Green Green Grass of Home

The Wow Insider Community Blog topic is “What’s your most & least favourite expansion?” I notice that many people in the comments have said Wrath is  their favourite & that’s true for me too. Wrath wins, hands down.  But the reason Wrath wins for me is  not because of the Lich King story line (excellent though it is), not because of ICC (I didn’t even know what ICC was back then – & even now when someone say ICC I think they are talking about the cricket) & not because of the introduction of the “combat on vehicles” thing- which I hate.  No the reason  I love Wrath the most & the Burning Crusade the least is the landscape. The world part of the World of Warcraft is important to me. I need to enjoy the world in which I’m questing.

The thing is –  I like a bit of greenery. I’m Welsh after all – we like our hills, valleys and bays. Vanilla WoW was home from home. Sort of.  Elwynn Forest – we  have one just like it 20 minutes down the road (less Defias – though there is the odd wino). Menethil Harbour – Cardiff Bay with crocolisks.  The monsters of Duskwood  – Swansea on a Friday night (I’ve had way too many drunken Stitches lumbering towards me).  I have to admit I didn’t like Stranglethorn- too tropical for me –  you can have too much sun (and gorillas). But  it wasn’t long before I was off to Arathi  – cue Sound of Music opening scene – my toon singing her little heart out at the top of the hill, the raptors joining in with impressive harmonies.

I also loved Winterspring (ooh Christmasy), Feralas and of course Auberdine at sunset.  I turned my nose up at the Barrens, Blasted Lands & Desolace – anything too red and dry. And Silithus … well say no more, I looked, I saw, I hearthstoned  out of there to chill out in Southshore.

But then that fateful day came. I turned 58.  It was time to cross the Dark Portal. It was all very exciting. My husband joined me at the screen to watch. We took a screenshot. I rang my mother. It was quite the occasion.  And then I landed on the other side. The first bit was ok- get thee to Honor Hold.  And then the guys there sent me out to get some stuff and I saw it. I saw it all. Oh dear god I thought, what is this? The ground- why does it slope? What are those bones? What’s that thing running towards me screeching? Why can’t I kill it? (I checked myself out for  resurrection sickness –  I was so weak & feeble). And the sky … my toon & I craned our necks to look upwards – she saw shattered space,  I saw a crack in the ceiling. Neither of us were happy.

I somehow got through Hellfire & made my way to Zangarmarsh. It was slightly better. The ground was fairly flat, although getting to certain quest givers without the ability to fly was a tedious affair.  But there was an interesting bluish quality to the light and the Cenarion  Expedition were kind. Still – it wasn’t home. Occasionally I’d go back to the Eastern Kingdoms for a brief respite  – I’d spend a nice morning  in Menthil Harbour and then catch up with old friends in Elwynn. I hugged them all before leaving but they told me I had to go – I sometimes had the feeling I’d outstayed my welcome. Maybe it’s true – you can never truly go back.  But I couldn’t go forward either – the Outland areas were all so  strange and unfamiliar. BC changed the game for me. I lost my bearings. I missed home. It was only Terrokar Forest & Nagrand that gave me a taste of the familiar –  I loved them both (although Nagrand was almost too cloyingly sweet- I prefer an edge to my green), but my enjoyment was short lived –  before I knew it I was off to Blade’s Edge  and Shadowmoon Valley, and once again I became a stranger in a strange land. I got to 70 and started levelling an alt. I pretended the Outlands  didn’t exist.

Then came  Wrath. I dug out my main & put her on a boat. She was anxious but I told her I’d heard good things about it. We landed in Borean Tundra and took a deep breath. It was icy cold but the sky was still in one piece. Maybe, just maybe, things were looking up. I did some questing & went up a few levels.  Already I was enjoying it more than BC.  And then I discovered Grizzly Hills. You can imagine my joy. There were trees, there was grass, there were even loggers. Nothing like some good deforestation to warm my cockles.  I considered buying a cabin. And then I found out…oh best not…spoilers. Suffice to say I killed everyone & quickly moved on.  Good times. Good times. I enjoyed nearly all the Wrath areas – even Icecrown which isn’t the most welcoming of places it has to be said. But I struck up a friendship with the Knights of the Ebonblade by incessantly trying to mimic the way they sound (friendship with husband took a bit of a knock at this time – “For the love of god stop talking like that!!”) & never looked back. The only area I missed was Storm Peaks & the Sons of Hodir questline (I know – shocking. They still hate me after all this time – I  send Christmas cards but they are returned unopened.) I hit 80 in Icecrown and never really moved on from there. I had come. I had seen. I had conquered. But then I got bored. It happens.

But the magic of the expansion stayed with me. And the following expansions never quite matched it.  I will take MoP over Cata any day.  I love Pandaria & for the first time since I started I have explored every area even after hitting the level cap (I know for many people hitting the level cap is just the start of the game, but for me it’s always been the death knell of my enjoyment. But not in MoP though – there is still so much to do and enjoy.)  Cata was particularly strange for me – it marked my return to the game and gave me the chance to revisit the starting areas (although that was sad too – Auberdine in particular broke my heart & Menthil Harbour- well no more Saturday mornings there unless I take a snorkel). But I wasn’t that keen on all the new areas – I really really disliked Vashjir (more water) & Deepholm (more rock).  I loved all the Thrall stuff of course &  Deathwing.

