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Author Archives: Bravetank

I am (not) Legend

Although I’ve recently been getting back into WoW, Hearthstone remains my obsession. But I’m so frustrated at the fact I remain around rank 13-14 month after month. Try as I might I can’t get down to those single figures, and Legend status remains but a dream.

Every month I find I have a really good run of it with some deck I’ve seen on Hearthpwn. I quickly get down to 14. This is it, I think, I’m on my way. I’ve finally got a deck that works for me. Each game becomes a thing of beauty, a ballet of elegant moves. There is nothing my opponent can put on the board that I haven’t got an answer for, while at the same time I’m pushing and pushing, inch by inch. By around turn 6 they are hysterically emoting  – I maintain a dignified silence –  too cool to squelch. But then something changes – normally after I show real commitment to the deck by giving it a name in my collection. That really is the Hearthstone kiss of death for me. Maybe Rumpelstiltskin was right – names have power. The next game I play is usually the start of the losing streak – my hard won stars start disappearing before my teary eyes, one by bloody one. Panic sets in & I start to tweak my deck here & there – subbing out those cards that I find remain in my hand too long (stupid Stampeding Kodo, always around when there’s no two attack creature on the board, you’re dead to me). By the time I finish the deck is unrecognisable from the one I took from Heathpwn. I win a couple of times with the new deck and a renewed optimism sets in (I’m nothing if not resilient). Yes I’ve cracked it, I think. And better still this is now my own deck, it’s nothing like the one I started with. Once I’m Legend I can put it up on Hearthpwn & get lots and lots of praise and upvotes for having created the first truly unique deck since the game began, a deck that beats EVERYTHING in the current meta. They might end up naming this style deck after me. Forget Zoo, what about Bravetank, it’s unbeatable. I start planning what I’m going to say when I’m interviewed on The Angry Chicken and I start looking up How to Guides for streaming on Twitch (sponsorship deals can come later). By now I’m in the heady heights of… well… rank 14….

And then of course the deck stops working (definitely the deck – nothing to do with me or my skills, no sirree). Three losses in a row & I’m dramatically quitting the game and vowing never to return. Husband endures a good hour of me complaining about the fact that despite playing for a nearly a year I still don’t have Ysera or Alexstrasza and that bloody priest mind controlled my Rag etc. He doesn’t play so this is all just Blah Blah Blah to him but he manages to tut sympathetically as he watches the football. An hour later I’m logging back in having been inspired by yet another deck I’ve found on Hearthpwn. And so it begins again.

So where am I now you ask? Well I’m currently Level 13 playing this deck. The comments on the deck are encouraging. They suggest I’ll get to Legend in no time. But you know it’s just a matter of time before I run into a Control Warrior who has somehow lined up Rag, Ysera, Cairne and Alexstrasza all at once while I have a Houndmaster & Flare. So then I’ll go off and tweak the deck a little to make it more anti control, and then I’ll lose to Zoo, and then I’ll curse the heavens with a tear stained face and give the game up, this time for good, yada yada yada.

You get the picture. I’m am not Legend. I am not even close to Legend. But I’m trying – ever so hard.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2014 in Hearthstone

 

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The things you do for love

I started out with such good intentions. I was a Blood Elf but I was going to devote myself to the Tauren. I was going to be the Greatmother’s emissary in Azeroth, bringing light to a hostile and threatening world – spreading the Tauren message of love, harmony and respect for nature in a stylish Blood Elf way with a figure to die for.

It soon became clear this was going to be no easy task. Have you tried getting from the Blood Elf starting area to Mulgore as a Level 1 with no money. I got to Orgrimmar easily enough (I’m not that clueless – close though) but the next stage.. oh my! I was aggroing things from Tanaris I swear. Every mob in Kalimdor smelled blood and came out to get it. I almost gave up & then remembered my level 70 Horde Warlock on the same server. Lightbulb moment! She could send me gold so that I could fly to the Tauren starting land! I’m ashamed to say I must have died about 30 times before I thought of this. Sharpness is a quality that still alludes me.

So I got to Tauren land. Did a few quests. Wept respectfully over Greatmother Hawkwind’s funeral pyre. It was all going swimmingly even though occasionally the quest text referred to my hooves (hooves! … I’m a blood elf in designer stilettos I’ll have you know).

But then something in my hunter blood started to stir & I knew I needed to tame something cool. Did a search on Petopia & found this little mite. My heart melted & I knew he was the one for me. So I waved goodbye to my Tauren brethren, promising I’d be back soon. They looked at me quizzically – we’d never quite overcome the language barrier – and off I went.

