Tag Archive: rambling


WTB Barkskin!

I need to grow a thicker skin.

This is something I’m working on anyway, but I have a feeling the process is going to be accelerated by playing my new little resto druid (Andi, introduced a couple of posts back). Healers, in terms of the social dynamic in PUGs, are doing it tough at the moment – everything, I discovered, was my fault. Of course, to be quite fair, some of it was; not only am I very inexperienced at healing (at least in WoW), but I didn’t discover until after leaving the instance with a sigh of relief that I’d been healing the whole thing in my kittycat outfit. So, yes, I do deserve some of that (I had to laugh…but I bet the tank wouldn’t have, if he’d realised).

The general atmosphere, however – even in low level instances like Deadmines, which is where I was – seems to be one of placing all the responsibility for the group squarely on the healer’s shoulders. Perhaps Deadmines itself exacerbates this at the moment, since it’s a familiarly named instance in a familiar place but with completely different trash and bosses, some of whom hit like the proverbial truck. This particular group (composed of a bear tank and his shaman friend from the same server, a mage and a hunter) certainly seemed to be of the opinion they could cruise through just like before; of course, we wiped. Multiple times. Sometimes more than once on the same trash pack.

As I said, part of this was undoubtedly my fault, and the tank had lots of suggestions for improving my healing (some of them actually grounded in fact). Some of the problems, however, I refuse to take responsibility for…including (but not limited to):

– A shaman with delusions of being a kangaroo, bouncing around in front of the tank and repeatedly pulling multiple mobs

– The hunter’s pet, which wandered through the mine at its own sweet pace, stopping to chat with trash packs along the way

– The tank in general, who I think may have been new to tanking, but who fully embraces the Wrath philosophy of ‘Chaaaaaarge!’ and seems unaware of any other approach. Let me set the scene…picture a group just outside the Mast Room doors, finishing off the two Oafs.

Ubertank and the DPS clear up the last of the trash. Ubertank bounces happily through the door behind Shamanboy.

Me: mana

Ubertank pulls the boss.

Me: (pops mana potion and tries desperately to heal with restraint and yet thoroughness; somehow, through blind luck, no one dies) Mana after this!

Ubertank bounds happily through door behind Shamanboy, runs around the corner and aggros a trash pack out of sight. Dies, closely followed by the shaman, then by the rest of us.

Ubertank: healer is n00b lol.

Shamanboy: yeh l2heal lol

Me (runs back from graveyard): Sorry, but if you pull a pack around the corner from me when I said I was out of mana, these things happen 🙂

Mage (also corpse running; has been quiet until now): no kidding.

Ubertank (newly resurrected): so you all ready then healer? for the difficult corners in this hard dungeon?

Shamanboy: lol n00b

A chorus of ‘r’ ensues.

Ubertank: btw u should use swiftmend

Me (watching prominent swiftmend cooldown like a hawk): yeah…thanks

And so it went. Like I said above, I certainly deserved some of it (and maybe I’ll remember another time to wear the right equipment; it’s amazing how much difference it makes, even at levels too low to actually have a second spec). Some of it, though, I shall just have to try and regard as practice in letting it all roll off me!

Part of the trouble, of course, is that when someone says that I’m not doing something well I tend to be very ready to believe them. Of course, they’re frequently right where WoW is concerned, too. I’m just getting into heroics now with Dhakeilh, and that’s an adventure all its own; as my guild’s only heroic-capable character so far and one of only a couple of 85s, I have the distinctly dubious privilege of running basically all my 80+ instances in PUGs. Some of those experiences have been good; most of them have been, well, interesting. I certainly understand the number of people I see writing in the blogosphere that they wouldn’t want to PUG heroics. Having no choice if I want to gear up, though, I’m taking a stab at it; so far I haven’t been in a group that’s managed to actually finish one, but I’m sure it’ll happen one of these days…if I’m very fortunate indeed!

The same culture of blame is certainly pervasive in the high level instances, though. I would say that tanks seem especially prone to it, except that I know when I’m tanking myself the antics of the rest of the group sometimes drive me completely batty, much more so than when I’m just DPSing. Really, I think it’s more that people are frustrated by the non-faceroll-ability* of the content and are wanting to beat the damn thing already and get their points of whichever type. Personally, I don’t mind multiple wipes on a heroic, even on the same boss; for me (never having raided), it seems like practice for the kind of attitudes I’m told you need to bring to progression raiding. Er, that is, the ‘OK, what went wrong, what should we try’ attitude – not the ‘WTF heals lol n00b’ attitude. I do hear a lot of ‘am I the only one interrupting’ and ‘move out of the damn fire’, not always with justification; it seems it’s even easier to get tunnel vision when the content is newish and everyone is focusing hard on what they have to do themselves and what’s not working.** But as I said, I don’t really mind wipes – as long as everyone stays cheerful. No, 42g repair bills aren’t fun, but thank goodness I’m not a plate wearer!

Now I feel slightly better, having vented some of that. Experiences like that one with Andi tend to make me very nervous of getting back on the horse, as it were, but I really do want to learn how to heal – and in spite of Dhak really sucking quite badly as kitty DPS right now, I’m determined to get her to the point of getting to see some content. So, WTB barkskin (or stoneskin)! Here’s to learning to listen to the good advice and let the random junk bounce off 😉

*It is a word. Really.

**Lest you think I’m all sweetness and light – I frequently think things along those lines. I’m just too shy to say them in party chat!

 

Scattered Thoughts

I suppose major changes like this to a world that people know and love are always going to provoke a lot of comment (and boy, is that an understatement. Have we heard anything but Cataclysm lately?). My feelings are rather mixed – so much so that, in fact, I’ve started this post no less than four times in different tones! I hesitate to apply the word ‘bittersweet’, because that might lend the whole thing a little too much gravitas, but I think that’s the term that best expresses the flavour of the moment.

I tried out the new troll starting area today (along with roughly ten million others, mostly playing druids). Having competed madly for quest mobs and listened to dialogue rendered meaningless by constant repetition as each of the ten million did the same quests, I quite liked it – but I think I’m going to wait a while to go back, since it was rather like being in pre-Shattering Dalaran. I shudder to think what Gilneas and the Lost Isles are going to be like! I also had a look at a few other places, including Dun Morogh (interesting), Stormwind (er…shattered) and Menethil (flooded), and ran around a bit to get a feel for Dustwallow Marsh.

I notice we now have new achievements as well, which has adjusted a few things one way or t’other. Of course, as we were warned, my characters have lost basically all their quest counts for old Azeroth (sigh). On the up side, the higher level ones seem to have gained the exploration achievements for nearly every zone, including ones they’ve never visited (Azshara, for instance!). I have a feeling that World Explorer, at least for pre-existing characters, has just got an awful lot quicker; I’m only missing 5 zones on Dhakeilh now. It was interesting to have a look at the achievements for the Cata raids and for archaeology, too – I’ve not been in the beta and have avoided hearing too much about the upcoming storylines, so I’m having fun speculating on where all the bosses come in.

The down side, of course, is the glaringly obvious. Deathwing has done his dastardly work and destroyed the world as we know it, and (since, as aforementioned, I’m beta-less) things keep taking me unawares. I trotted out the western gate of Razor Hill today and went splash into the Southfury River, somewhat to my surprise – and Orgrimmar looks so different that I have to keep looking at the map to find myself. I haven’t yet dared to visit Auberdine and Darkshore, and I’m not entirely sure I want to; I spent a lot of my early leveling time there on Dhak and on other characters, and in spite of its dreariness, I was quite fond of the place. I suppose I’ll have to go and have a look, though.

Common sense and experience with Blizzard both dictate that there will be plenty of new (or improved) areas that are just as beautiful and/or just as lovable as the ones that are now underwater or broken into bits. Likewise, in the grand scheme of things, an expansion that rearranges a computer game’s virtual world is not exactly an issue of major importance. Even knowing both of those things, though, I can’t quite evade a tendency to wail ‘But I wasn’t ready yet!’ when I see some newly devastated place. There were still things I should have got round to, screenshots I should have taken (why is it only now that I want to look at the statues in front of Stormwind as they were, when I could have done it any day for the last two months?), places I should have spent more time in, quest lines I really should have done…and so on, and so forth. I don’t think I realised, I suppose, that we’d be having the Shattering two weeks before Cata – but even with those extra two weeks, would I have felt ready? Probably not.

