28 April 2011

New patch

Before I forget, I want to mention that this week's Twisted Nether Podcast, which I just now got around to listening, made me laugh quite a bit, especially with the segment about "roar, I'm a dinosaur" in Japanese. They found a translation on yahoo answers, but if you are curious it looks like this: 「ウリャー!恐竜だ!」(Uryaa! Kyouryuu da!) The yahoo answers suggested "gaoo" for the roar sound,  but that makes me think of big cats, and uryaa sounds more like a shriek I associate with the Jurassic Park dinos >_> Also fun fact: the word for dinosaur is "scary dragon."

In other minor news, I have updated some stuff around the site, including my blogroll which should hopefully more accurately reflect the bajillion blogs I follow. As a general note, if you are truncating your feed posts you should totally stop doing that, and if you don't I will put your blog into fullrsstextfeed.com and forcibly untruncate your posts. I'm not sure how that plays with Blogger's recognition of said feed, however, so I may not be able to advertise for you in my blogroll! Untruncate your feeds! /flips every table

Next week I will be traveling for Golden Week, so although I have posts scheduled I will be slow on comments. A friend has offered to sell me his used DS Lite before he returns to the States, so I'm glad I can save my Wheel of Time books for when I'll be...at work... The only problem is that his DS is pink. -_- And not even an exciting bold pink! Maybe I should just get a new one so I can get a blue one, eh? That's totally worth 300 bucks.

Influx of interest! Being generally responsible means being busy after work, which makes me oddly uninterested in WoW when I finally do get time to log on. I typically get excited about holiday events, but having no desire to get "the Noble" on any more toons and the distinct lack of enjoyable quests means Noblegarden has been a disappointment. In terms of motivating me to do dailies or play my alts, anyway. The egg rage always makes me laugh, especially the rare moments when it sneaks up on me! Running up to an egg, only to see it disappear as you arrive and a pink bunny scamper off...ah, I love it when people get mad over pastel chocolate eggs. It reminds me of hunting them in the middle of the night with my old guildies. I was  running circles around Brill, /yelling at my two guildies running their own circles. Some idiot had the gall to call us losers for spending our Friday night playing WoW. Hello pot, this is kettle! The next night found us in Bloodhoof, where I was camping a lovely spot with 4 spawn points. My guildie stupidly made some comment about me having boobs (even funnier, as he has zero interest in the ladies), and I had to gently let down a vaguely creepy, curious lowbie who whispered me to ask me "if I really was a girl" and then a bunch of adorably nooby questions about how to play the game.

Despite Noblegarden failing to be exciting, as far as holidays go, I stayed home Wednesday night to raid and had a BLAST. It's been so long since enough people were online on a night I was available to raid, and I have been seriously neglecting my heroics. Just rolling through bosses in BWD was sheer joy in itself, but I was being reminded of the 4.1 changes left and right which was icing on the cake. Now I can do more than one heroic per day without feeling like it's wasted time, we got credit for a guild challenge (killing a raid boss) and 1000g, we got some people their Chimaeron achievement, ZG and ZA are out for whenever I can find time and a guild group to explore them, I got two new kitty pets (and a ton of secret achievements!), and I just found out that Children's Week has a fourth pet added! Everything is all smiles, and although not a single piece of spirit leather dropped, I got three (!!!) agi leather pieces for my bear set. Neither our bear tank nor rogue wanted them, although I felt like a pile of poo taking them for a spec I am so selfish with. At least I don't feel terrible about depriving the guild of shards, what with the new sources of epix!

Speaking of patch changes, I took the opportunity to redo both of my specs. WHICH, by the way, go up in price as if it were the same spec being changed multiple times. Remember when changing your singular spec within a certain time frame would drive up the price? Well, despite the fact that we have two distinct specs, they are still perceived as one, so changing one right after the other doubles the price. Poor form! At any rate, you must be beside yourselves with excitement to see my new specs!

Resto spec 4.1
 I got back the wonderful Efflorescence and avoided points in the Rejuve-specific talents in favor of the mana talents in Balance and Feral. Sadly, I couldn't respec in time for raid, but I look forward to using this new spec soon!!
Feral spec 4.1
This spec was created based on The Inc Bear's hybrid feral post. I hope this and my new pieces will help me solo more stuff!

25 April 2011

Day 3: A wild noob appears!

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

Catch up on Day 2: Why blog?

My first day in WoW was one of those travesties where you know "One day we'll look back on this and laugh."

I started with a human priest in the dark forests of Elwynn. My human warlock BFF and our nelf druid friend came to meet me at Northshire Abbey, where I proceeded to have some very embarrassingly basic problems. They were talking to me in floating white text bubbles. I tabbed out to AIM.

redcow: how do i type bakc??/
lockbff: /s

I tabbed back in.

