On this, the day of my blogoversary

My blogging doors have been open for a whole year today.

That’s so little and so much all at once. Because I’m a retrospective sort (when I feel like it), I wanted to spend a little time looking back. There’s been quite a number of things that have been of great note – to me – along the way. Think of this like one of those cheesy sitcom’s almost-to-the-show-finale sorts of posts. Only I’m not going anywhere. Sorry. I’m sure you were all hoping.

Cue the projector

It all started a year ago today. There was my first post, which I won’t even link to because I sincerely don’t want people to read that. Then there was my first truly WoW-related post, which I will link to, because it makes me cringe at how bad I admitted my guild could be at raiding.

Later on, I met Zel. I liked her immediately because she hates people who try to call out over the raid leader. I also liked her because she was one of the very first “Internet Strangers” to ever come by and comment. Because she is insane with her blog roll of dooooom, suddenly I had more people coming by my little corner of the Internet than “just” my guild mates.

Then Tam found me and said something nice, never knowing what a mistake that would turn out to be. In an error of equally bad judgment, he then linked to me. Traffic went up again, and my brief obsession with it mirrored the rise.

One day, I got all jacked up on Benedryl and decided it would be hilarious to rewrite Pride and Prejudice with a WoW twist. A lot of people seem to agree that the desecration of Jane Austen’s most famous work should go forth. And it has.

But of all the turns this blog has taken, there is one that stands out in my mind as something I never would have seen coming. I speak, of course, of the DinoTam phenomenon. MiniTam – or @PetiteTam as he is known on Twitter – has recently joined the ranks of person dinoalities that have come into being and promptly gone spinning out of my control.

Since when does a blog run by a mage become all about a hunter and her pets anyway?

Slides are over! Random confession time!

But on this, the day of my blog’s first anniversary, I want to share a small confession with you all.

I want to tell you who to blame for the fact that I started blogging in the first place. Ironically, he is one of the most outspoken detractors of my blog. But it was Asmod who shared Mortigan the Lock’s how-to on raiding (Mortigan’s blog is gone as far as I can tell, but a copy of the text can be found here for anyone who somehow managed to miss that post). Little did he know what path that would put me on.

So now, being a proper mage,  I’m blaming two warlocks: Asmod and Mort. But wait, there’s more. From Mort I wandered over to I Like Bubbles and ended up reading, uh, everything. Because Amber was and is terribly funny.

So I blame her, too.

I was inspired to start writing again and with no other plan than that, I set out to do so.

Sappy, I can be it

Since starting my own journey a year ago, I have been privileged to meet a lot of people and to get to know them through their posts about everything from how to be properly murderous in the battlegrounds to how to see the light side of LFG to more wonderful and witty observations on this gaming experience we all share. (And if I didn’t link you there or don’t have you in my blogroll, it’s because A) there are too many wonderful people to link in a tiny sentence and B) I fail a lot. (But feel free to mention any lack to me and I’ll get it fixed!)

I’ve ended up with new guild-mates – some who have made WWAB home and some who just visit when they have the time and inclination. I’ve had sympathetic ears on Twitter for bad days and lots of clever observations to make me laugh.

I know I have been saying this a lot lately, since I have been so recently dealing with family drama and the loss of my grandmother, but I am so terribly thankful for all of you.

And so, presents, if you want them

I can’t pretend to be nice like Windsoar of Jaded Alt and say “Here, let me give you an idea if you want one,” and make it sound like I am being generous. Instead, I am bossy, so I will tell you what to write about because I said so – if you want me to. I’ll be less of a muse and more of a nag. Please leave me a comment if you want me to order you around for one post. It’s the least I can do.

Lastly, an announcement

Blogging will be light in these here parts and with November just around the corner, I don’t think it’s too difficult to figure out why. Yes, I am participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time ever and I am excited about it but I also know what a challenge it will be. In many ways, the timing is perfect. I’ll be able to dole out ideas for posts because I won’t need them myself. I will get to focus on being creative during WotLK’s last days. When I make a return to blogging on a schedule, Cata will be days away from dropping.

Again, I feel the need to detour into sappy territory. When I first started this blog a year ago, I hadn’t wanted to write anything in a long time. I couldn’t fathom the idea of making a stab at another novel. But the ideas behind Emergent have kept coming to me in bits and pieces ever since I started dabbling here. After plotting and dithering for a year, it’s time to kickstart that novel. As I have mentioned everywhere else, I welcome support by way of people asking whether I’ve been meeting the word goals.

To all the other NaNo participants out there, I’m signed up at the official site as KissMyAlas. We can be writing buddies if you want!

Love and gratitude to everyone who has made this first year so wonderful!

-Alas

The Secret Life of Mirror Images

Our masters are cruel. Our lives – if they can even be called lives – are even worse. We exist so fleetingly and then not at all, brought out only for fighting and for dying. These brief moments of an outside existence have taught us to do what we can while we must – to kill or be killed in the small space of time that we have.

