Pugging the Library

I haven’t had much luck getting pugs Alliance-side yet. I tried twice to get a pug for Gnomer, but both times it appeared I might have a group, it didn’t work out. Each time, I got a note from one of the party members asking me if I wanted to join. I’d say yes, and wait for the invite to the group and then never get invited. The first time, I saw the group composition and noted that if they added me, they’d be lacking either a healer or a tank. I pointed this out after noticing it, and the person never responded. The group disappeared from the LFG list, so I guess they must have found someone else. The second time, after the whisper, the person said, “I’ll invite you as soon as I’m out of the BGs.” So, I waited. And waited. And … nothing. I kept an eye on their location, and after the BG they were inside the instance. I whispered and asked if they had decided to invite someone else instead, but the person never answered. What is it with people not whispering back to say they’re not inviting me after all? I think this is rude. Just tell me instead of keeping me waiting. Sheesh.

Last night, my Alliance mage completed the pre-reqs for the Scarlet Monastery quests, so hopped into the LFG for the Graveyard, Library, and Armory, and hoped for the best. This time, I got a message and an invitation almost immediately. That’s an improvement! There was a paladin, a hunter, me (mage), and a fourth player not of the tank/healer persuasion (though I don’t remember their class). I was about to ask whether it was a healer or tank that we needed when another mage joined… uhhh…. And then I noticed that the newly added mage was a 70. I almost excused myself, as I normally do in these situations, so I can find a level-appropriate group, but then I decided what the heck… I took the run-through. I came away with a staff and a new pair of shoulders. Awesome.

Everyone left the group except the paladin and I, and he asked if I’d like to stay on for a second group. I agreed to, so we hopped back into the LFG. He immediately picked up another paladin and another mage, so e ran out to summon them and wait for a fifth. Within 2 minutes or so, folks were clamoring to just try to 4-man something. I suggested Graveyard, given that most of the group members were level 33 or so and there were only four of us, but they wanted to do Library, so in we went!

I’ve mostly been running stuff with guild folks lately, so this pug was a shock to the system. First, there was no marking. Second, there was no tanking, unless you count what the other mage was doing. The paladin that I was in the previous group with usually did the pulls and tried to hold aggro, but the mage always ended up getting attacked because he never waited long before casting his first frostbolt. (All the blizzards he cast didn’t help either.) The mage was only other person in the group with a threatmeter, so I pretended he was the tank and laid off the damage as soon as I approached his level of threat. There were enough consecrates that sheep never lasted very long, so I just tried to hit what everyone else was hitting, and stay alive as best I could.

We made it down the first hallway, and when we got to the courtyard, I spoke up and recommended that we pull groups inside the hallway. I taught the paladin how to do line of sight pulls of the casters and range attackers, and after a pull or two got the hang of it. The other mage still pulled aggro every time, pretty much, so both paladins kept him healed. And then… Loksey.

“This guy is kinda hard,” said the paladin “tank.” “Anyone have any ideas?” I kept my lip buttoned, wondering what kind of strategy they’d come up with.

“Get Loksey first, and then the dogs,” someone else said.

“KK,” said the tank, and without further ado ran in. Loksey and the dogs swarmed him, and I waited for him to cast consecrate before I shot a fireball. And waited, and waited… finally a consecrate, but really, it was too late. The other mage got aggro, we didn’t put a dent in Loksey, and the dogs ate us for dinner. Heheh…

Ok, second try. We ran back. “Cast consecrate as soon as you run in there this time,” suggested the paladin healer. “It draws a lot of threat, so you’ll be able to tank all of them.”

“But I have to save mana for heals,” said the tank. Er…

“Heals?” said the healer.

“Yeah, to heal you guys when you get hit.” Um…

“Don’t worry,” said the healer. “I’ll heal you, and you just cast those consecrates.”

“KK,” said the tank, and in he went… seconds after the dogs attacked him, he cast his first consecrate. I waited for the second before I attacked Loksey. And it was great!! He was tanking!! All the mobs stayed focused on him, and I have to say, I was really proud of him.

I think it’s a better idea to burn down the dogs first, but they wanted Loksey dead first, so that’s what I focused fire on. The other mage took a more creative approach to the fight, however. He’d shoot some frostbolts at Loksey, then turn one of the dogs into a sheep. The sheep would then either be broken by the next consecrate or by the mage’s blizzard… *blink blink* (I am not making this up.)

