Mage Fever

I try not to regret too much in WoW – I already regret too much in real life. I try to stick to the onwards and upwards philosophy. Yes I wasted all that time trying to level a Paladin tank through PuG groups but it was character building. However, I’m increasingly struggling with my decision to turn my mage Seashell into a Horde.

Seashell was my main back in MoP and I loved playing her. I even did a couple of proper raids in Cataclysm (although by MoP time I was only comfortable – if you can call it that – doing LFR). But then news of WoS came & I decided I wanted a Horde character for the expansion. After much soul searching I decided to change factions – Seashell the Human became Seashell the Undead. I admit toon vanity meant I was a little uncomfortable with her new look (the hunch, the spine, the chain smoker voice ) but I figured I’d get used to it. I had my Horde. With the WoD level 90 boost I got my Night Elf Druid to level 90. There – two level 90s to play with.

But the problem was I never went back to Seashell the Horde. I levelled the druid to 100, did some garrison stuff, started the Khadgar ring questline and then pretty much stopped playing. I never went in with Seashell – she still hasn’t even visited Draenor.

And now I miss her. But I miss the human Seashell not the Undead stranger I currently have in my character menu. I miss how things were with us. “You’ve changed Seashell”, I say, when I look at her. “Damn right,” she croaks back, “And never forget who’s fault this is. You pushed the button.” Yes, our relationship is rather fractured to say the least. To try to appease her I logged in as Seashell during the pet battle bonus event (plus her teleport helps me lug the pets around more easily). But I spent ages studying my portals with a bemused look on my face. Where was Darnassus? Finally I remembered I was Horde (Bravetank the Clueless – new in game title). When I did remember I teleported to Orgirimmar but feared attack at every turn, Orgrimmar is not my home. Stormwind is. Seashell the Undead might as well be dead – I just can’t play her,

So I want Seashell back – the human Seashell. But £22.00 for a faction change. I changed her once, now I want to change her back. She also moved realms once (I started her on a PvP realm – not a good idea given my “bunny in the headlights” approach to PvP). I have already paid for this game and all its expansions and  of course I pay a monthly fee too. How much more am I going to throw at this game?

But hold on – just had a thought. I could realm change her (I would also like a high level character on Argent Dawn where some friends are) and faction change her at the same time. That’s £17.00 for a realm change and £22.00 for a faction change. Bargain. Not. Of course I could just level another Alliance Mage on AD but all of a sudden I really really want Seashell to be building up her Garrison NOW! Typical of today’s generation (although I’m from an older one) I want immediate gratification. I think I even want to start raiding. I don’t know where all this is coming from. I do have a virus that I can’t shake off so it could be the fever talking. But I am so tempted. First world problems I know. But they tell me I only have one life (or at least some people tell me that, others say I’m a reincarnated frog working out bad fly related karma)). Decisions, decisions. Wonder what the doctor would prescribe for mage fever? Probably a time out and some paracetemol before I press the button.


Posted by on October 1, 2015 in World of Warcraft


Tags: , ,

I have the flag – now what?

It’s been ages since I’ve done anything in PvP (and I’ve never done a lot – although my claim to fame is the fact  I do have the Matron title & not just because I’m old), so yesterday I decided to venture into Warsong Gulch. I vaguely remembered how it worked – I had to run across the field, help the team get the enemy’s flag  & then run back with it to the home base. I figured that was enough to get by  – I’d stay with the group & just try to be useful. I had no PVP gear on (of course) & was in my Elemental shaman spec, which with hindsight wasn’t ideal – turns out my shaman is a very slow caster and mispronounces the words of all her spells.

But anyway I queued, got in, waited for the gates to open (probably looking like a right party pooper by not joining in with the dancing – there’s a time and a place for all that I thought with my matron hat on). Once the gates were opened I mounted up & followed my team mates across the field. Of course about 90% of the group decided to stop and fight in the middle – I’m no pro but even I know that’s usually wrong. Nevertheless peer pressure got to me and I joined in (trying to make up for the lack of dancing probably). I had some wild idea of one shotting someone and getting a rousing cheer from my team mates but it was not to be. While my shaman had clearly mastered the simple flame strike, Lava Blast proved her undoing (she struggles distinguishing the “V” and “B” and kept saying “Bava Vlast” the silly sausage). Before too long she (I) was one of the first casuaties of war and waking up in the graveyard.

Undeterred though I ran back out onto the field & actually made it over to the Horde base. I ran up to the flag room –  it looked like only one Horde guy was on guard. I threw off another flame strike (I had it down pat by now) and then summoned one of my big totem guys (the fire one), hoping he could keep the Horde guy occupied while I stole the flag. All for nothing though as there was another Horde standing behind me chuckling. He proceeded to pummel me to death.

