Tales for the L33t

No time for a full entry today, so instead, I present…

Tales for the L33t: Romeo + Juliet

The date says 1999, and I think that’s approximately when I first saw this. Too funny. I was in graduate school at the time, and had been away from chatrooms for a couple years. (I was active in our university wide chat when I was an undergrad, but I don’t remember folks using any of the abbreviations common today. I do remember when people started using emoticons though. šŸ˜® )

Chatspeak had evolved quite a bit when I wasn’t looking. I wasn’t familiar with some of the words (rox0r and similar variants, for example), but I got the gist of it from random folks I ran into playing Diablo II. All the general chats in WoW are still sprinkled with this stuff…

Anyway, enjoy!

The Magic Word

Last night, our paladin/shaman duo was running through The Barrens and as we passed by a Tauren standing on the road, I buffed him. “Wait,” he said, and started chasing after us. “Wait up,” he said. So, we stopped. “U want 2 do rapor horns.” Hm. “And stolen sliver.” “get lots xp.” My husband responded, kind of pretending he didn’t know what quests he was talking about at first, hoping that if the guy thought we were idiots, he wouldn’t want to group with us. Turns out that this Tauren was not that discriminating (in addition to being illiterate), so he kept describing the quests to us in his broken chatspeak. We weren’t thrilled about the idea of joining up with this guy, but finally relented after a few minutes since we needed the quests anyway. I invited him to the group and started heading toward the quest area. “Folo” he said.

We followed him a bit, but he was meandering so much that husband decided to take the lead instead, since he definitely knew where we were supposed to go. He said that if we went to the bridge and then followed the dry riverbed east, it would take us right to the raptors. The Tauren followed until we got to an area for a different quest, the one where you have to put the feathers in the different colored nests. He ran off the road and started attacking the raptors. “Come” he said over and over. Wrong quest, dude. Then, “help.” He was level 13, and the raptor was level 17, I think, and he was getting his ass handed to him in a major way. We helped kill the raptor, but he died anyway. I resurrected him, and told him that this was not the quest we agreed on before, and that neither of us had this quest. “Help” he said, and charged in to get another raptor. Gah.

As my husband helped him with the kill, I nicely explained that this was the last raptor in this spot that we would help him kill. If he cared to join us for the raptor horns and stolen silver in the other area, he could follow, but if he stayed and attacked another one here, we were leaving him behind. Almost immediately, he went after another raptor. I removed him from the group. “Help.” “Come help.” I don’t think so. Good luck. We made our way toward the nearest oasis to kill some centaurs and take care of the seed quest.

He did manage to get away from it, but then something else started attacking him. We disappeared into the oasis, and lost him.

Ok, a few problems…

1) I’m starting to get used to this type of person’s inability to spell, but I hate it when people order me around. “Come.” I don’t think so. I am not a dog. Say “please” and I will be much more receptive. (This was one of the same issues I had with the paladin I described in my previous post.) Even “plz” would show good intent.

2) We agreed to help with specific quests. These quests were orange for us, and he was several levels below us, so I can only imagine they were red for him. What the hell was he doing running off and initiating a totally different quest of an even higher level? I suppose it’s possible he just wanted to collect the horns of these raptors, but there’d be plenty more in the other area where the stolen silver was.

3) He told us to follow, and he had no idea where he was going. Maybe this is our fault for feigning cluelessness when he first approached us, but come on…

4) He was not listening. Not that someone in a group with me has to do what I say, but if you disagree, perhaps do so verbally? Acknowledge me? Seems like most problems in pugs would be solved if people spent more time listening to each other. Some of the biggest frustrations I’ve had in pugs were with my priest, when I needed to stop for mana. “Please wait while I drink — I’m out of mana,” I’d have to repeat myself over and over, as I watched the tank go run into another group of mobs. Very annoying.

5) We are associated with a guild. This isn’t a problem, except for in a situation like this where we find ourselves having to hold back quite a bit. I don’t think this particular kid would remember our names, much less the name of our guild (nor could he probably spell any of this), but I’m ever conscious of how I am representing my guild when I encounter other players. It means that I don’t tell people off when they’re being jerky or a pest or whatever. I really want to call people out when they’re barking out orders like that though. If we’re in the middle of a fight and there’s no time for please, then fine, but when you approach me for help in a non-combat situation, politeness will get you further.