Cata was also the expansion in which I first started to raid a little (I used LFR  & I also did some 10 man normal stuff with the guild). This was both a good & bad thing.  On the one hand it meant I finally started  thinking properly about my class & my gear (I’d survived more through luck than judgement up until this point).  But on the other hand it meant the game started becoming more  stressful.  Occasionally I’d think back to when I first started and my discovery of the world and I’d experience a real pang. Back in Vanilla, BC & Wrath I never worried about what anyone thought of me in the game. It was a solo journey. If I saw people when I was out questing then all I needed to do, at most, was wave & buff  (for politeness sake). That was the extent of my interaction.  I was enjoying my own  journey. In Cata though I started playing with others (& even doing old world dungeons as I levelled my alts) & I immediately felt that all my shortcomings  were put on show for the world to see. This is still something I wrestle with. In MoP I have consciously returned to a more questing & exploring approach to the game. I’m trying to rediscover the feelings that first brought me into WoW. MoP – unlike Cata – feels like an expansion that encourages this.

So in summary I think I can say:

I endured Cata, I survived BC, I enjoyed (and I’m still enjoying) MoP. But Wrath was the expansion I loved because it was an expansion that felt like coming home.  It took me back to Azeroth the early years. Not a place but a state of mind, and all the more precious because of this.


Posted by on September 28, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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All the small dudes

As a result of my vow not to raid anymore (although I have recently done 3 LFRs  – the lure of all those VPs was too much to resist – I want a pair of valor boots so what’s a girl to do?), I’ve started doing more of the other things on offer in WoW.

Like a dedicated follower of Julia Child I first began by scrutinising the Cooking profession achievement list to see where I had  gaps.  Having decided that I was not quite up to finishing off the Chef title at the moment – just need to do Dinner Impossible but I hear it doesn’t go down too well with PvPers – I instead  finished up the Pandaren eating achievement (yes when in doubt eat) and  cooked my way up to the Pandaren Gourmet achievement (eating again as I went along so as not to use up valuable bag space). I’ve also started slowly getting my cooking up to 600 (currently in the late 570s) by building rep with the Tillers and expanding my farm so I can grow my own veggies (while in real life my overgrown lawn stares morosely at me through the kitchen window).

The farm is great for all sorts of course.  I’ve even started planting windshear cactus seeds as a lazy way to get more windwool cloth (this will help me make enough celestial cloth to craft Leggings of the Night Sky  – ilevel 553 – perfect with my new boots – I will be quite the fashion icon in Halfhill). I’ve also nearly maxed out my fishing (although as part of that spent a fruitless hour Saturday night trying to fish up the Giant Sewer Rat in Dalaran – when did my Saturday nights become so exciting I asked myself as I reeled in another crystal vial).  I’m halfway through the Isle of Thunder stuff (love the solo instances)  and even had a nice day out on Timeless Isle (and yes that will be my answer when back in work and asked if I went somewhere nice on holiday –  “Yes I did actually –  I visited the islands”, “Oh which ones?”,  “Oh you won’t know them – Isle of Thunder & the Timeless  Isle – very exclusive resorts. But you do need a good weapon.”

So a full WoW life – yes. Except … except … in the last few days I’ve discovered something that has pushed all of the above into the background, something that I now think about obsessively when I’m not in the game & something that I’ve started playing constantly when I’m in the game. Yes you’ve probably guessed it – I know I’m not the only person who has  succumbed to this addiction –  Pet Battles.  It’s finally got me.

For some reason until now it had almost completely passed me by. Yes  I did end up doing one or two battles in Elwynn Forest on one of my husband’s characters  when it was first introduced. But it just irritated me. Every time I saw a green paw I felt I had to click it even though I was busy mining or questing or whatever I was doing at the time. Then I kept capturing all sorts of things  (unable to resist the lure of a sparkling crate) so had three of everything- all poor quality. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing & pretty soon stopped.

But I’ve now decided to give it another go – not just because of the no raiding thing but also because that exclamation mark above the Celestial Tournament host on Timeless Isle is so tantalising. I want to be able to take part in the Celestial Tournament and to do so I need 15 pets at level 25. Gulp.

So this time I decided to do it properly. I took Seashell along to the pet battle trainer in Stormwind & got my first quest.  I have a few pets already – I’m not a collector but you inevitably gather a few in WoW over the years eg Core Hound Pup, Azure Whelping, Sinister Squashling, Fossilized Hatchling, Creepy Crate etc. Because of the guild I was also able to buy Lil’ Tarecgosa. So a fairly decent starting squad.

Off I trotted into the wilds of Elwynn. I selected my first victim…I mean opponent …and clicked the green paw.  A couple of rounds later there was a dead critter at my feet. Oh how I celebrated. It was great fun.  Too much fun in fact. Because now I can’t stop. The achievements keep popping up. I’ve even won a few PvP pet battles. I’ve had none of that nervous terror I feel when raiding.  There was none of the old “you’re standing in the wrong place  again, you’re lost again, you’re dead again” trauma.  No it was just me and my dudes out in the field beating the crap out of skunks, hares and rats like the WoW pest control officer I’ve always wanted to be.