I got to Undercity & made my way down to Silverpine Forest. And there it happened. Everything changed. To begin with I just thought I’d pick up a few quests on my way  to the spot where the Lost Gilnean Wardog hangs out  – just to keep the levelling process going you understand. Nothing too awful – killing a few enraged worgen that’s all. I told myself the Tauren would have been all for this – I mean these mobs were worgen and enraged – a combination that surely cries out for extinction.

So I did the quest and ran back to camp to get my silver coins and experience points. But that’s when it happened. I caught her eye, she caught mine, we tossed them back to each other (groan… I know  –  but the old ones are the best). There was no going back.

Sylvanas – she’s rather mesmerising isn’t she? And she seemed very impressed with me. Very. Before long we we going on long rides together, she was confiding in me, I was painting her rotting toenails, it was lovely. And before I knew it I was unquestioningly obeying her every command – no matter how vile, hateful or disturbing.

I’ve done a quick review and in my first couple of levels serving Sylvanas I have done the following:-

1. Collected countless diseased organs – I really should be quarantined.

2.  Gathered ferocious doomweed for Apothecary Witherbloom even thought I knew it was to weaponise the blight –  I even hummed a bit as I collected it – I find gardening so relaxing.

3.  Helped Agatha turned numerous fleeing humans into Forsaken – and flew back to Sylvanas with undignified haste for a pat on the head.

4. Killed several Worgens in bear form, who were  inconspicuously trying out a new tanking spec – thus single handledly further reducing the number of tanks queuing in LFG

5. Rummaged around countless crocolisk innards to find Dempsey’s body parts – only to have my three deranged amigos (Walden, Godfrey and Ashbury) kill the raised guy the moment he gave them some lip.

6. Stood by while Godfrey killed the cowering troopers we were meant to be rescuing (and in fairness to Sylvanas not even she knows about that).

7. Recovered mysterious “supplies” from the murlocs on the coast in Hillsbrad – there was green goo and stuff coming out of the barrels – I’m thinking it’s not wheatgrass  (although the Undead do swear by its health benefits).

8. Brought flesh samples to someone who “wrings his hands together and laughs maniacally” when sending me on the quest. I think at this point I reached a new low.

9. Brought 12 still beating yeti hearts to Keeper Bel’varil only to find he didn’t need them anymore  –  then considered eating them when he told me they had excellent nutritional value.

10. Poisoned 30 Stormpike trainees with a barrel of water – and looked on as they gratefully ran to the water so that I could make sure EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM was poisoned.

It’s a fact – I am beyond redemption.  The Tauren and their whole respect the earth schtick is but a distant memory. I am Beanie the Plaguebringer. And I’m having so much fun! 

 
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Posted by on August 31, 2014 in World of Warcraft

 

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Filling the Stable

Well it’s been a long time. I took this blog off line back in December. Lots of stuff going on & I couldn’t seem to figure out what I wanted to do – with this blog and with WoW. But I miss it – “it” being this blog & WoW. I miss being Bravetank :)

It’s taken me a long time to get back into WoW though. Tried doing a bit with Seashell my mage – did LFR, defeated Garrosh once, but that was about it. Then pre-bought WoD & fast tracked a druid to 90 – a mistake, can’t seem to face playing her either. I did wonder for awhile if that was it for me & WoW.

But the last week or so has found me back in the game – slowly leveling a Horde Hunter. I need a change – a different class & a different set of quests. I‘ve never properly played Horde – I have a warlock in her 70s but got her there via dungeons alone. This time I’m questing, actually reading quest text (amazing – I finally know why I’m killing all those yetis – I thought they were just bad ‘uns), and really trying to immerse myself in the whole experience. I’ve even turned the music & ambience up high – I want to be truly present in the game. Mindfulness in WoW.

I will return to Seashell with WoD and garrisons. But right now I’m enjoying this different experience. And I’ve discovered taming hunter pets – something very new to me. So far I have tamed 5 rares (not much but I’m only level 34 & so can only have two out) – Gorefang (wolf), Lost Gilnean Wardog (dog), Krethis (spider), Weevil (beetle) & Cackle (parrot) – called respectively David (from American Werewolf in London), Eddie (after my beloved dog), Roberta (after Robert the Bruce), Lennon (after John) & Iago (parrot in Aladdin).  Roberta was tamed specifically to cure me of my spider phobia – if I come to love & trust her perhaps I will feel the same about any spiders I find in the house?  Yes WoW as cure for phobias. Could work. Scared of swimming – go for a dip in WoW (avoid the naga); scared of heights – get your flying mount out & jump off the cliff (while on the mount of course – otherwise – well you might overcome your fear of ghosts at the Spirit Healer) – the possibilities are endless.