All of this probably makes me sound like a cranky old lady. Maybe this is how kids out there in the Barrens interact with each other all day long, and I’m just from a different generation. I think there’s still room for pleases and thank-yous in the virtual world; just because we’re not sitting face to face doesn’t mean we shouldn’t show each other some respect.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sit on the front porch with the hose and threaten to spray kids who run through my yard. *creaks her bones* “Please get off my lawn.” *squiiiirt*

WoWeekend

I had one of those glorious weekends that didn’t require that I go to work, so I essentially did nothing but play WoW. I mostly played my priest (who is now at 30), hunter (now at 44), and our paladin/shaman duo has shuffled along to The Barrens, now in the early teens.

Early on Saturday, I started looking for a BFD group for my priest. I was available on the LFG list for most of the morning while I popped around, questing in Ashenvale and Thousand Needles, and finally got a note from someone just after lunchtime. It was a name I sort of recognized, but he wasn’t on my list of people to avoid, so I joined his group. Long story short, is paladin is on the list now. He screamed at people the entire time in all caps, calling them idiots and so forth. To be fair, we did have at least one person in the group who didn’t know what they were doing. It was a hunter (I think people use the term “huntard” too liberally, but I think that in this case, it may have applied). Her pet ran all over the place, attacking things willy nilly. Instead of screaming, I asked her nicely to please turn off growl, put her pet on passive, etc, etc, etc, but she never responded in any way (not a verbal acknowledgment of the request even). When we got to the bit where we all had to jump across the platforms in the water, she did so without dismissing her pet, and so the cat ran all the way around, bringing a trail of murlocs behind it. Greaaaat. After this, one guy left the group, and I really wanted to leave, but it had taken so long to get a group together, I was determined to stay on.

We got a fifth person to join, and so the jerky paladin ordered me to come help him summon them and ordered everyone else to stay put. The hunter, of course, followed. Again, a rollicking all caps berating, but it did not deter the hunter. So, he told me to stay behind since this hunter was so insistent upon coming with him. Soooo… hunter got yelled at for the entire run back to the stone. The person they were going to summon must have taken this as a warning sign and dropped out of the group, as did the other guy who was waiting in the instance with me. So, I dropped out of the group and decided to try for another later on. (Oh, and why I recognized the name in the first place — turns out he’d hassled my husband before about joining his group for an instance, though my husband declined and was spared the experience I had just had.)

An hour or so later (after this paladin had logged off), I put myself on the lists for SFK and BFD. I got a bite for SFK first, and it was easily the highlight of my weekend (pug-wise). I was a mid-instance replacement and I was the second priest in the party. They asked what my spec was, and I said shadow, but that I’d mostly been healing in instances so far. I said I’d be fine with either role. The other priest was lower level, and she suggested that she heal since I could deal out a lot more damage. “You’ll probably end up tanking, too,” joked the rogue in the party. Heh… anyway, it was a total blast playing in a group as a shadow priest, and I’m actually questioning now whether I’ll respec her to holy later. Still plenty of time to decide…

After that lovely group finished, someone asked if anyone would like to stay on for BFD. (Hey, sounds like a story I told before!). I agreed to stay on, since BFD was the instance I’d hoped to do in the first place. Again, one person had to leave, so I crossed my fingers for an equally nice/competent replacement. While we were waiting at the summoning stone by BFD for folks to finish their training and repairs, one of the other remaining people left and were immediately replaced by another person from the rogue’s guild. I wondered why they weren’t added as a fifth. It came out shortly after that this new person was the one I’d replaced in SFK. Huh. And then, a level 70 joined the group. Grr…

I fired a quick message to the group leader, the rogue, saying, “Oh, so we’re getting a walkthrough?”

“Yeah!” she said. “[Her Guild] is so AWESOME.” Um, perhaps. What is not awesome is not asking everyone in the group if this is how they’d like to proceed. I actually like to play through instances. I want the experience points, I want the practice. But, I decided not to be a baby about it. I’d just do a real run later. (When you turn in one of the quests, they ask you to go back in again anyway, so, no big deal.)

Somehow, even though we had a full group now, it was taking forever for us to get started. The rogue was waiting for her dad to call her (for “just two minutes”), and so we were left to sit by the stone watching the new arrival (level 25 or so) duel the level 70. It was funny for about the first 10 minutes, and then I just started to get bored. Again, knowing that the instance itself would be quick, I tried to control my impatience. We finally got going and the level 70 totally blew the doors off the place.

