Tag Archives: world of warcraft

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


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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! 


Posted by on August 31, 2014 in World of Warcraft


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Filling the Stable

Well it’s been a long time. I took this blog off line back in December. Lots of stuff going on & I couldn’t seem to figure out what I wanted to do – with this blog and with WoW. But I miss it – “it” being this blog & WoW. I miss being Bravetank :)

It’s taken me a long time to get back into WoW though. Tried doing a bit with Seashell my mage – did LFR, defeated Garrosh once, but that was about it. Then pre-bought WoD & fast tracked a druid to 90 – a mistake, can’t seem to face playing her either. I did wonder for awhile if that was it for me & WoW.

But the last week or so has found me back in the game – slowly leveling a Horde Hunter. I need a change – a different class & a different set of quests. I‘ve never properly played Horde – I have a warlock in her 70s but got her there via dungeons alone. This time I’m questing, actually reading quest text (amazing – I finally know why I’m killing all those yetis – I thought they were just bad ‘uns), and really trying to immerse myself in the whole experience. I’ve even turned the music & ambience up high – I want to be truly present in the game. Mindfulness in WoW.

I will return to Seashell with WoD and garrisons. But right now I’m enjoying this different experience. And I’ve discovered taming hunter pets – something very new to me. So far I have tamed 5 rares (not much but I’m only level 34 & so can only have two out) – Gorefang (wolf), Lost Gilnean Wardog (dog), Krethis (spider), Weevil (beetle) & Cackle (parrot) – called respectively David (from American Werewolf in London), Eddie (after my beloved dog), Roberta (after Robert the Bruce), Lennon (after John) & Iago (parrot in Aladdin).  Roberta was tamed specifically to cure me of my spider phobia – if I come to love & trust her perhaps I will feel the same about any spiders I find in the house?  Yes WoW as cure for phobias. Could work. Scared of swimming – go for a dip in WoW (avoid the naga); scared of heights – get your flying mount out & jump off the cliff (while on the mount of course – otherwise – well you might overcome your fear of ghosts at the Spirit Healer) – the possibilities are endless.

What about my other phobia though – fear of harsh words & ridicule in 5 mans & raids? Well not done too many dungeons with my hunter so far but I excelled myself in the one dungeon I did do (Scarlet Monastery) by almost immediately causing a wipe by fleeing directly into a group of mobs. I apologised profusely. They all ignored me. Plus ca change & all that.

But actually I’m tougher now.  You see I’ve been playing Hearthstone in my hiatus from WoW & Hearthstone has taught me a few things. There are well mannered players who say Well Played & mean it and there are players that say it sarcastically when you’ve clearly  screwed up a move. There are players who, when winning, will kill you off quickly & efficiently without milking it, and there are players who will showboat to the very end. I can face them all now – good & bad. Yes the annoying ones make me swear at my computer (sorry dear neighbours)  but the good ones make me smile & feel all warm about the game.  Saracasm & ridicule – it fazes me no longer. I am braver now – I am Bravetank.




Posted by on August 24, 2014 in Hearthstone, World of Warcraft


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Scenes from a WoW Marriage No 1

A conversation over breakfast

Me (eating toast): So apparently there’s some furore over the fact you won’t be able to fly right away in Draenor. Some people are actually saying they’ll quit the game over it. Can you believe that? I think it’s silly …

Husband (look of horror on face): YOU WHAT?

Me: You know, there’s no flying in Draenor at the start. You have to wait until you’re 100 or…

Husband: WHAAAT!!! I think that’s absolutely ridiculous. What’s the point in that?

Me (trying to keep my tone reasonable  – as if talking to a child, or a rabid dog): Why? It’s the way pretty much all expansions have worked. You don’t get to fly right away. They want you to see all the new content first.

Husband: Oh do they now? Well it shouldn’t be up to them. It should be up to me if I want to see all the content.

Me (laughing at his craziness while continuing to eat toast – it’s my usual strategy – it means I eat a lot of toast):  Why wouldn’t you? What’s the point in playing if you don’t want to see the new stuff?

