standing at the back in my sissy robe

August 7, 2009

Ready steady rhino!

Filed under: Real Men Wear Purple — Tamarind @ 11:19 am

I apologise for how flaky I’ve been about blogging this week and for the greater than usual quantity of incoherent random in my posts – I’ve been high on life, 80 and piggysniffle medication. The sky’s the limit, as long as you don’t forget to cast slowfall. But I’m nudging good health again which means long days of doing nothing except playing WoW are over. This is both a good thing and a bad thing. I’ve quite enjoyed just ploughing a massive amount of time into the game without any particular feelings of guilt or shame about it, since trying to see people would be vastly antisocial (hello, lovely to see you, I’ve brought a bottle and some swine-flu) and I was too ill to be able to concentrate on doing anything remotely demanding. There has been a more marked sense of progress than I’m usually conscious of – which is compelling – but life-WoW balance is important to me.

I’ve also lost the blogsphere plot so Friday links are temporarily going to have to become Saturday links. I have a lot of reading to catch up on now my brain is semi-functional again.

A combination of hitting 80 and acquiring a guild has really transformed the game for us. Although the spanner-to-sane ratio is not as high as it could be, everyone is at least friendly and willing. And by sheer dint of being moderately competent (most of the time, well, M’Pocket tank especially, I’m, y’know, me) we’ve found ourselves in a semi-privileged, not entirely deserved position. The main advantage is that you can put together a group for pretty much anything within minutes. There are still only 3 80s, including us, but there’s a run of people in the mid 70s so currently we’re hitting Northrend instances and Outland heroics. The truly weird thing is that we’re healer heavy. I could dual-spec shadow of course but I’m kind of committed to standing at the back in a sissy robe.

I suppose I could stand at the back wreathed in purest shadow, spilling forth fel-wee to smite my enemies but… nah. It’s just not the same. Felwee.wordpress.com…. I don’t think it’s me.

Yesterday we ran BFD on our alts with a guildie and Gundrak on our 80s, and it really emphasised the differences between old world instances and Northrend instances. BFD is huge, sprawling, contains about 83 bosses (well, maybe not 83) and, hell, it’s bloody hard. We were 3-manning, at level (admittedly the guildie wasn’t entirely on the ball, in fact he was so far from the ball it’s possible he was playing checkers) and the combination of size, scope, fleeing murlocs, and large groups of casters makes it damn near lethal. And I stance-danced. I’ve never stance-danced before. I am very much a noobtank but it felt like it was some rite of passage. A hasty hamstring and then ducking back behind my shield. Now try to flee into a large group of mobs, El Murloc!

Gundrak, by contrast, is just a big wheel you walk round, looking at the exhibits on your left and right. On the other hand, whoever designed it was clearly on crack, which redeems it rather in my eyes. I think it’s tactically less interesting and significantly less demanding than BDF but it is also chockablock with rhinos.

Rhinos!

Rhinos!

And there’s the boss who turns into mammoth. Least intimidating transformation sequence ever. I shall make myself FLUFFY with CUTE LI’LL HORNS and you will tremble, oh adventurers of Azeroth. Actually he nearly did for us because I was incapacitated with laughter and therefore almost failed to heal through his mammothian foot stomp. Ironically, the footstomp came literally the second after I slashmocked so I think he was making a point.

Seriously … though … rhinos?

Also occasionally we would face not one but two Jormungar worms rhinos.

And why do you occasionally get a poison-style DoT from them? In what way are rhinos poisonous? My god, are those trolls cross breeding them with SNAKES?! The sick bastards!

By the time we reached the final boss, we’d all gone rhino-crazy, which manifested in replacing arbitrary words with the word rhino, extra points if the word originally began with ‘r’. We weren’t having readychecks, we were having rhinochecks. Is everybody rhino? Rhino! Rhino! Rhino!

Of course, Gal’darah had to join in. “You wanna see power? I’m gonna show you power!” he bellowed, promptly turning into … a … yes, you get it.

That completely finished me. I was practically crying with laughter. But somehow I managed to type: “you wanna see rhino! I’m gonna show you rhino!”

And then he impaled me on his mighty rhino horn, right in the innuendo.

Ouch.

August 3, 2009

Holy Priest Tanks Dragon!

Filed under: D'oh,Real Men Wear Purple,UR Doing It Wrong — Tamarind @ 11:32 am

Hmmm…bad choice of headline I think, since the story is much less interesting than the concept. I believe that’s what the Earl of Rochester would term imperfect enjoyment (blowing one’s load too early). Annnyway….

I ran Ramps Heroic with my guild, basically for the lulz and the practice. M’Pocket Tank was away in Cambridge so I was healing a DK tank (well, if you’re in different collegiate universities it doesn’t count, right?). He was significantly squishier than M’Pocket Tank and had made some questionable spec decisions (no toughness?!!), added to the fact that I’m so accustomed to the rhythms of healing M’Pocket Tank that learning a new tune can be a pretty fraught initially. It was one of those incremental-learning runs I find so satisfying. And in terms of the diplomatic / political aspects of running with guildies, having the guild leader with us was very helpful indeed in that I was tactics-guy and she was “please don’t do that stupid thing again” girl, which meant I didn’t have to worry about alienating people with my outrageous demands, like following kill order and letting the tank pull. We died more times than a group of 70s has any right to, but we learned and we improved and eventually we triumphed.

The final fight was … shall … we say … unorthodox.

When Nazran came down, he went straight for the healer – as is his wont – and the tank just couldn’t get him off me. I’ve no idea what he was doing, but I tried everything, fading, running towards the tank, everything. The thing is, I don’t know what you’re meant to do when you’re a healer under those circumstances. If you’re DPS, it’s obvious. You stop DPSing and hope for rescue. But it’s not like I can just stop healing. Anyway, in a state of panic, I threw up the usual protections, kept up a steady stream of healing on myself and did my damndest not to stand in fire.

And, of course, the best way to do this when he’s right in your face is to kite Nazran round in a circle. I died when he was on about 2% health, and then the DPS finished him off. And then I realised that, apart from a bit of splash damage, everybody else was absolutely fine.