Seemed unlikely I’d be able to get another BFD group together right away, and my priest had gotten to the point where all her regular quests were group quests, or quests she wasn’t strong enough to complete alone (yellow quests can be tough when you’re squishy), so I set her aside to play my hunter a bit.

The first thing my hunter did was trick-or-treat and get turned into a frog. I hopped my little froggy body out of the inn in Grom’gol and ran to the mailbox. As I passed by the bonfire, someone cast a buff on me and my giant cat, who was running behind me. They said the sight of the two of us cracked them up, that it was the funniest thing they’d seen all day. I said I was just grateful that my cat still recognized me…

I’m still a bit nervous about doing instances with my hunter, because I’m still not comfortable doing much beyond letting my pet tank for me. I know how to let the cat hold aggro and so forth, but I haven’t played around much with traps or anything like that. BRK‘s videos have been eye opening. It’s clear that there’s a lot more to being a hunter than siccing my pet on a mob, waiting a few seconds, and shooting at it.

But anyway, I did run Scarlet Monastery (Cathedral) with my hunter, and everything went fine. (Well, except that everyone else in the pug thought it was fine for people to roll greed on BoP items, even if they couldn’t use them. I can’t wait until I get to a point where I can run more instances with my guildmates…)

Cycle of Obsession

Yesterday, WoW Insider linked to this very interesting article over at The Daedalus Project about the life cycle of an MMO player. Here’s their summary:


It’s quite interesting… I can see this progression applied to just about any hobby or obsession, really. With my most recent hobby, which had kept me occupied for a few years now, I was falling into the Burnout stage. That’s one of the reasons I started playing WoW in the first place. It’s fun to be in the Practice stage of a hobby again.

Oi, Ninja!

I was quite familiar with ninja behavior long before I learned the term for it. My first encounter with it was during questing. I was in Thousand Needles collecting plants in a water elemental infested area, and there was another guy in the area working through the very same quest. Twice, I cleared the elementals from around a plant, and he ran over and grabbed it as I was finishing the killing. Grr… I relocated to another part of the lake to get away from him, but he was back in my view before long. I remembered there were a few plants on shore, and I only needed a couple more, so I headed toward them. As I collected one, I saw him swimming toward the other, so I ran over and grabbed it before he had a chance. Take that!

Last night our paladin/shaman duo was collecting boxes from around the docks in Eversong Woods, and there were enough people doing the quest at the same time that the competition for them was pretty fierce. We were getting tired of looking for them, and were tempted at one point when we saw a guy fighting right next to a box… “Should we ninja this guy?” “Nah…” We didn’t. This guy didn’t hesitate to take boxes near where we were killing though. Oh well… We did finally collect them all and turn them in, and then a subsequent quest asked to kill a dude at the top of a building. We’d seen him when we were up there looking for boxes, it looked easy, so we started running up there. The box ninja, who’d just gotten the same quest, was running right behind us…

What ensued was a game of leapfrog. You think we’d just party up and help each other, but somehow, it just wasn’t happening here. We’d run and kill stuff and he’d pass us. Then, we’d pass him on the way up the ramp as he was stuck killing something. Boing, boing, boing, all the way up the top. He did beat us up there by a few seconds, and there was already a dude standing up there, too. At first I thought he was waiting for the respawn, so we’d have to wait in line a bit, but when our box ninja friend drew a mob, the waiting guy jumped over the edge. Well, ok.

I wasn’t paying much attention to what the box ninja was fighting, whether it was the quest target or not — I just decided to help him with the kill to speed things up. I dropped a judgement on his head, and the next thing I knew, I was being attacked by the dude we’d been sent up to kill. Ooops… so, my husband and I went ahead and killed him. To my surprise, his head dropped for us and not the box ninja, so I guess we ended up beating him to the punch. I guess we were the ninjas that time.

Anyway, the whole thing kind of sucked. I guess any time an area is crowded, and you’re competing for quest items like that, this kind of thing is bound to happen. I think we’re going to move to the Barrens soon.

