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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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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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Vanessa Van Cleef does Cyndi Lauper

Yes I’m still doing Ironman & still levelling very very slowly!! Runn is now 19 and has just arrived in Duskwood. Of course I entered Duskwood the wrong way as a result of the usual Bravetank directional mishap & narrowly escaped being killed by a spider. (It was in the middle of the road! I always thought you were safe if you ran directly in the middle of the road & didn’t veer too far to either side – but that spider was like a heat seeking missile.) Luckily I psychic screamed (and in real life of course properly screamed) & Runn lived up to his name by scarpering the hell out of there.

I enjoyed my slow painstaking levelling in Westfall. One thing that struck me though after spending some time with our favourite shadowy female figure is that Vanessa Van Cleef truly lives her life in the spirit of Cyndi Lauper’s most famous song – Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – although Vanessa’s lyrics would be a little different:-

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun – Vanessa style

I come home in the Westfall light,

And old Mother Saldean says I gotta live my life right,

Oh Mother Saldean

The Fulbrows are unfortunate ones,

And Blanchy

Has been fed to the dogs,

Cos psycho girls,

Just wanna have fun.

Yes psycho girls

Just wanna have fun

My mind breaks in the middle of the night,

I see my dead dad saying I gotta live my life right.

Oh daddy dear
 you’re still Defias number one,

For you,
 all murder is done,

Cos psycho girls,

Just wanna have fun,

Yes psycho girls

Just wanna have fun.

That’s all we really want,

Just funnnnnnnnnnnnnn,

Plus some plotting and murder too,

And poisons, you need quite a few,

For fun,

For psychopath fun.

Some fathers take a beautiful girl,

And hide her away from the rest of the world.

But I wanted to be the one to walk in the sun,

But the Fulbrows, they stood in my way

So I killed them

Then played in the hay,

Cos its all fun

Just psychopath fun,

And I’m a psycho

Who likes to have fun!

(Repeat as many times as you like …in fact you have no choice – this song is probably now stuck in your head. Sorry. Blame Vanessa.)

 

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in World of Warcraft

 

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The Feng Shui approach to Totems

Is Totem Feng Shui something we modern Shamans need to be concerned about in World of Warcraft?  Yes say I, your newly appointed Totem Feng Shui expert.

Only a foolhardy group would even consider venturing into the world of MoP dungeons without a Feng Shui aware Shaman in their midst. Without such  a Shaman your group will almost certainly invoke the anger of the Elements – this means a lot of finger pointing and all sorts of tutting. Not nice. But with a Feng Shui aware Shaman you have all the advantages of positive Feng Shui energy in your group, plus a Totem colour scheme to die for.

So it is the duty of all MoP shamans to understand the Feng Shui impact of their Totem layout & optimise their rotation accordingly.

Please note  this isn’t just about what type of Fire or Earth totem you place & when – although that is important too (we need context specific placements  not random clicking of whatever icon looks vaguely totemmy on your action bar because you’re in a bit of a panic & three mobs are hitting you at once … and no I firmly deny  that this was me Sunday afternoon). No – you need to think about where you place your totems. The conscientious  Shaman can be seen practicing morning to night  out in the fields of Westfall – measuring out the space between their Air and Fire totem, using the boars as target practice for the Fire Totem (hear them squeal), & enjoying a celebratory meal (of roasted boar of course) with the suave Earth Elemental (Azeroth’s most eligible bachelor). Any Shaman that does not meticulously practice in this way only deserves one part of the title  shaman –  the SHAME part …wear it well you shirker, wear it well.

At the heart of good Totem placement & the Feng Shui approach is the understanding that opposites are good – indeed opposites are necessary. As with life there is a Yin Yang approach that should be embraced or failure will come a-knockin’ on your door (a 9pm, when you’re in your pyjamas- which is always awkward). Get your Totem mix wrong and you will be laughed out of the raid- this is particularly so if you attempt to drop 4 Fire Totems at once in the mistaken view that “Fire Pretty Fire Good Ug”.  Give up the cave man approach- in any case you look dumpy in a loin cloth cloth. Mix it up baby, mix it up.

You won’t get a more stronger adherent to the Feng Shui approach than Thrall. He  categorically refuses to place a Capacitator Totem anywhere near a Healing Stream Totem  because the energy  “gives him the heebie jeebies” . He  will also never place a Stone Bulwark Totem  near  running water – according to Thrall to do so is to lose all gold from your  pockets & render yourself impotent in the bedroom.

