Google+ ALT : ernative: 02/01/2009 - 02/08/2009

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-changes.


Consumable ammunition has been removed from the game. Arrows and bullets no longer stack, but are not consumed. Ranged attack speed bonus gained from quivers and ammo bags will be preserved in a different capacity.

Oh, my.

The consequences of this, frankly, make my mind boggle this early in the morning. The extra bag slot. Engineering shot rendered obsolete. No more 'oh sh*t I only have 600 arrow/bullets left, I'll just HS, brb' moments. One of my best-selling AH items effectively extinct, overnight.

I haven't bothered looking at any of the other changes yet. I'm still staring at this one, slack-jawed, wondering how I'm going to cope after four years of bullets and arrows with just one item in my ammo slot...

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Inbound!

So, as predicted yesterday there's a HUGE infodump of changes being considered across all classes for 3.1.

The first slew of infomation has been posted in the US and covers Rogues, Shaman and Priests, so my interest currently is minimal (you've not met N the Priest yet, who is languishing at 71 but who just hit 440 in Enchanting last night thanks to the Power of Vellum) What I see however is that Divine Spirit is going to become a base talent for all priests regardless of spec. About Bloody time, I say.

Today is a RL day but expect me to go crazeemonkeypoo should anything else appear with a more direct relevance.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Building their Part Up

We are going to be announcing some of our plans for classes in 3.1 fairly soon. The announcements will be prominent. They will not be comprehensive. We are not going to announce every change we are going to make. We are going to risk giving you some insight into a work in progress, even though we may ultimately decide not to make some of the changes. You guys can help me remind other players of that when they get angry because we didn't deliver a change that they were "promised."


So now they've sorted out the chaos that the last patch caused, we're gonna start getting some major content information on Ulduar appearing. There was a video on WOW Insider late last week, which was swiftly removed, which showed the large portion of art that exists inside the game currently. The missing art one assumes is long done, all that remains is to tune the encounters. So that leaves class changes, new items, and the possibility of new Dailies.

There's been speculation that we'll see the Silver Covenant emerge as a new faction in-game, which may well have daily quests to accompany it. I have to say that I'd far rather grind a rep to Exalted than be bothered with repeatable quests for cash which don't really give anything else. I soon got disillusioned with the Blue Laydeez in Storm Peaks: there is only so much Yeti Cheese and Snowballs you'll accept when there's the possibility of a cool mount in your daily Grab Bag.

The best faction grind has been, by some way, that for the Oracles. Once a week I can pop over to the basin, pick up a Mysterious Egg and in a week have the chance of one of a slew of pretty cool pets, plus a possible mount. Ok, so I have a lot of Aged Yolks thus far, but it's still worth the effort to go over there. The grind to Revered was also pretty good on the Hunter. I'll need to get the Lock over there as well (all these JC patterns ^^) and on the way I should check the possible gears on offer...

So, I have to wonder what class changes we're going to see. I know there's been talk about looking at Rogues and Mages, and that Hunters will now need to be played with AGAIN to get us back on an even keel (see below) What else will we be seeing?

Place your bets on the next class to be nerfed (to the ground, Baby!) here...

Life? Don't Talk to ME about Life...

It's pretty easy most days to see how life affects people's gameplay. I'm a fairly typical example, if truth be told: if I log and don't say anything in Guild until someone prompts me, it's a good bet I'm:

a) Not awake
b) In a mood
c) Mid-kid/house/money trauma
d) All of the above

It's easy sometimes to forget that life, however hard you try, is not excludable from Warcraft. I don't know how true this is elsewhere, but certainly I know it used to be the case back in the Golden Era of Usenet (posting 325 times a day) where you could tell the angry people. The angry ones always pressed the 'Post' button without sitting and reading back on what they'd spouted, they never thought twice about how the way they saw the World would affect other people. They never pressed 'Delete'.

In a world where there is no 'Post' button, simply everything or nothing, it is often even more surreal.

