer what they needed, and it wasn't a good fit. No harm, no foul.

Both young gentlemen are teenagers, young stags putting a lot of their energy in Azeroth, and maybe not in, um, girls. They took their play time very seriously (that sounds like an oxymoron), and were fairly typical as teenagers go: know everything, or think they do.

Segue to an anecdote our officer told about a very persistent frog who has been parked outside her window for weeks, an extremely annoying amphibian. And I guess, when we all thought of the young love-seeking frog, it made us think of the the young men who spent a lot of time in guild chat asking questions, trashing other players, and generally being dissatisfied. A lot of croaking.

Advice: Go find a girl. That's what the frog is doing. No application necessary.

Postscript: I can handle questions and genuine "how do I do this, or let's try this." It was the trash talking that got to me. Not. Cool.

Susie, make me a sandwich.

In real-life mode, I have moved a mountain today. Okay, a tiny mountain, but I did it. I have another one tomorrow, and so on, and so on....

Went to see a colleague, and she was on the phone with her husband. He was home because he was forced into early retirement (read: ageism). He was going to bring her lunch. I jokingly asked if I could have lunch, too. And yes! A turkey sandwich!

He made for me: a turkey sandwich with light cream cheese on a light whole-wheat sandwich roll, lettuce, with a dill pickle on the side, Fuji apple, bottle of water, and a chocolate biscotti for dessert. He has never met me, and did this because he loves his wife, and wanted to make someone's day.

Make someone's day? How about my year?!

I do not know why, but sandwiches in particular taste exemplary when someone else makes them.

And it reminded me of the other day, skipping to the mail box in the Dwarven District, and lo and behold, Guarf sent me a pet. A little green lizardy-dragon thing. Since I already had one in my collection, forwarded it to hunter girl Haanta, who was grateful to have it.

His timing was funny and a bit spooky, because gifts of this nature have been on my mind recently.

I make a lot of metaphorical sandwiches for people, and sometimes, no one seems to notice until I stop.

And maybe that's why I like to visit Azeroth. Don't feed sandwiches to the trolls, though, okay? It's just not worth it. They aren't 'sandwich worthy.'

Postscript: Senor, I haven't seen you in awhile. I'm out of croc meat and dragonflesh, and feel a bit lost without something to cook. I keep wandering into the kitchen, opening up cupboards, and seeing they're empty. Dang, now I'll have to go fishing.

I'm linking this again because of the comments' thread. Some really heartening and discouraging anecdotes.

Goblin blues.

Well, shucks.

 One of the blogs that had Sugar and Blood in his feed list has gone off-line, Bangkok Bill's Guide to Gold.  There is a brief statement that he had to stop writing due to a medical emergency. I am very sorry to hear this --I hope you're okay, or will be soon. Godspeed little goblin - godspeed.

Keep in touch.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Full Circle.

I did it.

My beautiful violet drake is mine, the boon from completing What a long, strange trip it's been.

I've escorted orphans, eaten eggs, been heartbroken, perfumed dwarfs, talked to old people (they do smell kind of funny), eaten gingerbread and started a whole lot of fires.

Can't believe how fast this year has gone by, flown away like a whelpling.

So happy.

Nothing's going to change my world tonight.

Words are flying out like
endless rain into a paper cup
They slither while they pass
They slip away across the universe
Pools of sorrow waves of joy
are drifting thorough my open mind
Possessing and caressing me 

Postscript: To my mates, friends, comrades, and confidants: thank you for understanding that when something, anything, takes a year to do, the right words to say are simply "congratulations." Thumper's Law: If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Summer schooled.

Been given another homework assignment: read the Patch 4.2 notes. I guess I think simply by posting links somehow by osmosis they will seep into my brain.

