Patch notes and how my alts suffer

Tuesday. Maintenance day. For bloggers, a day many aim for to have their best content ready to go, since their potential audience will also be unable to log in and will be forced to look for their entertainment from other sources.

Tuesday has me thinking about patch notes and how I have been shockingly out of touch with all the information that is likely to be had regarding the coming changes for 4.1. I’ve heard bits and pieces, of course. We’ll be killing trolls again soon. The cap on the number of dailies is going up while the gold gained is going down. Arcane and Fire mages are getting some love.

I’ve always been more likely to perk up and pay attention when I see something related to mages. Especially since these days I never even get close to topping the charts if a hunter happens to be around. And with two of them in my 10-man raid most nights, I’m usually bringing up the rear, which just makes me sad. We could use some love.

Other than those things, I couldn’t really say what this next patch is going to bring. I feel a few twinges of guilt about this, since y’know, I am a GM and sometimes Raid Leader. Shouldn’t I be up to speed? Does it really matter in the earlier stages when anything could change at any time? I always make sure to read things over on Patch Day at least.

Except I don’t. Despite having many alts to play, with nearly four of them at 85 and four others in the low 80’s, I never quite manage to read over the changes for other classes. For this expansion, I’ve decided to have my paladin be my second focus, with a prot main spec and a holy off spec.  The idea is that between two characters, I can bring anything to the table, and I should be able to adequately keep up with all the gear, gems and enchants if I limit it to only two. I tried three in Wrath, and was constantly embarrassed at the state of my priest’s gems and enchants – and she is my JC! Tragic.

Anyhow. The point is, I am not all that great at paying attention to changes for classes other than my main. Even paladin changes are a mystery to me at this point. I feel bad about it, but not enough to actually go look up the patch notes. After all, I figure I won’t be doing heroics on the paladin any time soon, let alone raiding. And if I run across something that puzzles me while questing, my source for paladin help sits in the next chair.

But sometimes my own ignorance niggles at me a little. Like with my warlock, who I rerolled half a million times and now have at level 13 or so. I don’t really have any idea what half of the stuff in her spellbook does. DoTs are obvious. This soul… burn thing. I have only a passing idea of the mechanics built into that, and at level 13 or so it doesn’t seem to matter that I am mostly clueless. Shit still dies too fast for my ignorance to hamper me.

So on my alts, I am terribly, horribly lazy. I admit it. I’m not proud of it, but I am also not very motivated to change my wicked ways.

What level of effort do you put into your alts?

Posted in Leveling, Mage Related | Tagged , , , , , | 7 Comments

A non-hypothetical fishing extravaganza

You’re invited!

WHO: You. Your mom. Your dog. I don’t care. Every little bit helps!

WHAT: An event that is part Jeopardy and part fishing.

WHERE: Azuremyst – US, in the oft-mentioned guild <Eff the Ineffable> (Alliance side, yo)

WHEN: Sunday, March 27. 6:00pm server time (PST)

HOW: Roll up an alt and ask anyone for an invite to the guild. It might be helpful to start a toon (I recommend DK’s) a little in advance of the event date so you are able to fish somewhere without getting your face nommed off by mobs. During the event, all participants will need to be in our vent (details to be shared in guild chat) and fishing from pools.

WHY: I can’t get my worthless, good-for-nothing raiders to help our fishing efforts out long enough to get the new seafood feast. I can throw gold and, for one person, a mini pet from the Blizzard store at people as prizes for a silly WoW-themed trivia night. Fishing is boring. Testing your nerdiness is not.

I would like to have an idea of the number of people planning on attending so I can arrange in advance to have more spots in Vent if needed. If you’re already in my guild and planning on coming, sign up on the new calendar event please. If you’re not over here but planning on stopping by for the event, please drop me a line here or via twitter or email.

And that’s all I have to say about that, other than to probably remind everyone as the event date grows nearer.

Posted in Acts of Lameness | Tagged , , , , , | 10 Comments

Still neurotic

Last night was a big night for Eff the Ineffable. We had an explosion of growth, although I can’t really speculate what it will mean for us in the long term. I am hesitant to write this post for several reasons. One is that it’s going to feel a bit like name dropping. Two is that – in all my neurosis – I fear some of it will sound like I am maybe patting my own back a little too hard. Three is that I really don’t know what sort of plans some of our new members have in mind.

