Category Archives: Blogstuff

The End of the Expansion: Heroic Garrosh, The Realm Connection, & A Bit of Mischief

I’ve said it before, but when Mists of Pandaria was first announced, I balked. “Of course, I’m still going to play it,” I readily admitted, “but I don’t know if I’m going to like it.”

Turns out, I did, but it hasn’t been an easy road for my guild this time around. At the very beginning (and I do mean the very beginning–MSV), we lost 12 people in 2 weeks, two separate groups that broke off and went 10-man. This left us down half of a raid group and without four of our 6 healers. 

MSV Wipe

This expansion for our guild has been about discovering who we are and what we want to be as a guild now, or at least, that’s how it has been for me. I have very clear ideas about what I want to see in Warlords of Draenor, and my raiding goals are higher than they’ve ever been. Whatever happens next, I am certain that Mythic raiding is going to be an adventure.

Speaking of raiding goals, we reached one we had never actually set before as a guild: clearing the content before the next patch. It’s been an uphill climb from those troubling moments in Mogu’shan, and there were times this expansion that I honestly wondered if we were going to be raiding much at all.

But we pulled through. We got stuck on 25-man Thok for over 2 months and made the decision to go 10-man, on which we cleared Thok through Paragons, and then, this week, 188 wipes in, Garrosh died. 

Grats, CCT. Thank you for not giving up on the guild and thank you for not giving up on me. 

Heroic Garrosh

Durotan & Ysera 4 Lyfe

Durotan has been my home since the day I created Ambermist. From those fledgling days as a healer to learning to Moonkin to Siege of Orgrimmar, I’ve been here. In Vanilla and BC, Durotan lost a lot of guilds to free server transfers as they opened up the option for new servers. Wrath was a fun time for the server. Dalaran certainly promotes spending time with the people around you.

From Dollarsign to Casual’s Gem Cuts to Secular’s insistence on making it impossible to fish for coins to nude dance parties because, well, why not, Wrath was good times. 

Dalaran: City of Nudes

Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria saw a steady decline in our server population, especially for the Horde side, and a bottoming out of progression. We were never a highly ranked server anyway, but we went from a small handful of 25 and quite a few 10 man guilds progressing through content to an extremely small group of guilds that made it into Heroic Siege, and only two so far that have completed it, the first of which only moved to Durotan earlier this year.  

No one is surprised to see “Durotan is dead!” in Trade chat anymore, when there’s active Trade chat at all, and there has been a lot of “when are we going to be merged?” going around. The answer is today, when we merge with Ysera. 

The servers seem similar from what I’ve seen, with a much bigger group of Horde to breathe life into Durotan’s struggling Horde side, and even more Alliance with whom to share the stoop. (Or not, you know, we’re kind of territorial). 

The Stoop

Uh, Clump Check?

 

Welcome, Ysera, I look forward to meeting you!

The Summer Doldrums

Here we are at the end of the expansion in the middle of summer. People are restless, a little (or a lot) bored, and generally causing mischief wherever they go. Sometimes this ends up being some mild trolling, other times it’s Thunderfury vs Thunderfury in an epic melee caster battle. 

Then, sometimes, it’s a fight to see who’s going to be forced to leave the guild, which is what happened last night. I lost. 

After leaving the guild, I asked if anyone was recruiting, and I immediately got an offer from a guild that I couldn’t refuse. 

Check Please 4 Lyfe?

 

And then the other officer that could invite me back to CCT logged off. Then, so did the mage that I was going to promote to get an invite when there was no one else online.

THEY LEFT ME HERE, YOU GUYS. 

It’s okay, though, Check Please has macadamia nut cookies. I think this could work out.

So, that’s my story–how is the end of the expansion treating you, your guilds, and your servers? 

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Going Mobile

Six years ago, a week after they were available for purchase, my husband and I ordered keychain authenticators. The day it came in the mail, I taped it to my desk, and I haven’t moved it since that day.

