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?

Posted in Leadership, Mage Related | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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)

Posted in Acts of Lameness | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

And Bingo was his name, oh!

Thanks to Zelmaru for coming up with Bee Pit Bingo. Mine is mostly guild-centric. I wonder how many hours it will take to get a Bingo? I wonder if there are prizes? (Click to embiggen)

Posted in Leadership | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Voice from the past

Hey guys. I’m not at my keyboard. While you’re reading this, I am most likely somewhere in Oklahoma, cursing toll roads and headed West. If you’re particularly late in seeing this, I might even be in Texas, scowling at Amarillo for being pronounced all wrong and for probably still smelling mostly like cow poop.

At and I are making a very quick trip to New Mexico to attend my grandmother’s funeral. Thank God for audio books in general and more specifically for The Way of Kings in its 45-hours-long glory. We’ll get through most of it on the way.

This is short notice so I don’t even have time to scrounge for guest posts. I am, however, working on slapping together some quick and easy content. Because we’re easy around here.

That didn’t come out right.

Moving on. I wanted to express my thanks again to everyone who has emailed, commented and Tweeted at me with words of comfort and support during this time of loss. I feel so fortunate to have this little corner of the Internet and to have it filled with so many truly wonderful and caring people. Electronic hugs and smooches to all of you. Know that you have made dealing with the loss just that much easier to bear.

Looking ahead, when I get back I am going to be several days behind the patch and hoping to get things sorted out fairly quickly. If anyone has, wants to make, or can provide links to someone else who has written anything the list bit helpful for mages in a post 4.0 world, I would be eternally grateful. I rather fancy I’ll be going fire. I am particularly at sea when it comes to reforging because I sort of forgot that was going to happen.

With so much gratitude, for everything,

Alas, the Insane (by virtue of making a 2000 mile trip in three days, not by getting rep)

Posted in Open Letters, Real Life | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Chapter 18 – on raiding and humiliation

Chapter 18

Till Elizabeth joined the raid for ICC, and looked in vain for Mr. Wickham among the cluster of Death Knights there assembled, a doubt of his being present had never occurred to her. The certainty of meeting him had not been checked by any of those recollections that might not unreasonably have alarmed her. She had gone over her gear with more than usual care, and prepared in the highest spirits for the conquest of all that remained unsubdued of his heart and ICC, trusting that it was not more than might be won in the course of the evening. But in an instant arose the dreadful suspicion of his being purposely omitted for Mr. Darcy’s pleasure in Bingley’s invitation to the <Meryton Militia>; and though this was not exactly the case, the absolute fact of his absence was pronounced by his friend Denny, to whom Lydia eagerly applied, and who told them that Wickham had been obliged to log off for some real life emergency or other the day previous, and was not yet returned; adding, with a significant smile, “I do not imagine his business would have called him away just now, if he had not wanted to avoid a certain gentleman here.”

This part of his intelligence, though unheard by Lydia, was caught by Elizabeth, and, as it assured her that Darcy was not less answerable for Wickham’s absence than if her first surmise had been just, every feeling of displeasure against the former was so sharpened by immediate disappointment, that she could hardly reply with tolerable civility to the polite inquiries which he directly afterwards approached to make. Attendance, forbearance, patience with Darcy, was injury to Wickham. She was resolved against any sort of conversation with him, and turned away with a degree of ill-humour which she could not wholly surmount even in speaking to Mr. Bingley, whose blind partiality provoked her.

But Elizabeth was not formed for ill-humour; and though every prospect of her own was destroyed for the evening, it could not dwell long on her spirits; and having told all her griefs to Charlotte via whispers, whom she had not seen for a week, she was soon able to make a voluntary transition to the oddities of Mr. Collins, and to point him out to her particular notice. The first two pulls, however, brought a return of distress; they were near-wipes of mortification. Mr. Collins, awkward and solemn, apologising instead of attending, and often moving wrong without being aware of it, gave her all the shame and misery which a disagreeable partner for a raid can give. The moment of her release from him was ecstasy.

She healed next with an officer of the <Meryton Militia>, and had the refreshment of talking of Wickham, and of hearing that he was universally liked. When the first quarter was over, she returned to whispering with Charlotte, and was in conversation with her, when she found herself suddenly addressed by Mr. Darcy who took her so much by surprise in his application for her heals for Rotface, that, without knowing what she did, she accepted him. He called for an AFK break immediately, and she was left to fret over her own want of presence of mind; Charlotte tried to console her:

“I dare say you will find him very agreeable.”

“Heaven forbid! That would be the greatest misfortune of all! To find a man agreeable whom one is determined to hate! Do not wish me such an evil.”