Anyhow, yes, we saw some rapid growth last night. A few people have already blogged about this – which leads me to make the joke as an aside here that soon Eff the Ineffable will be talked about nearly as much as top raiding guilds just because of the sheer amount of bloggers in our ranks. And with all of the people who stopped by, I admit I am feeling just a tad overwhelmed. In a good way, but also in a way where I actually lost sleep last night because I freaked out just a little that people would be like, no, these Effers are not as awesome as they pretend to be, in fact they are dull and what a waste of time that was.

And the thing is, I’ve never really been a part of anything like this. My little guild, built out of the shared dreams of a handful of people, has suddenly become a miniature SAN, with a purpose beyond bloggers being able to talk to other bloggers.

Being the GM, I feel an odd sense of pride. I don’t for a single moment believe that my presence has much to do with some of the interest we’re drawing, but in a way, this guild is mine and if the gathering of so many smart and articulate and talented people means anything, I think it means we have something really great going on. And I am delighted and proud to be a part of it, never mind the nominal leader.

My excitement is tempered with knowing that for a lot of the people we have with us, it’s more of a casual and part-time basis. That’s fine and I have already enjoyed our guild chat so very much, although it is a little difficult to keep up with sometimes while also trying to run instances. If I am being honest, I could wish for more open declarations of a desire to raid with us, because it’s hard to see so much talent and ability and know that it may never go towards our raiding progression.

I’m not sure how to really close this post. I am excited to see these faces among us. I am having SQUEES of fangirlish delight. But I am also trying to keep my eyes on the reality of what the impacts will and won’t be.

In the meantime, I have some bags to craft for all these new people. Pardon me while I go nuke the crap out of humanoids.

Posted in Acts of Lameness, Eff the Ineffable | Tagged , , , | 25 Comments

Growing my menagerie

To me, the best part of having a hunter alt is to have a whole collection of pets that don’t require a lot of love or attention. What? I’m lazy. I’ve recently gotten back to work on taming a collection of new pets, although the real prize I want is a spirit beast that I have yet to spot. Of course.

Anyhow, I decided rather randomly to get a rhino. Once I had him, I wasn’t sure what to do with him. After all, I couldn’t name him after anyone without potentially raising some issues as to whether I was making a comment on their weight. I thought about ‘Tiny’ because he really is, now that my magical taming powers shrunk him to pocket size. Rhii suggested ‘Horny’ which did totally make me laugh because I’ve a rather juvenile sense of humor.

I decided to go ahead and think it over while questing for the pet I really wanted in my stables. And yesterday, I struck upon a name which seems perfect.

So, meet Wallah. He is even blue and that is awesome.

Wallah wallows by the wallah

Posted in Acts of Lameness, Screenshots, Senseless Blah Blah | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Small guilds – pros and cons

This post is a continuation of a series about Eff the Ineffable as a guild without officers, how we got started, why and how we do things and anything else that comes to mind. You can see other posts in the series by clicking on the Eff the Ineffable tag.

Today, I am going to talk about size and how it matters.

Small Guild versus Big Guild

I think a large part of what is needed to have a guild succeed without officers is to keep it at a manageable size. This will likely vary somewhat from person to person for what they consider to be manageable, but for me I think I can easily field a roster of about 20-25 individuals. It would be less if I had to get to know everyone all at once or if they were all interested in raiding. It could possibly be more if they came into the guild a few at a time.

Small Guild Pros

So what are the pros of having a small guild?

  • Communication is easier. When you have about 15 people to get on the same page, it’s usually pretty simple to hit most of them at once and still know at a glance who wasn’t around and will need to be updated.
  • Knowing everyone’s strengths and weaknesses comes more easily. When in WWAB, it wasn’t uncommon for me to not know how well a given player might do in their role until I found out the hard way that moving out of the bad wasn’t their forte or situational awareness was lacking on movement intensive fights. In a smaller guild, I already know how well people perform in their various roles.
  • Gear isn’t going to waste. With a roster as small as ours, we pretty much all have to be raiding with some frequency to raid at all. I’m not seeing epics gathering dust on characters of people who are only pitching in about once a month. People are either helping with progression or they’re not raiding at all.
  • Becoming close-knit happens naturally. This might just be important to me, but I like the feeling of being in a guild where it feels a bit like family because everyone is always tripping over each other and no one is getting upset over it. Again, in WWAB, I could only keep up with a fraction of the roster to the point where I felt I knew people as well as I know my actual siblings. Here, I am constantly running heroics and raids with pretty much everyone. So we all have the same inside jokes, the same stories of pulls gone awry, the same achievements.  Our history is joint and depends on only us.

