standing at the back in my sissy robe

August 9, 2009

Schadenfreude Sunday

Filed under: Deathtards & Co.,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 2:58 pm

I’ve been all over the rhino place this week but here are a selection of the posts that grabbed my eye:

Two really Azeroth-love inspiring over at Aspect of the Hare on the different zones: here’s the Eastern Kingdoms, and here’s Kalimdor. I really enjoy reading about other people’s reactions to the game. I’m completely shallow when it comes to levelling. I like to go places that are pretty. There are whole sections of Azeroth of which I’m completely ignorant because they’re not Tolkeinesque forests or the African savannah – places like the Blasted Lands, the Burning Steppes, the Badlands, Desolace. I should really stop being so silly, packing up some honeymint tea and put on my hiking boots. There’s still a world out there waiting for me. I still remember visiting the Eastern Kingdom for the first time on my small, wide-eyed cow. It was so different from the rolling plains of home and, dear god, the hotels were terrible! The beds were as uncomfortable as coffins … oh wait … they were coffins! A lesson well learned: never buy a package holiday to Hillsbrad from the goblin travel agents Floggit and Leggit.

Kahleena over at Feldeeds is doing a fantastic series of articles on levelling as a warlock. I’m not much for the number-crunching m’self but I do really enjoy this style of witty, discursive analysis. Also special kudos for encouraging eager young warlocks not to give their healers a heart attack by discriminate life-tapping. Part one is here, part two here and the floor is opened for questions here.

Finally, of course, there has been major excitement and many many words over patchday. At two opposite ends of the spectrum, there is gigglesome cynicism from Wildgrowth and joyous enthusiasm from Priest With a Cause.


I was hangin about in Northrend this morning, when I got a moderately polite whisper asking if I’d be willing to heal heroic TOC. Putting aside for the moment I refuse to associate with jousting even for a second, I didn’t want to be responsible for any wipage on account of not really being geared for it. So I whispered back to say precisely that, but that I was willing to give it a go if they were desperate for a healer and willing to go a little carefully.

The reply?

Lol, ru in quest greens

Well, a mixture of high end quest greens and instance blues. But they guy was such a dick, I didn’t bother to answer.

You can imagine my satisfaction to see the same guy wailing and begging for a healer over General for the next two and a half hours.

Finally, he whispered me again, saying they were willing to deign to let me heal for them.

“I think I’ll pass,” I said, gleefully, the same manner as one might say “fuck you.”

Wtf, came the astonished response.

“I don’t want to heal for you,” I explained.

Wtf u no you need the epics.

“Yes,” I said, “but you’re a price I’m not willing to pay for them.”

And then I slash-ignored and went about my business.


August 6, 2009


Filed under: Vainglory,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 1:27 pm

Well, there are advantages in being horribly ill: you play an awful lot of WoW. So much, in fact, that we dinged 80 the day before patch 3.2 hit. Given that I basically played WoW for 2 days solid it’s shocking think how long that would have taken me – probably at the very least a couple of weeks – had I not gone down with piggysniffles. It’s a weird pay off, although it simply makes me feel guilty in several directions at once, since being ill is meant to be spent lying in bed, feeling crappy, not sitting in bed feeling crappy AND playing WoW.

Being 80 is quite frankly bewildering.

The game has basically inundated me with Things I Could Be Doing, and I’m staggering around like a punchdrunk weasel. Polish the Horn of Whojamiflip? Sure. Blow up some garm? Yeah, gimme. Dark cultists, you say? Show me where. This scattergun approach is far from sensible, I have no idea what I’m doing half the time, or what it’s achieving. But after all whinging about Northrend, I am quite digging the quests in Icecrown. They’re not too fiddly, a lot of them involving good old fashioned killin, and it feels nicely like you’re part of a proper war in which you can, y’know, participate rather than follow lore figures about, singing the “you so fine you blow my mind” song. Although having battled side-by-side with Tirion to drive back the forces of the Scourge, I want to know why he has come to the conclusion that what the battle against Arthas really needs is a Renaissance Fair. I guess I’ll just save up the cash for an epic flyer (alas! Pointlesswing!) for now and then see what happens.

I suppose running heroics is Where It’s At, except I’m probably not geared for it. Hmmm. Problem.

We also attempted to celebrate 80 by taken down Magister’s Terrace heroic. And we failed. It was actually pretty tricky. The thing about being 80 is that you secretly or not-so-secretly think you are now become invincible. We were doing pretty well though, thanks to judicious use of mind control. I love mind control (or mindrape as we call it) in every conceivable way but what I love best is taking control of enemy healers. Not only do you inspire all their compatriots to turn on them, but you can also use their spells to heal your own tank. And before the mind control wears off, you can blow all their cooldowns and leave them there, utterly violated and on about 20% health.

But that damnable Priestess and her posse did for us in the end. I hate that fight with a passion, and not the interesting sort of “I will take you down my nemesis, bwhaha” kind of passion. Maybe I just need to step back a bit and smell the OCD but I don’t like fights I can’t control. The best you can hope for is to control the pull, control the location and, hopefully, deploy some cc – even so, it’s carnage. With 2 of you, especially when you’re both pvp noobs, it’s fucking stupid. There must be a way of handling it but I’ve no idea what that way might be. Of course, the only cc we have is MC to which they’re all immune (wah!) which doesn’t help. But they stunlock M’Pocket Tank and then tear through me like I’m damp paper. It feels like there’s literally nothing we can do, except maybe get to the stage when M’Pocket Tank can solo them, and I’ll cower behind the wall while she does, with my WoW dwindling to about the size of a brazil nut. I guess we could duel-spec shadow / retri but that seems a bit extreme, and I suspect we’d resent it.