I awoke once more in the graveyard, waited to resurrect and then set off towards the enemy flag base with a pluckiness that can only be admired (not by my teammates though – one was already yelling at me not to go back there alone). “Nice of you to care,” I shouted back (in my head). In truth I did wait for a bit and was pleased to see a rogue and warrior turn up to support me (actually they run past me without acknowledging my presence despite the fact I was waving and Yoohooing like a fool). In ghost wolf form I followed them up to the flag room. They were busy fighting the Horde and the flag stood unattended. Oh no, I thought, this means I have to grab it. The pressure, the pressure. But I was not willing to let my side down so I squared my hairy shoulders (wolf form remember – no need to send me links to Gillette or something) and grabbed the flag & went off at a quick pace.

I was a nervous wreck. In all seriousness my hands were shaking. We had already captured one flag, this could seal the deal.I somehow made it across the field – screaming hysterically whenever I saw an enemy player but still managing to keep my finger firmly pressed on “W”. However, I had completely forgotten where to go and what you do with the flag once you have it. I ran up our ramp shouting to husband “Where do I go? Where do I go?” He thought I was planning a trip or something so helpfully suggested “London?” I finally got to what I think was our flag room & ran over to stand on the raised platform bit where I think our flag would have been (had it not been in the hands of a Horde player who was probably less confused than me at this point). Nothing happened. “What do I do?” I shouted to husband. “See a show?” he replied. I won’t go into what I said next. Suffice to say he realised the error of his ways and came to see what was going on. “Don’t you need to do something with that?” he said helpfully, pointing at the flag. I couldn’t speak (luckily for him), I just sat there gibbering at the keyboard, my shaman still holding onto the flag. By now there were a few of my team mates in the room but interestingly none of them yelled at me to click it, drop it, please leave and never darken this battleground again  etc. They said nothing. Their silence confused me. Maybe I need to stand here for the rest of the match, I thought to myself. Perhaps I’m doing it right. But that didn’t seem likely. I mean we’d captured one flag & our score had been updated. I was holding another flag –  how did I get it registered as a captured flag?

Inevitably some of the enemy team ran into the room, My team mates fended them off. I stood there waving the flag like a patriotic pacifist. My heart was hoping and praying I was doing the right thing, my head was wondering how easily it could separate from my heart and bugger off to the South of France. Then a second wave of Horde came in – this time they headed right for me. With hands full of flag I could not defend myself. The inevitable happened. We lost the flag and I woke up in the graveyard.

Amazingly I did not receive one word of rebuke in chat. I honestly think most of my teammates did not know what had happened & those in the flag room must have thought I was doing something devilishly clever. But this is me. Bravetank. There was nothing clever going on. I just didn’t know what to do. So someone please help me – should I have clicked something to get the flag properly captured? Everything on the internet just says run to your flag room. I did this (I think it was our flag room) but clearly I needed to do something else as well. What should I have done?

Amazingly though we did win. Thank goodness. I don’t know what I would have done if we’d lost because of me. Might have had to do a Cersei-like ghost wolf walk of shame through Stormwind  and then everyone would have seen my hairy shoulders.


Posted by on September 28, 2015 in World of Warcraft


Tags: , ,

Can the average WoW player please step up to the mike?

I’ve been reading some blog posts recently criticising WoW players for various things – flying angst, unfair criticism of stressed out developers, unrealistic expectations, the Volkswagon emissions scandal etc. I notice that some of these posts talk about the player base and often direct the comments at “you” (me?) the reader. However, although I’m reading these posts I don’t identify with anything they are criticising or advocating – I’m firmly in the “I just don’t care” camp. I can’t even say I’m sitting on the fence – for me there is no fence, I’m just off somewhere dancing in a field. It’s causing me to have a little existential crisis (just a small one while the kettle boils). Why do I feel totally & utterly disconnected with it all? Am I completely naive and disturbingly apathetic or am I typical of the average WoW player?

My husband plays WoW – has done since Burning Crusade. He does not read any blog except mine (I made that a condition of marriage).  He does not listen to WoW podcasts (he still thinks Randy is on The Instance). He never checks out specs/builds/rotations and when fighting in WoW pretty much just lines up all his abilities on the task bar & hits the ones not on cool down. He wanted flying in Draenor but after one rant about it said no more on the subject, accepted it & moved on. He is currently having a blast rediscovering pet battles because of the stone you get in the garrison that lets you level a pet to 25. He has no interest in the raiding end game or even 5 mans.  He likes levelling alts, making money on the auction house & doing World Events. Is he typical?