Small Guild Cons

  • Guild leveling comes slower. We rarely – if ever – make the cap for the amount of guild xp that can be earned in a day, because we don’t have huge numbers of people able to contribute to it. Those other achievements are coming along slowly as well – the crafting of so many flasks or the catching of so many fish. But those perks are just that: Perks. We don’t need them to succeed and we’ll get them when we get them.
  • Raiding sometimes doesn’t happen. We are trying to recruit to flesh out our raiding roster because we do need a few more people so that we don’t completely miss raiding on a certain week because someone decided to go on a nerdy vacation.
  • It takes concentrated effort to get certain things crafted. We have one blacksmith who runs heroics and can get his hands on the chaos orbs needed for many crafted epics wanted by our paladins and death knight. Fortunately, we have plenty of people ready and willing to chip in the materials that are a little easier to come by, but it takes time and planning to execute crafting even a single piece. The same thing happens with leatherworking goods. So far, the cloth-wearing folks are the only ones who have it mostly easy. Or at least no harder than anyone else who has to deal with that damned dreamcloth cooldown.

Overall, yes, there are certain tradeoffs to being small. With the exception of raiding sometimes being sunk, I think the benefits far outweigh the negatives.

Posted in Eff the Ineffable, Leadership | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

If

If… I had a guild event and made it open to anyone who could roll on a US server, would you come?

If… This event were held in Vent and all you had to do was join the Effers on an alt and fish from pools while answering Jeopardy-style questions (or is that question Jeopardy-style answers???) about WoW, would you come?

If… The prize were either gold (on Azuremyst, natch) or, for one super smart and quick-on-the-draw person, a mini pet purchased by me from the Blizzard store and sent to you, would you come?

If… The aforementioned event took place on a non Effer raid night and you did want to come, which night would you prefer? (see poll for casting a vote, leave preferred times as a comment or twit at me or whatever)

If… This event goes well on any level and you were interested in doing something similar for your guild, would you remember that I don’t bite and email me to ask for my questions and categories spreadsheet? (Because I would totally share)

I hope the intent is clear here. We need to work on our guild fishing so we might obtain the new fish feast. But since fishing bores many people, myself unabashedly included, I thought I would do what I could to spice things up. I will be holding three rounds of full Jeopardy boards, making for 90 questions total. Contestants must be in the guild, in Vent and fishing from pools to play. A sum of gold will be attached to each question and answer, but to give an incentive to “out of town” players, I will purchase a mini pet for the person who wins the most gold and is just visiting for the event.

Questions, comments or snarky remarks? You know where to leave ‘em.

Edited to add: My poll addon is being very FAIL right now. I am working on it, but am okay with hearing in the comments which days/times work while I am trying to get that working. /kicks poll plugin and then calls Zel for HALP.

Second Edit: I have FIRED WP-Polls and the new one works. Carry on.

Posted in Acts of Lameness, Thoughts and Ideas | Tagged , , , , | 20 Comments

This goes out to Kotakh

Chapter 24

Caroline’s letter arrived, and put an end to doubt. The very first sentence conveyed the assurance of their being all settled on another server for the foreseeable future, and concluded with Bingley’s regret at not having had time to pay his respects to his friends before the server transfer went through.

Hope was over, entirely over; and when Jane could attend to the rest of the letter, she found little, except the professed affection of the writer, that could give her any comfort. Georgiana’s praise occupied the chief of it. Her GearScore and average iLvl were again dwelt on, and Caroline boasted joyfully of their increasing rep with their new guild, and ventured to predict the accomplishment of the wishes which had been unfolded in her former letter. She wrote also with great pleasure of Mr Bingley’s being an inmate of Mr. Darcy’s raiding team, and mentioned with raptures some plans of the latter with regard to new crafting professions.