Husband: I can see it from the air.

Me: No you can’t, not properly.

Husband: Yes I can.

Me: No you can’t.

[This went on for a bit – edited for sanity.]

Husband: Ok what if I rode round the entire area once on my mount – my stupid GROUND mount –  so I see all the precious new stuff, THEN could I have flying, THEN would Blizzard think I’d finally earned it? But what am I saying? I’ve ALREADY earned  it. I earned it when I first got it. I have a max level character who has worked himself to the bloody bone getting to 90. The bloody bone. I’m exhausted I  tells ya, I can’t take it anymore!

[ok I’m paraphrasing now, but you get the point)

Me (fed up): It’s their game, they can do what they like.

Husband (Huge sigh and lots of eye rolling, until finally): I’m not happy

Me: (thinking – No shit sherlock)

Husband (eventually): So is this definite?

Me: (deciding to make it worse … why I don’t know – let’s call it devilment): Well it might not be 100. You might not get flying  until the first patch. And that might be AGES after you hit 100.

[Note: I did not end by saying “so there”, but it was very much implied by my smirk].

Husband: I’ll quit if they do that

Me: Oh my god, you’re one of them.


Note: This took place in a cafe. We left soon after.

Further note: Husband redeemed himself later by finding Adamantite Ore for me in Outlands. He did however make a great show of the fact he did this while flying.


Posted by on November 17, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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Wenglish WoW

Interesting daily prompt- write anything in your regional accent/dialect. Well I’m Welsh (South Wales) & I suppose I often use Wenglish phrases (a Welsh English jumble that’s grown up over time). In fact looking at the Talk Tidy site I’m amazed how much of it I (a) say all the time (b) assumed was commonly used by everyone in Britain. Not sure how to deliberately write in Wenglish but here are 10 classic Wenglish examples, placed of course in the WoW world:-

1.”I’ll do that after” – when I was in university some lovely (not) sarcastic people would say “after what?” But it doesn’t mean after anything really. It means “later”.  A simple example is “I’m not doing that quest now. I’ll do it after.”

2. “What’the time by you” – i.e. “do you know the time?” I don’t know why we say it like that.  So in WoW  it would be, “This raid was meant to start at 8.00. We’re the only ones here. What’s the time by you?” (Welsh people do have clocks under mini maps of course – we just like other people to tell us the time).

3. “mun” – derived from “man”, but more an expression of indignation now, as in “I’m not doing that quest again mun, I must have killed a million tigers for Nesingwary by now.”

4. “Bag of nerves” – “totally stressed”.  I thought everyone said this – and maybe they do.  In Wow this is me before any LFR if I’ve never been in there before –  a total bag of nerves.

5. “Conflab” –  “a long discussion” – as in “we had a bit of a conflab about the boss – and then we wiped” (conflabs are not infallible)

6.  “Cut up” – “upset” – as in “I was really cut up about what happened in LFR last night. Poor Garrosh. I think he’s been totally misunderstood.”

7. “Dab hand” – “excellent” – as in “I‘m dab hand at being a mage now  – if I stick to the farming”

8. “Fair do’s” – “fair play”, as in “He did a good job tanking today, fair do’s” – something we should all say to tanks in LFR if they are giving it a good go- I couldn’t do it.

9. “Give”- “prefer”, as in “Give me a dps class  any day, I just can’t play a tank” (something I wish I’d realised  before calling this blog Bravetank)

10.”It goes through me” – “it upsets me deeply” – as in “When I see the hard time the raid are giving those poor healers it goes through me” (aww poor healers)

There are lots more on the Talk Tidy site. I don’t think I could ever write a blog post in the dialect, however – it would be totally incomprehensible. But perhaps Blizzard could consider introducing a few Wenglish npcs. Cousins of the dwarves perhaps. Now wouldn’t that be great mun!