But oh – those battles can be tricky. I’m currently stuck in The Hinterlands unable to beat David Kosse’s pets. I hate Subject 142 – he’s either burrowing or dodging- either way I can’t get a hit in. But I will get there. Subject 142 will be mine (well  not mine actually –  he will dead – really DEAD – I swear it).

I’m really getting into it.  I’m starting to learn which pet type does well against which pet type and which of my lovely friends have great finishing moves or dots or heals. And I now have a level 10 Snake called Trusty (I’ve promised them all names when they reach level 10, he is named after the “Trust in me” snake in  Jungle Book).  Me and Trusty – well we  got off to a rocky start. I nearly battered him the other day when out on my farm  –  I forgot he was my pet & thought he was a pest. But it’s all good now. He’s won us a few battles with his own great burrowing ability & has earned my undying love.

So it’s me and my dudes ruling the wilds of Azeroth. And Subject 142 – your days are numbered my little friend.


Posted by on September 25, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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If Only

Created my first little comic strip. Ok it’s a little basic but it’s my first one. Fab site to play around on too. Husband commented it kept me quiet for an hour – so he was happy. Anyway here it is (can’t embed it on here sadly)…’s called If Only

Edited to add a link to the second one  – called Fearless


Posted by on September 21, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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Cut me Mick

Raiding. Hmmm. Well I gave it a go. Never let it be said I haven’t tried. Last year I did DS Normal & by the end had just about got the hang of it. This time round though – well it’s just not going to happen. Last Saturday had a brief (unsuccessful) attempt at SoO (1st boss)  & then Throne of Thunder  (got to boss 2) & last night a bit more of Throne of Thunder (got to boss 3). By the end of last night I was logging out & preparing for my new WoW career – maybe fisherman, possibly archaeologist. Definitely something quiet & death free – something I can do in my slippers. Definitely no more raids.

Now it’s important to be clear this is not the fault of the raid leader – he is very supportive, knowledgeable &  helpful  – and he will likely read this too :) And it’s not the fault of the raid team – particularly the two who helped me get an Armani war bear from Zul Aman before the raid (lovely people – also possibly reading but it’s all true!) It is just that however understanding some people in a raid group are about (a)your lack of experience (b)your lack of good gear- I am ilevel 483 and  (c)your lack of situational awareness, keyboard skills & the ability to work a mouse in moments of high pressure – there will be other people in the raid who expect everyone to display a certain level of competence. A level I can’t reach. Not yet. Maybe not ever. And their disappointment/disapproval with the performance of certain raiders (me)  is evident- and irritating.

Because  I am only going into a raid (a)when the required number of “proper” raiders haven’t been reached – not enough people signed etc (b)after having made numerous suggestions that they get someone else with better gear/dps. So when I finally agree to go (after all I do want to see behind the curtain & maybe, just maybe, get my head around some of the mechanics, get some gear and have fun), I don’t  want my performance and gear assessed. I don’t need it. I can assess my own performance & gear perfectly well. Just because someone is not up to scratch doesn’t mean  (a)they need to be told they’re not up to scratch (b)need to be told how to get up to scratch. They might know both  (a) & (b) but may have a plan to get to where they want to be. Too many  assumptions are often made.

So for example in SoO a well meaning whisper informed me I should get myself gemmed & enchanted if I wanted to raid. Now when I did DS I was always gemmed & enchanted. And again I say it was well meaning- but it was whispered as the raid leader was explaining the tactics & I was trying to listen. So not great timing.  And on Saturday I’d only got half my gear that same day  – a combination of  Timeless Isle loot & some reckless splurging on the AH. The  only thing in my head had been reaching ilevel 480 & I was over the moon when I did (I know – so low, but for me so wondrously high!). And I only ended up on the raid because  they were going to cancel it because they didn’t have enough people and were asking people to come & I said I’m only  480 (I was beaming as I typed it – 480!!) , and then the reply was well  it all helps, and next thing- spur of the moment- I’m in SoO. So I was clear with everyone that I knew my ilevel was not high enough but the view was yes we know, we won’t actually kill anything  this time but let’s have a look & see what the 1st boss is like. Which we did. And yes we wiped. But we got to experience it. So it was good. But because of that whisper I felt crap about not remembering gems so once we left that raid & were agreeing to have a go at ToT I was stopping off at the AH panic buying lots of gems & then heading off to ToT feeling stressed &  skint & wondering why I was choosing to spend my Saturday night in this way!

ToT itself was fun until we got to the stupid windy bridge & I fell off so many times I feared all my new Timeless Isle gear would get trashed  (I was red from head to toe). Then I died in the Horridon fight (double swiped  – did not get out of the way quick enough). So not great but at least I got to watch the fight from my position dead on the ground.

But Tuesday. Ugh.  I think there were issues with the different expectations of some of the people in the raid (not the raid leader  – I must stress that, but one or two others). And I’m not criticising but I am saying the expectations are different & so I did not enjoy the experience. I play WoW to have fun & I know I have more fun quietly tilling my soil with Farmer Yoon (& that is not a euphemism).