Anyone who has run a dungeon with a non Feng Shui Shaman knows from bitter experience that the energies are so bad your hair will frizz – even the strongest leave-in conditioner will fail to uncrinkle those locks. This is not a risk any WoW player wants to take. A non Feng Shui aware Shaman  will  fling down wild combinations of Totems – usually before a mob is even  pulled. They might even place crazy Earth Totems in the Southern hemisphere of a dungeon (have you heard the like?!). This WILL cause the very elements of the earth to revolt and WILL lead to a wipe – I’m almost 1% sure of it. So if your group wipes and you have a Shaman in your midst then they are  definitely not applying good Feng Shui principles, the  wipe is their fault & they deserve utter contempt (particularly if they are the healer…altogether now HEALER FFS!).

So in conclusion – if you’re in a group with a Shaman you must demand the Feng Shui approach to Totems. And if you meet any resistance then there is of course one place they can shove their Totems – it might not be strictly Feng Shui but it will feel satisfying  nonetheless.

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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Azeroth Sonnet No 1

Shall I compare thee to an Azeroth summer’s day?

By which I mean Tanaris not Winterspring, although you can be a bit frosty,

 

Thou art more lovely and more temperate:

(Although the time you ripped out the eyes of that orc did disturb me a tad – he was only level 10 for chrissake.)

 

Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,

And wake the lazy peons from their sleep (although I find a stick does just as well)

 

And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:

But who gives a shit because it means Brewfest is on its way – hoorah for ancient pickled eggs 

 

Sometime too hot the Eye of the Storm shines,

And often is his gold complexion dimmed,

But with a coordinated team who LISTEN GODAMMIT  you will capture the flag  

 

And every fair from fair sometime declines,

By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:

 Yes we all must agree the Darkmoon Fayre is so over – and I hate that tiny stupid monkey pet…I wanted a gorilla

 

But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

 

How could it with a temper like yours? I find it charming honestly…but I never knew anyone’s face could go so red

 

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Yes you still look good – even in Worgen form. It’s amazing – can I stroke your fur?

 

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,

When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,

Yes grow’st – you shall grow my beloved – middle aged spread happens to us all- particularly  a worgen with an appetite for squirrels like yours

 

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,

That is anyone who has successfully avoided you in in a temper … godbless stealth 

  So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Yes you are immortalised in the game & now the blog my furry beauty.

 

But who is this mystery Worgen?

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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Keep Azeroth Tidy

Keep Azeroth Tidy

All my rather tongue-in-cheek writings about the denizens of Azeroth are now available as a Kindle ebook. It includes the news they don’t want you to hear – naturist nightmares in Tanaris, mage wannabe healer brings discrimination case, Deathwing confessions, the plight of Gary the Goretusk, articles, news, revelations and the seasonal & festive Winterveil Christmas Carol!!

(Minor stress:- For some reason the cover image is not showing on Amazon – they say it might take a couple of days. Any advice to stop me obsessively checking every 5 minutes would be gratefully received!)

 
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Posted by on November 25, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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Rep Grinding with the Joneses

Day 1
I love my new neighbours the Joneses – god they’re cool. I really want to hang out with them. I think if I can get friendly enough with them they might invite me into their home – or at least as far as the garden (don’t want to push it too early on…but there may be a garden party I could serve drinks at or something). And if I really prove my worth they’ve said I can have a ride in their car. But I have to show them how loyal I can be. I don’t mind. It’s worth it to get in with the Joneses.

Day 2

They’ve suggested I should pop around every day and they’ll give me a few little jobs to do. Sounds great. I mean that’s what friendship’s all about yes? I scratch their backs, they scratch mine. Except – when I mentioned the itch on my back they just pointed me to their cat’s scratching post (& the cat hissed at me when I went to try it). But  that’s ok. I don’t mind. I want to do things for the Joneses. Every single day of my life. Yes I love it. I‘m their guy.

Day 3

Minor setback. I turned up at their house and they said there were some things I needed to do before they’d even consider allowing me to be friendly with them. I had to earn my stripes they said. The first problem…um no …I mean challenge…there are no such things as problems when you’re working with the Joneses… the first challenge was that although they’d asked me to go to their house for my first job (they were very specific about that) they actually wanted me to do jobs  for them on the  other side of town. But I didn’t mind. I mean yes I have no car & yes I had no money for the bus but I needed the exercise.  So I was more than happy to walk the 30 or so miles to where I actually should have been- which ironically turned out to be the place I originally set off from to go to the Joneses… it’s all character building stuff.

