Category Archives: Experiences

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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Why I Don’t Like You, And Probably Never Will

UPDATE: There’s been a meeting of the minds, so to speak, and our guild and the guild that is the subject of this post (and the myriad comments below) has reached an agreement. Good grief, I sound like I’m writing some kind of political release.

Fahget about it. We’re starting over, clean slate. Nothing to see here, move along.

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For weeks, I’ve been telling my guildies not to feed the trolls, and (for the most part), they’ve been great. Here I go ruining it, because I have a big bag of troll food, and I’ve got to use it up before it goes stale.

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So this is an open letter to whom it may concern:

It’s one thing to win, and the truth is, I don’t fault you for being first. I’m not all that jealous of your progression or gear. See, our guild never set out to be first. We were (mostly) content to do the best we could do, which sometimes was great and sometimes wasn’t.

We got a new team at the helm with some new ideas about raiding, and we got a little better. A little more consistent, a little more focused, a little more driven. That, combined with the server we’ve called home for nearly 10 years now crumbling into pieces as guilds drifted away, transferred servers, or just collapsed completely, resulted in us being in the number one position. It was cool, but we didn’t stop being, well; us.

If you think my dislike comes from a place of jealousy, I’m afraid that’s your pride getting the better of you. If you had arrived on our server and taken the lead graciously, we’d probably get along extremely well. In fact, I’d probably look up to you and encourage our raiders to take notes from yours. We’d still be driven to try to keep up with you, no question, but I imagine I would think you were pretty cool.

Instead, I watched as you easily took over the 10-man progression slot and immediately started giving crap to the only 10-man group that was, at the time, actively pursuing heroics.

Why? What did putting them down do for you?

Then it was Challenge Modes, and again, you circled around those players with the previous bests like vultures, ripping on them whenever the opportunity arose. I knew as soon as I heard that we would be next.

See, I knew you guys would probably catch up and overtake us, and I knew the minute it happened that the silence would break. You wouldn’t sit around watching our players at the dummies anymore, you’d have to say something.

And, unfortunately, I wasn’t the least bit wrong about that. The day after you took the lead in progression, your members immediately started in, trolling and mocking ours as they waited outside the instance on raid night or stood in the Shrine. It made me angry, not because you had passed us in progression, but because you felt the need to turn around and try to make my friends feel like crap about it.

So I asked them to maintain the silence; to take the trolling in stride. There were some–interesting–ways my guildies took this request, but by and large, they did as I asked.

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And yet it continues. Maybe you think you’re just being funny, but that’s not the way it comes across. So no, I don’t like you, and I probably never will.

I’ve been on the internet long enough to know the responses to this post, so in an effort to save your time, I’m going to list them below and you just circle the ones that apply to your reply:

A. It’s just a game, get over it.

B. You’re being stupid.

C. If you don’t want to hear crap, then get better.

D. You’re just jealous.

E. It’s just fun, lighten up.

And maybe it’s true, maybe I do take it too seriously, too personally–but I only do because people like my husband and some of my friends do, too. I’m protective of them, and I don’t like to see them feeling frustrated because you decided it’s your job to remind them that you’re first and we’re not.

Well, congratulations, but there are different kinds of winners.

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Blizzcon, Warlords, & The Horizon: Part 1

It’s been a little over a week since the Blizzcon Opening Ceremony. I geeked out as I watched my virtual ticket over the weekend, and now that I’ve had a week to process everything, I want to join in the crowds voicing their opinion on what we all saw and heard.

World of Warcraft

First, of course, is World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor. I was definitely more interested in Warlords than in Mists of Pandaria when it was first announced, but that’s not a good measure, because I ended up loving MoP. In fact, I’m still enjoying the heck out of Mists!

Warlords: Storyline

The premise of Warlords is great–go back and fight against the Big Bads of a bygone era, a new Horde crafted from an old brotherhood. Big characters: who doesn’t want to meet Durotan & Draka? Who wouldn’t want to face Ner’zhul before the first rise of the Lich King?

Facing down Rend as he was in Draenor is going to be brilliant, not to mention the fact that I love draenei and getting to work alongside original draenei in their homeland sounds like something I’d sign up for yesterday.

The concerns I’ve heard, though; are valid. Primarily:

  • Is the story too contrived?
  • Isn’t the alternate timeline thing a little confusing?
  • Are the female characters getting shuffled under the table for this expansion?

On the first and second points, I think they’re kind of combined. The alternate timeline idea makes the story feel more contrived than it might otherwise. If you aren’t sure how this is going to work, it’s basically like this (at least, this is my understanding of it):

Warlords: Parallel Timelines

The idea is that Garrosh goes not only back in time, but on an alternate timeline completely, goes back to before the orcs drink Mannoroth’s blood, and rallies them into an un-cursed Horde. I believe his plan is to bring them back to our current time and wipe us out because I guess he’s a little ticked about the whole Siege of Orgrimmar thing.

Does this make the story a little contrived? Honestly, yeah, I suppose it does, but I think I can overlook it for the sake of what’s going to be involved. Burning Crusade also felt a bit contrived, but in the end, a lot of people loved that expansion.

As for the last point, it’s valid, and I want to know more. I’ve heard there will be some female characters, particularly a draenei, that will be completely awesome, but I don’t know that it makes up for the fact that this is a pretty testosterone-driven expansion. The “boys’ trip” comment took me aback a bit, too. I’m withholding judgement until we get a better look at exactly what’s going down in Draenor, and I’m hoping they’ll surprise me.

Raiding

Obviously, raiding is a huge deal for me, so I was paying close attention to the raiding changes. The biggest change is, of course, the raid types:

New Raid Structure from Blizzcon

I’m not going to lie, the inner elitist in me (and it IS inner, I can’t stand on elitist ground, I hang out somewhere on the cliff of “managing somehow”) recoiled at first. Everything is flex? But, but, but–that–I–okay. It’s a change. We’re not usually great with change. Is it a bad change? Nah. Is it a dealbreaker? No way. It’s different, and we’ll make it work like we always have.

My guild’s primary focus will be Heroic and Mythic. This means that we’re going to have to sit 5 people when we do Mythic, and that’s going to make an interesting dynamic. I will say that I like the fact that this will require players to push hard–when you really want to raid the highest content and your spot is in jeopardy, you will work for it.

The unfortunate side of this is that there’s a good chance that even people who try really hard won’t make it into Mythic every week. Encounter balance will play a big role in how this works out. I can tell you I’ll be fighting with all I have for my Mythic spot.

Coming in the next post: Item Changes, Stuff I Geeked Out For, Hearthstone, & Heroes of the Storm.

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The Mysterious Dwarf of Warsong Gulch

Probably 6 months to a year go, I was doing Warsong Gulch as happily as can be (WSG is my favorite battleground, after all), when I saw a dwarf player on the battleground standing completely still. I decided to move toward him to see if he was running from anything. As soon as I took a few steps, I realized he was inside of a stump.

Confused, I looked at my map and realized that there were no players there–this was something built into the battleground. I asked about it on Twitter, but no one had definitive answer. I ended up forgetting about it sometime later.

Fool Me Twice

Then, this afternoon, I’m rolling my level 11 baby shaman through Warsong, and I’m headed down the field when I see a dwarf again and, having forgotten my previous experience, I once again assumed it was a player. I moused over him to see his health, and realized there was no mouseover–what?

When I took a step forward and saw the stump again, I realized what I was seeing, and this time I took a picture:

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(You can click to enlarge).

Then, I took a few steps closer and took another screenshot of the stump:

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Who are you, mysterious dwarf? Why are you here, standing motionless in the middle of Warsong Gulch? Why are you hidden by a stump?

I want to know your story!

Update: Apparently this is like seeing Bigfoot for me.

In a later WSG, we were killing Horde at their GY (sorry, guys! sort of. >.>) when I turned around and caught this glimpse of the Mysterious Dwarf’s back!

Dwarf 3

 

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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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Twiiiisted!

Hey, guys! Just wanted to make a quick post to let you all know that the Twisted Nether Blogcast crew was foolis–I mean, awesome–enough to invite me to their podcast!

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Seriously though, this Sunday, 9/22, 11 PM Eastern/8 PM Pacific. It’s a live podcast with a guest chat room–I’ve listened to TNB and been in the chat room before, it’s good times! You can get to the show by clicking the image above or hit up their site here: http://www.twistednether.net/.

Hope to see you guys in the chat room; I’m looking forward to chatting with Hydra and Fimlys!

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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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Ol’ Girl’s Still Got Some Life in ‘Er

My server isn’t fairing so well. In the past 6 months, we’ve seen the raiding guilds we had either dying or moving off-server until there are only a handful left still progressing even when you combine Horde & Alliance.

People have been saying Durotan is dead for years (literally), but this is the closest we’ve come to that being a true statement.

However, last night proved that we’re down but not out.

The Trouble with Nalak

It all started in a Nalak group. My daughter has been busy playing “her” paladin, and she was playing at the same time as me yesterday evening before bed.

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Someone in the guild said there was a Nalak group forming, so I volunteered my priest.

Then I had a great idea–get my daughter in the group. Sure, she’d do barely any DPS and probably die, but I could more than make up her dps and man, would she have fun!

…Except there wasn’t a warlock in the group, and we couldn’t use the summoning stone because she was only level 88. When I broke that news to my daughter, she started to cry.

“I know it’s silly, but I was really looking forward to coming!” she said through her tears.

The Plea

So before we pulled Nalak, I asked the raid group for help. I explained the situation and several volunteered to go do Sha & Galleon for my daughter:

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When the smoke cleared over Nalak’s corpse, I dropped the raid and started inviting people. Many of the people from the original raid group joined, and then as I asked in Trade and Guild, I got more and more players.

Some came for themselves. Some came just to help the Lil Raider. I appreciate every single person that joined.

The Kills!

My daughter was a BUNDLE OF EXCITEMENT as we got ready to pull Sha. “What if I can’t remember the buttons? What do I do? One, two, three, four, right? Where do I stand? Is everyone here yet?”

When we pulled, she diligently ran up to the boss and started whacking on it. Her DPS? 7k. Her smile? It made Luke Skywalker’s Light Saber look like a flashlight.

When Sha was at 25%, she said, “You’re almost down, bad guy!”

When she found out we were going to Galleon, she was thrilled. “There’s another one?!”

By the end, she had seen her first 2 bosses ever, was terribly excited, and faith in (most) of my server was restored.

You did a good thing, Durotan. Thank you.

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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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