Just as Loksey went down, the healer ran out of mana, the dogs killed the tank, and all hell broke loose. I was the last to die, and for a moment, I thought I might be able to get away and run out of the instance, but the dogs killed me in the hallway. Hehe, oh well.

We all commended each other on the excellent attempt, and then I excused myself, calling it a night. I didn’t think we’d make it much further and it was pretty late.

Although there were a couple of clueless folks in the group, I was impressed with how respectfully people treated each other. I’ve been in so many groups where someone new does not realize how to play their class/role, and rather than offer helpful suggestions, another group member decides to be a jerkface and yell at them the whole time. There’s nothing in the game that teaches you how to group other than the people you group with. I very often sit back and don’t say anything, particularly if I’m in my Jane Goodall mode. (All this really makes me want to start up Year of the PuG again!). I wonder if I should say more, however, when I encounter groups like this one, that may be receptive to advice.

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Nice people bot, too, including…

So, I had a whole post written up on this idea, that it’s not just evil gold farmers that use bots. For example, see: RIP Meepmeep. I am thrilled that the mass banning removed a lot of cheaters from the game, but I’m also sorry folks like MBB lost their guildies. Deep down, all of these folks had to know that losing their account was a possibility when they downloaded Glider, however.

I had a paragraph tossing in the idea that just because it was your friend that got banned doesn’t mean they didn’t bot. (And if you began an internet crusade after assuming their innocence, do you think they’d ever come clean after that?) I suggested that the falsely accused aggressively pursue the appeal, and that this would be a lot more effective than blog posts about the situation. I also had a paragraph describing my feelings about Blizzard’s need to protect the details about the kinds of data they collect to sense botting programs, lest the bot designers find new ways to circumvent Blizzard’s attempts to sense them.

And some other stuff along the same lines. Blah blah soapbox blah.

And I sat on it, wondering if I was really interested in entering the fray, as some of the discussions have gotten a bit heated, with most people taking the “Save Ferris” side. In between pondering the post and picking at the text, I started reading around various blogs about the more technical side of the bannings and how Warden works.

I found a blog devoted to Warden, and naturally, the most current article discussed the recent wave of bannings. Overall, the posts haven’t gotten many comments, it seems, but there was one for the most current post, so I clicked to read it. It was by someone called Susan who had just been banned for having Glider on her computer. She said she thought the ban was fair. She knew having the program was against the Terms of Service when she downloaded it, and that it had been a risk. She was taking this opportunity to make a clean break from the game. I’ve seen lots of stories similar to this. I clicked on her profile to see if she had a WoW blog, and she didn’t, but …

Her photo looked familiar. I squinted at it… is that … Susan Olsen? I swear, it looked just like the actress that played Cindy Brady, now an adult. I was a huge Brady Bunch fan when I was a kid. I watched in it syndication, so it was on every single day after school, and I got to know the show so well that I could tell you from the opening scene which episode it was. I’d tuned in for all the Very Brady reunion shows over the years, and followed various Brady actor gossip. My sister even got me a Brady Bunch Cookbook for Christmas one year. (If you come over, I can make you some “Oh My Nose!” Oatmeal Cookies or some Marcia Marcia Marcia Muffins.)

She had two blogs, neither of them with Brady-related titles, but her biographical info listed her age and astrological sign. I went to IMDb, and confirmed not only that the age was the same as the actress’s but the headshot photo was exactly the same as the blogger’s avatar!! 😮

At this point, I began doing various searches for the actress’s name plus WoW. Was it well known that she was a WoW player? She mentioned in her comment about her ban that she ran a guild — did her guildmates know who she really was? I couldn’t find anything anywhere. Her wikipedia page gave the names of her dog and cat, and what blogger doesn’t like to write about their pets? I decided to read through her blogs for evidence of Trevor and Tabitha.

The cat rescue blog seemed like a good place to start. I was browsing over the front page, when I saw in the (very long) About the Author: “Yes, I was also on a popular TV show too. While that’s not what I’ll be talking about here, I’m not going to be a snob about questions or coments {sic} regarding that.”  There are also some references to her pets in the posts.