I had, entirely inadvertently, tanked the drake.

Holy priest tanking! It’s gonna be the next big thing!

The DK, who’s basically the loveliest guy, apologised after. But the next time he makes me tank a boss, he’s healing, dammit.

The other thing I learned from this experience is that tanking = fucking terrifying. I’ve done a bit of tanking but at much lower levels. And maybe it’s different if you’re in a full set of spiky macho platemail but if you’re a skinny guy in a sissy robe who’d much rather be standing at the back and instead you’ve got an enormous, black, bat-winged drake right in your face spewing fire, well, yes, I found it genuinely traumatic. Bosses look considerably less scary when you’re standing behind them, some distance away and somebody else is whacking them in the face.

Disconnected update on Queen Susan’s Guardian Spirit. The glyph has helped the situation considerably but I’ve uncovered yet another problem with Guardian Spirit. Casting it makes you feel like you’ve done something. This is actually lethal. Because obviously what you need to do is keep healing. Perhaps it’s the happy little wings or something but casting GS feels so much like having solved the problem that I tend to chill out completely instead of following up. ARGH! Can I never win?

August 2, 2009

this will be my mousterpiece

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Real Men Wear Purple — Tamarind @ 6:06 pm

The thing about running regularly with a guild is that it makes you think about the stuff you’re actually ostensibly there for, in my case standing at the back in my sissy robe (healing). Although on the subject of sissy robes, despite the fact the one I have is blatantly rubbish I’m loathe to let it go because, unlike every other robe in Northrend, it is not black, black like my soul, black like my coffee, black like a teenage goth’s bedroom. It’s. Um. Mostly black. And, in the right light, if you’re feeling generous, purple. Not the kind of glaring beacon of purple-ness Blizzard has led me to expect, more a sort of bruise-coloured indigo. But, holy fuck, it’s a colour, and I’m not knocking it.

[Mournful edit: woe, woe and thrice woe upon the House of Tamarind. Since writing the above I have been obliged to replace the robe with a new robe. And guess what that looks like. Sigh.]

Recently, I’ve been putting a lot of thought into my healing (which I shall relate in excruciatingly detail later, be assured) but the long and the short of it is I’ve been experimenting with more mouse-click centric healing. It’s going quite well except for one minor drawback.

My mouse is shite.

Except, no, that shouldn’t be the case. My mouse is average. It’s a 4-button, not bog standard but not top of the range either, kind of mouse. I’m not really up on mouses, since a mouse is the sort of thing I invest in only when the current model has died and been pulled back from the brink so many times it might as well be Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I, therefore, had trouble when I went out to purchase Microsoft Shite Mouse 3000 because mouse technology had, of course, swept into the future, leaving this luddite wringing his hands and saying things like “but don’t want it to be cordless, mouses have cords.” Also, perhaps this is another sad example that I may be turning into my mother, but I don’t believe a mouse should cost one over £30. Not unless it is made of solid gold, calls you darling and gives you regular foot massages.

Anyway, the drawback of the Microsoft Shite Mouse 3000 is that, although it comes equipped with a reassuring cord and is basically functional, WoW only deigns to recognise 2 out of its 4 buttons. To be fair, they’re the important two, but still. The 3rd button, which lurketh beneath the mouse wheel, it remembers exists maybe 66% of the time. This does not a happy healer make. In fact, it’s worse than the button just not working at all because part of you believes that if you can just make it function enough of the time, this will somehow, miraculously lead to it working all the time. So instead of concentrating on healing a fight you’re fingering your mouse like you’re trying to find its G-spot. Harder? Softer? Change of angle? Different finger? What if I flex my wrist like this?

This is just the sort of trivial technological setback I find disproportionately irritating because it’s basically insoluble. There are few sensible things you can try, and each potential solution lulls you into believing that this’ll be the thing that sorts the problem out, but, after a while, you just get completely and helplessly stuck. I mean, I’m not a mouse whisperer. It’s not the sort of technical problem you can demand Blizzard or Microsoft fix for you. You can’t even take your computer down to Dodgy Dave The Laptop Fiddler to see what he can do about it.

So I did everything I could think of to deal with the problem in WoW. And I did everything I could think of to deal with the problem with the mouse software. And then I sat there, growling.

There was the computer.

There was the mouse.

There were buttons 3 and 4.

There was World of Warcraft.

Why won’t you believe in each other? For fuck’s sake, it’s RIGHT THERE. THE BUTTON IS RIGHT THERE. Gah! No, I don’t want you to bring up a magnification window. No, I don’t want to invert the mouse. Come on, this is perfectly simple. Mouse, meet Rosamunde, she’s my laptop. Rosie, this is Microsoft Shite Mouse 3000. Rosie enjoys over-heating, running out of memory and scanning for malware when I’m trying to instance. Microsoft Shite Mouse 3000 enjoys making me tear my hair out by the roots. You two should get along beautifully. Rosise, MSSM3k, this is 4th Button: I don’t know what 4th button enjoys because neither of you will talk to him.

It makes me suspect the problem was not technological but philosophical. We started from first principles and, although my mouse now knows it thinks, therefore it is, it still doesn’t believe it has a fourth button in World of Warcraft.

Why, in the name of God, why?!

Anyway, I now have a new mouse. And it has caused me precisely ZERO trouble.

Excuse me, I have take the Microsoft Shite Mouse 3000 out back, where I will be hitting it with a hammer.

July 28, 2009

the cold weather flying wheeze

Filed under: D'oh,Real Men Wear Purple — Tamarind @ 11:17 am

After all that, we didn’t buy any rubbishy geriatric mounts (and, accordingly, the patch didn’t go live this morning – that’s my fault, I’m sorry, if we had splashed out, it would surely have happened).

The intention was there but M’Pocket Tank suggested we pick up our mounts in Northrend, so we didn’t have to take a long detour to Shadow Moon Valley. It seemed sensible so we threw ourselves on chicken-back and began the long hike to K3.

Except: flaw in the plan.

