Monday, February 22, 2010

February 22, 2010

Been a while since I posted. I've been busy spending hours in our PC lab at work lately. I've been testing for trago, tucky, marco, etc.

Let's see if I can recap what has happened in game. Luckily for me, the Armory now lists your boss kills and achievements chronologically. So, I can pretty much rely on it for the details. :)

ICC 25 (Priest)
We now have Professor officially on farm. I'm still a little dubious -- not sure we're going to actually be able to get him down each week. But, we have done so for the past two weeks, which makes it officially farm content.

Blood Prince Council is also on farm.

Blood Queen Lana'thel is causing us problems. We spent nearly two full raid nights (8 hours total) trying this encounter. We've gotten her close -- I think 9% was the best we got it to. Perhaps tomorrow night we'll get some more gear on folks on the first several bosses, which will then help with that encounter.

The lack of quick progression is disappointing the officers and frustrating the raiders. No one likes trying the same encounter for 4 hours straight. Unfortunately, this is resulting in tension, arguments and raised tempers. One of our top ranged DPS rage quit the raid last week. I'm not exactly sure why, since I wasn't privy to the ranged chat channel conversation.

I have to say that the officers are disappointing me. I realize it's just a game and that people aren't necessarily trained managers just because they're guild leaders. But, I am really surprised by how unprofessional they are sometimes. They seem to think that ridicule is the way to motivate people to succeed. Instead of easing the tensions in the raid, they're making them worse by yelling at people and threatening to recruit better raiders. It's all very ugly.

ICC 10 (Priest)
Our 10 man team is a much more positive group, though it's not without its issues.

We have Professor on farm in 10 man too, though I still hold doubts about it truly being farm content only after 2 successful kills. We'll see.

Blood Prince Council = farm.

Blood Queen Lana'thel -- We got her down for the first time last night. Woot!

Valithria Dreamwalker -- We got her down in two tries last night. Woot!

Now that's some nice progression. :)

Shaman Leveling
I haven't leveled my shaman much in the past few weeks. Instead I've been focusing on...

Paladin Leveling
Yep, I'm focused on her again. Not so much because I find her fun to play. But because I'm obsessed with leveling her Blacksmithing. Hey...whatever works. :) I'm at a tough spot in the leveling process -- making Arcanite Rods. I've got Thorium up the wazoo, but Arcane Crystals are tough to find and they're way expensive on the AH. Thank goodness my boomkin is able to transmute them, otherwise I'd have to buy the actual Arcanite Bars, which are even more expensive.

So, I'm at a decision point. Do I pay for the crystals and move on? Or do I continue to mine Thorium until enough drop? I'll probably choose the latter. I'm not taking her into instances all that often since I really don't enjoy doing so on her. For some reason, I'm enjoying leveling slowly and mining on her. So, for now, I'll take it easy and level blacksmithing the old fashion way.

New Title
Oh...and I am now an Elder!

Friday, February 12, 2010

February 12, 2010

Good News, Everyone!
Professor went down last night on both 25-man and 10-man. What an exciting night!!!! After weeks of trying to beat him in both groups, we finally did it. I got both achievements: The Plagueworks (10 player) and The Plagueworks (25 player)

Not much else to say about last night, as our focus was on Professor. Great, fun, exciting, ego-boosting night!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

February 10, 2010

What do Snow, Love, PVP, Fools, Blacksmiths, Calendars and Subways have in common? Not much, unless you're in my world. Let me see if I can explain the connection they all have:

This morning I woke up with only one Achievement left for the the Love Fool title -- I Pitied the Fool. I still had the Battle Ring of Gurubashi Arena and the Arathi Basin Blacksmith parts to do. (PVP).

Last night there was a huge snow storm, which is still going as I type this. So, everyone and their mother is either taking a day off or encountering major delays on their commute in. So, even though I could theoretically walk to work, I decided to join the masses and use the snow as an excuse to be late to work. (Snow)

Because we anticipated the snow storm, my morning meetings were cancelled. So, being late would not be that much of a problem anyway because my calendar was free. (Calendar)

I went to Exodar and Darnassus to do the daily quests and purchased a Love Fool. I already had one in my inventory. So that gave me the two I needed. Woot! (Fools)

I hopped in the portal to Blasted Lands and joined the queue for Arathi Basin while making my way to Stranglethorn Vale. It only took a few seconds to queue. I popped into AB, ran around the horde, dismounted as soon as I saw the word "Blacksmith" on my screen and pitied a fool. (Blacksmith).

I typed "afk" and immediately returned to my flight to STV. I took a shower while my toon flew. When I was finished I made my way to the Battle Ring. I pitied my final fool. And bang! Fool for Love! (Love)

So you might still be wondering what the Subway has to do with all of this? Well, as soon as I got the title, I exited the game and got dressed really quickly. By the time I walked out the door, it was already 9:15 a.m. I was convinced that I would not make it to work by 9:30. As I walked down the stairs in the subway station, my train was just pulling in. Because of the snow, there was practically nobody on the train so I got a seat, which is unusual at that time of morning. Then, the commute to to my office was the fastest ever because of the lack of crowds. I got to my desk at 9:27. After all that, I wasn't late!!!! (Subway)

I've got a brand new title and I owe it all to the snow and all the direct or indirect effects it had on my world today! Hurray!! :-)

Icecrown Citadel 25 (Priest)
Regular raiding night last night. It started off very badly. something happened during the weekly maintenance that made it (1) take 20 minutes to get past the loading screen and (2) impossible to cast or do pretty much anything else. We postponed our start time an hour, which really helped.

So, we quickly and easily cleared the first section. I sat out the first couple fights but joined for the Air Ship and the weekly ICC raid boss. No drops for this gal, but my emblems are really stacking up. We got to professor, on whom there is no longer a limited number of attempts. We got him down to 1% (50k health). It was so utterly exciting. But then we healers dropped like flies and then a tank died and it was all over. GRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That was the closest we had ever come to beating him. Our 2 attempts afterward were not as successful. We'll get him Thursday...we have the DPS and the mastery of the fight. We can do it!!!

Icecrown Citadel 10 (Priest)
Right afterward my 10-man team went in and we cleared up to Professor, which is pretty much the usual progress we make on Tuesday nights. Tonight we'll start with him. I really really hope we get him down. But, a couple of our regulars are not going to be there tonight, so it might be tough.

Social Networking a rare non-WoW related topic. My boss just told me yesterday that she wants me to attend a big conference in Nashville this summer. I hate those types of events. I feel overwhelmed by the crowds -- not claustrophobic, just out of place. I don't like networking, and that's what this event is all about. Meeting and talking with my peers. Ugh! Nashville will be a nice city to visit. But networking while I'm there -- not so much. :-(

And one more personal note. Michael, of Michael and Shannon, sat near me on the subway today and actually said "thank you" when I allowed him to pass me in the hallway. Some day we might all be on speaking terms again.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

February 9, 2010

I had to cut short yesterday's post because too much was going on at work. Things are a little less crazy today (or is it that I'm just blowing off the tasks on my to-do list?)

Love is in the Air
So, I was saying that I'm working on the Love is in the Air meta achievement. As of last night, I only have one achievement left: I Pitied the Fool. It's going to take a couple days, since the Love Fools cost 10 Love Tokens each. But, I should be done before the end of the week, if not sooner.

I was going to say that I found the perfect spot to grind out the Lovely Charms. But yesterday I found an even better one. There's a quest I have not completed that requires me to go to a specific location and destroy some portals or something. At that spot mobs are on a constant respawn cycle. I sat there for only about 30-45 minutes and walked away with over 100 lovely charms. That's 10 bracelets.

But then...I went to Culling of Stratholme as a random heroic late last night and found another way to quickly grind charms - kill all the zombies. I got kind of annoyed because this system definitely favors the non-healers in the group. I had to use Holy Nova in order to get my fair share of charms. :\ So, I supposed DPS will be the ones who have the most goodies from the event, since they have the most opportunities to get charms. When in a group, the charms should be distributed equally, not just to the person who made the kill. But, Blizzard didn't ask for my opinion.

Icecrown Citadel 25 (Priest)
Another 20 attempts on Professor wasted. Though we came very very close to killing him a few times. I think part of the problem is me. I excel at healing during phases 1 and 2. But phase 3 is a different matter. I suck at tank healing while moving.

Heroic modes unlock this week for several guilds, so the limited number of attempts goes away for normal mode. I don't know how our officers will approach this. Will we do Professor until we finally get him? Or will we limit ourselves to a number of attempts?