It is her. Wow. 🙂

So, there you have it. Nice people bot, too, including the actress we knew as Cindy Brady.

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I should note — in posting this, I mean nothing against Ms. Olsen and I don’t wish to cause her any trouble. It was just too interesting of a discovery to pass up posting about. I know it’s going to be tempting to come up with all kinds of snappy titles, given her tv character, but I hope people will treat her respectfully in posting about this, should they choose to share the story as well.

Links to all the sites that led me to this after the break!

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Pox Arcanum, 3 months later

In February, I put out a call for folks to join me in an experiment where we’d work through WoW in static groups, only questing and leveling together. Three months later, I’m in the same team I started with, and last Tuesday night, we blasted the doors off of Scarlet Monastery Library. In our three hour play session, we crushed Doan three times. On the final pull before Doan on the last run, our tank pulled all the mobs in the room at the same time, just to see if we could survive it. And we did! Awww yeahh…

All in all, it’s gone quite well for us, but I have to admit that the experiment as a whole hasn’t turned out quite the way I anticipated…

First, I never thought there would be so many people interested in trying static groups. I imagined something very informal, maybe just five people total if I was lucky (and I’d have proceeded if it were only four). I immediately got responses from more than four other folks, so we decided to take it a step further and form a guild. Currently, we have eight full teams of five, plus a couple new teams forming. We have a few people running with more than one team (all these teams are static), so they have more than one toon in the guild, but those teams are mostly accounted for by individuals. I admit we have some teams that haven’t run in a few weeks (as far as I can tell), but I’m still impressed with the way it’s taken off. It is very rewarding and fun to experience WoW with a static group of folks, watching players learn classes they’ve never tried before, and in some cases, experience content they’ve never seen before.

The biggest issue in getting the teams going has been scheduling. This isn’t too surprising. Getting five people’s schedules to mesh has, in some cases, stalled the team right from the start, but it seems as the teams rearrange themselves or people admit they maybe don’t have as much interest or time available as they initially thought, the teams fill up and get going. Teams that play during the same time slot every week have gotten the furthest. With my team, the few times we’ve tried to reschedule something for a different time, we’ve never been able to get it together. Either someone doesn’t check their e-mail in time or folks just have other commitments in the game or RL. It’s much easier for us to plan our playtime and the rest of our social schedules if we know that Wednesday (or now Tuesday) is Pox Night.

One thing I didn’t anticipate as the guild formed was how seldom the individual teams would interact with one another. I was so excited, for example, when The Game Dame, Dammerung, and Wulfa said they were interested in joining, because I sort of assumed this meant I’d be hanging out with them. We did chat quite a lot as we were all leveling our toons up to 10, but after that? I hardly saw them. If we were on at the same time, our teams were usually in instances, and with limited playtime, there wasn’t much time for extra chatting. My team is awesome, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything, but I had somehow assumed that we’d all be hanging out. That’s just not the nature of the experiment, however. We treat our characters as I described in those initial posts I made — the groups play just once a week and the toons are very definitely alts. We might log in to check auctions or do a little fishing and gathering, but there isn’t much overlap otherwise.

Initially, I found this kind of depressing. I was still happy to see new people coming in and really enjoyed reading about their adventures, but I hesitated to invite more friends to the guild because it’s not like I’d be playing with them. And it’s not like a normal guild where you say, “join our guild so you can hang out with me,” because if you join Pox Arcanum, there is a very slim chance you’ll even see me much less hang out with me. This issue has been remedied by many of us joining the Sidhe Devils over on Kael’thas, the guild led by none other than the Big Bear Butt Blogger. Most of us normally play Horde, and so it has been a great opportunity to roll some Alliance alts, kick back, and hang out. Some Pox folks have transferred their Alliance mains there as well, so at any given time, I can log on to Kael’thas and hang out with my fellow Poxers and play in a less structured manner. It’s been great fun.

Even though the Poxers may not overlap much with our play times, there is still a strong sense of community amongst the teams. The guild bank is perpetually full of stuff that folks have donated for other players to use. There are potions, crafting mats, stacks of food, patterns, non-binding quest items, bags, you name it. Folks seem to operate on an informal give-a-penny, take-a-penny kind of attitude, and people are quick to respond on the e-mail list to requests for items, too. Within our team, people that enjoy playing the AH do so, and send crafting mats to each other. I almost always have leather waiting for me in my mailbox, too, from someone who fished up a bunch of trunks the night before.