When the raiding recommenced, however, and Darcy claimed her as his primary healer, Charlotte could not help cautioning her in a whisper, not to be a simpleton, and allow her fancy for Wickham to make her appear unpleasant in the eyes of a man ten times his consequence. Elizabeth made no answer, and took her place with the raid, amazed at the dignity to which she was arrived in being allowed to heal Mr. Darcy, and reading in guild chat, her guild’s equal amazement in beholding it. They stood for some time without speaking a word; and she began to imagine that their silence was to last through the entire quarter, and at first was resolved not to break it; till suddenly fancying that it would be the greater punishment to her partner to oblige him to talk, she made some slight observation on the raid. He replied, and was again silent. After a pause of some minutes, she addressed him a second time with:—”It is your turn to say something now, Mr. Darcy. I talked about the raid, and you ought to make some sort of remark on the dps meters, or the raid composition.”

He assured her that whatever she wished him to say should be said.

“Very well. That reply will do for the present. Perhaps by and by I may observe that guild only raids are much pleasanter than pugged ones. But now we may be silent.”

“Do you talk by rule, then, while you are raiding?”

“Sometimes. One must speak a little, you know. It would look odd to be entirely silent for several hours together; and yet for the advantage of some, conversation ought to be so arranged, as that they may have the trouble of saying as little as possible.”

“Are you consulting your own feelings in the present case, or do you imagine that you are gratifying mine?”

“Both,” replied Elizabeth archly; “for I have always seen a great similarity in the turn of our minds. We are each of an unsocial, taciturn disposition, unwilling to speak, unless we expect to say something that will amaze the whole server, and be handed down to posterity with all the eclat of a proverb.”

“This is no very striking resemblance of your own character, I am sure,” said he. “How near it may be to mine, I cannot pretend to say. You think it a faithful portrait undoubtedly.”

“I must not decide on my own performance.”

He made no answer, and they were again silent till they had gone down to Festergut, when he asked her if she and her guild did not very often run random heroics with the <Meryton Militia>. She answered in the affirmative, and, unable to resist the temptation, added, “When you met us at the summoning stone the other day, we had just been forming a new acquaintance.”

The effect was immediate. He said not a word, and Elizabeth, though blaming herself for her own weakness, could not go on. At length Darcy replied, and in a constrained manner typed, “Mr. Wickham is blessed with such happy manners as may ensure his making friends—whether he may be equally capable of retaining them, is less certain.”

“He has been so unlucky as to lose your friendship,” replied Elizabeth with emphasis, “and in a manner which he is likely to suffer from all his life.”

Darcy made no answer, and seemed desirous of changing the subject. At that moment, Sir William of <Lucas Pwnage> appeared close to them, meaning to pass through to the other side of the room; but on perceiving Mr. Darcy, he stopped and emoted a bow of superior courtesy to compliment him on his tanking and his partner.

“I have been most highly gratified indeed, my dear sir. Such very superior tanking is not often seen. It is evident that you belong to the first circles. Allow me to say, however, that your fair healer does not disgrace you, and that I must hope to have this pleasure often repeated, especially when a certain desirable event, my dear Eliza shall take place. What grats will then flow in! I appeal to Mr. Darcy:—but let me not interrupt you, sir. You will not thank me for detaining you from the purpose of putting your full attention to tanking.”

The latter part of this address was scarcely heard by Darcy; but Sir William’s allusion to his friend seemed to strike him forcibly. Recovering himself, however, shortly, he turned to his healer, and said, “Sir William’s interruption has made me forget what we were talking of.”

“I do not think we were speaking at all. Sir William could not have interrupted two people in the raid who had less to say for themselves. We have tried two or three subjects already without success, and what we are to talk of next I cannot imagine.”

“What think you of books?” said he, smiling.

“Books—oh! no. I am sure we never read the same, or not with the same feelings.”

“I am sorry you think so; but if that be the case, there can at least be no want of subject. We may compare our different opinions.”

“No—I cannot talk of books in a raid; my head is always full of something else.”

“The present always occupies you in such scenes—does it?” said he, doubtfully.

“Yes, always,” she replied, without knowing what she said, for her thoughts had wandered far from the subject, as soon afterwards appeared by her suddenly exclaiming, “I remember hearing you once say, Mr. Darcy, that you hardly ever forgave, that your resentment once created was unappeasable. You are very cautious, I suppose, as to its being created.”

“I am,” said he, with a firm voice.

“And never allow yourself to be blinded by prejudice?”

“I hope not.”

“It is particularly incumbent on those who never change their opinion, to be secure of judging properly at first.”

