Life in Azeroth

Archive for the tag “world of warcraft”

Holding out for a Hero

I’ve temporarily (I think it’s temporary) put my WoW subscription on hold. I really thought I was back for good this time (apologies for the Take That reference – I thought I was better than that) but I’ve ended up taking on too much stuff. I’m enjoying this stuff and not complaining but I’m finding myself too busy to play. Plus I know I’ll be getting even busier in January when other parts of my life kick into action, and this means my play time will shrink even further. And I can’t – won’t – pay monthly for something I’m hardly playing. I feel guilty enough as it is – not long back I paid for a faction transfer for my mage and a realm transfer for my pally. Of course I was playing a lot then, enjoying the game & all rose tinted spectacles about my life as a WoW player. But things change so quickly (indeed for me they can change in a heartbeat) and now I’m regretting those purchases.  I think I should have known better.

I’m sure I’ll be back though. I will miss it and I’ll return. It always happens. But right now I’m looking for something to fill this WoW shaped hole – albeit a WoW shaped hole I wasn’t filling with WoW itself.  I don’t want to give up playing games altogether of course (perish the thought!). I am still playing Minecraft (for my fledgling YouTube channel) & Hearthstone (because I have dreams of one day being good) but the former can feel rather lonely and the latter gets me so frustrated and tense that I can only play in short sessions (plus all those Reno Jackson decks mean games are taking ages now). I want something else, something I can dip into, something free, something “MMOy”, something fun. I want to be able to play when I feel like it without feeling guilty about the times when I don’t. It could be The Secret World – I have a real hankering to play that game again. It won’t be Wildstar – I have decided I don’t like the “look at the ground & move” combat system. I thought about the Elder Scrolls – I enjoyed the game once, but now when I visualise it I just seem to see a lot of dull brown and yellow areas that all look alike and lack the colour and vibrancy of WoW.

And that’s the problem- when I think of other games I compare them to WoW and nothing seems to offer what WoW offers. There is such a variety of things to do in Azeroth, such a variety of experiences on offer. And over the years I have enjoyed so many of them. But if I don’t play the game enough all this is irrelevant.

I have also thought about forgetting the whole MMO thing & maybe just getting more into Heroes. I’m assuming that’s something I can just dip into when the fancy takes me. I’ve not played it much. I know it’s got lots of features I like (pretty colours, cool heroes, an AI to practice with, real people when I feel brave enough etc). Could be perfect for me. The more I think about it the more I think it might be time to transition from MMO to MOBA.

But then I think of WoW Pet Battles and I feel just a little bit sad.




Yay More Blinking

 Given that one of my mains is a Mage – she was Frost but now she’s Arcane (she got tired of the little elemental & his needy ways) I thought I’d better have a look at the changes planned for this spec.
According to Blizzard  “Mages are in a very strong place compared to most classes, both thematically and mechanically” with “a lot of distinction among Arcane, Fire, and Frost Mages“. Therefore the changes they are making are more around improving our current gameplay and the quality of our stressed out lives. This includes Summon Refreshment which will automatically provide a stack of food if you’re on your own (ie me) and a table of refreshments when in a party or raid (ie everyone who’s not me). Fair enough I suppose but I’m quite civilised – I like to lay out a nice table even when I’m a billy no mates. Dining etiquette is on a downward slippery slope here.
Specifically on Arcane, Blizzard say that Arcane Mages require “Unparalleled skill … to manipulate the volatile forces of the universe.” – Oh dear, maybe I need to rethink the spec. They go on to say, “These practitioners push their magical knowledge to its very limits—often to the brink of their own exhaustion“. Yes that’s me to a tee. Many a night you’ll find me slumped over the keyboard weeping from the stress and strain of it all. Three buttons! Three buttons! It’s inhuman that’s what it is.
To help us burnt out Arcane mages our Arcane Charges will now be an “actual resource located underneath [the] Mana bar instead of a stacking debuff.”  Excellent. To be honest I never have much of a clue about my buffs or debuffs. I can only look in so many places at once (one place actually – and that’s usually my keyboard). When I do lift my head I like to admire my pretty portrait in the top left hand side of the screen (yes default UI- did you expect anything else?) so this will help me a lot.
Arcane also has a new Mastery  which increases our maximum Mana by a percentage and increases the damage bonus from Arcane Charges. Anything with the word “increases” is good for me, unless it refers to the size of my thighs. According to Blizz this “should make the Mastery feel a bit more interesting by allowing more aggressive Mana usage“. Excellent. In readiness for this I have drafted some awesome snarling & growling emotes. They want aggression I’ll show them aggression (I’ll also have some passive aggressive ones up my sleeve too – just in case the raid needs a change of strategy).
Good news for me with Displacement (instant cast, removes Blink cooldown for 4 seconds). I love blinking I do (obscure shout out to any UK reader who watched Big Brother Season 2 a gazillion years ago). Blinking does get me into trouble though – in real life my boss interprets blinking as dissent (so I now glue my eyelids to my forehead) and in game when I regularly blink into bad stuff at every inopportune moment (once during the Warmaster Blackhorn encounter I of course blinked right off the edge of the airship – it was a proper guild raid though (thank goodness) so everyone was nice about it even though I think I caused a wipe).
And that’s pretty much all the main stuff as far as I can make out. If I’ve missed something important (& I probably have – I skim read anything that included numbers and a”%”)  let me know. Nothing ground breaking as far as I can see but in fairness that’s what they said. I wonder what they have planned for the Restoration Druid though? I am of course a healer in training too. I trust there will be no blinking (now that would be a class change) – I really want to maintain my eyes wide open, bunny in headlights approach to healing. It has served me so well….

A Tasty Bone

I’ve not been a complete slacker during Blizzcon. I wrote something on the opening ceremony for Geeks and Geeklets (which you can see here). By the way I’ve also started doing a Roblox YouTube series there too (nothing to do with WoW of course- although I may end up so good I’ll be able to recreate Azeroth in Roblox. Maybe. So far I’ve made a tree and a door.) In regard to Blizzcon I’ve mostly been catching up on the various panels that I’ve been too tired to watch in real time (I’m old and weary) & catching up on people’s views and opinions on these panels.

It’s fair to say everyone is very excited on what the Systems Panel offered yesterday- particularly on Transmog and Professions. In a nutshell you’ll get a Wardrobe holding all the finery you’ve ever been entitled to (account bound) & there’ll be a questing approach to professions. Personally I’m not wildly excited about the Transmog stuff (although I can see why other people are – it looks amazing). The problem is when it comes to clothes anything approaching good taste and style has always alluded me (in both real and virtual life). I have tried to change. I once dressed poor Seashell in the High Inquisitor Whitemane set. I  thought she looked awesome until someone laughed at me in Stormwind. So now Seashell is wearing a simple Runecloth set that I put together with my tailoring and that’s about as good as it gets. So while I’m happy for everyone else I’m not sure these changes are going to help me look good.  But I look forward to seeing all my old stuff again and creating some wildly mismatched looks that appeal to no one else but me.

As for the Profession changes –  well the questing approach could certainly be interesting. I hope the quests are challenging enough to give us a real sense of achievement when you get the profession reward but not too time consuming that by the time I complete then the reward is old hat (and as Seashell is a tailor it could literally be an old hat). In regard to the “no fighting over nodes” change – well to be honest on my server I never see much of this any more. Maybe it’s the areas I choose to hang out in but I’m usually on my own (was it something I said?) But again I can see how this could be welcome to many.

All of the above seem to be big crowd pleasers – I’ve just never  been part of the crowd. Legion isn’t out any time soon but look you get a Wardrobe and your own nodes. It’s the small things that matter it seems. People are happy now and all loved up for Blizzard when days before they were raging at delays and the lack of news. Seems to me that all Blizzard needs to do is keep throwing the odd tasty bone at its core audience. I don’t think this approach will get the subscribers up to 10M again but maybe that’s something Blizzard no longer need given all their other games? They’ve done enough to keep a large part of their current playerbase feeling happy, well fed and contented. Didn’t take much really.

And so the Machine beeps on

So WoW subs are only down by 100K. The WoW community on the whole is delighted with the news, taking it as proof that WoW has stabilised. I hear the word stabilise & I think of intensive care and life support – it’s always heartening to know your loved one is stable but deep down you fear they’re never going to tap dance on the kitchen table again. Still, ask any dinosaur, stable is better than extinct.

Reading some comments over on Blizzard Watch there is a view that the remaining 5.5 million subs are the diehard fans who will never leave  WoW –  new content or no new content they are there for the longhaul(or until they too go the way of the “definitely not tap dancing again” dinosaur).

But perhaps some of them are like me – not quite a diehard fan, but not a fair weather fan either. Last year I subbed, unsubbed, then subbed again. I got bored with WoW then re-enthralled with WoW. Even now, during the same play session, I can run out of things to do then suddenly think of something and become overwhelmed with things to do. Generally my view on whether I want to be in Azeroth or not has little to do with the content of the latest expansion (and certainly not the latest raid) and far more to do with my feelings about life in general. In the right frame of mind Azeroth, like life, offers limitless opportunities for fun and stimulation. In a different frame of mind it reveals itself to be the ultimate time waster, a meaningless distraction until my bones turn to dust.

Anyway undoubtedly some people returned to WoW because they are excited about Legion. Whether that expansion will deliver what they want remains to be seen. There is likely another contingent too that will never leave WoW – some habits are too hard to break, some habits mean too much to break. Then there are those like me – here today, gone tomorrow, back again the day after. It’s not that I’m disloyal – I don’t really understand loyalty when it comes to a game. I reserve that for my loved ones (however hard they sometimes make it). It’s just that sometimes I want to do other things. Sometimes the power of its pixels wears rather thin.

Now is not one of those times. Right now I’m part of the 5.5 million. Right now I’m helping it stabilise. I’m helping the machine sound its rhythmic beep.  But nothing lasts forever.


LFR – the Couch to 5K approach

Recently there’s been a lot of discussion about LFR and raiding (particularly since patch 6.2.3 was announced). The point is often made that LFR is not real raiding, it’s too easy with no mechanics worth talking about, people are in there just to get loot that they don’t really deserve (since it’s all too easy) and people in there don’t try at all/don’t need to try (in fact the little sausages are probably tabbed out watching Netflix). It’s also said that because it’s so watered down & easy it does not either (a)prepare anyone for proper raiding nor (b)encourage people to try out proper raiding. Therefore Blizzard have failed in all their intentions. Shame on you Blizzard.

I want to challenge some of these points. I admit that what I’m saying here is from my own personal perspective and my arguments will not apply to everyone. However, I suspect they will apply to more people than just me and I think it’s a perspective worth exploring.

First: the “too watered down/no real mechanics” argument:-

For me this doesn’t feel true. There are sufficient mechanics in LFR for my abilities.

For example -in Highmaul Kargath has a Chain Hurl ability that will move one tank, one healer & three DPS to the stands. If you don’t know about it & you are the one picked it’s going to be disconcerting to say the least (I’ve not experienced it yet but that kind of thing always throws me – literally in this case) and you need to know what to do (basically just kill things and survive!).  There is also his Berserker Rush ability which can do huge amount of damage if not tanked correctly (according to Wowhead in LFR Kargath should be tanked in, or near, an active Flame Pillar).

Similarly in Blast Furnace  Phase 1 there are Heat Regulators to destroy. While (according to Wowhead) in LFR only 5 bombs are needed to destroy each one you still need to know what to do with the button should it appear on your screen.

And finally Iron Reaver. The guide on Wowhead for the Normal level encounter provides paragraph after paragraph of information on dealing with mechanics that include Barrage (the advice is not to try and out range but instead run to the sides), Pounding (during which you should use raid cooldowns & move in close to the boss to avoid Immolation patches that are being pushed away) & Blitz (which you should avoid by watching Iron Reavers’s feet). In the LFR section it says, “There are no mechanical differences in the Looking For Raid difficulty of this fight. Players should still focus on survivability”. Helpful! So unless things have changed since Wowhead was last updated this means there are mechanics in the LFR version of Iron Reaver- indeed the same mechanics as in Normal, but without any of the proper raid team benefits of good communications and strategy (& I say this sadly as I died in the LFR Iron Reaver encounter- clearly mishandled Barrage, Pounding & Blitz and never noticed her feet).

I accept that Iron Reaver is not typical & that in most cases the mechanics in LFR are more like the first two examples –  nowhere near the level of the normal raiding. But nevertheless there are mechanics. There is stuff to avoid, disperse and use cooldowns on. It is not stand in one place & hurl your spells.  And these mechanics can feel more difficult to deal with because they are being dealt with by a group of random strangers.  Of course your LFR group could be filled with overgeared raiders who can pretty much blitz through everything. But these pros are not in every LFR & arguably while they might speed up each phase of a fight, you are still likely to experience most of the mechanics in each phase & and these – for me anyway – mean I must give the encounter my total attention. Even concentrating so hard I ground my teeth to dust I died in the Iron Reaver encounter and I’ve felt totally frazzled in the others. This may say more about my ability than LFR but I can’t be on my own here (surely –  please say there are others like me!). One reason LFR exists is so that people like me (with less ability than others) have a chance to experience some raid content at a level I/they can deal with. I would say LFR gives me that.

As a side note: this doesn’t mean other people are not coasting on the back of the more experienced/better geared raiders who are running LFR. This probably explains all the raging and arguing. The pros get angry with all the poor abilities/presumed lack of effort on show. They have done this at a harder level – why can’t the rest of us get it? Are we all AFK (no we are not – but some might be). But in any case none of this is specifically an LFR problem – it’s a people problem. People could choose not to coast & people could choose not to get angry. Everyone could choose to  give 100% effort and help/guide where they can. That people don’t is a sad indictment of people. But not necessarily a sad indictment of LFR.

2. Onto the gear argument – people run it just for gear & don’t put any effort in and don’t deserve the gear.  I’ve run Highmaul a number of times in one week just to get more experience with the encounters and to practice healing.  I know I might be atypical here (again) but surely I’m not the only one doing this. I want the practice. And while I know I’m healing LFR & not a Normal Raid, for me there are still numerous challenges – raid boxes to look at and understand, an addon to get used to, mouseovers to practice etc.  So LFR offers more benefits than mere loot  – LFR gives me a place to practice abilities I can’t practice when I quest alone. And while I know there are always 5 mans I don’t feel confident enough for them yet – one mess up on my part could cause a wipe & I’m not ready for that.

3. The final argument – LFR does not prepare anyone for raiding nor does it encourage anyone to raid.  Again for me having completed a few LFRs as a healer I am now curious enough to read up on the normal raid equivalents to find out how the mechanics differ. So eg I read about what you need to do if you are on the Chain Hurl team in the Kargath encounter and I consider what it might be like to be a healer on a Normal Raid dealing with this. If it was a team of like minded folk (i.e. nice, supportive & friendly) and there was time to plan out the approach, agree the strategy & also agree that heads can stay firmly on necks if there is  a wipe, would I be interested in trying? I find myself thinking yes maybe I would like to try this out.  I am interested. I might do it. So Blizzard perhaps chalk me up as a partial success (only partial mind – I still have to be brave enough to do it). Again LFR is (for me) working as intended.

Indeed the only bit of LFR that definitely isn’t working for me is the Tourist Mode idea – ie LFR as a way to let casuals see the end of the story. In LFR  I am normally concentrating so hard at what I’m doing that I do not take in any of the story & barely notice any part of my surroundings. And when there’s a cut scene I escape out of it so that I’m not left behind. I really do think that story completion should happen elsewhere. I take in far more of the story when I’m questing alone.

But back to LFR. Is it real raiding ? Umm no – not if you only class raiding as what you get in a Normal Plus raid.  But who cares? Is this not semantics? Would everyone feel better if it wasn’t called Looking for Raid but was instead something else – Looking for Fun perhaps (although that could be embarrassingly misconstrued!)? Perhaps Looking for Practice which would at least convey the idea that this could be approached as a form of training – not training for being in a raid team per se (since you’re not going to get the raid team communication/strategy side in LFR), but more a type of Proving Grounds for using skills/abilities within a larger group setting (I mean all those people on the screen – takes some getting used to) and  for dealing with mechanics that give a flavour or the type of thing you will get in a raid. LFR could be seen as a way to start flexing muscles that do not get flexed on solo quests or on 5 mans. Perhaps LFR is the raiding equivalent of a Couch to 5K running programme, with Normal Plus raids being the 10K, Half Marathon & Marathon equivalent. It could be said that LFR, like a good Couch to 5K running programme gets you out there doing something different and flexing muscles that haven’t been flexed before (or in years). But like training for a marathon, normal raiding is a whole different ballgame that demands a different level of commitment, dedication and focus.

In summary: I would argue that with the right frame of mind & intention LFR can be an experience that makes someone at least curious enough about proper raiding to think about what it would mean to join a proper raid team. I know this because it has happened to me. Would I be thinking about all this had I not tried LFR? No. And that for me is why LFR is worth doing and worth keeping. It’s got me off the couch.



Showing the love – updated blogroll

I temporarily removed my blogroll when I restarted blogging a few weeks ago as it was about a year out of date and some very fine bloggers had stopped blogging. However, since an equal number of very fine bloggers have started blogging or have recently come to my blogging attention (& incidentally I’ve now overused the word “blogging” so much it’s lost all meaning) I wanted to update the blogroll and reinstall it to its rightful place in the widget column over there ——->

Here’s a quick overview (although I assume most of you are familiar with most, if not all, of these fine blogs):-

The Ancient Gaming Noob – in depth posts that cover a number of different games including recently an Eve Online post that reminded me of just how much that game blew my mind.

Hardcore Casual – a blog I read to find out about games I’d otherwise never know anything about (so thank you for getting me out of the virtual house)

Bio Break – this blog made me want to play Wildstar (although I’m still resisting) but also covers lots of other games (look at the category menu – don’t I feel inadequate now?!)

Tobold’s Blog – lots to read here – the sort of blog that always distracts me from what I should be doing.

Healing the Masses – – in depth posts that give me some insight into current issues in the wider MMO world. This makes me feel all knowledgeable & stuff (wasted of course on real life friends and relatives  – they ignore me now).

Gamer by Design – interesting blog by someone who has also developed his own game. Another blogger (there are a few on this list)  that makes me feel slightly ashamed of my own rather stream of consciousness approach to writing. These bloggers do research, analytics & graphs. I feel like I’ve over achieved if I check something on Wowhead.

In An Age – writing about Hearthstone and so a definite winner for me (I really should write more Hearthstone posts – I’m sure everyone’s dying to read about my adventures at level 17  – Blizzcon here I don’t come). It was from In An Age that I today found out about the Warsong Commander card nerf (bye bye Patron Warrior – I never knew how to play you).

The Grumpy Druids – rediscovering this now I’m into my druid. There’s also a podcast – how’s that for value?

Atherne’s Adventures –  recently discovered. Covers a few different MMOs from a perspective I like.

Some people will never leave my blogroll.  These include Tome of the Ancient (, The Redridge Chronicles

(  and Sheep the Diamond ( The same goes for Alt:ernative Chat (dilemma of the day – should I or shouldn’t I include the colon?) –   – my hat is well and truly off for the sheer volume & quality of her writing there and at Gamers Decrypted too (

The latter four bloggers were all in my blogroll from the start. I also continue to owe nearly all my visitors to Blessing of Kings (  – so thank you Blessing of Kings :)

Other blogs I like include (GamingSF), (Rambling thoughts about WoW), (Moonshine Mansion – covers Wildstar) and (Cathedral of Tainted Souls – who has also left some really great comments on this blog).

I have kept the link to The Bossy Pally & the Wooden Spoon ( – I think it was the first WoW blog I ever read (back when I was playing Terema the Pally  – now 85 and stranded in Pandaria on a PvP server) and it was definitely the blog that made me want to start my own. Plus it still has the best name & header that I’ve ever seen.

So there you have it. My favourite blogs. I know I’ve probably forgotten someone – please forgive me if it’s you. And if I’m not reading you but should please leave a comment & I’ll drop by for a visit & a cuppa.


Whack A Mole Healing

I decided to try doing some healing on my Druid now that I’m too scared to play Balance. Sometime ago I managed to get Proving Ground Silver in my Restoration spec & so I know I could go off & try to Florence Nightingale it up in a Heroics, but  I’m no fool – there’s no way I’m up to that. I need a safe and supportive atmosphere to practice my healing. Therefore I decided to venture into LFR….

Actually it was fine. You couldn’t say it was safe or supportive – no one actually spoke. But no speaking means no criticism or abuse,  no “Frip is the useless one” (yes last week still stings) and I didn’t feel quite as exposed as I’d feel in a 5 man (i.e. it would not be an immediate & catastrophic wipe if I fell off a cliff at the exact moment the tank pulled – this has happened to me in the past).

It did start off a bit shaky though. When I first entered I could only see a few people. There was this big Npc stood right in front of me begging me to click him of course, but I was too scared to approach him or click anything in case I did something wrong. But something didn’t seem right. The chat box said a mage had conjured refreshments but I couldn’t see anything (& I always like joining in with the refreshments). So eventually I plucked up the courage to approach the Npc & of course I was meant to do this all along because he is the guy that sends you to the arena where as it turns out everyone had already gathered to have a picnic.  Classic start!

But from then on it was fine. I was using the default UI raid frames in the middle/bottom of my screen – tanks separated out on the left, then the healer column, and then 4 dps columns. It all seemed straightforward. I life bloomed & rejuvenated like a master (or a deranged gardener – you choose). I suspect I overused Wild Growth, didn’t dispel as quickly as I should have & was overly keen on using Tranquility just to see a  sea of green numbers filling up my screen. Anyway I was so happy with the way the first wing had gone that I immediately queued for the next bit & by the end of yesterday I’d done it all. I think I must have missed the Brackenspore bit though. I didn’t see any friendly mushrooms throughout the run and the dungeon guide had said to heal them up to get some buff or another. I was a bit on edge in case I forgot to do this (my immediate reaction whe I see a mushroom is never to heal it I must say). But anyway I didn’t see any.

But actually seeing things in LFR is a bit of a problem for me. During the raid I’m so busy focusing on the all the green bars that I’m not really aware of anything else going on. When DBM tells me that some enemy spell is on such & such a person I first panic, then struggle in vain to find said person amongst all the names. I’ve now made the boxes a bit bigger & ticked the box to show dispellable buffs but not sure it will help. By the time I’ve found the person in need the crisis has passed and they’re either dead or best friends with another healer and I’m off the Christmas card list. Similarly as I’m so raid box focused I don’t actually know where anyone is standing. Therefore if I need to go  to someone I don’t know where they are. And if the tanks go out of range I end up just running crazily towards the boss in the hope that will help me get the tanks back in range. It usually works (although some LFR bosses now have a restraining order out on me) but I know this won’t always be the case. I’m sure there’s a way of configuring the default UI raid frames to give me more help here, or maybe I need to use Grid (just downloaded it from Curse as it happens) to make things clearer? I need something to help me understand better what’s going on & who needs what. Until I do that I’m basically standing where I hope it’s safe, staring unblinkingly at everyone’s green bars & banging out heals as quickly as possible. It’s like an intense whack a mole session – fun yes but very very bad for the eyes.


Slow, confused and fumbly

Yesterday my husband had to report three players for their behaviour in a timewalking dungeon. It’s the usual story. It was our 4th of the 5 timewalking dungeons we needed to do for the quest. The other three had been fine & we’d enjoyed seeing the older dungeons. In this one (Shattered Halls) the third Dps started by saying,”Let’s do a speed run yes?” Two trash mobs into the run and the same Dps was demanding “More Dps please”. I’ve never understood this. My husband & I were doing everything we could –  full rotations. It’s not like we were only using say half our spells and abilities for the fun of it. Anyway we carried on & the first two bosses were fine. The tank and dps talked non stop to each other during the run – about gear tiers and the hey day of vanilla etc. Husband & I kept silent – we were trying to focus on what we doing & in all honesty I probably didn’t want to draw any attention to ourselves. We are not high ilevel – I am 640, husband is 635. I know it’s scaled for Timewalking dungeons but possibly the rogue was wearing older sets from BC time & had set bonuses? I didn’t inspect him but he & tank were talking a lot about gear sets. Certainly he was doing a lot more damage than us. Maybe he was just better (perish the thought!)

Anyway during the third boss fight about three quarters through I pulled aggro & the boss started attacking me. The dps & tank started saying how useless I was. By this time my husband was typing a response to defend me. I begged him not to. I hate conflict. I just wanted us to get through the run. I somehow survived the boss’s onslaught (healing myself ) but by then they were calling out to me,  “Are you there, are you there?” I wouldn’t respond – I did not want to get drawn into a slanging match (plus I would be no good at it – I cannot fight & type). They then moved onto husband & accused him of being a bot. Again I wouldn’t let him respond (though now I wish I had). They kept on goading him & then booted him. At this point I did speak up – I said he was my husband (ie a real person) & I was going to report them. They laughed & called it a bot marriage & then said we should have spoken up. I said why should we when you have insulted us, we can’t all be as uber as you, we are just trying to gear up. At this point they booted me.

Husband immediately took down their names & submitted a ticket to Blizzard. I first tried to talk him out of it but he was insistent, saying this sort of behaviour is unacceptable. Blizzard have responded to the ticket to say they agree (that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable, not that I’m useless and husband’s a bot) & they are looking into it further. I assume from that they will check the logs? I don’t know what will happen next & suppose I never will.

I get that our Dps wasn’t good enough for this group but we were doing our best. We just wanted to run five dungeons, possibly get some gear and complete the quest. We did not speak because they were insulting us and we did not want to make it worse. I’ve seen these things degenerate into slanging matches in the past & it’s not nice. I know some people will say only do dungeons with friends/guildmates. But that’s not always an option & why should this be the case anyway? There should be a bare minimum of civility in all dungeons regardless of people’s skill and ability. Some runs will have people of different ability. Some runs will be slow. Some will have wipes. It happens. Why can’t we all just be patient with each other? Why has everything got to be a race? And in any case all this unnecessary drama usually slows the run down (the tank died shortly after booting husband and just before booting me). Surely it’s much quicker if we all just get on with it. And if someone really can’t tolerate the varying ability in LFG then perhaps they should group up with their friends/guildmates and do the run their way. Take their uberness out of the LFG gene pool for which they are clearly too good.

Or maybe there’s another way … Blizzard please please can there be an LFG box for poor dpsers like me & husband who just want some fun. This box would say “Tick here if you are slow/confused/low geared and and a tad fumbly but want to do a dungeon.” I would tick this box. There would be another box for other people to tick (kindly souls) that would say, “I am happy to be grouped up with someone slow, confused, low geared and fumbly.”  Then all us “fumbly box” tickers could play together in a slow, confused & fumbly way. Everyone in the group would know exactly what they had signed up for so there would be no judgement or rebuke, just patience, tolerance & fun. Please Blizzard – we need this box. I suspect there are many people in Azeroth who do not have a friend/guild network to draw on & end up missing out on the dungeon side of WoW because of experiences like the one I had yesterday. But if we could easily find each in the world by ticking a box then we might never feel harassed or bullied again (and added bonus for all the super duper awesome dpsers out there – they would never have to see us again).

I’m still shook up by what happened. What little confidence I was slowly rebuilding is gone again. I went to bed upset last night & that’s not what I want from this game. Just when I thought things were different I realise that nothing is different. Plus ca change and all that. I’m sad today.



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.

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.

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