We’ve both hit 11 now, and I’ll have my paladin quest to do soon. I need to read up a bit on the mechanics of playing a paladin correctly. Right now, we’re wildly overpowering the enemy in almost every battle, so if I’m not laying down the smartest series of moves, it really doesn’t matter. I don’t want to get into bad habits though.

finally in sync

I know, I know… I’m never going to make it to Outland if I keep rolling alts, but I can’t help it…. *twitch*

I rolled a paladin last night for a new experimental duo with my husband. He rolled a shaman, and after clearing our starting areas, we met up in Falconwing Square to play through the area outside Silvermoon, since neither of us have played there in so long. (Neither of us are in the mood to work through Durotar again, but I imagine we’ll wander back to the Crossroads when we’re level 14ish since we know it so well, stacking the quests will be second nature.)

We played together a lot when we both had toons Alliance side, but then I created an Orc hunter that I really liked. He finally decided to join me in the Horde, but my toon was way ahead. Ever since, we’ve made plans to play together, but it’s been a nearly continuous game of leapfrog. He started a warlock to play with my hunter (instant 4-man group!), so I started leveling up my mage instead, so he could catch up. Then we decided a healer/tank duo might be nice, so he started a warrior and I started a priest shortly after. I was distracted, however, because my Orc had gained a lot of double xp, and I reallllly wanted to get my first mount. So, while I was leveling her to 40, my priest fell way behind his warrior. I finally started playing my priest, and sometime after that, my husband made a priest, too. (Something to do while waiting, I guess.) My priest is almost caught up to his warrior now, so we almost have our nice tank/healer duo, but not quite yet…

So, yesterday, I threw out the idea of a different tank/healer duo (paladin/shaman) and he thought it sounded cool. He added that if we did it, we should start the toons at the same time. How logical! So, finally, we’re on the same page. It was SO fun to play together again. We pretty much obliterated everything in our path, and that certainly added to the fun. We’re moving through the quests quickly, so it will probably get challenging before we know it. So far there’s a lot of running and little downtime. It helps that we’re sitting next to each other and can talk about what we’re doing next. We logged when we both hit level 8.

I think the only hassle with this duo is going to be class training, since there aren’t as many paladin trainers to pick from in Kalimdor. Given our firepower, I don’t think it’s going to be critical to train at every possible level though, so I think we’ll be fine.

I never planned to play a paladin, so now I’m catching up on my reading. Looks like I should probably go protection, so I can tank for us in instances. Suggestions for interesting builds are welcome…

Venting = Good

It is good to vent, and I suspect that the more instances I run, the more I’ll make use of this blog for exactly that purpose. The Delusional Hunter was just reflecting upon this as well, and also on the types of behaviors that can really rankle a person in-game as much as they do in real life. It also takes just one person, I’ve noticed, to destroy the dynamics of a group.

My mage once ran SFK with an excellent pug. A dream pug! Everything went smoothly. Everyone was polite, and treated each other respectfully. The tank held aggro, the healer kept everybody healed. When it was time to stop and drink and rebuff, everybody stopped and sat down together. When it was time to move on, everyone was paying attention and we got going immediately. We rolled on all chests, and people were conservative with greed with bind-on-pickups. If nobody could use the BoP item, someone disenchanted it and we rolled for the shard. Nobody died during the entire run, and we downed Arugal with no problems. It was so fun! So, at the end of it, after we all congratulated each other, I asked if anyone cared to run BFD, too. All but one person could stay on and play, so the healer invited one of her guildmates to join us…

The new addition to the group was also a mage. At first she seemed quite normal, and I shared some extra green cloth gear with her that I happened to be carrying. As soon as we got into combat, however, my opinion of her changed. The main thing that bugged me about her was that she was not assisting the tank. I often saw her on the edge of my screen, attacking mobs nowhere near our group. Talk about poor grouping technique. Her guildmate healer kept healing her and didn’t seem to be running out of mana or complaining about it, and we didn’t seem to be having trouble killing stuff without her, so she was just allowed to keep doing it.

This behavior was made even more annoying by constant commentary suggesting, “You should all stop and appreciate how much dps I am doing.” Some of it was was just excitable smack talk at the monsters — that I didn’t mind so much. What I did mind were the comments like, “don’t forget to thank your mage! aren’t you glad you brought a mage along?” (uh, you’re not the only mage), “I am just doing too much damage! stupid crits!” (no, it’s because you’re attacking different mobs than the tank), and “why do I feel like I’m the only one doing any damage?” (because you are going off on your own instead of killing with the group!) I normally don’t pay that much attention to the damage I’m doing compared to everyone else, but it filled me with passive aggressive DELIGHT at the end of the instance when the leader posted the damage stats and I topped the list.