“May I ask to what these questions tend?”

“Merely to the illustration of your character,” said she, endeavouring to shake off her gravity. “I am trying to make it out.”

“And what is your success?”

She shook her head. “I do not get on at all. I hear such different accounts of you as puzzle me exceedingly.”

“I can readily believe,” answered he gravely, “that reports may vary greatly with respect to me; and I could wish, Elizabeth, that you were not to sketch my character at the present moment, as there is reason to fear that the performance would reflect no credit on either.”

“But if I do not take your likeness now, I may never have another opportunity.”

“I would by no means suspend any pleasure of yours,” he coldly replied. She said no more, and they went to down Putricide and parted in silence; and on each side dissatisfied, though not to an equal degree, for in Darcy’s breast there was a tolerable powerful feeling towards her, which soon procured her pardon, and directed all his anger against another.

They had not long separated, when Caroline came towards her, and with an expression of civil disdain accosted her:

“So, Miss Eliza, I hear you are quite delighted with Wickham! Your guild mate has been talking to me about him, and asking me a thousand questions; and I find that the young man quite forgot to tell you, among his other communication, that he was the son of old Wickham, an officer in Darcy’s guild. Let me recommend you, however, as a friend, not to give implicit confidence to all his assertions; for as to Mr. Darcy’s using him ill, it is perfectly false; for, on the contrary, he has always been remarkably kind to him, though Wickham has treated Mr. Darcy in a most infamous manner. I do not know the particulars, but I know very well that Mr. Darcy is not in the least to blame, that he cannot bear to hear Wickham mentioned, and that though Bingley thought that he could not well avoid including him in his invitation to the <Meryton Militia>, he was excessively glad to find that he had taken himself out of the way. His coming into the server at all is a most insolent thing, indeed, and I wonder how he could presume to do it. I pity you, Miss Eliza, for this discovery of your favourite’s guilt; but really, considering his descent, one could not expect much better.”

“His guilt and his descent appear by your account to be the same,” said Elizabeth angrily; “for I have heard you accuse him of nothing worse than of being the son of an officer in <Pemberly>, and of that, I can assure you, he informed me himself.”

“I beg your pardon,” replied Caroline, turning away with a sneer. “Excuse my interference—it was kindly meant.”

“Insolent girl!” said Elizabeth to herself. “You are much mistaken if you expect to influence me by such a paltry attack as this. I see nothing in it but your own willful ignorance and the malice of Mr. Darcy.” She then sought Jane, who had undertaken to make inquiries on the same subject of Bingley.

“I want to know,” said she, “what you have learnt about Mr. Wickham. But perhaps you have been too pleasantly engaged to think of any third person; in which case you may be sure of my pardon.”

“No,” replied Jane, “I have not forgotten him; but I have nothing satisfactory to tell you. Mr. Bingley does not know the whole of his history, and is quite ignorant of the circumstances which have principally offended Mr. Darcy; but he will vouch for the good conduct, the probity, and honour of his friend, and is perfectly convinced that Mr. Wickham has deserved much less attention from Mr. Darcy than he has received; and I am sorry to say by his account as well as Caroline’s, Mr. Wickham is by no means a respectable raider. I am afraid he has been very imprudent, and has deserved to lose Mr. Darcy’s regard.”

“Mr. Bingley does not know Mr. Wickham himself?”

“No; he never saw him till the other morning.”

“This account then is what he has received from Mr. Darcy. I am satisfied. But what does he say of the guild?”

“He does not exactly recollect the circumstances, though he has heard them from Mr. Darcy more than once, but he believes that it was left to him conditionally only.”

“I have not a doubt of Mr. Bingley’s sincerity,” said Elizabeth warmly; “but you must excuse my not being convinced by assurances only. Mr. Bingley’s defense of his friend was a very able one, I dare say; but since he is unacquainted with several parts of the story, and has learnt the rest from that friend himself, I shall venture to still think of both gentlemen as I did before.”

She then changed the discourse to one more gratifying to each, and on which there could be no difference of sentiment. Elizabeth listened with delight to the happy, though modest hopes which Jane entertained of Mr. Bingley’s regard, and said all in her power to heighten her confidence in it. On their being joined by Mr. Bingley himself, Elizabeth withdrew to Charlotte; to whose inquiry after the pleasantness of her last healing assignment she had scarcely replied, before Mr. Collins came up to them, and told her with great exultation that he had just been so fortunate as to make a most important discovery.