Day 4

Funny old day. When I arrived at the job depot (it’s all very official this “becoming friends with the Joneses” lark) they told me that I had to become adored- absolutely  adored- by their relatives the Smiths first. So off I went to visit the Smiths. Took me 6 months to even get Mr Smith to crack a smile (& unspeakable things for him to give a wry little laugh) but eventually I got there. The Smiths now adore me.

Month 7

After the  Smiths  I hiked  back to the Joneses- ready & willing to start becoming their bestest bestest friend. Each of them made me do 4 chores each  day  – things like cleaning the car, weeding the drive, taking out the garbage – that sort of thing. But they liked to end each day with a fun little challenge. So on Monday for eg  I had to give a lion a dental check up (not fun- particularly when it turned out he had a cavity- he did not like the sound of the drill); on Wednesday I had to teach a bear  how to waltz (he stood on my toes but I just had to grin & bear it…and boy did we laugh at that pun); and on Friday I had to let a one handed chimpanzee take out my appendix. All good fun – including the  complete blood transfusion I needed on Saturday  (the chimpanzee refused to sew me back up after the operation – declaring “Stitches are for Bitches”).

Months 8 to…well difficult to say…felt like eternity

I did all these fun jobs – up to 15 each day – for a long long time. I had to start at 6am to get them done. I never finished until gone midnight. But it was time well spent if you ask me. Didn’t see much of my family of course. And I lost my job. Ended up living in a cardboard box (but on the SAME STREET as the Joneses – I was in heaven, I really was). And at the end of what must have been 10 years or so old Ma Jones smiled at me – yes she actually smiled – then gave me a wave and beckoned for me to follow her INTO HER HOUSE! I’d done it. The Joneses loved me!

And what delights awaited me inside….

As soon as I was through the door old Ma Jones said, “Come with me,” and took me upstairs to her bedroom. She immediately started rummaging in her wardrobe. First she pulled out a delightful woollen hat – the type that keeps your head nice & warm and is perfect for life in the old cardboard box. “Here you can have this,” she said. Then she pulled out more exciting things…well more hats anyway …there were posh Sunday bonnets, flowery wedding hats, cute looking head scarves, retro flat caps, policeman helmets & military berets – every single hat you could think of. “Take this. And this. And this,” she said, throwing more & more hats at me. In the end my arms were full of them. Then she thanked me for taking “all this rubbish” off her hands, said she appreciated my services & escorted me to the back door (she said it was important I leave by the back because I looked a little rough from sleeping on the streets & she didn’t want all her adored friends to see me). I knew that was the sort of thing you only say to your very bestest friend though so I was more than happy to leave that way with all the rich treasures she had bestowed on me. My head will never again suffer the indignity of wearing the same hat two days running. I felt truly loved- exalted even- by the Joneses & that night rejoiced in my cardboard  box for the years of my life I’d given up to them.

And tomorrow I start with the Lewises- I hear they have scarves & trinkets. Bring it on!

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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Game Over

You have three hundred words to justify the existence of your favorite person, place, or thing. Failure to convince will result in it vanishing without a trace. Go!

This was yesterday’s Word Press daily prompt.  I saw it this morning. I think I’m going to start doing these. They look like fun. But does this pre-amble count towards  my 300 words? Hope not. Ok I’d better start….

I’ve picked WoW as my thing. I have to. Despite  the fact that over the past few months I’ve only been able to play around 2 hours a week  I still really love the game &  miss the fact that I can’t spend more time on it. But me loving something is not enough to justify its  existence  – just as  me hating something doesn’t unjustify its existence (is “unjustify”  a word? – well it is now – as Shakespeare said for over 1700 words which I think is pushing it a bit). Grudgingly even I must admit spiders have a purpose. So what else can I say for WoW?

Ok –  it should exist because it relaxes me. Well that’s a little too subjective (unless Blizzard really did design it just for me- some begging letter from my husband asking them to please for the love of God create a game that will stop my wife’s insane anxiety about god knows what landed on the Blizzard doormat & WoW was the result? If that was the case  you can all thank me later – although I apologise for blood elves.) But aside from the subjectivity of that argument it’s also not actually true – PUGs  have frequently stressed the hell out of me and  I cried once when I got lost in a dungeon. Pathetic? Yes. Relaxed? No.