One other thing –  before I close can I just give a little mention to my new guild on EU-Darkspear. It’s called Heroes of Azeroth. Some of you might remember my previous attempt to get a guild going of like minded people who wanted to level and perhaps run some dungeons & raids together in a very supportive environment- no criticism, no abuse, everyone free to try new things (like being a tank)  no matter how many wipes etc. Well I started it on a PvP server and, as some of you will also know, that was a mistake & it never really took off (although I ended up joining another guild called Half Life which is a great guild – but on the wrong server for me). But anyway I’m trying again on a PvE server – EU-Darkspear. Heroes of Azeroth is husband’s guild but he is letting me partly hijack it! It’s only Level 7 so no cool perks I’m afraid. But who needs perks when you can have nice people! Anyway if you’re interested in joining send me a whisper in game- usually either Seashell the mage or my new toon Sesasme the rogue. The only requirements are  friendliness & niceness – and the ability to understand Wenglish :)


Posted by on November 14, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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If life was more like WoW

Following on from last week’s post about Office Speak in the WoW Age I started thinking more generally about how much more interesting life would be if it was more like WoW:-

1. Everyone would want to be a coroner – think of all those plump intestines spilling coins whenever you sliced someone open (actually that sounds like a recipe for murder – & lots of it too  – scratch that one).

2. One brief glance at someone’s health bar (which you’d see hovering above their heads of course) and you would instantly know whether someone really did need to go home sick or not  (“Back to your seat Joan. Yes your leg is hanging off but that green bar has barely moved – you’re perfectly fine – and we have a spirit healer on site”.)

3. People with slightly pointy ears claiming Night Elf heritage – and trying to prove it by mounting tigers in London Zoo – would liven things up for the tourists.

4. You’d need some sort of weapon every time you wanted to do a bit of gardening  – this would also add a much needed edge to all Alan Titchmarsh shows.

5. You could justify spending hours upon hours in the pub – after all you’re gaining valuable “rested experience” and potentially doubling your future productivity (even more if dressed in Granny’s handmedowns i.e. heirlooms). Unfortunately you’ll probably find you can’t actually lift your head the morning after  – damn that alcohol stamina debuff.  

6.  Employment law would allow you to whack forestry workers  (i.e. peons) with a Blackjack if you ever caught them napping under a tree – none of this formal warning, five days notice for the interview & you can bring a union rep nonsense.

7. Every elderly person who asked a friend or relative for help with their shopping would immediately find themselves put on the Abercrombie watchlist. We’re not messing here. Fool me once – shame on you. Fool me twice – I’m running an alt through Duskwood. Fool me three times…no never again. Never again.

8. Oprah would make sure The Green Hills of Stranglethorn was number one on the bestseller list for Christmas. Her & Nesingwary go way back.

9. Being caught up in some black dragon’s fiery attack on a city & burning to your death would be a cause for great celebration at gaining the achievement. Huge comfort to your relatives as they weep over your grave I’m sure.

10. But on that note- no permanent death. Yay. With a WoW life comes immortality of course. And overpopulation would not be an issue as you would have no ability  to  procreate (check your Spellbook & Abilities button –  yep nothing there – RP emotes don’t count). Enjoy your eternal sexless life.

Hmm on reflection maybe a WoW life would not be so great…


Posted by on November 4, 2013 in Uncategorized, World of Warcraft


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Office speak in the WoW age

I keep on reading about people  putting Guild Leader down on job application forms (in the previous management section part,  not in the “what do you do to fill your time and take your mind off the futility of life” bit ie the Hobbies & Interests part).  They then proceed (apparently….half rolls eyes…ooh painful) to impress interviewers by discussing the management skills they’ve gained in WoW by, for example, giving twelve year old guildees formal warnings for swearing in guild chat and overseeing loot distribution with a fair but benevolent eye (“Is it really for your off spec Huggy232, do you swear by the light of Elune?”).

I think they’re all missing a trick. There’s an easier way to get to the top of the corporate ladder these days – and that is to develop your own special brand of office speak. After all management jargon is all the rage these days  – we’re in the weeds & drilling down, outside the box but going forward, actioning this & socialising that.  These words must impress –  they spread like wildfire (and if I’m wrong let’s touch base  & we’ll have a brainstorm). You can make this work for you by being the originator of a new way of speaking in the office & you can do this easily enough by simply using the wise words of WoW npcs.