“I have found out,” said he, “by a singular accident, that there is now in the room a close friend of my patroness. I happened to overhear the gentleman himself mentioning to the young lady who does the honours of the guild the names of Miss de Bourgh, and of her GM Lady Catherine. How wonderfully these sort of things occur! Who would have thought of my meeting with, perhaps, a friend of Lady Catherine in this assembly! I am most thankful that the discovery is made in time for me to pay my respects to him, which I am now going to do, and trust he will excuse my not having done it before. My total ignorance of the connection must plead my apology.”

“You are not going to introduce yourself to Mr. Darcy!”

“Indeed I am. I shall entreat his pardon for not having done it earlier. I believe him to be Lady Catherine’s friend. It will be in my power to assure him that her ladyship was quite well yesterday se’nnight.”

Elizabeth tried hard to dissuade him from such a scheme, assuring him that Mr. Darcy would consider his addressing him without introduction as an impertinent freedom, rather than a compliment to his alleged friend; that it was not in the least necessary there should be any notice on either side; and that if it were, it must belong to Mr. Darcy, the superior in consequence, to begin the acquaintance. Mr. Collins listened to her with the determined air of following his own inclination, and, when she ceased speaking, replied thus:

“My dear Miss Elizabeth, I have the highest opinion in the world in your excellent judgement in all matters within the scope of your understanding; but permit me to say, that there must be a wide difference between the established forms of ceremony amongst the dps, and those which regulate the tanks; for, give me leave to observe that I consider the tanking position as equal in point of dignity with the highest rank in a guild—provided that a proper humility of behaviour is at the same time maintained. You must therefore allow me to follow the dictates of my conscience on this occasion, which leads me to perform what I look on as a point of duty. Pardon me for neglecting to profit by your advice, which on every other subject shall be my constant guide, though in the case before us I consider myself more fitted by education and habitual study to decide on what is right than a young dps like yourself.” And emoting a low bow he left her to attack Mr. Darcy, whose reception of his advances she eagerly watched, and whose astonishment at being so addressed was very evident. Mr. Collins prefaced his speech with a solemn bow and though she could not read a word of it, she felt as if she were hearing it all. It vexed her to see him expose himself to such a man. Mr. Darcy actually paused with unrestrained wonder and his contempt seemed abundantly increasing with the length of the pause, and at the end of it he only turned and moved another way. Mr. Collins then returned to Elizabeth.

“I have no reason, I assure you,” said he, “to be dissatisfied with my reception. Mr. Darcy seemed much pleased with the attention. He answered me with the utmost civility, and even paid me the compliment of saying that he was so well convinced of Lady Catherine’s discernment as to be certain she could never bestow a favour unworthily. It was really a very handsome thought. Upon the whole, I am much pleased with him.”

As Elizabeth had no longer any interest of her own to pursue, she turned her attention almost entirely on Jane and Mr. Bingley; and the train of agreeable reflections which her observations gave birth to, made her perhaps almost as happy as Jane. She saw her in idea settled in that very guild, in all the felicity which a union of tanking and heals could bestow; and she felt capable, under such circumstances, of endeavouring even to like Bingley’s guild mates. Mrs. Bennet’s thoughts she plainly saw were bent the same way, and she determined not to engage her in conversation, lest she might hear too much. When they sat down to rebuff, therefore, she considered it a most unlucky perverseness which led Mrs. Bennet to forgo whispers; and deeply was she vexed to find that she  was talking to that one person (Lady Lucas) freely, openly, and of nothing else but her expectation that Jane would soon be healing only Mr. Bingley. It was an animating subject, and Mrs. Bennet seemed incapable of fatigue while enumerating the advantages of the match. His being such a well geared tank, and so rich, and being on the same server as them, were the first points of self-gratulation; and then it was such a comfort to think how fond the rest of the guild was of Jane, and to be certain that they must desire the connection as much as she could do. It was, moreover, such a promising thing for her other guildies, as Jane’s association must throw them in the way of other raiding guilds; and lastly, it was so pleasant at her time of life to be able to consign her other obligations to the care of Jane, that she might not be obliged to raid more than she liked. It was necessary to make this circumstance a matter of pleasure, because on such occasions it is the etiquette; but no one was less likely than Mrs. Bennet to find comfort in not raiding at any period of her life. She concluded with many good wishes that Lady Lucas might soon be equally fortunate, though evidently and triumphantly believing there was no chance of it.

In vain did Elizabeth endeavour to check the rapidity of Mrs. Bennet’s words, or persuade her to describe her felicity in a whisper; for, to her inexpressible vexation, she could perceive that the chief of it was overheard by Mr. Darcy, who sat opposite to them. Mrs. Bennet only scolded her for being nonsensical.

