Away

Edited:

I guess in all that was going on, I skipped ahead a week.  I was noting that I would miss the Gnome Race last weekend due to family emergency, though it looks like it’s actually not until next weekend!  Well, it will be just the thing to lift my spirits, I think.  I will still be away a bit longer, but will be back near the end of the week.

Take care, all…

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Name Snob

Before I get onto my thoughts about names, I’d like to mention that having the hiccups is pretty embarrassing when you work in a quiet place. Everyone can hear you. Mostly I’ve been able to keep them quiet since they started, but every once in a while there’s a really LOUD one, alerting everyone of my affliction. I can only imagine people are thinking I’m sitting here drinking on the job. This thought makes me giggle, which makes the hiccups even louder, and now since they can hear me giggling and hiccuping, they probably really think I’ve got a bottle in my drawer. The worst, however, was just a few minutes ago when someone came by to ask me something. I’d just put a piece of gum in my mouth to try to distract my hopping guts, and as I was talking, there was a giant hiccup that sucked all the freshly chewed chunks of peppermint right into the back of my throat. I let out a choked cough, my eyes welling up with tears, and to conclude this display, I launched an extremely loud and strange-sounding hiccup/cough. Perhaps “hiccough” is the right word, but it actually sounded more like a “hiccurp.” They were holding something out for me to look at, and they physically jerked their hand back in surprise. The startled look on their face made me laugh even harder. And now that they are gone, I’m crying from the all laughter. *HIC!* Does anyone have any peanut butter?

*sniff* Ahh… ok.

Two nights ago, between questing with my friend and the guild Ramparts run, I was killing buzzards and collecting debris in Outland. As I was looting a corpse, a shaman approached me and said, “I need buzzards too. Wanna party?” These are the thoughts that followed in the next few seconds…

Not really, because this is a collection quest and will take twice as long with both of us, plus I’m not having trouble killing stuff. I’m getting very good experience going it alone, but I don’t want to look like a big jerk either and compete with this guy for mobs. Maybe it will be faster if we work together. I am also representing my guild here, and … oh, maybe it wouldn’t hurt to group with him … but it might be a really annoying experience because his name is … er…

I won’t say exactly what his name really was because it turns out that it’s unique across all the servers according to the armory. I’ll give a hint though… If I were to replace the adjective and noun that composed his name, it would be DirtySphincter.

Did I really want to party with someone called DirtySphincter? It’s not that it embarrassed me (I actually have quite an appreciation for crass humor), but it just screamed of 12-year-old boy, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with that for however long it took us to collect buzzard parts. The name gave a terrible first impression, hinting the potential of an unpleasant grouping experience.

I knew that the longer I stood there (being totally judgmental), the bigger jerk I’d seem to be for not grouping. So, what the heck… I grouped with him. (Can always blog about it if it’s bad, right?) And you know what? It was good. He was an excellent player, we chatted a bit about the shaman class, the difficulties of being a healer-specced shaman, and had a great time not only playing but chatting about the game. Despite the choice of name, there was a mature player on the other side of that toon who just wanted a little help completing his quests.

Do I judge too hastily when I see names like that? Maybe. I feel like I put so much work into my characters that I wouldn’t want to have a silly name that I wouldn’t think was so funny after 70 levels. Sure, there’s the paid name change, but is “Buttzlol” $10 worth of funny? I don’t think the game has to be all serious business, but I also want to give my characters names that sound at least someone credible in the world I’m questing in. I shudder when I see people using what look like auto-generated e-mail addresses as their character names. JCThomas? You can do better than that. Make that your account login, not your character name.

But, maybe others that level up a lot more characters than I do don’t have this attachment to or affection for names. They don’t tab out of the character creation screen to pore over Kate Monk’s Onomastikon in search of the perfect name. Leveling and the time spent in game isn’t serious business. Making your friends laugh is more important than immersion.