We have plenty of resources as a guild now, but we did start from scratch. This meant that as our first few teams were leveling up our toons, we had only the bags we found or had scraped up the silver to buy. Several times, I had to ditch my hearthstone to make room for something I needed to pick up for a collection quest! (And was it a bummer to have to run all the way back to town when I forgot to get a new one from the innkeeper? Yes, yes it was. But also quite funny.) I remember being so excited to find some six slot bags in the AH for just 2 silver each. It meant I had to postpone training for a little while, but my inventory felt positively roomy after that. Now I’ve got netherweave bags in all four slots and more than enough gold to train in all skills, but I’m not afraid to pull out my old lady voice and talk fondly about those old days. I remember how we chuckled as the clothies collected various pieces of the “frayed” gear set (“set bonuses through the roof!”), and when people found their first greens, they boasted in gchat about the epix that had just dropped… hee hee…

Through fishing and playing the AH, we managed to become financially secure. It actually wasn’t all that tough, either. Again, this was one of the surprises — starting over on a new server is really quite doable, even for an individual. It takes a little time, but there is no reason for a new person on a server to be begging for gold in Orgrimmar. Proceed directly to the fishing trainer, buy a pole and some lures, sell the stuff in the AH, and you will be fine. It has also been very interesting to see how the economies are different on the various servers I’ve played on now, particularly on older vs. newer servers. There is a lot of money to be made by the lowbies on older servers, because the old guard has a lot of cash to throw around as they powerlevel their professions and their alts.

Overall, I think Pox Arcanum has been successful in creating a sandbox for experimental alts. It’s an even better sandbox now than it was when we started, too, given the resources we have accumulated. Not all the groups follow the exact plan I initially described (some folks play without full groups some weeks, for example), but we’ve left it to the individual teams to decide how the teams play. The one thing we do ask is that folks do not level independently of some sort of static team. We wouldn’t want to become a regular guild, after all. 😉

As a social thing, Pox Arcanum fell a bit short, in my opinion. I have still met some very cool people there, however, and any time I run into someone while I’m checking auctions, I do like to stay and chat. My vision of it as a place for bloggers to hang out didn’t quite come true, though it’s clear why when you think about the restrictions on how we play. I still like the experiment itself, and wouldn’t want to change how we play, but I’m surprised this didn’t occur to me as the guild was forming. I suppose teams could come together for some Karazhan runs in the end though, right? 🙂

Wow!

It’s been a bummer of a morning at work, and so, as is my usual habit when I’m in work-avoidance mode, I was scanning through the recently updated gaming blogs in my feed reader. I saw that there were some new posts by the SUWT folks, and I clicked on the Ancient Gaming Noobah, cool, new SUWT episode is out. I’ll have to download that. Probably some AoC stuff, yep, Keen and Graev, cool, and …

*blink blink*

For a second there, I thought there must be another blog called Outland Bound, but I hovered over the link, and it was mine.

Of course I immediately downloaded the podcast to hear what they said. I was referred to as a guy a couple times initially, but then the correction was made, that I am indeed a girl. Anyway, they had some really nice things to say about the blogs, and hearing them say hi to me (knowing that I’m a listener) was surreal to say the least… Wow! I’m trying to imagine my reaction had I heard the podcast before reading that post… hehe…

I’m still a bit stunned by the whole thing. Talk about making my day… Thanks so much, you guys! 😀 I very much appreciate the linkage, as well as your thoughts on my writings here! Wooo! Very encouraging.

Friday Five

1. Amen, sister. Seriously, great article.

2. I am working on a post about Pox Arcanum, more reflecting on the whole experiment than describing what we’ve been doing lately. So, briefly, what we’ve been doing lately: we’ve just passed level 30 and will take on the Scarlet Monastery Library next week. It will be our second assault, as we didn’t get much past Loksey the first try. Last week, we did some general quest clean-up (including class quests) and have all trained in our level 30 skills, so I think we’ll get much further this time. 🙂

3. Horde side, I’ve been spending time leveling my Blood Elf frost mage, and farming a lot of thorium to level up her jewelcrafting. Over the last week, it’s gone from 210 to 278, so I’m making good progress! I’ve been feeling more mage-y than hunter-y lately, so my level 70 hunter hasn’t gotten much attention this past week. I did take her out for a few quests one night though and got her revered with Cenarion Expedition. She now has the Glyph of Ferocity, just in time for a Kara run this weekend!

4. Alliance side, my Sidhe Devils fire mage has hit level 30. I’m still feeling slightly lost over there. Horde side, I know the drill, I know where all the instance quests are, and my battle plan for proceeding through them is set and well-practiced. She’s been through Deadmines and Stockades, but I haven’t really spent much time looking up the set of quests for Gnomer… instead, I’m just leveling. I would like to get her to 70 so I can play with the cool kids. (Oh, and BBB. 😉 )

5. I’ve been feeling a bit more focused in the game lately, less inclined to play lots of alts, though I create them. I want to gear up my hunter a bit, and run Kara with the guild. I want to get my frost mage to 70, and will likely make her my main when Wrath arrives (if not before). My priest still sits at 50, but she’s the only other horde side alt I suspect I’ll be putting effort into. Alliance side, I really am enjoying the fire mage. And that’s pretty much all I’m playing at the moment (and I don’t think the priest really counts). Believe it or not, this is pretty focused for me!

Same Faction Ganking?

My husband’s Alliance bank alt was in Stormwind this morning, when he was unexpectedly killed by someone in his own faction. He wasn’t flagged, he hadn’t agreed to a duel. He was just puttering about in the AH and the next thing he knew, he was being asked if he wanted to release his spirit. (A level 70 Gnome warrior standing by said “bwahaha,” so at first he thought he was responsible, but it may be that he was laughing because he survived the blast.) As it turns out, there is an exploit, typically used by shamans with their fire totems, that allows you to kill someone in your own faction. Because of the way it’s done (and I will not post that here), it will only kill them if they are a low level toon because it requires that they be killed in a single blast from the totem.

This is clearly not something Blizzard intended to allow and it’s been reported in several places, including a few threads in the official forums. I did some searches this morning (carefully, because if you put “exploit” in the search terms, you get some rather shady-looking, potentially keylogger-laden hits), and it seems that as often as people are reporting that they got ganked by someone in their own faction, there are others begging for it not to be reported because they like to use the trick to kill goldspammers. You know, it’s funny… I did notice quite a few dead goldspammers on the ground in Ironforge this weekend, and I thought for a moment that maybe a GM actually did something to zap their characters or accounts. For as many times as I report those bastards, I’ve never seen their corpses around, so these caught my eye. But now it makes a bit more sense… I’ll bet they were killed by other players.

I’m sure this exploit will be fixed, just like the similar ones that came before it (snake traps, infernals, etc). Each time such an exploit is found and fixed, some of the player base interprets it as Blizzard’s support of goldspammers. I disagree. I think it’s Blizzard instead protecting the legitimate player who would be targeted by a bored shaman while their lowbie bank alt is checking the price of leather in the AH. Some players have not only asked that this exploit remain in the game, but that there be more options given to players so that they can take the law into their own hands and gank the goldspammers and botters. Again, while it would be great to be able to buy a nice “Shut Up Balm” (or “Bomb” maybe) to apply to a goldspammer so he can’t say anything else, I just don’t think Blizzard can trust its players to target only “the bad guys.”

The one thing I can’t decide now is whether I’d report someone if my bank alt was caught in the blast. I’ve read that players can be banned for using this exploit. (Just a 3 hour ban, but a ban nonetheless, and a flag on their account.) I think I would, but maybe it would depend on how many goldspammers they managed to take out. 😉 Maybe I should get some better armor for my bank alt?

EDIT: From what we’ve heard and read since I first posted this, it seems very unlikely that the Gnome warrior who killed him. Instead, it was probably a shaman that had logged out, so I massaged the text above to remove blame from the Gnome.

Stampede!

Last Saturday night, I did the Running of Da Bulls, hosted by BRK and Ratshag on the Cenarion Circle server. It was initially proposed after the great success of the Gnaked Gnome Race, and then after their guildmate Sharvan passed away, it was determined that the bulls would run in her honor. And so we did… /moo!

It was quite an impressive turnout! I logged on about 45 minutes before start time and found the Tauren starting area loaded with racers, many of them sporting purple shirts. Within five minutes or so, I was added to a raid group.