Again I was not going to go on the raid (should have been in choir- that’s another story), again I said there are stronger dpsers etc.  but again I had a lovely  encouragement to come along, that there weren’t enough otherwise & they would need to pug . And I only died once this time on the bridge & did not die  when we took Horridon down & I avoided the double swipe! Improvements. Yay! But then it all went horribly wrong.

On the 3rd boss I did not understand  “kill the dark ones” first . Stupidly I was looking for something called “dark ones” (Pressing F frantically looking for the right thing to target), then could not find the Loa Spirits when they spawned, and then did not move quickly enough out of bad stuff on the ground. There was just a mass of things on screen and I couldn’t see anything. I struggle to make sense of anything on screen in a fight. I’m like Rocky – “cut me Mick cut me” – virtually bloody eyed & dizzy, slumped against the ropes.  To be fair eventually my brain catches up with my eyes, or vice versa, and my fingers catch up with my brain. But by the time I’ve caught up everyone is dead.

The worse thing is how slow I am to run, jump, blink (or dance even – anything – just bloody move Shell) out of crap. I’m so slow finding the right keys in those moments. So when a voice comes through Team Speak nicely advising me not to stand somewhere & I’m already trying to move because I know not to stand there- & I have about 3 million addons also telling me not to stand there –  well the whole thing is not fun, it’s the opposite of fun if I’m honest.

And when I know I’m not geared enough & struggling to move quickly enough & – because I’m panicking – letting my rotation go to pot, then I don’t  really want to feel like my performance is being assessed by a far more advanced raider who expects more out of the raid & wants to know “why the dps is so low” and says we have no ranged dps when I – a mage – am standing right there waving at him (ok not waving actually-  something like waving – with a finger).

Oh I think it’s lovely that the guild want me to come along & the raid leader is lovely, patient, supportive etc. but I’m so not ready for that type of raiding & more importantly, having experienced Tuesday, I don’t want to be ready. It’s a  part of the game that brings pressure. In real life my job is very demanding & I put a lot of pressure on myself. In WoW I just want to chill and have fun, see lovely gleaming achievement boxes pop up on a regular basis, maybe collect mounts, pets,  do Loremaster. There’s so much to do that doesn’t involve me wanting to curl up & die because I fell off a bridge. So the life of a raider is not for me – unless the raid is so old it can be soloed. So Seige of Orgrimmar- I think that means I’ll next be seeing you  when I’m level 150 in game & about 75 in real life. If my eyes are up to it that is.


Posted by on September 18, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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Garrosh before the Committee

Well we all know what has happened to Garrosh, but what is less well known is that it should never have come to this.  A few weeks  ago the Azeroth Senate Committee- in a scene curiously reminiscent of Michael Corleone before the Senate Committee in The Godfather Part 2 , tried to call him to account for his actions. This ultimately failed, leading to recent events, but it makes for interesting reading as the following extract from the Committee record shows.

Committee Chairman: Are you the son of Grommash Hellscream?

Garrosh Corleone Hellscream: Yes, I am.

Committee Chairman: And where was he born?

Garrosh Corleone Hellscream: Draenor, straight through the Dark Portal, turn right.

Committee Chairman: Did he at times use an alias that was known in certain circles as “Grom?”

Garrosh Corleone Hellscream: Grom is a term that was used by his friends – one of affection, one of respect. Grommash  means “The Giant’s Heart” and my father never liked that. He had an absolute terror  of turning into a giant and so use of his full name would upset him. The minute it happened he’d turn pale and  run off to get a tape measure. People learned to stop using the full name – apart from tailors that is – they seize any opportunity they can to measure you for a suit.

Senator Thalen Songweaver: Uh, Mr. Chairman, I would like to verify the witness’s statement. Not just the tailor bit – although I do have a love of fashion as you can probably see (does a twirl). For years now a growing number of my spiritual brothers and sisters have been of Draenor Orcan decent, and I’ve come to know them well. They have honored me with their support and bribery … I mean friendship. Indeed, I can proudly say that some of my very best friends are Draenor-Orcs – despite the way they look. And please do not read anything into the fact that as I speak I am edging out of the door Mr. Chairman. At this time, very unfortunately, I have to leave these proceedings in order to preside over a very important committee, a Sunreaver one – I was part of the Kirin Tor you know – I think it’s important to bat for both sides if you get my drift. And while I have the utmost respect for my Orcan brethren I can only take so much of them before I have to teleport to Silvermoon for a bloody good wash. But before I leave I do want to say this: that these hearings on the Hellscream family are in no way whatsoever a slur upon the great Draenor-Orcan people. Because I can state from my own knowledge and experience that Draenor-Orcans  are among the most loyal, law-abiding, patriotic, hard working Azeroth citizens in this land. And it would be a shame, Mr. Chairman, if we allowed a few rotten goldenbarks to give a bad name to the whole broken barrel. Because from the time of the great Medivh up through the time of Blackhand right up until the present day, Draenor-Orcans have been pioneers in building, defending, destroying and then partially rebuilding  – think of the lumberjacks in Warsong Gulch  – how long have they been chopping – our land. They are the deeprock salt of the earth, and they’re one of the backbones of this country- albeit a frequently deranged bloodthirsty backbone that won’t sit tidy in your trousers. 