Or maybe that shaman was roleplaying? 😉

My Second Outland Instance

Before I ran Hellfire Ramparts the night before last, I was questing with a fellow level 60ish person in the guild. Around 8:45 my time, he said he needed to break for dinner, but asked if I would be on later. I said that I would be, and continued questing in the area. (I then quested with a shaman I ran into, perhaps the subject of a later post.) It was about 10pm when the other guildmate invited me to Hellfire Ramparts, and my other quest buddy wasn’t back yet. He did log on shortly after I was summoned to the instance and asked if I still wanted to do some quests. I told him that I was sorry, that I had just joined a Ramparts group. “Any room for me?” he asked. There wasn’t… 😦

So, last night, when my quest buddy logged in and asked if anyone wanted to do a Hellfire Ramparts run, I immediately said yes and switched over to my hunter. I was thinking it might be another guild run, but when he invited me to the group, there were already two other random folks us. Uh-oh. Pugtime.

My friend was a rogue, I was playing my hunter, and in addition, we had a warlock and a paladin (that decided to respec to holy to heal for us). A warrior joined a few minutes later to tank.

Really, a play by play of what happened next would not be all that interesting. The short version goes like this: wipe, wipe, 3/5 dead, wipe, 4/5 dead, wipe, wipe, wipe. Lather, rinse, repeat. Seriously. I didn’t even repair my armor right away afterward because I thought it would be too depressing. After wiping on both the first and second pulls, I didn’t even think we were going to make it to the end of the instance, but we wiped our way all the way to the last two bosses, at which point the tank said he was leaving the group. His armor was totally red, he could not continue without repairing. He must have thought we wouldn’t be able to kill the bosses, because he said he wasn’t coming back. I was going to leave as well, thinking we were done, until a tank from our guild decided to come rescue the run…. whew.

I can’t say I was totally blameless in all the wiping either. I accidently broke my own traps at least three times, and without the mob that I was in charge of immobilized and out of the fight, we had a really difficult time. The warlock also broke my traps several times with her minion. I tried to trap out of the way of the rest of the group, but she kept following me. Grr! Her felguard would stand a little ways in front of me and hit the mob before it got to my trap. This wouldn’t draw aggro from me, but the second swing by the felguard would break the trap if she was too close to me. Several times I said, “I’m going to trap over here, out of the way of the rest of the group,” but she still followed. *sigh* There were also a few times when the person marking changed the marks 1 second before the pull, so I had the wrong mob selected and wasn’t ready, or I targeted the wrong one.

Other crowd control failed as well. Our rogue had many unsuccessful saps (“I really need to respec,” he concluded). I don’t know how the various warlock minions work, whether you can have one of each type or whether you have to specialize to get certain ones. At the beginning of the run, the rogue asked the warlock if she had anything that could contribute to crowd control. “I dont no wat u mean so probly no” was her answer. I mentioned the succubus and she said she didn’t know what that was. Ok. I whispered to my friend that this could be an interesting run, and he said that earlier, she was asking how many people total could be in the group. 😮

Other “highlights”:

– Someone asking the warlock to conjure water for them.

– The healer completely panicking and running away during a fight. And I don’t mean a reflex run that happens to take them away from the tank and scatters the group for a moment. I mean he said, “omg should i run???” and then turned around and ran away from the tank, away from the group, out of the room, down the stairs, into a totally different part of the instance. That was kind of funny.

– The healer correcting the way people abbreviated his name.  “Call me pyr not pyra ok cuz pyra sounds like a girl.”  He was a Blood Elf, so I thought of many comments to make in response, but decided to leave it alone.

– The healer’s obsession with the polearm that potentially drops after killing the dude and his dragon. Seriously, he mentioned it about 20 times. “Wheres my poleam?” “Who droppit?” “NO POLEAMR?!” after every big kill. Someone finally explained when it would drop, but he didn’t get it. Second to last boss? “NO POLARM /CRY!!!!!!!1” And, “You no I wont the polarm.” OH really? I didn’t realize you had any interest in it. Perhaps this makes me slightly evil, but I found myself hoping that it wouldn’t drop. And it didn’t.  Bwahahahaha!

<– slightly evil

Sooo, on the one hand, I did get good experience for the run, both in terms of game XP and trapping experience.  (When things go wrong, you learn how to improvise.)  The repairs are going to be pricey though, so as far as my guilded characters go, I’m not sure how many more pugs I’m willing to endure.  It’s going to be very “interesting” for my little pugging mage when she gets to Outland (if she gets there).