“What is Mr. Darcy to me, pray, that I should be afraid of him? I am sure we owe him no such particular civility as to be obliged to say nothing he may not like to hear.”

“For heaven’s sake, madam, speak lower. What advantage can it be for you to offend Mr. Darcy? You will never recommend yourself to his friend by so doing!”

Nothing that she could say, however, had any influence. Mrs. Bennet would talk of her views without moving to whispers. Elizabeth blushed and blushed again with shame and vexation.

At length, however, Mrs. Bennet had no more to say; and Lady Lucas, who had been long yawning at the repetition of delights which she saw no likelihood of sharing, was left to the comforts of fish feasts and flasks. Elizabeth now began to revive. But not long was the interval of tranquillity; for, when buffing was over, the blood quarter was talked of, and she had the mortification of seeing Mary, after very little entreaty, preparing to oblige the company by wresting leadership of the raid from Bingley. By many significant whispers and did Elizabeth endeavour to prevent such a proof of complaisance, but in vain; Mary would not understand them; such an opportunity of exhibiting was delightful to her, and she began directing the raid. Elizabeth’s eyes were fixed on her with most painful sensations, and she watched her progress through the several trash pulls with an impatience which was very ill rewarded at their close; for Mary, on receiving the hint of a hope that she might be prevailed on to favour them again, after the pause of half a minute began to direct everyone on the Blood Council fight. Mary’s powers were by no means fitted for such a display; her voice was piercing, and her knowledge of the mechanics scant. Elizabeth was in agonies. She looked to her GM to entreat his interference, lest Mary should be talking all night. He took the hint, and when Mary had finished muddling through a poor explanation, said aloud, “That will do extremely well, child. You have delighted us long enough.”

Mary, though pretending not to hear, was somewhat disconcerted; and Elizabeth, sorry for her, and sorry for her GM’s speech, was afraid her anxiety had done no good. Others of the raid were now applied to.

“If I,” said Mr. Collins, “were so fortunate as to be able to raid lead, I should have great pleasure, I am sure, in obliging the company with an explanation; for I consider raid leading as a very innocent diversion, and perfectly compatible with the profession of a tank. I do not mean, however, to assert that we can be justified in devoting too much of our time to leading, for there are certainly other things to be attended to. A tank has much to do. In the first place, he must make such an agreement for guild repair money as may be beneficial to himself and not offensive to his patron. He must write his own macros; and the time that remains will not be too much for his daily duties, and the care and improvement of his gear, which he cannot be excused from making as leet as possible. And I do not think it of light importance that he should have attentive and conciliatory manner towards everybody, especially towards those to whom he owes his preferment. I cannot acquit him of that duty; nor could I think well of the man who should omit an occasion of testifying his respect towards anybody connected with the GM.” And with a bow to Mr. Darcy, he concluded his speech, which had been spoken so aloud in vent. Mrs. Bennet seriously commended Mr. Collins for having spoken so sensibly, and observed to Lady Lucas, that he was a remarkably clever, good kind of young man.

To Elizabeth it appeared that, had her guild made an agreement to expose themselves as much as they could during the evening, it would have been impossible for them to play their parts with more spirit or finer success; and happy did she think it for Bingley and Jane that some of the exhibition had escaped his notice, and that his feelings were not of a sort to be much distressed by the folly which he must have witnessed. That his two guild mates and Mr. Darcy, however, should have such an opportunity of ridiculing her guild, was bad enough, and she could not determine whether the silent contempt of the gentleman, or the snickers not held back over vent of the ladies, were more intolerable.

The rest of the evening brought her little amusement. She was teased by Mr. Collins, who continued most perseveringly by her side, and though he could not prevail on her to heal him again, put it out of her power to do anything but raid heal. She owed her greatest relief to her friend Charlotte, who often joined them, and good-naturedly engaged Mr. Collins’s conversation to herself.

She was at least free from the offense of Mr. Darcy’s further notice; though often standing within a very short distance of her, quite disengaged, he never came near enough to speak. She felt it to be the probable consequence of her allusions to Mr. Wickham, and rejoiced in it.

The <Longbourn> party were the last of all the company to depart. Louisa and Caroline scarcely opened their mouths, except to complain of fatigue, and were evidently impatient to log off for the night. They repulsed every attempt of Mrs. Bennet at conversation, and by so doing threw a languor over the whole party, which was very little relieved by the long speeches of Mr. Collins, who was complimenting Mr. Bingley on his tanking, and the patience and politeness which had marked their behaviour to their raid. Darcy said nothing at all. Mr. Bennet, in equal silence, was enjoying the scene. Mr. Bingley and Jane were standing together, a little detached from the rest, and talked only to each other. Elizabeth preserved as steady a silence and even Lydia was too much fatigued to utter more than the occasional exclamation of “Lord, how tired I am!” accompanied by a violent yawn.