Most of the GM problems I have, if truth be told, stem back to this issue. Yes there are loot dramas and general stupidity but on any given day it's not the game that's gonna be the problem, it's what I and others can't see. I can cope with loot whoring and meleeing hunters and random afk-ing until the Taurens come home. However, when someone publicly has a breakdown, different story altogether. Mostly it's made worse because you've played with this person when they're not in full-on issue mode. Dealing with fallout, wherever you may be, is seldom pretty.

When this happens openly as well, then it just gets messy and horrendous and like some kind of Virtual Car Crash, with people scuttling to a capitol to watch the destruction unfold in ./Trade. Fortunately (touch wood) we've never had anything like that happen. However, the longer we survive (and it's coming up for four years in May) the more the potential is there.

One of the reasons why I pulled my finger out to do this blog was because the last few weeks have been particularly fraught, something which seems to have played out across the Server generally. A New Year has bought a lot: some have realised they simply play too much and need to change their habits, some have new jobs, some have realised that actually once you've done 25 man Naxx there's not that much left to get your teeth into. Flying dragons aside, the Easy Mode that Naxx has created has done a lot to make people look at themselves and the game generally, especially at the higher end. For our Server at least a great deal of people are pouring into Wintergrasp (6 x 40 man is the max I've seen on a weekend) which in turn causes it's own traumas. Lag, anyone?

What makes me most distressed, when all is said and done, is that if people just spent some time sitting down and actually telling me/Officers/friends what the problem actually was, there's be far less confusion, more openness and less problems in the long run. Most people don't find the right words, and therefore the problem is never out there for us to deal with, until it's too late and everything just spills out in a Wall of Crit.

If we could just talk to each other a bit more, things would be so much easier.

Blimey Charlie

So, I thought I'd spend a few minutes this morning looking around for stuff to help me customise this site.

Nearly two hours later it occurs to me that I'd probably have been better off getting a Blogspot account than taking the 'host my own blog, customise it myself' route.

My head hurts :(

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

<--- Doofus

Not only had I forgotten I'd set up an RSS feed of this site (three and a bit years ago), I'd forgotten where I'd advertised it and linked it. So rather inadvertantly I've been spamming a certain section of a certain community to death over the last few days.

Apologies guys, and if you provide me with addresses the Chocolate will be in the Mail :D

More for your Moolah

[BTW: It looks like I'm crazy, all these posts in such a short window. It's mostly because I have a lot to say currently and I have free time to write everything down. I confidently predict there will be days when I don't have either the time or the inclination to do this. So, just enjoy the outpouring while it lasts...]



So, some of my best work of late has been out of Guild.

There are a couple of people on my Server who, if you see them advertising for people for runs, you know you'd be mad not to try and join. They are good with loot, they know their tactics, and they don't suffer fools gladly. The person running this outing had, over the weekend, taken themselves out of a heroic VoA Run because they thought they might be saved (but wasn't sure), thus preventing the other 24 people from being locked out until the Reset. Last night I saw this person asking for people to do the Less is More achievement, so jumped at the chance. I spent an hour flying M around Northrend herbing while the group slowly formed: when we finally made it inside the Obsidian Sanctum I was confident we'd one-shot the lot. In the end it was a 2-shot, but no less satisfying as a result.

I still can't get the hang of the waves, even with my camera zoomed right out. The edges of the flame walls seem further away than they really are, and in the end one killed me at 42%. The last 40% on the successful try was completed with 16 people up.

I think this game needs to get harder, and soon.

There was one more Boomkin in raid who I took a quick look at for gears, and who I watched while I lay smouldering on the floor for rotation tips. I've learnt so much by watching other Boomers, especially in Raids. It seems to me to be a lot about speed and co-ordination, two things traditionally I suck at bigstyle. Quartz helps me enormously, especially in laggy situations like 25 mans. It makes my Hunter look positively pedestrian, especially when someone pops Heroism. 1 second casting. MmmmmmmmM.