I tried this out myself last week and although there were some teething problems I found I definitely had an impact. Here are my top 12:-

1. “The dark times will pass” – this was an alternative  cheerio to the security guard when leaving work for the day

2. “State your business” – said briskly on the phone when my manager rang late Friday afternoon. He now wants to see me tomorrow morning. Not sure why.

3. “Bal’a dash, malanore” – said in the French for Managers class. The tutor accused me of not taking it seriously and ejected me from the room.

4. “Not very intelligent are you?” – yes it’s staff performance review time.   Didn’t expect my manager to use a WoW phrase on me though….

5. “Do not loiter” –  I got some offended looks with this one but it enabled me to eat my lunch in peace –  totally worth it

6. “Each day is a blessing” – said in a packed lift Monday morning. Greeted with silence and one person’s muffled sobs.

7. “Watch yer back!” –  said to a colleague before I “accidentally” threw a book at him.

8. “Everything has a price” – said to a member of staff who asked for the day off. Backtracked hurriedly when he  accused me of extortion.

9. “Death to all who oppose us” – my motivational words at the end of a strategy session. The staff counsellor was called & I was taken away for a lie down.

10. “Keep your feet on the ground” –  said firmly to someone I observed dancing on a desk. Turned out he was a technician having an electric shock while trying to change a light bulb. How was I to know?

11. “Do not seek death”- said to a colleague leaving early for a doctor’s appointment. She seemed to appreciate my consideration – her eyes really welled up.

12. “I’m starting to hate you” – said to the guy who sits opposite me & likes to hum. He reported me to HR. The book thing mentioned earlier probably didn’t help.

So yes ok – a somewhat rocky start.  But I’m sure it will catch on.  Even HR seem to be giving it a go – one of them said to me on Friday – all Tauren style – “You are not amusing”. I gave them a round of applause for getting in the WoW spirit & now I‘m on a warning. It makes no sense.


Posted by on October 27, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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Milk of Human Kindness

WoW Insider’s Community Blog question this week is “What’s your end game?” This is a question I‘ve been asking myself this week. It doesn’t feel that straightforward to me. There is one easy answer – a description of what my end game currently is.  And there is another answer –  what I would like my end game to be. Two different things.

What my end game is: – Well I seem to be juggling a lot at the moment. Seashell my mage is on the “earn 3000 valor points” part of the Legendary Questline (the Black Prince now reveres me  – although deep down I suspect he reveres no one but himself). I understand that the delights of PvP & fighting masochistic Celestials awaits me on the rest of this questline.  It all feels rather overwhelming when I think too long about it …  one step at a time I guess.

As well as that I’m trying to get all the various cooking Ways done  (I have Grill & Pot so far). It’s slow going. I’m either out farming ever day until my little hands bleed or guiltily paying over the odds at the auction house.

Then there’s the Anglers,  Isle of Thunder & Timeless Isle stuff (I want the trinket). I’m leaving the other dailies for the moment. I just can’t do it all.  I’m trying to run a scenario a day with my husband & one random person. The random person normally leaves us to get on with it – sensing a domestic on the horizon. Which there sometimes is – particularly when hubby makes me run around getting in all the hozen brew while he plays with the cannon.

Ok so that’s what it is. Fun – yes, definitely. There is a variety of things to do. I’ve never enjoyed an end game as much as this one. While I’m still levelling some alts I actually find I miss being on Seashell, which is unusual for me once I’m at the level cap. But is it the end game I want? No – not exactly. I like the variety of things I’m doing  & I enjoy teaming up with hubby. But there’s still an issue – and that issue is LFR.