I have never been a person who really enjoys changes. Of course, I only started playing about a year ago, so there are still huge swathes of WoW that I haven’t touched. Unlike the majority, who were raid-ready as Wrath started or during its course and are now bored silly, there’s still heaps of content that would be plenty new and exciting (and difficult) for me. Probably that contributes to the mixing of my feelings – I’m not so desperate for something new to do as many others are, and all of the predictions about how Cataclysm will make everything far more difficult are worrying me a bit (I am quite dreadful enough as it is without adding more complications)! All in all, I’m looking forward to it – I think. But there is a level on which it feels rather like they’ve taken a good game that I was getting fond of and turned it back into a new game that I don’t know at all. Of course, I can only imagine how much more jarring the changes must be for those who’ve been playing years longer than me, too.

The title of this post should have served as a warning about its content! I really didn’t intend for this to turn into a whine about Cataclysm, because there are many things about it that I’m eagerly awaiting. Really, I think, it’s just the aftermath of seeing the destruction for the first time; when I get more used to it, and have got over the shock of seeing a few favourite places destroyed, I’ll find new spots to love and all will be sunshine again.

After all, who doesn’t love a new challenge?!

One of my pre-Cataclysm projects, that I’m enjoying far more than I thought I would, is to play through the quest lines in Eastern and Western Plaguelands before they all go away. I’d made a few brief forays up there for specific purposes and had thought the whole place very dreary and uninteresting (and full of disgusting ghouls and things), but I’ve gotten surprisingly caught up in the story since actually spending some time there. It isn’t so much the plaintive ghosts; uneasy dead are a dime a dozen in Azeroth, after all, and most of them seem to have something they want you to do to let them rest in peace. Nor is it the hordes of undead, who tend to evoke more disgust than pity in me; rather, it’s the land itself.

It’s clear to see, looking beyond the brown vegetation and dilapidated buildings, that the Plaguelands was once beautiful farmland with a string of charming towns dotted across it. I missed this entirely on first impression, as the general atmosphere of smoke and shambling abominations tends to catch the eye, but after spending more time and visiting places more than once, little details began to stand out. Andorhal, in particular, must once have been a delightful little town, with the lake close by and the hills overlooking it – but so must Darrowshire in its snug little valley and, for that matter, Hearthglen-of-the-marvellous-view (before the fanatics got quite so carried away).

Andorhal and its surrounding farms are the part that really got to me, though. I started off feeling a bit sad for it, but the more time I spend there, the angrier I feel at our friend Prince Arthas. The people of Andorhal never had a chance; first Arthas raises an army of Scourge and Lordaeron is destroyed (and Stratholme is corrupted – thus depriving them of their two nearest major cities). Then the Scarlet Crusade moves in and starts charging all over the countryside burning anything that looks at them funny, and all the while you have the Argent Dawn and their allies battling the Scourge up hill and down dale. No wonder no one lives there any more!

Not even the dogs…

It doesn’t seem fair, somehow.  I’m sure if I’d known what it was like before Arthas came to town I’d be even more indignant – but, of course, I don’t. Even so, having spent some time in the Plaguelands, I now have a much better perspective of why exactly the citizens of Azeroth want to hunt the Lich King down and slay him – besides the obvious. Villains seem to be rather common in Azeroth; you’ll find a marauding tribe of centaur or a restless minor deity under nearly every rock. Some of them, though, deserve death more than others.

What did you find made Wrath ‘personal’ for you (if anything?). I’m betting we all have some reason we’d love to kill Deathwing, or we will when we see what he does to the world; but I’m curious, what was the thing that motivated you to kill the LK?

Challenge vs. Caution

To the bewilderment of some of my acquaintance, I haven’t yet tried even a single heroic. My dps is arguably high enough, depending on whom you ask, although my tanking is abysmal (it was bad enough before 4.0.1 destroyed any coherent idea I had of what to do. Now it resembles competent tanking much in the same way your average hunter represents competent melee dps). The tanking is less relevant, though, as my primary spec is still the kitty cat; still, I’m not keen to try it yet.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a challenge as much as the next person, and often probably too much. What I don’t like, though – and what I don’t really need in an activity that is supposedly fun – is to be holding other people back and attracting the ensuing comments and kicks. Having recently been kicked from a group that was absolutely owning Culling of Stratholme on normal mode merely because my dps was the lowest of the four (at approximately 1500), I’m not really anxious to step things up a level just yet. Silly ‘gogogo’ people aside, though, I don’t want to be either actually or in perception a drag on the group; I have a holy horror of being carried, though I know it happens a lot. Maybe that’s oversensitivity, I don’t know.