My rolls were rubbish when we were done, but to be honest I wasn't bothered about coming away with nothing because I didn't, I have four more Emblems of Heroism to add to the pile and with the Guild not doing Heroic Naxx until we can bolster our numbers, it's enough. I feel like I'm learning new things, and I'm improving myself, plus I'm getting experiences of the game I might not normally see.

It's gotta be a good thing.

Hello??!!?

Of couse, right now, there's only one other person reading this.

./waves

I need to spread the word a bit, but I also need to give you a place to contact me should you ever decide you want to. Stranger things have happened, after all.

godmother_at_laughing-geek.com

is the address for the Blog.

Let's see how much spam that generates to start with. Use that for everything and anything, and the day that gets a 'Hi! I'm reading you' mail I reckon I'll send the person concerned a bar of chocolate. I'm generous like that.

But We Weren't Broken!

So, I read a fair few Hunter Blogs (and when I next have some spare braincells I'll stick a list of the ones I read the most over there on the left): needless to say, the last patch decided to kick BM's in the painfulls. After some time to reflect on this, I have come to the following conclusions:

  1. Nerfing BM & Volley = fail. Not because it needed doing, you understand, not because all the BM's I know were consistently topping the damage meters. Not because of that *at all*. I was never top of the damage meters with Volley, I was always being overrun by the DK's. So what if the BM's were top as well, they weren't miles ahead, far from it. In fact, they were pretty even with the Mages and the DK's, when all was said and done. All this adjustment has done is sent all the hunters in our Guild into the Survival Tree. Now they outpace EVERYBODY, and then some. Now there is imbalance. It wasn't there before, really it wasn't, but the Hunter Class currently is like the Titanic, about 30 minutes after the iceberg hit. Yes, you may think we're invincible Hunters, but there's a bloody great hole in our side, we're taking in water, and Billy Zane is running around inside us firing shots at Leonardo de Caprio. Don't get us started on Kate Winslett. Just DON'T.
  2. WHY is it neccersary to fiddle with stuff that does work and yet ignore the stuff that doesn't? Cower bug? HELLO? Global Cooldown? Come on fellas, I know you need to be paid to do stuff and everything, but would it not be more sensible to fix the issues that have been pissing ALL the Hunters off rather than worrying about people QQ-ing on the Forums?
  3. Apologising in the Forums does not make it better. Yes you get kudos points for admitting you screwed up. Where's the fixes? Oh yes, you can't make things right overnight, can you? You can spend all that time not listening to people who told you not to do it in the first place, and when the numbers show what a mess you've made you're not gonna jump to fix it because that isn't the way you do stuff. If this were any other industry, if you were making cars and the doors didn't fit the chassis, heads would roll. Not with the gaming industry, clearly.
I am normally pretty sanguine about how the developers play with this WoW and it's mechanics, coz after all, when all is said and done, this is a GAME. You know, social stuff, fun, not a big deal. Well, actually this is a big deal for a lot of people who enjoy doing stuff as well as they can, who like their macros and their rotations and all those big numbers. I do come from the Click and Hope School but even I see numbers now that I haven't. I've stayed BM and my Kill Shot is causing an awful lot more trouble than it ever did. Chimera Shot will set my threat alarm a-ringing on a regular basis, even with Hubby's Pally doing the tanking. The elegant Hunter Ship, all fine china and high ceilings, it's just listing too far towards the overpowered and unpredictable when before all was such smooth sailing. Where is the Oirish Dancing? Where are the sweaty hands on car windows now???

Blizzard, when a thousand Hunters all scream at you 'ICEBERG! RIGHT AHEAD!' *Please* next time turn the bloody wheel.

!!!

Phear the power of the Blogger Post!

First Run of the Day, VH. Trinket drops, and a Guildie passes for me.

