Things that have annoyed me recently

My neighbors. There’s the one who insists on believing he is a drummer and gleefully bangs away for an hour or more every night. That shouldn’t be permitted in an apartment-style living situation. Especially if you’re so awful that it sounds like someone set a bunch of hyper chimps free with pots and pans and several hard surfaces to throw them against. Also on my list? The asshole who pulled up across the street at midnight and started honking every five seconds for about a minute. Lastly, there is the garage door below us that sounds like the goddamn Nazgûl have arrived every time it opens or closes.

That damned rooster. I don’t know where, exactly, the little bugger lives but I know that it’s close to where I live. And this damned rooster doesn’t just crow once at sunup, oh no. He is at it all the time. I’m tempted to get out there and commit murder most fowl.

All the assholes on the train. All I ask is that people mind my personal space and try not to get into an enclosed area smelling either as though they have not bathed in three months or have marinated nightly in a bath of floral perfume. Minding my personal space means don’t step on me, don’t stick your ass or crotch directly into my face and mind all your dangling shit. Getting repeatedly hit with your bag or laptop case or oversized gods be damned purse is not fun for me. If I push back, take the hint and take steps to correct things. The train is never so full that you can’t rest your backpack on the floor at your feet.

Kooky McRacistpants. Just because she is obnoxious. With the high pitched whispering and the smacky way she chews her gum and the way she acts surprised to see me every day.

People who don’t understand sarcasm. Look, if I make a snide comment to a healer about how I am going to take that hat because it has all that delicious spirit on it, don’t tell me spirit is a useless stat for mages. I think I know that better than you do and am just trying to get a rise out of Zel.

Related: people who think they know everything. Shut your gobs. Spare me the lectures.

Transmogrification. I’m happy you’re all happy and not trying to piss on anyone’s parade. If dress up is your thing, more power to you. It’s just overwhelming to hear about it all the time and see very little discussion about… really anything else.  

Related: my inability to get either of the two posts that I want to write to come out in a pleasing and coherent manner. I’ve made several stabs at them, thrown it all away and started over several times, but I’m no closer to having either of them finished. The fail is strong in this one.

Budgeting. Being an adult can be so tedious.

My hair. It’s just long enough that it gets on my neck and annoys the crap out of me and will fall in my eyes if I don’t pin it back. It’s just short enough that I can’t put it in a tail and forget about it. I yearn for the days when I rocked the fauxhawk because at least that was easy.

Lastly, that’s it’s only Friday morning and not Friday afternoon and I have a whole day of scanning paper one sheet at a time to look forward to. And the dream job still hasn’t called me. I swear I’ll be happier once I’m not suffering in temp monkey hell for 40 hours a week.

-Alas the Very Easily Annoyed

Effers get drunk and murderous

We really do but that is a discussion for another day.

I wrote about Konfer Suicide Kings a while back and, while we are still using Suicide Kings as our loot system, we were having enough trouble getting that addon to sync properly that we decided to give another addon a try.

The only other addon I saw out on Curse when I went looking was Drunkard Suicide Kings. Gnoble and I both downloaded it and went to work playing with it.

To open the interface, all you need to do is type /dsk

Here's a picture in case that's too hard to understand

This is a very lightweight addon in terms of options. There are only three tabs to deal with: Normal loot, tokens and an import/export feature.

The Features

You don't get to see the token list because we haven't used it yet

This is pretty much the whole thing. To add members to a list, you can add them in one at a time by opening the list and selecting the member and clicking the add button. That is great for one-off situations, but for getting our whole list loaded in and in the same order we had in KSK, we simply copied the information from KSK into an Excel file and then imported it.

As a note of importance, you have to be master looter in a raid and be able to talk in your guild’s officer chat in order to do anything at all to these lists.

As for the rest of the few options there, “delete” removes someone from the list and “murder” drops them to the bottom of the list. As to the sync option, we like this much better than KSK’s version, which was incredibly buggy. To quote from the notes at Curse on this:

To sync the lists. If you are not the masterlooter and hit sync, the masterlooter will broadcast his list to everyone. If you are the masterlooter and hit sync, all of the officers will send you their lists and yours will be updated. Either way lists are only updated if a newer list is received.