I want to do LFR at end game. And I want to enjoy it. I am never going to be a “proper” raider.  But I do like LFR level raiding. I like it a lot. Or at least I like it a lot when it goes well. And by well I don’t mean no mistakes and no wipes. No – I recognise that these are an important part of the game, part of the challenge, part of the learning curve. No – by going well I mean when the people are nice, friendly & tolerant. Or if incapable of that then at least neutrally silent. But unfortunately I see neither of these things in LFR. I usually see  impatience, intolerance  &  abuse. And this is an unwelcome part of my WoW end game & is turning me away from something I should be enjoying.

There are some truly awful people in LFR. The things they say are extremely offensive.  Their attitude towards other people is quite appalling. The abuse stuns me. I have never spoken to anyone the way they speak to other people in the raid.  The bottom line seems to be that no one can make mistakes. No one can learn. Apparently because some of these raids have been out for a long time everyone should know exactly what they are doing. The fact that in every single LFR there are people who are there for the first time  completely escapes them. I notice some of these “first timers” now announcing their inexperience as they enter the raid. “First time here”  they confess  – the unspoken part of  this is often a plea I think- something along the lines of,  “Show some patience please. Explain the fight. Don’t be mean.” But of course there is rarely patience, rarely explanations and nearly always meanness.

It seems that even if it is your first time in a raid you are expected to know everything, to have read all the strats & to have remembered every single boss mechanic. You are expected to have good reactions & spatial awareness (lo betide anyone who gets themselves in a bit of a state when the screen is an explosion of numbers & colours). You should have watched the videos,  committed it all to memory & you should know exactly what you need to do in every situation. And yet of course for many people it’s not that easy.  Many people do not learn by reading and/or watching. They have to do something to understand it.  And yes that might mean making mistakes. In fact it often means making mistakes. Like falling down the hole when the platform disappears. Yes that can  happen. I’ve seen it happen lots of times in LFR. And it happened to me the first time (when my addon said the floor was dropping away I thought it meant the main floor so ran ONTO the platform!). But you know what? It’s never happened again. This is because I, & most people, try to learn from mistakes. After all it’s a fairly important part of life. So when someone has messed up  in LFR next time they usually remember the mechanic that caused the death, fall, shame etc. and are more aware to ensure it doesn’t happen again. They learn to move  quicker, target the adds, run from the wall, distinguish between platform and floor. That’s how it works.

Except of course in LFR it doesn’t – not because people don’t learn, but because many are so horrified by the level of abuse they see that they leave & never come back. And this means that something that might have been an enjoyable part of their end game is cut off from them. And that shouldn’t be the case.

I have no answers to this. I see my end game being constrained by my apprehension about LFR. I’m yet to try SoO – I have heard that the mechanics are complex & while I’m happy to have a go, fail, learn & have another go, I suspect there will be plenty in LFR unwilling to give me the chance to do so.

So I stay away. I run scenarios with husband & do my dailies. But it’s not what I actually want my end game to be – not fully anyway. I want my end game to include at least some degree of raiding, albeit the watered down, raiding for non raiders that is LFR. But I can’t easily have that – at least not in a non-stressful, pleasant way. And I find that frustrating.


Posted by on October 19, 2013 in Uncategorized


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Back to School

Ambermist over on Tastes Like Battle Chicken has suggested a Shared Topic on Blog Azeroth. She asks:-

what about WoW just doesn’t work for you? Maybe it’s something you aren’t good at, maybe it’s something you just don’t understand, maybe it’s something people like that you really never got into and don’t understand the appeal”

In thinking about this my mind kept on returning to something I read the other day  in another WoW blog – something along the lines that if you can’t play your class by the time you’re 90 then there’s no hope for you. I actually think that’s complete nonsense. There’s always hope – I’m living proof (after all I survived the Durumu maze yesterday!).

But it does lead into what doesn’t work in WoW for me – and that is the fact that the degree of skill needed to level your character is so markedly different from the skills needed to raid & to a lesser extent run dungeons.

In my opinion you can easily  get to 90 without really knowing how to play your class. I could have got to 90 as a mage purely questing & spamming Arcane Blast in every single fight. And contrary to popular opinion that is not all that Arcane Mages do in proper  boss fights. We have to do complicated things like count to 4, keep an eye on Living Bomb and remember which of the  Mirror Images can’t be trusted.