\o/

I love my Guild :D

The Holy Grail


Ever since M the Boomkin hit 80, this has been on my Wants List. Last night was the twenty-fifth time I entered the Violet Hold on Heroic Mode in an attempt to snag it. This item has the third-highest Hit rating in game currently, and without it I am below Cap. Well below.

This item refuses to drop.

I have seen it, twice now in groups I've been in, but in both those cases there was a caster in the group who I gave priority to, because M is an alt. That's how we do it in the Guild and to be honest as a result I shouldn't really be getting frustrated at all but... well, you know how it is, because everyone has at some point has a Holy Grail, that one item you know you HAVE to obtain or else...

Back in Vanilla WoW it was the T1 Chestpiece in MC from Golemagg. In the end, in the time I was there, the Giantstalker armour dropped once (no DKP) and only twice in the entire time the Raid Alliance I was in were involved. Before that it had been the chest from UBRS. This time around I've been very lucky with P (but I did make sure I bought the tier chest with Elbows of Heroism as soon as I could, just incase) coz... well I kinda like the fact that you can secure items without the Joy of Random to contend with.

What item counts as your Holy Grail?

Monday, February 02, 2009

Old Skool Adventures!

So, P has the Loremaster title, gained before Blizz nerfed the requirements. It was a horrible slog, especially wandering around Kalimdor, looking for the ! on the map. Lord knows how hard it would have been without sparkling quest items and the Low Level Finder, but in the end it was SO worth it for the swirly graphic and the ding! and the little window in Guild that told one and all that yes, I'm a saddo, and I like questing.

I LOVE questing.

So, I had for a while had half an eye on the Only One May Rise quest, mostly because I knew just how much content sat behind that starting sequence. We don't schedule Old Skool runs as part of the main Guild Calender, because the majority of the membership have no interest in going back. I can understand that, and I still don't have my Classic Dungeonmaster and Classic Raider Achievements as a result. This quest however called to me. It made me want to go to BWL to kill the Broodlord.

Last week I finally made it.


I require Neutral to open up the questline proper. In the old days this would mean collecting 200 Silithid Carapace Fragments at a time, plus doing 40 man AQ40. I worked out that if I was going to solo this on the fragments alone I'd need 14,400 to reach Neutral. I can see why this was a proper challenge back in the old days. However now I have friends at 80, who can 5 man the trash up to the first boss in AQ40 and pull out 1100 rep per hit. They're happy because yesterday three of them completed the Why? Because It's Red Achievement. So much for Rare mounts...

On that same night last week we went and blitzed MC as well (start to finish 50 minutes). The Thorium Brotherhood has been on the Rep To Do list, and with all the MC blue drops giving decent handins now it was worth a look. Then, at Majordomo, the Ancient Petrified Leaf dropped.

I never got the leaf at 60. I did have a chance to roll on it, but it would have cost me DKP, and I hesitated because... well, I wasn't very good back then. I know I wouldn't have managed it solo, I would have gotten frustrated and given up, and so I used the DKP on more useful things. So, for old times sake, I rolled and won, and it took me an hour to go find all the Demons yesterday. The hardest thing was tracking them down in the end, none of them lasted for longer than 30 seconds. Part of me now really wishes I'd been more confident back in the day and given it a go...



LFG Onyxia (yes that's the Blue Sinew there as well, 20g on the AH) Oh how easy it now is...

Look, Smell and Taste

So, in order to get this entire experience up and running I've pretty much just dived in. Please bear with me as I spend the next week or so changing the layout, adding pictures and a logo that I'm happy with, and generally moving the furniture around.

If all else fails it should flex some of those long-underused design muscles.

Don't Mess with Da Family :: One

So, the reason why I'm here is the group of females (only two males as it happens) that form my World of Warcraft Family. I have thirteen alts in one form or another, in various states of play. Of those a handful languish at 70, with two currently having made the transition to 80. I will introduce them all by initial only. Part of me (having had some fairly bad experiences online over the years) likes the idea of maintaining a level of anonymity. You don't need to know the names to read the story, after all...