Committee Chairman: I’m sure we all agree with our esteemed blood elf  – even though he quite makes my skin crawl. Now, Mr. Garrosh you have been advised as to your legal rights. We have testimony from a witness — a previous witness — one Vol’jin. He has stated that you are head of the most powerful Orcan family in this country. Are you?

Garrosh Corleone Hellscream: No, I’m not. You must have misunderstood Vol’jin. His accent you knowit’s not his fault but… 

Committee Chairman: The witness has testified that you are personally responsible for the mana bomb destruction of Theramore and the murder of a High Commander of Stormwind Defence, a Marcus Jonathan, renowned for the thickness of his beard. You deny this?

Garrosh Corleone Hellscream: Yes, I do. His beard was ok but I could easily grow a better one – it’s just that I can’t be bothered. 

Committee Chairman: Is it true that you plotted the murder of the heads of the so-called “five families” in Azeroth – Vol’jin, Lort’hemar, Baine, Jaina and Prince William – sorry I mean Prince Anduin Wrynn 

Garrosh Corleone Hellscream: That’s a complete falsehood. I intended to sell Baine to the Tillers. They need to build up the livestock part of the farm. See – I’m all about the little people. 

Announcer: Chen Stormstout? 

Senator Stormstout: (glug glug) Is it true that you have a controlling interest in three of the major inns in Undercity – and if so do you run a loyalty card scheme?

Garrosh Corleone Hellscreame: No, it is not true. Undercity you say? Jeez – it’s an utter shithole – who goes there these days?

Senator Stormstout: (glug glug) Mr. Garrosh, do you have any interests or control over the game Jihui and Wounded Warrior Whisky trafficking in the land of Pandaria because I …well… it’s the sort of thing I have an interest in. I mean games, whisky, what’s not to love. (Looks confused.) Why am I here? 

Kil’ruk Tom Hagen: Senator, my client would like to read a statement before this committee.

Senator Stormstout: Mr. Chairman — Mr. Chairman, I think this statement is totally out of order at this time. He hasn’t answered the whisky question yet- surely the most important part of these proceedings?

Kil’ruk Tom Hagen: Sir, my client has answered every question asked by this committee with the utmost sincerity and minimal snarling. He has not taken the 5th amendment or anyone’s head off, as was his right to do. So in all fairness I think the statement should be heard, else none of us are getting out of here alive.

 [Senator Stormstout whispers something to the Committee Chairman]

Committee Chairman: No, no I’m going to allow Mr. Garrosh to read his statement and no we can’t order in some beer. Get a grip on yourself panda man. Mr Garrosh has my children tied up somewhere beneath Orgrimmar so I rather think I’d like to hear his statement if you please.

Garrosh Corleone Hellscream: Thank you. And your children are quite safe – seem to be quite enjoying playing hide and seek in Ragefire Chasm – although some of the things seeking them are a little toothy if you know what I mean. Haha. You’ve gone quite pale Mr Chairman.  Anyway in the hopes of clearing my family name, and in the sincere desire to give my Horde children the fair share of the Azeroth way of life, without a blemish on their name and background, I have appeared before this committee and given it all the cooperation in my power. There were other things I could have been doing –  there is a point to what I’m doing in Domination Point you know  – haha, yes I’m also a skilled punmaster but no one ever talks about that.  I am trying to rebuild the area – I’ve even had the painters and decorators in.   So I consider it a great dishonor to me personally to have to deny that I am a murderer.  If a person has no right to exist how can it be murder I ask you that. I mean Darkspear tribesmen – what’s the point? And the Tauren – well I hear in some worlds they are culling badgers to save the Tauren. They shouldn’t bother in my opinion- I’d take a badger as my second in command any day over a fat arsed Tauren.   I wish to have the following noted for the record: that I served my country faithfully and honorably in the Shattering  and was awarded the title Warchief  for actions in defense of my people;  I have never been arrested for any crime whatsoever – the thought of doing so gives my enemies a cardiac arrest- see yet another pun – what did I tell you. There is no proof linking me to any Theramore conspiracy, whether it is called “Theramore’s Fall” or “Attack on Theramore”  or “First scenario before the Mists of Pandaria expansion” – whatever name you wish to give it. I have not taken refuge behind my Gorehowl though it is my right to do so. I challenge this committee to produce any witness or evidence against me – and Thrall doesn’t count. Can’t stand the bloke these days – cries at the drop of a hat. Particularly if the hat is attached to a decapitated head. Far too sentimental for my tastes. And if no witness is brought I hope you will have the decency to clear my name and allow me to get back to the Vale of Eternal Blossoms – beautiful place – where I understand the heart of an old God awaits me and Taran Zhu wants to have a chat. Business calls, business calls. 

Committee Chairman: I’m sure we’re all quite impressed, Mr. Garrosh, particularly with your love for our country. I’m sure Theramore was just a misunderstanding. Who hasn’t launched a mana bomb once or twice in error? And I’m sure those Darkspear tribesmen were a jolly nuisance. The committee will stand in recess until you do whatever you need to do to clear your name. Now my children, they’re in Orgrimmar right, ok ok quite safe with you in the city I’m sure. I will see you soon Mr Garrosh. Be safe.