I have played WoW for the same amount of time. I listen to The Instance while I iron, read WoW blogs and miss WoW Insider. I did not care about flying in Draenor. I do read up on my class to optimise my DPS if I intend dungeoning or doing LFR and in Cataclysm I even did some proper raiding with the guild I was in (but not too much due to my chronic crapness). I like levelling alts, taking part in some World Events and the occasional pet battle (get in there little level 2 squirrel). I am not bored at Draenor end game because I’m not there yet – my level 100 still has a ton of things to do and even if I get there I’m probably going to be too nervous to do all the proper grown up stuff. Am I typical?

Then there are the players who have done everything now (including flying). Some are currently holed up in their garrison twiddling their thumbs waiting for Legion. A few of these players regularly offer up well thought out critiques of what went wrong with Draenor & what Legion must do to right these wrongs. In these critiques they talk pointedly about (and sometimes to) the general WoW playerbase. They speak of the playerbases’ justified or unjustified (depending on their personal view) frustrations with Draenor & end game. Are they typical?

I do know that the latter group are not speaking to my experience but what I don’t know is if other people feel like me or am I (& husband) in the minority? I’m assuming WoW developers want WoW to meet the main needs of its player base – but what are those “main needs”? What is the view of the majority of players on Draenor? Was it a failure, is everyone bored, or are there people like me and husband still doing stuff with their level 100s, still levelling alts, still pet battling and still having fun?

Some of these other blog posts and articles come across as very angry  – either at Blizzard or the playerbase in general. The anger surprises me. I’m not saying its wrong but personally I just cannot find that strength of feeling about anything either in or not in this game. I do not feel Blizzard owes me anything and they could never betray me – they are a games company making a game that I sometimes like to play. We have not exchanged fellowship rings or made heartfelt vows in some sacred space (although if they go F2P I will give them my heart forever!). I subscribe when I enjoy the game, I unsubscribe when I’m just not in the mood for it and I resubscribe when I miss it (I suspect Blizzard affectionately call me Bravetank the YoYo). Is there something wrong with me?  Is the situation more dire than I appreciate and am I merrily fiddling while flames fast approach my toes?


Posted by on September 25, 2015 in World of Warcraft


Tags: , , , , ,

Are we there yet?

Yesterday I got lost on Azuremyst Isle. And someone was watching. The shame, the shame.

Just to explain – I was trying out some streaming on Twitch (Channel=Bravetank1), levelling my warlock. I’m curious about the whole Twitch thing & wanted to see what it would be like. I had a maximum of 3 viewers during my stream and one of them was me neurotically watching myself on my IPad as I played on the laptop just to see what it all looked like (& to check out just how Welsh I sounded).

And then I got lost. The trouble is I am a human levelling in Draenei land because I do not want to level in Elwynn Forest/Westfall again (one more time will tip me right over the edge and will surely result in me jibbering away in some corner with a candle on my head). I had intended travelling to Teldrassil by boat & flying from there to Azuremyst Isle. But on reaching Rutheran Village I found I did not have enough money to fly to Azuremyst Isle and so had to do a couple of quests in night elf land. I then proceeded to do all this arse backwards (literally – I walked backwards the entire way (kidding – although I suspect that would get more viewers on Twitch). When I arrived in Dolanaar  there was only one quest on offer (the dreamcatcher one) and that was red to me. So I travelled back to Shadowglen to do a few quests there, then back to Dolanaar to earn a few coin, then finally I flew to Azuremyst Isle only to find again most quests wouldn’t open for me until I’d levelled. So after a bit more faffing I decided the best course of action was to run back to the Draenei starting zone Ammen Vale and get to level 8 there. That’s when the trouble started.

By this point the one viewer who was amazingly sticking with me through all this must have wondered what the hell he’d stumbled upon  – some two year old who’d sneaked onto his parents’ WoW account perhaps (although actually a two year old would have been level 15 by this point and ruling it in Deadmines). In truth I wonder if the viewer was Twitch bot (do they exist?) because the only comment in chat was a suggestion to use some sort of advertising addon – any real viewer would have been typing “What the hell are you doing? L2P you noob!” or words to that effect.