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To understand the importance of this, you first have to understand that I am about the most scatterbrained individual you can imagine. I lose my phone for at least 2 or 3 days about once every 2 months. My keys are a daily adventure. And then there are the extra special moments, like “Honey, why is your wallet in the freezer?”

My husband switched to the Mobile Authenticator not long after it became an option, but I declined. It’s safer there taped to my desk–sometimes you have to recognize your weaknesses and work with them.

Mobile Requirements

When the Armory app required an authenticator, I considered switching to mobile. I wanted to be able to log in and use the app to chat with guildies, but it wasn’t worth losing my authenticator to me, so I sucked it up and lived without it.

Yesterday, though, everything changed–Hearthstone came to the iPad. We have two iPads, one that the whole family chipped in to buy for the kids, and one from my husband’s work, and I have used them both extensively. It turns out I love tablets.

I knew the minute I opened the Hearthstone app, I would need my authenticator number. Drat.

The truth is, I like the incorporation of mobile options into our games. On Twitter the other day, I couldn’t help but wonder if Blizzard will take the desktop launcher chat-with-friends feature mobile. It seems like the next logical step from Guild Chat on the Armory app to Real ID Chat on a mobile app, and I honestly would think that’s pretty cool.

The Decision to Go Mobile

I can’t deny the importance of being able to have my authenticator on the move anymore. I want in on this mobile movement, and I’m going to have to go for it.

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Hey, you can’t deny that it’s mobile.

 

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I’m Still Okay with the Timeless Isle

I can’t even keep up with the rate my Twitter feed moves anymore, but every now and then when I’m scrolling through, something will catch my eye. A week or so ago, it was a link to Blog Azeroth’s shared topic idea, which boiled down to: “How much time do you spend on the Timeless Isle, and why?”

Edit to add: Okay, so after I posted this, I realized that I had used the headlining picture previously. Can’t have that, so now there’s a brand new bonus pic. :-P

Timeless Isle Redux

 

Rare Hunt

It stood out to me because I have spent a ton of time on the Isle, and truthfully, I don’t hate it yet. I don’t spend all my time chasing after rares or completing events like I did at first, but I’m still there at least a few times a week.

On my druid, I’m working on Shaohao exalted rep. Yes, really. At least 3 members of my guild think I have gone completely stupid. I’m not sure they’re wrong.

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Every Tuesday, I go out to the Isle, pick up the weeklies (cause Valor), and go kill Ordos Fire Dudes on Fire Dude Hill. So many fire dudes have died, guys; sometimes I feel the need to preserve their legacy.

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Of course, Timeless Isle is best for alts–I have at least one complete set of each type of Timeless armor tokens sitting on my bank alt just in case, I don’t know, I decide to level 4 more warlocks or something. It could happen.

Each of my alts has spent at least a tiny bit of time on the Isle, certainly some more than others.

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Both my hunter and shaman dinged 90 on the Isle thanks to the convenient worm packs and friends who didn’t mind killing large scores of mobs or dragging me through the crystal cave in search of a Crystal of Insanity (<3 Frenzie!).

And, of course, my druid and my shaman go out there every week to kill the Celestials and Ordos, because I sure love boxes of gold. Who needs loot when you’ve got BOXES. of GOLD.

I imagine that the Timeless Isle will continue to be at least a part of what I do every week until I throw my computer out the window in a rage fit one raid night or 6.0 drops, whichever comes first.

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What about you?

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Mists of Pandaria Compilation Album

It’s time again for the compilation album I make for my guild. While not all of it will make sense, I think there’s enough cross over in the boss mechanics from Siege that you guys can appreciate some of this!

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And a bonus album!

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You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby: My Mists of Pandaria Characters

Despite the expansion being possibly 6 months away, the feeling that we are coming to the close of Mists of Pandaria lingers. When MoP was announced, I was not quiet about how un-interesting I thought it sounded–until I played the beta. It swept me off my feet and hasn’t stopped. 

I wanted, then, to take a look at my characters as we round out the last few months of Pandaria and prepare for our next great adventure: 

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The last time I did a summary of my characters like this was way back in 2010–hard to believe how far they’ve come (and my, how they’ve grown!) in 4 years. 

My little team is poised and ready to jump into Warlords with both feet!

 

 

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The Double-Edged Sword of OQueue

I started hearing a lot about the add-on OQueue probably a month ago. If you aren’t familiar with this add-on, it allows you to join premade groups cross-realm for raids, PvP, dungeons, scenarios, world bosses–anything, really.

I held off downloading it. The truth was, I’d never had a super hard time finding a group. My main is a well-geared, Alliance character, and on a server where Alliance dominates (ratio of about 4:1, probably even more unbalanced now), that’s made it relatively simple.

Then I started playing my Horde warlock, and I felt the pain of that imbalance. It was nearly impossible to get a couple of gems cut, much less any kind of raid for Celestials or Ordos.

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OQueue Fan 

This being what it was, I decided to bite the bullet and try OQueue. I did a little reading about it, then downloaded it and tried it out. My poor warlock went from being stranded on a lifeless Horde-side realm to a Celestials Group and Ordos right after it.

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This, I decided, was awesome. Suddenly, I had to try it for all of my characters. My main’s Flex night falls on an offnight, and since we’re limited to a night, we go for the most relevant Flex wing for the raid–right now, that’s wing 4, because we’re working on Garrosh and want people to see him (plus there’s some considerably nice gear off of those bosses that are still upgrades for raiders).

That meant I still needed the other wings of Flex–and I had OQueue. That was about 2 or 3 weeks ago. Since then, I have used OQueue to run the first three wings in Flex every week, Celestials and Ordos on my druid and warlock, and a few scenarios to cap my Valor Points.

It’s amazing–it’s nearly instant most of the time, and there’s no work involved–this can’t possibly have a downside, right?

All the Lonely People

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This week, I did what I’d been doing the past couple of weeks: on Tuesday, as soon as realms came up, I OQ’d my druid for Ordos and Celestials. Within 20 minutes of logging in, both bosses were dead. Excellent.

Not sure what to do with myself, I OQ’d again for a flex raid, knocked a wing out, then hit up a couple of scenarios for VP.

Then I logged out, because I didn’t have anything else I needed to do on my main, and there was no one around anyway.

I’ve realized this week that I’m missing something in my OQueue shenanigans–people. I didn’t realize how valuable those moments getting a bunch of people on our realm together to do a world boss or teaming up with guildies were to me until I didn’t have them anymore.

Suddenly, doing groups isn’t about pulling people together–it’s like the entire World of Warcraft went LFR, and I don’t like that aspect nearly as much as I thought I would.

OQueue or NoQueue? 

(Ha! NoQueue. Get it?). I’ll still use OQueue, it really is an invaluable resource when you want to kill a boss or do a scenario and there’s no one around to help you out. It’s awesome for Flex raids, which are hard to put together on a relatively low- to moderate-pop server.

However, I’ll keep my eyes open for chances to group with others from my server. Next Tuesday, before I open OQueue, I think I’ll take a look at Trade and do some old-fashioned group-finding.

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I Just Don’t Get It

Yesterday, as I was glancing through posts on my WordPress dash (I miss you already, Google Reader!), I ran across this post from Tome of the Ancient. Frustrated with not being able to defeat Zao in the Celestial Tournament, it was a great look at what pet combinations weren’t working and how to plan going forward.

And it got me thinking. See, I think the fact that there are THREE of the FOUR Celestial Tournament encounters complete on that screenshot is amazing because when it comes to pet battles, I just don’t get it.

want to get it. I enjoy pet battling; I’ve leveled about 7 pets to 25, I’ve battled some of the trainers, I’ve even been specifically leveling pets that will be strong against Lil Oondasta. Curse you, dino; curse you.

Pet Battle Pep Talk

This Isn’t the First Time

It strikes me as funny when there’s someone out there downplaying something they do well (even though I know I’ve done the same thing) when I can’t even comprehend how they do what they do.

For instance, as I was talking to Fimlys and Hydra this past weekend, we were talking about Cynwise. I don’t even have to link that name–pretty much anyone who has read my blog for any amount of time or been on Twitter with any amount of frequency in the past 5 years knows Cyn.

Specifically, I was remembering how, when I first started talking to Cyn, there was some downplay going on–”Wrath Baby” is the term I believe kept coming up. The whole time, though; I was thinking: No one out there is doing what you’re doing with your blog right now. You’re a thing!

I didn’t (still don’t) get PvP the way Cynwise does. I want to, I just don’t.

So What is it You Don’t Get?

I can’t be the only one with this going on. What’s your thing you don’t get? What do you see other people doing in game that somehow eludes you?

For me it’s pet battles and PvP. I wish I was great, but I’m going to have to be content with what I can do and wonder in awe at the people who are great.

Don’t downplay yourselves, guys; keep being great and I’ll keep looking at you all like this:

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Lessons from the Timeless Isle

  1. Do click on everything.
  2. Don’t stand still for too long (see also: Burning Cleave, Molten Inferno)
  3. Do ride the Albatross Express.
  4. Do talk to monkeys in caves.
  5. Don’t laugh at Zarhym’s jokes.

Pre-Patch

I originally planned to make a blog post the day of the patch itself, but I had only been awake for about 30 minutes when my husband said, “Holy crap, the realms are up!”  Of my list of goals for going into 5.4, I…almost made it. My goals were:

  • Get every level 90 Justice Point capped.
  • Get my main Valor Point capped.
  • Get the Darkspear Revolutionary title on my warlock.
  • Sort out my bags.

I did my VP cap, and I almost got every level 90 character JP capped:

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I also got my title!

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As for the last one…

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Eh, you win some, you lose some.

Patch 5.4 – Day 1

Taxi!

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I am the one who knocks (yeah, I’ve just been looking for an excuse to say that):

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Onward to Orgrimmar:

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Play as a Team: Guild Progression

What is a guild? Very simply, it’s a group of players who come together under one banner to achieve a certain goal.

That goal can be anything: friendship, camaraderie, questing, leveling, PvP, role playing, raiding, progression. Most guilds combine at least a few of these, though I think we all know some guilds who are more focused on one or another.

Herding Cats...

Casual Progression

My guild is a casual progression raiding guild. I define “casual progression” as goal-oriented but more flexible than hardcore.

We raid three nights a week for about 3 hours per night. The other nights of the week belong to me (okay, actually, they belong to work and family, but I’m cool with that).

If my daughter wakes up with a bad dream, I can walk away for five minutes and not lose my raid spot. I can sign out of a raid for dinner with my husband. I don’t have to be perfect.

But I darn well better try.

That’s the key to any progression for me: be as close to perfect as you can be. Come prepared: bring a flask, get a stack of potions, eat your buff food, read the strats, watch the videos. When that pull countdown starts, be as ready as you can be and do everything you can to be as good as possible.

When the raid is over, take a look at performance. How did you do? Can you do better? (That’s a trick question, the answer is always yes). How will you do it better next time?

Guild Progression

I said all of that to establish where I’m coming from with this topic. The above is my raiding philosophy,  if you can call it that. I can say with complete certainty that all of the officers in my guild would agree that it’s what we expect from everyone. It’s definitely what we expect of ourselves.

The reason for performing your best is not to be awesome. Sure, it’s nice to be awesome. It’s certainly helpful if you are awesome. But the reason your ability and your performance matters comes down to one thing: guild progression.

Ultimately, I want to be in a guild that kills bosses. My personal role in that experience is to do whatever I can do to help kill bosses, and that is much more than a performance issue.

The fact is, sometimes the best thing I can do to help my guild get a boss kill is to sit out of a fight.

Sometimes the best thing I can do is admit I am stumped on a mechanic or that I need some help with my class and my role.

Sometimes the best thing I can do is to pass on a piece of loot that I could use but that would help the guild out more in the hands of a player who can utilize the optimization better or needs the upgrade more than I do.

Why? Because I care more about the guild progression than my own.

Personal Progression

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Personal progression is extremely rewarding, let’s be honest. It feels great to get new loot. It feels great to be involved in a boss kill. 

If you’ve ever gotten one of these whispers:

  • “Man, I wish I had your gear.”
  • “How did you get that title?”
  • “Congrats on the boss kill, we’re still stuck.”

You know there’s some pride wrapped up in personal progression.

But none of us live in a vacuum. I can’t walk in there and solo a progression boss (I’ve proven this with a few misfired Moonfires). I rely on the 24 other people in my raid.

One person’s progression is far, far secondary to the guild’s progression. A raider’s personal progression is only relevant in how much it helps us succeed as a guild.

My Bottom Line

I’ve been thinking a lot about this topic this week, mulling and stewing and raging, depending on the day. All of my thoughts come back to a few principles:

  • No raider is irreplaceable. If you’re in a guild that’s been raiding for years, the very fact that you are in the raid at all is a testament to this truth: you replaced someone. 
  • You raid because the rest of your raid allows you to do so. As I said before, you can’t solo bosses. If you’re in a raid group right now, it’s because the other people in your raid find you valuable for one reason or another. Keep being valuable, and you’ll probably get to raid for a long time.
  • Guilds don’t exist to serve you. Guilds are communities created by like-minded individuals, each with their own motives, desires, and objectives. We are not merely a vehicle to achieve your personal goals. We all have individual goals, but our primary objective is for the guild’s boss count to go up.
  • Guild progression > individual progression. I love to be present for boss kills. I love to get new loot. I love to do well on meters and get acknowledged for my contributions–who doesn’t? But I care much more about where we are as a guild, and if it takes me sitting back on the sidelines, playing a non-favorite role for a boss or two, or passing on loot, then that’s what I’ll do.

I’m in a progression-oriented guild because I like to be involved in a group that gets things done. I like being part of something bigger than myself. I like knowing that I play a role in what the guild is doing. Those things are rewarding to me; those things are fun to me.

In a conversation last night, one of our officers dropped the key word: teamwork.

Do your best, put in the effort, admit when you’re struggling, make a sacrifice for a fellow raider: play for the team.

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December Wrap-Up and What’s Next

December Wrap-Up

I only saw one link in the comments, so if you posted but didn’t link, let me know!

The challenge was to tell me what you like about gaming or your favorite game. For me, there are two things: raiding and community. I love killing bosses and I love hanging out with my guild and chatting with the Twitter community.

And I’m a moonkin. For heaven’s sake, I Starfall. I also tab fail and Moonfire things, but that’s a post for another day.

Thanks, Rakuno, for one last post:

Shards of Imagination – Rakuno breaks down each of the parts of the challenge, jumping into adventuring, exploring stories, and seeing old friends reunited under the banner of Tyria!

What’s Next

The truth is, I don’t entirely know. Life recently has gotten insanely busy (but it’s worth every bit of it, I promise). My non-family free time is limited, so I often choose to play WoW during that time.

Unfortunately, that leaves only a little time for posting blogs.

I will definitely not be shutting down the blog again. I love this space. This is my space. It’s my place to talk at length about the things I experience and observe in the games I love so much.  I just can’t promise consistency and long posts…of course, most of you figured that out a long time ago!

I hope someone will pick up the challenges and start doing them every month. You won’t regret it!

You can find more frequent posts on Twitter and the Tumblr I recently resurrected.

Happy hunting, my friends!

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