My First Outland Instance

Last night, my hunter was doing some questing in Outland, and as I was selling my vendor trash, I got a whisper from someone in the guild…

“Hey there…”

“Hey, what’s up?” I said.

“Would you like to come do Hellfire Ramparts?”

“Oohhhh,” I said. “So tempting, but it’s getting late. How long will it take?”

“Probably 1/2 hour, 45 minutes.”

“I’m in!”

Deep down, I knew it was going to take longer than that, potentially twice as long, but I didn’t care. 🙂

I flew back to Thrallmar and headed toward the dots on my map, which represented my guildmates. As I got closer to the instance, I realized that I didn’t know where the entrance was, ended up riding around in circles and getting surrounded and nearly killed. (My pet did die for my stupidity, in fact.)

<–noob

A few seconds after I feigned death, I got summoned by this guy who is back in our guild! (WOOOHOOOOO!)

“We’re on vent if you’d like to join us,” someone said. 😦 I still don’t have vent set up. I have no microphone or headset or anything of the kind. I told them I wasn’t set up yet, so they said they’d type the critical stuff in the party chat. Turned out to be a fairly quiet run, and mostly I just followed their lead to figure out what the raid symbols meant.

The group was composed of three in their 60s (myself, a warlock, and a feral druid) and two 70s (another hunter and a priest). The feral druid tanked for us, and did a great job, I thought. Crowd control included trapping by the other hunter and seduction by the warlock’s succubus. I sort of wished I’d been asked to do some trapping, as I’d still like more practice, but it really didn’t seem to be needed. The run was very exciting nonetheless, and I could not get over how amazing the green loot was compared to what I was wearing. I won a greed roll for a pair of pants that gave me +41 to agility, and twice as much armor as the pants I was wearing at the moment. /equip!

At the end of the run, when we opened the chest, the Hellreaver dropped. Nobody else really needed it, and I didn’t look at it that closely, to be honest. I had an axe with pretty good agility on it. When I said I didn’t really need it, the 70 hunter said, “Are you sure? I think that would be really good for you, plus we could put a Savagery enchant on it!”

“Well, when you put it that way…” I said. Everybody cheered as I picked it up. It really makes my hunter look like a badass.

I ran back to Thrallmar, and the priest (also an enchanter) met me with the mats for the enchant after a quick trip to the bank. He personally donated the shard and a bunch of the arcane dust, and I believe they got some arcane dust from the guild bank as well. After he put the enchant on it, it looked even cooler, all red and drippy. Woooow… Lots of congrats and excitement in the guild chat after that. (I also gave the enchanter a bunch of greens that I had, so he could disenchant them and replenish his dust stocks.)

I love my guild. Respect, generosity, friendship, camaraderie… we haz dem. ❤

=guild hug=

So now I can’t wait to get to 70 to play with them even more. I must get set up on vent, too. Anyone have advice for equipment? I know I have a crappy microphone somewhere, but I sense that’s not going to cut it.

WoWeekend Highlights

My pugging mage ran SFK yesterday, and I’ve already written it up! How’s that for a productive day at work. Er….

I also ran Ragefire Chasm with my druid yesterday. I had a brief identity crisis as I entered the LFG… should I tank? Heal? DPS? Ohh, the decisions! “You’ll do whatever the group needs,” husband said. True. In the end, I did a little bit of DPS and also ended up healing the healer (a shaman), as she frequently drew aggro. When someone said, “hey, nice heals!” after a fight, I wondered if they were talking to the shaman or me? Anyway, I seem to have found a good camera angle for bear form that doesn’t make me want to barf, so feral it shall be, at least until moonkin form is available. At that point, we’ll reconnoiter.

