Emo Monday

Cataclysm. We finally have a release date and all I can think is that I have some headaches around the corner.

Well, headaches, and that I better make some big efforts in the coming weeks to do everything I want to do before the xpac drops.

Unfortunately, the biggest thing on that list is that I want to kill Arthas. I want to kill him dead and then kick his corpse off his platform after rifling it for phat lewts. (What anger issues?)

Honestly, I don’t see it happening as we stand now. We finally dropped the ID we had saved and scraped together the few people who did sign up – one of whom who had never been in ICC before – and commandeered an alt run’s 6/12 ID and muddled through the blood quarter. If we get enough bodies together in the next weeks, we will still have dragons and Putricide to get through again. When you consider that we’ve only ever downed Sindy once and we’ll very likely be needing to teach the fights to new people, it might be some time before we even get ourselves back to a place where we can attempt the LK.

And a major patch that will force us all to learn to play our own mains again is about to drop.

So there’s no celebration going on in this quarter over the announced xpac date. Perhaps the coming patch and the sense of running out of time might start bringing long-lost raiders back to the game. Perhaps we might surprise ourselves and do better with our new trees and talents than we have with rotations long since familiar. I’m not ruling the possibility out, but neither am I ruling out that the adjustment might take some of us longer to make than we have time for.

In the meantime, there’s prep work that needs to go into the guild as a whole for getting us set up to hit the ground running when Cataclysm does come. Those are the potential headaches, mostly because I am looking at getting a new job and moving cross-country and I cannot even say how much stress it is to think about balancing real life things, never mind herding cats in game.

Somehow, as always, just putting it all out here makes me laugh at myself and realize it’s not all such a big deal. I am pretty sure life will go on, Cataclysms or not.

The consequences of drinking (and of listening to Yngwe)

I mentioned a few days ago that I was dealing with some painful things in game. It’s still hard to talk about it, so I’m going to simply state that Esyllt got drunk at Brewfest and made some big decisions in that inebriated state. She’s regretting it all now, but regret doesn’t change anything. Neither does trying to fill the holes in one’s heart with cheap substitutes.

But she’s trying, poor thing. (You’ll obviously need to click to embiggen)

Guest Post: Elfi’s Night Out

Well, I took today off work just because I have an aversion to Mondays and I needed to get some things done with regards to registration on my first mount. Apparently, if you’ve been riding the same pony for 10 years, it comes to need a little extra love and attention. And safety checks. You know how it is.

Anyhow, Elfi sweetly offered up a guest post to me last week to use at any time of my choosing and it seemed that the day I am taking off from work would also be a good day to take off from the blog. Especially since there have been some recent…. hardships in game. It’s hard to talk about but I’m sure I will eventually find the words.

I’ll shut up now and get out of the way. Without further ado, I give you Elfi’s adventures with Brewfest!

Elfi goes to Brewfest

Dear Alas,

Hello old friend. How have you been?  It’s been so long since I’ve seen you. Of course, it doesn’t help that I haven’t been home much at all lately. I sure do miss Dalaran. When I first decided I wanted to backpack across Azeroth and earn my Loremaster acheivement, I never realized I would be so worn out with all the running around that I would be too tired to even bother going home. I guess that’s what happens when you wait until you’re all grown up to start worrying about what you want to achieve.  Sigh. I’m getting off topic, I apologize. I should be concentrating on you.

What’s been going on with you these days? Still being used as a taxi service by all your friends and family? I tell ya, I sure wish you were here with me. It would make my journey so much easier if I could just port from Darnassus to Gadgetzan. Seriously, that is the longest flight ever. I have beaten all of the Peggle levels, so I am stuck playing Bejeweled during my flights and that’s just not as fun to me.  I cannot wait until I can just buy my own license to fly in a few months. Then I can take a more direct path to places. Crap, I’m rambling about me again. I am so sorry; I guess I’m just exhausted from all the traveling I’ve been doing lately. I tried to relax last night by flying over to Ironforge and getting out of Kalimdor altogether for a while. It seemed to help at first, but then I made the mistake of thinking I should take a ride outside the city and see the scenery. You know, enjoy the snow after all my time in the Barrens and Desolace. Unfortunately, my night did not end up being very relaxing. I’m almost embarrassed to tell you, but here’s how my night went.