When at length they arose to take leave, Mrs. Bennet was most pressingly civil in her hope of seeing the whole guild soon at another raid, and addressed herself especially to Mr. Bingley, to assure him how happy he would make them tanking for them at any time, without the ceremony of a formal invitation. Bingley was all grateful pleasure, and he readily engaged for taking the earliest opportunity of waiting on her, after his return from some pressing business in real life, which he was obliged to attend to the next day for a short time.

Mrs. Bennet was perfectly satisfied, and quitted the raid under the delightful persuasion that she should undoubtedly see Jane settled at <Netherfield> in the course of three or four months. Of having another guildie shipped off with Mr. Collins, she thought with equal certainty, and with considerable, though not equal, pleasure. Elizabeth was the least dear to her of all her guildies; and though the man and the match were quite good enough for her, the worth of each was eclipsed by Mr. Bingley and <Netherfield>.

Posted in Pride and Prejudice, Writing | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Nothing here today

Thank God it worked out for my guest post over at Pugging Pally to go up today.

Go check it out!

Posted in Guest posts, Real Life | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Off topic: real life and mixed emotions

I got the call this morning, not too long after I’d gotten out of bed.

It was my mom and she was calling to tell me Grandma had passed early this morning. She went in her sleep, after a long and painful struggle against cancer, emphysema and pneumonia.

Despite this being the natural order of things, despite expecting this in general for most of my life and in specific for the past two months, it’s hard to take and internalize and understand. I find myself grieving over the fact that I never got to have a great-grandkid for her to meet and that I didn’t get to talk to her one more time to tell her I love her. I’m trying – and largely failing – to not beat myself up over not making it work out for me to go see her again.

Balanced against all of that is my relief that she isn’t in pain anymore. And my memories of the good times we did have.

I have been trying to distract myself from this for most of the day, but I can’t play that game forever. Putting it out here makes it feel so much more real and immediate. But it also makes it feel like the pain of losing her isn’t too big to handle.

And with that, I am going to close. Thanks for listening, dear friends.

Posted in Real Life | Tagged | Comments Off

Life as a gm: /cast [target=self] STFU

One of the (many) things I have learned in being a GM is that it demands a lot of self-censorship and self-control. As a GM, I no longer have the right to free speech because if I say the wrong thing –  or even the right thing in the wrong manner, I run the risk of creating one hell of a shitstorm. Goody.

As a side note, it does have the benefit of helping one maintain their composure when asked at work by a coworker out the clear fucking blue whether or not you consider yourself to be their enemy.

But in game it can get frustrating, to feel so muzzled by the title of GM and to have to always think before one speaks or risk the consequences. Guildies everywhere – stop doing this to your GM’s! How do you know when you’re doing it? Well, here are some common examples.

Scenario #1 – The won’t you be my ______?

Being a GM can make one feel like they have a target painted on their back from time to time, or that they are perceived as something other than just another regular person. Many people will see the title and assume that just because this person is in a position of leadership, it must mean that they are there to assist with whatever is needed. But there are lines – there has to be a limit. After all, chances are every GM out there logs into the game with the express purpose of blowing off some steam after a bad day only to get waylaid by a needy guild member.

So when you see your GM online and immediately feel compelled to demand their guidance or compassion or anything else for a personal problem that is limited to your real life and has no bearing at all on the guild, know that you are crossing a line.

You might say: “School work is just so hard right now and I feel like you don’t care that I am struggling with psychology because you never asked me how that test went, blah, blah, blah.”

Your GM might respond: “Oh, I am sorry to hear that it’s not going well for you. I guess I forgot when your test was because I’ve been so busy with work.”

What your GM really wants to say is: “Do I look like your fucking mother? Why don’t you go Google Fucking Search for someone who gives a shit?”

They had a bad day, remember?

Scenario #2 – I’m leaving the guild because ______.

If you’ve decided to leave the guild, it’s nice to say a little something about why you are moving on. But the key word is little. No GM wants to be trapped in tells with you for over an hour as you give every reason you’ve come up with to justify your exit. This is especially true if you are leaving for a very obvious reason that you are pretending isn’t obvious at all and are just spinning a load of bullshit.

And don’t even get me started on the person who says they are leaving and then draws out the conversation in an attempt to get the GM to beg or plead with them to stay in order to satisfy the need they have to be needed.