What about my other phobia though – fear of harsh words & ridicule in 5 mans & raids? Well not done too many dungeons with my hunter so far but I excelled myself in the one dungeon I did do (Scarlet Monastery) by almost immediately causing a wipe by fleeing directly into a group of mobs. I apologised profusely. They all ignored me. Plus ca change & all that.

But actually I’m tougher now.  You see I’ve been playing Hearthstone in my hiatus from WoW & Hearthstone has taught me a few things. There are well mannered players who say Well Played & mean it and there are players that say it sarcastically when you’ve clearly  screwed up a move. There are players who, when winning, will kill you off quickly & efficiently without milking it, and there are players who will showboat to the very end. I can face them all now – good & bad. Yes the annoying ones make me swear at my computer (sorry dear neighbours)  but the good ones make me smile & feel all warm about the game.  Saracasm & ridicule – it fazes me no longer. I am braver now – I am Bravetank.

 

 

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2014 in Hearthstone, World of Warcraft

 

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Scenes from a WoW Marriage No 1

A conversation over breakfast

Me (eating toast): So apparently there’s some furore over the fact you won’t be able to fly right away in Draenor. Some people are actually saying they’ll quit the game over it. Can you believe that? I think it’s silly …

Husband (look of horror on face): YOU WHAT?

Me: You know, there’s no flying in Draenor at the start. You have to wait until you’re 100 or…

Husband: WHAAAT!!! I think that’s absolutely ridiculous. What’s the point in that?

Me (trying to keep my tone reasonable  – as if talking to a child, or a rabid dog): Why? It’s the way pretty much all expansions have worked. You don’t get to fly right away. They want you to see all the new content first.

Husband: Oh do they now? Well it shouldn’t be up to them. It should be up to me if I want to see all the content.

Me (laughing at his craziness while continuing to eat toast – it’s my usual strategy – it means I eat a lot of toast):  Why wouldn’t you? What’s the point in playing if you don’t want to see the new stuff?

Husband: I can see it from the air.

Me: No you can’t, not properly.

Husband: Yes I can.

Me: No you can’t.

[This went on for a bit - edited for sanity.]

Husband: Ok what if I rode round the entire area once on my mount – my stupid GROUND mount –  so I see all the precious new stuff, THEN could I have flying, THEN would Blizzard think I’d finally earned it? But what am I saying? I’ve ALREADY earned  it. I earned it when I first got it. I have a max level character who has worked himself to the bloody bone getting to 90. The bloody bone. I’m exhausted I  tells ya, I can’t take it anymore!

[ok I’m paraphrasing now, but you get the point)

Me (fed up): It’s their game, they can do what they like.

Husband (Huge sigh and lots of eye rolling, until finally): I’m not happy

Me: (thinking – No shit sherlock)

Husband (eventually): So is this definite?

Me: (deciding to make it worse … why I don’t know – let’s call it devilment): Well it might not be 100. You might not get flying  until the first patch. And that might be AGES after you hit 100.

[Note: I did not end by saying "so there", but it was very much implied by my smirk].

Husband: I’ll quit if they do that

Me: Oh my god, you’re one of them.

THE END

Note: This took place in a cafe. We left soon after.

Further note: Husband redeemed himself later by finding Adamantite Ore for me in Outlands. He did however make a great show of the fact he did this while flying.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

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Wenglish WoW

Interesting daily prompt- write anything in your regional accent/dialect. Well I’m Welsh (South Wales) & I suppose I often use Wenglish phrases (a Welsh English jumble that’s grown up over time). In fact looking at the Talk Tidy site I’m amazed how much of it I (a) say all the time (b) assumed was commonly used by everyone in Britain. Not sure how to deliberately write in Wenglish but here are 10 classic Wenglish examples, placed of course in the WoW world:-

1.”I’ll do that after” – when I was in university some lovely (not) sarcastic people would say “after what?” But it doesn’t mean after anything really. It means “later”.  A simple example is “I’m not doing that quest now. I’ll do it after.”

2. “What’the time by you” – i.e. “do you know the time?” I don’t know why we say it like that.  So in WoW  it would be, “This raid was meant to start at 8.00. We’re the only ones here. What’s the time by you?” (Welsh people do have clocks under mini maps of course – we just like other people to tell us the time).

3. “mun” – derived from “man”, but more an expression of indignation now, as in “I’m not doing that quest again mun, I must have killed a million tigers for Nesingwary by now.”

4. “Bag of nerves” – “totally stressed”.  I thought everyone said this – and maybe they do.  In Wow this is me before any LFR if I’ve never been in there before –  a total bag of nerves.