DSK in Action

One very small drawback to DSK is that everyone needs to have it downloaded in order for the bidding process to work automatically. We didn’t realize this on our first few tries and had to do everything manually. But once everyone does have it installed, the master looter needs to simply press Alt while clicking on the loot item.

I kept forgetting to screenshot this on an actual progression night

Once loot is Alt+clicked on, everyone should see a box pop up with options to bid, pass or roll for offspec. I open the list in order to view whether everyone has responded or not and then to close bids once everyone has indicated their choice. Closing the bid will, if someone has made a bid for it, automatically suicide the winner.

And that’s really all there is to it.

Pros and Cons

Pros of DSK compared to KSK

  • Lightweight, very easy to understand and use
  • Syncs with ease
  • Ability to manually rearrange lists is very simple

Cons of DSK compared to KSK

  • Some risk of lists being meddled with if officer chat is open to most people in the guild
  • Does not autoloot items to the winner or to an enchanter for items below the threshold
  • Everyone has to have it installed

All in all, I feel the pros outweigh the cons and have been very happy with the switch.

New hunter, new famous pet

A few days ago I caught a bit of an exchange on Twitter that centered around what rapper names it would be fun to give to hunter pets in WoW.

After some extensive research (see: my asking “Who started this one?) to see where it had originated, I decided to toss my own rendition of it out there. For the money. Or the lol’s. Or both those things.

lol money, money lol

So you want to be a GM? (Part 1)

Every once in a while, I’ll see someone pose the question on Twitter:

I’m going to start a guild. Any advice?

My knee-jerk reaction, being lame as I am, and going for the easy joke as I do, is to say, “Don’t do it!”

And that can be good advice, if the person in question is starting a guild on a spur-of-the-moment notion that it would be a fun thing to do, just to see what it’s like. Absolutely anyone can collect signatures and come up with a clever name (well, maybe not that second part. Otherwise how do we explain guilds with pretentious Latin names or [my personal head-scratcher] shenanigans like TAYLOR GANG?), but the actual work that goes into leading a successful guild is often more than one might expect.

I’m not going to pretend I know all there is to know about leading a guild (let alone a successful one), but having been GM of two wildly different guilds and having inherited the one and started the other, here are some things I have learned that are applicable.

1. You gotta know what exactly you want your guild to be

This is possibly the most important thing and I personally consider it to be non-negotiable. Do you envision a guild that is driving for server firsts and hardmodes? Will you be doing that as a 10- or 25-man raid team? Or do you want to be a purely social guild? Or is it something in between those two things? Or is it something else altogether, like a group of people who want to get drunk and pretend to be pirates? You gotta know exactly what it is you want out of the game and the theoretical guild.

Take some time to think about this one and for heaven’s sake, don’t think that you personally are locked into being a drunk fake pirate forever just because you started a guild based on that desire. People change. Desires change. And it’s a lot easier to lead a guild when you care about the vision and goals of that guild. If you don’t, it’s just work without reward and I guarantee you will get bitter over it.

2. Now write it all down. All of it.

This exercise will come in handy in a lot of ways, so take the time to articulate on paper (or in a Word document), what your ideal guild would be. Try to avoid words like “hardcore” or “casual” or even “social.” Those words are all so deeply ambiguous within the collective psyche of the WoW-playing community that they really don’t have a meaning. Instead, everyone assigns their own meaning to the words and assumes that everyone else is thinking of the same values when those words are tossed out.

It’s tempting to say my own guild, Eff the Ineffable, is a casual raiding guild, but my idea of “casual” and yours might be two wildly different things. My definition of casual extends to not having a lot of time in which to raid and to not expecting everyone to be 100% perfect all the time, as long as they are trying to improve. Your definition of casual might include not needing to sign up, have enchants/gems or work at getting exalted with various factions to buy their upgrades. Some people see casual and think that even signing up for a raid doesn’t mean they are required to show up on time, if at all.