Although there was a goblin willing to train us in the ways of expert and cold weather flying, were we to grease his little green palm with gold, there was nobody to actually sell us a damn mount. There was only a seriously dodgy second hand mount vendor. So the long and the short of it is, we have temporary free flying mounts from the dodgy guy and 2.5k gold burning holes in our pockets. Thank God the prettiest elf is still in Outland, otherwise I couldn’t answer for the consequences.

I also took a brief inventory and my finances are not in the best of shape. I have a steady stream in incomings from enchanting mats but I also have a steady stream of outgoings in pointless frivolity. I haven’t really put much effort in cash-grinding though so I only have myself to blame. On the other hand, it’s not as though money is ever a problem in the game. One of the things I like about WoW, actually, is the way that pretty much anything becomes achievable if you set your mind to it and you’re high enough level to have access to the necessary resources. It’s a very satisfying feeling, and a pleasant antidote to the real world, where very basic things, like hiring a car in L’Aquila for example (he says with bitterness and bile), can take up to a morning of frenzied negotiation.

I can’t believe I’m going to make this reference but there’s an episode of Sex and the City… Yes, yes, I have watched it. I was very ill for a few weeks before the advent of WoW in my life and, confined to bed, bored, listless and full of wrath, I was pretty much willing to watch anything anybody put in front of me. Sex and the City performed an extremely important role in the recovery process, in that I hated it so much it kept from despairing. Anyway, so there’s an episode of Sex and the City in which the Sarah Jessica Parker character discovers she has spent somewhere in the region of $40k on shoes and, therefore, can’t afford to buy, like, her flat or food or something. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely support a woman’s right to shoes but you don’t get to whine about it afterwards. You’re a grown up, you made the choice to spend all your money on shoes, you don’t deserve censure for it, but you certainly don’t deserve sympathy.

(I really disliked the Sarah Jessica Parker character, by the way – I don’t understand why she had such cool friends)

However, a brief discussion with my WoW Financial Advisor indicates that I have been guilty of pretty much exactly the same thing. Not shoes, certainly. But the Profligatest Elf is toting around at least an epic flyer or two of things that sparkle and/or look cool. I’m not whining about it. Mainly I’m sheepish.

Baaaaa.

Anyway, this post was meant to be about cold weather flying. Seriously, what is with that? Yes, I know, it’s as much as an arbitrary hoop as anything else in the game and I suspect the imaginative reasoning behind it is something like “you need special training to stay mounted in high winds and cruel temperaments of Northrend.”

But that’s bullshit, isn’t it. It’s blatantly some sort of scam, a goblin scam. Your naive character rocks up at Northrend and you’re about to take to the skies when Lustig the Goblin sidles up to you, and he’s like:

Lustig: Have a care mate. It’s dangerous up there.

You: I’m level 77, thank you so very much. I think I know what I’m doing. Stand aside.

Lustig: Well, all right, if you say so, it’s your corpse-run.

You: What do you mean?

Lustig: It’s the weather, in’t it? You can’t go flying around up there like it’s Outland. You need special training.

You: Special training?

Lustig: That’s what I’m trying to tell you, mate. You need Cold Weather Flying. Help you deal with, um, the cold weather when you’re mounted.

You: I’m wearing gloves and a helmet, and I have, in fact, flown over Winterspring on several occasions. I think I’ll manage.

Lustig: Whatever you say, me old chum, whatever you say. And I’m sure you’ll be saying that when the high winds and freezing rain knock you straight into the side of a mountain. You see that stain on the snow over there? That’s a gnome that is. Well. Was a gnome.

You: By the Light! What happened to him?

Lustig: Didn’t have cold weather flying, that’s what.

You: I say! How can I learn this cold weather flying?

Lustig: Well, err, I wouldn’t do this for just anybody, you understand, but, err, I can teach you.

You: You can?

Lustig: A thousand gold, though I’m cutting me own throat.

You: Very well. Here you go, my good man.

Lustig: Thanks a bunch, mate.

You: Now what.

Lustig: *hands over some ear muffs and runs away giggling*

You: …

July 27, 2009

And What Should I Do In Illyria?

Filed under: Bitchin 'n' Moanin,Real Men Wear Purple,Vainglory — Tamarind @ 3:38 pm

I must have had too much tea this morning because this post has gone on an epic emotional journey before even having been written.

It began in a melancholy fashion. “I confess,” I said, in a melancholy fashion, “I am slightly concerned.”

Flashback:

Things are pretty stagnant for M’Pocket Tank and I in WoW at the moment. Tam is 78, with 80 looming if only I’d put my head down, stop avoiding Northrend and get there, he’s wearing stuff he found lying on the ground in Sholazar Basin (mango leaves and animal furs, I suspect) and he’s waiting for the patch to come out so he can buy bargain basement flying.

In the short: the poor bastard is Waiting for Godot. Everything he does is subsumed into the act of waiting. And that’s taking a toll on our morale. There are only so many bowler hats we can pass around.

We’ve also pretty much run out of instances. This weekend we embarrassed ourselves in the Black Morass yet again. Poor Medivh, his heart must sink when we appear through the instance portal. I imagine it rather goes like this:

Medivh: Look guys, I really appreciate you trying to help and everything but, uh, I’m kind of sick of being torn apart by infinite whelps.”

Us: No, no, it’ll be fine, we have more DPS this time. Tam’s learned mind sear, it’s gonna be a cake walk.”

Medivh: You said that last time.

Us: That was an error of judgment, we admit it. But third time lucky, eh? Wait till you see that mind sear, it’s going to change the tide of battle.

Medivh: *bursts into tears*

Not really very much later…

Medivh: *torn apart by infinite whelps*

Us: Maybe we need more DPS…

Me: *shaking head sadly* I can’t believe mind sear didn’t make the difference…

(In case it isn’t obvious, guess who just got mind sear – his first proper AoE spell, since Holy Nothing doesn’t count. M’Pocket Tank scorned it and derided it: “The shadow effects look totally lame” “Are you kidding, that’s fel power that is!” “It looks like wee.” “It’s fel wee, dammit!” But it still makes me feel awesome.)