5. “Conflab” –  “a long discussion” – as in “we had a bit of a conflab about the boss – and then we wiped” (conflabs are not infallible)

6.  “Cut up” – “upset” – as in “I was really cut up about what happened in LFR last night. Poor Garrosh. I think he’s been totally misunderstood.”

7. “Dab hand” – “excellent” – as in “I‘m dab hand at being a mage now  – if I stick to the farming”

8. “Fair do’s” – “fair play”, as in “He did a good job tanking today, fair do’s” – something we should all say to tanks in LFR if they are giving it a good go- I couldn’t do it.

9. “Give”- “prefer”, as in “Give me a dps class  any day, I just can’t play a tank” (something I wish I’d realised  before calling this blog Bravetank)

10.”It goes through me” – “it upsets me deeply” – as in “When I see the hard time the raid are giving those poor healers it goes through me” (aww poor healers)

There are lots more on the Talk Tidy site. I don’t think I could ever write a blog post in the dialect, however – it would be totally incomprehensible. But perhaps Blizzard could consider introducing a few Wenglish npcs. Cousins of the dwarves perhaps. Now wouldn’t that be great mun!

One other thing –  before I close can I just give a little mention to my new guild on EU-Darkspear. It’s called Heroes of Azeroth. Some of you might remember my previous attempt to get a guild going of like minded people who wanted to level and perhaps run some dungeons & raids together in a very supportive environment- no criticism, no abuse, everyone free to try new things (like being a tank)  no matter how many wipes etc. Well I started it on a PvP server and, as some of you will also know, that was a mistake & it never really took off (although I ended up joining another guild called Half Life which is a great guild – but on the wrong server for me). But anyway I’m trying again on a PvE server – EU-Darkspear. Heroes of Azeroth is husband’s guild but he is letting me partly hijack it! It’s only Level 7 so no cool perks I’m afraid. But who needs perks when you can have nice people! Anyway if you’re interested in joining send me a whisper in game- usually either Seashell the mage or my new toon Sesasme the rogue. The only requirements are  friendliness & niceness – and the ability to understand Wenglish :)

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

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If life was more like WoW

Following on from last week’s post about Office Speak in the WoW Age I started thinking more generally about how much more interesting life would be if it was more like WoW:-

1. Everyone would want to be a coroner – think of all those plump intestines spilling coins whenever you sliced someone open (actually that sounds like a recipe for murder – & lots of it too  – scratch that one).

2. One brief glance at someone’s health bar (which you’d see hovering above their heads of course) and you would instantly know whether someone really did need to go home sick or not  (“Back to your seat Joan. Yes your leg is hanging off but that green bar has barely moved – you’re perfectly fine – and we have a spirit healer on site”.)

3. People with slightly pointy ears claiming Night Elf heritage – and trying to prove it by mounting tigers in London Zoo – would liven things up for the tourists.

4. You’d need some sort of weapon every time you wanted to do a bit of gardening  – this would also add a much needed edge to all Alan Titchmarsh shows.

5. You could justify spending hours upon hours in the pub – after all you’re gaining valuable “rested experience” and potentially doubling your future productivity (even more if dressed in Granny’s handmedowns i.e. heirlooms). Unfortunately you’ll probably find you can’t actually lift your head the morning after  – damn that alcohol stamina debuff.  

6.  Employment law would allow you to whack forestry workers  (i.e. peons) with a Blackjack if you ever caught them napping under a tree – none of this formal warning, five days notice for the interview & you can bring a union rep nonsense.

7. Every elderly person who asked a friend or relative for help with their shopping would immediately find themselves put on the Abercrombie watchlist. We’re not messing here. Fool me once – shame on you. Fool me twice – I’m running an alt through Duskwood. Fool me three times…no never again. Never again.

8. Oprah would make sure The Green Hills of Stranglethorn was number one on the bestseller list for Christmas. Her & Nesingwary go way back.

9. Being caught up in some black dragon’s fiery attack on a city & burning to your death would be a cause for great celebration at gaining the achievement. Huge comfort to your relatives as they weep over your grave I’m sure.

10. But on that note- no permanent death. Yay. With a WoW life comes immortality of course. And overpopulation would not be an issue as you would have no ability  to  procreate (check your Spellbook & Abilities button –  yep nothing there – RP emotes don’t count). Enjoy your eternal sexless life.