Osmosis POWER! (I want you to imagine this link glowing eerily, radiating life energy and flames)

I was pondering how do players know stuff? For example, how does my paladin friend know when to hit this seal versus that seal, versus this buff or not, depending upon who's in the group? Yes, read Tool Tips. I get that. However, applied knowledge is very different from acquired knowledge. As in life, sometimes the best way to learn something is word-of-mouth by a more experienced mentor. Go go gadget Socrates?

Well, we're all pretty excited about being able to purchase some decent threads with Justice Points, and some new content. Everyone is so fatigued on Tol, and I know one or two players, who, at the very mention of its name, turn sheet white whenever they hear..."Zul...." Although, I have purchased some prime real estate in Zul'Aman. The schools are excellent and the climate is pleasant year 'round.

Time to hit the books again. Want to look sharp.

Theme Song: ZZ Top/Sharp Dressed Man

Sex kitten.


I write in my sleep, and from the quality of this, it will probably show that I am sleep-walking, er, writing.

Part I: Sometimes you get the bear:

If you want your own kitty-cat, and some great information, go to: 

So, what bedbug bit me? Perhaps it was the excitement of a little dungeon redemption: went into Zul'Aman with Isabeaux the Beautiful yesterday evening in a PUG and received my helm.  It was extremely gracious of Isa, since she, er, he needed/wanted to go into Gurub and pick up a few things. We rolled Aman out of chance and luck (for me). We had a wonderful healer, and in my enthusiasm at one point proposed marriage, but more's the pity, for he said he was already spoken for, to quote: "I have asked another for her hand in marriage, alas." (Um, dude - I wasn't really planning on making an honest man out of you...just got caught up in the moment!) But seriously: this priest kept me ALIVE. And for the most part, was second in DPS finishing up a narrow third. Was overall pretty pleased with my bad self. 

Part II: Sometimes the bear gets you:
To fulfill my promise to Isa, as well as continue the fun, I was very excited to go into Zul'Gurub. We got a guild group together, who are all amazing players. However, once again, I was the weakest link. About a week ago, I mentioned to the guild officer that she and the guildmaster should start a podcast. Their banter, voices, and wit are highly engaging. Their intelligence is lightening fast, and they are funny. But man-oh-man, I just couldn't get in step. They were doing the Argentinian tango, and I was doing the Texas two-step. They dosey'd, and I d'ohd. I had to call it a night again because I had those pesky real-world commitments.  And yet, here I am, five hours later, writing at something that isn't my job. 

Obviously, I want to do as well with my guildmates as I do with PUGs. Better learn to tango. 

Part III: Meanwhile, back at the ranch:

Luperci is on her rotation with the Howling Fjord quests. Matty and Haanta had their turns assisting Scout Knowles, the handsome officer and his horse who are ever-thus looking out over the horizon for danger. This particular image really shows off a draenei girl's height advantage. 
It's just funny.
Theme song: Do Ya/Peaches 

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Having an amazing healer along for the battleground ride makes all the difference.

Thank you, my friend.

Awfully glad to see this big Marine,*even if the Marine has purple braids and face tattoos. Semper fi, elf girl.

Luperci on furlough.
Maybe that's where Matty needs to get some healing experience, in battlegrounds: change into some camo, and get out there and take care of business. Our guild needed a healer tonight, and Matty slunk into the shadows and did not answer that call to duty. She was 4-Fand AWOL tonight. To be fair, there was some alt-aholism at play, too. Luperci has a pretty strong desire to be a good tank, and had some beaches to storm.