If you do this, when your GM says something like, “I understand and best of luck with your future endeavors,” what they really mean is, “Thanks for nothing you dirty, rotten fucker. Don’t let the door hit your ass on your way out. Wouldn’t want to damage all that gear you’re wearing- you know, the gear that we made sure to go back and get for you so you could be a viable raiding member. Hope you die in a fucking fire.”

GM’s are extra angry because there are so few opportunities to let it all out.

Scenario #3 – So-and-so r sooo mean to meh!

I don’t know for sure, but I am guessing most guild leaders out there have better things to do than to play referee all the time. I know I expect my guild members to make an honest effort to resolve personality conflicts on their own, without immediately running to me like I’m some sort of mother figure to their playground squabbles. Yet, I have had guild members do precisely that.

Next time you go running to mommy with a story about how Jimmy threw sand at you (and never mind that it looks less intentional on his part and more like you wandered into where he was playing) and your GM patiently asks you to try to resolve it yourself by, I dunno, talking to Jimmy about it and explaining why you feel the way you feel and seeing what shakes out from that, do not respond by stomping your virtual foot and declaring that Jimmy is a meanie poo poo head who only knows how to be mean.

Your GM’s frank refusal to interfere in that instance is a lot more kinder than them saying what they really want to say, which is along the lines of:

“Last time I checked, you and Jimmy were both adults, so why don’t you put on your big kid undies and march your quivering little lip over there and talk to him about your problems? I’m not your goddamn mother and if I were, I would be ashamed that I had managed to raise such a cowardly little baby. Now leave me alone before I give you something to cry about.”

No seriously, we don’t get to say things like this. But we want to. Oh, how we want to.

Scenario #4 – I have a stupid question… let me inflict it on you.

Let’s face it, there really are a lot of stupid questions. GM’s get asked these a lot, thanks to that whole target thing I mentioned earlier. They can run the gamut of anything from raiding schedules (what are we doing tonight?) to class questions (I know your main is a mage, but can you help with me with some feral tanking?) to time sinks (you just keep running between the bank and the AH so you couldn’t be doing anything important – want to run my alt through Deadmines about 20 times?).

The answers a GM might give to any of those questions may vary, but what we want to say are things like:

“Check the fucking calendar you fucking idiot.”

“It’s called Google Fucking Search. Go try that.”

“Right, I clearly have nothing better to do than help you level another alt you’re going to get to 80 and then want to bring to progression raids without gear or thought for the idea that we can’t accommodate another DPS anyway. Get back on your main and get back to practicing on how to stay out of the fucking bad.”

The rage! It’s a wonder we don’t choke on it.

Scenario #5 – You fail! (I totes could have done better, in other words)

Every once in a while, a guildie will get the notion that they know how to handle a situation given the fact that they have a little bit of an idea of what is going on or simply an agenda they would like to push. As any GM who has ever been visited by the drama llama knows, drama is rarely straightforward and usually ends up a thorny mess of problems that there is no perfect right answer to.

So next time you decide to be “helpful” and point out to the GM how something “should have happened,” maybe take a second thought and shut the fuck up. Chances are excellent that there’s a lot more going on than what you are aware of. Also, next time something is resolved in a manner that you find unsatisfactory for whatever reason, don’t keep beating the dead horse with vociferous complaints about how “this wasn’t done right” or “you didn’t act quickly enough.”

Your GM will probably say something polite like, “I am sorry you feel that way.” What they really want to say is more along the lines of:

“You do realize that I don’t really give a shit how you feel about the way something was handled? I don’t see you putting your ass out there, trying to deal with a constant barrage of various shit on a daily and sometimes even hourly basis in the middle of what is supposed to be a fun pastime. If you really think you know so much or can do so much better, how about you get the fuck outta my guild and go try to run your own guild? Get back to me when everything you think you know ends up not applying to the latest round of crap you get from your ingrate guildies and let me know how much you appreciate the pressure from idiots in a game to drop everything else you might have going on in your real life to deal with petty drama over purple pixels. I would really, really love to see how you deal with that when you can’t even deal gracefully with someone hinting that you’re too much of a fuckwit to be in charge of watching your own two feet.”

Or, you know, something like that.

I’m just guessing here. I mean, I never want to say anything like that. Ever.

Posted in Leadership, rant | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Dear Self

This was inspired and frankly ripped off from Amber of I Like Bubbles. Upon reading her post, At and I looked at each other and got thoughtful about the things we would tell our Level 1 selves if we could. Here’s my letter from me to me.