Our masters grumble against us, complaining that we “pull the wrong targets” or “stand in the fire” or “brainlessly go running after the wrong thing again.”

How are we to know what is right? We are only an image, mirrored and split and not long for this earth. We cannot see as our masters see or know what our masters know. Half a minute is all the time we have to deal with each encounter we are thrown into. So often we are bait, dying in the place of our masters that they might live on.

After all, we’re expendable.

This is all we know. Our time is short; we are expected to fight and to die. So this is what we do.

Of course we do. We love our masters, for they are our own selves, careless and wasteful as they are. So we will attack anything that is too near. We do not know what may or may not be a threat. We do not know what it means to stand behind a shield, for we are a shield and sword ourselves.

And this is another reason why we do not hate our masters. Does any man consider the feelings of his tools? Certainly not for most tools have no feelings. They are inanimate things without even the small spark of life we have been granted.

Above all else, we spend our time waiting to be needed again. When we are called upon we will do the best we can with our limited time and resources, hoping that some day we’ll be seen as something more than expendable.

I don’t even know

Reading this over, it seems rather corny to me, but the idea that sparked it and the feeling that I really don’t appreciate my copies enough is enough for me to go ahead and post it anyway. Also, at this point, I am aiming for a whole week of cheese. More to come!

-Alas

Now she’s dabbling in machinima?

Disclaimers – I love disclaimers, they’re so handy – this is my first ever attempt at making any sort of video. I’m sure you can totally tell. It was also my first time using fraps, WoW Model Viewer or Windows Movie Maker. That is just how high tech I am, yo.

I won’t say it’s awesome or even good, but I did have fun making it and I do have other notions zinging through my brain. There might be future videos to point and laugh at. Which is totally what I am after, so by all means, point and laugh away.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7g8-Ax7qX0&w=480&h=385]

Screenshot Monday – conversations in WWAB

Little background on this – the blurred out person we’re talking about through most of this was someone who didn’t roll on a staff and, when I won it because I did roll, freaked out, sobbed hysterically and then ragequit. Wildly emotional in-game mail followed.

It’s fun to make fun of. I can’t lie. I also can’t lie about my laziness, so rather than taking the trouble to cut out everything not pertinent to the general thread, I just blurred it.

I love Crispy. So, so much.

And all those other dorks, too.

While I’m being super lazy, here’s something from our raid that made me O.o:

Now that this is up, Monday is free to go DIAF. I want it to be tomorrow.

Salutations from your forgotten god

Greetings and salutations, gentle readers!

It is I, DinoTam! I have seized control of Alas’ computer since she recently wandered away from it, weeping delicious, delicious tears of grief and agony.

I gather there is some sort of convention or somesuch going on? Ah yes, Blizzcon. Alas has railed at me often in recent weeks about her inability to attend. I am not often certain what she is saying. When she speaks calmly, her voice can be a soothing and pleasant drone as long as one can train oneself to ignore the context and focus instead on the monotone sound. When she begins wailing and sniveling I admit I am forced to pay more attention. Of course, Alas gets extremely incoherent and blubbery around these times, so I am lucky to catch one word in ten.

I have managed to piece together that she blames me for her inability to attend her adorable little convention. She claims that Elwynn Forest Day Camp for Pets would not have me again!

Can you just imagine the idea of anyone turning DinoTam away? I assure you, I cannot fathom it myself. This is just another way in which Alas attempts to blame me for her shortcomings. I suffer greatly for my honor, dear readers.

Anyhow, it has been some time since I have had the opportunity to greet my adoring public. I must say I am somewhat disappointed at the recent lack of portraits and poems in my honor. To make up for the deficit, I have composed a few lines of my own.

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Be nice to me
Or I will eat you*

*After a proper amount of time has passed for aging purposes

Now then, it’s nearly noon and so I must be off. The days are growing shorter and colder and as Alas stubbornly refuses to relocate us to a more appropriate environment, there are only a few brief moments wherein I might snatch several hours hours of luxuriously sprawling on my favorite rock.

And so I bid you all, fair readers, to think of me as I suffer and to send your warm thoughts my way.

Adieu and adieu,

-DinoTam

PS – If I discover that the recent drop in adulation is due to the interference of my small cousin I will fricassee him. However much I like the chap, nothing stands between DinoTam and his spot in the sun, or lights that are warm like the sun.

What comes under a Bee Pit rank?

Since 4.0.1, I have been subjected to a whole lot of complaints and general whining that WoW is now too hard (wtf?), people want to stop playing (double wtf?), and we should go back to the dark ages of raiding (triple wtf?) and we’ll apparently be lucky to get through anything in ICC (quadruple wtf?) so we might as well roll over and wait for the expansion (omgwtf!!!).

That might be a little hyperbolic, but seriously, I have heard a shitton of whining and have yet to see anyone make a lick of sense about why we will fail so hard.

Therefore, I believe a new guild rank is in order. It will go underneath the Bee Pit rank so as to highlight my displeasure with all this panicky bullshit that mostly stems from people not taking the time to actually read anything about the changes and what they mean and what to do now in order to maximize performance.