Dear Blizzard

I don’t like pvp. That’s why I’ve chosen not to do any, as is my inalienable right. Why must you punish me for this? Seriously not cool, Blizzard.

Fuck you,

So, yes, what with dinging 80, the arrival of the patch was kind of eclipsed. The only real change I noticed was the tidal wave of riding achievements over guild and the fact all my add-ons had fucked themselves sideways with a banana. There was, however, a buzz in the air as people ran about discovering changes and new content, which was nice. The weird thing is, now I’m 80, I’m not perpetually late to the party guy any more so I could have been doing that myself. But I’m still half-entrenched in the notion that none of it really applies to me and I’ll get to it in my own time. Except it does now, doesn’t it?

I did roll out my druid to check out his sexy new catform though. Failfriend also has a druid and didn’t know about the redesign so we met at Vengeance Landing and kittied together like crazies. Well I was pretty crazy. I ran in gleeful dash-fuelled circles around High Executor Anselm until I made myself dizzy while FF sat there, washing his face and yawning. Despite the awesome earring, I am still not a big bear fan. I’m sorry, but it’s the butt. I simply can’t tank from behind it. The catform is really kittyish though. I love the sleekness of it, and the way it moves. Comfrey is a kind of toffee-russet coloured kitty. Failfriend is black, with a mean look. It’s tempting to roll up a nelf just to see what I’d get.

I think the thing about 80 and the thing about patches is that … well … they’re kind of similar to losing your virginity. No, stay with me here, I know what I’m doing with this analogy (hah, do I ever). They’re both massive events you build up in your head to the point that you genuinely believe they’re going to completely change your life and the way you think about yourself. And then it happens, and although conceptually it was the most overwhelming and exciting thing ever because finally, finally you’d got there but practically it was awkward and fumbling and you were semi-paralysed with “is it supposed to be like this and am I doing it right” anxiety, and that never happens in the movies. And somewhere in the middle you get a glimpse of some receding wonder but it’s only a glimpse. And when it’s done you wait for that moment, the one that’s going to change everything, and then you realise that it’s never coming, because you’re still you and change comes, if it comes at all, in incremental fragments on your journey towards the infinite horizon.

You can also say the same thing about getting your hair cut.

So, here, let us fix our add-ons, grab 3.2 by the, err, horns and loft ourselves on our cut-price flying mounts … into the future.

July 31, 2009

Of shoes and ships and sealing-wax

Filed under: Hemo,UR Doing It Wrong,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 11:27 am

As the title should indicate, this entry is a jumble of stuff.

Queen Susan’s Guardian Spirit

Since I may be 5-manning regularly (fingers crossed!) I’ve been thinking about my healing, and generally engaging in mild fits of hemo. I’m pretty rusty to be honest. Intellectually I know what I’m doing but what’s missing is that instinctive, muscle-memory, second nature kind of confidence. But that’ll come back with time and practice. I hope.

The bulk of my hemo at the moment is reserved for my persistent crapitude with Guardian Spirit. I did a quick search through the archives of World of Matticus and The Egotistical Priest to make sure I was, in fact, neglecting an important tool in my arsenal. I’ve found that very occasionally the reason you can’t seem to deploy something effectively is because it’s not very effective in the first place (why, hello living bomb, fancy meeting you here). But, no, the problem is definitely me. The consensus of Greater Minds Than Mine is that Guardian Spirit is amazing

The problem with Guardian Spirit, for me, is not the mechanics of it (40% increase to healing, get out of death free card, sign me up!), it’s the psychology. And by “the psychology”, you understand, I mean “my neuroses.” It’s active for 10 seconds, and it’s on a 3 minute cool down. It functions very much as a “ohmyfuckinggod” button, which is like an “ohshit” button but worse. It’s for the moment when you have one of those blinks that last forever and when you look again the tank is on 10% health. Aieeee!

But here are the associated issues:

1) The 40% healing increase means that the Death Save very rarely occurs – which, on some level, makes you feel as though you’ve ‘wasted’ your Guardian Spirit. Yes, yes, I know this is stupid.

2) The fact that you only ever use it when something has gone horribly wrong means it’s always associated with a sense of failure and panic. Essentially it’s an ability with a negative feedback loop.

3) That 3 minute cooldown means I never use it nearly as much as I should because I’m always thinking “wait, what if there’s an EVEN WORSE emergency in, say, 2 and a half minutes time.”

4) I’m always scared of using it on somebody other than the tank because, again, I start angsting about snatching it from the lips of starving children … I mean … I get myself all knotted up over the possibility squandering something on the DPS (sorry) that might be needed by the tank.

5) Whenever I look back over a fight, I can always see, with the clarity of retrospect, about a hundred and one possible moments when Guardian Spirit could have been used to great effect. But whenever I’m actually in the middle of a fight, there’s never an emergency that feels quite bad enough to merit its use.

This is why Guardian Spirit is the Queen Susan’s horn of healing.

And the way to get over Queen Susan’s horn anxiety is simply to blow the thing as much as possible.

Is it me, or is this analogy getting more lewd by the sentence?

But what I’m trying to say is this: my new self-imposed healing assignment is to use my fucking Guardian Spirit, instead of drenching it in hemo. I’m also going to invest in the Glyph of Guardian Spirit, which reduces the cooldown from 3 minutes to 1 minute if the Get Out of Death Free card isn’t triggered. I think that will help overcome some of my issues.