My main mage has done a couple ZF runs now. Having the Mallet of Zul’Farrak has made her quite popular. The first run that she did was all good until the last boss, at which point two folks had to leave. One of the remaining folks logged onto a second computer with a level 70, and killed the final boss for us. It was pretty entertaining. Because I had never killed Gahz’rilla myself though, I looked for another group so I could run that entire instance in earnest. I lucked into a brilliantly wonderful pug last night that totally clicked, and together, we made short work of the instance. Taking down Gahz’rilla was a breeze, too, thanks to the person that directed us to all stand beneath the arch by the pool, so that when we got blown up in the air, we wouldn’t fly that high and would take less damage when we hit the ground. This is probably something every true veteran of ZF knows, but never having run it fully, it was a new trick to me. Now I know!

Our pally/shaman duo is on the cusp of level 50, and has finished most of the quests around Tanaris and a fair number of the ones in the Hinterlands that aren’t part of Jintha’Alor. Fresh out of rested experience, we decided to give Scarlet Monastery Cathedral a go, and we destroyed it. Whitemane dropped the Hand of Righteousness for husband and Mograine dropped the Aegis of the Scarlet Commander for me, so we both came away feeling like it was time well spent. In fact, we did so well that I think we’re not going to put off our 2-man assault of Uldaman much longer… Archaedas, we’re comin’ for j00!

Leveling and other Addictions

A couple weeks ago, one of my guildmates said something like, “Ugh, levels 50-58 are SO painful.” Another person who was around 45 or so said, “Oh no! Don’t tell me that!” She said that she’d never managed to get past 50 at all because she always got bored with the characters by then and created new ones. She was determined with this one to finally get past 50. She did make it to 50, and then when she hit 53 or so, she was looking for suggestions of places to level because she was not enjoying the Western Plaguelands.

I asked if she’d done all the Hinterlands quests. “Yup.”

“Un’Goro Crater? I loved that place.”

“Done.”

“Hm… Winterspring?”

“Pretty much done all of those, too.”

“That’s all I’ve got!” I laughed. And really that’s all I did have to suggest because after working through those areas with my hunter, my highest level character, I was at 58 and ready for Outland. In fact, I had many unfinished quests in those areas! I was puzzled for a moment (how could she not be 58 already?), and then I realized: double experience. In leveling up so many alts, I’d wager that when I did all of those areas with my hunter, I was getting rested experience for every kill. This could really add up, and combined with the number of instances that I ran with my hunter toward the end of her time in Azeroth, I was carried further through the game with less time actually playing this particular character.

I often explain my alt-o-holism with “I guess I really just like leveling,” but I am leveling each of my alts at a seemingly faster pace than someone who continuously levels a single character from 1-70. In the end, they may get to 70 first, but I have to play each character less to get them there. Having played my paladin for a full weekend last weekend, I can safely say that I’d get bored with focusing on just one toon from 1-70, too. That’s a whole different game.

I realize that one day I may tire of the leveling process all together, so I am harnessing my noobish energies to develop characters in each of the different classes as I think I might enjoy in the end game.  Maybe that’s the way I should explain the many alts. I feel the same way about leveling professions. Again, I know folks in the guild that wait until they get to 70 and then power level the profession from 1-375, but I really have more fun doing these as I go. Makes it all seem less like work, and in the end, I’ll potentially have maxed out each of the professions that interest me.

====

Late last week I pondered how many hours I actually put into WoW each week. I knew I’d be over the 17 hour average for WoW players reported by the Nielsen ratings, but how much over that? (Double?) To be honest, I didn’t actually log the time I was in game, but I know that I played 12+ hours on Sunday, and have logged in each night after work around 6-7pm, and played until 11p-12am. So, let’s call that 15 hours Sunday, followed by 5 hours/night Monday through Thursday. That’s already 35 hours this week, and we haven’t even hit the Friday night/Saturday all-day marathon. Hehe… soooo, looks like it’s easily going to be more than 40 hours. Maybe this is a bit higher than normal because we didn’t watch any movies this week, but playing 40 hours a week is quite a lot.

This is not so unusual for me with my hobbies. I’m betting I spent the same amount of time on my previous hobby per week by the end of it. Ever since I finished graduate school and have not had to work evenings and weekends quite as much, I have pursued all my hobbies with great intensity. WoW is a brilliant means of escape for me, a way to turn off all the worries about work once I get home. I’d been thinking about this all morning as I considered my total play time for the week, and so Tobold‘s excellent post today about gaming as an addiction completely resonated with me. And why do I play so much?

