Saturday, March 17, 2012

Everybody Faffs, Sometimes!

When you log in and you've made all your money from Mogging items, you know it's a Faff Day. It's the proverbial calm before the storm, and so we will Faff Post as well, because I have a fair bit of stuff to impart that isn't worthy of a post on its own. First up, damage.

Blimey Charlie. That's before my upgrade as well.

I very rarely top the meters in Guild Runs. The fact I did on Thursday night tells me the following:

  1. Everyone else had a Bad Night.
  2. I am finally grasping how to play my class properly, and consistently.
  3. Gear really is a huge factor.
  4. It takes me about three months to grasp a rotation.
  5. I am learning to move only when it matters, rather than reacting to everything.
I suspect we're at the stage where Heroic Modes could be doable, but that's going to depend largely on who turns up: it was a stretch to pull 10 people together last week. If the Panda News is really good next week that might change. Needless to say, I am happy that I'm not being carried at present and I am contributing as much as I can.

I also won the Spire of Coagulated Globules on Thursday night, which then presented a bit of a Mogging issue: it's a Staff. I had nothing I was 100% happy with to replace the skin with (and a bank full of polearms ^^). Some poking around the Intewebs presented me with what I considered was a suitable alternative: the Tower of the Mouldering Corpse, which drops in the normal version of the Forge of Souls. It was time to go farming.

Traps to the left of me, Stings are to the right, here I am...

I used this as an excuse to practice using Wyvern Sting as CC, which I'm very bad at. Even on Normal the mobs in here are a bit of a pain if you can't self-cleanse automatically so it's actually quicker in the long run for me to use the CC. I gathered enough cloth and mats to make a couple of Frostweave Bags, and if the Abyss Crystals I listed on the AH sell, this has the capacity to become a fairly lucrative farm spot. Needless to say I have my new staff: it's identical in looks to the lovely animated stave the Kirin Tor bird has inside the Violet Hold when you first enter. In all cases animation & looks.

Now I know why people want enchant glows toggleable ^^

All I need now is to get the cloak I want from Heroic Slave Pens and I'll finally write this outfit up for Go Mog Yourself...

Mogging is the Big Thing of course, on the Interwebs and the AH. As 1-60 rare mobs drop a fair number of items that are highly desirable in these circles I thought I'd have a poke around the Blasted Lands. Today is probably as good as it's ever going to get:

Rares in Blasted Lands. They're one louder ^^

To summarise: twelve Rares spawn in the zone. Today, I killed ten and tamed one. I saw one for the first time (Dreadscorn) and saw Grunter for only the second time since I've run the software (which is well over a year) Only Teremus evaded me: all I can think is as I killed each spawn another one respawned to replace it. The loot drops were spectacular in Mogging terms: four pieces of Emerald plate which is a top seller, and a Swashbuckler's Eyepatch. This could be the most profitable day I've had in this zone for some time, and it's definitely worth a look if you're up early or late.

In Hunter Pet News, I finally have a Pointy Pig:

This one I won't dismiss by accident ^^

I have named him Porkupine. He is likely to become my tank of choice in Pandaland :D

Friday, March 16, 2012


This one's going to be really hard to photograph ^^

Blimey, nearly hit 130 Mounts.

The Spectral Gryphon is, lets be honest, utterly gorgeous. I'll need to find a decent place to get a proper snap but for now this will do. I suspect this is now my flying mount of choice as well, considering the number of people who have asked me what it is since I got it. I'd forgotten a week had passed as well, with all the fuss over Diablo yesterday.

Let's hope that they're going to make mounts account wide as well as pets so everyone can share this, as it's a beauty :D

Keep Calm and Keep Posting!

Admit it, the waiting is getting to you.

Unless you're the one person on my Twitter feed who's publicly stated they're not excited about the Pandas at all (you know who you are ^^) this weekend has the capacity to become a Living Hell of Anticipation. The last time I got this wound up was the week before the last episode of Season One of the X Files broadcast (OMG they killed Deep Throat!1!1!!!) and frankly, this kind of waiting's not good for a girl. So, in a vain attempt to try and stop myself imploding before Monday, I has made motivational posters. Yes, there are pictures:

#1 in a Series. Ho yus.