Not The Sharpest Pig in the Box

We haven’t had nearly as much time as we’d like to devote to the DGC of late (given all the nonsense that’s going around about game addiction, we’re paying a bit of attention to a healthy life-WoW balance) but Rosencrantz has a new pig. Alas poor Yorick, you did not last. I am a shockingly fickle pig owner, I feel almost guilty about it. I’m limping down the beast mastery tree (possibly with my eye towards a fuck off enormous dinosaur of my very own … I will love it and hug it and call it Reginald) and it strikes me that it’s a slightly emotionally counter-intuitive tree. Like most people interested in hunter pets, I have a tendency to invest in my animals. You give them a ridiculous name, you start to ascribe them a personality, and, suddenly, bam you’re engaged in all sorts of absurd behaviour, like fishing for what you’ve arbitrarily decided is their favourite fish or waiting for them to catch up with you if you’ve jumped off a ledge and going to absurd lengths to stop them dying in combat.

When Comfrey (my druid) was levelling with his cowfriend Doriff (not to be confused with Cowfriend), Doriff’s first pet was a tiny tiny, entirely bog standard, not even ornery plainstrider we named Clucksworthy. And although Doriff’s eye would occasionally wander in the direction of turtles and raptors, I’d always guilt trip him back into the arms (wings?) of Clucksworthy because, by that time, Clucksworthy felt like part of the family. Players actually occasionally used to lol us in the street because we looked so silly. 2 enormous level 60 cows with this incredibly small and crappy looking chicken. But Clucksworthy tanked a dragon, I’ll have you know. He was valiant, we shall not see his like again.

But the Beast Master tree seems to be all about the acquisition of MOAR pets, as well as, of course improving the pets you have. But I think if you’re the sort of person who specs beast mastery, maybe you’re also the sort of person who is likely to cleave to a single pet. Recognising this early on, I tried to foster in myself a love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude to pigs. The consequence of which is that Rosencrantz is a rampant pigtart. Seriously. I’ve had, like, 3 in about as many levels.

His first pig was Empress, a small crag boar from Dun Morogh.

And then he upgraded to Yorick, a pig marked for tragedy if ever there was one, an mountain boar from Loch Modan.

And, most recently, a mangy mountain boar, also from Loch Modan, he named Boracchio (gettit? Boar….rachio… sorry)

The happy thing about being pigfickle is that they’re all subtly different pigs. Boracchio, who is my favourite (they’ve all been my favourite, by the way, for the short span of time I’ve had them), is definitely looking at bit worse for wear. It’s the mange, and the battle scars, I guess… I also like the way the pigs move and snuffle around when they’re not running, squealing joyously, into battle.

Except there’s something up with Boraccio. I was watching him lovingly the other day, with paternal pride, and, I swear to God, he fell over. My mighty battle hog FELL OVER. He face-planted into the sward.



Is it swine flu? Or rabies? Or what?

Friday Links of Loveliness!

It’s been such a fun week for WoW blogging. The shared topic from Blog Azeroth has led to some thoroughly delightful nostalgia trippin. I’ve really enjoyed every post on the subject of I’ve read but I’ve especially loved:

Spinks on the eye-opening rampant insanty if the Thunderfury, Taz on, errr, well … modesty issues in Outland (how I giggled) and Pewpewlazerz (whose blog I have only recently discovered, and I guess should count as my “Have I Been Blogging Under a Rock” entry for this week), whose defence of the old world makes me want to attempt Molten Core right now. And probably get humiliatingly taken apart but, hey…

Vaguely in-keeping with the nostalgia-theme, there’s a lovely post over at Magic and Madness about Reasons to Keep Playing when your enthusiasm founders and your heart doesn’t seem to be in it. I think it’s in the nature of WoW to lead you through peaks and troughs and so remembering what you love about the game is important during the troughs.

I also stumbled across an utterly charming post over at Dreambound Druid about Boo the prairie dog (I won’t say more, just go read it, it’s the cutest thing in the world, especially for a Baldurs Gate fan)

On a more general note, I’m digging Priest With a Cause. Lots of thoughtful, insightful and nicely whimsical posts over there – I especially enjoyed this lament for the tragic fate of the island shoveltusks.

Absent friends missed:Krizzlybear

July 26, 2009

Sin to Win!

Filed under: Diversions,UR Doing It Wrong,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 11:59 pm

Apologies in advance, but this isn’t about WoW. It’s also not about me failing to pull either, so we can all breathe a sigh of relief about that.

Spinks recently drew my attention to EA’s latest marketingfail, in which attendees at this year’s Comicon were invited to take pictures of themselves committing “acts of lust” with the booth babes as part of a promotion for the forthcoming Dante’s Inferno (I mean, a game spuriously connected to Dante’s Inferno, the original having already, err, come). As far as publicity goes, it’s certainly a winner in the “get lots of attention” respect but it is, of course, profoundly offensive on every conceivable level. They have since issued an apology which is so hilariously point-missing that I feel obliged to quote a large chunk of it:

We created this promotion as part of our marketing efforts around the circle of Lust (one of the nine sins/circles of Hell). Each month we will be focusing on a new Circle of Hell. This month is Lust. Costumed reps are a tradition at Comic-Con. In the spirit of both the Circle of Lust and Comic-Con, we are encouraging attendees to Tweet photos of themselves with any of the costumed reps at Comic-Con here, find us on Facebook or via e-mail. “Commit acts of lust” is simply a tongue-in-cheek way to say take pictures with costumed reps. Also, a “Night of Lust” means only that the winner will receive a chaperoned VIP night on the town with the Dante’s Inferno reps, all expenses paid, as well as other prizes.

Again, I could go into why this is still mind-bogglingly offensive but this gives it too much credit. Let’s concentrate, instead, on the STUPID, which is present in equally generous quantities.

Basically what jumps out at me is this: so you’re doing a series of competitions based on the circles of the Inferno, one per month in fact. You do realise, don’t you EA marketing department, that the circles of Dante’s hell do not quite correspond to the seven deadly sins in the way I suspect you think they do? Um, do you think maybe you should have, perhaps, just perhaps, read The Inferno before you embarked on this doomed endeavour?

With this in mind, M’Pocket Tank and I hereby present our own take on the Sin to Win competition which we hope compensates to some degree for EA with its fidelity to the original text.

Circle 1: Limbo

In order to win, invitees must wear togas and compose epic poetry in dead languages.

Circle 2: Lust

Attendees are invited to perform such SINful acts as marrying for love, getting divorced or fancying someone against their parent’s approval.

Circle 3: Gluttony

Attendees are invited to send photographs of themselves eating in a manner which serves as a metaphor for the politics of 13th century Florence.

Circle 4: The Avaricious and Prodigal

Attendees will be encouraged to waste as much money as possible on useless crap they don’t need. We are currently re-thinking this promotion as it is functionally identical to the normal behaviour of punters at a convention.

Circle 5: The Wrathful and the Sullen

Attendees are invited to perform acts of violence on other members of the convention. We apologise for any misunderstanding this description may have caused. “Acts of violence” is just a tongue-in-cheek way of saying “have your photograph taken with.”

Circle 6: Heretics

Attendees are invited to tweet in support of interpretations of Christian doctrine which deviate from Catholic orthodoxy.

Circle 7: The Violent

Attendees are invited to commit suicide.

Circle 8: Malebolge

In order to win the Malebolge prize, attendees are invited to submit a photograph of themselves engaged in acts of pandering, seduction, flattery, simony, fortune telling, grafting, hypocrisy, theft, evil counselling, sowing of discord and falsification with other convention goers.

Circle 9: Cocytus

Attendees are invited to commit acts of treason.

In the event of fire, attendees are reminded that there is an emergency exit situated between Satan’s buttocks.

July 24, 2009

He’s gone from bad to…

Filed under: Sweets for the Sweet,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 11:12 am

So, I’m wondering when putting the word “devilsaur” into the title of smooshy love songs is going to get old, and I’m starting to think … maybe … never.

Three Times a Devilsaur … Waiting for a Devilsaur like you … When you love a Devilsaur … My baby loves devilsaur

Okay, I’m stopping now.


In-keeping with the half-arsed Things I Love About WoW theme I’ve recently imposed upon myself, the part of this post not dedicated to the rest of the blogsphere is dedicated to my favourite NPC in the whole of the game. Because of the sheer quantity of quests and characters populating Azeroth, it’s very easy to see everyone you encounter as little more than a quest dispenser, especially if said quest is “Hello [class], I require 10 monkey toenails because … I do. And I can’t get them myself because … I can’t. I will give you this random hat and 25 copper pieces if you bring me 10 monkey toenails. For the Horde!”

This isn’t a criticism. I have nothing against giving a bunch of monkeys a pedicure. With my axe. As I’ve said before, you tend to know what you’re getting with WoW and too many fiddly quests (why hello Northrend, long time no see, I haven’t complained about you for a while) are exhausting and annoying. You know the type I mean: “Go to the Cave of Songs on the other side of the map and use this Arcane Harmonisation Device on 35 Crystallized Pillars until it is properly attuned. Then use it with the filled Bong of Ysandril to summon Raksaw The Suicidal. Take Raksaw with you to the glen south of the river and, with his aid, kill the creatures you find there and bring me 10 of their toenails as proof of the deed. I will give you this random hat and 25 copper pieces as a reward. If you should happen to lose Raksaw The Suicidal, return to me and I will give a new Bong of Ysandril, which you can refill at the Smoky Chasm.”

ARGH! ARGH! A world of ARGH. Lend me that teaspoon, for I must gouge out my eyes in pure frustration.

Okay, I’ve veered as wildly off track with this blog post as if I had my epic flyer stuck on auto-run. The point I was trying to make is this: because Azeroth is fairly and comfortably generic a lot of the time (and I have no problem with that), characters who are well-written, well-characterised, or just a tad more imaginative than usual really make an impression.

And putting aside epic lore figures like Thrall, my favourite character in WoW is … well … ahem .. I think it behoves the depth of my passion and the nature of his, err, nature to express myself in form worthy of him.

So, my dear readers, brace yourself for a one-time aberration. It is, indeed, VERSE.

My dearest Jeremiah, just a note to say:
You’re my favourite zombie in all of Azeroth.
My adoration for you suffers no decay
Despite the massive fuss about the Lich King’s wrath.
The Jeremiah Blues are such a tragic tale,
Rubbish loot aside, it never fails to move me,
Though fools deride its lack of epic Wrathgate scale.
Hey, you should be the star of the Warcraft movie!
I’ll always buy a cockroach, just to win your smile,
And keep it by my side, and other pets decline,
Even though it really does nothing for my style.
Unlike the fickle masses who flock at Valentine.
On the morning after, you’ve no need to sweat it
Whatever Blizzard claim, I never will regret it.

(Not quite an Alexandrine because I couldn’t be arsed to fiddle with the weird stresses required but in hexamater rather than pentameter because I think poetry to zombies ought to be slow and shambling, err “that like a wounded snake, drags its slow length along” in fact!).

So, who’s your favourite NPC, and why? Do you even have one or am I just crazy? Poetry on the subject entirely optional.

And, finally, because it is Friday. Some of my favourite links of the week.

This was technically last week, but over at Shadow Word: Blog, there’s a great post (and accompanying discussion) on Abi’s Top 5 Most Hated Quests. It should provide some kind of cosmic balance for the peace, love and rainbows flying out of this blog at the moment. Also it’s really funny. My favourite line: “Who knew that not every Hillsbrad Farmer had a skull?” Hehe!

Under no circumstances should you forgo your invitation to sit on Uncle Mis’s lap over at Aggro Junkie. Another one of his splendidly sensible posts on why and how eager young DPSers should curb their DPS Demons.

Earlier in the week, Spinks was thinking about the anti-social consequences of adventuring in pairs and new possible directions for duo-themed content in MMOs, which led to a fascinating post over at Wild Growth about her own experiences of playing WoW with an established group. Both posts have really made me think about how I’ve been playing the game lately, and whether clinging to M’Pocket Tank and Cowfriend is making me harmfully disenganged.

And, finally, not a specific link but I’ve recently discovered Nim (I know, I know, there I was, blogging in a hole in the ground again). Her blog is called A Shaman’s Journey but, in my head, I think of it as Letters to Azeroth. Nim’s WoW exploits are primarily related through letters to, well, everything. The zeppelin, her shield, herself. It’s charming and whimsical and never fails to brighten my day.

And, finally, you’ll have to forgive me but I’m going to go incredibly smooshy for a moment. The sonnet must have gone to my head. I can’t really link here either but I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the amazing comments. When I first started this blog (to let off steam after a bad PUG) I didn’t actually give much thought to the idea that people might, y’know, read it, especially given the fact that I don’t exactly write about anything useful or profound, and wouldn’t recognise a strategy if it trounced me at Risk. But I’m so grateful and delighted that, apparently, people do. Thank you so much for your time, and your wonderful, wonderful comments. You make writing this blog an absolute pleasure, and you enrich my game no end.

Okay, that’s enough of that. I have to go now and be rude to a stranger. Kick a murloc. Or something.

July 17, 2009

Friday Roundup

Filed under: Sweets for the Sweet,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 12:59 pm

Round Up of Stuff

1) Most importantly: I have stepped away from Arthas. You can all breathe a sigh of relief. First of all I denied it could really be as bad as it was; then I was angry that it was that bad; then I bargained with the internet and tried to give away my copy; then I felt dirty and depressed with myself for having read it at all … but now I’ve accepted it, in all its awfulness, dealt with the fact I probably gave myself some minor psychological damage through reading it … and I’m movin’ on!

2)The Dwarven Gentlemen’s Club has a mighty four members. Tally ho! Naxx awaits! I’m continually surprised, actually, by how fun it is to the play game this way. Normally my preoccupation is climbing the levelling ladder and, although I do take time out to smell the peacebloom, I’ve never dithered around quite this comprehensively before. The fact we are all in it For The Lulz takes the pressure off in a genuinely liberating way. Also, there’s no two ways about it, being a huntard (and I am, a total, total huntard) is the most fun in the world. Me and my pig BFFs. Also the sound of guns firing (in the game obviously) is unbelievably satisfying. Perhaps it’s merely a childish enthusiasm for big bangs but I don’t think it’s ever going to get old.

The activities of the DGC involve, mainly, huntin’, shootin’ ‘n’ fishin. Or standing next to each other saying “Tally ho!” and “Jolly got shot old man!” or “Spiffing gun!” We have done some quests, but only of the killing animals and delivering beer variety, the former because we are, first and foremost, hunters and the latter because we are thoroughly decent chaps. My trade-skills are way up there as well. Not caring about levelling gives you both inclination and opportunity to fiddle around, collecting copper, making guns and learning to fish. I usually find trade-skills a bit of a grind (Tam hates mining, but I suspect he quite enjoys hating it, he’s that kind of person) and I’ve always suspected life was too short for fishing but my dorf is awesome at both. So the Trophy Cabinet (aka guild bank) is full of guns and fish. As it should be. I look forward to our first ninja. It will be such a disappointment for him, unless he’s a longjawed mud snapper fetishist.

3) Quite a while ago, I wrote about our (unsuccessful) attempt to 3-man Ramps. It has now Gone Down, to much cheering and dancing, and the success was all the sweeter for the previous failure. It felt as though we truly earned our loot … although embarrassingly we were so busy congratulating ourselves we, err, we kind of didn’t open the chest. We’ve moved onto BF, and I have high hopes for our 3-manning future. I’d like to do them all, you know, at level, properly. We didn’t have time to finish BF because life intervened but the run had its moments.

Me-the-tree: okay folks, watch for the proximity bombs
M’Pocket Tank/Lock: BANG
Me-the-tree: Did you just stand on a bomb?
M’Pocket Tank/Lock: I was checking to see if it was a bomb.
Me-the-tree: By standing right on it?
M’Pocket Tank/Lock: Yes.

And my personal highlight.

Brain: Ofuck! The warlock is losing health, the tank is fine … she must be under attack *looks around wildly for mobs* *frantic tree waddle* (the frantic tree waddle is becoming a familiar dance to me these days) What’s going on? *Panicky rejuvenation*
M’Pocket Tank/Lock: Sorry, accidentally hit hellfire.
Everyone else: …

Actually, putting any teasing M’Pocket Tank/Lock aside for the moment, the weakest link is still me. Sometimes I just totally lose control of my HoTs. I can always tell because it’s feels as jarring as hitting a wrong note when you’re playing Guitar Hero but unfortunately I always seem to do it when the tank receives a faceful of fire. My leaves droop with shame. I am a bad tree. *shuffle*

4) Yes, Tam is still stuck in a tuxedo. I very nearly accidentally healed UK the other night. I’m a bit high level for it anyway but when the desperate, pleading whisper came through of course I said yes. And I was just throwing myself on chickenback when I remembered I only had blacktie and a belt recently acquired from questing, so I had to bow out sheepishly. The group probably thought they’d had a lucky escape.

Round Up of Links

So, I guess any commentary on the blogsphere this week has to start with this simply gorgeous post by Elnia over at The Pink Pigtail Inn. With all the bitching and moaning I do around here, it’s important for me to be reminded that I play WoW because I … y’know … love it. This is a genuinely moving and poetic post. Also he quotes Richard Lovelace which is a win in every conceivable way.

Speaking of love and shared enthusiasm, Pike at Aspect of the Hare wrote an excellent post on the joy of levelling. It made me really happy to read it because there’s so much emphasis on endgame these days and, actually, getting to 80 is a journey worth enjoying. Every time somebody says “the game begins at 80” a baby murloc gurgles its last gurgle. Say it with me now: I do believe in levelling, I do believe in levelling…

It’s been such a great week for blogging. Frost Is the New Black is celebrating a blogversary.. Obviously I’m a blogging noob and only discovered this wonderful blog fairly recently. This is a a really charming, meditative, hopeful post about the past and the future. And to think, darling, if I hadn’t been clicking on random links on other blogs….

There’s a rather melancholy post over at Wow Musings about the influence of friends on playing the game. I, too, have lost WoW friends over the time I’ve been playing and even though you can always find new kindred spirits, in Wow, as in life, the people who leave take just a little bit of colour with them they go. Weeping into our tea aside, I do like the post because it acknowledges the huge importance of people on the pleasure of the game.

And now! Bring on the funnies! SQUEEEEE!Murlocs (sqeelocks?) from Beru over at Falling Leaves and Wings.

I am dead on the floor from this devestatingly funny two parter on the T9 druid gear over at Rolling HoTS.

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 3, 2009

I like my caverns like I like my women…

Filed under: Sweets for the Sweet,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 6:10 pm


Confusing and twisted?

No, I had no idea where I was going with that title.

I have returned, if not triumphant at least alive, from Cambridge, despite the best efforts of the X5 which is generally held to be the worst bus in the world.  Seriously, it’s like trying to get across Icecrown without epic flying.  I’m slightly twitchy from Lack of WoW, and I’m still catching up on both myself and the blogsphere.

I did, however, get to thinking about the Wailing Caverns run I was talking about in my last post.  Even though it had its irritation, it did give me another rush of hot sweet love for low level instances.  WC is pretty lengthy especially compared to the anorexic startlet style instances we get nowadays but I kind of like it.  What can I say, I like something to get my teeth into.  Innuendo aside, what I really like about WC is that it feels like you’re exploring a network of underground caves, full of stuff that happens to be living in there.  Rather than a bunch of WoW players running a instance.

I actually managed to get us lost (look, I was holding Cartographer upside down, okay?  No, I’m not stopping and asking that Druid of the Fang for directions… I know where I’m going) and we ended up back-tracking to find one of the Bosses.  I know that probably sounds like it was an annoying inconvenience but it felt weirdly exciting.  I can’t remember the last time there was more than one possible direction through an instance.  We were somewhere big enough to get lost in.  And that was good.

I kind of like the “made up by a 14 year old” year old feel of the place as well.  I mean, come on, the bosses are called Lady Anacondra, Lord Cobrahn, Lord Pythas and, Lord “oh crap I’ve run completely out of snake inspiration, I’ll just go with the first thing I can think of” Serpentis.  It’s nicely pulpy, and I prefer WoW when it’s over-the-top and slightly self-ironic than oh-so dark, man dark.

It’s a little saddening, in a way, that so much love has gone into this random cave complex in the middle of the Barrens when somewhere that ought to be completely awe-inspiring, like Azjol-Nerub, is basically just a pointless hole in the ground.

Anyway, as I say, I’m kind behind on my blogreading but here are a scattering of the posts that me go hmmm this week:

I’m not quite sure why I’m linking to Spinks because if you’re reading here and you’re not reading Welcome to Spinksville, quite frankly, ur doing it wrong.  But everything she’s posted this week has been fascinating; however I was especially intrigued by this typically thoughtful and insightful post on Wowistocracy – the nature of inheritance in MMOs.

There have, of course, been a slew of posts about Faction Changes – but I the most gigglesome of them is definitely this one, over at Mystic Chicanery.

Kahleena at Fel Deeds has been hilariously embittered (and again and again and again) by the T9 Warlock pajamas gear.

On  a less absurd note, there’s a really nice tanking overview over at Aggro Junkie.  I call it an overview rather than a guide because its about the role itself, rather than mechanics or performance, something I think is really necessary considering how little understanding there is what tanking actually means out there in PUGsville.

Finally, in a general rather specific way, I’m rather enjoying Zaphind’s musings on the game.  Like me, he’s kind of a veteran noob, although he’s way more positive than I am (he even occasionally defends PUGs, the crazy crazy man)

June 26, 2009

Guild Woes & posts that made me go hmmmm

Filed under: Hemo,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 11:38 am

This post comes in 2 parts: the first is me wailing and asking for help, the second is cool things from the blosphere.  Take yer pick.

Guild Woes

Firstly, I have killed yet another guild just by joining it.  Gah!  Okay, that’s not a piece of fairy cake, the universe does not revolve around me, but I have such a tortured guild history that I’m starting to think I might be carrying some kind of relapsing-remitting case of Guilditus and spreading it unwittingly around Emerald Dream.  I suppose I have only myself to blame.  Irresponsibly joining lots of guilds without proper protection…  Off to Leather Lane for a dip in mercury for me.

I’m actually a co-dependent player in that I never play by myself.  I think I’d go mad with loneliness, mining nodes alone in Desolace as the sun sets, weeping softly about how nobody loves me.  So I don’t per se need a guild, but I’d like one.  WoW is, after all, a social space.  And it would be nice if I could PUG less.  Of course, I’m frivolous and not level 80 so that rules out most of the more structured and serious guilds from the get go.

So I joined my first guild at around level 40 just to see what it was like – I basically took a punt on a random recruitment.  But the recruiter seemed nice and, as it turned out, she was nice (she still whispers me occasionally).  Unfortunately she turned out to be the only nice person in a guild that was otherwise comprised of wankers and idiots.  I went through a stage of trying to be quite active, arranging instance runs, helping people out when they needed it, and so and so on forth.  But then I discovered that, in some ways, running instances with guildies is far more dangerous than PUGing.  If you meet a bad player in a PUG, you can easily and happily never see them again, unless by sheer chance you happen to walk past them one day when they have the misfortune to be on fire and then you can ostentatiously neglect to piss on them.  But if people in your guild are objectionable in some way, you’re stuck with them. Forever.  In guild chat.  Until /gquit do you part.

So, feeling increasingly dissatisfied, my eye took to wandering, my head to turning.   And all it took was a chance PUG with a really rather lovely guy (a hunter who was not a huntard – our ancestors be praised!) to induce me to try a new guild.  And for a while, the future looked bright.  I had friends again, guild chat was lively and entertaining.  Although, gradually it got quieter … and quieter … and quieter … and then, for reasons still not entirely clear to me, there was a schism.  Dum dum duuhhhh!  The guild split asunder: into one guild for characters below level 60 and one for characters above level 60. I was recruited to the latter and it was really fucking boring.  We were all having exactly the same experience of the game, the level 80s were running heroics and grinding tradeskills, we were all spread out between 60, with the majority clustered at 80, so there was no point trying to organise any instances.  And I was under a lot of pressure to get to 80 because I was, at that point, their only healer.  It was crap, crap and crap.

So I left.

Third (or is it fourth?) time lucky, I thought to myself.  I shall do research.  On the internet.   So I found a guild that seemed nice, reasonably literate and had a quite explicit anti-boosting policy (yay).  I applied, joined … and less than a week after, for reasons I still don’t fully understand on account of being guild clueless, the guild combusted.  I think it was partially due to tension between the inner circle, all of whom had reached 80 at about the same time and succumbed to endgame ambition, and the rest of the guild who felt excluded and bored by all the endgame talk.   Lots of people left, the guild leadership changed, there was angst, woe and politics and, presumably, sex, lies and videotape by the bucketload.  And the dust is still settling. Ho hum.

I haven’t left yet, more out of apathy than loyalty.

Oh blogsphere, I can has advice, please?  I know the Be In A Guild Theory (be nice, do things for your guild, be active) but the actual practice of it seems well nigh impossible.

I don’t intend to leave as I’m sure finding another guild would be just as traumatic and tedious, and I’d rather be, err, part of the solution than part of the problem.  So, how can I, as a guild member, help this guild become functional again – how do I actually engage with it at all?

I’ve never felt particularly involved, to be honest, but I’ve only been in it a month, and all relationships take time.  When I first arrived, guild chat was dominated by the inner circle and they were very much preoccupied with end game content; I thought perhaps I’d have more to offer when I hit 80 (which again, kind of defeated the point of joining the guild in the first place). Also everyone has a lot of alts, and the assumption is that everyone knows everyone anyway, so it’s relatively hard for me to keep track.  I’m not quite sure how to deal with his, other than making a spreadsheet and pinning it my wall.  This is a step too far.

I’m polite when I arrive and I’m polite when I leave, and people are polite back, but that’s about as far as it goes.  I have a generic impression of a few people being “nice”.  I contribute to conversations when I feel I have something to say which, to be honest, isn’t very often – I don’t think I’m quite ready to traumatise these people with, y’know, me.  I’m not a naturally sweet or bubbly person.  As this blog attests, I’m sardonic, mean and slightly pretentious, although I try not to let it come across.

If people ask for help, I give it.  I’ve some engineering for low level guildies, I’ve healed one of the people I conceive of as being “nice” through a couple of quests.  “Nice” is so damning.  It’s a word you use fo rsomeone when you can’t think of any other way to describe them, but don’t have ny reason to dislike them.  I’ve tried to offer help (Tam is actually a pretty decent enchanter these days) but nobody particularly needs or wants it.   Oh, and I sent somebody some arcane dust.  Go me.

There aren’t any events I could attend. Well, there’s a retro Kara run this weekend which would be awesome but I’ve never been in a raid in my life so I’d probably be a liability.  And, of course, it’s a bunch of 80s, and we know how I feel about polishing my nails behind level 80 characters.  I very nearly made it to an RFC run (on an alt, obviously) the other night but between me offering the services of m’self and M’Pocket Tank, and them saying yes to both, and us unpacking out our alts, they’d gone and filled up one of the spaces so there was only room for me.  I could have told M’Pocket Tank to bog off again – and I suspect, being a friend, she would have obliged – but that would have involved being rude to someone I actually care about for the sake of people I might potentially care about in the future.

I suppose I should get off my arse and actually try to do something on my own account – organise an instance run, perhaps.  But I can’t quite shake the feeling something is going wrong somewhere.  Help?

Posts that made me go hmmmm

Anyway, I’ve talked about myself for long enough.  Here is some coolness from the blogsphere this week:

Awesome on toast from Frost is the New Black in this post on  shedding labels. It’s one of those “what they said” posts, where you point at it and nod a lot.

