Monday, April 22, 2013

Feeling Isolated

I had an odd experience in game this week. One I'd never thought that I'd have. My resto girl spawned a monk. Finally! Yes, I know, they've been available for quite a while, but the point is I made a monk, had a wonderful time dancing my way through the introductory quest line and then picked my faction. I picked Alliance mainly as most of the characters I have on the server are Alliance and it is not actually the significant point.

What was significant was my reaction to arriving in Stormwind. I felt, isolated. A stranger in a new land. It was a combination of the visual difference between where she'd started her journey and the gates of Stormwind combined with the comments of curious children and by-standers. It was an interesting response. I'd not anticipated having.

Blizzard in their own way have managed to create a sense for me of what it is like to be a minority in a new land with no opportunity to go 'home'.

I wonder if anyone else has experienced this.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Canopic Jars

I think Tsu's archaeology profession is glitched. Really ... it's glitched ... it's got to be. I know out of all my characters she's got by far the worst gambling luck seeming to come last on loot rolls on such a consistent basis that it is a bit of a joke, but her loot luck in archaeology is just sad.

To date she's dug up some 170 common artefacts the majority of which are fossil and night elf as a result of trying to force Uldum sites to pop. How many canopic jars ... 1. Her first Tol'vir artifact was a canopic jar. I was so excited. Could it possibly have been that Tsu's unlucky streak had vanished. She opened the jar with trembling hands nerves alive ... what did she find ... some nasty mushy poorly preserved material she was told was a bit of a brain. Ugh ... sigh. Since then she's had no more jars just lots of maps, pictures and other grey stuff. Her profession lists some 139 artifacts many of which she's dug up multiples of to give me that total of somewhere over 170 (I gave up counting when I hit 170).

This guy had to find 7 jars before he found his vial of sands recipe .... at that rate she's going to have to hit about 1000 artefacts. :(

How badly do I want to be able to turn her into a dragon? How badly do I want to make the vial myself rather than hand over my carefully hoarded mats to one of our guild alchemists?

when Tsu and I go off on her archaeology I'm starting to feel a little like an old lady popping coins compulsively into the pokies one coin at a time knowing all along that I'll lose while crossing my fingers behind my back in the hope to ward off bad luck.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Props .... out to ... :)

I've read more than one blog and forum post that are full of people's frustrations and dissatisfaction about players, game mechanics and our game designers and so I thought I'd start a post that I can come back to and add to over time. It is way too easy to fall into a trap of focusing on the negative aspects of WoW. I have met some amazing players in game. Some have been masters of their characters, others steeped in the lore that holds our world together and others simply good fun to spend time with.

My inspiration came from a couple of places. Firstly there was BBB's Happy Days are Here Again post and his Cub Report post then Animositas' post on the forums and finally there was Twoflower.

Thus, my first 'props' go to Twoflower of the Legacy guild. We met in a dungeon, Tsu healing, as usual, and Twoflower tanking. The run wasn't anything special ... 'just' a normal cata heroic. Same old, list, run, hit and heal. It was some of the most enjoyable healing I've done for a while and it was by and large due to Twoflower's considered tanking. He maintained control of the fights, managed his character and worked in well with a more than competent team of dps'ers. Healing 'pugs' rocks when the team is good. Healing 'pugs' is blissful when the tank is confident :).


My second props go out to Pete the Turtle and his owner Adaptiive from Frostmourne. We rolled a dungeon and scored norm Halls of Origination. No biggie ... Tsu's well more than over geared these days for normals and I run them for fun. The tank took one look at the dungeon and bailed and we waited and waited ... no tank ... so I asked Adaptiive if he had a tank pet. He replied that he had but that he was, well, not very good or words to that affect and popped out 'Pete' the tanking turtle. Pete tanked us through the first few trash mobs with a bit of nice cc work from Adaptiive on the frost trap and Dandella from Rexxar on the polymorph and Maddogkarl of Nagrand dropping that nice rain circle of healing. We got to the first boss ... and went what the hell lets have a go and :) a beautiful job of tanking was done. Pete and Adaptiive, are my latest people to demonstrate the cool people you meet in WoW. Really I should extend that also to Dandella and Maddogkarl as they were happy to go along with the hairbrained scheme in the first place. About half way through the boss fight, Skrynik the druid of Nagrand joined the group and was somewhat amused to discover that at the end of the fight he'd be replacing a turtle pet. :)


Well I'll be honest. I've been trying to avoid this props as I've never actually met the guy in game and technically I want to target people I've actually encountered. He does, however, reflect all that I like about people who play our game. I came across him first back in 2010 when looking for some advice on bear tanking (sigh, yes you all know where I'm going with this one now) and saw his post for the day ... Come join the raid from the Heart in which he invited us all to join a global activity. It's clear from his post that there were many people who were involved from crafters to mage porters but it was he who acted as the lynchpin. Now in 2012 he's 'at it again' this time getting together a group to track back over a lot of the achieves that for one reason or other were missed out. Following his blog it is easy to see the sense of community that has developed around his blog and that he is very much a part of. Thus, John 'Big Bear Butt' Patricelli, props to you. Cheers for your sense of humour, enthusiasm for just getting in and enjoying yourself and taking us all along for the experience :).