So anyway I wanted to get back to the crash site but I couldn’t remember in which direction it was. I was convinced it was not the area off to the north east  – that was Bloodmyst Isle surely? Yes definitely, I remembered it well. I muted myself on Twitch & called husband over, asking “Where do I go?” He pointed to the area I had already categorically categorised as Bloomysyt Isle. I scoffed heartily (choking on a pear). He looked puzzled and then instructed me to “Try that blob there then”, pointing vaguely in the general direction of my laptop. Cheers for that I thought, heading off to what looked like a blob  (turned out to be a small pond). I looked at the other undiscovered areas on the map – ok bottom south west then, I’d try there. Silently and rather grimly I headed off in that direction. Now & again, remembering I was streaming, I chirpily announced things like “Oh nearly there” and “Not long now” (as if my viewer was a restless child in the back of the car). Turns out I was heading to Odesyus Landing  – oopsies, wrong again. I turned around and tried somewhere vaguely north – not a great idea – as usual the Bristlelimbs were not in the most friendly of moods. Now of course at any point I could have tabbed out & checked a map (any words to that effect in the comments gets the “Duh No Shit Sherlock Award”).  I know about maps. I’ve lived. But I wanted to figure this out myself. I mean come on – level 7, Azuremyst Isle – I knew I could do this. By now of course I really wanted to end the stream and go for a lie down but I knew I had to press on. The only area of land uncovered at this point was the area I had deemed Bloodmyst Isle. Yes you’ve guessed it (if not then you’re probably more like me than you’d care to admit and have got your own alt lost somewhere in the grounds of Northshire Abbey). I muttered to husband (so quietly only the dog could hear) “I think you may be right” and then cheerily announced to Twitch “Ohh I think it’s this way” (of course I was the only viewer at this point so it was all rather pointless and a tad disturbing). Anyway finally I got to the crash site, did a few quests, dinged 8 and breathed a sign of relief.

What a disaster.  I’m now Level 10. My next stream will undoubtedly show me getting lost again on my way to Bloodmyst Isle. Scintillating viewing I think you’ll agree.


Posted by on September 23, 2015 in World of Warcraft


Tags: , , ,

The Golden Age of Dungeoning

I’ve been doing some more levelling via dungeons (still in my 20s so it’s Shadowfang Keep, Stockades, Gnomeregan etc). So far I have been amazed by the groups I’ve run with. They have all been pretty much great groups. Amazing right?

Indeed this is so noteworthy (to me) that in the interests of blog balance I had to write about it. You see when I first started this blog back in 2011 I wrote a lot about my bad dungeon experiences (look at the archives – dungeon angst galore (the ones where when I was a tank & husband a healer were the worst – these days I wouldn’t trust him to put a plaster on my finger)). But this time round I have nothing but good things to day about the groups I’ve run with (so far anyway).

One in particular really stands out. It was Shadowfang Keep and there happened to be a hunter in the group with her pet on growl. The rogue politely asked if the pet was growling (I thought the frothing mouth was giving it away but I kept quiet). The hunter checked then confessed yes it was growling and then said it was her first time as a hunter. The rogue said no problem, it just needs to be off, then advised that other less serene & zen like groups might rage at her. The hunter duly noted this & turned growl off. Then the tank spoke up and confessed (yes it was feeling a bit like a support group by now) that it was his first time tanking. He asked us if he was doing ok. I immediately wanted to give him a cwtch. We all told him he was doing great, wonderful, fab etc – it was quite the love in.

We continued fighting our way through the keep. Halfway through the tank lost his head and took a flying leap off one of the rooftops  (usually something I’d do – I’m amazed how much I’ve grown). I waited for the raging but none followed. Instead everyone lolled and said they had almost done it themselves and oh what a silly billy place it was to even put a rooftop. The tank apologised & suggested the hunter let her pet tank and growl for awhile and all was fine in the world. Once the tank had caught us up and done a bit more tanking (& a little less falling) he again asked for feedback. We all told him he was the very personification of super duper awesomeness. He then praised the healer and the healer then praised the dps and we all stood around clapping each other on the back & making ourselves feel great. I then said how lovely this group was (I was clearly a little overwhelmed by this point – my dps is rarely praised) & we all agreed that this was indeed the most splendid of groups. One of them then said with a sigh, “I miss Vanilla” and implied that it was always like this in Vanilla. This is is something I can neither confirm or deny (so point that bright light away from my face Sergeant). I joined in BC times & it took me until Wrath to pluck up the nerve to even venture into a dungeon – so maybe I missed this golden age of dungeoning? By the time I was in dungeons (& attempting to tank myself) it was all Gogogo and More Tanking Dungeon angst Anyway back in Shadowfang Keep one of the group replied, “Yes back in Vanilla you actually had to make friends and get to know people, you needed them to progress & everyone was super lovely and 40 man raids were the absolute dogs nethers”  (or words to that effect). Then we stopped all the chit chat to kill Lord Godfrey. Then it was time to go. We stifled our tears, said our farewells, promised to write and sadly signed off.

Oh my dream dream group. I miss you guys (although I already barely remember you – was the healer a priest or shaman, who knows). Part of me wonders if it was real (I am a little over tired these days).  So much kindness, support, praise. The stuff of dreams. The other groups I’ve been in since my return to WoW have not quite reached these heady heights but all have been good (maybe a tad business like – I note tanks do still like to round up 20 mobs while I’m still collecting my quests but hey ho). All have been non ragey. So who are all these lovely people doing level 15-30 dungeons?  Why did I not meet these guys first time round? Are we re-entering a new WoW Golden age or am I just having a lucky run of it? I guess I should go in as my level 100 and check out LFR to see what’s really going on but I don’t think I’m quite ready for that. I’ll just enjoy myself at these lower levels and hope and pray that this golden age is here to stay. (Fade out blog to tune of Abba’s “I Have a Dream”).

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 21, 2015 in World of Warcraft


Tags: , , ,

Madam Mildred

I think writing is a bit like exercise (but without the sweating obviously – if you find you’re sweating a lot while you’re writing you might be having a heart attack – don’t forget to save your draft).

Basically though you have to keep writing or you get a bit out of practice. So here I am again.

I’ve been doing a bit of levelling with my human priest and once again running around Elwynn Forest. It’s surprising how nostalgic I feel in that part of the world. Because it’s been such a long time since I last quested there I find I am somewhat less resentful of all the running around they make me do. Only somewhat though and I am a little creeped out by the Maybell/Tommy storyline..

Firstly the general weirdness starts with that William Pestle. He’s a bit strange isn’t he? He’s standing around out in Goldshire’s inn – not the most pleasant place in the world and the first thing he says to me (a complete stranger don’t forget) is

you seem like the helpful type –  ok insincere flattery. I use this line on my husband whenever I want him to do something.

How about doing an old man a favor? – creepy

The last time I was over at the Maclure Vineyards (stealing grapes?) I overheard Maybell crying in her cottage (were you hiding round the back?). Would you be so kind as to go check up on her? I’m a little worried. – umm ok but why didn’t you ask her at the time? Were you breaking some sort of restraining order just by being within 5 feet of her?

Of course it turns out Maybell is just some Romeo and Juliet wannabe , dramatically crying:-

Oh, I’m cursed! My heart belongs to Tommy Joe Stonefield, but our families are bitter enemies. So I can’t see him, even though my eyes ache to gaze upon that handsome face!

But Tommy is somewhat less than impressive when we meet him

 Go get my Granny. I need my Granny. Wah wah do (I paraphrase but only slightly)

Granny s the no nonsense liberated type and is willing to do what it takes for Maybell and Tommy to get together “for just a little while.” (doing a whole Monty Python Eric Idle nudge nudge wink wink bit after saying this – probably).

The whole thing is just a little seedy and gets seedier still when it turns out that the only person who can make the “potion” that will sort things out is good old William himself. Oh what a remarkable coincidence.  What are Granny and William really up to? Her note is clearly code for god knows what and I notice he puts “Gramma” in inverted commas (I imagine him doing some elaborate airquotes as he speaks) suggesting she’s not really a Gramma (perhaps the correct term here is “Madam” – just saying). However, he calls her Mildred and says he’s not seen her in years – hmm not even when you were just across the way skulking around the Maclure Vineyards William?

So off you go and take the invisibility potion (bottle of vodka?) to Maybell. She presumably drinks it and then staggers off to have her “special moment” with Tommy. What a lovely lovely quest. Of course (WoD spolier alert) they end up married and living in Lunarfall so presumably it all works out okay. Or is the marriage some sort of cover and they’ve basically taken over from William and Granny “Madam” Stonefield running some dubious escort service from your garrison in Lunarfall. Oh well if it keeps the gold rolling in who am I to judge?

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 18, 2015 in World of Warcraft


Tags: ,

Slow Down

I’ve been away from WoW for pretty much over a year. I did buy WoD but after levelling my druid Frip to 100 I did not do much else. I’ve had a lot going on in my life which I won’t get into here – on the whole good stuff but definitely hard stuff that has changed me in ways I could never imagine. I’m still in the throes of much of it but I miss my blog. I’ve tried to start a few others on other subjects but my heart is just not in them, I guess I’ll always be Bravetank.

And for various reasons I now seem to have found my way back to WoW – not playing anything like as much as before but still – I’m back in Azeroth. And it feels really good. I’m not doing anything with my level 100. Instead I’ve been levelling a new panda monk – primarily a healer but we’ll see how it goes. I’ve never really played a monk before but I’m enjoying it so far. It’s been great just to run through Deadmines & Shadowfang Keep again and enjoy the old content.

When I do have a look at my level 100 I just feel overwhelmed by the amount of quests I still have to complete and all the garrison stuff. It doesn’t seem to hold any attraction to me. I think I’ve always preferred the level 1-60 game. Also while one part of me wants to just get through all the remaining level 100 stuff & basically tidy it up, the other part wants to reach 100 again with a fresh new character & more organically build up to those quests. It makes me wonder how people who start as a level 90 now feel – dropped into the WoW world at such a high level with such a lot of stuff to learn and a huge range of spells and abilities to use.