So ok – what about the fact it’s fun? Well yes sometimes it is – but at other times it’s too  grindy (I am not a dailies person as you know) and very repetitive when you level alts. Indeed the underlying pattern of “do this to earn more that” when stripped right back exposes (to me) a very hollow core. Too often these days I  ask myself why I am  spending so much time getting cartoon characters to do stuff that just earns them more stuff. Moving  pixels around to receive more  pixels differently arranged.

So WoW – it’s infuriating and often not fun. It  has  no consistent end goal (patches & expansions always move it) & so consists of constant striving for something that’s always going to change – that boss today, a different boss tomorrow, that gear today, different  gear tomorrow.  Indeed the only true end would be the end of the game itself – Blizzard calling it quits- game over. And what would happen then? Perhaps we’d find different games to play, or maybe even different hobbies? Perhaps we’d simply watch more TV. Anything  rather than sit alone with our thoughts- because who wants to do that? Therein lies madness. Because I think deep down we all know we’re   really playing a much  bigger game  –    often also infuriating and  lacking in the fun department and often with changeable goals and   yearnings for things we no longer want once we have them. And always with the  uncertainty of when the  plug will be pulled. Game over.

And so finally then there’s the answer- the existence of WoW is justified because it keeps us occupied – not relaxed but occupied. It stops our minds  wandering to places they really don’t want to go, places where thoughts about the purpose of life and the futility of it all lurk and fester. So WoW must exist because it stops our minds getting us into trouble …who can fret about the future when there’s a smiling npc with a golden question mark just above his head? And if he replaces that with an exclamation mark even better – we have a purpose again. The Game Over screen has been delayed once more.

Notes (ooh aren’t I posh having notes?!)

1. Yes  that took over 700 words – but I’ve decided the first 5 paragraphs are all preamble!

2. While I’ve got your attention (any of you who read to the end that is!) please consider visiting here & reading my story Choices- just 55 words- and voting for it if you like it. Writing these things is another way I use to keep my own mind out of those dark depressing corners.

Thank you :)

 
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Posted by on November 6, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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The Rumpelstiltskin Approach

My guild is running a few old raids at the moment.  Last Friday we started BWD.I was quite surprised at how complex some of the fights were. I don’t know why I was surprised though. I don’t do ordinary Cata heroic dungeons because I find them harder than HoT dungeons, so why I thought BWD would be a straight forward tank & spank with no need for strategy, positional awareness or any sort of thought on my part  just because it’s not the most current raid I don’t know. Chalk it up to my naivety and/or stupidity – as with most things.

We had to call it quits last Friday, however, before we could get to Nefarian & this has thankfully given me chance to do some research on the guy in preparation for when we finally meet. As  Sun Tzu said-

“… if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles”

In other words if you know your rotation and faithfully read Icy Veins or some other strategy  guide then you may not find yourself visiting the spirit healer that often – unless like me you know these things but still do something stupid like blinking off the edge of Skyfire mid fight  (yes that was me in DS last Saturday ….sigh)

Sun Tzu also said

“…if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one”

Hmm I think he was being a tad generous there. In my experience  knowing  my class & rotation but not knowing the boss strategy never ends well. But there is always Deadly Boss Mods which can make up  a bit of the shortfall  (it’s my desert island add on – although since I wouldn’t have a computer on said island not really sure  what I’d do with it – but that’s how much I love it).

Finally he said,

“… if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.”

Yes – if you think you are playing your mage when you’re actually on your warrior and think you’re fighting Ultraxion when actually it’s Yorsahj chances are it will not go well …and if the boss doesn’t kill you your guildees will.

So taking Sun Tzu’s advice (who am I to ignore it) I’ve been doing some research. I think if I keep the following in mind I will be showing Nefarian who’s boss when we finally do meet the next time the guild runs BWD (it won’t be me – I’ll just point at my raid leader and then hide behind a rock).

1. His sister is Onyxia & she will be in the fight too. Ooh goody. Two dragons for the price of one. I really wish Deathwing would come along too so we could take a photo and judge who takes after who (“they all look a bit..well…dragony really”).  And wouldn’t you just love to have been the babysitter responsible for putting them to bed when they were children…I mean whelps. Nefarian resurrects Onyxia at the start of the fight. Taking advantage of any old historical brother sister rivalry or animosity won’t work on this occasion (although apparently when they were younger he once set fire to her birthday cake – he claims he was trying to light the candles – and she’s never truly forgiven him for that). But in this fight they have decided blood is thicker than water. The strategy guides advises to tank them on opposite sides of the room – otherwise you’ll  be finding out if your own blood is thicker than water when you’re lying  in a pool of it.