I ran around, looked at all the names folks had chosen, and watched people duel. Those who weren’t dueling were mooing, dancing, and jumping up and down. All in all, it was very similar to the scene before the Gnaked Gnome race (but with more mooing).

I caught up with The Game Dame when she logged in and we managed to find one another in the herd.

We met up in vent, along with Dammerung, and mused at all the craziness. It was really fun to chat with them throughout the race, too. Everything was flying by in the chat window so quickly, I don’t think we would have been able to communicate at all that way!

Here we are getting ready to start the race, plus a classy exchange between some racers that I was lucky enough to capture. Someone also had a theory about how to reduce lag, but I don’t think it would have helped…

You can see here that someone was very concerned about the official starting line. Hehe… you definitely don’t want to be at the front of the pack for this race, dude.

And, they’re off!

It was very laggy, much more so than the gnome race. I usually have 60 fps, and was down to 20 or so. What was interesting was that my graphics were still smooth (I wasn’t getting the slide show effect), but all the people around me were gliding. There were times it seemed like I’d pulled away from the pack and was running (dangerously!) by myself, and then the other racers around me would all slide back into view at the same time.

We made it all the way through the Barrens to Durotar, where we crossed diagonally through the raptor and scorpion infested area, heading directly toward Orgrimmar. It was cool to see Orgrimmar appear on the horizon…

…but I only had a second to enjoy it because the zeppelin was already there! Aaahhhhh! Ruuuun!!

I ran up the ramp as fast as I could, but just missed it. Durnit.

So close!! It was pretty funny to watch the mass of Taurens grow as the racers behind us caught up. I also just noticed that in this first shot below, you can see the ultimate winner of the race laughing at those that missed the first boat. Hehehe…

A few minutes of mooing, jumping, and dueling later, the next zeppelin finally arrived, and off we went!

We hopped off the boat and into the darkness of Tirisfal Glades to try to catch up with the first pack. (And thanks, Surgee, I’ll be singing that song all day long now. 😛 )

Aaaand that’s when I made my fatal error. Most of the pack stayed on the road, but for some stupid reason, I decided to follow the small group of racers that veered left to take the shortcut through the water. I managed one last screenshot as I swam toward my death…

I realized I’d made a huge mistake, but held the small hope that the hungry pirahnas (or frenzies, or whatever they were) would be preoccupied with the racers ahead of me, and that I’d be allowed to pass by, but there just weren’t enough racers to feed them before I got there. So, I got eaten by a fish. He finished me off in about three bites. The rest of my race looked like this!

(And a note about that last shot — I snagged it because I wanted to catch the funny name of the runner that had just died there, but I also captured a bit of the general chat. There were a few people being annoying and spamming the general chat, and when someone asked them to stop, the first person there issued his opinion on the matter, while the second person just kept spamming those phrases. Continuously.)

I ran all the way to the finish line, but it looked pretty quiet since I was a ghost. Other folks have gotten some great shots of the area by the finish line loaded with dancing Taurens in purple shirts, but this is all that I saw.

I didn’t stay on for the raid to Ironforge because we had some guests over, but it sounded like it was a blast. There are a lot of great screenies out there, and you can catch some of the later shenanigans in this wonderful video put together by Wincefish: Running of Da Bulls. (It’s not Rick Astley, I promise.)

Anyway, even though I didn’t officially make it to the finish line in this one, it was great fun, and a nice tribute to Sharvan. I didn’t know her, but from what I’ve heard, she would have thought the whole thing was very funny. /moo!

Tremendous thanks to BRK and Ratshag for coordinating and hosting this event! I can’t wait to see what you guys come up with next… 🙂

An update of sorts

I’m still sorting through the pile of screenshots I took from Saturday’s Running of the Bulls for Sharvan, and will hopefully have those posted soon…

Posting here may slow down a bit over the next couple weeks, because I’m realizing how much of my work day it’s actually taking up. I get a few work-related things going (sometimes), make myself a cup of coffee, and start hammering out a blog entry, occasionally pausing to read other blogs or look for podcast updates. Of course I tab away when someone comes to chat with me or ask me something, but I do almost no work until the blog entry is done. Sometimes, given all the distractions and interruptions, this is as late as noon. The rest of the day flies by, and next thing I know, the whole week is gone. One could argue that the game itself also interferes with certain things getting done in the evenings, but the more urgent situation at the moment seems to be the way the blogging and reading about WoW during the day is interfering with my getting work done.