So I’ve decided I’m going to take it slow when levelling my little panda. She is not on a fast track to end game. Instead she is stopping to smell every rose and to chew bamboo shoots until her jaw aches. It feels good to be back but I know how quickly I can get burnt out on WoW these days  (on anything these days). So as my panda brethren say I must learn to slow down.


Posted by on September 17, 2015 in World of Warcraft


Tags: ,

Button Masher Mode

Conversation with husband yesterday:-

Husband: Just had a horrible time in a dungeon. Trying to get Nosda to 90.

(Nosda =  his 89 rogue)

Me: What happened?

Husband: One of the dps said my dps sucked. The exact terminology was “the rogue sux”.

Me: Aww, that’s not nice. What was your dps?

Husband: No idea.

Me: What did Recount say?

Husband: I don’t use it.

Me: Ok well were you doing the right rotation?

Husband (indignantly): Of course I was. I actually went to Icy Veins to check. I’m following it to the letter.

Me: Were you remembering to use all your cool downs?

Husband: What’s a cool down?

Me: … ?

Husband: What? Stop having a go!

Me: I’m not having a go! But you said you were following everything on Icy Veins and now you say you don’t know what a cool down is.

Husband: Grunt grunt grunt (or words to that effect).

Me (in very reasonable tones): If you go in a dungeon and you’re not doing the right rotation and putting out enough damage some people will have a go. They will think you’re coasting and relying on them to do all the work just so that you can level up quickly.

Husband: I’m doing my best but I don’t want use all the add ons you use. I just want to go in a dungeon and kill stuff.

And that’s pretty much where we left it. He did go off to Icy Veins later to double-check what he was doing. He admitted there were “some things he had to change”. He then went in another dungeon with a group that was much nicer and later that day he hit 90. So whoohoo. But the whole thing got me thinking. My husband objects to having to go on Wow websites to read about rotations & specs. He refuses to watch You Tube to learn tactics and will not download any add ons.  He basically wants to play WoW “out of the box”.  And while you could say “Yes but if you do that you should play solo and not go in dungeons inflicting your ineptitude on other innocent players”, shouldn’t he also be able to enjoy the social/multi player aspect of WoW?

In Hearthstone you can play Casual or Ranked. Both involve playing against real people. I play Ranked because I want to progress up the ladder. For me this also means researching decks on the internet, trying to understand card synergy & the meta etc. But for those in Casual I suspect much of that isn’t important. There is nothing at stake in Casual. You just play for the fun of it & some gold. That’s why you see the really crazy decks there – decks that make no sense, decks with no card synergy, decks where the mana curve is concave  – everything is just so wrong and just so right. They do it to have fun and to enjoy playing the game in a very different kind of way.

I’m not sure if LFR was intended to be that kind of casual mode for WoW raids but in reality its not. In my experience you get a lot of abuse in LFR if you don’t know the tactics or if your dps is poor. And for 5 mans such a mode doesn’t exist –  people expect you to know your stuff in a 5 man. And that’s not just heroics – that’s normal – from Deadmines on.

So I guess what I’m suggesting is a super super casual mode for 5 mans dungeons purely  for people who think Recount is something that only happens at election time & Icy Veins is something you get when you step out into the cold. It could be called Button Masher Mode – you go in, you hit buttons, you sometimes kill stuff and you die (I suspect this mode would have lots and lots of wipes!). Most importantly of all – you have fun playing the game the way you want to play it. And other players –  the ones who want to run dungeons efficiently with max dps and minimum time – well they would be “protected” from the Button Mashers. Never the twain shall meet. I guess this is what guild runs could be, in the right guild, but the Button Masher mode would allow people across servers to join together. It would be great. And if anyone even mentioned the word dps they’d be booted!

Thinking about this made me think about the Johari window & the four different stages you move through when learning something new.

Unconscious Incompetence – you’re crap but you don’t know it

Conscious Competence – you’re good but you have to try very very hard

Unconscious Competence- you’re awesome & you don’t even have to think about it


– and this is the one I’m interested in –  Conscious Incompetence – you’re not good but you know it.

The goal  is usually to move from Conscious Incompetence to Conscious Competence (& then later Unconscious Competence) but why should it be? Can you not have fun in the Conscious Incompetence mode (admittedly only in some activities/roles   – it would not be something you’d want your surgeon embracing) . And actually – although this would not be the primary motivation – being consciously incompetent & still doing something is often the way to move into full competency. In WoW terms eventually you’ll discover that this order of button mashing is better than that order of button mashing, and yes finally the penny will drop and you will step OUT of the fire (hallelujah). But you will have learnt this Conscious Competency purely through the act of playing and having fun, not through internet research and a bucket load of add ons.