[Amarosa] says: ohi
[Lockbff] invites you to a group.

The text suddenly became blue. I didn't know how to make my text blue, so I responded in white /s. Bystanders laughed at my noobish questions. My friends began to emote at me.

Nelfdruid licks you.
Lockbff hugs you.
[Amarosa] says: WTF how are you doin that??

Conspiratorial purple text appeared.

[Nelfdruid] whispers: type /hug
You need a hug!
[Amarosa] says: WTF it didnt work!!
[Nelfdruid] whispers: click on someone and type it!
You hug Nelfdruid.
[Amarosa] says: why are you whispering to me?

They explained the concept of a private conversation and instructed me to /whisper name or /r name. Nelfdruid's name was 10 characters, and Lockbff's 7. I spent a lot of time typing both out unnecessarily for our hushed, secretive conversations.

They taught me how to play a caster: target the thing you want to kill, then inch forward until the numbers on your buttons are gray instead of red. That was an easy enough lesson! It would be weeks before I learned about my priest bubble, which led to a lot of dying. I killed some wolves to show off my new skills.

To [Nelfdruid]: ok im gonna log off and go to bed
[Nelfdruid] whispers: kk byeeee!
To [Nelfdruid]: how do i save??
[Party] [Nelfdruid]: you don't save
[Party] [Nelfdruid]: it's an mmo
[Party] [Lockbff]: Lol!! It's not like pokemon. You don't need to save.
[Amarosa] says: but what will happen to my character!?
[Party] [Nelfdruid]: it just waits here for you!
[Amarosa] says: WTF
[Amarosa] has gone offline.

Go to Day 4: Oh, darling

24 April 2011

The Great Blog Noblegarden Egg Hunt!

The second GBNEH is upon us! Started by Angelya of R&R, this year it is being organized by Kamalia of Kamalia et alia. Eggs have been hidden in all sorts of places on participants' blogs, and if you can locate them all and send an email off to the following address:
Here is the list of participating blogs. Be sure to check out Kamalia's explanatory post for tips on where to look and how to cite the locations when you send your email. Bloggers and non-bloggers alike are invited to participate, and you could win some fabulous prizes!

Azeroth Apple
Bag Overflow
Cannot Be Tamed
Christine’s Blog
Cynwise’s Battlefield Manual/Green Tinted Goggles
Daily Quests
Dwarven Battle Medic
Elfi’s World
Fel Concentration
Flavor Text
Fuzzy_Magicz Magical Parlour
Jaded Alt
Kamalia et alia
Muradin Musings
Orcish Army Knife
Perish Twice
Raid Trauma
red cow rise
Revive and Rejuvenate
Scribblings on the Asylum Wall
The WOW Debutante
Top Rosters
World of Saz

23 April 2011

[Shared Topic] Goblin Editorial

The Economics of Ecofriendly Living

Sprinkie Sparklefizz is a renowned auction house mogul, a respected mage, and the current head of Sparklefizz Industries. She enjoys economic PVP and melting faces.

I'll put it to you straight: environmental destruction is not profitable. Not in the long run. I know this isn't a popular opinion, but it has to be said. If we make our environment unlivable, we will die before we can profit. Here is the problem as I see it: we are treating the whole of Azeroth as our personal estate and it's about to make business rough for us.

To the goblins in Azshara, I'm speaking to you as a fellow survivor of our demolished home. What we did to Kezan, what we are doing to Azshara now; it's not sustainable. Azeroth is a big place, but that doesn't mean we can, or should, take all of its resources without a care for how they will be replenished. 

Let's start small. Our settlement in Orgrimmar has quickly become known as a slum, and the water we contaminated has not made us any friends. If we want the trolls and orcs as allies, especially economically, we will need to rein in the toxic waste we are producing in their city. We can't monopolize trade with hostile races.

The Cataclysm has seriously limited resources as we renavigate the changed face of the planet. Those who followed the news in Kezan will already know what I am talking about - we have spent years inventing temporary solutions for what we know would become a crisis of resources and space. Although the space available to us has expanded, we should take this message to heart and take care of the land before it gives out on us.

We should take our inspiration from the Steamwheedle Cartel, whose outposts in Everlook, Gadgetzan, and Booty Bay have managed to exist in their respective locations without permanently altering the face of those environments. They take materials from their surroundings but do not convert it to serve their own aesthetics. And what's more, they maintain a high reputation with both Horde and Alliance factions and have a complete monopoly of inter-factional commerce. This is a prime example of what we should strive for when expanding into new environments. It bears mention that this is our competition I am referring to. We need to improve on their successful design if we are to stay competitive.

Our recent construction in Azshara suggests a dangerous precedent for a return to our construction habits of old. We must curb our destruction of the landscape and confine our impact on the area to the space and materials we need. The massive change from Kezan to Kalimdor is the perfect opportunity to reassess our building strategies in order to minimize our environmental impact and maximize our ability to generate profits.

excerpt from The Daily Auctioneer, Vol. 43, Issue 45

22 April 2011

This Week

Guild level 25
Scorpion joyrides
It does not become a lion.

My weapon fire CHANGES COLORS

19 April 2011

Day 2: Why blog?

This is the next day in Saga of Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. You can find more participants here.

What prompted me to start a blog? In the 6 months or so leading up to my first post, I followed 2 blogging shitstorms that led me to some admirable writers that made me feel excited about commenting and getting involved in blogland. The first was what has since been referred to as "Women in WoW" which, despite claims that "girls don't play WoW" and similar sentiments are obsolete, continues to be a hornets' nest of discussion fodder. The second was the RealID explosion, which interestingly enough was at least partially related to the first.

Both topics I followed with interest. Especially during RealID I needed the support of like-minded folks, because I was facing the possibility of quitting the game, not because I was done playing, but because I would not have my real name publicly associated with my Azeroth activities. During weekdays, WoW is my only source of English-language conversation and community, so I was pretty stressed. 

Long story short (too late), I was introduced to the rich WoW blogosphere. The more I read, the more I began to think about my own thoughts on the topics addressed, and they always turned into more than a comment here and there. Although it was major topics that brought me into blogging, my list of "What do I bring to a wow blog?" (I love lists) looked like:
1) screenshots
2) funny stories
3) resto guides or something??? 
Perhaps not a lot to go on, but I had the time and the inclination to write at least for myself, if not for others. I got the blog name, spent a week or so toying with the layout, and tentatively jumped into posting!

16 April 2011

Seductive Alts

Before I get into what I actually want to talk about today I need to complain bitterly about the fact that I lost my DS on the train. FFFFF!! I was wearing a stupid fashionable coat that I knew had slippery, poorly closed pockets, one that I had even lost a gym card from before and I went and put my stupid DS in the stupid pocket anyway. And then I got off the train and walked about 10 steps, realized that my pocket was too light, and turned back, only to have the doors close in my face and the passengers stare uneasily at the foreigner goggling at them. Then I went to the dirty lost objects office and had to wait for like an hour for them to call every freaking station that my train went to as it arrived, in the hopes that someone would have turned it in. They had not. I've been to my own station since and it still hasn't turned up in the database.

It's not the hardware itself that I miss; it's an ancient DS lite bought back when they only sold them in white [in the US]. It was due for an update anyway, provided I had a reason to. I guess now I do. The problem is that the game contained Pokemon SoulSilver, the DS remake of my most beloved Pokemon generation, and what's worse, it was a gift from my best friend; the English version that I waited a whole year to be translated rather than just buying it at the store when it came out in Japan. And now I have to tell her that even though I had hatched a small Eevee army and named my Togepi Poopie?! just like old times, I lost the game and now I have to buy another copy and start from scratch. UGH MY NERD RAGE KNOWS NO BOUNDS.

So, that out of the way. Despite being very, very close, like 550 lockboxes close, from reaching my extremely long-term goal of The Insane title, I have been completely enthralled by my lowbie toons this week. I got the hardy dwarf shaman to level 20 in no time at all and I have killed every single freaking rare that has come across my path. There are a TON in the old world. Unlike other lowbie experiences, I have found that Loch Modan quests level easily with the toon. Sure, I have gotten a few green quests, or left them too long and they became green, but I'm still getting yellow quests and yellow mobs to kill, so it doesn't feel completely pointless to level there. Compare that to my goblin in Azshara or my worgen just hitting Darkshore, where my goblin isn't even finished with the mage apprentice questline and is juggling green and gray quests. The worgen was sent to Darkshore as a natural progression of questing, and every damn quest is green already! And it's not like I did anything special in Gilneas; you have to do every stinking quest just to get out of the zone!

I wandered around Darnassafrass on my worgen once I got there. I always get the urge to check out lowbie zones and infrequently visited capital cities once in a while. Did you guys know that Malfurion is hanging out with Tyrande?? Spoiler alert: he is!! Her eyes look unusually pinched and tired compared to the flawless skin of her other nelf sisters, so seeing her boyf back in action made me happy. Homegirl deserves a break, and probably a good romp in the sack. She's earned it!