*Theme song: Camouflage/Stan Ridgeway

Story Time: Chapter 4

The Procession
Blackberry Winter
The trees’ shadows ticked as clock hands against the sunlit grass, sweeping off the minutes under the dirt.
The cobblestones witnessed, but would not testify: Matty’s face turned on its axis, like the jealous moon stares and steals the earth’s second-hand light from the sun: stealing the looks, thieving the glance, pilfering the moment. Her eyes locked on the young woman’s position. Imagine a stargazer’s crude model of the sun and planets: the center star punctured by metal rods spindling the rocky, bobbing planets, spiked and imprisoned. Her eyes did not leave the procession. She was the moon gazing at earth.
The entourage of servants, litter carriers, handmaidens, and bodyguards resembled a walking garden path, a botanical imagery. They all wore silk robes embroidered with lemon yellow and mint silk flowers on fields of white, golden braided thread crackled the fabric, with long, thicker rope braids of gold tied around their waists and breasts. Their hair was swept up in elaborate stacks, and songbirds sang in golden cages, swung from brass poles carried by children. The group was comprised of elves and humans.
If Matty considered the feelings of the fixation of her gaze, the young woman at the center, she would have been unnerved further. Mat’s own dusty dryness of spirit blew over the boiling mess of her insides. There was no heart, there was no stomach, or throat: all of her internal organs felt as if they had melted together and may dissolve in heat. The beautiful bride was solid and steady. And as the moon does not think about the rumblings or calm of the earth’s core, nor does it care. It is only jealous of the light of the sun that shines on it. This was the day of her eclipse, her light being overshadowed.
Although the young bride’s breath blew shallow against the stays of her dress, there was no nervous fidget: her confident resolve was her birthright: this was her love, and he loved her. He had been promised to her. And they were to be together forever. She didn’t even think about it. Never crossed her mind that a piece of him was never going to be wholly hers.
Matty’s own breath was not so calm. Warning of a storm does not decrease fear. She had known about this for minutes, hours, and eternity.
It is difficult to know, to capture, a point, a fixated point, when the resolution has made a choice, or destiny stands. The trajectory of fate is too entrenched. But this is how she knew. She knew.
On an indigo night, they vowed a damning promise: if they were to part, if the ashes rained over them, and the other found another to marry, they would get word to one another. Promise.
They didn’t speak of what they would do if they ever had to say the words: “I am getting married.” Would the other flail against the sides of the wall, or simply say, “I wish you both well?” But in the moment of the promise she saw that her future as his wife was dissolved. Her prescient vision was the truth of fate. He was trying to tell her he loved her, but had other binding promises, when they made this terrible deal.
She had no idea, no hint; she was so naïve, that his parents had underscored a silent betrothal to the daughter of a wealthy business associate. He knew her, of course, and if he knew of this arrangement, never told Matty. The family connection may have seemed inconsequential to him. His family would come to love and accept Mat, and what was a serious contract would become a joke, a trifle.
He mentioned her name over the years, that she was a good friend, good family friend, from a good family. Deeply good.
And this deeply good family maneuvered a lot of gold flowing in and out of the auction house and street vendors. (Gossip told of when the gold-clover prices collapsed, the patron of the family lost every piece of gold: however, they still had their noble name, and that was worth plenty in prestige. One can always make more money, but one can’t create lineage.)
Matty never stood a chance in the path of a wealthy agenda. The gold was too strong.  Her mother had taken Matty’s face in her hands, and tried to warn her that a mixed love would never work.  She was a creature, an animal, compared to the elves, humans, dwarfs, and gnomes. Her own lineage was questionable. On one occasion, to her deep humiliation, she was at his manor, and a visiting houseguest made a bawdy comment on how her tail “worked.” The group laughed, as did she, but she realized later he did not take up for her. Maybe she was taking herself too seriously. What was the real harm, after all?
So, he sent her a goblin messenger, not a scroll, to let her know the day was coming. And her response was: "I wish him well." 
Between the space of their initial inseparability, and the time when their families had taken them away from each other, across worlds, she to the east, and he to the west, opposite points from true north. that is where the promise thinned. There is no real blame: he had adventures and gees to fulfill: she had yet to fully discover that she was powerful. They both ill-used their gifts, and broken each other’s hearts. Simple as that. And when he sent the missive, it was with no small amount of retribution. He felt she had been disloyal: if she had been truly worthy, she would have locked herself in a tower. Conversely, if he had been truly hers, he would have flown in the face of his family’s wishes.
But they didn’t.
Simple as that.
She could not know at that moment that there was more than love, sometimes. More than white dresses and blessings. More than sanctification or approval. Her mother had known this, but it was a lesson that couldn’t be taught by rote instruction. She would learn she possessed a part of him that was hers and hers alone. It was not lost.
She watched the procession shimmer into the cathedral district. She wished herself at Guarf’s. She hoped he wasn’t there. 
She just needed some time.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

An army of one.