[Edited 08/02, to reflect my change of Main.]

P the Hunter :: L80 :: 450 LW/450 Skinning :: 450 Cookery/Fishing :: Resting.


P and I have been together a LONG time. The last time I typed /played the number that came up was over 250 days. We have spent many nights together: breast feeding my daughter, playing through sleepless nights, through cold early mornings. We've raided too: MC, Ony, a brief start at BWL before TBC and then Kara, The Eye, SSC and then Hyjal and BT when they boosted the world pre-Northrend. I have had varying experiences through Endgame, run hundreds of normal and Heroic dungeons. At one point I was selling three sets of Black Dragonscale Armour a week, if a hunter was wearing the stuff it had 'Made by P' on the label. In may ways, they were happier times when things were less complicated and the only thing I had to worry about was my tier chest dropping in UBRS (and it never did, except that one time and I passed it to the other hunter in the raid who needed it more. Yes, I'm THAT kind of person.)

Currently she's completed Naxx, OS and Arch in the 10 man setting, done half of Naxx in 25 man mode, and is quite happy with the Heroic stuffs that adorn her cute and round Dwarven form. I have 30% Crit (and some), I'm happily over 4k AP and even after the nerf can pull out 2k with my marks build. So, as I type this, she's sitting in Dalaran with 80 or so Elbows of Heroism. She has the AQ Scepter Quest in her log (which she is slowly getting through) but as of early February she is retiring from Main Duty and taking a well-earned sabbatical.

M the Druid : L80 :: 450 Mining/Herbalism :: 300/180 Cookery/Fishing :: The
Main.

I worship at the Altar of Boom, and I love it. Boomkin makes for lovely damage (11k crits are almost in my grasp, oh yes) and for a refreshing change from the hunter lifestyle. Flight form gathering is THE ONLY WAY. I cannot think how I could ever pick another flower or bang another node without the zoom and the hover. Instant flight afterwards = win. Shadowform when confronted with mobs = win. Let's face it, my Druid is just 115.28% Utter Win.

The Project currently is getting the best gear outside Naxx without losing the inevitable Hit Cap. This has been causing some problems of late (Mark of the War Veteran refuses to drop now after more than 20 tries at VH heroic) but I am a woman who enjoys a challenge. Gem jiggerypokery has resulted in a set of gear while not totally ideal, is doing the job. It does however help enormously that I managed to snag both Cloak and mace from Sapph and Kel in a recent Guild run I was subbed into as I was the only available cleanser. The fact I hadn't cleansed for about three months prior to that point, totally irrelevant ^^

I'm not after running M through Naxx any time soon, if truth be told. I have my eye on 40 Wintergrasp emblems first (helmet upgrade) and possibly some more OS Loot. I have done him with a Drake up, via the wonders of the PuG. More on that elsewhere.

As anticipated, M has now been elevated to Main status, which will mean she'll be running Naxx 10 and 25 man full time and will be my first toon into Ulduar. I'm also giving serious consideration to using M for some PvP. More on that elsewhere.

W the Warlock :: L73 :: 450 Alchemy/Jewelcrafting :: 300/25 Cookery/Fishing :: The Leveller.

W was around before M even existed, as my primary DPS staple. She's also been Destro pretty much since birth. I tried all that dot-ting and stuff, I tried the pets and the damage and the yadda yadda hey but in the end, I like the way she made stuff burn. Back in TBC she was pretty much the only Lock running Kara for the first six months we did it, which meant she ended up hugely well geared. She levelled Jewelcrafting in nine hours, Alchemy in about the same when that first expansion hit, and the fact she has both professions maxxed now and isn't properly eligible for entry to Dalaran is a testament to M's ability to gather when required and the fact my daughter's insomnia still comes back to haunt us from time to time. Not many people circle the Storm Peaks at 4am, you know, but there are always people there.