Tails between our legs, we slunk off to try our hand at The Steamvault and The Shattered Halls, both of which went down with a whimper. I really like The Steamvault – another genuinely huge and epic-feeling instance. Also it’s crazy full of mobs. We spent an awful lot of time yelling “HUG THE WALL!” at each other, like we were in a 1970s cop show. There are probably better strategies but it worked for us. None of the bosses gave us much trouble, but after Grand Master Void Fetishist everybody is a bit of a let down. He’s totally our nemesis. Screw this Arthas dude. The Shattered Halls are pretty funky too. Although I wouldn’t call them Shattered so much as Long and Straight and Quite Well Maintained. Talk about misplaced hyperbole.

And this, of course, brought us face to face with an impasse. “Tempest keep, yay!” we cried eagerly, only to find the way was barred.

Between trudging back to Northrend and doing something stupid, we naturally opted to do something stupid. Hellfire Ramps Heroic!

My first heroic, in fact. Well, technically my second heroic, since the last time we had this idea we poked our noses in the door, fought valiantly to the Beast Master and then died horribly and repeatedly at the teeth of his eighty million beasts. That gave me a bit of a fright, I can tell you. Heroics, I guess, are full of surprises. Surprising deaths, anyway.

But last time we tried the God of People Who Don’t Like Northrend And Will Do Anything To Avoid It was smiling on us. And, somehow, we got through Ramps heroic. Again, I know we’re 8 levels ahead of schedule so it’s not the kind of mighty deed WoW-aficionados down the ages are going to sing camp fire songs about. But it was something new and exciting to try and it was actually pretty challenging.

I’ve also got to the point of level progression in which my healing looks visually pathetic. I remember how stunned I was, that time I accidentally went on a Raid, when I’d be casting heal spells and it would make a trivial amount of different to the health bars. These days, flash heal on M’Pocket Tank is the equivalent of an elastoplast on a severed limb. The only reason I cast it at all is to proc Serendipity. Of course it might have something to do with the fact M’Pocket Tank is wearing, y’know, gear, whereas I am clad in crap the Nesginwary expedition didn’t want.

By the time we’d finished, we were rolling in stuff that would have been awesome 8 levels ago by the end of it. It was utterly tragic. In fact … God … another first … I disenchanted my first epic. It broke my heart to do it.

I’ve kept every other epic I’ve found, because I’m still enough of a sentimental noob to conceive of them as being incredibly rare and valuable.

Let me see, I have not one but two ardent custodians, both BOE, both random world-drops. I’m saving them for a character who could duel wield them. Mwahaha.

And I have a Glowing Brightwood Staff, which was a present from a dear friend. Again, it broke my heart to swap it out for some random Outland shite with infinitely better stats.

An Eye of Flame, for the Prettiest Elf, which I am NEVER NEVER NEVER replacing because it so utterly fabulous. A monocle. On fire. Oh God yes.

And, yep, that’s it. And there fell the Feltooth Eviscerator into my graceless hands and I crushed into a void crystal as if it was nothing.

We also pulled in a metric sack of epic gems. Gemming rarely seems worth it during leveling because you trade up gear so regularly but I guess waste not want not … oh wait … I’ve got nowhere to put the damn things because I’m dressed in Nesingwary’s hand-me down trousers.

“Woo hoo! What’s next?” I asked.

Flashforwards:

And it was at this moment that I succumbed to melancholy. It suddenly struck me: what on earth am I going to do when I hit endgame. No, seriously. What is someone like me meant to do? Run heroics over and over and over again until my eyes bleed? Grind daily quests? Raid? Achievement whore? I don’t think I’m interested in any of those things.

I ran UK about 10 times when I was the appropriate level (if you count all the times I FAILED to run UK) and I never want to see the damn thing again as long as I live and breathe. I just can’t see myself running the same heroics repeatedly. I can’t see myself rep-grinding. I’m really not sure WoW will have anything to offer me at that point.

I know I could start leveling alts but there’s an extent to which “80” serves as a set of goal posts. It’s not the end of the game, it’s not even a victory condition, but it’s something to aim at. If it’s just a mirage, then, why aim for it at all?

But there’s a saying in family: we’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it (yeah, we’re a cheery lot).

And I guess there’s about as much point in worrying about what I do when I hit 80 than there is in worrying that I might wake up one day with nothing to say on this blog (I do, as it happens, worry about both, pointless though it is).

Back to the present

And in the spirit of this: it is officially Fuck The Patch day.

I could afford artisan + cold weather flying maybe (big maybe) if I put all my gold together, bankrupted all my alts and deprived the Prettiest Elf of his vanity fund (he is my single biggest WoW expenditure, I’m embarrassed to say).

But the cost of that isn’t changing, so let’s not bother, and let’s not worry about it. Money accumulates in WoW. Unlike in real life where it seems to … just disappear.

What is changing, however, is the effectiveness of your Bog Standard Flying Mount but that’ll kick in when the patch happens regardless of when I purchase the damn thing. And, actually, when you get right down to it, although the costs for ground mounts, and the training to ride them, are going through the floor (was there a job lot of substandard chickens or what?), the difference in cost of Expert riding + Thing To Ride between now and the patch are in the region of 250 gold, not counting faction rep bonuses.

250 gold? That’s nothing, right?

So I’m resolved. Tonight, M’Pocket Tank and are going shopping.

We’re going to get our hands on a pair of crappy, geriatric flying mounts, fit them with thermal underwear and ride them in slowwwwwwww triumph over Ice Crown.

Azeroth is, once again, at our feet. The world is ours.

July 23, 2009

can you feel the devilsaur tonight

Filed under: Real Men Wear Purple,Sweets for the Sweet,Vainglory — Tamarind @ 11:14 am

So, we’re into the summer slump, apparently. Various blogger are headed off on out-of-game adventures, lots of people are taking a break, raid groups are foundering, and the game itself is that weird, semi-suspended pre-patch state where nothing you do really seems quite worth it because of incoming changes. On the other hand, I find reading about the enthusiasm of others bolsters my own when it flags. It reminds me of the things I love about WoW, and inspires me to try new things or look at certain aspects of the game in a different way. I’m going to spend a little time, probably not in a very organised way because I’m not that kind of blogger, just, y’know, appreciating WoW and generally taking time out to smell the pixels as Lantanna says. I’ll probably degenerate into ranting and whinging pretty soon but for the moment: let’s spread the love around.

But first, some vainglory! The Shadow Labyrinth. Went Down. Oh yeah! Oh yeah, baby! Commence dancing and air punching. Sorry, this is getting embarrassing but it was really satisfying, especially because the first time we attempted it we crashed and burned oh so badly on Grandmaster Vorpil and his voidwalker loveclub. Having very little AoE DPS, what am I saying, very little DPS at all, it was really difficult to eliminate the voidwalkers in time to stop them healing him.

My ideal way to run instances is at level with a tight 3-man team, but 2-manning at higher levels, if you judge it right, can be an interesting challenge too, especially when you’re reliant on a holy priest off-DPSing for your major damage. And you end up evolving some slightly crazy strategies to deal with things like mind control – trying to juggle your threat so that the guy in the sissy robe with only smite to his name gets mind controlled instead of the platemail sporting tank with the big sword, for example. There’s nothing more embarrassing than being cut down in the middle of an instance by your own tank. I have to admit, I’d love to see the chaos caused by Blackheart the Inciter on a five party group though. There wasn’t all that much we could do except blow our cooldowns before he MCed us and then stand as far away from each other as possible before the mind-control, like Smitefight at the OK Corral, since M’Pocket Tank could survive anything I could throw at her but I’m pretty vulnerable to a sword in the face.

Grandmaster V. was a close run thing though. M’Pocket Tank basically north-south kited him while I took out the void walkers in the centre of the room. It was a huge strain on resources because DPSing gives me very little return on my mana and it took 2 casts per voidwalker to take one out. Meanwhile M’Pocket Tank was whittling away at the Grandmaster and simultaneously trying to keep herself alive because I couldn’t take time off from killing voidys to chase her to the other end of the room. I did mange to get a couple of emergency heals off though and there was one heart-stopping moment when the Grandmaster got away from us and ploughed gleefully into a rugby scrum of voidwalkers. I had run completely and totally out of mana, void walkers were converging on the centre of the room and I was about to despair when … somehow .. we did it. He died.

Not so Grand now, eh?

Remarkable. The best part of it is I’m not sure I could do it again. That’s always the sign of a good fight, I think. You triumph but the challenge isn’t lost.

Also the Shadow Labyrinth is brutal, I tell you, brutal. Insane quantities of mobs, mobbing us. We were taken out by the trash at least once. Oh the shame!

Okay, that’s enough vainglory for one day. Let me go back to the subject of this post. Here’s something I love: Terror Run.

That's ... not ... good

That's ... not ... good

I mean, how you could not, with a name like that. I think I might, on previous occasions, maybe, just maybe have expressed – possibly – a slight degree of enthusiasm for dinosaurs. So, naturally, I really like Un’goro, although it might as well be called MetaZone for all the silly references jammed in there. It looks fantastic, it’s brimming with a metric arseload of insanely fun “go forth and kill lots of dinosaurs” quests, it’s got a wonderfully, ironic, pulpy atmosphere and, of course, it has Terror Run. Now, usually, when I rock up at Un’goro I’m punching above my weight so Terror Run is genuinely terrifying, exactly as it should be. I don’t have a hope in hell of taking a single one of those enormous elites, well, maybe, if I managed to corner one, in the dark, while it was unconscious. So if I want to get to the western pylon, which of course I do, I have to run Terror Run. In terror.

I know death doesn’t actually, per se, mean anything in WoW. At worst it’s inconvenient (death isn’t the handicap it used to be in the olden days…) but Terror Run helps me to forget that. When I’m pegging it, mist-blind and panicking, through a forest of smooshed trees and angry elite stegodon, I know I don’t want to die by dino, and I’m afraid, and exhilarated and cackling and having a wonderful time.

I had cause to visit Un’goro fairly recently, when I was levelling the prettiest elf with Cowfriend. The prettiest elf, by the way, is a full-spec fire mage. I know this is underpowered, I know it’s a silly choice of levelling spec but … but … I like the pretty lights. And the burning. Gotta love the burning. Anyway, there we were, Cowfriend on her kodo, me on my big pink chicken, standing on the brink of Terror Run. “Here’s the deal,” I said, “we’re here [map plink] and we need to be here [map plink]. Between us and our goal, is Terror Run. It’s full of a bunch of elite dinos we simply can’t take. So we’re going to have to run it. So, when I say go, peg it, as fast and hard as you can. Don’t look back, don’t stop for anything. If you get knocked off your mount, keep going, if I get knocked off my mount, keep going. Don’t be a hero. It’s every man … cow … elf … for himself. It’s the only way to survive.”

And then I spoiled it by giggling excitedly.

And, y’know, you’d think I’d have learned my lesson about every-man-for-himself strategies but anyway… off we went.

Go, pink chicken, go!

Aaaaand within about 10 seconds, I’d been knocked off. And there I was, a spindly little fire mage with excellent hair, stuck in the middle of Terror Run, with no hope in hell. It was at this moment precisely that I realised when I said “every man for himself” I really meant “if you get knocked off, I’ll run like a bastard but if I get knocked off, you come and help me.” But I’d said to keep going in all circumstances and I couldn’t set a bad example to my cowfriend protégé so, over the shaking, rumbling ground, I started to run.

Dinos to the left of me.

Dinos to the right of me.

Dinos right fucking behind me, taking enormous bites out of my arse.

I hit frost nova.

I hit blink.

I half turned round as I was running to blow dragon’s breath in the face, well toes, of my pursuers.

I blinked again.

And frost nova-ed.

And, again, and again.

The edges of the screen were bleeding to red through the sea-green mist (yes, I can still spare a dig for Arthas).

And, somehow, on something like 5% health I made it. The dinos got bored, decided I wasn’t worth it, lost sight of me, who knows, but they stopped chasing. The prettiest elf reeled against a tree, gasping for breath and suddenly realised I’d be holding my own, and my heart was pounding like I’d been the one fleeing the dinosaurs.

Silly, entirely silly of me, but such fun to lose yourself in a moment like that. But it’s for that kind of thing that I love WoW.

And, of course, I can now say that I literally ran Terror Run.