She also got pouty over loot rolls. If anyone else rolled greed on a cloth item, there was whining. Finally, the healer said “if it is an upgrade for you, roll need,” but still… lots of sighing and so forth. (I do understand that it gets frustrating when the rolls don’t go your way turn after turn, but let’s all be adults about it.)

I was relieved when the instance was over. Normally, at the end of a run, there’s a lot of… “hey, if you ever need another for an instance, etc, etc,” but not after this one. I was happy to see this other mage’s name disappear from my screen, and it will be too soon if I see it again. It’s not the worst pug I’ve run with, but it was night and day compared to the previous SFK run, which had 4/5 of the same players. It was impressive that the behavior of just that one person made it all less enjoyable for me.

But, venting is good. I regaled my husband with every detail, every comment, every sigh. Then, refreshed, I returned to the LFG channel for another pug. Illegitimi non carborundum…

reĀ·pugĀ·nant

(from m-w.com)
1. incompatible, inconsistent
2. archaic: hostile
3. exciting distaste or aversion

I decided to spend some time leveling my li’l priesty this weekend in an effort to catch up with my husband’s warrior toon, which is in the early 30s. I think she was 24ish on Friday night when I logged on. I decided to knock off a couple Stonetalon quests, hassle the Venture Company, and collect cloth to level up my tailoring.

Within an hour, I had a random invite to Shadowfang Keep. I decided to take advantage of it, since it seems like whenever I have time to run an instance, I can’t find a group. (And then when I don’t have time, I get a million invites.) I joined the group and seeing that there was only one person even on the same continent as the instance, I started making my way there so that I could help summon folks.

The group was composed of a warrior (tank), a mage, a druid, and a shaman. (Note, some classes have been changed to protect the innocent.) The mage was the first at the summoning stone, and she (alone) was trying to summon all of us. We explained several times that she would need to wait for one of us to come help her, that it required two to summon. Then, moments later, she’d say, “it not working.” Yes, yes, so we’d explain again. Moments later: “im cliking.” (Where is that goddamned zeppelin.)

During all this, the druid kept saying, “u want me go get shaman?” Uh, no. Druid is fine. “i have shaman.” Ok, thanks, for the info. At this point, the mage started to doubt herself, I guess, and asked if we really needed a mage. I told her that there were some nasty curses laid down in SFK, so it would be very handy to have a mage to remove them. “me get shaman?” At this point, I noted that if you just imagined the chatspeak with a Cookie Monster voice, it wasn’t so painful to read. Made it funny, in fact. Anyway, I guess he must have been lured away by some cookies, because he left the group before I made it to the summoning stone. No great loss, I think. A paladin took his place.

I finally got to the stone and we got everybody summoned. At this point, there was some kind of scuffle/duel with someone else by the stone. I wasn’t really paying much attention, as I was trying to get everybody buffed. The tank’s personality started coming out in full force at this point. Apparently he’d dueled the guy and talked some smack, and there were a lot of censored %^&! types of things coming up on my screen. I tried to ignore the situation and focus on getting ready to go in. I asked the mage if she could conjure some water for me and the other mana users. She said not until the tank apologized to her friend, the one the tank had just dueled. Uh, ok. So, we waited. “Dude,” was all the tank said. I waited a moment and again, politely, asked for some water. The mage just stood there. The tank ran ahead into the instance. Oh-kay. Mana conservation mode.

We entered SFK, and the paladin let us know that he might not be able to stay for the whole thing, and asked if this was ok. We all said fine. The tank asked what we all thought of him drawing all the aggro and killing everything for us. Well, have at it.

Things actually went pretty smoothly for the first part of the instance. Aside from a few “line of sight” issues, I was able to keep everyone healed, no problem, and even toss out some shadow words. I don’t think the tank liked what the mage was doing, because he kept telling me not to heal her. Whatever. I wasn’t having to heal her at the expense of anyone else in the party, so I ignored him. He also yelled at the paladin to stop doing some particular attack (I can’t remember what it was). The paladin asked why, and the tank said, “it draws aggro.” The paladin pointed out that the tank was still drawing way, way more aggro and not having trouble holding it. “i know lol,” said the tank. Gah. He then whispered to me with a lot of winking emoticons and asked if he was “easy to heal,” and was I enjoying myself. Well, at least we were moving along pretty well.

At one point, the mage said she needed to leave for about 20 minutes, so we left her behind, and had surprisingly little problem killing stuff. Then, the paladin had to leave, so I suggested the three of us wait for the mage for few minutes, buff up, and so forth. As soon as I got everybody buffed and sat down to drink some melon juice, all hell broke loose. We got jumped by a patrol and someone must have drawn a few mobs around the corner from where we were standing, because suddenly there were four mobs attacking the party. It was at this point that the mage rejoined us, and I can only imagine the chaos she saw when she walked in the door. With no mana to protect myself or anyone else we all got totally smushed within about a minute. Wipe #1. This was actually the first wipe during an instance on my watch as healer, and I didn’t take it as hard as I thought I might. We did get jumped, I didn’t have mana, we didn’t have the full party… I’m not sure there’s anything I could have done differently. Folks seemed to take it pretty well, too. I still apologized, and people kind of chuckled over it. Whew!

Ok, so after all the body retrieval and resurrecting, we continued. I noticed that the battles felt a lot tougher with the paladin gone, and I was running out of mana for healing a lot more quickly. I stopped casting anything other than healing spells, just to be safe. I also noticed that we were dealing with a lot more curses from the mobs. Earlier in the instance, when we were all stopped, someone asked the mage to remove a curse, and after several requests (over several minutes), she did it, so I knew she was capable of it. When I ran SFK with my mage, I remember entire battles that I spent removing curses from the group, so I recommended that she just keep an eye on the party icons, looking for the purple halos around our pictures. It was clear this mage was not paying attention because we all walked around with five minute curses on our heads all the way up to the final boss. I thought, well, maybe she’s distracted because she’s trying to do damage, so I kept an eye on her. No, she was not casting anything at all, it seemed. Hm… so, Arugal was going to be a three man job with a warrior, a shaman, and a priest. Great.

Before we tackled the final boss, I asked the mage several times if she could please remove the curses. Again, she just. Wasn’t. Paying. Attention. She did nothing. “Guess not,” said the tank, and ran up to kill Arugal. ARGGHHH. We all followed, because we basically had no choice. I ran up behind the group and missed a couple heals due to line of sight problems, and then the shaman got smushed. I kept the tank alive as long as I could, and then tabbed to Arugal to see how much damage we’d done. We hadn’t even cut his hit points half way!! That plus the bursts of damage due to the curse, and we were pretty much doomed. Wipe #2.

We tried again, and I was hopeful we’d make more progress since we didn’t have the curses on us, but this next attempt on Arugal went pretty much like the first. Shaman got squished and the tank alone simply could not do enough damage to him to kill him. Wipe #3.

“I think we’re going to need some help,” the shaman said. I agreed, and the tank said he needed to go afk a bit, but would be back when we found a fifth. He promoted me to leader, I kicked the absent paladin and started looking for someone on the LFG channel. I also chatted with the mage a bit. She said she was having trouble getting close enough to Arugal to hit him with her frost spells. I questioned her a bit about this, because it seems like you could shoot a frostbolt at him (I’ve fired many a frostbolt at him with my own mage in that same little room). “He keeps moving,” she said. Oh no. So, did she not know how to select a mob and cast a spell on it? Now I was thoroughly convinced that she had not done any damage to any mob during the entire instance. No wonder we’d had so much trouble. “Every time I get close to him, he moves.” Ughhhh.

There was a hunter waiting in the LFG, so I invited him to the group. He was available immediately, so we summoned him, and he joined us. Some of the mobs at the beginning of the instance had respawned, so we killed them while we were waiting for the tank to come back. I promoted the tank to leader again, and off we went. (After the first battle, the tank said, “oh man, my arms are messed up because of all the weights I just lifted.” Heh… yeah, sure thing, buddy.) We got to Arugal and completely destroyed him. He dropped the [Robes of Arugal], which, of course, bind on pickup. The tank passed, the shaman passed, the hunter rolled greed (!!!!!), and the mage rolled need. The shaman said to me, “If you would like that item, please roll need.” So I did, and I won the roll. Hot damn.

Getting those robes (and knocking off the quests) made the whole thing worth it, but that was one annoying pug. The tank was a bit of a jerk, the mage didn’t know how to play her class (or so it seemed to me), and although the shaman seemed to know what he was doing, it just wasn’t enough for us to complete the instance.

I’m sure it won’t be the last pug I complain about, and it’s certainly not the first that’s had me yelling at my monitor. (It would be best if I never picked up a mic, I think.) At times, we were incompatible, inconsistent, hostile, and there were definitely moments where I felt aversion to some of my party. Even so, I confess it made for an entertaining evening.

So, my priest is now at 27. She’ll soon be caught up to my mage…

fourth time’s a charm…

I’ve been involved with a total of four guilds now, since I started playing earlier this year. The first was a brand new “family” guild that seemed to be recruiting fairly heavily. They specifically said that they hoped to help new players along, and I was getting to the point where I thought I could benefit from the wisdom (and firepower) of others as I began gathering more and more group quests. I did meet one or two people my level that were fun to play with, but the guild itself didn’t survive for more than a few weeks. Within the first week, the GM stepped down and left someone else in charge (never a good sign), and recruitment totally ceased. I decided I’d better look for an established guild…

My husband mentioned that he’d heard good things about The Amazon Basin, a guild that was also quite active in Diablo II, and a bunch of other games as well, apparently. So, I checked out their website, submitted an application, and rolled a new character on one of their servers. They were really a great bunch of people. I wasn’t with them long enough to really take advantage of this, or even play with many of them, but their guild chat revealed them to be a bunch of smart, funny people with a great camaraderie.

I never formally left The Amazon Basin. I just disappeared from the server, because when my husband started playing, he decided to join the server where his brother plays, so he could potentially group with him. So, I rolled some new toons on that server as well. I didn’t have much invested in the other servers, so it wasn’t a huge loss (in gold or gear, or anything else). My brother-in-law mentioned that he was a member of a couple different guilds, but he didn’t seem that excited about any of them, so I just kept an eye on the channels, looking for something that sounded interesting.

Essentially I wanted a friendly group of folks near my level to group with, and I was interested in an RPish guild, mostly because it meant people would be typing in complete sentences. I don’t mean to sound too cranky about this, but given the choice, I prefer grouping with people willing to take the extra half second to type out “you.” I also don’t understand how it is that nobody can spell “rogue” anymore. I’m really not much into RP, but I’m perfectly happy to greet people with “Lok’tar” if it means they’ll use punctuation in their response.

While leveling up my fishing in Orgrimmar one night, I saw a group recruiting that sounded perfect. Light/medium RP, small guild looking to expand (I know, I wanted an established one, but…), plus a really cool guild name. (Funny how important this felt at the time, but it’s true — when I see guilds recruiting and they have a stupid-sounding name, I think why would anybody join that?) I didn’t respond right away. I thought about it quite a bit, did a little google searching (and found that they were recruiting in the main WoW forums), and found some other stuff about them. Several of the members were friends in real life, who had been gaming together for years, and this guild had mostly served to help them group their alts together. They were hoping to expand and become a more active part of that realm’s community. So, tight-knit central group + typing in complete sentences + active recruiting + cool name… it all sounded pretty good to me. I sent a letter to their recruiter, and they immediately sent me an invite.

They were a great bunch of guys, but ultimately we didn’t play together much. They were hustling toward the end game, and I was still plodding through the early game. We’d chat while we played, and they encouraged me to ask for help if I needed it, but really, I wasn’t sure what they could do for me aside from speed me through instances. (I really prefer to slog through instances, too, so this wasn’t all that great for me.) It seemed like they stopped recruiting after I joined, which unfortunately meant that there was nobody in the guild for me to play with. Then, when they hit 70, they started grouping with some 70s from another small guild, and decided that it might be beneficial for all of them to merge.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the new folks, and unfortunately they did not seem to be doing any recruiting post-merge either, so I decided that this would be a good opportunity to look for a new guild. I had begun to play my mage a bit more, and since she had not joined this guild, I applied to a friend’s guild with her as my main. This friend was someone I only knew through WoW, but I’d grouped with him many times after a chance meeting in Stonetalon. We always looked for each other, helped each other through the group quests, and although he eventually got away from me levelwise, we always chatted and he was always eager to help me (and share loot that he’d found doing other stuff). He spoke highly of his guild, and I checked out their guild website. Again, light/medium RP, with an emphasis on helping people. No services or items were to be sold to other guild members. They had a clear looting policy. It all looked pretty fabulous, and upon joining, I found it to be exactly as I’d hoped. Very helpful, active folks, constantly giving goodies to each other, sharing consumables. A really nice community.

While I was getting acquainted with this new group, I hardly logged on to play with my other toon in the old guild. I was avoiding those guys, unsure how to tell them I wanted to leave. Finally I got up the nerve to log in and play a bit, and observe the merged guild dynamics. Two things I saw within the first 30 minutes:

1) After completing a run together, one of the new folks told the whole guild, “Here are the things I’m putting on the AH. I’m telling you so that you can bid first if you want it.”

2) Two of the new folks were bragging about the tradehacking and duping that they used to do, and about how Blizzard had changed the game so that they wouldn’t work any more.

Gah. So, I talked with my friend from the other guild, and he agreed it looked like a pretty bad situation. He said that his guild wasn’t perfect (that “most people” were really nice, and I think I know what he means by that now), but that it sounded like this old guild of mine had some really sketchy characters in it. I wrote a letter to the same person in the old guild that I’d sent that first note to, and told him I was leaving. I said that I wanted more folks my level to play with. (I left out the part about how I thought the new people were shady.) He said he understood, and with that, I gquit and this toon (formerly considered my main, but now technically my alt), joined my friend’s guild as well.

The new guild has been great. All my alts have now joined it, and I’ve found it to be an incredibly supportive community both socially and in terms of helping me progress through the game. I’m continually amazed at how much stuff people are willing to share with each other, particularly consumables that would bring in some pretty decent gold in the auction house. People share crafted items, enchants, and just about anything you could imagine. It’s almost exactly what I had in mind for a guild. (Almost in that when I say, “Hey, anyone want to do WC?” I don’t immediately get 4 others on board, but I know I can’t have everything.) And even socially, it’s not all perfect. I’ve seen some arguments, some RP that’s gotten out of hand, but it’s all passed over, and generally people seem to like each other and treat each other with respect. I look forward to getting to the end game with these people.

Another blog…

As my hobbies have shifted from other things toward WoW, my online reading habits have changed as well. I find myself reading loads of WoW blogs during the day at work, thinking about what I’m going to do next with my various toons, and how I can apply what I’m learning from other people. I have blogged a few other hobbies (short-lived hobbies, in some cases, with even shorter-lived blogs), and so I suppose it was only a matter of time before I started one for WoW.

I’m still fairly new to World of Warcraft. As a recovered Diablo II addict, I always knew I liked Blizzard games, but I avoided WoW for a long time. I heard that it was immersive like Everquest, and I was afraid of having it suck away my life. I also didn’t like the idea of paying a subscription fee for a game that I might not even like. After seeing the game played, and being fairly sure that I would like it, my next excuse was that I wasn’t sure that my five-year-old computer (with its crappy video card) could even run the game, so that made the whole venture orders of magnitude more expensive. Then, in a moment of weakness, I decided to download the free 10 day trial. To my surprise, the game ran pretty well on my computer, and … I was pretty well hooked. At first I wasn’t obsessed, and I found it quite easy to stop and do other stuff. (I’m sure the fact that my husband wasn’t playing yet helped.) Lately, however, both of us have been whiling away the evenings with our toons, and during our commutes we chat about class builds, plans for current and potential new toons, and share all the WoW stuff we’ve each read during the day. I guess you could say I’m (we’re?) obsessed now. I do still do other stuff, and I have a few other hobbies on the side, but given the choice, I’d rather be running around Azeroth.

I don’t have enough experience with the game to write articles on strategy or anything like that. My highest level toon is still just in the early 40s, actually, because I am a bit of an alt-o-holic. It’s not that I get bored, it’s just that I seem easily distracted by whatever The Next Goal is. Sometimes it’s a grand plan like, “I’ll make a healer, you make a warrior, we’ll run instances together.” Sometimes it’s more like, “I think I’ll make a druid so she can use this kick-ass staff I just found.” I hear that the Outland is very cool, so I would like to get there someday. This is going to require a bit more focus, so I must try to refrain from rolling that druid….

In this blog, I plan to keep track of my progress toward the Outland and my experiences along the way. I have three active toons right now, all Horde: a hunter (40ish), a mage (30ish), and a priest (20ish). I’ve invested enough Horde side that my Alliance toons probably won’t get attention for a long while, if ever again. (I think I’d start new ones if I started playing Alliance again.) It might be interesting to look back on this once I finally reach the end game, in part to see how playing through to 70 the second time (assuming I ever reach it the first time) compares to this first journey. More immediately, it will give me an outlet to ponder WoW a bit during the day.

So, away we go!