Hmm on reflection maybe a WoW life would not be so great…

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized, World of Warcraft

 

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Office speak in the WoW age

I keep on reading about people  putting Guild Leader down on job application forms (in the previous management section part,  not in the “what do you do to fill your time and take your mind off the futility of life” bit ie the Hobbies & Interests part).  They then proceed (apparently….half rolls eyes…ooh painful) to impress interviewers by discussing the management skills they’ve gained in WoW by, for example, giving twelve year old guildees formal warnings for swearing in guild chat and overseeing loot distribution with a fair but benevolent eye (“Is it really for your off spec Huggy232, do you swear by the light of Elune?”).

I think they’re all missing a trick. There’s an easier way to get to the top of the corporate ladder these days – and that is to develop your own special brand of office speak. After all management jargon is all the rage these days  – we’re in the weeds & drilling down, outside the box but going forward, actioning this & socialising that.  These words must impress –  they spread like wildfire (and if I’m wrong let’s touch base  & we’ll have a brainstorm). You can make this work for you by being the originator of a new way of speaking in the office & you can do this easily enough by simply using the wise words of WoW npcs.

I tried this out myself last week and although there were some teething problems I found I definitely had an impact. Here are my top 12:-

1. “The dark times will pass” – this was an alternative  cheerio to the security guard when leaving work for the day

2. “State your business” – said briskly on the phone when my manager rang late Friday afternoon. He now wants to see me tomorrow morning. Not sure why.

3. “Bal’a dash, malanore” – said in the French for Managers class. The tutor accused me of not taking it seriously and ejected me from the room.

4. “Not very intelligent are you?” – yes it’s staff performance review time.   Didn’t expect my manager to use a WoW phrase on me though….

5. “Do not loiter” –  I got some offended looks with this one but it enabled me to eat my lunch in peace –  totally worth it

6. “Each day is a blessing” – said in a packed lift Monday morning. Greeted with silence and one person’s muffled sobs.

7. “Watch yer back!” –  said to a colleague before I “accidentally” threw a book at him.

8. “Everything has a price” – said to a member of staff who asked for the day off. Backtracked hurriedly when he  accused me of extortion.

9. “Death to all who oppose us” – my motivational words at the end of a strategy session. The staff counsellor was called & I was taken away for a lie down.

10. “Keep your feet on the ground” –  said firmly to someone I observed dancing on a desk. Turned out he was a technician having an electric shock while trying to change a light bulb. How was I to know?

11. “Do not seek death”- said to a colleague leaving early for a doctor’s appointment. She seemed to appreciate my consideration – her eyes really welled up.

12. “I’m starting to hate you” – said to the guy who sits opposite me & likes to hum. He reported me to HR. The book thing mentioned earlier probably didn’t help.

So yes ok – a somewhat rocky start.  But I’m sure it will catch on.  Even HR seem to be giving it a go – one of them said to me on Friday – all Tauren style – “You are not amusing”. I gave them a round of applause for getting in the WoW spirit & now I‘m on a warning. It makes no sense.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

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Milk of Human Kindness

WoW Insider’s Community Blog question this week is “What’s your end game?” This is a question I‘ve been asking myself this week. It doesn’t feel that straightforward to me. There is one easy answer – a description of what my end game currently is.  And there is another answer –  what I would like my end game to be. Two different things.

What my end game is: – Well I seem to be juggling a lot at the moment. Seashell my mage is on the “earn 3000 valor points” part of the Legendary Questline (the Black Prince now reveres me  – although deep down I suspect he reveres no one but himself). I understand that the delights of PvP & fighting masochistic Celestials awaits me on the rest of this questline.  It all feels rather overwhelming when I think too long about it …  one step at a time I guess.

As well as that I’m trying to get all the various cooking Ways done  (I have Grill & Pot so far). It’s slow going. I’m either out farming ever day until my little hands bleed or guiltily paying over the odds at the auction house.

Then there’s the Anglers,  Isle of Thunder & Timeless Isle stuff (I want the trinket). I’m leaving the other dailies for the moment. I just can’t do it all.  I’m trying to run a scenario a day with my husband & one random person. The random person normally leaves us to get on with it – sensing a domestic on the horizon. Which there sometimes is – particularly when hubby makes me run around getting in all the hozen brew while he plays with the cannon.

Ok so that’s what it is. Fun – yes, definitely. There is a variety of things to do. I’ve never enjoyed an end game as much as this one. While I’m still levelling some alts I actually find I miss being on Seashell, which is unusual for me once I’m at the level cap. But is it the end game I want? No – not exactly. I like the variety of things I’m doing  & I enjoy teaming up with hubby. But there’s still an issue – and that issue is LFR.

