Life in Azeroth

Archive for the tag “Warcraft”

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?

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.

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.



The things you do for love

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.)


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.

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?

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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