Before I was even halfway down the hill coming out of Ironforge’s main gates, I spotted some sort of festival going on down in the valley. Since I love all these silly little type of distractions I decided to check it out.

Elfi's Adventure

When I got to the intersection at the bottom of the hill, I almost got ran over by a bunch of whooping and hollering idiots who were racing rams at full speed. I should have turned around then.

Elfi's Adventure

But I didn’t, I turned to my right and headed towards the tents I had seen.  The beer banners actually got me kind of excited. Since I came to Ironforge to relax and escape, a few beers would probably be a great idea.

Elfi's Adventure

Immediately, I was greeted by a rather robust guy who also thought a few beers would do me some good. He told me this was the annual Brewfest and gave me some tokens I could use at the Brewfest vendor.

Elfi's Adventure

I, of course, went straight over to one of the beer men (who by the way didn’t accept Beerfest tokens so I had to use my own coin). This is where things really went way wrong. I don’t know what I was thinking, but instead of buying a few bottles of Pinot Noir, or even a flask of Port, I became an instant idiot and thought it would be a good idea to buy several jugs of Bourbon. The first few drinks were fine, but soon (several jugs later) I had gone too far.

Elfi's Adventure
Elfi's Adventure

I cannot remember the last time I was this drunk. I mean, the next thing I know I’m chasing winged bunnies (with horns, no less) through the snow. Winged bunnies! Can you believe I thought I was actually seeing these things? Obviously they don’t really exist. I went back after I sobered up to make sure.

Elfi's Adventure

I barely remember making my way back towards the tents.  This was probably not the best place for me to be because in no time I’m dancing on a table wearing only my weapon and my tabard. Of course, in my defense, I had already puked all over my robes. Luckily I was aware enough to realize no one was paying any attention to me, so I got down.

Elfi's Adventure

However, in my drunken stupor I mistakenly stumbled down the path and started grinding on a female reveler. I didn’t realize my mistake until some random dwarf ambled by and hollered something profane about two chicks. I quickly moved away.

Elfi's Adventure
Elfi's Adventure

I knew things had gotten way out of hand and I was desperate to force myself into sobering up, so when I bumped into my mom’s old friend, Neil Ramstein, I let him convince me that doing some Ram Racing and letting the cool evening air blow in my face might make me more alert. Not surprisingly, I never quite made it onto any of the rams. I did, however, sleep it off a bit and was able to pick myself up off the ground several hours later and drag ass back to my room at the inn. I even made it back with all my clothes!

Elfi's Adventure
Elfi's Adventure

Anyway, as you can see, I have issues. I desperately need to spend more time with you and my other guildies. This whole “finding all obscure quests in Kalimdor” business is really screwing with my head. I have decided to take the next several days off from that whole mess. Maybe I’ll hang out here in Ironforge and check out the festival again tomorrow (minus the jugs of bourbon, of course).  Wish you guys were here to party with me. Maybe you guys could take a break from trying to down Arthas and come hang out with me. Wait, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking maybe I should concentrate on earning badges to buy better gear and join you in battle.  And I plan to, I really do. That is why I try my best to join you all in a quick fight once a week; I am still earning some badges and keeping my healing skills brushed up on.

Okay, I’ve rambled long enough. I hope this letter finds you well and my story didn’t disturb you too much. I will see you all soon. Tell everyone I said hello.

Love,  Elfindale

Off topic: a book review

Seems like the only times I really review books are when they hurt my head to the point that I become somewhat violent in temper at the thought of anyone else spending money on them. After all, the only other thing I’ve reviewed was Stormrage, which was at least topical.

I used to enjoy Stephen R. Lawhead. His Song of Albion trilogy blew my tiny mind well over a decade ago when I first read it. His Pendragon Cycle was one of the better takes on Arthurian myth I’d read, with seeds of myth from the lost city of Atlantis mixed in.

But something happened; something bad. His Patrick (as in Saint Patrick) made me want to bash my head against a rock. His recent Robin Hood retelling, with Welsh roots, is unfinished on my shelf…. I never could bring myself to read the third book in the trilogy. I don’t know how I made it through the first two, other than by dint of lots of skimming. The protagonists of the books became more and more emo – male Jaina Proudmoores, if you will, always whining and crying about something until with the turn of a page and absolutely no more character development than that, they are suddenly bold and strong and, well, heroic.