But yes getting to 90 could have been just an Arcane Blast spamfest.  Certainly I would have died more often (in reality I have at least tried to use other abilities & so have done my fair share of freezing & blinking to get myself out of trouble – often blinking right into another pack of mobs of course – but that’s another story).  But even with more deaths and messier fights my progress would have continued and I’d have got there in the end.  I actually think that many people just “get there in the end” i.e. get to 90 without properly knowing all the tricks of their particular trade.

And that’s fine. To enjoy this game you don’t actually need to know how to play your class well. You can quest, level, fish, dig and dance without knowing your class inside out. In fact you can be on only nodding acquaintance with your class to do this & lots more.  You only really need to know how to play your class well when it comes to dungeons & raids  (& of course PvP)– in other words when (a)the difficulty level steps up a gear (b)you bring other people into the mix.

I think problems arise in WoW when people think that just because they have hit the level cap they can easily succeed in a complicated raid or dungeon.  Someone at 90 might very well not be good at dealing with dungeon mechanics, avoiding bad stuff on the ground, using interrupts or basically doing anything other than standing stock still & hitting things.  All that levelling via questing trains you for is the latter – see mob, hit mob X times, loot mob. And so this is what I think is missing from WoW  – a leveling experience that truly trains you for a raiding end game.

I speak from personal experience in all this of course. In fact despite the “pro” freezing & blinking referred to above I’ve been shockingly reliant on a very limited number of spells in my levelling experience. So much so that I froze (in a non Mage sense) the other day in LFR when someone said “Mage table” (as an aside note the lack of “please”). I had forgotten I could even set a table (real life doesn’t help – we always eat on our laps). I’ve also written previously about my mishaps with  Slowfall in a group  & the other day I counterspelled  when I meant to blink.  And I realise these are very basic abilities. Sigh.

What I wish for is an in-game dungeon & raid Training School. I’d enroll in a heart beat. I’d even wear the uniform.  Year 1 would involve running 5 man dungeons with NPCs. If you’re Dps they would  be Tank & Healer etc. These dungeons would be different from the dungeons in-game at present in that there would be more complex mechanics involved, more need for situational awareness &  less abuse  (in fact the NPCs would be programmed to say encouraging words throughout such as,  “Well done Seashell, you sheeped that troll, yes I know you then broke CC because you forgot to change targets but yay for the sheeping, we are so proud” etc.).

In Year 2 the dungeons would step up in complexity & become tailored to your particular class. Additionally on occasion one NPC would play up and have to be shown the error of his ways – bonus points if you get the NPC to apologise for yelling Gogogo & calling the healer a noob. Party chat would sometimes be disturbing – particularly if there were NPC Pandarians in the group. But it would be good experience.  You would fail the dungeon if you did not use all the necessary abilities. You would even need to conjure refreshment, cast Slowfall & correct someone’s grammar. The full caboodle. Most importantly no mob would go unsheeped. You get the idea.

Before entering Year 3 you’d need to run some proper dungeons in the real Azeroth world with real people. Then when ready (i.e. out of therapy) you’d come back to school for the 10 man raiding experience (9 NPCs – all with their own interesting personality quirks, including one who claims he’s a real player trapped in the raid by Blizzard) & in year 4 the 25 man experience with a boss whose  abilities would change in ever single encounter (oooh hardcore). And then & only then would you be released into the wild i.e. LFR.

Oh it would be amazing. I understand that Proving Grounds has been introduced as a way to challenge yourself and practice your class (or a new class specialisation) alone. But I don’t see that it prepares you for group experiences and raids & I do think it comes too late in the game. Not because by 90 you already know it all, but because by 90 you could know so much more, and there could be something in the game that could help you with this. So come on Blizzard – the summer hols are over, let’s go back to school.


Posted by on September 30, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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Green Green Grass of Home

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So in summary I think I can say:

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


Posted by on September 28, 2013 in World of Warcraft


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