Elizabeth, to whom Jane very soon communicated the chief of all this, heard it in silent indignation. Her heart was divided between concern for her guildie, and resentment against all others. To Caroline’s assertion of Mr. Bingley’s being partial to Georgiana she paid no credit. That he was really fond of Jane, she doubted no more than she had ever done; and much as she had always been disposed to like him, she could not think without anger, hardly without contempt, on that easiness of temper, that want of proper resolution, which now made him the slave of his designing friends, and led him to sacrifice of his own happiness to the caprice of their inclination. Had his own happiness, however, been the only sacrifice, he might have been allowed to sport with it in whatever manner he thought best, but Jane’s was involved in it, as she thought he must be sensible himself. It was a subject, in short, on which reflection would be long indulged, and must be unavailing. She could think of nothing else; and yet whether Bingley’s regard had really died away, or were suppressed by his friends’ interference; whether he had been aware of Jane’s attachment, or whether it had escaped his observation; whatever were the case, though her opinion of him must be materially affected by the difference, Jane’s situation remained the same, her peace equally wounded.

A day or two passed before Jane had courage to speak of her feelings to Elizabeth; but at last, on Mrs. Bennet’s leaving them together, after a longer irritation than usual about Mr. Bingley, she could not help saying:

“Oh, that Mrs. Bennet had more command over herself! She can have no idea of the pain she gives me by her continual reflections on him. But I will not repine. It cannot last long. He will be forgot, and we shall all be as we were before.”

Elizabeth listened to Jane with incredulous solicitude, but said nothing.

“You doubt me,” cried Jane; “indeed, you have no reason. He may live in my memory as the most amiable man of my acquaintance, but that is all. I have nothing either to hope or fear, and nothing to reproach him with. Thank God! I have not that pain. A little time, therefore—I shall certainly try to get the better.”

With a stronger voice she soon added, “I have this comfort immediately, that it has not been more than an error of fancy on my side, and that it has done no harm to anyone but myself.”

“My dear Jane!” exclaimed Elizabeth, “you are too good. Your sweetness and disinterestedness are really angelic; I do not know what to say to you. I feel as if I had never done you justice, or loved you as you deserve.”

Jane eagerly disclaimed all extraordinary merit, and threw back the praise on her Elizabeth’s warm affection.

“Nay,” said Elizabeth, “this is not fair. You wish to think all the world respectable, and are hurt if I speak ill of anybody. I only want to think you perfect, and you set yourself against it. Do not be afraid of my running into any excess, of my encroaching on your privilege of universal good-will. You need not. There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense. I have met with two instances lately, one I will not mention; the other is Charlotte’s transfer. It is unaccountable! In every view it is unaccountable!”

“My dear Lizzy, do not give way to such feelings as these. They will ruin your happiness. You do not make allowance enough for difference of situation and temper. Consider Mr. Collins’s respectability, and Charlotte’s steady, prudent character. Remember that she is one of a PvP guild; that as to ability, it is a most eligible match; and be ready to believe, for everybody’s sake, that she may feel something like regard and esteem for Mr. Collins.”

“To oblige you, I would try to believe almost anything, but no one else could be benefited by such a belief as this; for were I persuaded that Charlotte had any regard for him, I should only think worse of her understanding than I now do of her heart. My dear Jane, Mr. Collins is a conceited, pompous, narrow-minded, terribad tank; you know he is, as well as I do; and you must feel, as well as I do, that the healer who volunteers to raid with him cannot have a proper way of thinking. You shall not defend her, though it is Charlotte. You shall not, for the sake of one individual, change the meaning of principle and integrity, nor endeavour to persuade yourself or me, that selfishness is prudence, and insensibility of danger security for happiness.”

“I must think your language too strong in speaking of both,” replied Jane; “and I hope you will be convinced of it by seeing them happy together. But enough of this. You alluded to something else. You mentioned two instances. I cannot misunderstand you, but I entreat you, dear Lizzy, not to pain me by thinking that person to blame, and saying your opinion of him is sunk. We must not be so ready to fancy ourselves intentionally injured. We must not expect a good tank to be always so guarded and circumspect. It is very often nothing but our own vanity that deceives us. Healers fancy admiration means more than it does.”