Unpossible, I say. (Also, spoilers ahead I say, not that I think anyone here would plan on reading Lawhead)

After what I think might be a few years of silence, he is back with the recently released The Skin Map. It sounds promising – an ultimate quest for an ultimate treasure. A map that is actually on scraps of human skin. Quantum physics, inter-dimensional voyaging, ley lines, the Omniverse.

The book opens in present day London, with our protagonist mentally pissing and moaning about how hard it is to travel in London. There is some heavy handed foreshadowing here about the complexity of London tube travel being similar to the complexity of inter-dimensional travel. Also, our hero’s (Kit – and by “Kit” I mean “Cosimo Christopher”) job sucks, his friends suck and his girlfriend sucks because she’s never lively enough due to keeping baker’s hours. Also, her taste in fashion sucks.

In the middle of his struggles to get from point A to wherever it is his girlfriend lives (something about an Oyster card not working and a run in with a very rude clerk) he runs into his great grandfather. He accepts this readily enough and even manages to get worked up over the fact that his great grandfather walked out on his family.

I don’t know anything about any of my great grandfathers and I doubt I could bring myself to get worked up over their past sins. I mean, that is just so far removed from my life today it’s not even funny. But Kit reacts as though he had been walked out on while he was just a young sprout.

Immediately, they travel. Like all time travelers in books, Kit convinces himself it was a dream. OF COURSE IT WAS. Then he goes to his girlfriend’s house and finds he has been gone for eight hours. Eight! And he’s like “surely it has been only a few minutes.”

What does the sky look like in London that this is remotely plausible? I must know.

Anyhow, the girlfriend (unfortunately named Wilhelmina) is all mad (duh) and doesn’t buy his explanation that he just went to another dimension with his great grandfather to have a pint of beer (double duh) so he decides to prove it to her. This is never a good idea.

The upshot is he finds dear old great gramps again and she gets dumped in Austria in the 17th century.

Gramps is basically like “Oh noes! That was a bad idea! We have to find her or the Omniverse could be terribly affected and we shall all be doomed!” But… he can’t? Not from that ley line? And so they have to launch a search in England in 1666? Where it’s totally okay to prevent the Great Fire from happening? And get their copy of their fragment of the skin map? And…

It’s already very incoherent.

Now the story alternates between Kit and Wilhelmina. And you know, I like Wilhelmina better. She’s too good for Kit. However, and this is very silly, Wilhelmina in 17th century Austria gets by JUST FINE on the little bit of German she remembers from, like, her grandma. And Kit, in England, is constantly befuddled and like “Are these people even speaking English?” Because, you know, everyone in 1666 totally spoke just like the characters in any of Shakespeare’s plays. EVERYONE. Street urchins, nobles, groomsmen, probably the parrots too, I mean everyone. Probably in iambic pentameter.

Ahem. Anyhow. Meanwhile. In a meeting of wunderbar coincidence, Wilhelmina falls in with… a baker! And they set up a shop together! Men everywhere are taken aback at this wumman being assertive and dickering down rent prices on shops for lease (because that’s apparently a skill you pick up dealing with landlords in modern day London) and next thing you know, they’ve got a bakery. But no one in all of Prague wants to buy their fluffy white loaves!  They like the hard brown stuff. It goes better with the beer. Even when they pass out samples they can get no custom. Woe, woe, woe.

And then the baker goes off to…. Vienna or Verona or some place and acquires coffee beans because Wilhelmina told him to. And they start a coffee house. At first, no one shows up because the location is so bad (and everyone knows it’s all location, location, location!). But then Wilhelmina puts her keen marketing mind to work (actual quote there) and hands out free samples in the square! Which…. I thought they already did…. but that was just bread and this is coffee and pastries or something.

Naturally, they get lots of business now and even the King of all Christendom wants a sip. Life is good. Until the bad guy shows up, because he likes to hop around between Egypt and China and England and Austria, I guess. His name is Burleigh and his henchmen are called the Burley Men. Get it? Geddit? All his henchmen have names only three letters long. Dex. Tev. Cor. I think it’s a requirement to be a henchman. Gotta have a tough sounding and brief name. They have a prehistoric cave lion named Baby. It likes to chomp at the heroes.