The 'Keep Calm and Carry On' series of motivational posters have a very interesting place in British culture. For those of you interested in this piece of World War Two propaganda (that actually wasn't) take a look at this potted history. Needless to say, since the poster gained popularity there are now places online that you can produce your own versions. With this in mind, I've made a couple to help you remain an equilibrium over the coming weekend. The first one is likely to be my default state, if truth be told, because the one thing I can guarantee is going to be of benefit in the expansion is gold, so farming is always worth doing. However, I appreciate some of you might want to do something a bit more interactive:

Warning: other Twin Peaks achievements are available.

You'll double your honor doing Twin Peaks this weekend, but there may be some of you that just fancy some mindless PvP Action:

Note: Not applicable to Horde. Like, ever ^^

However there will be those of you who are happy to hang around Stormwind/Orgrimmar, and you have not been forgotten:

Keep Calm and Go AFK also acceptable. You know who you are.

This was a cheap post, but it kept me occupied for thirty minutes and it might do the same for you... What posters would you create to help people get through the Weekend before Panda News?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Diablo III Released May 15th

 That's all the news you'll need to know for the rest of the day, frankly.

BRB, frantically re-arranging May to fit it all in :D

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

How NOT To be Seen ^^

It's so obvious, we made a post about it. Nublets!

There is a lot of issue with Loot in LFR. This is not a post about that.

This post is prompted by the LFR I just did on the Vanity Druid, as a Boomkin. A Kitty enters, and is in my group, and promptly a conversation begins between him and the Rogue about the Vial of Shadows IN PARTY: the Rogue needs it. It's ok, the Kitty replies, I'm full 10 man, you're good, I'll even roll for you if you like.

I'm just here to gear my OS.

Right, first thing's first. I do not condone how anyone 'uses' LFR to get loot by means that do not include a fair roll (and Elune knows lots of people do): many people I know are maintaining the stance that 'if everyone else is, why shouldn't I' and that's absolutely fine. Do your own thang folks, it's your conscience that's the issue in most cases. However, if you are going to actively cheat the system, make sure you keep it to yourself.

You'll probably want to use whisper to your server mate next time. You'll also want to change your title from 'Destroyer's End' as well, especially if you're 16th on the meters after the first fight.

Just saying ^^

[DISCLAIMER: Cheating any system is bad, wrong and may result in expulsion, ostracism and could, over time, lead to you becoming a pariah. Just say no, kids.]

Waiting for Pandas.

That bloke from Star Trek, that bloke from LoTR and a bloke you've never heard of,
waiting for some other guy... @The Guardian, photo by Tristram Kenton.

Yes, we are still Waiting for Panda News.

I understand why this Press Tour Thing is being done in the way it is, I really do. There is NOTHING worse than playing 'First Person to Post the Exclusive' in this World where the speed at which you disseminate your information is often more important than the quality of that information (and indeed it's validity) By sticking an NDA on everyone this week you give those people who are actually paid to do this job a chance to show why this is the case. We can be thrilled by their journalistic ability and we can revel in totally accurate information, backed up by lots of pretty pictures and illustrations.


If you've never read or watched 'Waiting for Godot' you'll not grasp the significance of me using the above image (and you'll kick yourself you never saw that production at the Haymarket which was, by all accounts, as good as it should be with the three guys above playing the leads) and not understand why waiting (at least for me) is becoming as much of a performance as a piece of theatre. Stage-managing in the Gaming Industry is probably as important as the games themselves, especially if you're trying to carve a niche for your new title. I'm looking forward (with considerable added interest because of my love of the subject matter) to The Secret World by Funcom. It's all about Secret Societies, you know. I've been drip fed information for MONTHS and it's getting me unreasonably excited, but I am well aware I'm being managed. It's all part of a larger plan to keep me engaged without blowing my brain with too much to take in at once. This is what now worries me about next week...