So if, like me, you will get stabby if people aren’t on time and ready to go, you need to make a note that you have the expectation that all raiders will keep their commitments. Or whatever it is that your expectations are.

You’re the GM here. You get to dictate this stuff. And you have to do so clearly.

3. KEEP WRITING! I SAID KEEP WRITING!

I’m pretty sure that 95% of being successful in leading a guild is to have a solid structure. So now you’ve spelled out what, exactly, you want to see in a guild. Great. That is only half of it. The next thing you need to think about is what are the consequences for people who don’t meet those expectations.

To do this, I think the best way is to really think about all the various ways in which people could step outside your limitations. This does not just go for raiding guilds. Perhaps you are running a more social guild and it doesn’t matter much if people are on at a certain time or what they do while they are on. What is there to monitor?

Plenty.

Are you going to allow racist talk, for instance? Dirty jokes? Do you want a family friendly environment? Or, even more to the gaming point, do you want guild chat full of people asking to be boosted through this, that or the other instance by people who might have better things to do?

Hell, I’ll shut people down if they talk religion or politics in my guild even if I happen to agree with them.

You need to know where all your lines are and what you intend to do with people who cross those lines. And you need to determine (in advance) what is important enough for you to come down with the gkick of doom and what just needs a soft touch or a reminder that, hey, that joke was a bit tasteless, please don’t do that again.

And then you need to communicate those lines as clearly as possibly along with the consequences (IE: I boot racist/sexist people) and then enforce it fairly and impartially.

This means not letting Guy A (who is a good friend of yours) getting away with blatantly Not Okay talk in guild while gkicking Guy B (who irritates the crap out of you), for saying something far more mild.

And, you know, when you have to hold Guy A accountable, it sucks. But it sucks worse having to deal with fallout from taking it all out on Guy B and making an enormous mistake. After all, Guy B has friends…

I’ll say it again: you have to be willing to enforce the rules, no matter if it is something unpleasant. You have to be willing to step between two fighting guildies. You have to be willing to gkick your real life best friend if his behavior calls for it. If you are not willing to see that everyone plays by the same rules, then you have already failed as a GM. 

This won’t fit in one post

The above is just a beginning to starting out as a GM, but I seem to have lots more in mind to say on the subject. So stay tuned for more in this series of the Do’s and Don’t’s of starting a guild and I’ll attempt to sound even more profound and knowledgeable in future posts.

If you’ve taken nothing else away from this post, please understand that being a GM is a big commitment of your time and resources and shouldn’t be entered into without any thought for what lies ahead. So if you are thinking of being a GM, great, more power to you! But make sure it’s not a frivolous decision before you get started.

I’m entering the Blizz writing contest – are you?

I’ve once again managed to completely derail myself from writing that novel I keep threatening to make progress on. Because I’m awesome like that.

Okay, it’s actually pretty fail of me. I wrote the first chapter and then two weeks later, after beating my head against the next chapter, realized it might be the first chapter of the wrong book. There’s too much history in this fantasy world for me to start at the beginning of the culmination of events, though I am sure that would make for a lot of intricate subplots and some fast pacing. So there you go, poor saps who volunteered to be First Readers. I’m sorry to have wasted your time.

Except it wasn’t wasted for me because your feedback helped me to realize how much I was missing.

In order to keep that from happening again (she says with hope), I will wait until I have made significantly more progress into the events where everything should start before accosting you with anything further.

But that’s on hold while I lovingly craft my entry to the Blizzard writing contest.

I’ve diverged quite wildly from my typical sort of entry, which is usually some tale of heartache and woe that all turns out well and happy for the concerned parties in the end. Having checked to make sure the format is acceptable (it is, someone got an honorable mention using a similar format), I started work on… well – let me just show you some. I’m having a ton of fun writing it. Hope you enjoy it as well.

Journal of a Renegade Herbalist

This being a faithful account, written in my Own Hand, of my Quest to go forth and pick the Herbs and Flowers of Azeroth and Outland without spending two copper on needless instruction.

Day One
I have set out from Stormwind into the nearby environs of the forest that surrounds the city. I have never thought it much of a forest, being sparse of tree and swarming with humans, but I am assured that this is a proper place to begin gathering such herbs as are thought valuable to alchemists and purveyors of ink.

Though I have indeed traveled far and wide in this world and done many things of Note, including the slaying of countless foes of the Alliance, I have never been troubled before to add any other duties upon myself. Times being somewhat more Peaceful now, I have decided that I might reasonably gather herbs as I continue to travel this realm, looking for any odd jobs that might need doing by a Brave Adventurer such as myself.

Many people claim that the instruction of a master herbalist is needed before one might set out to begin gathering them oneself. I was, however, recently at the Library in Stormwind, awaiting an audience with the King, regarding some little assistance I had rendered the crown, and chanced upon a small volume written by some priest or other that told the names of herbs and other plant matter prized by those who have uses for such things. This volume also contained elegant depictions done in a fair hand of what leaf and root and stem looked like.

It being a small volume and having such excellent Illustrations, I took it along with me, for it was then that I realized I might turn this venture into something which might earn me much gold without any outlay on my own part being required.

Being now in Elwynn Forest, I have spent the day riding or walking about, with my Eye cast towards the ground. So far I have gathered several bagfuls of what appears to be Silverleaf, Peacebloom and some type of root. I shall have to make a stop in the small town of Goldshire tomorrow to sell what I might.

Day Two

Have spent the last night in poor rest, sneezing and itching. Believe I have come down with a cold of some sort. Will delay trip to Goldshire until I am recovered as I am no Fit Company for anyone with my eyes and nose streaming as they are.

Day Three

Still ill. Itching grows worse by the minute, it seems. Was fortunate enough to catch a few rabbits for my supper.

Day Six

I am at last recovered from my “illness.” Thank the Light this forest is so widely strewn about with various people. A female gnome with her pink hair arranged in a tall tower on her head stumbled across my camp and became immediately concerned for my welfare. I was too addled with exhaustion and the unrelenting itching to pay much heed to her actions and do not now recall much of what she said in her breathless, squeaky voice.

She did inform me that a great quantity of what I had thought to be Silverleaf was actually something called Broadleaf and is Notorious for conjuring up the symptoms of itching and sneezing that I have been enduring.

Of my Efforts, most of it has now been discarded. I shall take the little that remains into Goldshire and will sell it. I must lay in some food supplies and will, once re-provisioned, take the road south and west to Westfall. I am Assured that neither Broadleaf nor Silverleaf are found in that Region.

I hate my birthday

For years, I thought I hated my birthday because I just didn’t want to be the center of attention for something as silly as the fact that my mom went through a lot of effort and pain to bring me into the world. I mean really, shouldn’t she be getting the acclaim?

And, you know, I loved my birthday growing up – at least until I hit about 15. The idea of a certain number doesn’t hold any particular terror for me, so I’m not one of those people who is clinging desperately to some idea of youth. After all, though my body is aging, it’s not as though I actually feel any older from year to year.

This year I realized why I hate my birthday so much.

As you move through life you meet people and form attachments to them. Some of these are true friendship and others are mere duty. I’m known by many people that I would just as soon never speak to again, but you know, you have to play with certain people to keep things running smoothly with people you do care about. Maybe your best friend has a brother that they love and think is awesome while you privately think he’s a dick. You’ll be polite to that person out of duty, more likely than not.

Since I don’t make close bonds with people very easily, most of the attachments in my life are those of duty. And that’s okay by me. I prefer to have a few friends that I can pour a lot of time into and keep everyone else at a distance. The only thing is, when my birthday rolls around, all these attachments who couldn’t give a flying fuck about my existence the rest of the year all of a sudden feel compelled to come wriggling out of the woodwork to congratulate me on not getting killed in the past year.

To me, that seems beyond trite. And it reminds me of those unfortunate few years where I had my birthday away from my family because I was at a church camp. One year I was serenaded by the entire youth group while in line waiting for a waterslide. Another year we were on our way back from Washington, stopped in Idaho for dinner, and they sang at me when I got to the head of the line at the fast food place.

Both times I felt humiliated. I thought that it was because I don’t like to be the center of attention but, you know, that’s not really accurate. I am okay taking center stage around people I love and who I know love me, if only for a few moments of being in the limelight. Those motherfuckers in my youth group didn’t even really like me (I was the dorky homeschooler after all, while they all went to a private school together), let alone love me. The only reason my birthday was acknowledged was so they could make me a spectacle.

People reading this might think I am overly sensitive. I probably am. But, you know, it’s still bullshit to pretend to care about someone only on the day they got evacuated from a womb.

But maybe I shouldn’t hate my birthday. Maybe I should just learn to ignore all the idiots who think it’s going to make my day feel magical and special because they deigned to acknowledge it with a message on Facebook that took five seconds and no thought at all to write.

Wherein I make a triumphant return ™

Oh hey there. Did you miss me? I missed you. I missed this, also. Writing. Spilling the random contents of my mind onto these pages. It gets awfully cluttered and nonsensical up in there without letting any of it out from time to time.

My break was good. I don’t know if I have quite perfected the art of not giving a fuck. I know I will never not care – it’s not in me. But during my time away, I did a lot of soul-searching and I believe it has been profitable. I’m not going to bog everyone down with all the details, but I will say that very shortly after leaving blogging I had the opportunity to speak to someone that I had believed was no longer my friend. More, I believed this person hated me. In the spirit of embracing awkwardness, I was open and honest as I could be and hey! I was wrong about the supposed hatred.

Until I found that out, I honestly hadn’t even fully realized what a big, fucking weight I had been carrying around with me. This one act – this one restoration of a relationship I thought I had lost – was enough in the balance for me to accept the other losses I have suffered. I’m still sad about those other torched friendships, but I also have to believe it wasn’t much of a relationship to begin with if it was so easily thrown aside.

I Wax Bloody Philosophical

The other major thing I brought away from this time of contemplation is that I’ve been comparing myself to all the wrong people and this was also a great source of my discontent. She’s thinner. He’s a better writer.

So what?

I’ve come to the realization and conclusion that the only person I should be comparing myself against is Yesterday Me. Am I smarter today than I was yesterday? Am I kinder? A more dedicated worker? A slightly more honed writer? Am I a better me today than I was yesterday? That’s the only progress that matters enough to think about.

Going forward

So now I am back. I hope that going forward I will not be so ruled by the petty things I allowed such sway over me before. I’ve been down similar paths before though, so I’m going to have to watch myself closely.

I find I am back mostly because I have things I want to say. They’re not all WoW-related. My strongest opinions there recently have been a giant OMG WHO CARES in regards to transmogri-whatsit. Apparently everyone in the world but me cares!

And that’s awesome. I feel relaxed. I don’t feel the same pressure I did a month ago to write ALL THE THINGS ALL THE TIME about WoW. I wasn’t even meeting my hoped-for five days a week schedule. Now, I have no desire to do so. I just want to toss my thoughts out into the void and see if any discussion springs up as a result.

So that’s where I am. I’ll write as I feel inspired and damn the traffic and the comments and the omgpeopleneeeeedtoliiiiiikeme hysterics.

And with that, I am for bed and sleeps. Coming soon will be my thoughts on why I fucking hate my birthday.

Try to contain the excitement.

-Alas

I’m not really here

This was just something I really couldn’t wait to share.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1YS3DwLJCFQ&w=425&h=349]

Sanderson was really down to earth and relaxed and very gracious. It was great to get a chance to meet him and get some books signed. I could gush on at length, but I’ll refrain. Just wanted you all to know I was thinking of you even in the midst of my squeefest.