Ooh, look! Relatively pointless introspection; a new thing for this blog! There is a point hiding in here, if I can but locate it.

A huge part of the attraction of WoW, for me, is the challenge. Blizzard has, quite intentionally of course, built in a whole spectrum of ‘achievements’ which range from the ridiculously easy (Represent, anyone?) to the fiendishly difficult, terribly time-consuming or flat out impossible to attain. In case that wasn’t enough, they’ve also added a wide assortment of mounts, pets, toys and other pretty things that are usually only obtainable with a great deal of effort/time/sheer dumb luck. On an already distractible person, seeing or reading about these things has a predictable effect: “Ooh! Shiny!”. I’ve had to work hard to focus on one or two goals at a time, which seems to be the only way to get anywhere sensible, but the inner magpie also has to be reconciled to this state of affairs.

If ‘dream big’ isn’t a strange phrase to use about a computer game, that’s what I try to do. No, I can’t have a flying carpet today, but my new leveling project is a tailor, so one day I will get to entirely block off quest mobs from everyone else too. No, I can’t stop doing more useful rep grinds in order to get a green dragon (ha!) OR a red dragon at the moment, but there will be time soon enough. No, I can’t kill the Lich King – or Deathwing – or even Ragnaros – with a main on a realm on the other side of the world from me, but soon enough I’ll have a second main who can. And so on, and so forth. Of course, I’ll never run out of things to aim for, because (not being able to play WoW instead of going to work) there will certainly never be enough time between expansions; but that’s a good thing. And to be honest, the more unattainable something seems, the more I’m motivated to try to do it.

Don’t laugh! Just because no one else on the realm has a phoenix doesn’t mean it will never drop for me…

The tension between staying where I’m comfortable to work toward tangible goals (that will eventually come about if I keep doing what I’m doing; a full set of normal dungeon gear, for instance) and moving on to bigger and better things is an interesting one. Currently I’m not particularly eager to move on, as I don’t really feel that competent to do so, and I think the timing has to be right for maximum enjoyment (mine and my hapless group members’) – too late leads to boredom, and too early leads to frustration and sometimes to unfortunately timed displays of affection for the floor. There are times when my patience wears a bit thin, though, and I look at the ‘Random Lich King Heroic Dungeon’ option and think of the upgrades waiting on the next rung of the ladder. I do wonder if my approach will be a bit more cavalier with subsequent 80s, since I’ll know more accurately what to expect and what I can get away with; at the moment the heroics, much less raids, are a completely unknown quantity.

Somewhere in the middle, poised between the speculative glances at rusted proto-drakes and the fear of encountering That Guy in a PUG on a low DPS day, is the Happy Medium. I think I’ve nearly found it; I can see the question mark on my mini-map, but I seem to keep running past it in one direction or the other. I’m sure I can find it…if I can just stay focused long enough…

Shiny!

Llani, from Pocket Heals, has supplied us with this weeks Blog Azeroth shared topic (which I might be posting just a little bit late). She asks,

“What takes the longest to choose, is the first thing people see, and is the one thing they always remember about you and your character?

Your name.

How did you decide upon the name for your character(s)? Did you delve into Norse, Greek, or Roman mythology? Did you choose a name from one of your family members? Did you mash the “Random” name generator button in vain until you stumbled upon something you liked? Is your name a play on aspects of your class, using spells or other traits? Did you play around with syllables, vowels, and consonants until you found something that you loved?

How long did it take you to come up with your name? Do all of your characters share the same ‘theme’ or naming convention? Have you ever run into someone who had a similar name? How did you feel? Does your character have a partner with “the other half” to your name (such as “Salt” and “Pepper”). Do any of your characters have a “themed” guild that goes along with your name? Do you have a nickname that your guild, friends, or significant other has given your character?

Has your character name become your online persona, or maybe the other way around?

Do you have any tips for naming your characters in WoW, or any other game? Resources, name generators, mythology websites, sources of inspiration, etc.

If you are an avid roleplayer, how was your name decided upon by family/friends? Did your character choose the name later in life or were they given it at birth? There are whole stories behind naming/birthday celebrations that I am sure are floating around out there.

So much can be said about names. What does yours say?”

 

Wow. I could go on for hours (but, to everyone’s relief I’m sure, I won’t). And not to disagree with the Bard, but I’ve always felt that the name you choose for a character has a significant impact on how you feel about them and, by extension, how much you want to play them.

Warning: wall of text in 5…4…3…2…1…

Names, for me, are very important – perhaps because I’ve never cared much for my own real life one! While I have occasionally been known to use a random name generator or look at baby names (or adapt obscure book character names *cough*), as a general rule I simply invent them. This can at times be a long process, since I won’t stop until I actually have it right. If the character is important, it can go on for days or weeks before I’m happy enough to actually settle on one…and, of course, they usually end up with nicknames as well. In the interest of answering some of the questions Llani puts, I thought I might write about the process of choosing a name for one of my real characters.

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been considering names for a character I hope will be very important – she will be sharing the ‘main’ honours with Dhakeilh when Cataclysm comes out. Dhakeilh, while lots of fun and definitely a going concern, is on an EU server; this has certain disadvantages when attempting to find a raiding guild if you live in Australia and everyone raids while you’re at work/at church/asleep. Therefore, I have decided that the most sensible thing to do would be to develop a second character in a place where, when someone says ‘Monday evening’, that actually translates to ‘Monday evening’ in my time zone!

No doubt I will say a great many things about this new character in due time, but in a post about names, I’ll (try to) keep it relevant. This character will be a worgen and a druid, and is intended to be a tank, so I want a name that doesn’t look ridiculous hanging over the head of a generously proportioned bear or a humanoid wolf; however, she will also be female, so I’m not going to call her ‘Grarh’ or ‘Maulpow’ either. Her name will need to be something that’s easy to say, doesn’t shorten to anything obscene or stupid, doesn’t contain any English words (it’s a name, not a charter document) and must be something I like the sound and ‘taste’ of. So much for the initial considerations.

There are certain combinations of letters and sounds I like (k, t, s, dh, y) and others I really don’t as a rule (p, g, b, u). Female names, to me, should sound feminine; I almost never create characters with names ending in ‘ok’ or ‘um’, for instance. I will admit to an enjoyment of odd combinations of letters that we don’t use in English, but all of my characters must have names that are pronounceable by the normal person and easily typed, without weird characters or clever accents.
That all sounds terribly regimented, but it doesn’t work that way in practice – getting this far only takes a few seconds. It’s the next bit that’s time-consuming – finding a ‘base’ syllable or sound that I think suits her, and then playing with additions and changing letters and so on until I come up with the perfect combination. I’m doing this as I write this post, so I have no idea what her name will be either, but it should be interesting to find out!

‘K’ and ‘t’ go together well, and they both suit a combative sort of character. Shying away from the Kate/Katrina names, perhaps I’ll put them in the middle of the name – Akata works as a starting point. Serendipity being what it is, I typoed and added a ‘j’ to the end of that, which actually I rather like, so now we have ‘Akataj’; if she were going to be a mage of the Kirin Tor I might stop there, but I think something a little softer is needed for a druid. Aekataj? No, not quite right. Akhataj? Still evokes a mage, though it’s closer. Akhyatajh? Too complicated and rather affected, though I’ll admit I like the sound of it. Actually, I have too many characters with ‘kh’ in their names already, so perhaps I’ll shift away from that a little; also, ‘A’ is one of my more common starting letters. Changing those two things, we come up with…

Kahatya? Too evocative of kitty druids, which this one likely won’t be, and of Russians, which I’m not (I already have a Nadezhda who gets all sorts of whispers in Russian, which I don’t understand). Unfortunately, I keep getting drawn back to the complicated but pretty ‘Akhyatajh’ I dismissed just before; did I mention I have a weakness for strange combinations of letters? Every now and then a name just grabs me, and that seems to have happened here, so I’m going to disregard the previous comment about similarites to other character. Maybe if I remove the A, thus coming up with Khyatajh? No, that actually makes it paradoxically harder to pronounce. Perhaps I’ll get rid of the last h instead…or not…no, I will.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner. If you made it this far through a maze of rambling and stream-of-consciousness babble, I’m very impressed! At the end of a convoluted but enjoyable process of name generation, and in spite of the fact that she won’t actually exist for another two months yet, I would like to present…

Akhyataj