I want to do LFR at end game. And I want to enjoy it. I am never going to be a “proper” raider.  But I do like LFR level raiding. I like it a lot. Or at least I like it a lot when it goes well. And by well I don’t mean no mistakes and no wipes. No – I recognise that these are an important part of the game, part of the challenge, part of the learning curve. No – by going well I mean when the people are nice, friendly & tolerant. Or if incapable of that then at least neutrally silent. But unfortunately I see neither of these things in LFR. I usually see  impatience, intolerance  &  abuse. And this is an unwelcome part of my WoW end game & is turning me away from something I should be enjoying.

There are some truly awful people in LFR. The things they say are extremely offensive.  Their attitude towards other people is quite appalling. The abuse stuns me. I have never spoken to anyone the way they speak to other people in the raid.  The bottom line seems to be that no one can make mistakes. No one can learn. Apparently because some of these raids have been out for a long time everyone should know exactly what they are doing. The fact that in every single LFR there are people who are there for the first time  completely escapes them. I notice some of these “first timers” now announcing their inexperience as they enter the raid. “First time here”  they confess  – the unspoken part of  this is often a plea I think- something along the lines of,  “Show some patience please. Explain the fight. Don’t be mean.” But of course there is rarely patience, rarely explanations and nearly always meanness.

It seems that even if it is your first time in a raid you are expected to know everything, to have read all the strats & to have remembered every single boss mechanic. You are expected to have good reactions & spatial awareness (lo betide anyone who gets themselves in a bit of a state when the screen is an explosion of numbers & colours). You should have watched the videos,  committed it all to memory & you should know exactly what you need to do in every situation. And yet of course for many people it’s not that easy.  Many people do not learn by reading and/or watching. They have to do something to understand it.  And yes that might mean making mistakes. In fact it often means making mistakes. Like falling down the hole when the platform disappears. Yes that can  happen. I’ve seen it happen lots of times in LFR. And it happened to me the first time (when my addon said the floor was dropping away I thought it meant the main floor so ran ONTO the platform!). But you know what? It’s never happened again. This is because I, & most people, try to learn from mistakes. After all it’s a fairly important part of life. So when someone has messed up  in LFR next time they usually remember the mechanic that caused the death, fall, shame etc. and are more aware to ensure it doesn’t happen again. They learn to move  quicker, target the adds, run from the wall, distinguish between platform and floor. That’s how it works.

Except of course in LFR it doesn’t – not because people don’t learn, but because many are so horrified by the level of abuse they see that they leave & never come back. And this means that something that might have been an enjoyable part of their end game is cut off from them. And that shouldn’t be the case.

I have no answers to this. I see my end game being constrained by my apprehension about LFR. I’m yet to try SoO – I have heard that the mechanics are complex & while I’m happy to have a go, fail, learn & have another go, I suspect there will be plenty in LFR unwilling to give me the chance to do so.

So I stay away. I run scenarios with husband & do my dailies. But it’s not what I actually want my end game to be – not fully anyway. I want my end game to include at least some degree of raiding, albeit the watered down, raiding for non raiders that is LFR. But I can’t easily have that – at least not in a non-stressful, pleasant way. And I find that frustrating.

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Stone Guard Huddle

Ok boys we’re  the four stone guards & we’re going into LFR. I like a bit of light relief on a Sunday evening- gives you boys a chance to blow off some steam. Now as it’s LFR it’ll only be three  of us. But I’m not going to say who’s in until the  fight has started. There’s a possibility one of you’s a snitch in cahoots with the raid leader – you’ve gone red Amethyst, anything you want to confess? Anyway I’m not taking any chances.

As you know… or should know … I hope you’ve all been reading the guide I posted on the forum… sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself on there… we all share one giant health pool. But – and this is important … we have individual energy bars.  No Amethyst – not the type you eat-  and I emphasise the word “you” there. You’re starting to put the chunk in amethyst chunks aren’t you? These are different energy bars and they are important. You should also have a Solid Stone  buff up when we start. What do you mean Jade you don’t know what a buff is? How did you get to raid boss level without using any buffs? You what …you’ve always been low level trash and the most you’ve ever done is Vanilla 5 mans?  I don’t believe it!  Where did you get the gear to be in this raid? Oh you’ve been grinding Timeless Isle for Bosses have you? Say no more.

Anyway where was I? Ah yes.. Solid Stone. Well it reduces any damage you take by 90%. Good yes? NO! Not good. It stops you generating energy and we need energy. The buff goes away though when we stand close together.  And what have I always told you? We’re a family and we have to stick together – even you Amethyst, even though I’m starting to hate you.