July 22, 2009

Miscellany

It’s disconnected Wednesday! Recent thoughts / happenings that are not quite significant enough to merit to posts of their own.

As idle as a painted ship, Upon a painted ocean.

I want a meta-game title.

Champion of the Frozen Wastes can go take a running jump.

I want: Tamarind the Guild Killer.

For, lo, I am. Another one bites the dust. Gah! I know it’s not actually me – I’m not that hubristic – but I’m starting to think I must have inadvertently shot an albatross somewhere along the line In some ways, I suppose, the collapse of my guild is quite fortunate because it has saved me from the social awkwardness of gquitting. But my (ex)guild had been around on Emerald Dream for a good while actually and, clearly, once upon a time, it was a great place to be. Yet within literally moments of me joining, there was an eruption of drama and fail that led to, well, more drama and fail. And then the centre could not hold. And that was the end of it. Sigh.

My leaves may be provocative, but that doesn’t mean I’m asking for it

I was heal-harassed repeatedly in Hellfire Peninsula last night. I was already committed to 3-manning BF with M’Pocket Tank and Cowfriend (downed, by the way, downed!) but almost the second after I put hoof in Thallmar, a level 60 deathcow came running up to me and said: “Blood Funuce????” (Blood Funuce, putting the fun back into prisons for pit lords!) Possibly it’s just my anti-DK impulses kicking in again but I think anybody who, in cold blood, deploys more than an absolute maximum of three question marks (or any elements of punctuation for that matter) is probably not to be trusted. Also, and I admit I make plenty of typos myself, but I do consider being able to spell the name of the instance you’re trying to run advantageous. His next collection incoherent syllables expressed, to my mind, disappointment and he trudged off.

I thought that would be the end of it but then I got the whisper, the one familiar to every jobbing healer. “U heal?” it goes. Yes, I heal, weddings, funerals and Bar Mitzvahs, and why can’t anybody ever ask me nicely? Just a couple more syllables. Go on. Say “are you a healer?” Push the boat out, say “excuse me, are you a healer?” Acknowledge that, perhaps, I have an existence of my own outside my in-game function of healing you on demand. Go on. I dare you. Seriously, is it really too much to ask? It improves my heals. I’m a civility-powered healer. No. Really. Look, I can prove it with science:

Here comes the science....

Here comes the science....

Anyway. “I do,” I responded, “but I’m afraid I’m already committed to a group.” There was brief pause.

“Fuck,” he said.

And then again: “Fuck.”

And finally: “Fuck.”

I have to admit, I was genuinely startled. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not the swearing; I read Restoration poetry, and WoW has nothing on that. And it wasn’t even directed abuse of the usual sort. Despite the fact he is wearing (though no choice of his own) a skin-tight purple shirt tunic, split to the navel, and a skirt … sorry … “war kilt” nobody has yet dared to call my cow a fag. At least not to his face. And I suppose U Heal Bob was just expressing his frustration at the scarcity of healers currently available but the three angry fucks (I can’t decide if that’s an excellent name for a band for a comedy trio) struck me as weirdly disproportionate to the situation. “Fuck,” you might say when you lose your keys, or stub your toe. “Fuck fuck fuck” you say when you run over your neighbour’s cat in a juggernaut, or forget to phone your mother. And, regardless, it’s something you mutter to yourself rather than express directly to another person, especially not the person involved in the disaster, especially not if that person is your mother.

You certainly don’t whisper it to me. Right? I mean, what could I do? “Ah, your ability to deploy the word fuck three times in a row has moved my heart of stone. I will abandon this group and fly immediately to your side.”

It’s kind of the equivalent of going up to somebody in a bar and asking if they’d let you buy them a drink. If they say “no, sorry” you respond with a smile and some generic reassurance that you’re not Jack the Ripper: “maybe some other time then,” or “enjoy your evening.” You don’t burst into tears and punch the wall.

Was that the end of it? The fact I’m still writing about it indicates not.

About five minutes later, he whispered me again: “So, you gonna heal, y or n?”

Now, my druid is a very nice cow. His hobbies are saving gazelles and eating picnics. He looks like he doesn’t have a bad word to say about anybody and, consequently, when I’m playing him, I’m a much kinder player. However, at that moment I channelled Tam, pure and simple:

“What part of ‘no sorry, I’m committed to another a group at the moment’ suggested to you the answer to that question might be yes?”

“Fuck,” he said, but at least only once this time.

“Same to you,” I offered, /ignoring.

But it kept happening. Different people, less fuck-happy folks, but every ten minutes or so: “U healer?” “Wanna heal [whatever]” and a constant stream of invites to groups without so much as a by your leave. Obviously I get occasional whispers for healz and when WotLK came out being the only healer in the village was a bit painful but nothing on this scale of epic and perpetual stupidity.

And, no, I wasn’t randomly on LFG. I checked.

Maybe it was National Harass Tam’s Alt Night.

But it made me really bloody grumpy.

July 13, 2009

The Dwarven Gentlemen’s Club is now recruiting!

Filed under: Altaholism,Real Men Wear Purple,Vainglory — Tamarind @ 1:03 pm

Since the weekend renders me even more pointless and frivolous than usual (when I’m not wrecking all my gear) and I have recently committed to overcoming my WoW prejudices, M’Pocket Tank and I rolled up a couple of dwarf hunters, on the assumption that the best way to explode prejudices is to embody them all.

Alliance. Shudder.

Dorf. Shudder.

Hunter. Shudder.

And, omg, it’s the most fun in the world.

Seriously.

I could throw my sissy robe aside right now and start a new blog called bignosebiggun.wordpress.com.

Well … okay … maybe not.

But it’s still that much fun.

Here is my mighty level 10 dorf:

My First Dorf!

My First Dorf!

Isn’t he just fabulous? I particularly like the belt with the heart on it, I think that’s a nice touch. I have to say, I’m getting a sexually ambivalent vibe from him. I think it’s the perfectly groomed beard and the waxed moustache. Also you can’t tell from this angle but he’s got a long, flowing ponytail that would shame a belf.

Also check out his potent pig! I can’t tell you how much I love my pig. It’s a war machine, that beast, I tell, you a war machine. She’s called Empress after the Empress of Blandings, another sterling hog.

Unfortunately, I’m slightly fearful that I’ve inadvertently mistreated her. When I first made sweet sweet love to her by, err, hitting her in the face with a concussive shot to slow her down and then crooning sonnets while she lumbered, dazed and confused, in my direction, she was naturally, well, a little bit unhappy afterwards. M’Pocket Tank suggested I feed her as a way of cheering her up.

Well, I just wasn’t prepared. I don’t go out into the wilderness with my pockets stuffed full of pigfood on the off chance some sweet little porcine is going to catch my eye. A brief investigation indicated that she would especially enjoy some meats so I rummaged through my amo and cracked boar tusk stuffed bags in search of something that would satisfy the new companion of my future life. I finally got my eye on some mouldering ribs I had stashed in there and duly handed them over.

Several ribs down, she had, in fact, cheered up immensely. In fact, she loved me. It was very gratifying.

It was then that I realised I’d been gleefully feeding her portion after portion of … beer-basted boar ribs.

Uh. Whoops?

I made a cannibal pig.

I feel quite bad about that.

Anyway, cruelty to animals aside (I’m a bit embarrassed that concussive shot forms such an important part of my seduction routine, it strikes me as being the equivalent of Rohypnol), being a dwarf hunter is such crazy crazy fun that M’Pocket Tank and I decided to embrace the Nesingwary lifestyle and do it properly.

The idea is to level doing only quests that dwarf hunters would appreciate and shooting vast quantities of random animals en route, which I’m embarrassed to note shows no sign of getting old. We were on our way to return some lost ammo to a bally silly chap, dontchaknow, and the pleasure of shooting things with guns swept over us with such intensity that we’d actually banged and tallyhoed our way across half the map (in the opposite direction from the amoless fellow) without even noticing.

In fact, we were so tickled by the idea of being proper Dwarven hunters that we made a guild for it: the Dwarven Gentlemen’s Club.

(Isn’t it ridiculous? I’m now the founding member of 2 entirely silly guilds, and I can’t find an actual guild to save my life).

So if any EU-based bloggers fancy doing something silly with me and M’Pocket Tank, roll yerself a dorf hunter (or another kind of hunter, I guess) on Emerald Dream and come join the, err, madness. I should probably also say that the Dwarven Gentlemen’s Club is not a sexist establishment: they welcome fillies, too, of course, if they’re the right sort of filly.

Hmmm… I suppose I’d better make my recruitment pitch. I haven’t quite had the courage to blast this out over General but, heh, give me time…

The Dwarven Gentlemen’s Club is now recruitin sound but not necessarily diminutive fellows, interested in huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’. We have a spiffin’ tabard and a jolly fine trophy cabinet, tally ho, what what!

And, look, here is a thoroughly splendid picture of the members of the Dwarven Gentlemen’s Club poised on the brink of adventure…

Oh I say, jolly fine view!

Oh I say, jolly fine view!

I think the plan is to get them to The Barrens to hunt kodos… and, some day, of course dinosaurs! The more fuck off enormous they are, the better!

July 10, 2009

The one with the pointless blog admin, the bunch of cool links and the complete lack of gay night elf porn

Filed under: Diversions,Real Men Wear Purple,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 11:15 am

Pointless Admin

The worst thing about having a blog is the tendency to pick at it obsessively when you have Other Things You Should Be Doing. I restructured it about twenty five times yesterdays and then put it back exactly the way it was before. Look, I know it’s a bit generic and hard to navigate but I guess that’s that. If there were useful resources to be found here, it would be a different matter but, as it is, I hardly think readers (which I am still surprised and gratified to discover I have occasionally – eeee!) are going to be trawling through my archives going “gah, I can’t find the one where’s going on about flowers as an off-hand weapon.”

I also suddenly realised it was Made of Stupid to try and classify my favourite blogs according to, well, anything. I mean who the hell am I to tell you what the theme of your blog is. So you’re now just all in a list over there. I’m very bad, by the way, at transferring blogs from my feedreader onto this list so if I won’t shut up on your blog I’ve probably just forgotten to add you. Feel free to prod me but, regardless, I will eventually notice.

I’m also concerned that some of my frivolous WoW-prejudices (I know the word frivolous and the word prejudices should not normally be conjoined but go with me on this) are unconsciously affecting my engagement with the blogsphere. As a Hordie, obviously one tends to view the alliance with a certain amount of hostility and M’Pocket Tank and I have a on-going joke that I am racist against dorfs because I get such a kick out of killing them. At least, I think it’s a joke. Equally, I’ve had such bad PUG luck with hunters and DKs that, even though I am completely indiscriminatory when it comes to the types of blogs I read (if it’s interesting, if you write well, if you make me think or make me laugh, I’ll be there) … I read precisely 1 hunter blog and a grand total of zero DK blogs (unless Zaphind counts).

So I am making a new resolution. I shall try to read more alliance blogs. I shall try to read more hunter and DK blogs. And I shall stop being racist against dorfs in the blogsphere.

Not Today, Not Tomorrow, Not Ever!

And finally … look … I’m really sorry whoever you are, it must be really disappointing for you, but I have to break it to you: there is no gay night elf porn here. Really. I promise. It’s not under the sofa or behind the fridge. I don’t know why Google keeps telling me you there might be.

And quite frankly the idea of gay night elf porn kind of makes me cringe a little inside, but then I just don’t like the look of the male night elf model. Maybe there’s potential there I’m just not seein’…

Japheth Moonbeard drew his friend, Rem’ras down with him into the long grasses, by the corpse of the young nightsaber they’d just mercilessly slaughtered for, like, nature or whatever.

“We should get back to Conservator Ilthalaine,” murmured Rem’ras. “Look, I can see his big yellow question mark glowing from here.”

Japjeth ran his long, archer-dextrous fingers through the other’s lengthy, green sideburns, marvelling at how rough and manly they felt.

Rem’ras made a sound of mingled pleasure and frustration. He really wanted to grind to level five but it seemed like Japheth had other ideas about grinding.