W's pre-Wrath gear is serving her well. We've only replaced a ring, her main hand and her shoulders thus far, and I reckon she'll maintain most of her wardrobe until 78. We were lucky to pull 2 items from BT pre-expansion, both of which I think may stay on her to 80.

These 3 form the main part of my playing time currently, but there are many others in the family. I'll detail them and their importance in a later post.

The State of the Dwarf

So, about three years ago I tried to do this, and failed.

Ah, those were the days, back when I was a fresh-faced L60, still excited at the prospect of 15 Man UBRS and 40 man Onyxia (which I never did, the closest I got was 32) Needless to say a heck of a lot has changed, and it's now coming up for four years since I rolled my Hunter, who still remains my main (and steadfastly a Marksdwarf) to this day. In the intervening period a lot has happened, not least that I'm coming up for three years as GM of what must be one of the oldest surviving Guilds on our server.

I decided I wanted somewhere not to confuse people with theorycraft or get overly anal about achieving (neither of those have any appeal to me anyway) but instead just to have somewhere to hang out and share stories, opinions and generally keep the experiences. There's a lot of really positive things that come from online gaming, most of which tend to get lost in the Drama. I'll say from the word go here that I'm not a big fan of any of that stuff, but it's inevitable when you're playing with as many people as I inevitably come into contact with on any given day.

So, as I feel it's almost obligatory to have a State of the Dwarf speech at the start of this particular tenure, let's get a few ground rules out of the way:

  • I'm not going to be sharing any Guild gossip here, far from it (so if any of my Guild lot come here looking for it, you're gonna be disappointed) What I will do I suspect from time to time is talk in general terms about how hard it is to run a Guild, but just how satisfying/depressing it can get under certain circumstances. No names, no pack mules.
  • I have a big family (hence the blog name) WoW works so well because it is a place of alternatives, where you can level from 1-80 in your pants if the mood takes you. It's about what makes YOU happy. Me, I like professions, and I like dps (though I do have a healer in the family, but more on that later) so that's what I tend to do a lot of. I also like banks and hoarding, but that's yet another post on it's way... So expect me not to concentrate solely on the Main. There are always ALT-ernatives...
  • The game throws up, from time to time, some big questions. Some are related to RL (./waves hand vaguely towards French windows), some are simply about how stuff is played. I can see posting related to this as time goes on. I have a couple (as I'm sure most of you guys do) that I'll hopefully touch on at some point as we get started here. Yes, one of them is Le Bat du Hunter Nerf.
  • I may also, in times of weakness, allude to 'The Family'. Hubby plays, Son has his own account (paid by us) Daughter's current favourite part of the game is sitting on Mummy's lap looking for the yellow dots that mean herbs or mining on my Druid Gatherer. They are all here, I don't mention them mostly as I like to keep things separate. Undoubtedly however there will be some overlap, coz there always is.
So, there's the obligatory introduction. I'll be wheeling in the Other Family next so you can get to know them.

The Pre-Title Sequence

My first steps in computing were, I suspect, similar to many others in my peer group:

10 type 'Sarah is Ace'
20 goto 10
run


I'd tried the girly stuff (ballet, horses, Jackie) and I wasn't comfortable with it. Dad was working for a large US company with a UK presence and was into technology like most middle-aged blokes were and still are. We got a ZX-80 about two weeks after they were released, a sizable investment at the time. Before this we'd worn out and got bored of several Pong-style games and an Atari plug-in TV console (you remember Missile Command and that bloke who dodged crocs while swinging from a very pixely vine?) However, the Sinclair was different. And it was *tiny* for something that would prove to be such a life changer. I think my husband eventually sold that ZX-80 on Ebay for about the same amount of money my dad first paid for it. Somehow that doesn't seem right.