“And tanks take care that they should.”

“If it is designedly done, they cannot be justified; but I have no idea of there being so much design in the world as some persons imagine.”

“I am far from attributing any part of Mr. Bingley’s conduct to design,” said Elizabeth; “but without scheming to do wrong, or to make others unhappy, there may be error, and there may be misery. Thoughtlessness, want of attention to other people’s feelings, and want of resolution, will do the business.”

“And do you impute it to either of those?”

“Yes; to the last. But if I go on, I shall displease you by saying what I think of persons you esteem. Stop me whilst you can.”

“You persist, then, in supposing Caroline’s influence him?”

“Yes, in conjunction with Mr. Darcy.”

“I cannot believe it. Why should they try to influence him? They can only wish his happiness; and if he is attached to me, no other healer can secure a raid spot with him.”

“Your first position is false. They may wish many things besides his happiness; they may wish his increase of wealth and consequence; they may wish him to settle with a healer who has all the importance of money, great connections, and pride.”

“Beyond a doubt, they do wish him to choose Georgiana,” replied Jane; “but this may be from better feelings than you are supposing. They have known her much longer than they have known me; no wonder if they love her better. But, whatever may be their own wishes, it is very unlikely they should have opposed Mr. Bingley’s. What guild mate would think herself at liberty to do it, unless there were something very objectionable? If they believed him attached to me, they would not try to part us; if he were so, they could not succeed. By supposing such an affection, you make everybody acting unnaturally and wrong, and me most unhappy. Do not distress me by the idea. I am not ashamed of having been mistaken—or, at least, it is light, it is nothing in comparison of what I should feel in thinking ill of him or his friends. Let me take it in the best light, in the light in which it may be understood.”

Elizabeth could not oppose such a wish; and from this time Mr. Bingley’s name was scarcely ever mentioned between them.

Mrs. Bennet still continued to wonder and repine at his returning no more, and though a day seldom passed in which Elizabeth did not account for it clearly, there was little chance of her ever considering it with less perplexity. Elizabeth endeavoured to convince her of what she did not believe herself, that his attentions to Jane had been merely the effect of a common and transient liking, which ceased when he saw her no more; but though the probability of the statement was admitted at the time, she had the same story to repeat every day. Mrs. Bennet’s best comfort was that Mr. Bingley must be down again.

Mr. Bennet treated the matter differently. “So, Lizzy,” said he one day, “Jane is crossed in happiness, I find. I congratulate her. Next to being raiding on a steady basis, a girl likes to be crossed a little in happiness now and then. It is something to think of, and it gives her a sort of distinction among her companions. When is your turn to come? You will hardly bear to be long outdone by Jane. Now is your time. Here are raiders enough in the <Meryton Militia> to disappoint all the casual raiders in the server. Let Wickham be your tank. He is a pleasant fellow, and would jilt you creditably.”

“Thank you, sir, but a less agreeable man would satisfy me. We must not all expect Jane’s good fortune.”

“True,” said Mr. Bennet, “but it is a comfort to think that whatever of that kind may befall you, you have an affectionate officer who will make the most of it.”

Mr. Wickham’s society was of material service in dispelling the gloom which the late perverse occurrences had thrown on many of the <Longbourn> guild. They saw him often, and to his other recommendations was now added that of general unreserve. The whole of what Elizabeth had already heard, his claims on Mr. Darcy, and all that he had suffered from him, was now openly acknowledged and publicly canvassed; and everybody was pleased to know how much they had always disliked Mr. Darcy before they had known anything of the matter.

Jane was the only creature who could suppose there might be any extenuating circumstances in the case, unknown to the society of the server; her mild and steady candour always pleaded for allowances, and urged the possibility of mistakes—but by everybody else Mr. Darcy was condemned as the worst of men.

Posted in Pride and Prejudice, Writing | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

When Alas ponders deep thoughts

This is what that looks like

Go ahead. Caption away.

And stay tuned to hear what those deep thoughts were about.

Posted in Acts of Lameness, Screenshots | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

The success of an idea

I recently had someone from WoM link to a post of mine about Eff the Ineffable being officerless. While the discussion in that post went in other directions – how to prevent having officers who do nothing – I found myself caught by the poster saying that they didn’t agree with the idea of a guild without officers.