Being in Darkshore was a little weird, because I had first gone through there on my only character, a night elf. Doing some of the quests, I immediately thought of how she would react, mostly with a lot of upset and murdering, because all of the sweet NPCs from Auberdine are dead! /cry But then I realized, as a cursed human-turned-monster worgen, just getting back into the fold with a potentially unreliable Alliance, having lived through the Cataclysm and worgen-related drama with your own people, what would she think about the state of Darkshore? All I could come up with was that it would be upsetting in the way that Things Have Gone Wrong With the World generally are, but not nearly as personal or depressing as it would be for my night elf. So then I hopped on my night elf and wandered around Stormwind in a lovely level 10 dress, sandals, and lantern. I thought about going to Northshire Abbey to do the new human starting zone, but decided to actually roll a new alt somewhere and do it another time. /flop

One thing that I do want to mention about hanging out in lowbie zones is how often I am surprised to encounter NPCs. They are much more active in the zones, patrolling around, killing mobs left and right. I kept seeing them and starting - what are the odds that another lowbie is questing at this time of night, especially with so few lowbies around anyway? And then I would mouseover the character and see that it was an NPC fighting a mob or saving a comrade, and be even more surprised. I'd love to see more NPCs out and about, not only in quest areas but out in the wilds of zones or wandering around major cities. 

Part of playing my alts so frequently is that it's easier for me to go and do the things I need to do in the evenings (gym, J class, food shopping) if I don't get on a character in my guild. That way no one will ask me to just heal this one heroic, super quick run, promise! It's much easier to pick up and go if you have been killing bobcats or collecting rock turds without having to explain to guildies where you are going. Unfortunately, because I have been so entranced by playing alts, this means I haven't run a random in about a week. Not that I was running them any more regularly before I worked out this self-control method. Now that we are close to level 25 in the guild, I'm wondering if I'm ready to brave solo PUGs again. Especially since I'm so close to finishing The Insane. Agghhh I need to do that.

Chelley's Bane of Covetous Beko dropped last week, and I've been casting about for some extra cash to buy it from the gbank. I guess I still haven't learned my lesson from before, which is that even if I do blow all of my gold on it, it will likely be replaced before I can even make the money back. I guess it's good that my guild leader hasn't replied to my mail, because I'm only about 3/4 of the way prepared to buy it. Unless he is willing to accept herbs as partial payment...

I finally unlocked the last rare archaeology piece I need from Northrend, so assuming I ever get any Nerubian digsites, I can hopefully return to the old world and get toasted by Deathwing at some point. Maybe one of my gaudy tier sets will bring him down from the skies to roast me.

14 April 2011

Day 1: Who is red cow?

I have finally jumped on the bandwagon of Saga at Spellbound's 20 days of...WoW blogging challenge. Despite the recent flurry of posting about the new Call to Arms! system, I have been feeling a little lost as to what to post next. I have a few posts waiting in the wings, some of them stories, but when I go to hit publish they just seem out of place or inappropriate somehow. Hopefully after some more editing I can feel good about sharing them. Until then, please enjoy some shameless red cow talk. More participants can be found here.
Yeaahhh this makes sense
I am a US expat living in west Japan teaching English straight out of college. My majors were Japanese and Spanish, not education, so I've recently been floundering about while considering the total shit job situation in the US and my lack of real marketable skills.

I have been a nerd since I could read, correcting my dad when he skipped a word of The Chronicles of Narnia, always having a book in hand at all family gatherings (my aunt has a picture of me reading from, like, every Christmas), staying up till 4 am playing Pokemon with my best friend, writing outrageous fanfiction on a cookie and Vanilla Coke-induced sugar high with the same friend. In high school, I woke up at 7 am in order to watch all 6 Star Wars movies, including the final one which (unreleased at the time) was an awful pirated version. Also generally awful, but I digress. I helped my dad build an extra bookcase to house my Sailormoon manga and sat with my mom after school, sketching Sailor suits and meatball hairstyles while she read the newspaper. My need to collect things extends to music as well, especially after I learned the term "discography". I was an honors, AP class student and a percussionist in our award-winning high school band (I miss it so much!!), adding more marks to my long tally of nerd points.

In game I am a resto druid, and have played the same character since I chose a main. I love raiding, gear, achievements, mounts, pets, basically anything that can be collected. (I blame Pokedexes for this) It took a while to dredge this timeline up, but I started playing at the end of my junior year of college as a human priest on a 10 day trial. Much hilarity was had, but I didn't being playing in earnest until after returning from a summer study abroad in Tokyo. My Alliance friends weren't playing very regularly, so my Horde buddy encouraged me to reroll and join her guild for company. While in Japan, we traveled to Aizu on a weekend trip and visited a lacquer store that gave us akabeko keychains as a thank-you gift. Akabeko is "red cow" in Aizu dialect. My friend had been describing her deep love of the curvy, fuzzy cowgirls, and it occurred to me that the cute akabeko would make a good name for a cow lady. As soon as I got home, I rolled up a red-furred cowgirl and never looked back. Since then, I have been called both Aka, Beko, and many humorous misreadings of the non-English name. Also, I've been told that it's a name or reference used for something in an anime, which has led to a few strange conversations where someone assumes that I am a fan of...whatever anime that is.

Looking back, I'm really glad that I chose a multi-purpose class as my main character, because it has enabled me to perform all roles when necessary. I heal in group situations, dps when questing, and tank when I want to solo bosses!

Go to Day 2: Why blog?

10 April 2011

[Shared Topic] Weird Habits in WoW

I was thinking about some of the strange things I feel compelled to do in WoW and wondered what habits other people might have. Habits generally make up part of a routine, but I'm not interested in "I always grab flasks and make a pit stop before raid" so much as I want to hear about quirks like "Whenever I inspect someone's gear I also try all of it on to see how it looks on my toon."

My habits: emotes
My favorite in-game emote is /lick. I use it all the time. But just to be clear, it's not supposed to be sexual AT ALL (I'm looking at you, creepy ex-guildie). I envision /licking not as some seductive errogenous-zone tonguing, but rather walking up to someone and giving them a big sloppy lick right across their face. Maybe they get some spit in their nose or eyes or something.

Aside from that, I'm a huge fan of custom emotes. My current favorites are:

/e is turning into Akahulko...!!! (This is to get pumped for boss fights or to menace a guildie)
/e tips you over. (even cows go cow-tipping)

My habits: gameplay
Perhaps you've raided with a resto druid who couldn't sit still. That resto druid is me. If space permits, I run in circles or orbit other players (I like to tell them I am their electron). If I can't move around, I spin in place. And through all this I also jump. If possible, I like to jump in a zig zag pattern. All of this movement is occasionally hampered by the need to stop and cast, but I never let it get me down! My favorite fight is Lord Camelgar Ptah in Halls of Origination because I can put myself on autorun and still heal fine. (This also gives me free time to /yell CAMEEEEELLLLL STOOOORRRRRM!)

I also follow people around. Not people I don't know, because either they think I'm creeper or they themselves turn out to be a creeper. But in guild raids, I usually pick one person and I stack on them during  idle times. If they move or jump around, I dutifully follow after them and stack on them again. Strangely enough, I don't get many responses to this. I'm not sure if it's because they don't notice, attribute the behavior to something related to the strat, or simply shake their heads in confusion.

My habits: idling
I compose screenshots. I don't always take them, but I can't stop spinning and angling the camera, zooming in and out, and nudging myself this way and that to find interesting framing. It can be anything from idling in the Org inn to autorunning across a zone to a digsite. I love screenshots!

08 April 2011

[Shared Topic] Do your alts know each other?

I was waffling about doing this week's shared topic but it's just too fun to pass up. Kamalia of Kamalia et Alia asks:
Whether you have many alts or just a few, do they know each other? Do they have some sort of relationship as people living in Azeroth, or is sending materials and money between them just a game mechanic for you? If your characters do know each other, what kind of relationships do they have, and how did those relationships come into being? If they don't, what functions do your different alts serve?
Despite never RPnig in game (except once in a serious context, which was actually incredibly awesome and should probably be discussed), you may have noticed in the occasional story post that I do think about the personalities and lives of my characters. They are more than raid tools to me; they provide a constant source of creativity, especially now that I have left behind the anime-related fanfiction of my youth and the even older Standard Fantasy stories that I wrote in my childhood. 

The short answer is yes, my characters know each other. The long answer is that the relationships are different for each.

To start, who are my characters anyway? Hopefully by now you know my main, the druid called Akabeko. Since I don't like using guildies as characters in writing, I tend to assume that she is "guilded" with my more oft-played alts in addition to actual guildies, so I can have her interact with someone as a comrade-in-arms. Those generally turn out to be my paladin Iharu and the irritable warlock Maurene. Although I tend to think of each of them as having very independent lives due to the pressures of being a hero, they also are inexorably drawn together to relax, argue, strategize, and solve mysteries Scooby-Doo style. The different races especially give a great source of clashing views and opinions and make for fun "odd couple" interactions. I love having the conservative (ex-human) Maurene get crabby around the snarky, sexy paladin, with Akabeko as a mediator. 

Strangely, I don't know if I've ever really thought about how the trio came together in their current relationship. I have a very old scrap of writing in which Akabeko visits the Undercity for the first time and, while stumbling around and flipping out about demons in plain sight, encounters Maurene, who is trying to peddle her enchants. Maurene gives her an enchant of some sort, taking pity on the poor country bumpkin, and sends Aka on her way. Since then, every story I have written about them has started with the assumption that they all know each other. Sometime between their "origin" stories and their together-time stories they have come together without my knowledge. 

Then there are my goblin(s) who will eventually know each other in an upcoming episode of goblin Journal! Despite being a very new character, Sprinkie the mage has really grown on me, and the more I write about her the more I learn about her character. After creating a goblin hunter (in order to save the uncontrollably awesome name Myda), Sprinkie's story suggested how they could come to meet, and I look forward to writing all of that. 