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Frost Mages ... FTW ... sorta

I read a comment on Icy Veins saying that Frost Mages were currently considered the inferior spec.

Not long after that I ran my fairly poorly geared 85 Frost (non-pvp to boot) Mage through a dungeon that left me going ... 'inferior ... really?????' and just 'had' to share the following screen shots with you all.

Yup ... you are reading that right ... my 'squishy', 'inferior' Frost Mage did just shy of 40k dps ... with Panggs and Roghan coming in a close second and third. If you've followed my armory links there you will, no doubt be getting suspicious as Panggs was our very capable healer and Roghan our more than competent tank and you'd be right to be questioning my recount. We had, in fact, just finished the dragon bombing run in Grim Batol when I glanced at my recount and laughed. For a moment in time my Mage looked as if she'd out done herself to claim 27.4% of the damage. I'd not noticed before that the dragon 'bombs' registered on our dps meters and it does go to illustrate how much caution must be applied to any meter in game. Still, for that split second of time, my Mage did herself proud and topped the dps charts.

Valiant as she was, these were not values that were sustainable and by the end of the run her numbers looked like this ...

Out dps'ed by the tank ... sigh ... well ... I did say that he was competent. He said he was better at dps than tanking. I don't think my Mage took a single hit the whole run. Thank goodness he was tanking, I'd cry if I saw his figures when running in dps. Still ... if I'm honest, the residual of that dragon ride is still evident in my Mage's stats ... she normally averages about 5.5K at the end of a dungeon and probably illustrating the observation from Icy Veins nicely.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Advice on tanking from your friendly druid healer ...

1) Know that as a dk, dodge, parry, mastery, stam and strength are your friends ... coming into H GD in 75% dps gear with lots of crit and haste is not going to make you a sturdy tank. I don't even mind pvp tanking gear (since I've been known to do a dungeon in fully speced pvp lol) but it should still be tanking not dps gear.

2) Make sure you are repaired before you come in ... coming in then admitting you can't afford to repair your almost totally broken sword is not a good way to be an effective tank.

3) Don't ever, ever, ever equip a mining pick when your weapon does completely break and expect to keep tanking. I don't care how much health you carry. Mining picks were designed to dig holes in the ground not to dig holes in monsters.

4) Don't try to tank in blood spec/frost presence unless you really know what you are doing. Thank you for swapping to blood presence when asked.

5) Do listen when your healer directs your tanking, sets up cc for you and makes some suggestions on gearing (okay, well I've got to admit that along with the first 4 points, he did also do this one which made me sympathetic)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

I wish transmogging was more flexible

Well ... what can I say ... blame BBB for this post or more specifically his letter to Effraeti regarding a certain little Bear's gear. The end result, you'd have to agree ... simply stunning. Combine that with Tome of the Ancient's Mog Madness post and I got thinking about my mage.

If any of my girls are a bit of a 'girlie girl' it would be my mage. She's often found getting rescued by her friend, a dashing Paladin, as she is want to stop and look at pretty things and collect pretty dresses. Her tailoring prof had little higher purpose than the desire to make pretty things. If she were a real person, she'd have a well used credit card and a collection of shoes and dresses that Imelda Marcos would be proud of. But, my mage has a problem ... what she'd love to run in, Bliz in all their wisdom, has said, no, that does not meet requirements.

Let me show you.

This was my mage way back in 2008 when she was a sweet little thing. I can't remember her level at the time, but I suspect you can tell, she's not high - I think from memory that staff you can just see is the one that dropped in STV, the one with the blue feathers around a disc.

At 85 she did some sewing and made the full set. It was the first time she'd been able to equip an entire set and was most pleased with herself (okay well I was pleased).

Since then she's earned herself a new dress and, of course, just 'had' to put it on. I tell you, she's costing me a fortune in gems and enchants. No sooner than I'd tidied up her last lot of good clothes than she goes shopping, gets new gear and expects it gemmed and enchanted. Ah well, it's worth it, I do like her dress. She tells me it's her 'work uniform'. ... pft ... mind you, if I could remember how to change her stance on Armory, I'd be happier.

But the point of this post was not to show you every dress in her wardrobe but to show you the two outfits she most likes to wear. She has a bit of a streak, if you get my drift, and likes to race around on her motorbike and asked for, well, demanded an outfit to match. I found her the following ... a mix of Haliscan and Mageweave gear amongst other things.