Baby. Do you get the clever juxtaposition.

I gotta wrap this up. I just wanted to explain all some of the many moments of nonsense wherein I couldn’t help but wonder just how the fuck this book even got published, never mind how did he manage to sell the idea of a whole trilogy whole five books?

Which reminds me. The guy whose skin became the skin map? He’s this big dude who totally gets beat up by the henchmen and they are starting to cut off his skin while he’s still alive and he gets rescued by a shy and delicate Chinese girl. Because all Chinese people know karate. So he marries her and then she dies about two weeks later in Egypt. That’ll teach her to save anyone’s life.

I quit.

So the bottom line here is Lawhead is super disappointing and I can’t figure out if I liked his earlier books because they were better or if I was just too young and sheltered to know any better. I have certainly read many other authors since Lawhead was a favorite and have learned to tell when an author has faith that their readers are intelligent and can follow complex and rich story lines and when they assume that they are writing for an audience of idiots. I think Lawhead is writing for the mentally weak. I won’t be buying anything of his ever again without first reading it for free to figure out whether it’s any good – and I assume none of it will be good.

Public Service Announcement

I can organize damn near anything. It’s true.

What’s more, I like organizing things. It gives me a sense of control and a feeling of efficiency. One of my personal beliefs is that I am far better at bringing order to chaos than most of the people I know.

This is a huge part of why I am the GM of WWAB. Being organized, having plans – and my essential stubbornness – have all played into the push of getting casuals raiding and then taking raiding more seriously and eventually bringing us to where we are now, working on the last boss in an expansion.

In that sense, I’m a pretty good GM and I mostly find the job rewarding.

But when it comes down to conflict, I don’t do so well. I hate conflict and generally have one of two reactions to interpersonal problems: I get so mad that I explode or I suffer along in silence, thinking that I should address this somehow and then purposefully distract myself until I either get around to exploding or to taking several deep breaths and finally addressing it.

In that sense, I’m a horrid GM and I mostly find the job thankless and  stressful.

The nature of the game being what it is, I recently got to relearn rediscover (am I learning if I still fail to apply the lesson?) that I could save myself a lot of headache and high blood pressure if only I would stop being such a coward about addressing problems directly.

So this is my PSA to all others who find themselves in a leadership position but who hate to deal with conflict. It doesn’t always have to be a brawl. It doesn’t have to be unpleasant. There are many people out there who are willing to respond maturely, provided you don’t attack them but can calmly state your concerns. Even if it ends up going south, at least you won’t have an accumulation of stress to deal with while also dealing with fallout.

And to my guild – I’m sorry for all the times I fail you through my avoidance of dealing with unpleasantness. I’ll try to do better.

Wait, what

I got an odd notion this weekend. One that involved At, Azzah (who was visiting) and me rolling rogues. The plan was to level to 10 and then start inflicting ourselves on PVP queues.

Since we were all pretty hard up for cash at the beginning but wanted our abilities, we all sold nearly every scrap of clothing we had and ran around, questing in our skins.

We had enough other things interrupt us that we only just managed to get to 10 and queued a few times. We won the first one and then proceeded to lose and die a whole lot. I normally hate PVP but the idea of getting closer to level cap for WSG and being able to gank rather than be ganked is just so darn attractive. We’re going to eventually level these three rogues only through PVP and the odd bit of exploration/had-to-kill-that-critter-for-my-gathering-skills XP.

It’s a fun to shake things up a bit, especially for me. Between not having a rogue, generally failing at melee and my deep-seated loathing for PVP, it’s a whole new way to play the game for me.

Oh, and being a troll is new for me as well. I think I might have been briefly possessed by the anti-Alas. There’s no other reason to explain why I thought this was a brilliant idea, especially since I wasn’t drinking when I came up with it.

Where’s mah bukkit (list)?

There’s something about the twilight of an expansion that energizes me to spend more time doing things I meant to get to done sooner. It’s a little odd, because a lot of the things I mean to do aren’t dependent on the world being just as it is now. Cataclysm won’t make my goals impossible to achieve.