Shaman Leveling
My Shaman is now level 70. The xp gain since hitting 70 has seemed very slow compared to pre-70. I'm not complaining, as I remember it took even longer back in the Burning Crusade days. It's just that it was a noticeable slowing down of progress.

I've been finding healing to be rather difficult on some occasions. I'm spoiled on my priest by having lots of instants. The shaman only has one instant (Riptide) and it has 6 second cooldown, which is an eternity compared to Renew, whose cooldown is simply the global cooldown. Also the multi-target heal Chain Heal has a long casting time compared to the instant Circle of Healing.

Lack of instants is not the only problem. I think everyone is also spoiled by how easy heroics are with high level gear. So, when they're running alts through lvl 70 dungeons they forget that we're not really overpowered for them. They try running through them, AoEing everything, as if we're in a heroic. Tanks aren't getting time to gain aggro, DPS is getting focused and one-shotted. It's a mess.

I do remember finding it challenging to heal these instances when I was leveling my priest. But back then people were a little more cautious.

To avoid the stress of healing, I've been DPSing as much as possible. I've reached over 1k DPS on occasion. That's fun! :-)

Boomkin Fun
My boomkin finally gained enough Emblems of Frost to buy the Belt of Petrified Ivy. It was a huge upgrade over the item I had previously, so I'm excited. I hope this excitement lasts because it's going to be a long time before I can afford another frost item on her.

Monday, February 8, 2010

February 8, 2010

Love is in the Air

Another World Event is upon us -- Warcraft's version of Valentine's Day. If I remember correctly, this marks my second year playing WoW. I remember being really new to the game and being totally confused by all the people with hearts over their heads in Stormwind. I figured out through trial and error that my female toon should not proposition a female NPC. Everything back then seemed so expensive though, since I was so new to the game. And, since I was just a starter level, I didn't have the opportunity to do most of the activities.

Now two years later I'm hot to get my "the Love Fool" title! As soon as I logged in yesterday, I started doing the daily quests and getting some achievements. The only achievements I had from last year were, My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose and Lonely?. Yesterday I was able to get (I won't link them all) Shafted, Nation of Adoration, Charming, Dangerous Love, Tough Love and Be Mine. I still have 5 to go. As long as I can do the dailies each day, I should be able to do it no problem.

Last night I went with guildies to take down the holiday bosses in Shadowfang Keep. Then later I went with friends from another guild. Night and day. Night and day.

Tonight's a raid night, since yesterday was the Super Bowl. Professor going down? I really hope so!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

More Thoughts on Elitism in WoW

A few days ago I spoke about elitism in WoW. The topic is still on my mind, so I'm going to continue putting my thoughts down about it.

Today a top raiding guild got banned for exploiting a bug to defeat the Lich King encounter and gain the world first killing. (I'm not putting the name of the guild because I don't want it to show up on searches. Stupid as it may sound, I don't want to feed their elitist egos by adding to posts in the blogosphere about them. This post isn't about their ban anyway. It's about the elitism that went along with it.) One of the guild's main members put up a blog post in which he highly criticized Blizzard, including accusing them of making content too easy. (OK...end of reference to that incident.)

"Content is too easy." Who are the people that say this? Some (many? most?) members of top raiding guilds do (mine included). But other people do too. Who are they? What do these people have in common? Saying "elitism" is the common quality is a bit too easy. I want to understand it on a deeper level. What makes someone become an elitist?

I wish it were possible to do a survey of elitists to get statistics. I'd suspect that a large number of them are one or more of the following: (1) young -- teens to early 20s, (2) male, (3) able to spend lots of time in game, (4) insecure, (5) unable to discuss ideas rationally and with an open mind.

Why do I say each of these?

(1) Young -- Immaturity is definitely a factor. In general, the experienced, developed, educated mind is one that is less selfish and more aware and tolerant of others. I know that's a big generalization and there are millions of cases where that's not true (look at the Ku Klux Klan as an example), but I think it's safe to say that it's generally true. Most young people are not fully matured intellectually and emotionally. They often lack the ability to be tolerant of others. And, as we all know, young people can be cruel to one another. If you are different, don't fit in, aren't able to keep up with the cool kids, you are ostracized and ridiculed. Of course, this type of behavior isn't limited to young people. Even middle aged and elderly people can exhibit this behavior. But, I'd say that despite their age, they're still intellectually and/or emotionally immature.