“It’s all right,” said Japheth, twining his rugged purple thighs around Rem’ras, “we have to wait for the thistleboars to respawn anyway.”

Okay. I’m stopping now. I’m stopping right now. It’s safe again. Well, as safe as it ever is around here.

Friday Links

Okay, here is some cool stuff from the week:

First, nepotism ftw, here is Temi on the writing out of Ner’Zhul from the Arthas story. Shamless nepotism aside, it’s a genuinely fascinating post. Definitely worth a read if you ever think about lore and, maybe, even if you don’t. The comments are interesting too.

As part of my “don’t be a WoW racist” campaign, I’ve recently discovered Gnomeaggedon – I know, what was I doing, blogging under a stone? Anyway, it’s the closest thing I’ve come to ever thinking maybe it’d be okay to think about rolling up a gnome. I really liked this post about bagspace and hoarding, and the silly items you keep simply because they’re a pleasurable, albeit logstically nightmareish, souvenir of fun times. I’m exactly the same. My bank is full o’crap. I’m even keeping a grey adventurer’s skull that Arugal dropped in Grizzly Hills – a momento for all the times he completely whupped me in SFK.

And don’t get me started on the fucking Scepter of Celebras. That thing as been taking up valuable and necessary space since I received it. I don’t need it, I don’t particularly want it but every time I try to get rid of the game comes up with this really ominous message asking, firstly, if I’m absolutely sure I want to destroy this priceless mythic artefact and, secondly, if I am, to type DELETE into a box. This seems so utterly permanent I always wuss out and put it back in the back “just in case.” And one my vanity alts has a bank absolutely bursting with different pairs of trousers… haliscan trousers, tuxedo trousers, silver-threaded trousers, David Bowie’s Goblin King style trousers… It’s like he’s aspiring to be Hugh Laurie’s Prince Regent in Black Adder the Third. Seriously, how many stylish pairs of trousers does one elf need?

From the ridiculous to the sublime, there’s a genuinely interesting post about the way Blizzard responds to rules exploitation in WoW over at Reflections from the Pond..

One of those it’s-about-time-somebody-said-this-and-people-listened posts about the dangers of over-reliance on Wow Armory figures over at Non Squishy Heals.

And, finally, from way back at the beginning of the week, Failure in Grey at Two Nation Army. It’s a rather archetypal fail-PUG story but I just love the term “failure in grey.” I really want to adopt it, and hug it, and squeeze it and use it often and ironically.

Oh, wait, on more thing. Given all the murloc enthusiasm that’s gone one this week in my little neck of the woods, the best macro ever courtesy of I Like Bubbles.

July 9, 2009

why don’t you go where fashion sits

Filed under: Real Men Wear Purple,Vainglory — Tamarind @ 10:23 am

I’m not sure how long M’Pocket Tank and I can continue to play WoW without, y’know, playing WoW. At this rate of progress there’s a slim possibility we’ll ding 80 maybe in time for the next expansion.

Last night we decided to take a crack at Onxyia, partly because M’Pocket Tank was curious but mainly because I’m still carrying her goddamn head around in my back pocket and feeling guilty about it. I thought defeating her honourably would help me put her large, scornful ghost to rest. The long and the short of it (mainly the short): We Were Not Prepared. Obviously, I was on mana-conservation, healing and air guitar, M’Pocket Tank on tanking, DPS and percussion.

Phase 1, we were perfectly fine. Ish. The healz were fine, the mana was fine … except the theory was that I would contribute to our IMBA DPS with, wait for it, my wand.

Well. It’s DPS isn’t it?

And M’Pocket tank has a thingy that lets me regain mana every time I hit with it so…

Except.

Except.

Guess who rolled up to tea and crumpets with Onxyia with a fire wand?

Plan B involved me positioning myself away from the fire breath and the tail sweep and stabbing … her … in … the … toe … with … my … dagger … over … and … over … again. The poor girl must have thought she had a bothersomely ingrowing toenail.

Holy priest = melee DPS. For the win (using “win” here in its alternative sense of “lose”).

Anyway, about two and half days later, sleeping in shifts, we got her down to 64% health and phase 2 began. And basically we just couldn’t do enough damage to her between the whelps and the fire. Boo.

So the score currently stands at 1.1.

But, never fear pretty lady, we’ll be back.

In order to cheer ourselves up and because I read a totally inspired and inspiring blog post on the subject we ran Scholomance. Being Perpetually Late To The Party Guy (another name for this blog maybe), I’ve never quite got round to doing it. And this is a profound shame because, as the Harpy says (not quite in these words), it’s pure, undiluted awesomesauce. It’s like Harry Potter for perverts. What is with those uniforms.

It always strikes me as a crying shame to roll through instances – which, being mid-70s, we inevitably did. There was, however, one mortifying wipe of which We Do Not Speak. Should not have happened. I think I might try to take Team Tree back to it so we can experience Scholo semi-properly, as it truly deserved.

In order to try to make it a little bit less of a stroll-along-whistling session, we decided to revive an old game and do it in formal wear. And here we are:

So ... d'you, like, wanna go steady?

So ... d'you, like, wanna go steady?

Tam looks both dashing and uncomfortable there – I do wonder if a trip to Scholo is his peculiar idea of a date. Well, he’s a holy priest, he doesn’t get out the metaphorical office very much. I have to say, M’Pocket Tank does not seem impressed. Forgive, by the way, the crapitude of my screenshotting. It would also make a pretty decent horror movie premise, I suspect. You know, hoping to get some action from his girlfriend after the prom, Generic Fresh Faced American Highschool Student whisks His Equally Generic Hot Girlfriend off to a supposedly haunted school, only to discover that it is actually haunted. Screaming ensues. He most assuredly does not get laid.

Blacktie instances used to be one of my favourite things to do in WoW. It’s just so inherently comical. Look, here’s a gigglesome shot of Chastity wailing on Instructor Malicia with an enormous hammer.

CATFIGHT CATFIGHT CATFIGHT!

CATFIGHT CATFIGHT CATFIGHT!

I have to admit I was, at this point, circling them both going CATFIGHT CATFIGHT CATFIGHT. Ahem.

Next Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.