Contemplating on last night's play a bit more, I talked to my favorite cross-dressing rogue who plays a lot of battlegrounds. He currently also has a draenei paladin who has decked herself out in all purple PvP gear, and generally focuses on battlegrounds. Since I lost every battle I did last night (did we win the war, though? Well, if the goal was to have fun, then yes), I wanted to know his thoughts on how much one player affects change in outcome. His analysis of the different battlegrounds and their strategies was insightful: depending on size and teamwork, it can make or break the results. Ultimately, though, if it's a war of attrition, meaning it comes down to having to take out two players for every one of yours, or working as a cohesive group to down one big boss, such as Alterac Valley, it's important to practice, train, and think. PvP is unique in philosophy and style. He said if he could change one thing, though, about the culture of PvP, it would be a banishment of all the battle rage during a loss. I have been in good, solid battlegrounds where a group leader will issue calm, clear directions. True steely-eyed missile men. One can hardly imagine the Tom Hank's character in Saving Private Ryan yelling at the soliders during the invasion, "NOOOOOOOB!" Most of the time, and this is sad to say, players are doing the best they can in the chaos. It's not pretty, it's not organized, and good elves die. When he spent some time on the Horde side, he said the rage was just as emphatic and pervasive. A lot of blame gets thrown around, and not much damage. Sticks and stones break those bones, folks, and nerd rage doesn't touch them.

I did have a lot of fun yesterday, but I know my friend and I would have had a lot more fun if we had won a few. It's not like we didn't try. He even got into the relic room in Strand of the Ancients: and that event is what sparked the conversation with the rogue: can one player affect the outcome of a battleground? Like a good sports team, the answer is "no." It has to be a concentrated, or somewhat coordinated effort; but even if the group does everything right, the other team may have a slight advantage when the buzzer rings. There will be a winner, and there will be a loser. Nerd rage on a real-world scale may mean overturned cars and riot gear. 

Even in times of great conflict, heroes find time to kiss and comfort the damsels
So, I've enlisted again, and will see how it goes. Hoping for more Inglorious Basterds (WIN!) and less Full Metal Jacket.


Lupe is no longer feeling like she can't find busfare. In fact, the royal coach took her wherever she needed to go. And there was no pumpkin surprise at the end.

Got clued in to some guild perks, PvP vendors in Dal, dungeons, dragons, and even got a few kills and achievements in battlegrounds.

And again, while there are some awkward shuffles about asking if Mat can just stay in her box for awhile, (more like, "Hey, Matty, is your sister home?") Haanta and Luperci both were asked to join the world. Wish I could clone my human self sometimes and have played both, but alas, can only inhabit one virtual world at a time.

Zep got her chance to strut her stuff last night with a silly PUG: finished Blackrock and decided to play house and musical chairs. Very funny and nice group. It can happen. Didn't want to leave, which is the sign of a great party.
Who's been sitting in my chair? Who's been eating my porridge? Druid is baby bear, of course. I play the eternal Goldilocks. Breaking and entering? Got a rap sheet a mile long.

Have a wedding to go to tomorrow: nice to get out of these jeans and T-shirts and put on something more girly-girl. And I am wearing my big-girl shoes. Gotta represent the draenei posture/height as best I can. And my friend: I'll work on getting Lupe into a few more purples and her big-girl shoes, too. As with your tank, you are a world-class healer. Made it possible for me to actually see what it's like to kill Horde in a battleground without dying immediately. And as you could tell from how many hornets' nests I like to step in, that is saying something.

Theme songs:
By the Way/RHCP