When your game of choice has been around as long as your youngest offspring, there's a lot to live up to, and a LOT to potentially assimilate. Last time around I gave up trying to grasp multiple class mechanics (I'll admit) and I just worked on the Hunter, and only now am I beginning to understand how everyone else works, with the full knowledge I'll (probably) have to relearn a bunch of stuff all over again. I think I'm confident I'll grasp changes to Professions far faster, that I'm ready to adapt my online time to prepare for any opportunities to stockpile some gold in anticipation. It then becomes about prioritising what I get given next week.

I have a mental image of Bloggers, across the Globe, all standing on their various 'stages', finding themselves needing to so something, ANYTHING while they are Waiting for Pandas. In this fact I take comfort, for I am not alone. Unlike Vladimir, Pozzo and Estragon I know that my information will arrive, and when, and that it is the inexorable progress of the Universe itself that stands between me and FINALLY SOME PANDA NEWS.

Doesn't make the waiting any easier... :D

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Wise? ME?

Hat, meet Ring.

See you Courtside, guys (assuming I make it through Round One ^^) :D

Monday, March 12, 2012

Give Some Support...

'Don't look at me, I turned up without a shirt!'

There were many images I thought about for this post. Rather worryingly, underwear featured rather prominently (both male and female I should add, no bias here, only an acute understanding of gravity) So did pictures of people wearing headsets and smiling just too cheesily. Yes, this is a post about my view of Support Roles.

Tanks turn up in Game and hit stuff. Healers stop tanks dying. These roles are pretty much irrefutable, despite what some people might like us to believe. The day this game stops relying on those two key roles for anything that involves five people or more is the day that this game stops being what it has been since I started playing it, frankly, and that's why these people's roles define their gameplay. They are intrinsic and inescapable. To do anything, you need those two... except of course you don't. Tanks that can self-heal, Hunters with tanking pets, DK's being perennially OP... some of them don't need anyone other than themselves and time. LOTS of time, and eventually anything can die... so why do we bother with these roles? Oh, and why did we need dps again? Ah yes, I remember. They're here to make big numbers, stand in S%$! and complain their items never drop. All they're interested in is as much dps as their Elitist Jerk-created spec can output...and they need Tanks and Healers far more than these two need them. Hang on though, you mentioned Hunters as tanks, and there are other classes that can do that too... and what the heck has this got to do with Support Roles, if everyone is capable of doing all the jobs at some point anyway?

Time for some qualification of my personal definition. There are those in Raids who happily do as they are asked. There are those who like to pretend they're doing as they're asked but they're not really. Whatever role these people perform it's not nearly as important as the People Who Bring Something Extra: no, not just flasks, not just food buffs, and this isn't about reading tactics and knowing where the s%$! is going to appear. These are the people in your raid that perform a task you don't ask them to: to keep going even when the rest of their compatriots are tumbling. Whether it be a Hunter who sticks on Growl when a Tank dies, the Moonkin or Shadow Priest who drops a vital Tranquility or Divine Hymn when the Raid's health is looking iffy, or the lone tank who takes an extra 2% off the boss before he dies with a consummate display of self-preservation. It's the guys who hang out at Hagara's totems waiting to quickly chain the lightning without running around. It's those individuals who haven't just turned up to hit things or heal them or wave big numbers at them: they are the Enablers. Without them, (frankly) nothing would ever get done, and they are a resource we need to be nurturing and encouraging to flourish.

All too often in Azeroth it's about (in the eyes of the population) being the best: best spec, best gear, best team. You don't need all those things to have fun, or indeed to make progress. Great things can be achieved with far, far less if your Enabler ratio is high. Problem solving, inventive use of anything and everything (within acceptable parameters of course) are the tools of the Enabler's trade. Best of all, these people seldom (if ever) go around pronouncing they are the best at anything. They're just here to have a good time. They tend to pick roles that allow them to give their best in a variety of situations. What I'd like to see in the future, and I'm hoping this might be the way things are heading with Talents, is the opportunity for people to spec themselves to fit holes in raid teams on a boss-by-boss basis. From what little I grasp of Hardcore Raiding, this already happens anyway. If a fight isn't kind to a certain class, they just don't go, if the task is to kill Boss X and then to move on. If a class is lacking certain abilities and the Hardcore stop using them, Blizzard traditionally sits up and takes notice, and this certainly appears to be the case with the Pandas. More classes give more choices, but only if those choices allow a measure of flexibility.