So, I’m going to cut back on all this a bit. I’ll still be posting a couple times a week, as things occur to me. My blog is intended more as a record of progress and events than a resource to the community anyway, so in the end I suppose it will really only be my loss. 🙂

Ok, time to get to work.  Back later!

Readings for your Thursday

Some of my favorite posts from this week…

Mythbusting: 1-70 in a Day, by A Dwarf Priest. I can’t wait to see what he does next in this series. (Enjoyable blog all around, too.)

Omigawd! App drama ftw!11!!! from the Big Bear Butt, a confessed Drama Llama. I’m totally with him on this. Bring on the schadenfreude. I loves it. I don’t like drama or idiocy in my guilds, but I totally enjoy watching others’ dramas, the same way that some people sekritly enjoy stirring things up in Trade Chat.

The Big Bear’s most recent ‘Shifting Perspectives’ column at WoW Insider was also awesome. I suspect my next Sidhe Devil might be a drood! 🙂

It’s a bit more than a week old, but I really enjoyed this post by Lifebloomer, about how the server going down may have, in a larger sense, saved their raid. GG Instance Server!

Why Do you Play? over at The Egotistical Priest. I’ve been considering the same question, given how much I’ve been playing lately, and have come to the same conclusion. 🙂

The Goblin in the Tuxedo: Why War and AoC are awesome, at Keen and Graev’s Gaming Blog. I realize that much of the post is actually the writing of someone called Barbryn who posted her thoughts in the official WoW forums, but generally, I really enjoy reading what these guys have to say. They’re part of a circle of bloggers separate from the usual WoW folks, though some of them do play (or have played) WoW. They blog more about MMOs in general, and given that WoW is my first (and only) MMO, I find it all fascinating. They often play in the open (and closed) betas for new games coming out, and I like the way all the blogs play off each other. I know I’m going to miss some goodies, but also check out pΘtshΘt, Hardcore Casual, Common Sense Gamer, Ancient Gaming Noob, Journeys with Jaye, and of course, Tobold. (Many of these folks have podcasts over at the Virgin Worlds Collective, too.) I don’t always agree with them (mainly because I’m still very happy with WoW and have zero interest in EVE Online), but the exchanges always make me think.

Groups of Words got some attention from WoW Insider on one of their recent funny posts, but they’ve got some great insights as well. Their recent musings on The Downside of Endgame Guilds hit pretty close to home.

And one final non-WoW post from Doomilias at A View from Behind. Behold, “Xtra Cheese.” Hilarious.

All your mutton chop are belong to us

(Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!)

The Purple Pox team kicked the collective butt of the inhabitants of Gnomeregan last night. Srsly.

This was my first time in Gnomer, and though I’d heard many terrible things about it, I didn’t think it was so bad. Maybe I’d grow to hate it if I pugged it a few times. It does seem to be a place where things could get out of control, particularly if the alarm bots weren’t disposed of quickly enough. As Horde, we didn’t have all the quests with the punchcards either, so maybe those are annoying, too.

Our biggest challenge wasn’t the mobs, it was finding our way around. The layout was a bit confusing and we had to do some wandering to find some of the last bosses, as well as the escort quest. There appeared to be plenty of opportunities for me to fall off of things and potentially aggro the rest of the instance, but I managed not to walk off any ledges (this time). When we were starting the final escort quest, I thought, “Oh great! This guy will just lead us out.” Uh, no … he wanted to follow us out. Doh!

But, we made it out. No wipes, no pulls that we couldn’t handle… are we just too good?

Most of the stuff that dropped just got sharded, though I think Wara did come away with an upgrade. The quest reward for ‘Rig Wars’ was a nice upgrade for me: Triprunner Dungarees. They also seem better than the pants I picked up in RFK that I still can’t wear yet because I’m only level 28. Heh… Oh! And did I mention that there were mutton chops?! Plus, accusations of some mutton chop ninja-ing. Were there screenshots? Did it happen? /rumor! /innuendo! /dramaz!

Also see:

Gnomer is gnot bad!

…That was it?