2.Like some mad Mickey Mouse in Phantasia he will also summon some dancing bone warriors – ok they don’t dance but they are animated so it’s kind of the same. These can be CCd or kited but not feared – I  mean what would scare a skeleton bone warrior – xrays of broken bones set wrong perhaps?

3. Once Onyxia is gone (I’m hazy on how we actually do that – get Nefarian down as low as possible & then finish her off I think….?) the raid is filled with molten lava (is there any other kind?) and the chromatic prototypes. Now they’re the sort of thing that appear in WoW and – because I rarely read quest text – I have to nod & pretend to know what they are when really I don’t. But the shame of confessing this here has sent my scurrying over to WoW Wiki to find out – so now I know. They are prototypes of the chromatic kind. Obvious when you think about it. And there are three of them. Not having done this fight I’m struggling to visualise all this but it seems each of them is on a platform casting Blast Nova which has to be interrupted & the raid must jump onto the platform- to escape the lava presumably. I can say right now that this pretty spells the end of me in this encounter. I can never jump where I’m meant to jump – I lose all sense of direction. So I will be the one dying in the lava with my GTFO add on becoming  increasingly hysterical at my stupidity.

4.After the prototypes are gone you jump back down (or in my case maybe get a battle ress). We can then expect more dancing bone warriors – this time getting recharged with Nefarian’s shadowblaze spark. The bone warriors need to be kited while the rest of us burn Nefarian down I think.

And that seems to be it. Sounds horrendous to be frank – but I guess I’ve just got to experience it. And oh one other important thing – Nefarian is NEFARIAN (with an A) not NEFARION (with an O). This  is vitally important since Nefarian seems to have made a conscious choice to spell his name in this way – apparently proper black dragon flight naming convention means his name should end with an ION. I’m sure this fact is really a secret weapon – knowing something’s real name gives you power over them – as Rumpelstiltskin taught us all. So I strongly suspect that all that strategy stuff above is a red herring & if – instead of actually fighting him I stand completely still and repeatedly type Nefarion Nefarion Nefarion in raid chat we will much easily defeat him & my guild will love me forever. That’s the plan anyway. I’ll let you know how it goes.

 
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Posted by on August 7, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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I can talk (sort of)

I was a guest on Sunday on the Girls gone Wow podcast. Girls Gone WoW

They were all so lovely- Sil, EJay, Raven & Rob – but I was so so nervous. My stress levels about the show had been building up for weeks & I think it’s fair to say I pretty much wrote off the weekend worrying about it – terrified that I’d forget how to speak and babble incoherently. And gratz to me – I pretty much did all of that! Who knew saying altholic could be so hard  or that I would start rambling so quickly – on question one I think. In  the end I even mispronounced Bravetank! Class act. But I got through it despite being so nervous and I’m happy about that. And thanks again to the team for having me on & making me feel so welcome – even though I did criticise Tauren females, rogues & pandas. WWF have marked my card.

Other news – did some raiding last week – the first with the guild in DS (final Deathwing fight – unfortunately we were not successful. I think my dps was half to blame – Deathwing at one point rolled on his back and begged me to tickle him some more) and the  next day in  LFR after deciding to be a conscientious guildee and  do some work on my gear. Everything is currently 397 apart from robes (384), leggings (378), one ring at 378, one trinket at 390 & a staff at 390. So I do indeed have some work to do.

LFR was as you’d expect. No scratch that. Something really weird happened. When we landed to fight the coloured blobs I landed right on top of a blob and died instantly. Everyone seemed to do the same  – apart from the tank who initially seemed to be ok, then went afk and was then slowly battered to death by one insistent blob.  Only those who waited until we’d wiped before flying down were ok. Once we were all ressed the tank came back & said “Let’s hope Seashell doesn’t pull again”. I couldn’t believe it. I had landed on a blob & died immediately. Others did the same. It couldn’t have been my fault could it? I said as much in raid chat & the tank said “ofc ;)” . I didn’t say anything after that. I was too busy  fretting that I had indeed landed wrong somehow – although I have no idea how you can. However, the tank was a nightmare so maybe he/she was just trying to stir things up & randomly selected me as the fall guy? He was criticised for not  have righteous fury on, he didn’t tank  some blobs properly etc. but he just kept lolling and criticising the healers. Great fun as you can imagine. And then he left- mid fight. So at least my critic had no real credibility- but still I worried.