Ultimately, Tanks get to hit and Healers stop them dying, and as a result (as support roles) they are probably not the best choices, because by their very nature they are two sides of the same coin: one needs the other in anything difficult. That leaves the DPS as the perfect place to stick the Support flag, with Hybrids coming along to cover many of the gaps. The 'pure' dps classes should also be given an opportunity to show their worth: kiting, more CC, and ability to act as offtanks if required were all abilities I utilised in the past in various places. It wasn't always about standing and making huge numbers, far from it. These used to be the staples in our Raiding, back when it was Karazhan and Gruul that drove us to want to be better raiders. Kiting adds back from the last room in UBRS was something I loathed at first but came to love, like the Geddon pull in MC. It was a way to show I was more than just a dwarf with a gun, that I was the kind of person that deserved to be in a Team not simply on output but on ability. I don't think I'm a particularly good Enabler however, but I know those in my Guild who are, and without them we'd not now be 8/8 in Dragon Soul. The biggest test of those who grasp the Support Role, in my eyes, are on fights where your margin of error is less than 5%. Deathwing will be easier now we've cracked it, but only with the right proportion of Enablers to make it happen.

There needs to be less of a focus on what people need to do when they play, and more on what they bring as individuals to the table. That isn't necessarily an issue if you have a player who can roll alts to suit their needs, the problem comes with those people who have only one or two toons but have a surfeit of Enabler DNA. Then the game needs to be helping them, by giving them the tools they need to fulfil their potential. Let's see if, after the NDA is lifted next week, Blizzard can bring some realistic new options to the table, and it can once and for all stop being about the classes and genuinely become about the players.

Do You Realise?

Eidotrope has left the building. No, that's NOT Euripides, for all you people who don't know the difference, but I do. Ironic as yesterday the Nuclear Gnome was lamenting those who are no longer with us. Whenever I have a moment like this I am reminded of the above Flaming Lips song. The things that are obvious, that you try not to consider yet haunt our every moment, always fill my mind when we lose someone from the Blogsphere.  Everyone who starts a Blog will end one. Many of them will be missed because, quite frankly, they just told it the way it was. This will be the case with Eidotrope.

I occasionally find myself trying to imagine the day when I won't have anything left I want to share with anyone else on this game, and (like certain other Old Timers around these parts) I can see myself being one of the last ones on my EU Server to leave. They'll have to kick me out, frankly, because even on the days where the Game isn't something I want to do, it's still there, somewhere out of my eyeline, influencing how I look at the Gaming World. I entirely understand why some people need to walk away, it's not me being all 'you can't stop loving this because I WON'T' either. Life is all about finding a balance in everything you have, to understand that everything is important, including the mundane. There is also nothing worse than having to do something you no longer enjoy out of a sense of obligation, and when you reach that point it really is time to move on.

I approve of Gnomeygeddon's plan on his site to keep 'dead' links from sites no longer being updated as place holders, for content that influenced people on their journeys, because it's not just about advice that's current. THAT post from last week, the one about the Scroll of Resurrection, that's my most hit page ever... only that way because it's current news. A year from now it's history, a story from the Cataclysm expansion, and tells you nothing about this Blog or the person writing it. Like it or not a part of yourself is revealed over time, however impartial or professional you might be about your writing. That's the part that I'm going to miss most about Eidotrope. It's not just about knowing your onions, it's how you show them to everyone else that matters just as much, for me probably more so. Understanding your own context is an important lesson to learn as a Blogger.

Needless to say, as each old person leaves, another comes along to take their place. For those that are left behind, we stand and take a moment to remember all those that have moved on and those who will come, and are reminded that our legacy is clear: write honestly, write passionately and write often, because the moment is gone forever unless you wrap it in words and stick it 'out here'.

Don't ever think no-one wants to hear what you say. Don't be surprised if, when you leave, people you've never met will miss you. That is your finest legacy of all.