Thursday, February 28, 2013

Legend in my own mind.

I am crashing the party on this one.
I have written this post asleep, standing up, on the monkey bars, sideways, and hopping on one foot. And be prepared: it will be a TLDR (too long, didn't read), full-circle moment, so I'll cut to the chase: all of this really doesn't matter. 

Steaming Pile of Bug Poo: Watch Your Step!

But, the chocolate on the pillow moment will be, I promise to end it with a drabble.

I am going to be very blunt:

Sharp #1:Tzufit's post hurt my feelings. I feel so uncomfortable with the usage of the villain from The Incredibles when talking about self-esteem. It was used many years ago in a master's thesis of a friend of mine, and it's always kind of been a tiny mental splinter. Why? I have no idea. Blame the pathological nutballness of my nature. I always kind of empathized with Syndrome -- the kid who would be sidekick turned arch enemy. Maybe because I always identified more with Buddy Pine versus Bob Parr.

Worn #2: Tzufit wasn't trying to hurt MY feelings. She wasn't hurting any one's feelings. She just had a point to make and she made it in her usual articulate, well-crafted and considerate way. (I love her blog/writing --always have and will)

Dull #3: She had every right to feel that way, as does every player who has a story to tell.

So I'm going to examine why I felt bad...why I wished that I hadn't read it...why did I let it harsh my mellow? What kind of insecurities did I fester in that I allowed someone's opinion to dull my enjoyment of my derp-dee-derping happiness and joy from some fresh, new content Blizzard provided that I desperately had been wanting? Well, first of all - I should have known from the title. But I'm strong, right? I can take it?

Well, apparently, at first, I couldn't.

I'm starting to feel like a member of Average Joe's Gym, and not Globo Gym, that everyone indeed is better than me.

I'm the one with the uni-brow.

Well, they are.

Those who have managed to play for years, have experiences, and have managed to promote functional, team-based love-like-family guilds have enjoyed years of memories, trials, and tribulations together, mourned together, laughed, and in some cases literally grown-up together. Two of my buddies went and bought the game together before they even had drivers' licenses. My apparent inability to stay in a guild because I don't A. Want to put up with a few trolling asshats 2. Can't stand to feel strung-along 3. Can't raid on a schedule means that on a very real level, I fail at that level of high-end elite raid culture. I can't do it. I can't say "no" to my loves, my life, and my responsibilities. They were here first. So if obtaining a legendary weapon is only available to this elite group, then I will always be shut out.

But getting a legendary weapon is not just where exclusivity exists. There are many tools players have at their disposal to lock others out (and sometimes they need or deserve it, assuredly):

1. G-kick: anytime, a member can be guild-kicked
2. R-kick: anytime, a raid member can be kicked to the curb
3. Ten-man: there are only enough for ten. Period.
4. Twenty-five man: you get the idea
5. Class/roles: only so many of the same class or role can be in any place at any time. I had a GM ask me if I would change to elemental simply because they were getting intelligent mail gear.
6. Guild hierarchies: GMs, RLs, officers, and the like have varying degrees of access, accountability, perks and responsiblities. Case in point: mounts in raid given to another officer, no free roll. You ALL have your own stories. There are thousands of both good and destructive ways a hierarchy meets the needs or destroys guilds.

Ultimately -- what I gathered is this--it's not about the legendary, per se: it's a mourning process.

Players who have built a culture and lifestyle are understandably, arguably in mourning over this loss of significant culture to Azeroth. It's huge. 

My epiphany is not that Tzufit and Navimie are truly trying to make players like me feel "bad" - I can do that all on my own, thank you very much, but are in deep mourning, not just over a token of achievement, but to a loss of their own happy memories of time well spent in Azeroth. If I could pour my heart out, if they could see my eyes, they would know how much I understand this, deeply, truly, and with love. I do. My point is not to undermine their feelings or disrespect these sentiments, but to examine my own, and make sure I come back to the joy that I had with this new content. It was there, that joy! It was! 

Perhaps we are not discussing "legendary," perhaps we are really discussing "exclusivity."

What is the opposite of exclusivity? Inclusion. And I know a lot about inclusion. More than I can share here. When I share that I have a Masters In Leveling Playing Fields, trust me---I do. I got it from the College of Hard Knocks and Lessons Learned. This is an endless debate, and one that, depending on your point of view, has easy answers or not. Is it fair? Is it equal? The two are not the same.

Inclusion--is messy. It's upsetting, it challenges our very nature of structure, world order, caste systems, and taxonomic approaches to classification. I can't speak for other countries outside the U.S., (even though I lived in Tehran when I was younger), about their approaches to equality. I know it's been a constant, dynamic issue in the U.S. since the crossing of the Bering Strait. The Boy Scouts of America, gay marriage, NRA/gun control, the U.S. military lifting its ban on gays serving and women getting front-line duty/recognition, slavery, voting, desegregation, and a national educational trend toward inclusion have always been a contentious issues. Whoa, there, girl! Rein it in!! This isn't about freedom of speech or the 13th amendment! It's just a game! Isn't it?

Well, yes, yes it is. And what may stick in a lot of craws is folks who get "legendaries" may be mean to small children. They may be assholes. They may have done jail time, or left the toilet seat up. But those players abound whether or not they managed to be with an elite group of raiders or players. In that way, Azeroth was already one of the most democratic places on earth, albeit a virtual one. We would think it was ridiculous if Parker Bros. sold Monopoly games but you couldn't use the Scotty Dog anymore because one "Unmaudbro," a Forsaken Warrior from Azeuremyst got to it first and no one else can ever use it again. (Illidan does drop this on every blue moon that lands on a day that starts with the letter Q, by the way. Didn't you know that?)

Scotty Dog: The Legend

It's about a loss or diminished culture, of "the way things have always been," and it is the painful side of nostalgia and grief.

But please: I love this questline, and want to see more like this.  Be careful, my sweet friends/writers. Blizzard listens to you more than they would ever listen to me. No one gives a shit what I think. And that's the sad truth. My little stupid playing world doesn't matter to anyone but myself and my few close Azerothian friends. I got to touch a little glory, a little fun, on my own time, at my own pace, and not have to worry about anyone else's agenda for a change. (Sob - all I ever do, all day long, is worry about other's Just please know that when you are trying to maintain something that has always been, it may mean that it will remain locked away from the rest of us slobs.

I even asked young leet druid. Young leet has been playing longer than most of you. He knows everything. EVERYTHING. He will be playing long after I'm in my grave, and long before I saw my first set of draenei horns. I asked him his thoughts, sure he would agree that legendary weapons belong solely with legendary players.

He surprised the hell out of me. Emphatically, he said no-- this is a great direction in his opinion, and hope there's more of it, too.

Huh. So proud.

I feel a need for a random pep talk:

Okay, that's better.

I love crafting my own game narrative. And again, it doesn't really matter what I say. It matters what others say.

So, shutting up now. The shaman wants to speak:

The Prince's ember eyes burned through but do not see me. I am not so naive as to think he knows me, but it feels like he sees me, through his endearing hospitality and graciousness, which are preternaturally tailored to me. He knows what I love. 

His gifts are what I desire most.

But I am making deals with demons, and doing so with abandon.

Am I thinking I will win? Will it be fair? The Prince turned away, a void of cold in his wake where there had been reflective, false fire. Sandalwood barely masked the smell of sulfur. 

Am I thinking I am the only one? He has made bargains to all--the voice of my conscious tells me little shaman...little....shaman...your heart betrays you -- you are not one to heal - you want to burn, you want to slice, you want to make the blood sizzle out of razor-opened wounds. You want to cut. 

Brave, brave little shaman. You will burn indeed.

Theme song:
Sacrilege/Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

RTMT: Chasing Gamey

This morning -- well, not my usual Random Tuesday Morning Post. First, it was only server restarts, and second, work and routine is back with a vengence, so dailies seemed to take precedent over writing.

But -- I do have a few mental sticky notes I need to collect.

More action, smaller bra size:

Señor: I will lose you soon. Yes, your true friend is coming back. Lara Croft is returning soon, and she is AWESOME! She is also C.D. Rogue's true virtual girl, too, so I may need to learn how to play TombRaider:

Tomb Raider - Monastery Escape Gameplay Walkthrough

And Conan O'Brien's review is...well:


I appreciate Tzufit's post on this, and have a lot more to say about it. But I may not have time. We'll see.
In the meantime, read it, and share your thoughts. It's very well written and insightful, as always, even if I don't agree.

Ancient Leviathan, come back! I just want to talk to you!

Saw this yesterday:

Measure Up:
Damn, Draeneis are tall:

Now I Am A Panda:
I did the bamboo thing Navi and Cymre reported on their blogs, and here are results:
My mage buddy rides shotgun

And a Tiny Rainbow Angel:

But that's all I have for now. I'm running late to a 7PM meeting. One of many evening events that keeps me from regular raiding. Good thing I can get that legendary on my own time. Whew!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The "Mataoscars"*(TM): Red Carpet Strut

Haanta pilfered this red carpet from Karazhan, thinking it would be just the thing for the grand red carpet walk! Prince Medivh would never miss it, right? Just take any rug in the house...even though it really tied the castle together.

Disclaimer: Originally I had written that I would post all the choices on Survey Monkey and let you all decide; since I started getting so many exquisitely crafted entries, that idea was scrapped. Everyone is truly a 'winner.' Yeah, yeah, you say, sure. But I humbly ask you all lay your competitive mogging natures aside, and just enjoy the show!

Your host this evening is Random Murloc, Entertainment Reporter for the Azerothian Sun Times: Mr. Murloc, take it away!

Now, for each of our award recipients, we have only provided one photograph from the cast of characters - for more amazement, please click on their links and look over the ensembles. Vera Wang, eat your heart out! 

Best Use of Gimp Facewear and Dark, Dystopian Vision: Tome of the Ancient with Bladerunner!

Best Use of Blue Draenei racial feature and Going Native: Navimie of The Daily Frostwolf with Avatar

Best "That is Exactly What Tolkien Had In Mind" goes to Lorelei from Zazzy Mogs

Best "That is Spot-On Amazing" Kamilia for the professors from Harry Potter

Best Use of Screaming Eels: Cymre, The Princess Bride

Oscar for "I Want to Choke on an Apple and Have You Kiss my Face" goes to Nxyrinne for Snow White:

Best Use of White Rabbits, and Wanting to Fall Down Rabbit Holes goes to Saga from Spellbound for Alice in Wonderland:

Anoukisse from Diary of a Gnome Spy brings us the Best Supporting Actors Ever in the History of Ever, The Lord of the Rings:

Kaitz from Memoirs of a Pet Collector wins the award for "Redemption of Kristin Stewart as Snow White for a Non-Believer" Oscar (seriously - these are amazing)

Oscar for "Hans Solo Fired First" Star Wars, Syrco!

Jaedia takes home the award for Best Redheaded Princess and Mother's Love, from Brave:

Award for My Favorite Singing Mermaid of All Time, The Little Mermaid goes to Malkshake:

For "Making It Look Easy Even When It Wasn't and Best Blog Post About This Contest," Starre for Breaking Dawn!

Oscar for "Is That a Light Saber In Your Pocket or Are You Glad to See Me?" Jstmel's Star Wars:

Award for Most Swoon-Worthy Epic Movie of All Time, Tyledres of Frost & Claws, Beauty and the Beast (And if anyone calls me a beast they're toast)

Please - if I forgot someone, please be kind and tell me right away so I can amend the situation! Apparently I can't count either because I counted some twice, but here is what we have. I cannot urge you all strongly enough to click on every one of these links and congratulate these players for their originality, creativity and keen eye for style! And credit must go to Cymre for coming up with the Mataoscars! Brava!

I could not have asked for anything better, and thank you all again for these wonderful creations!

Word of the day: gruesome

Oh boy, this is so cool! I received over 20 entrants for the Movie Mog event - I'm going to switch things up a bit, and I'll be working on the post later this afternoon. Stayed tuned, boys and girls!

In the meantime, I wanted to share some "real" news, not just infotainment; there are a few things that our intrepid girl reporter, Mataoka, has noticed around Azeroth.

First, a warlock she knows, Kaajinn, went deep into Horde territory to gain the trust and love of a great guild. Yes, it was all for a pet. Those of you who love pets know that going from zero to hero in a few days is worth it, totally. Part of gaining guild reputation includes checking in with the ultimate emo chick, Sylvanas. More on that later. What concerned her is WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?