When we’re close together we gain energy & one of us will reach maximum energy at some point. Let’s face it – it’ll probably be me. You think my day is over when this is done? No sirree. I’m back out there lifting weights  … I can lift my own body weight, no TWICE my own body weight, with just one arm. Try me … over here Jasper.  Let’s show them. No. Ok maybe later. I also take a spin class every Wednesday morning. I’m super fit. I could be in the Stone Guard marines, if it wasn’t for my flat feet.

Ok so when one of us gains maximum energy we are basically overloaded. Nothing new for me there. I’m always overloaded. What with keeping you guys in line and making sure old Meng the Demented is happy … he thinks he’s a chicken these days, I have to stop him pet battling every squirrel in sight. So I’m already overloaded. But this is a different sort- it’s overloaded in the maximum energy sort of way.   And when one of us is overloaded we cause lots of damage to those saps out there. Unfortunately one of us will also be reducing damage at that point with the Petrification effect.  More on that later.

Ok so as well as standing close together to build energy – and don’t be scared to hug it up boys  … it’s ok to have feelings … it’s not like we’re made of stone … oh wait, yes we are … well it’s nurture not nature, that’s what I always say …well anyway – what else do we need to do? Well we need to rend that’s what. We need to rend those motherf&%ers into the ground. Sorry sorry – no need for bad language. It’s just that those guys make me so mad. They reckon we’re the easiest fight in LFR. Us …easy! We’ll bloody show them. The floor will be awash with their blood.  Don’t look so sick Jade.  Bloody bleeding heart. Where’s your stone guard killer instinct? Think of what they did to your children – all those necklaces. Anyway our rend only causes a little bit of bleeding and you can always look away.  I’ve done worse to myself  filing down my corners – the missus likes me smooth. But still it’s blood and it’s theirs. So spill it.

What else … hold on … let me check what Icy Veins says. Ah yes, here it is.  Amethyst- if you’re in the raid… and I’m hoping you’re not… I want to see those pools coming thick and fast. Those guys in the raid – well we all know they never move out of your pools – the purple transfixes them or something. So keep it coming. I’ll be supporting you with my cobalt mines – chucking detonating shards around like there’s no tomorrow. Again you’d swear they were magnetic the way those players run right towards them.  It’s beautiful. And Jade …well I know you don’t have much in the way of a special ability, but this is your first raid and the experience counts for everything.  Just try and get your jade shards out every 10 seconds. The entire raid will take some damage from them and it’ll panic the healers every time you do it.

Now Jasper… I’ve not forgotten about you sitting there quiet in the corner. You’ve got the cleverest  ability out of the lot of us. You’ll chain two players together. This is the morality lesson part of the raid. We’re actually trying to show them that family is the only thing that matters, that family sticks together and that they should regard themselves as one big raiding family. Of course they won’t do this.  No one in LFR can stand the sight of each other. So inevitably they will run away from each other. And that’s where the fun starts. Did I say fun. I meant fire. Which is fun of course. For us anyway.  Unfortunately if they’re apart for 15 seconds the chains disappear. This  is something I’m not very happy about …makes no sense … but my letters to Blizzard are being returned unopened. So we just have to make do with casting more chains as soon as we can. I need you on form here Jasper. No AFKing. Not like last time. And I don’t want to hear your funny story about the cat distracting you with a tap dance. If it’s not on YouTube it never happened.

Now while all this is going on one of you will be casting Petrification. I mentioned it earlier. This will slow the players right down. Now again we win some we lose some. Whichever one of us casts Petrification also loses 90% from the type of damage we cause. But the Petrification is worth it. Yes it is Jasper – stop shaking your head. Who’s the raid leader here, you or me? When the Petrification reaches maximum level the entire raid will be frozen  & turned to stone. Which is always my favourite bit. Unfortunately there is a way to stop Petrification. If the one casting Petrification reaches maximum energy and overloads … yes  it’ll be me … I’m a machine … this stops Petrification. So the raid team will obviously try to overload whichever one of us is casting Petrification. They’ll do this by trying to move whichever of us is casting Petrification close to one of the others so we gain energy quickly and overload. So in these cases we need to move apart. Yes I know I said earlier you need to stand together but not if you’re casting Petrification and your energy is going up. That’s when you move. It’s quite simple. Yes? What do you mean no? What do you mean it’s too complicated and you can’t be bothered? Come back. Come back.  Where you’re going? It’s only LFR- I haven’t even got onto 10 man & Heroic tactics yet.