Clearly, WoW fulfills some need. It’s not just about diversion either, as there are many other interesting diversions available. (I love to read, for example, and my apartment has brimming bookshelves covering every available wall. Every night after WoW, I stay up and read for a bit.) I think it’s about the many small, achievable goals that the game has to offer. That is what makes it so addictive for me. My job is very goal-oriented in the day to day, though very often, the goals are not achievable, so time spent is just time spent. It is the nature of doing research; 90% of what we do simply does not pan out. In WoW, if you put forth the effort and spend the time, 90% of the time it will pan out and the goals will be achieved. The other 10% is waiting for that one piece of phat lewt. I know some players get really hung up on that 10%, but compared to my real life work, the work I do in WoW is eminently doable, and thus overall very satisfying. There are very few truly phat lewtz that ever drop for most of us in the world of research. So, 40 hours of achieving goals to match my 40 hours of troubleshooting and chasing down goals just missed.

And speaking of, I’d better go look at my quest log for work… 😛

Natural Progression

As I’ve mentioned many times here, I really like my guild. It’s a great bunch of clever, funny, and friendly people. It’s a large enough guild that there are always folks available to help you out, and a small enough guild that you recognize the names of folks as they log in. We have a fantastic leader who personally offers the services of his many level 70s and their crafting skills, and makes time for even the noobest of noobs. He actively recruits, leads by example, nips drama in the bud, and is a straight shooter in our forums regarding guild policies and plans for our future as we progress in the game. I really couldn’t ask for more, and had I not found this great group of folks to play with, I’m not sure I’d be as deeply into WoW as I am.

There’s been a fairly stable core group of people there since I joined. I’ve seen lots of new folks come and go, some leaving to join guilds with real life friends and some leaving because we just weren’t quite what they were looking for. There have been a few expected (and welcome) departures, for example, the overly affectionate couple that consistently brought their bedroom right into the guild chat. (I was around when they received their final warning about this, and then one day I logged in and found that they were in a different guild. I later ran into the female half of this duo in Thunder Bluff and she /farted on me. Glad to see she’s still keeping it classy.) Never heard what caused the final departure, but I can only imagine it was more of the same. But there are about 10 people that, to me, really make this guild what it is. Some are officers, but most are just long time members, some that have been around since the guild started up more than a year ago. Just recently, one of these people left to join a raiding guild.

Now, I know, this is a natural thing to happen. We’re a casual guild with just a couple teams in Kara, and we’re allied with a couple other small guilds that have helped us fill out these teams to let their folks have a chance to experience this part of the game as well. Some people will get a taste of raiding with our guild and potentially leave seeking more hardcore raiding opportunities — I imagine this happens all the time in casual guilds. In many ways, it’s for the best. Rather than staying to complain about how our guild isn’t progressing fast enough for them or being silently dissatisfied, they’ll go somewhere else and be happier. I can’t help but be sad to see these people go, however. It’s a bummer for the Kara team that they were on (particularly since we’re losing classes that we don’t have many of), and it’s a bummer for our guild as a whole, because we loved having them around. We’re assured they’ll still have some alts with us, but … I think it’s more what their leaving generally indicates: things may be great with our guild now, but they could very quickly change. After I saw that that person had left, I checked for the other core people to see if they’d left, too, and was comforted to find that they were still in our guild. For now.

/sigh

I know, I know.

I haven’t responded to any of this in our forums or in guild chat, and I think I’ll keep it that way. I do feel like taking action though… Perhaps the best thing I can do is make leveling up my priest a priority, and maybe it would be good to get my paladin to 70 as well, so I’ll potentially be able to offer tanking, dps, or healing with her. I don’t aspire to become an officer (haven’t changed my mind about that), but I think now begins my effort to become a core member of the guild myself, and contribute more to the group that has been so helpful to me.

Clear Your Schedules

…for a Gnaked Gnome Race instigated by BRK!  The date is still to be determined, but it will occur in early February.  He has a poll set up so you can go vote for the date that would work best for you.

I’m going to roll a gnome on Drenden for the occasion.  I’ll post the name closer to the date of the race, and if anyone here would like to meet up and run together, post a comment!  I think it sounds like fun.  🙂

And the paladin catches up…

I played my paladin all weekend. Normally I do a bit of alt-hopping, maybe spend a few hours with a few different characters over Saturday and Sunday, but not this time. Husband is very much into playing his shaman, so my paladin got lots of attention, too, since this pair is sticking together. I think they were around 43 or so when we logged in on Saturday morning, and by Sunday night, they’d hit 46. We burned off all our rested experience, and then some…

After finishing off two collection quests with heinously low drop rates in Swamp of Sorrows, we abandoned everything else we had there and vowed never to return. (Swamp of Suck!) Instead, we finished up all the Stranglethorn and Booty Bay quests, and then polished off a bunch of green quests in Dustwallow Marsh. We went to the Hinterlands for a little while, but it was just slightly too difficult for us. (We wanted to collect eggs from the Owlbeasts there for the Tanaris cooking quest, but I think collecting those from the rocs in Tanaris is going to be much easier.) By Sunday evening, I was hankering for an instance of some kind, so I suggested we 2-man SM Armory…

In short, it was a total blast. We weren’t getting experience for most of the kills, and they took a while because they were elites, but we made it all the way to Herod without incident. Doing instances with just two of us is a long process, but I think it’s quite fun. My husband questions whether it’s worth it much of the time, and feels this way about instances in general, particularly if he doesn’t get any loot. (He doesn’t run many instances, so a loot-less run for him reinforces this idea. I run a lot of them, so if I don’t get any loot, it doesn’t bother me — the rolls may be in my favor next time.) So, I was really excited when the Scarlet Belt dropped for him.  At least he’d have something to show for his trip to the Armory. I mentioned that there were some matching leggings that Herod could drop, and he said, “but they probably don’t drop often, do they?” I think they’ve dropped almost every time I’ve been in that instance, but didn’t say anything, lest we repeat the Corpsemaker incident. (The Corpsemaker has dropped almost every time I’ve been in RFK, but when I ran him through a bunch of times with my higher level hunter to try to get it for him, it never dropped. No really, it drops all the time! Argh!)

I also didn’t want to get his hopes up because I wasn’t sure we’d be able to kill Herod. I explained the fight (and about the rather damaging spinning move Herod does) while we buffed up, and he summoned a hound using the dog whistle that dropped off of Loksey to help us out. I jumped down into the pit and bopped Herod on the head with judgment and we started smacking away at him. It was a close, exciting fight, and husband took some severe hits from the spinning move as Herod pinned him to a wall. I got hit pretty hard several times as well, but we managed to finish him off, both of us out of mana and below half health. And the drop? Scarlet Leggings! Woo! So now husband has pants to match his belt. Awesome.

Anyway, we’re going to give these two a rest for a few days to gather up some double experience, and also give us a rest. As I’ve mentioned before, I like the paladin okay, but she’s not my favorite. I think I’d burn out on any character playing them continuously for too much longer than that, too. I can see how people get tired of leveling if they are just leveling the same character from 1-70 with nothing else in between. I like leveling, but hopping between characters is really the way to go. I’m amazed that my paladin has now caught up with my priest (who I haven’t played in a while), and is pretty close to my mage as well.

Since I didn’t make it into Zul’Farrak with my mage over the weekend, I decided to look for a group last night while finishing up the chain quests that lead there. While waiting for a group to form, I got everything done except for getting the mallet.  Each one of us in the group was hoping someone else might have it, but alas… no Carrot on a Stick for any of us.  It ended up being a great run though. We did wipe once, but on the whole, it was just one of those groups that clicked from the beginning and communicated really well. The tank was a feral druid, the healer was a holy paladin, and for DPS, we had a warlock, rogue, and mage (me!). The druid marked mobs, fire was properly focused, and most every pull happened in an orderly, controlled fashion. Although it was already past my bedtime when we started the run, when someone said, “Anyone care to go again?” it was soooo tempting. But I didn’t.  I flew around and turned in quests and called it a night. Mage is now at level 49.

And, speaking of leveling, today in real life, I ding 34.  🙂