Another doctor, I see! One Dr. Martin Felbern, with questionable credentials, in the Undercity, doing gods-know-what to these body parts. But--must say--his robe is to die for!

Please don't think I'm picking on Horde for gruesome acts, oh no! The Alliance is, well, a tad abominable in their definitions of 'war trophies:'

There is an unfortunate photo-merge in this shot: the hook you see in the dead ogre-cum-throw-rug's mouth is on the end of Agent Malley's staff, and not in his mouth. Mataoka tried to get a decent angle, but using her spy camera tucked in her fanny pack, was not able to get a clear shot. But yes, that is an ogre rug, skinned, tanned, and furry, on the sandy floor of the quartermaster's tent. 


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Day Twenty: Tiny Story Time

The heartbeat of a mouse: that is what the ticking of the clock seemed to be. Purposeful, fleeting, and nervous to get to the next second. Each tick was a triumph over the cat’s paw, each tock a trap dodged. Time skittered into mouseholes. The shaman, however, did not avert the snare of the blankets. The cold late winter rain lie on the doorstep. Yesterday it has been deceptively mild and sunny, and she thought she had eons of time for a walk. The day was dead, buried with an assault of stars, and she said, “I can go tomorrow.” Here was tomorrow, half gone, and weighted with regret.  Her sadness permeated the walls of the cottage. The dwarf knew there was only one thing to do: go to Dalaran and buy the lass a large, gooey, pudding-filled, real butter cream chocolate cake. Guarf left by gryphon, and returned with the boon; it was the size of a baby bear and twice as sweet. The girl pretended to be asleep, but was only fooling herself.

There is that juncture in a heartbeat where the soul can go left and cry, or right and laugh, and it’s paralyzing. She heard the thud of dry firewood, matches striking, and the wood fireplace awakening. He called to her from the living room. (Gods, his patience was worn down by that one’s moodiness…!) In the long late afternoon darkness, an evening of thick lead grey, the fire burned, and in the center of the room, on the small painted table, a cake, with her name on it. In terror, the dwarf saw her lower lip quiver, and the eyes well up (Draenei tears are the only known nightmare for Dwarfs), and he stuttered, “No, no, no, lassie, no! You will not be crying over this cake! I like my chocolate chocolaty, not salty!” The admonitions stopped with her warm hug. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Doctor, doctor...

Mishka is our kindly Draenei doctor, healing all brave wounded Alliance. I really dig her style -- those glasses, the camo boots, and pauldrons; however, I am a little concerned about her bloody gloves. That cannot be hygienic. Hope you had your tetanus shot.

There are all kinds of good (and bad) doctors in Azeroth. There was one in Theramore, Dr. VanHowzen,  who had you quickly heal soldiers, called Triage, and you received a certificate, kind of like summer medical school. When I went to look some up, these doctors made the Google ranks: Dr. Weavil, Dr. Razorgrin, Witch Doctor Zum'rah, to name a few. I think it would be interesting to have more quests for our specializations; I do kind of miss the interactions between our trainers some days, though I must admit I love getting new spells on the fly. Leveling is so incredibly fast now, with heirlooms, guild buffs, etc., but like good medical training, being a good player does take time, and I have often wished for more of these interactions.

And, we players have to keep track of so many things:

I think my friend Krasher was trying to see if we were paying attention.

Theme song: Calling Dr. Love/Kiss

Disc Priest-world

I did it again. Yesterday I had an eye doctor appointment, and I had so many things piled on my desk calendar I didn't see it. Kind of ironic, no? Yes? Whatever. But NO MORE! I am getting it under control, people! I made another promise to myself today I would do these things:

1. Operation Shieldwall dailies on Mataoka

2. Molten Front dailies on Zep (82/125 Filling the Moonwell)

3. Molten Core on Momokawa for fluffy green shoulders (nope)

4. Botanica on Momokawa for fluffy yellow shoulders (nope)

5. Make another piece of Imperial Silk to work towards the 12 needed for a bag -

6. Work on Kaajinn the Conflicted's reputation with Horde guild (she is darling, that one)

But the promise wasn't the doing, the promise was the STOPPING. Navi's post on Raid Exhaustion hit home, not because I'm in her same hooves, er, shoes, but we all do too damn much. She and I do have a lot in common, but I look back and can't imagine trying to work full-time, keep a marriage, small children, school, etc., all going. I can't even get myself to the eye doctor, for God's sake. I take care of legions of other folks, but for myself, my job, etc.? Eek. I was talking with CD Rogue the other night, about that cross-over moment when game times ceases to become a game, a hobby, and becomes an addictive, compulsory act. This blog is not a journal of my play time, but a glimpse into a player's descent into madness. But I gotta say, spending time in Azeroth is a helluva lot more fun than having one's pupils dilated.

But this post isn't about not being able to balance real and virtual worlds. I did stop, and my stubborn side is not going to log on anymore today. But I did want to crow about a few fun things:

So, some of you noticed I made Zep a Disc/Shadow Priestess. I went into LFR and look at these numbers (yes, I know it's vast buckets of overhealing, but couldn't help myself!)

In my sparse research on discipline priests, I came across this phenomenal site:

I still love my Holy specialization, and feel a twinge of disloyalty. But learning knew things and skills trumps ruts any old day, so I still contend it's better to try something new than to not. So far the worst part of giving up Holy is losing my Valkryie death form. Fortunately with Disc priest, I don't die as often.

But today, the rest of the day, and it's not noon yet, I have a full stretch of time to devote to the mundane, the uncreative, the unimaginative: taxes, bill paying, letters, laundry, and lunch. I used to be able to find the zen in those tasks, but it's becoming more difficult. Fortunately, I have some intelligent heroes out there, ready with book recommendations, and Goodreads feeds. I just finished A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, and I laughted out loud at the dentist's office yesterday (yes, I made it there, but apparently...nevermind). It mentions The Morrigan, a terrifying trio I had never heard of until this novel. If it's not a guild name already I call it! Badb, Macha, and Nemain would be wonderful names for Forsaken Shadow Priests, don't you think?

Ravens and Crows - my current motif

Found this other image, too:
The Morrigan by Alexandra Feehery

Oh, damn, now I'm tripping down the art lane - anything to stay away from tax forms!

Look what Vidyala just posted - breathtaking!

That damn fist weapon still won't drop for Mataoka. The fact that that is depressing me depresses me. So again, except for some easy dailies, time to stop for a while. The RNGs have turned their backs on that shaman. Not sure what she did to incur their ire. Eff them if they can't take a joke anyway.

*The title, for those who don't know, is an allusion to Terry Pratchett.

PS Damn, I did log on. Just a little bit.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Last one for today, okay, this morning: We Love Beautiful Things

No wonder why we play so much:

A Prayer for the RNGs

I got a double-yolk egg this morning and made a wish.

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the RNGs my soulshards to keep
If I should die before I wake
I pray for a rez for goodness sake
In the morning when I wake up
While the patch is loading, I need a hookup
I send this prayer to all grand pixelized gods
To update my characters, add-ons and mods
And please let that weapon drop in LFR,
If it doesn’t drop soon I’m going to go live in a bar
I’ve tried for weeks with elder charms and luck
But still running with blues, and it really does suck
I try to put on a brave face and am a superstitious git
But with low damage per second, I feel like a nit
I’ll not change my socks and light candles of hope
But when I humbly ask I get a big, fat nope
So RNGs if you hear my prayer
And if about this little shaman you ever did care
Send me that fist weapon all shiny, sharp, and trusty
Until the next patch, and it’s forgotten and rusty

What was that? Think it was a Gilnean Raven!

I LOVED this story on NPR the other day:

One of the drawbacks to playing in a high-traffic area of the Matty-shack are the interruptions into game immersion. I love the sounds in Azeroth - from the music, the bird calls, the growls and haunting tormented souls in Naxxramus. (Keep it down, sister! I'm trying to get loot here!)

When the game comes back on line today, I'll be running errands. But that's cool. The only sounds I don't care for are the theme songs of the Shrine - a bit twangy for me, like Tome's response to the doctor's office music.  Some things are better left off.

Joe the Talking Crow

RTMT, II: Going backwards to move forwards

1. Find out where to get a Valorous Kirin Tor Tunic:

Back to Ulduar, I suppose.