Her preferred outfit for being about town at the moment keeps most of this outfit with a few changes thanks to the Clothiers in Dalaran.

Em assures me that she does not mind being able to transmog these outfits as she maintains that if she had to wear them in a dungeon, they'd get dirty. She also refuses the option of shoulders, I've just not found a pair that fit. Either way, she does rather preen in her clothes.

While my mage understands the policy, I'd love to have a bit more flexibility in what she can transmog. I rather like the final image.

Oh ... and ... no ... I can't tank ... I'm a mage!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Even Charles Dickens started off with a readership of one ...

Charles Dickens started off with a readership of one ... it's true ... he did. You can't avoid that fact. There was a day in history when having laboured over his text, striving to construct stories about his society that would be compelling reading when the only people who had read his work would have been himself and one other ... in other words ... a readership of one. The Pickwick Papers published in 1837 marked that point when his readership would have started to grow from one to many to become one of the best known authors of western culture. By the time he died, his writings had reached a massive audience and have, since then, continued to grow, spured on now with the dramatisation on television of many of his much cherished texts. The man would have turned 200 this year. His commentaries on society continue to be read, consumed and applauded.

In 1954 Leon Festinger proposed the social comparison theory. According to Festinger, "the drive for self evaluation and the necessity for such evaluation being based on comparison with other persons" permits one to tie together conceptually both social influence processes and some kinds of competitive behavior.' Humans tend to attribute status and worth in comparison with others. Krayer, Ingledew and Ifophen explain that we tend to devalue ourselves against those we consider better and increase our sense of self worth when comparing ourselves with those where we perceive a more favourable comparison. The theory suggests that fundamental to humanity is a need to know the answer to 'Am I doing well?' The measures we use to establish this however, appear somewhat arbritary selected by the individual for reasons that may or may not be clearly understood by others. Conclusions drawn from these comparisons will also make assumptions about the person used as the bench mark and their actions.

Milestones are markers or progress. Whether they are milestones of 'my child talked today' or 'I posted my 100th post' or 'my site has been clicked on 3 million times', their importance as a milestone providing a sense of progress is important. The immersive nature of mmog's reflects this in their use of milestones to provide feedback to a gamer in answer to the question 'Am I doing well?' In WoW we see glimmers for completing quests, achievement announcements, level dings, and ilevels. Each in its own way informing the gamer where they are up to. They are not there in the game as a boast, they are there in the game because we humans respond to a measuring stick, a notch on the doorframe if you like. They take on a new life when we look at them in relation to Festinger's theory. Where the feedback keeps the gamer in the game and so is a benefit to the mmog's, they also act as a measuring tool for other gamers. Achieves and ilevels become used as measures to determine how effective a player is either downward; 'Wah ... I have better gear/more achieves/more whatevers that that player ... figjam' or 'hmmm .... what do I have to do to be half as good as that toon?'.They serve a purpose that is also part of our psyche where we undertake self evaluation based on comparison with other people.

Our blogs likewise serve similar roles. Like the feedback we gain from our mmog's, the feedback we gain from our weblog statistics serve an important role in our psychology as they provide a measure of our milestones. Karl Weigers   makes the point that it is important that people know that they have made progress and that this progress has been recognised. Now, I appreciate that with any data set there will be errors in the data set; Oestrus makes this point well in the responses to the Shameless post pointing out the spike caused by a phishing operation, however, I don't think that this necessarily devalues the importance of the milestones achieved by the writer as to do so then allows that event to have a disproportionate importance in interpreting the information our weblog statistics tell us. Nor does the potential errors in the data set mean that the writer should not be proud of their achievements. At this level, the feedback provided by the statitstics are personal, reporting to the writer about their eternal question of 'Am I doing well?' In the Sugar and Blood post, Numbers Game, Mataoka rebutted Oestrus pointing out that people should not use the achievements of others as an excuse to avoid attempting something themselves. Whether it is comparing your writing to Charles Dickens or your ability to climb mountains to Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary, the act of measuring yourself against other people in a negative way rather than against your own achievements is an act of devaluing self. The person doing the comparison is ultimately responsible for how they construct their sense of self in this instance rather than the person who is being used as the measuring stick as the later is not saying 'I am better than you because I have more posts/hits/comments/whatevers than you'. The comparison against others says more about the person doing the comparison than it does about their chosen attribute and measuring stick.

I don't know that we encourage people to write by not celebrating the milestones of our existing community. I would, however, say that it is a sad moment when we reach a time when one of our bloggers feels the need to appologise for having posted an achievement only to have their intentions interpreted in ways they did not intend. It is, therefore, always worth remembering that even Charles Dickens started off with a readership of one.