Meeting adjourned.

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Posted by on September 10, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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Dancing Queen

You say never again but the next thing you know you’re the other side of a dungeon entrance in a complete panic, no idea what to do next. Yes I went in another dungeon.  However, this time I needn’t have worried (well not quite so much) because I was with my guild. Those kind hearted souls had read the blog, taken pity on me & offered to accompany me on some runs. Team Playpen it’s called & it’s perfect – for me anyway – they’re far too good for it but have generously toned down their uberness to lead me by the hand through the valley of death (boss death of course – we were awesome).

The Gates of the Setting Sun was chosen by the guild’s esteemed raid leader. I guess he figured he’d try to help me deal with my insect phobia at the same time – a form of therapy almost. Of course he failed to take into account my speaking phobia too by suggesting I come onto team speak. I bravely logged on but didn’t utter a word – stubbornly typing into Party Chat even when it meant I took ages to respond to anything anyone asked me (I cannot type & play at the same time- I’m not a bloody mantid – and even they need quite sophisticated key bindings).

The group were already killing things by the time I finished collecting the quests.  Indeed they coped admirably well without me – amazing what raiding level 90s can do. I joined them like a long lost hero & got ready to cast something (anything) before realising everything was dead. I quickly minimised Recount –   my philosophy has always been if I can’t see it then it’s not happening (this is why I always shut my eyes tightly whenever my mother dances –   in these circumstances I also find it helpful to scream NO and run from the room).

Before I knew it we were at the first boss – the Saboteur one. It felt very tank & spank to me (yes I am now using technical terms in the blog – the times they are a-changing).  I just cast Arcane  Blast when I could and helpfully ran round in circles when I couldn’t . Whatever we did (they did) it seemed to work & I was soon in possession of a new cloth head item. I went through my usual stress about rolling need even though it was pretty obvious they all had far better gear than me (& it was an upgrade). In  the end I bravely clicked need & hoped they wouldn’t hate me.

On we ran – until we ran into Striker Ga’dok. What good fortune I thought. This turned out to be a complete nightmare. All I can remember now is fire everywhere & lots of blinking – both me and my mage. I think I heard our healer gasp at one point – probably  wondering how one person could stand in so much crap quite so often. When I thought I could cast something I would try to, but GTFO would interrupt,  noisily harranguing me to move along sir like an hysterical police office. Off I would jump.  I felt a huge relief when it was over but I suspect it was just a fraction of what the healer felt.

I think the next encounter was a straightforward tank & spank boss  (for me anyway, standing right at the back out of harm’s way.  I heard our tank say, “Don’t stand in front of him, you WILL die” at one point though, and sensed there was more going on up front).

We moved on.  Just as I was starting to relax (somewhat) with three bosses down, my name was mentioned in dispatches – something about me & Slowfall. I started racking my brains, trying to remember how it works in a group – if I cast on one do all get it, do I have to cast it on myself for all to get it, when do I cast etc.?  Yes even the simplest instruction, “Seashell cast Slowfall” can throw me into a complete panic. Sensing my confusion the priest helpfully interceded (as priests do) & cast levitate on everyone instead, briefly saving me from further humiliation.

Yes briefly. It was not long before I was once again displaying the staggering incompetence for which I am renowned  by getting my cannons confused. Our party leader had helpfully explained we had to use cannons in the fight in order to shoot the boss’s weak spot and that he wanted two dps  doing this. However, I only heard part of his instructions (probably fretting about something that had happened two rooms back)  & couldn’t get my bearings on the screen quickly enough to see where he was standing. I then zoomed out by accident (the zoom thingimijig works backwards on my mouse for some reason & I keep forgetting to sort it – doesn’t half get me into some scrapes). Suddenly everyone was a tiny spec on my screen.  I hastily rezoomed back in & ran to what I thought was the right cannon, jumped on & got thrown right back up to the floor where the Slow Fall shenanigans had happened. $%&%  I thought (yes there’s no denying – my language is quite foul when I’m in a dungeon).  A patient voice sounded in the room (God, finally, I thought) & explained that I’d gone on the wrong cannon & I should just throw myself off the wall and let them heal me. It was clear that by now they had decided that even Slowfall was beyond me. I decided to prove them wrong by expertly casting it on myself & professionally floating to the ground.  The response was … silence  (probably awestruck).

I quite enjoyed this last encounter once I got into it,  although I’d have hated it in a pug – in fact I probably would have been booted before this point  what with the cannon mishap & poor dps and all. I got into running to the (right) cannon, finding the weak spot, throwing off a few blasts,  then having my head rammed into a wall. Great fun. At one point there was a comment along the lines of, “Seashell is targeting the weak spot perfectly & we’re damned lucky to have her in the group.” I beamed with pride.

And then it was over. The party leader escorted me by the hand to the quest giver so that I could claim my reward (I’ve been known to exit dungeons before this point, usually so overcome with relief that I’ve  survived that I forget why I came into the hellhole … I mean dungeon … in the first place). A nice cloak awaited me & lots of experience points. I thanked my guildees  profusely – extremely grateful for their patience and kindness throughout. We then celebrated with a couple of glasses of darkbrew lager & before I knew it I was  dancing like my mother. Good times!


Posted by on September 7, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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And the journey continues

The journey to 90 continues. 89 and a bit. Only got killed 6 times today by the same horrible Horde guy who would not let me quest in peace. I hate my PvP server but the guild I’m in is so lovely I can’t switch servers even though it means I cry on my keyboard every night. I never fight back. I try to out-Ghandi the gankers. It never works but I like to think one day they’ll make a 6 hour film about me & everyone will admire my stoicism.

Other observations:-

  • If I hear slow down once more I’m going to knock some one’s head off.
  • Never go out drinking with a Pandaren. It’s always “Next one is on me” – then they disappear into the toilets for three hours.
  • I think Farmer Yoon & I are at the start of a beautiful friendship.
  • Springtail Gnashers have put me off the Easter Bunny for ever  – however he is very welcome to try to win me back with lots of chocolate
  • Doing quests for Hemet Nesingwary makes me slightly hate myself  –  a chicken sandwich cheers me up
  • I think someone should tell Lili that repeatedly calling someone fat could be regarded as bullying.  Poor Chen – what with her & Gao he’s a broken man. No wonder he drinks.
  • Everytime I see  Kilruk the Wind Reaver I want to hit him with a fly swat.
  • I feel sorry for Gardener Fran’s partner if she’s like that in the bedroom….!  What an absolute control freak. Do this. Do that. Touch this. Touch that. No there there. FASTER FASTER !! Poor sod. And she’s also obsessed with size. Nuff said.

Onwards & upwards.  Definitely upwards. 90 – it is finally in reach :)



Posted by on September 4, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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High Flying Adored

Well I did my first MoP dungeon. Yes I know  – as usual I am years behind most of you. Next thing you know I’ll be announcing we’ve just bought our first coloured TV and that I jammed my fingers in the clothes wrangler. Yes I am that behind the times.

But I do get there in the end. I live my WoW life like I’d run a marathon – very slowly with lots of toilet breaks. By the time I finish everyone’s packed up & gone home. But I keep going – even if I’m the only one around to give myself a little cheer.

And cheer I did. I completed the Temple of the Jade Serpent & (a) didn’t die (b) avoided the water (c) didn’t get screamed at. It was a veritable triumph. Of course the way I did it was somewhat lacking in finesse. Basically I clutched the virtual sleeve of a fellow dpser  and never left their side, and at the end of the run I worshipped at the feet of the Priest who cast levitate on us to help us avoid the  water  (why is water always so deadly in WoW – why can’t we for once have a dungeon where we are allowed  – nay encouraged – to splash around and play in puddles).

That levitate certainly saved me.  As you know I am not renowned for being fleet of foot (far from it – I’m heavy of toe – if that is the opposite). Yesterday I died three times (in WoW I mean – this isn’t some sort of Flatliners anecdote) in less than 5 minutes by (a) running the wrong way into a pack of something red and 90 (b) running the wrong way into a pack of psychotic rabbits (deceptively cute from a distance) (c) running the wrong way off a cliff.  At one point Seashell was veering off to the left against my will and I was screaming at her to stop moving & yet it was MY FINGER on the keyboard that was making her move! That’s the kind of disconnect that exists between my head and my hands when I play WoW. And that means dungeons that require any degree of coordination – avoid this, jump that, stand there, no there, now run,  run, RUN are a complete & utter nightmare for me.  I was a nervous wreck before going into the Temple of the Jade Serpent this morning because I’d watched it on You Tube & just knew I’d mess up the Wise Mari encounter. Water, black stuff & a moving wall thingy – the precise combination of in-game mechanics that has me crying for my mother. All  I  want to do in a dungeon is stand in the back, shoot stuff, loot stuff & earn lots of experience points.  That’s not too much to ask for is it?

GTFO helps of course.  Without it groups would be petitioning Blizzard to have me permanently removed from the game.  I hear the GTFO alarm & I move – the reflex now stronger than anything Pavlov managed with his puppies. And DBM flashing up terse urgent instructions also helps – when my panic subsides enough to read that is. But in all the furore my rotation goes to pot. I end up trying to cast spells on cooldown or spells that I don’t even have on this character (omg where’s Smite?!!!). Once, in a complete panic,  I tried to cast a speck of dust on my monitor. When I flicked Recount up after that encounter it just coughed  & suggested I might enjoy Minecraft.

But a lovely Priest cast levitate on us in the Temple so the water stuff was fine. Of course  I still had to run away from the circling wall thing. And  that meant I couldn’t cast much beyond barrage. Recount started downloading Minecraft for me in the background – just in case.

But I finished the dungeon. My first MoP dungeon. I used MMO Melting Pot’s  quick tactics so I was prepared (as prepared as someone as ham fisted as me can be). Now off there again to revise for Stormstout Brewery.  I hear there are walls of bubbles to be jumped.  Even a Priest will struggle to save me from this  one.


Posted by on September 1, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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A Little Sneaky

I’ve just had a sneaky look at WoW Insider. Why is that sneaky? Well it’s because I’m no longer playing WoW. I’m meant to be playing LOTRO. I’ve also been playing a bit of Card Hunter & I’ve been toying with the idea of getting back into The Sims 3. Yes anything but WoW. But where do I find myself. Like a lovelorn dumpee stalking her ex’s house I find myself sneaking quick reads of WoW Insider & feeling all sad and  bereft.