So step forward Button Mashers. Take your rightful place in the WoW world. No not the “dead at the foot of the spirit healer” place, the other one, the … or forget it, just go mash some buttons.




Posted by on October 12, 2014 in World of Warcraft


Tags: , , , , , ,

ESporty Spice

Hard to type right now – I’m in a state of feverish excitement. Sticking with the Hearthstone theme of the last few posts I have just hit the grand old rank of 8. EIGHT. I write it in letters so there is no confusion. EIGHT. This is officially my best ever season. If this were a Rocky film I’ve just caught the chicken, Mickey is chuffed to pieces & I’m about to run up the steps with a load of kids cheering me on. It’s exactly that moment.

I think perhaps writing about my Hearthstone life (yes it is now my life) in this very blog is bringing me luck. So I must continue – everything depends on it.

I managed today to get from 10 to 8 playing a hunter deck. Life has come full circle. Two posts back I was a hunter, last post I was a priest, now I am a hunter again. I’m a holy man gone renegade. Let’s not talk about the bleak period in between (ie last night – we now call it Dark Friday) when I tried to play my own Paladin deck. I will never learn.

I have been rather inspired in my play by the Heathstone World Championship  EU qualifiers. Yes I’m even watching the game now & joining in with the casters who gasp at every turn and express shock and amazement at the most ordinary plays – “OMG Kolento just put down a mana totem, that’s why he’s one of the best players in the world.” Nevertheless their excitement is contagious – when a Priest thoughtstealed (yes its a verb) Jarraxus earlier today I reacted as if the player had got up from his chair & started levitating (“Look look”-pointing at the screen and spluttering-“Look look what he just did”).

It’s also interesting to watch the players themselves. A body language expert would have a field day. Everyone is rubbing their heads, their chins, their lips (their own of course – they barely make eye contact with each other). I noticed one practically rocking in his chair. There’s not much in the way of poker faces here. And they all look so young (like all the policemen these days – when did I get so old?).

When the camera pans back you see two burly bodyguards standing right by the table – less than a foot away from the players. Not sure what that’s all about. Are they expecting (hoping) that some lovestruck groupies are going to storm the stage, unable to resist these Hearthstone stars? All the players I’ve seen are men by the way.  No female players seem to have got through this time round (sadly my own winning streak started a little too late for me to be a contender). A blonde woman in a possibly too short skirt (depending on the viewing angle) tottered about the stage before the first game (I think the shoes were a new purchase)  asking the  players some fairly inane questions (“Are you excited to be here today?” monotone reply – “Yes”).  She clutched a huge question card in front of her – it was bigger than her skirt. I can only speculate on the reason (so I will  –  poor eyesight and a refusal to face up to the fact she needs glasses … been there sister). After a bit she gave up trying to engage the players in anything approaching conversation and stumbled off stage – nearly poking herself in the eye with her microphone as she went (that would not have helped her eyesight). The players were left  looking rather bemused (“What a weird groupie” one mouthed to the other, in my head). The bouncers looked on protectively.

One thing I’ve enjoyed is seeing the players make the same mistakes I make. Earlier today a player miscounted – he thought a play would kill his minion (thus triggering a card draw from a Cult Master) but once he had made his move he realised he still had one health left so no card draw. He smiled ruefully & promptly conceded.   “I’ve done that,” I told husband excitedly, “I’ve made that very same mistake.” Never before have I rejoiced so in my own ineptitude. Twitch chat was of course unforgiving but I was all warm and fuzzy inside.

It really is a lot of fun & I’m looking forward to watching the tournament (virtually of course) at Blizzcon. But every time I watch a game I get the irresistable urge to fire up Hearthstone and have a quick game myself. I used to be the same every June when Wimbledon was on – out would come my dusty racket & off I’d trot to the local tennis courts. Everyone had the same idea of course  so the courts were quite overrun with pretend Everts, Borgs, McEneroes etc  (I was always Evonne Cawley by the way – I was quite taken with her curly hair – sadly this taste in hairstyles led me on a rather unfortunate path through the years that eventually saw me looking like Noddy Holder at my father’s wedding). Anyway tennis fever never lasted much beyond Wimbledon fortnight. One month or so later the courts were once again empty and unloved and my tennis racket was back to being a make do guitar (not that tuneful I must admit, but my riffs never lacked in passion). Tennis is hard. Certainly too hard for me. But  Hearthstone is different – there’s no  running around and flailing wildly at a ball and I never get hot and sweaty (unless husband has finally agreed to put the central heating on for a bit – he usually relents when my nose is icy to the touch – let’s just call him frugal and leave it there) . I can play Hearthstone with coffee and cake by my side. That’s the type of sport I like – Esports. My PE teacher would be so proud.