(2) Male -- Testosterone is evil. :-) Really, though, men seem to always need to compete for top dog. They need to be the best, strongest, fastest, most skilled, most whatever. Of course, that doesn't mean that females can't be elitists. Surely I've run across many elitist women. But, in the world of video games I think it's safe to say that most of the elitists are male.

(3) Able to spend lots of time in the game -- I don't believe I've run across many elitist players in WoW that are only able to play 3-4 hours a week. In order to be an elitist, you need the gear to back it up. Gear is only obtainable by spending time in the game. Even with heroics being easier to run these days (because of the current LFG system AND the average gear level players), a person with limited time to play will still find it hard to keep up with the Joneses gear-wise. My priest has close to a 5700 gear score at this point because I raid about 18 hours a week with her (25-man and 10-man combined). My druid, on the other hand, still has a gear score in the mid-high 3000s since my time on her is limited to a daily random heroic and the occasional additional heroic if time permits.

But, I've gotten off track. My point with this is that people who say the content is too easy are, more often than not, the people that have enough time to obtain the gear to make it easy. I think the first encounters of ICC are easy -- on my priest. But, when I'm in ICC on my mage and her guild mates, I find it challenging. Why? Mostly because of gear. My priest's guildmates are all highly geared. My mage's guildmates are average to well geared.

I'm not trying to get into a discussion about whether or not the end-game raiding content should be doable by the masses. I can see both sides of the argument on that. Making raid content difficult for top raiding guilds gives them incentive to stay in the game. If the content were too easy for them, they'd get bored and move on to another game. I get that. But, I also remember wanting to see raids such as Black Temple and Sunwell before I was in a raiding guild. I knew I never could because I wasn't geared enough. It made me a sad that there were parts of the game I'd never see because of this, despite paying the same amount of money per month to play the game as the top-end raiders. So...I understand both sides of the argument regarding that.

But that's not my point.

My point is that many elitists are only able to be elitists because of their gear. The only way to get exceptional gear is by spending lots of time in the game. But...does the ability to spend a lot of time in the game and get better gear entitle anyone to feel superior to those who don't have the time?

(4) Insecure -- This one could be hotly debated (and denied, of course), but behind most elitists there is an insecure person. Anyone that has to base their worth and self esteem on their status in a video game is making up for something in their real life. I'm not saying in-game elitists are no-life losers in real life. Nope. Not all. Some might be. Others might be very successful people with wonderful family lives who contribute to society in very positive ways. But, even the most successful person can have insecurities. And when I say "successful", I'm not limiting it to having a good career. I mean anything that would make a person feel successful, including, but not limited to, being a low income single parent raising a healthy well adjusted child. In my book, that person is just as successful as the most infuential lawyer or doctor. (And sometimes even more successful, but that's another discussion.)

Anyway...I think elitism is often a manifestation of insecurity. The need to make yourself feel superior to others by putting them down. That's so often a blatant sign of insecurity.

(5) unable to discuss ideas rationally and with an open mind -- This is the typical internet era jerk. There's John Gabriel's Greater Internet F!kwad Theory that basically says, given total anonymity and an audience, even the most normal person can become a jerk. My own take on that is something you find everywhere on the internet, including in WoW.

For example, just today I read a post on the WoW forums in which someone was saying "stay away from such and such players because they do low dps in heroics". They actually said the names of the players and revealed their dps numbers in a recent heroic run. They claim they were doing a public service. This, of course, led to a debate regarding the notion of the acceptable amount of dps for heroics. Those who felt the original poster was wrong stated reasonable arguments: Heroics were originally desgined for fresh 80s. When Wrath first came out and we all started running heroics we had ilvl 200 gear or less. We made it through heroics just fine, though maybe with some difficulty at times. Now that many people have ilvl 245-264 gear, heroics are much easier to run. In some cases, the heroic dungeons themselves have been made easier by nerfing certain mechanics. Many people are leveling alts who are fresh 80s. They haven't been able to get to the point of gaining the 245-264 gear. They're as geared as we were when we started heroics and, in many cases, the dungeons are easier.

With all these reasonable arguments, the original poster and those that supported him continued to hold their ground. According to them, anything under 5k dps is just unacceptable in heroics at this point. End of story. Anyone with less than 5k dps is fail and needs to learn to play or just quit WoW altogether.

I'm sorry, but any reasonable rational person can see the lack of logic in that position. But most elitists fail to debate reasonably. They can't admit the true sub-par DPS for heroics is DPS that is lower than expected for ilvl 175-200 geared people. That's the ilvl that heroics were designed around. Instead they insist that everyone should be at 245-264 at this point. They won't even respond to posts about fresh lvl 80 alts.

What they really should say, and a reasonable/rational person would, is that they recognize that ilvl 175-200 is fine for heroics, but they prefer to run heroics with people with higher gear levels. That is perfectly acceptable. It's a preference for them...they want to get through heroics quickly. And, saying it that way does not put any judgment on the people who have not achieved that level of gear yet. But, instead, they call anyone without their expected level of DPS "fail".

Another example of an irrational or unreasonable stance is the discussion about the ease of current raids. Uber-geared highly-sklled end-game-focused raiders will definitely find encounters in ICC easier to beat than others who don't match that description. In fact, I'll even stipulate that it's not necessary to have uber-gear to feel that way. As long as you're highly skilled and focused on end-game content, you'll probably find many ICC encounters to be easy.

But...does that mean that anyone who doesn't have the same perspective as you is "fail"? Take my mage's guild for example. They are a group of good, and in many cases well geared, players. They still struggle on 10-man Saurfang and, the last time I checked, they are still trying to kill Rotface. If anyone asked them if they thought the content was easy, they'd say "no". Are they as geared as the top raiders? No. Are they as experienced with end-game raiding as the top raiders? No. Do some of them lack the quick response time as top raiders? Yes. But...are they "fail" because of these differences? No.

Any reasonable/rational person would agree that the top raiding guilds have an edge (gearwise and skillwise) over other guilds. They would admit that their perspective of the game is only shared by a small percentage of the WoW community. They would say that, although they find the content easy, they can understand why it's more difficult for those with less advantages than they. (And they'd say so without condescension, of course.)

Does better gear make you more valuable of a human being? Does more skill, experience, reaction time, etc. make you a more valuable human being? No, but elitists make it seem that way.

OK...I've gone on and on. But this topic fascinates me. There are so many facets to it; surely not every elitist is an elitist for the same combination of reasons. And, I'm sure there are more personality traits behind elitism that I haven't thought of.

It's such a negative force...and yet there doesn't seem to be any way to rid the world of it.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Level and Goal Check

Death Knight
Ret 41 (+3)
(no talents)
Ele / Resto
67 (+23)
Affliction PvP
(no talents)

I gained 23 levels on my Shaman in the last month. The majority of the xp was gained through random dungeons. There's almost no point anymore to questing in Outland. And, with flying available at lvl 60, there's no longer a need to kill random mobs on the way to your quest location. Just fly in, drop down, kill any mob that might be in the immediate vicinity, get quest credit, fly out. The "kill 10 mobs" or "collect 30 naga claws" type of quests are no longer worth the effort. You level in dungeons long before you have time to finish killing the mobs.


✔ Level him to 80.
✔ Get into at least one raid.
✔ Get him to max Tailoring (well, not really achieved, but the carpet mount was the actual goal.
✔ Make a carpet mount.

✔ Level her to 80.
Get into at least one raid.
✔ Dual spec her boomkin/resto. (Though I switched from resto to feral soon afterward.)

✔ Get a little further in Ulduar than I have so far (which is only past the first boss). (So far we got all the way to Yogg.)
Get turtle mount.
Get Giant Sewer Rat pet.


Max out Engineering.

Level her to ??. (not sure how high I feel like leveling her).

I had wanted to get her to exalted with Ironforge for the novelty of getting a ram mount. But now that I created the dwarf pally, there might be no incentive. I didn't really enjoy playing her that much.

Mage goals, I suppose. Just continue getting better gear. Her current Imba score is: 604.87 (up almost 40 points from last month).

Go full resto at 80.

Death Knight
No real goal. Fun to play, but no real motivation to get to 80.

No goals. I don't like playing him. I would say "get him to max leatherworking", but that would require me to level him.