Dear Nooby Self,

There’s a lot you need to know about this game. Trying a little bit of everything is probably a good idea, but you won’t really get a good feel for how a class plays by leveling to 5, getting fed up and quitting. The reason you’re dying horrible deaths so often has a lot to do with the fact that you’re trying to solo multiple mobs at a time that are 3-5 levels higher than you. And you’re probably a squishy caster attempting to hit things in the face with your staff.

How I weep for you.

Getting to 10 is good; spending that first talent point is great. But I want to clue you into something pretty cool. Each class has three different talent trees. I get that Arcane talent points were the first ones you ever spent, but it’s just discomforting that you were in STV before you realized you could have tried fire or frost.

Speaking of fire, my face is aflame in embarrassment.

While I am making these notes to you and confessions to the Internet at large about how much of a noob I was, I want to say a few words about the vernacular of WoW. There’s a lot of alphabet soup that will be used and in order to not look like a complete idiot in front of random Azerothians, you might need to know what it means.

So, here are some of the most common and puzzling (to you) examples:

  • LFG/LFM = looking for group/looking for more
  • AFK = Away from keyboard
  • CC = Crowd control
  • DPS = Damage per second (or what you do, since you are not a tank or healer by any means)
  • WTB = Want to buy
  • PST = Please send tell (only somewhat similar to pssst!)

Then there are some things like QQ, which doesn’t stand for anything but is meant to look like crying eyes (you can’t hide ‘em). Pew pew has nothing to do with churches. And if someone calls you a ninja for looting a chest mid-combat, that is not a compliment to your sneakiness. It means you’re a rotten thief. Be grateful it was high level friends giving you a run through that ended up explaining that one to you before you managed to piss off other random players or, worse, guild mates.

On the subject of guilds and “just what good are they anyway?” – I don’t know how you managed to luck into a guild that could be a permanent home on what was essentially your first try, but good job on that one. In the meantime, you should try being more open minded about playing with other people. They can make the game so much more fun. So much more worth it.

Same thing goes for raiding – be open minded about it. I know you started during Vanilla and the thought of 40-man raids is pretty daunting to someone who barely ever managed to get into the whole notion of 5-man dungeons because of the ew, other people, aspect; but raiding is hella fun. So fun you’ll someday sacrifice a whole lot of dignity, time and emotions on it.

Lastly, if there’s ever a chance for you to become the GM of a guild, you should take it for yourself rather than pushing At into it. I’m not actually 100% sure on this being a good idea, but it’s where you’re going to end up anyway so you might as well go for it.

Love, compassion and embarrassment,

Future Alas (who still manages to be a noob)

Posted in Leveling, Open Letters | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cookin' with Alas

I thought I should put my money where my mouth is – and hopefully my chili recipe where your mouths are. If anyone cooks this, I would love to know what you think of it. Unless you hate it. Then please don’t tell me.


[brackets used for real life items when I feel it's needed]


Brown up your chunk o’ mammoth with your diced Khadgar’s Whisker bulb in a frying pan over medium heat.

While frying, combine harvest fruit, harvest fruit sauce, hot spices and salt in a slow cooker, set to high heat. You’ll want to have all the spices thoroughly mixed in before you add the unpopped darkmist eyes, otherwise deposits of spices tend to lodge in the eyes and you don’t want a mouthful of that. Steam the sack of corn and add it to the harvest fruit and spice mixture along with the eyes. Once the chunk o’ mammoth has finished browning and the Khadgar’s whisker bulbs are soft, toss them into the cooker, stirring well.

Now go relax for an hour or so. Or make some Moist Cornbread to serve as a side.

Wait, wut – you call that a recipe?

Yeah, I do. I know I didn’t include any measurements there and that’s because I never use any. Lazy chef, remember? If I had to guess at it, I use about a pound of meat, two medium onions, and two cans each of diced harvest fruit and sauce. I used to include beans (kidney or black) until I realized I don’t like beans all that much and the corn and unpopped darkmist eyes, while unconventional, provide both color and extra chunky filler so the chile isn’t too soupy. And they are what make this recipe a bit more unique.

I will also sometimes get a bit more creative with the spices. Autumnal herbs [oregano and a pinch of cayenne pepper or roasted red pepper flakes] can add some interesting differences to the base flavor. I really never measure spices, but would guess I use about a tablespoon each of cumin and light red chili powder (the dark stuff is gross imo, unless you’re adding cocoa), maybe a bit more. The garlic and coriander are more like 1/8 – 1/4 of a teaspoon. It’s not hot and spicy, I swear. Otherwise I wouldn’t be able to eat it.

Once you’ve got it seasoned the way you like it, sprinkle with cheese – I am fond of Dalaran Sharp, myself – and serve with corn chips.

Posted in Acts of Lameness, Real Life | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments