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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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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WoW’s 9th Anniversary: Memories

I’ve been playing Warcraft for 7 years. My husband (and many, many others) have been playing the full 9 years–and beta! We’re going to take a photographic walk down memory lane:

Ambermist

This whole blog is basically a chronicle of my WoW time, so I’ll be brief–one quick Then-and-Now. 

This was then, Level 70, clueless (but able to avoid fire) resto druid Ambermist:

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I AM more demented than you (thank you, UK, for making sure to capture that moment on a screenshot. Now go fix that horrible UI). 

And this is today:

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Ultraking

My husband and mageboy wasn’t always a mage. In Vanilla, he was an officer in the guild More Myth on Durotan who went by the name McStabb:

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McStabb enjoyed, well–stabbing things. He also enjoyed his pickpocket macro that sent many a naive player into fits of rage and, apparently, killing yetis:

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In Burning Crusade through Cataclysm, and now again, he played his mage, Ultraking. You know that pic from your middle school years you really hate? Yeah, this is that one:

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But his fashion got a little better over the years, thankfully:

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And this is UK today:

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Chi Cerca Trova

Well, now here’s some history. My guild formed in 2004 for the purpose of raiding, and has continued to do so for the past 9 years. With the exception of a few weeks between xpacs and the holidays, CCT has been raiding non-stop since Molten Core and AQ. Here are some pictures fellow guildy and officer Fingolfin dug up from those days:

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In Burning Crusade, we killed every raid boss up to M’uru, falling just short of clearing Sunwell before Wrath launched. Here’s our Vashj & Illidan kills:

 

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In Wrath, we got through about half of Heroic ICC, here are Yogg & Lich King kills:

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Cataclysm saw a bit of upheaval (thanks, Deathwing), but we got through Heroic Dragon Soul! Here’s our Heroic Staghelm & Heroic Ultraxion kills:

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And finally, here we are, poised to make better progress in a raid instance than we’ve ever made. Our new goal is not the old 60% of the Heroic bosses in an instance–it’s 100%. I want to see Heroic Garrosh dragged off in chains. Here are Elegon and our most recent screenshot (because everyone ran off before I took a photo for Heroic Protectors…):

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We’ve come a long way, baby; but we aren’t done yet!

Happy Anniversary, World of Warcraft, and thank you for the memories!

 

 

 

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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!

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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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