 
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Posted by on October 7, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

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Back to School

Ambermist over on Tastes Like Battle Chicken has suggested a Shared Topic on Blog Azeroth. She asks:-

what about WoW just doesn’t work for you? Maybe it’s something you aren’t good at, maybe it’s something you just don’t understand, maybe it’s something people like that you really never got into and don’t understand the appeal”

In thinking about this my mind kept on returning to something I read the other day  in another WoW blog – something along the lines that if you can’t play your class by the time you’re 90 then there’s no hope for you. I actually think that’s complete nonsense. There’s always hope – I’m living proof (after all I survived the Durumu maze yesterday!).

But it does lead into what doesn’t work in WoW for me – and that is the fact that the degree of skill needed to level your character is so markedly different from the skills needed to raid & to a lesser extent run dungeons.

In my opinion you can easily  get to 90 without really knowing how to play your class. I could have got to 90 as a mage purely questing & spamming Arcane Blast in every single fight. And contrary to popular opinion that is not all that Arcane Mages do in proper  boss fights. We have to do complicated things like count to 4, keep an eye on Living Bomb and remember which of the  Mirror Images can’t be trusted.

But yes getting to 90 could have been just an Arcane Blast spamfest.  Certainly I would have died more often (in reality I have at least tried to use other abilities & so have done my fair share of freezing & blinking to get myself out of trouble – often blinking right into another pack of mobs of course – but that’s another story).  But even with more deaths and messier fights my progress would have continued and I’d have got there in the end.  I actually think that many people just “get there in the end” i.e. get to 90 without properly knowing all the tricks of their particular trade.

And that’s fine. To enjoy this game you don’t actually need to know how to play your class well. You can quest, level, fish, dig and dance without knowing your class inside out. In fact you can be on only nodding acquaintance with your class to do this & lots more.  You only really need to know how to play your class well when it comes to dungeons & raids  (& of course PvP)- in other words when (a)the difficulty level steps up a gear (b)you bring other people into the mix.

I think problems arise in WoW when people think that just because they have hit the level cap they can easily succeed in a complicated raid or dungeon.  Someone at 90 might very well not be good at dealing with dungeon mechanics, avoiding bad stuff on the ground, using interrupts or basically doing anything other than standing stock still & hitting things.  All that levelling via questing trains you for is the latter – see mob, hit mob X times, loot mob. And so this is what I think is missing from WoW  – a leveling experience that truly trains you for a raiding end game.

I speak from personal experience in all this of course. In fact despite the “pro” freezing & blinking referred to above I’ve been shockingly reliant on a very limited number of spells in my levelling experience. So much so that I froze (in a non Mage sense) the other day in LFR when someone said “Mage table” (as an aside note the lack of “please”). I had forgotten I could even set a table (real life doesn’t help – we always eat on our laps). I’ve also written previously about my mishaps with  Slowfall in a group  & the other day I counterspelled  when I meant to blink.  And I realise these are very basic abilities. Sigh.

What I wish for is an in-game dungeon & raid Training School. I’d enroll in a heart beat. I’d even wear the uniform.  Year 1 would involve running 5 man dungeons with NPCs. If you’re Dps they would  be Tank & Healer etc. These dungeons would be different from the dungeons in-game at present in that there would be more complex mechanics involved, more need for situational awareness &  less abuse  (in fact the NPCs would be programmed to say encouraging words throughout such as,  “Well done Seashell, you sheeped that troll, yes I know you then broke CC because you forgot to change targets but yay for the sheeping, we are so proud” etc.).

In Year 2 the dungeons would step up in complexity & become tailored to your particular class. Additionally on occasion one NPC would play up and have to be shown the error of his ways – bonus points if you get the NPC to apologise for yelling Gogogo & calling the healer a noob. Party chat would sometimes be disturbing – particularly if there were NPC Pandarians in the group. But it would be good experience.  You would fail the dungeon if you did not use all the necessary abilities. You would even need to conjure refreshment, cast Slowfall & correct someone’s grammar. The full caboodle. Most importantly no mob would go unsheeped. You get the idea.

Before entering Year 3 you’d need to run some proper dungeons in the real Azeroth world with real people. Then when ready (i.e. out of therapy) you’d come back to school for the 10 man raiding experience (9 NPCs – all with their own interesting personality quirks, including one who claims he’s a real player trapped in the raid by Blizzard) & in year 4 the 25 man experience with a boss whose  abilities would change in ever single encounter (oooh hardcore). And then & only then would you be released into the wild i.e. LFR.

Oh it would be amazing. I understand that Proving Grounds has been introduced as a way to challenge yourself and practice your class (or a new class specialisation) alone. But I don’t see that it prepares you for group experiences and raids & I do think it comes too late in the game. Not because by 90 you already know it all, but because by 90 you could know so much more, and there could be something in the game that could help you with this. So come on Blizzard – the summer hols are over, let’s go back to school.

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

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