My brother, as I recall, began to spend a lot of time playing 'Space Invaders' when we went to the seaside. It wasn't long beforeI began to join him (though my game of choice was 'Galaxians') The die had been cast. I was a Computer Geek.

After that, my love of the chips and motherboards moved away from the building and programming, and veered heavily towards the gaming. Yes, I badgered my family for a BBC B and quite amazingly I got one. Yes, I played 'Elite' for *hours* and was rubbish (no I never worked out how to dock properly and had to suffer the indignity of getting my younger brother to do it for me) he in turn was the owner of a brand new Commodore 64 and became quickly obsessed with 'The Lords of Midnight', despite the fact it took about a week to get anywhere. (yeah, so what if you're facing east and the sun's just risen, where's the *adventure*?) My mum started her own business soon after the Apple IIe was released and while I was in the later years of Secondary school, and suddenly because we were computer literate the gaming stopped and the programming/learning started, enough to set both my parents on a path to their current positions as leaders in print and visual design using both PC's and Macs. My first experience with a PC was using the fledgling version of That Bill Gates Program, editing artwork a pixel at a time. I also remember when the software that cut the vinyl my mum was selling to anyone who'd stick it on their car/van/lorry shipped with a program called Corel 1.0.

Things change really quickly, you know.

At University I met a bloke who I discovered wrote Acorn programmes as one of his many and various talents. Therefore, it wasn't long before our joint pay cheques bought a new Commodore Amiga, and more games than you could shake a game-covered stick at. There are too many memories to list here, but I'll give you a few of the highlights:

My hubby and I spent days beating up Screamers for Screamer Slices in 'Dungeon Master' and that all elusive level up.

Godzilla roaming through my Simulated City, or aliens, or sometimes both.

Selling my soul to Sid Meier each time a new release hit the shops.

Throwing axes at Nordic maiden's pigtails to release her from bondage in 'Heimdall'

God Mode ('aaaaahhhh') in 'Rise of the Triad' (otherwise known as 'Day of the Tinpots' by the people who played on the ropiest LAN network known to Mankind)

'We're running out of elements!' and any other sample I can recall from 'Mega-lo-Mania'

The sheer joy of a WW1 Flight Sim, crackly B&W footage at the start and everything flying biplanes should be in 'Knights of the Sky'

'I am rubber, you are glue' , Crazy Crypts, wandering around Monkey Island time and again and knowing SCUMM would change the gaming world forever.

Hating Mario because you knew you were rubbish at platformers (something that has never changed)

... and too many memories of late nights, tired eyes and cries of horror at Guru Meditation or Blue Screen of Death happenings.

Oh, and I never really got the Llamas.

Plus, truth be known, we didn't buy our first PC to get onto the Internet via a nice bloke running his business out of a cinema basement in Southend. We bought it to play Lucasarts' 'Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis' which was on special with the machine when we bought it.

So, to say that my life has been shaped by games would be something of an understatement.

So, there are lots of games in this house, of one kind or another. I'd played 'Diablo' since launch, went out especially to buy 'Diablo II' on release. I played it almost constantly in the last few months of my first pregnancy and beyond, and when my son got past the sleepless nights and I really began to appreciate the benefits of early nights my gaming waned for the first time in over 20 years.

Until, that is, 'World of Warcraft' came along.

I knew about the online gaming phenomena, of course I did, having played 'Ultima' before it was Online. Nothing I'd seen really appealed, nothing that I wanted to spend effort on when so much of my time needed to be in other places. However, a bad second pregnancy and illness forced me off my feet. 'Diablo II' got reinstalled on my PC and before my daughter was born I started looking at WoW, and then I *knew*. I knew the moment I got the game I'd be hooked, and that gaming would become a part of my life again.

I was right, of course.

My daughter is now almost four, my son is eight. It's been a very long and extremely interesting journey to get to this point and now, with my own webspace and some time finally to spend on getting design and layout the way I want, it's high time I started blogging my WoW experiences.

Be warned, this may get long and rather messy.