When I think about the stories that center around the two Horde groups, I get the feeling that although the characters might know each other in passing or in rumor, they won't interact directly all that much. 

Bank characters aren't left out either, and I've even had some fun imagining the life of a bank toon. I set it up as merchants who take on clients whose auction house affairs they manage. (Basically, an auctioneer that I control). My first bank toon was a tauren druid (to ensure I would never want to actually play the character), and I had a fun time figuring out why a tauren would be interested in handling money and business, and how that might affect her personality and interactions with others of her race. 

There are two characters on my current server that I never thought about one way or another, and they are my DK scribe and my rogue lockbox-farmer. You might think, well clearly, with purposes like that, why would you have bothered to think of any sort of history for them? The weird thing is that on my old server I had a tauren banker and an undead rogue, and both of them got at least a second glance at a backstory. These two characters, for whatever reason, have managed to grow up without so much as a last name. 

Alliance-side, I only just expanded from 1 to 3 alts, so I haven't really had a chance to think about those characters or their interactions. I think cross-faction interaction will be limited to an easter egg passing mention. 

Now I'm thinking a lot about my character personalities! Quick, to the blogmobile!

06 April 2011

So long, bearded lady!

Now that I've had a good introspective mope, it's time to smother you with squealing glee (is that where squee comes from?). To begin, I GOT EXALTED WITH DARKMOON FAIRE!!!!!!!!!!

Because I stupidly kept trying to complete decks without seeing how many completed ones I already had banked, I ended up not only with lots of leftover cards, but at least 5 completed decks! But I'm maybe a week away from The Insane so I don't even care. I've offered the leftovers to other guildies looking to go Insane before I start auctioning off my remaining cards. Check out my guildbank (I had already extracted a ton of cards before taking this shot but I didn't want to put everything back in and take it out again...)

If I had to give tips, I would say keep your spreadsheet updated with how many of each card you have, and be mindful of your completed decks and the next Darkmoon Faire for turn-ins. Having a mailbox is incredibly useful for sending away those unique cards without having to leave the questgiver. If you have any guildies who are getting their Cata trinkets, do their turn-ins for them! Don't be afraid to buy ink and primals on your own, Darkflame Ink in particular is very cheap on my server, and I can generally get either motes or primals for less than 10g total. Also, if you get towards the end of your grind and see that one card of a deck has an extremely low droprate (we meet again, Ace of Beasts), stop buying more cards for that deck and focus your gold on more expensive cards to build other more regularly-completable decks. Check out this helpful spreadsheet I made to keep track of your cards!

If the major deck market is total crap on your server, don't reject the minor decks! Rogues Decks are the easiest to make, needing only three cards to make a full set, although I've found that Two of Rogues has an abysmally low droprate. It's incredibly slow going, but you can rest assured that you'll get some rep and be able to sell the rewards. I always alternate between the cloth and leather chestpieces, and typically auction them for around 5 or 6g. If you get a windfall of the blue minor decks, those rewards can be sold for 30 and 40g.

When it comes to auctioning the major deck trinkets, run an auction-scanning mod like Auctionator and keep track of the going rates for each trinket. It takes a while, but I have been able to sell all of my trinkets with prices from 70 to 400g (depending on what trinket it is).

I've seen some calls for a new guide to the Insane title. Removing Shen'dralar saves a ton of time and gold, and Darkmoon and Ravenholdt basically haven't changed. I'd be interested to look into how to grind Steamwheedle rep while maintaining Bloodsail standing (especially since Free Knot! has been removed), or if it's even possible.

Now, for something completely different!

I want to learn more about computer hardware! There is, of course, the general education I have received due to simply being around computers for a long time, and also doing lots of gruntwork for my dad while he plays Age of Empires and sort of directs my 13-year-old self to install a new harddrive or what-have-you. I would love to take a class, except that there aren't any places around that could give English-language instruction (as much as I would love to talk about disuku doraibu and debaisu joutai). So, denizens of the internet, where have you gone to learn about the flashy bits that make up the inside of your PC? How do you learn what type of processor jives with your motherboard, or what a solid state drive is?

04 April 2011

Having a long look at my belly button

On burnout

I wasn't blogging or heavily involved in end-game raiding Wrath of the Lich King was released. I also wasn't reading any WoW blogs, so my information about the game came primarily from guildies, who occasionally pointed me to MMO Champ and other such news sites until I started checking them semi-regularly on my own. Because of this, I wonder if I missed a big upset similar to what we are seeing now at Cataclysm's release. The forums and blogosphere have erupted with complaints about the new game, admission of a general malaise surrounding the new content, gushing about new games competing for WoW-time, and announcements of quitting the game and/or blog. As I frequently saw touted during the RealID fiasco, the forum and blogging community are not entirely representative of the entire WoW population, merely the most vocal of it. (Although I will admit that I'm glad Blizz listened to the tons of comments against RealID and decided to scale back the system.)

Despite the gloomy atmosphere hovering over WoW bloggers at the moment, what with all of the recent departures of respected and well-spoken bloggers, and the increasing number of posts about not enjoying the new expansion, or turning to other games to relieve burnout, in-game I haven't noticed much of anything. Not a single person in my guild has quit due to burnout. Of course, we are having a hard time due to a slew of real life issues cropping up, from earthquakes to work to family to computer failure. (I mean, I guess all of these people could just be providing excuses when they are really spending 5 hours a night building up their Pokedexes, but in a guild this friendly there's really no need to hide that.) People are still eager to raid! When 8 raiders show up and we don't have enough to make a team, folks are disappointed. Even when repeated wiping inspired a drunken rant from a guildie, that didn't inspire any lack of enthusiasm for raiding. In my microcosm of WoW, no one is disappointed or burned out enough to have quit the game.

For me, I still feel interested in the game, and in fact I find that my enthusiasm has only increased lately, in part due to my participation in blogging. There have been points when my interest waned, and before I discovered that I was truly burned out I spent a lot of time idling in Dalaran feeling indescribably unhappy. When I stopped logging in in favor of Plants vs. Zombies or even my small collection of DS games, the feeling was immediately relieved and I was able to come back naturally to WoW when my interest returned, and it only took two weeks! Since then, I have only had issues like a toxic, verbally-abusive guild and the threat of RealID fuckery make me unhappy about the game, but my desire to play it has remained.

On Rift

I don't have anything against people playing games, even mmos, other than WoW. At this point, I don't have the time or money to commit to playing another subscription mmo, because I am still deeply entrenched in Azeroth and honestly don't feel a desire to branch out. If you do, that is totally fine, and please bring your voice to that blogging community to contribute! I realize that the "Rift-free" badge business is intended to be tongue-in-cheek. I can appreciate bloggers announcing they will not cover Rift not because I hate Rift, but because I simply don't care to read about a game I never play. Which is also why I avoid a lot of multi-game oriented blogs and podcasts - I just don't care about other games! However, I'd like to add that just by not discussing Rift on your WoW blog, you are making it a Rift-free zone, which is pretty easy to do.

On game time

Something about nearing the end of a massive project - The Insane title - makes me feel a bit lost when I log in, but the more I think about it, the more I realize that it's the endless opportunity of unscheduled play time that's making me feel directionless. I still have guild raids to attend, although real life commitments have called many players away and we find ourselves unable to field a 10-man on some scheduled raid nights. But my non-guild time is now free of the burning crusade need to check for Darkmoon cards or farm lockboxes. I have always loved lists, particularly of the checked kind, so I'm getting back into listing the achievements I want and how to go about acquiring them, and I look forward to going after Anzu and the Blue Proto Drake while I get the last of the Nerubian archaeology artifacts that I need before returning to southern Azeroth.

On blogging

In a similar vein with my in-game time, I'm feeling slightly at a loss as to what to do with my blog. This has nothing to do with leaving it; I love writing and pretending that my words matter to some small audience and also spamming you with stupid pictures of me /flexing. What started this line of thinking was a post by a friend of a friend that I read. It was truly a thing of beauty. I won't link it because we only met once at a party and it's completely not game-related. This person was communicating an experience that they had. To summarize, they were on vacation in another country, needed to use a phone, and ended up being shown around a very friendly local's house who, in exchange for letting them see the phone and his extensive collection of foreign gifts, asked to be sent a Tshirt in return. Told like that, it's a sweet story based solely on facts, but the way this writer presented it, I was truly moved. He set up the concept of "do a favor, get a favor" in a beautifully-crafted essay and managed to weave it throughout the piece until the end.

It was incredibly humbling to read, in a selfish way that made me reflect on the quality of my own writing. Perhaps quality isn't the right word; I'd say that I'm a fairly competent writer capable of communicating my ideas clearly and with correct spelling and punctuation. (Also lots of alliteration?) However, that special something that makes a piece stick in your heart and mind long after reading, the kind of thing that makes you see the topic in a unique light and expand your own sphere of thoughts. This is the kind of writing we regularly got from Righteous Orbs and The Pink Pigtail Inn, and I think that's why they were so loved by the blogopshere. There is an inspiring blend of concept and craft that results in not only an interesting topic, but a moving one, and you could see it regularly in the way such blogs generated hundreds of comments on each thought-provoking post.

I admire those writers. I would love to emulate them, to make an observation so unique week after week that readers would be blown away by my ingenuity. And I don't necessarily think I'm a terrible writer, and it's certainly possible that every once in a while I hit on a presentation of a topic so unheard of that it can approach the concepts that these bloggers have hit upon. The presentation is more difficult, however, because I don't know if it would be my voice anymore. I'd love to emulate Tam's biting wit or Larisa's calm musings, but it would be a thin veneer over my own natural tendencies in writing, and no one likes a copycat.

So I want to develop my voice, but I also need content to develop it on. MMO Melting Pot frequently features bloggers who have hit upon a good topic, something interesting enough that readers stop and ponder or start a good discussion going. That's not to say that those bloggers are any less talented than RO or PPI; obviously, they are being featured because their posts deserve recognition and contribute to the community. Should I devote my posts to trying to hit on topics that will spark debate and get me linked around the blogosphere and back? Again, that wouldn't be my style, especially when I am too fond of self-congratulatory achievement squee posts. And I love reading those types of things on other blogs as well! It may not generate a flurry of link-love and further commentary, but I like seeing others' accomplishments and giving them the congratulations they deserve.

Like my profession post, I feel like I've come back to where I started, that I started with one hypothesis and played right into it with some lip-service to other outcomes. I want to be noticed, but I want to provide content worthy of notice. I want to be aloof, and create content that pleases me. I am humbled by writing I perceive as better, and arrogant enough to want mine to be that good. As repeated over and over by much bigger and better known writers, part of developing a following is simple existing for a long time and being an active participant in the community. Hopefully by the one-year mark on this blog I will have developed both my writing chops and my worldview (gameview?) enough that I can write off these blogging doldrums with some hilarious, insightful metaposts, and then get back in the swing of things with gratuitous achievement spam.

01 April 2011

More Loose Ends

If you'll indulge me, I have some more uncategorized thoughts to spew before I can get back into the groove of planning posts.

First is a minor rant about Blizzard's new blog. It's not about the blog itself - I love the concept and I'm glad they are trying new mediums to use to communicate with their players. WoW is an internet game, made by people who I'm sure are very intelligent simply because they are part of making a very complicated game. I also assume that, being involved with an internet game, they know a fair amount about the internet and it's most common subcultures and jargon. So why, oh why, do they keep referring to posts on their blog as new blogs? Every time I see that they have "written a new blog" my first thought is: why did you change your url? You're going to confuse all of your readers! So, let's be clear. A blog (a clipping of ~weblog!~) is a website maintained by one or more contributors who release content in the format of distinct posts. Many posts make up the content of one blog. When Ghostcrawler releases his musings about WoW to his readers, he is making a post, or posting. This post then becomes part of the whole blog. So aarrrghhh please just...get with it! This is not a new thing! (You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.)

I vacillated between posting or not on this week's Blog Azeroth's shared topic. At this point I am too scatterbrained to pull together a post I'd be proud to submit for the roundup, but never fear! Kamalia has basically channeled my thoughts in a wonderful post about Tauren. Who are, of course, my favorite race. So go read her post, and imagine that I'm standing behind her going "yes, exactly, yea totally, I agree, good point" after every sentence.

More game stuff that I neglected to mention is that I've been doing Tol Barad as time allows, and last night I even managed to get accepted before I had changed into my feral gear! I've been wanting to get back into healing in PVP situations but tend to just go as feral since I'm questing while I wait for the queue. Not being able to shift out of roots is driving me up a wall. I'm secretly pleased that I had developed that habit despite being an extremely casual PVPer, but openly frustrated that it's no longer usable. Curses! Also, I may be a huge not-fan of the new tree form, but I had to admit that it's SCARY AS HELL to have one hunt you down in Slagworks to root and wrath you. Those things are huge! Interestingly enough, I always tend to be in Tol Barad when my mom calls me on Skype, which works out well because I don't need to focus on any conversation in game or vent and because I get a kick out of being chain-stunned and explosively killed while telling my mom about my day.

My next point is wtf do I do with all of my points. I have a pretty consistent supply of JP and honor, but don' know what to buy now that I don't have any more druid gear upgrades to get! I've been getting a few +resil heirlooms just to get rid of honor, but is there a better way to spend? Maybe I should get a dedicated resto PVP set? With JP I could theoretically buy those point-sinks they added to get a head start on herb gathering, but that just feels dirty. Is there any other option with JP?

In guild news, we are level 22 and organizing a concerted effort to be realm first level 25. There are three (I think?) other guilds who are ahead of us, but the hope is that sheer number of alts will be enough to overwhelm them when we hit level 23 next week. I'm really excited for the plunge, but will be away that entire weekend getting drunk looking at cherry blossoms. I don't know how long it will conceivably take, but maybe I'll be able to help some when I get back Monday.

Last, stress about my own job future (it's relevant, just meandering) and the recent slew of players and bloggers announcing their distaste for WoW and quitting has put me into an introspective mood about both the community and the purpose of writing. It got kind of long so maybe I'll crit you with that sometime in the next week.

I am putting some pictures of my Vietnam trip behind a cut (no such luck for those of you using feedreaders) for all two of you who are interested :)