First I thought it was just that the grass is always greener- you love something when you can’t have it – that sort of thing. It’s like when I go on holiday. Up until the time I go away, although I might have had plenty of chance to play WoW, I usually haven’t bothered. Then when I’m on holiday with no opportunity to play I normally decide to listen to The Instance on my iPOD and hey presto – I’m immediately yearning to play it again.  You always want what you can’t have

But it’s more than that. I found myself nostalgic earlier for Booty Bay. Saw a screenshot  on WoW Insider & all of a sudden I was fondly remembering all the times I’ve quested in the area. The memories were so strong it felt like I’d actually been there in person – holidays spent drinking with Baron Reviglaz and Whiskey Slim, scaring Shaky just by walking around in my bikini  (in fact Captain Smotts thought I was one of the sea giants), looking like Club Foot first thing in the morning & getting chased round the docks by old Sea Wolf – ahh fun days.

I really want to log on again & just visit these people (or kill them – either will work). Maybe I need to do Loremaster – something to get me out of the (WoW) house & out into the (WoW) world. Maybe then I can be more brazen about visiting WoW Insider & reading all about the MMO that still seems to be my secret addiction – even when I don’t play it.


Posted by on August 30, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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One Two Three

I’ve been sidetracked from LOTRO the last few days playing the Card Hunter beta. Never played a tabletop RPG – have an untouched Pathfinder beginner’s set sitting  on my bookshelf (guilting me with memories of that particular impulse buy from Amazon) nor an online card game, but I heard about the Card Hunter beta and decided to register.

The game is great – lots of fun. For a beginner like me it does a fantastic job of introducing you to the  (virtual) table top RPG  world. The whole thing is designed to look like a tabletop game. The graphics are cute and fun. The tutorial quickly takes you into an actual game & shows you what to do (basically step by step “click here”, “do this” “click that” sort of instructions). Despite the help it still felt a bit overwhelming at times.  My fault though – I click before I think – it’s why they made me hand back the  nuclear reactor keys.  Some of the card descriptions also didn’t make much sense to me at the start (what is this thing called “dodge” … ah yes you can see I’ve never played a warrior well in WoW), but when you start to play & use the cards  you quickly get to grips with it all.

Andy is your guide – he’s the virtual GM taking you through the game. His character adds another dimension to the whole thing   – he makes you feel like you’re actually sitting around a table with friends playing a D&D game (or starring in an episode of Big Bang Theory where they do that – which is my only real D&D reference point). The constant chat about pizza (an in-game currency you can choose to use if you want to) made me hungry though (from now on Dominos will be rubbing their hands with glee every time I log on).

After one or two starter games you find out  you’ve been playing Andy’s brother’s set of characters  & you’re then taken to the character selection screen (the Inn) to start creating your own. I picked a Dwarf Fighter called Swedgin  – he was later joined by an Elf Wizard called Seashell & a Human priest called Terema.  Then I really started to play,

Currently my little team is Level 5 & I’ve played about 8 campaigns. I’ve had a brief foray into Multi Player mode  with an entirely different set of characters (they give you a pre-made set to get started) but I only played  a tutorial session against Andy & I lost – badly – so have gone back to single player campaigns for the moment, licking my dice induced wounds.

It seems I need practice – lots of it. This  game is showing up my limitations on several fronts – not least counting and reading. You know those basic things they teach you in nursery school.  Turns out I’ve been doing them rather badly all these years. I  don’t know how many times I‘ve carefully moved my little wizard to a square 6 feet away from the enemy, perfect for my next spell, only to find out I’ve miscounted and I‘m one square out of range.  How can I not count to six? I mean…really!

And reading- yes – I keep on misreading the cards and misunderstanding their effects. One time I helpfully cast Frenzy on the enemy & another time  – again helpfully for the enemy – a debilitating spell on my fighter  (who was  only 1 health point away from death, so I managed to swiftly finish him off). My poor team – they tremble  in fear every time I select a card. It usually means a painful death for one of them.

But I’m getting there.  Slowly I’m working out how far I should  run/dash/walk (finger on screen, tongue on lip, brow furrowed – one square, two squares, three squares, there, that does it  – yes amazing how it works when I actually think about what I’m doing). I’m also learning how to recognise and use blocked terrain (boy did I celebrate when my elf hid behind a wall …bloody coward though) and how to pull together a deck that makes sense   (in the beginning I was just looking for the highest gear level   – WoW thinking I suppose  – but then the card thing  finally sunk in… ah yes I’m playing a card RPG –  maybe I should actually think about the cards I want to use).

So the beta is great fun and very addictive. I lost a good two hours on it last night & have played a fair bit this evening. I’m learning to think tactically. “It’s like chess!” I shouted to my husband today, as my dwarf warrior got ready to finish off  an enemy troll with a rather vicious chop to the head. Or at least he tried to. Turned out I was one square short. Guess I still need to work on the counting.

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Posted by on August 25, 2013 in Uncategorized


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