2. Find out more about Ysondre and Taerar's connection:

This WoW-wiki page says Ysondre's location is unknown. Baloney! She's RIGHT THERE in Feralas! My goblin warlock Kaajinn saw her yesterday, and even helped kill a dragon for her!

Playing on the Horde side for a bit is interesting, but -- and this is a huge dorky but--Kaajin felt a huge amount of internal conflict over killing Alliance soldiers and lieutenants. She may not do that again.

3. Finish the Leyara's Locket quest chain on Zeptepi. Yes, this means back to the Molten Front. This is why I wish all goodies and equipment were BOA. I know - silly me. But --maybe that's not best. It is

4. Write those RP back stories. Gotta go back and do some more research.

5. Write a story about the star-crossed lovers in Karazhan: (no I did not write this link)

Just curious: what have been some of your favorite things to "go back to?" I'm beginning to believe that progression is not all it's cracked up to be, but wandering throught the kaleidoscope of stories and lore - a very rich world indeed!

RTMT: Bubble Machine!

Note: If you level up your "Nuts" pet, it will continue to bonk you on the head while battling. Wear a helmet.

Today's Random Tuesday Morning Thought lost its road map, the GPS is broken, and Siri is being her usual surly self. Maybe RTMT should just go back to bed and hit the snooze alarm. It does look a bit weary, and it's only Tuesday! No no no...come on, Tuesday! Make it happen! I read years ago in one of my little spell books that Tuesday is the day to get things done. Oh, wait, it's not Tuesday anymore in some parts of the world? Sorry. Well, I'll just pick up the slack for you.


Cynwise has another great post about warlocks, but as I commented, I'm not worried about warlocks, (kind of never was--they can take care of themselves) but now I am very worried about paladins! Dang, we need heroes, people! The balance of the universe is in jeopardy!

Discipline Priests

Whatever week that was when I tried to raid with the new guild on Zeptepi, but quickly realized two things:

1. They raid way too much for me: three hours a night, three days a week. The dog wouldn't get fed. CD Rogue would get cranky. Toilets would begin to grown fungal abominations, and my career would quickly go there. The toilet, that is.
2. BUT - I did go one night, and got a great belt. Another night, we did LFR, and here is one of those "red flag" moments: the RL asked if I would mind some guidance (no) and asked if I ever read Elitist Jerks or Icy Veins.

"She's funny, but not funny, like haha..."



Thank you for the suggestions. *bites tongue*

In previous conversations I had asked why they were looking for a new priest healer (he had always asked if I would go Disc, by the by), and theirs was Brazilian and raiding at 4AM his time, so it was getting to be too much. Really? Gee. Anyway, the character's name is Petru, so I looked him over on the armory, the approved player stalking site, and sure enough, he's Holy/Disc, with great gear, and yadda yadda. To be fair, I hadn't read any guides on discipline because I AM HOLY YOU NIT! (With the patience of an angel, see?)

I didn't think I did THAT badly gimping along on my Holy Spec - they even tried a few new things in the "real" raid. He suggested this after we did LFR together, and no, I wasn't top heals, and yes, I knew they were looking me over again (yuck yuck yuck yuck: hate being in a fishbowl), and yes, whatever - but gentlemen, really. REALLY.

Matty: take down your defensive shields, okay? That's a good girl. Calm down. 

He did put a bug in my ear, though, and that was to try discipline. So I did. And--I LOVE IT! It is so amazing! Squee! Bubbles! Shiny! Rainbows and unicorns and lip gloss!!!! Legions of exclamation points!!!

Okay, you get the idea. But in the sea of advice from other gamers, I have some advice for the young gentlemen out there, wondering why they can down a boss but love may seem elusive:

Neri and Raid Leading: 

Neri has a fun video out, and I just watched it so I could listen to an Aussie accent. Okay, yeah, so you Southern Hemisphere types are cooler than we Yanks. Whatever. *chides self for being tacky* Anyway, the video is awesome, Neri! Thank you so much---not that I'm going to be raiding anytime soon, but it does provide insight into raid leadership and its headaches.

Make It Rain Skyshards

My friend and I were just talking about these yesterday: the skyshards, not the pandas. But as one who does love her magic tricks, you may not recognize me in my new panda form after the long update.