I think I like deadlines too much. Any timeline that puts pressure on me to perform – even if the pressure is based on a purely arbitrary event – has a way of galvanizing me to do things I might not otherwise do.

Unfortunately, this has resulted in not one and not two but three characters in their low- to mid-70’s that I would like to get to 80 before Cataclysm drops.

I’m so tired of Utgarde Keep and The Nexus, I just can’t even say.

But badgers! And xp! And fast queues!

Alasmuphys the warrior is 75 and I think I’ve gotten a better handle on warrior tanking recently. The baby huntard hit 73 last night (and logs on to shouts of “DINOTAM” from the peanut gallery) and the Horde-side priesty got to 75 in a rush in order to be able to participate in the retaking of the Echo Isles.

But did I mention I am sick of The Nexus and UK? Because I am. The only bright spot is that I at least get to play a different role depending on which character I’m on. I am feeling very confident that I will manage to have ten 80’s when Cataclysm drops.

As far as Alas goes, I have a more limited number of goals on her just now. More than anything, I want to see the LK down. We’re still having trouble with that transition, though we have some new ideas to try tonight. A big part of our problem is a gimped healer team. If we have enough main healers, we have no variety. If we have to grab an alt, we have more variety but… it’s an alt. It’s frustrating to say the least.

The rep grinds of great senselessness are ongoing, although I have a hard time getting into either the Ogri’la dailies or the Wintersaber Trainer dailies. Somehow the most senseless grind of all is almost done, with only Ratchet needing a bit of a boost up to exalted. I am only three reputations away from a full 40.

All in all, I am keeping busy and mostly having fun. Mostly. But a short break looking at the PTR and trying to decide whether to make the leap to fire spec after being arcane for this whole expansion does sound rather nice.

Chapter 17 – P&P+WoW makes a comeback!

Hey everyone? Remember this? It’s been a long while since I’ve posted any chapters. Hope everyone enjoys this one!

Chapter 17

Elizabeth related to Jane the next day what had passed between Mr. Wickham and herself. Jane listened with astonishment and concern; she knew not how to believe that Mr. Darcy could be so unworthy of Mr. Bingley’s regard; and yet, it was not in her nature to question the veracity of a young man of such amiable appearance as Wickham. The possibility of his having endured such unkindness, was enough to interest all her tender feelings; and nothing remained therefore to be done, but to think well of them both, to defend the conduct of each, and throw into the account of accident or mistake whatever could not be otherwise explained.

“They have both,” said she, “been deceived, I dare say, in some way or other, of which we can form no idea. Interested people have perhaps misrepresented each to the other. It is, in short, impossible for us to conjecture the causes or circumstances which may have alienated them, without actual blame on either side.”

“Very true, indeed; and now, my dear Jane, what have you got to say on behalf of the interested people who have probably been concerned in the business? Do clear them too, or we shall be obliged to think ill of somebody.”

“Laugh as much as you choose, but you will not laugh me out of my opinion. My dearest Lizzy, do but consider in what a disgraceful light it places Mr. Darcy, to be treating his GM’s favourite in such a manner, one whom his GM had promised to provide for. It is impossible. No man of common humanity, no man who had any value for his character, could be capable of it. Can his most intimate friends be so excessively deceived in him? Oh! no.”

“I can much more easily believe Mr. Bingley’s being imposed on, than that Mr. Wickham should invent such a history of himself as he gave me last night; names, facts, everything mentioned without ceremony. If it be not so, let Mr. Darcy contradict it. Besides, there was truth in his looks.”

“It is difficult indeed—it is distressing. One does not know what to think.”

“I beg your pardon; one knows exactly what to think.”

But Jane could think with certainty on only one point—that Mr. Bingley, if he had been imposed on, would have much to suffer when the affair became public.

The two young ladies were summoned from their party channel in vent, where this conversation passed, by the arrival in another channel of vent of the very persons of whom they had been speaking; Mr. Bingley and his guildies came to give their personal invitation for the long-expected raid at ICC, which was fixed for the following Tuesday, after the weekly reset. The two dps were delighted to see Jane again, called it an age since they had met, and repeatedly asked what she had been doing with herself since their separation. To the rest of the guild they paid little attention; avoiding Mrs. Bennet as much as possible, saying not much to Elizabeth, and nothing at all to the others. They were soon gone again, logging out of vent with an activity which took Bingley by surprise, and hurrying off as if eager to escape from Mrs. Bennet’s civilities.

The prospect of the ICC raid was extremely agreeable to everyone of the guild. Mrs. Bennet chose to consider it as given in compliment to best healer, and was particularly flattered by receiving the invitation from Mr. Bingley himself, instead of a calendar invitation. Jane pictured to herself a happy evening in the society of her two friends, and the attentions of a tank who appreciated her; and Elizabeth thought with pleasure of comparing DPS output with Mr. Wickham, and of seeing a confirmation of everything in Mr. Darcy’s behavior. The happiness anticipated by Catherine and Lydia depended less on any single event, or any particular person, for though they each, like Elizabeth, meant to spend half the evening in tells with Mr. Wickham, he was by no means the only raider who could satisfy them, and a raid was, at any rate, a raid. And even Mary could assure her guild that she had no disinclination for it.

“While I can have my mornings to myself,” said she, “it is enough—I think it is no sacrifice to join occasionally in evening engagements. Society has claims on us all; and I profess myself one of those who consider intervals of raids and teamwork as desirable for everybody.”

Elizabeth’s spirits were so high on this occasion, that though she did not often speak unnecessarily to Mr. Collins, she could not help asking him whether he intended to accept Mr. Bingley’s invitation, and if he did, whether he would think it proper to join in the evening’s raid; and she was rather surprised to find that he entertained no scruple whatever on that head, and was very far from dreading a rebuke from Lady Catherine de Bourgh, by venturing to tank.

“I am by no means of the opinion, I assure you,” said he, “that a raid of this kind, given by a progression guild of character, to respectable people, can have any evil tendency; and I am so far from objecting to raiding myself, that I shall hope to be honoured with the company of all my friends in the course of the evening; and I take this opportunity of soliciting your heals, Miss Elizabeth, for the two first bosses especially, a preference which I trust Jane will attribute to the right cause, and not to any disrespect for her.”

Elizabeth felt herself completely taken in. She had fully proposed being engaged in dpsing the entire raid; and to have Mr. Collins instead think to have her healing! her liveliness had never been worse timed. There was no help for it, however. Mr. Wickham’s happiness and her own were perforce delayed a little longer, and Mr. Collins’s proposal accepted with as good a grace as she could. She was not the better pleased with his gallantry from the idea it suggested of something more. It now first struck her, that she was selected from among her guild as worthy of being a healer and of assisting to form a raid group at <Rosings>, in the absence of more eligible players. The idea soon reached to conviction, as she observed his increasing civilities toward herself, and heard his frequent attempt at a compliment on her gear and ability; and though more astonished than gratified herself by this effect of her charms, it was not long before Mrs. Bennett gave her to understand that the probability of her transferring was extremely agreeable to her. Elizabeth, however, did not choose to take the hint, being well aware that a serious dispute must be the consequence of any reply. Mr. Collins might never make the offer, and till he did, it was useless to quarrel about him.

If there had not been an ICC raid to prepare for and talk of, the younger DPS would have been in a very pitiable state at this time, for from the day of the invitation, to the day of the raid, there was such a succession of server maintenance as prevented their logging on once. No guild, no officers of the <Meryton Militia>, no news could be sought after—the very gear checks for ICC were got by wowarmory. Even Elizabeth might have found some trial of her patience in maintenance which totally suspended the improvement of her acquaintance with Mr. Wickham; and nothing less than a raid on Tuesday, could have made such a Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday endurable to anyone.

Bite size buffet

Against my better judgment, I took DinoTam out with me to help do the little we’re allowed to participate in for the retaking of Gnomer.

It was all complaints about how we never go anywhere warm anymore right up until we reached the outskirts of the initial Gnomish base. I’ll leave it to your imaginations to guess the full extent of what happened then, but here is a picture:

I can also tell you that in the end it required the following to help deal with the, err, aftereffects:

I also need a lawyer. Apparently, I’m to be prosecuted for the acts of my pet, even though I was unconscious at the time (DinoTam turned quickly and his tail whipped into my midsection, throwing me against a tree and knocking my head on a rather stout branch.) So if anyone knows a good lawyer, that would be most helpful.