Leave a comment

Posted by on September 27, 2014 in Hearthstone


Tags: ,

I can’t hear you

After my heartfelt post last week about the difficulties I was facing getting beyond 13-14 in Hearthstone guess what? I’ve just reached Level 10!!  I think it’s my best rank ever – I certainly don’t recognise the Level 10 picture (whereas I see the Level 14 one in my dreams). I can’t believe it.  I’ve achieved this with a Priest deck –  a miracle in itself. I’m notoriously bad at Priest decks. I do stupid things like bringing out Auchenai Soulpriest & then healing myself  (although once amazingly I was playing a Priest & he watched me do it & then did the same thing himself a few turns later – oh how we laughed – well I did anyway).

This is a fun Priest deck – full of Naxx deathrattles. I was dubious about Zombie Chow as it gives 5 health back to your opponent unless Auchenai is on the board (& I’ve not done something stupid). But it’s a good turn two card if Undertaker is out & seems to be working. Auchenai & Circle of Healing are amazing together of course – I’ve been at the receiving end of that move one time too many so it’s good to dish it out. And if the Priest staple Northshire Cleric lives to see any healing action she can be a real asset.

The deck also runs Stalagg & Feugen – both Naxx cards – basically if both die in the game you summon Thaddius (an 11 11 monster). In one spectacular game I also had Baron Rivendare out at the same time which meant the deathrattle  triggered twice – so I ended up with two 11 11s on the board. I could almost hear my Shaman opponent weeping as he desperately threw down some Feral Spirits for me to scoff at. It was awesome.

It’s not been all plain sailing though. I keep losing my nerve when I face a Warlock. They’ve all been Zoo & I am always unprepared when the Doomguard comes out (yes after hundreds of defeats this card still seems to surprise me … I’m clearly living out a version of  Hearthstone Memento and I need to get to a tattoo parlour fast). However, my last game before coming on here to post was Zoo & I beat him/her. But generally when the nerves get to me I tend to make far too many unforced errors – indeed my opponent must think some toddler has got loose on my account – I mess up my mana, I put cards down in the wrong order, I generally go all Patsy Cline and fall to pieces.

It’s a funny thing this ladder anxiety. I was reading an article in PC Gamer the other day after coming across a thread on the Hearthpwn forums about it. I was amazed to see so many people admitting they suffer from it. In fact I felt rather heartened (yes I’m that kind of person) –  but it just made a change not be the one stressing about this stuff. Long term readers will know the real pain dungeons & raids have caused me in the past – particularly when I was trying to tank or heal. I would find myself shaking as I queued – terrified that it would all go wrong. It would be great to report my worries were unfounded – “Yes children, Bravetank realised she had nothing to fear at all –  everything worked out in the end.” But it NEVER did!! I always got lost, pulled random & rather aggressive mobs,  screwed up some mechanic (even though I had Deadly Boss Mods screaming in my ear), died (frequently) and generally made a total fool of myself.  It was never a happy occasion. And the more nervous I got, the worse it became. I tried repeating the “It’s only a game mantra” but that didn’t work – after all it might only be a game but these were real people being patronising or critical in chat. So pretty soon I stopped going in – it just didn’t seem worth it.

But in Hearthstone – while I do get nervous at certain points (usually after I’ve won – this is why I’m here now in fact – I’m reluctant to play another game in case I break my winning streak!), it never stops me playing (indeed once I post this I will be going back in for at least one more game – see I’ve recovered my nerve!). And sometimes it’s less about anxiety anyway – it’s really excitement. I WANT to face my next opponent and I WANT to see if I can pull another win out of the bag. And when I lose – as I frequently do – while I feel annoyed & frustrated (and sometimes angry if the opponent has really milked it at the end), it usually only lasts seconds (unless I’m having a real hissy fit & threatening to quit the game of course!). I’m never too scared to have another go – far from it. I’m always excited to get stuck in & to learn from my mistakes (now how does this Auchenai card work?).

Have I changed or is it just that this game is very different? After all there are just a few emotes so your opponent is pretty much wordless. Am I only “braver” if I don’t know what my opponent thinks about my performance (although sometimes I can guess – some players have mastered the subtle art of sarcastic emotes of course – they snidely emote a “Greetings” halfway through the game after a masterful boardwipe). And I guess if it is the wordless nature of Hearthstone that has removed my fear than maybe I’m not really brave at all – I’m just enjoying the wordless protection Heathstone provides.

Long may it continue.


Posted by on September 21, 2014 in Hearthstone




Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 72 other followers