I shall call the new rank the FRANCIS. And it will be glorious.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HMNm-QAXyiI&w=480&h=385]

Inspiration

OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS GUESS WHAT

YEAH THAT’S RIGHT YNGWE WENT BM AND NAMED A DEVILSAUR AFTER MEEEE!

I might be a little excited. Unduly excited even. I lead a small, sad life sometimes – what can I say? I can’t help but view it as a mark of affection.

But it did give me an idea and one I mean to put some serious thought and effort into carrying out. With hunters now able to tame so many pets, I shall go forth and force many different animals to just love me, dammit. And I shall name  them after those for whom I have great affection and respect. That includes many guild mates but also various and sundry bloggers and readers.

Is it wrong to want a core hound named Rades?

A kitteh named Zel?

Or a ravager named Noxy?

How about a majestic dragonhawk named Vidyala?

If you could pick a pet to share your name, which would it be? And why?

Wherein I am late to the 4.0 party

So I am back from my all-too-quick and emotionally-charged travels and, as predicted, trying to play catch up in the world of 4.0. My reactions have varied from “ooooh, pretty!” (regarding the water, as I logged on in Booty Bay) to “I still can’t believe I can never get Icy Veins and I have to take Dragon’s Breath and grumble, grumble” and then were followed copious amounts of flailing at target dummies for rotations and the Auction House for glyphs.

Mages in a 4.0 world

As with any major patch, there are things I love and things I hate. I love the reagent-less buffs. I love that I can drop tables of food for a mere two reagents. I love the little fly-out bars for my portals and the sheer amount of bar compression I was able to do overall.

I don’t love trying to figure out everything new all at once. Gems, enchants, talents for two specs, glyphs for two specs, reforging. Rotations. Perhaps it was the pressure I felt from being several days late to the party, perhaps it is the continuing pressure of having not just one or two characters to get back into fighting shape, but I’ve been stumbling around and feeling overwhelmed. I don’t often feel this overwhelmed and I don’t often envy those people with very few characters, but as I sit and consider my three or four I want to raid with and then the few I am still leveling through their last bits of the 70’s and then all their second specs, I feel as though I have no fewer than 20 characters to figure out.

Alas, of course, got the most work. We were home early enough on Friday that I was able to spec and gem and gear swap and mostly get glyphs and reforge and work a bit on both specs. I also had the fortune to run into another mage at the dummies who had been working feverishly on his arcane rotation and took the time to share with me and a few other mages his thoughts about Arcane.

These amounted to: Stack all the Int you can. Cast arcane blast four times and then pop every trinket and cooldown you have (particularly Mirror Images), and then resume casting arcane blast over and over until you reach about 33% mana, burn evocation, get back up to full mana, arcane blast some more until 75% mana or so, pop your mana gem, burn until 50% mana and then start the mana management game by actually using arcane missiles until you have cooldowns available again and can restart the whole process.

On a dummy, self-buffed and with some gaps still in my gemming due to simple lack of time, I was able to sustain the phase rotation indefinitely and pull 6500-7500 overall dps. During the opening burn phase, the numbers are easily double that on a single target. In a raid environment (which was OS as no one had done the weekly by Saturday and we had too few experienced bodies to attempt ICC), everything went down too swiftly for me to properly burn through my mana. On Sarth himself, I was able to ramp up to 9k dps.

I will say I enjoyed the 45-55k crits I was getting.

As far as fire goes, I am working it out in heroic 5-mans and do wonder how viable it will be for single target dps. It was made for AoE pulls, it seems. I can easily see switching between it for trash and arcane for bosses as long as CC doesn’t matter.

I still have my prejudices against frost so even though other mages performed quite well in it, I don’t think I will try it.

Guild Masters in a 4.0 world

As a GM, I am quite enamored with most of the UI changes brought to my doorstep with the patch. I particularly adore being able to create a new rank and then move it up or down through the other ranks. This change has long been needed since nearly every time we’ve had to add in a new rank it has been a nightmare of having to promote or demote everyone in the guild accordingly.

I’ve already added in a new rank, for alts of raiders. The in-game calendar seems to have lost its mind and will invite anyone who is an 80 to a raid, even though I told it only raiders on up. I am hoping to see that smooth out soon. I’ve also begun rolling out some small changes that I have been planning for several months, all preparatory for Cataclysm. Change in the midst of other change seems to be less frowned upon by my change-adverse guildies. I’m already scheming what else I might squeeze in when 4.0.3 drops.

And in closing

Dull post is dull, I know. I have barely skimmed my own feed reader and it’s all 4.0-centric, so there’s nothing like being topical I suppose. What things do you love and loath about the changes?

The one that didn’t make it

This flowchart (which I feel slightly guilty to be posting on a Friday) was originally meant to be part of my guest post for Pugging Pally. But then I decided to make fun of Tam and I realized that it would look better on my site because the colors are mine.

I wonder if I subconsciously planned that? (Click to embiggen)