And that gets on to my main point today. Why did I  care what those 24 people thought about me? I froze when he said “Let’s hope Seashell doesn’t pull again’. I felt so exposed & singled out, and the injustice of it all made it worse somehow. I just wanted everyone to know it wasn’t me (unless you think it was…in which case please let me know how so I never do it again!)

As anyone who has read this for awhile knows – I live in fear of criticism.  I had my first session with a coach yesterday to start work on some of this as I don’t like the way it makes me feel. I am scared of the opinion of 24 people I don’t know from Adam (and terrified of what Adam thinks!). I am scared of criticism in work. I read every single comment on my blog with my heart in my mouth in case it’s negative. And I won’t even listen to the interview I recorded on Sunday. Someone once told me that I have a certain vulnerability  – I think it was being said as a positive, but it’s only positive to the person saying it when they see themselves as the great protector. It then makes them feel good about themselves. For awhile. Which is nice for them but what about me- the vulnerable one – the one picked up, played with and then thrown back down. I feel like the woman in Hellraiser with all her tendons & nerves on the outside of her body –  I need to stuff them back in (they’re causing a mess on the couch for one thing). But my coach says I can’t even start doing that until I acknowledge how it makes me feel. Until I feel the feelings. He said I translate my feeling into thoughts (& here into words I guess) instead of really feeling them, acknowledging them & then perhaps letting them go. But how do you do that- how do you feel without thinking? I really don’t know if I ever have.

My coach also said I need to start exploring who I am and own my “I”. He said I have to start talking about what I feel, what I think, what I want to do and say. I found that very powerful because I know I live my life through the eyes of the Other. When I look at my face I see myself with the eyes of people I think would judge me harshly. When I hear myself speak I listen to myself with the ears of those who, I think, regard me with disdain. My mental audience is a negative one – they really don’t like how I look, what I do or what I say. Not dinner guests I’d really want, but it seems they’re already in the house & won’t leave. And they define me.

And I have no ownership of my I on WoW either. There all the power is in the groups or the raid – everyone that  knows more than me. So I think I’ll study more & learn more (about the tactics for e.g.) to become stronger. And  in work I vow to work harder than everyone else, to become more knowledgeable than everyone else, and get my power that way. And after looking in the mirror I rub on the creams and go to the gym to do the exercises in order to fend off the critical eye that’s always watching and judging my appearance. Nothing wrong with any of that if I was doing it for my I, but I’m not – I’m doing these things in the absence of an I and in the presence of an over powering critical Other.  I have given all my power to those that I think define, measure and judge me & find me wanting. I’m doing these things to please the them. That’s the story of my life.

How do you escape this? If you take on the fear and do the thing that risks the criticism and find it does indeed come (as they say just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean everyone’s not out to get me) what then? How do  own my I in my response to it? Is it by knowing that ultimately I  cannot be touched by anything anyone says or thinks? My I is  mine – maybe the only thing in this world that’s truly my own. But that’s a thought in words again, not a feeling. I need to feel it – and I don’t know how.

My coach said this journey  will be hard and challenging but I have promised him and myself that I will commit to it 100%. And I will. Because I don’t like feeling sick with fear. I don’t like my little band of  critical strangers (some wear the faces of people I once thought of as friends)  mentally following me everywhere. And I don’t like thinking so little off myself that a sarcastic word from a stranger can throw me in a tailspin. And WoW of course is full of these sarcastic words and critical strangers. For some people they see themselves as performing a public service by being this way  – shaming you into being a better tank, dps or healer, or failing that forcing you to give up the game for good. And I know some people have given up and walked away. But why should  we give them that power? What on earth have they done to earn it? Maybe I should think of WoW as my exposure therapy- I write because of it & so expose myself to feedback; I’ve now been interviewed because of it & found the courage somehow to let my voice be heard; and of course in game I often find myself playing with the mean kids. Sticks and stones and all that. Maybe this game can change me. Certainly  slowly my voice is being heard. Literally last  Sunday. Now if only I could  learn to pronounce altholic correctly!

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2012 in World of Warcraft

 

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