From a while ago now, the Hardcore Scale from Artisan Level.  Like everyone else, I’m getting a little tired of the endlessly raging hardcore/casual debate now but I like the idea that hardcore is not just a thing you either get or don’t have, but a continuum of of play.

Another wonderfully sensible post from Falling Leaves and Wings (I link her so often, I think I’m officially some kind of treedruid fanboy) on Learning to Say No.  Not actually being active in a guild (see above – alas!) means that I have far fewer problems with this kind of thing than others but I am still, to an extent, The Healer Who Can’t Say No.  All it takes a personal whisper from a passing random and I’ll be there, sissy robe at the ready, often when I don’t want to be and there is on the other side of the world.  It’s something I find especially difficult to deal with it when I’m playing a healer.  I suppose it’s partly because healers are reasonably difficult to find so you’re aware that saying no might just kill the run wholesale and partly because the act of healing is, arguably, a kind of “giving” anyway but I do find it almost impossible to turn down a request for healing.  You’d think I’d taken the bloody Hypocratic Oath or something.

I found this post on The Well-Bred PUG over at Wild Growth a very interesting read, I think because it’s very balanced and also, astonishingly generous.  The standard reaction to a PUG is, of course, zomg!disaster and, although her experience was obviously far inferior to the guild runs to which she was accustomed, she does a really good job of analysing the differences and the problems without condemning them.

Finally,  your Friday dose of sheer nepotism.  Here is Temi on why she’s not impressed by the Argent Tournament.


June 19, 2009

a small amount of gushing and more posts that made me go hmmmm

Filed under: Sweets for the Sweet,World Beyond My Naval — Tamarind @ 12:26 pm

My interest in playing WoW has increased exponentially since discovering, and attempting to barge into, the WoW blogsphere.  I think it must be partially because when you’re playing WoW, if you don’t have an Awesome Guild of Awesome (and this is entirely my fault for not putting enough effort into finding one), it’s all too easy to feel like an alien from planet brain.  I loved running Magister’s HELP I HAVE NO ACROYNM Terrace (MHIHNAT?) with the L-Plate Pally and her Mage Mentor because, as well as being a stupid amount of fun anyway, but it created a mini-sense of community and shared enthusiasm for aspects of the game that might not necessarily tender up obviously quantifiable rewards.

I was burbling happily to a WoW friend about the whole MHIHNAT experience not long after it happened.  He wanted to know why it’d taken us til 2 in the morning, and I replied, rather sheepishly, that it had been all the dying that had slowed us down.  He did the virtual equivalent of Giving Me A Look, which I took (possibly unfairly) as implying a certain degree of “you’re that shit?”  So I got slightly defensive and explained that there were only 3 of us, 2 of us had never been there before, my healing probably wasn’t quite what it should have been and the pally had been a learner.  “Pffft,” he said, “noobs.”

This saddened me

(Of course, I expressed the deep inner well of my sadness by snapping that I’d rather instance with somebody fun and charming and willing to learn that an arrogant wanktard (i.e. you) … but mainly I was saddened)

By contrast, the wonderful thing about the blogsphere is that it’s full of intelligent, articulate, interesting and entertaining people playing the game their own way – whether they’re raiding regularly, collecting achievements, untangling guild politics, sharing what they’ve learned, attempting to navigate the twilight zone of WoW gender dynamics, or just slouching towards 80 with a big axe – and supporting others in doing the same.  It serves as an increasingly necessary antidote to every failPUG and every discussion that ends in “lol noob” or “lol faggot” or “I hope u get cancer and die.”  Although finding yourself playing World of Moroncraft can be entertaining in a “woah, I am so much better than you in every conceivable way and I can spell” kind of way, it mostly winds up being depressing and demoralising as, poor Temi can attest.

Since we’re now cruising along in meta-ville and I’ve just remembered it’s Friday, here’s my on-going (that’s twice I’ve done it, twice counts as on-going doesn’t it?) weekly round-up of posts I stumbled across and, for whatever whimsical reason, enjoyed.

There have been quite a few discussions of the ever painful hardcore v. casual issue – the most measured and thoughtful, and possibly definitive (in my humble opinion) being here, over at Falling Leaves and Wings.

I also went through a respeccing craze early in the week.  I don’t know what happened but it went from “one quick respec to prioritise meditation” to Expensive Dither Extreme.  I have no idea what came over me but I was like a woman at the hairdressers.  Over the course of 2 days, I went through about ten subtly, minutely different variations of holy.

Take One was basically “same as before but with extra zen”

Take Two was “oh wait, Northrend healing is aoe heavy, I’m going to create a build that really prioritises my group healing.”

Take Three was “crap, now it takes me five hours to cast greater heal”

Take Four was “hmm, now I’m moderately bad at everything”

And so on and so forth.

Holy God.  Seriously.  That respeccing.  Nobody told me it’s like crack.  You think you can do it once or twice with your mates and then stop, but you can’t.  The worst of it is you have spend more and more money to get the same hit than you did the first time.  It’s a slippery slope, I say, a slippery slope.  So when you’re talking to your trainer and he’s all “pssst, want to respec, only a gold” just say no, kids.

Of course, the truly ironic cherry on the compost heap was the very next day – the very next day I tell you – while I was sitting here at my computer, trembling and shaking and wondering how I was going to get through the day without a respec, World of Matticus published a typically fantastic and insightful guide on how to build a holy priest. Gah!  That’s it.



I’m going shadow.

And, finally, here is a picture of an undead warrior with an enormous axe because … well … why not.  I like pictures of people doing their thang in Azeroth.  And I find undead warriors particularly amusing, I think because they’re very literally a skinny little guy.   Who could have your eye out with that.

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