I wouldn’t expect that a guild like ours would be right for everyone or for every guild charter. In many cases, it would be exactly the wrong way to go. But I don’t think that means the idea as a whole can or should be discounted. I’ve heard of several guilds out there who don’t have officers and it works for them – Rades‘ being the primary one I can think of – and, you know, I think it’s working for us as well.

Measuring Success

Nevertheless, it got me thinking about success – the success of an idea – and how it is measured. I think the default opinion of whether or not something is a success is whether or not a lot of people get on board with it and say that they think it’s a good idea. Viewed in that light, we Effers are not a success because there have been plenty of detractors who have cautioned about potential pitfalls and who have strongly implied that we’re a little bit nuts for doing what we’re doing.

And that’s okay. I, for one, don’t take any of it too seriously. After all, when I look at Eff the Ineffable in the light of what I wanted it to be, we are wildly successful. And I feel that as we get to know each other even better – and stop apologizing so much for speaking our minds or giving each other constructive criticism – that we can only go up from here.

I would also offer an alternative viewpoint for whether or not we are successful as a guild, and that is from whether or not we are getting what we wanted out of the way things are organized. In the end, that’s the only viewpoint that matters.

A casual environment versus adults being adults

At our heart, we are a raiding guild comprised of adults with real life responsibilities that take precedence over the game. No one is going to abandon their school work or their families to raid and that’s something we can all understand and respect about each other. Because this limits the time we can have in game, we have to make the most of it.

In a more casual raiding environment, I found that the “Rules” were more often taken as “Suggestions.” You might want to show up on time. You might need to sign up if you want to have a spot. You might consider looking at some strats or videos or something – but if you don’t, someone will tell you what you need to know so no worries, mate.

Also, in a more casual setting, it was a seriously tricky business to try to suggest to someone that they might need some improvement. Almost without exception, suggestions were met with a defense about “we’re not hardcore so you can’t expect me to read up on my class” or “the reason I don’t perform well is because I need gear.”

There hasn’t been any of that in Eff the Ineffable. Everyone here knows what EJ is and will read it. Everyone here knows how to find strats for boss fights and will take the time out to watch a video. We’re all running heroics like mad people, trying to improve our gear and performance. Zel recently started a tradition of post-raid self evaluations, where we all head to the forums and talk about things we could do better and solicit ideas on how to accomplish some of those things.

And perhaps that doesn’t sound like a lot to people who are in progression raiding guilds. But I think the fact that people are doing this without having an officer standing behind them to check and make sure they are is pretty cool. We don’t need babysitters. And as GM, I don’t have to babysit anything.

People are responsive, too. I spoke a short while ago about how the guild bank was making me a little nuts (hell if I can find the post though, so you’ll just have to take my word for it). Shortly thereafter, I organized it all and then headed to the forums where I told everyone how I would like to see the bank used. No problems since, except that everyone is so determined to be independent that I had to beat people around the head and shoulders a bit to get them to actually use the flasks and potions and flowers put in there for raiding purposes.

Can you hear me now?

I think the key to most good relationships is communication. And with so many people active outside of the game in talking to each other – whether it’s through our forums, Twitter, FaceBook, blogging, Google chat, texting or sending emails – we certainly have that bit down.

So agree with the idea or not, it is working for us and going splendidly.

Posted in Eff the Ineffable, Leadership, Raiding | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

A posse, I have one

With many thanks to Grimmtooth for the art and to the Effers pictured above for being generally awesome (which is not to say that those Effers who didn’t make it to the photoshoot are any less awesome).

There’s something about this picture that makes me really want to take ownership of that GM title. I feel, I dunno, something like a badass, seeing my character there ringed on every side with bristling menace. I love being able to look at this stylized representation of our characters and know at a glance who’s who.

We haven’t all been together very long, but the support and the camaraderie we have would make one think otherwise. I wasn’t ever sure I could feel at home in a guild that hadn’t been my place for the past several years, but I very much do. And I hope everyone else feels the same.

Guys, let’s go kill us some bosses tonight. We certainly look capable of mayhem and murder!

Posted in Eff the Ineffable, Leadership | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments