Friday, December 31, 2010

Late Night Thoughts on the Wacky WoW Economy

By the time I post this it will be New Years Eve. The genesis for tonight's rambling began months and months ago, and I suddenly felt it time to release these harrowing thoughts on my loyal readers (I think I just heard a cricket, and it's the middle of the frickin winter).

I went to Business school. More correctly stated, I went to UNLV and studied Finance and Real Estate in UNLV's Business College, because Universities are actually made up of...oh, most college people are on break and don't want to hear another lecture for a month or so, so I'll move on.

Anyhoo, as I was saying, while in business school you learn a thing or two about, well, business, but quite a bit more about people. After having a good 7-8 years in the real world I can honestly say that about half of what is taught is a load of crap. I am sorry to any college student reading this, I don't mean to make you feel like your completely wasting your parent's or your own money (or the government's, in which case is perfectly fine), I'm just saying what I feel is true. You see, in college I never had a professor talk about the emergence of FAKE economies. They based all their cirriculum on the "Real World"...bunch of idiots.

Then again, what is a "fake" economy. I have three names, a first, second and a last. All my life I have been known by my middle name. But when people find out that the name I go by is my middle one the question inevitably follows: "So then what's your REAL name?" After 35 years of this (I just had my birthday, and yes I'm now unemployed and 35, horray for me), I've found myself growing tired of the same question. My middle name is just as real as my first, it's just in a different position on my driver's license. But being the benevolent human that I am, quick to show pity to the mentally impared, I spare them a lecture and inform them that my FIRST name is [fill in guess here].

Where am I even going with this? It's the consequence of not writing a significant or thoughtful post for almost two weeks now, I'm going soft and taking my brain with me. Or it may be that it's 1am and by back hurts and I can't sleep and I'm a little too, uh, medicated. I believe what I'm trying to do is tie in the gorilla that is the WoW economy with some personal recollection of some past experiences to try to create some meaningful connection that you can understand as a reader and some idiodic point that I'm attempting to make as a writer. Oh wow, it's late.

Anyhoowahoo, in business school I learned about this little bug called inflation. What is inflation? Well that can be simple or complicated, depending on your previous studies and current, accurate knowledge. Basically inflation manifests itself in the form of progressively increasing prices in order to purchase the same item, whether that is a bag of corn, a gallon of milk, or a barrell of crude oil. So let's say you need milk. Today you go to the store and pay $2, tomorrow it's $2.05. Did the milk suddenly change its properties or chemical structure or something weird like that? Well whatever happened the price of milk "Inflated", or increased.

Many things affect whether prices of good inflate, one of which is a shift in the supply curve of money, artifically increasing the money supply of a country. Think of it this way, diamonds are supposedly valuable because there aren't billions of them up for sale, but the more diamonds there are the less valuable they become, not because some law of the universe dicates it so, but that's just what tends to happen when humans understand and can see that there is a shift in the supply of some good, they simply begin to value it less than the day before.

To watch the WoW economy operate at the beginning of this expansion is an economists wet dream. Economics has always been treated as a social science by Universities accross my country, added into business schools due to it's focus on financial systems. Economists don't just study the numbers, they are looking at behaviors of the people, or the psychology of the masses. And when they feel like winning some nobel prize they draw some graphs and do some math.

(By the way, I really do respect economists, I'm just having a bit of fun)

One of the things that interests me the most is watching the work of inflation in all its glory. What's interesting is as people play more, a simplistic theory would be that people, over time, will tend to accumulate money. There is no fed to pump money into the economy artificially, and there are mechanisms in place (aka gold sinks) that play a role in taking money out of the system from time to time. These are tools used to help regulate potential inflationary risks. How I see it, however, is there are more mechanisms designed by the game to take your money than to pump some back in artificially. So given common economic theory of money (yes, I know there are multiple definitions of money), there's a better chance for a supply shift in the opposite direction, a shift to the left on the graph, money leaving. That sort of shift would tend to raise the value of each piece of gold in the game, keeping prices low and inflation in check.

But prices are a funny thing, as unpredictable as the people's brains who play the game. I've noticed a couple things lately. First, there are no shortages of supplies of any good out there, yet I see leg enchants being sold for 4-5K gold. Raw green quality gems being sold for 150g, and their more perfect, cut counterparts for 15g. There are more bots than ever, so there's plenty of herbs and skins for everyone. But people are using the "there's demand, that's driving the prices up" argument that frannkly doesn't hold water with me.

You see, anyone who knows a lick about economics knows that there is a delicate interplay between supply and demand, and markets tend to fight to find an equilibrium price somewhere. But economies are run by people, and people are unpredictable, and people are selfish, and there's always some douche bag that is trying to sell one herb for 1500g. Cataclysm hit shelves and masses of people decided that they would post thousands of auctions for whatever price they could sell them for. And you know what, the economy seemed to work fine. There were plenty of really hard core players that had the gold to spend whatever, making more and more goods and services inelastic, far more (on a percentage basis) than any REAL WORLD economy could ever boast.

Just about everything can be sold for anything now, or so it seems. And I cannot explain it. Frankly, any economist would say that both supply and demand curves shifted, thereby NOT causing prices to increase, but there are people out there who want you to believe that supply curves have not shifted, or that demand is so high that its shift on the graph merits the insane prices. Personally I think it's everyone silently agreeing to make money, ya know, for the good fo the game. But as people make tons of cash and things slow down and prices fall, what happens to that new player who rolls around Azeroth with 1500g in his/her bag and would like to run heroics or raid but cannot afford their 10,000 per week pricetag to buy all the gems and enchants and repairs and all.

I honestly have no clue how the WoW economy works, no clue at all. I'm amazed it does, even as it defies some real world economic theories. I guess there's nothing much to complain about, people seem to do just fine, but I have this nagging thought in the back of my mind. Are we creating just one more "Barrier to entry" for wanna-be raiders by charging insane prices for raw supplies (even though there's no lack) and even more insane markups by the crafters for the required enchants, etc demanded by any good raid leader? If WotLK was an expansion about inclusion, everyone got epics, everyone ran ICC, everyone did this or that, are we helping to swing the pendulum just a little too far the other way (Blizz has already swung it in the direction of exclusion) by artificially inflating prices ourselves because we can get away with it?

I don't think the average WoW player runs around with 30K gold in his/her bag. In my guild there are a couple, but most run under 3-5K at ALL times. Are we preventing newer, less wealthy people from experiencing something? True, anyone can work at it and make money to fulfill whatever goal they want, I know that, but not everyone is as equally cunning as another, we're all different and have different levels of knowledge, skill, and salesmanship. Maybe I'm totally wrong, maybe I'm just making crap up because it's like, really, really late for me to be up, but nobody is awake, the home is silent, and I got to thinking.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Christmas!

It's Christmas Eve. Right now. So Merry Christmas to all who celebrate this special holiday.

For all other holidays of the season that I know of or don't know of, Happy Holidays to you as well. I hope that each of you can find joy in whatever activity you participate. Whether it's opening presents or slaying internet dragons, have fun and stay safe!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Expansion Resolutions - An Introspection

We're approaching a time of year where it's fashionable to make an annual list of personal goals known as "New Years Resolutions". I have never, and I am honest about this, NEVER made a "New Years Resolution" in my lifetime, at least not in the popular sort of way. I am a man of goals, for sure, but not trendy ones that are fated to die out and fade into the blackness that is my horrible memory. No, I make goals in life on a fairly regular basis and try to achieve them. Then I move on to another and treat it the same.

I made some goals for the new xpac, Cataclysm, as well. And lucky for me it was released in early December, not the New Year; this way nobody will be able to confuse them for those useless resolutions. I had a few basic goals in mind, here are some I'd like to talk about:

1) I would play the classes and specs that I wanted, and for no reason, guild or othewise, would I play a class/spec that was not of my primary choosing. Yes, I know, for some serious raiding guilds out there this goal is somewhat selfish, but I've never tried to hide the fact that I'm a selfish being. I enjoy having fun in the manner that pleases me, not others. Those that don't like that can find other like-minded people to associate with and can, fortunately, avoid me like the plague that Silvanas wants to spread among the Gilneas citizens.

2) I would not rush a toon to 85 out of any pressure from any guild, or from social pressures of being "undergeared" - basically I wanted to level at whatever pace made me happy. Again, selfish but my choice, that was my goal.

3) I wanted to heal, but with my Priest and not my Shaman. It goes back to playing the class/spec I want, and the good thing about this goal is that I can still be of use to my guild as a melee DPS, range DPS or healer, and I'll play the specs I want...a win-win situation if you ask me.

4) I had a goal to read more of the quests, get more involved in the stories and try to understand and remember more of the lore. An easy goal for one patient enough to read. Yes, a goal to test my patience, just what a selfish bloke needs.

So, how have I done so far? Let me see.

I started this expansion with four level 80's, a Shaman, Priest, Warlock (Gronthe), and a DK. I wanted to level my Shaman as Enhance, my first love, and to date I have done so. Even better, I have yet to succumb to pressure to "gear up for my resto spec". One way I have done that is to change my offspec from Resto to Elemental. I realize that Elemental and Resto can now share much of their gear, so a shift in talents would be the only necessary change if I choose to capitulate. But I won't, and Elemental is my official offspec. All my other 80's I'm leveling however I want. I'll go some in Unholy, then switch to Frost. I'll start in Demo then change between quests to Affliction. Whatever I feel like doing...I do. I'm staying strong and it's wonderful.

As far as pace, or speed of leveling goes, I admit that I leveled my Shaman to 85 already. Why? Because I was having so much fun questing that I couldn't stop, the results of such enjoyment is a level 85 toon. Hooray! But I did it at my own pace, which I call "fun pace". It was a pace of questing that allowed continuous fun according to my special definition of fun. Not as Spongebob or Plankton defines it, but as I do.

F - Is for friends who do things together!
U - Is for You and Me!
N - Is for anywhere and anytime at all down here in the deep blue sea!

Yes, thanks again, Mr Spongebob, for interjecting your definition. Now I don't remember what I was talking about. Ah yes, pace of leveling. With all my other toons, now 81 each, I've quested when I could at a pace that was comfortable. Now seeing some of the same quests for a second time I am taking further advantage of my time and enjoying the quests for what they are instead of a means to an end, namely a means to 85. Some of the quests in the new zones are funny, others sad, some boring, some exciting. But I think I've stayed strong with my second goal and paced myself how I like.

As for #3, I haven't gone into a dungeon with my Priest and tried to heal yet, so I can't say whether I'm living up to that goal or not, but there's plenty of time to level and play with these toons, and moving too fast never was a strength of mine.

As far as reading the quests and learning more lore, I admit that I haven't done as well as I wanted to. All the cut-away movies/scenes automatically help me stay in stories sometimes, but all too often I find myself accepting the quest and only reading the quest text when I can't figure out what I'm supposed to do on the fly. I've embarassed myself in front of my kids a couple times because of it, and sorrowfully appear as a hypocrite as I encourage my boys to read the quest text. But I cannot give up on myself, not yet at least. I'm still focused on my goal, and plan to keep trying.

Look, for me the stories aren't the best things ever written, I far perfer actual novelists and classic writers such as Hugo and Tolstoy, but the quests unveil stories that can entertain a casual and open mind. Never enough to win a literature award, and never intended to most likely, but the WoW quests can help teach you why you, the hero, are doing what you're doing sometimes. I will try to do better, is my goal to myself, and you all stand now as my witnessses.

Are you living up to goals that you made for the XPac? Are you falling short? Have you fell into traps that you didn't want to live through again due to social pressures? I don't mean to pry, I'm just a selfish, curious bloke.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Elementium Depths

In the Southwest corner of the Twilight Highlands there is a cave. Not any sort of ordinary cave, but a cave with the most dense set and fastest respawn rate of mining nodes I have ever seen in WoW. And you know what? I hate it.

Sure, it helped me level my mining in just a couple days of farming, but at an extremely high personal cost of my beloved sanity. Not only are these mines filled with Elementium and Pyrite veins, but they are also jam-packed with annoying mobs and even more annoying...other players.

Never during my attempt to level mining did I "steal" a mining node from another player, although I had many, many stolen right under my nose where I started to mine, was attacked, and a fellow player seeing this strolled right up and mined the node that I had started to bash on with my little toothpick. And thus I feel compelled to express my displeasure to all the thieving sneaks out there by stating what I believe to be the rules of gathering.

Horde v Alliance
If two people of different factions see a mining vein (applies to herbalism as well) all is fair as they use whatever tools they can to race their way to that node to mine it up. If they are on a PvP realm I would further concede that it's war and you could go as far as taking out the opposing faction player in order to remain alone and unbothered in order to mine up at heart's content. Basically, I believe that when it comes to opposing faction, there are no rules, and if you can do something to shaft the other faction go for it.

But when it comes to Horde v Horde or Alliance v Alliance, there are some rules to follow.

If two like-faction players see a mining node and a clear path the race is on and whomever gets their first gets the node. Where I believe people go wrong is when you see another player fighting next to or on top of a mining node and seeing that individual busy with an unfriendly mob decide that it's fair game to begin mining under their nose. Now some may argue that there is no evidence that the player fighting the mob on/near the mining node is even a miner, but I think that we need to give that player a chance to finish fighting to see if they begin mining.


Because if they are a miner, and the path had been clear, that person would have clearly won the race to mine and should be given the chance to do so. It's called etiquette, people, manners, and if you don't understand it you may want to pull up a dictionary and do a little reading. What's worse is when two like-faction people approach a mining node, one begins to mine, clearly before the other, but then is attacked. While the attack occurs, the second steps in to mine the node right under their nose. This is the worst case of an ill-mannered player, and is something that I learned early in my playing days, as just wrong - as I did it to someone else...once and only once...before I learned that I shouldn't have done so.

So there you have it, what I understand to be the rules of mining/herbing. I guess I just have to find a time of day when there are very few people farming that aweful place in the Twilight Highlands to do my business. Lucky for me I have tools that I can use to my advange to get an upper hand at times, namely Fire Elemental and Spirit Wolves, who can keep a mob busy for a short time while I mine, lessening the chances of others to display such horrendeous manners as I have witnessed lately.

I have now one toon at 85, and am working on my other 3 80's. Actually Gronthe is now 81, but you get what I mean. I have really, really enjoyed the questing experience, the dungeons are wonderfully challenging, although I have still yet to see any sort of CC from anyone. I suppose people think that is only for heroics, if at all, but I get the feeling that some just don't like the thought that they will have to behave differently than they did in Wrath dungeons/heroics. I hope those people all die in fail groups! Oh, sorry, I meant to be on a lighter note.

Digging up fossils is wonderfully relaxing, and it provides, unlike fishing, the chance to fly around Azeroth with a purpose, where I get to enjoy the free air and get something done in the process.

I would also like to take time out to thank any/everyone who stopped by for a read today. My posts are few and far between since I lost my job last month, and as unemployment still persists, my time to play and write and other has been limited as I am busy with many other of life's duties. But still, I find time at night to play, and time this morning to write. So I thank you for taking time out of your day to give my little corner a peek. Come back soon now and have a great day!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Mr Darcy is All Politeness

I've often felt I was born in the wrong time and age. I tell people that I credit my parents for my real life tendencies to politeness, but in reality my parents only encouraged what I already had a passion for. Even with my mother-in-law, whom I hate with a passion for destroying the life of my dear wife, I can't help but be polite when she makes a surprise visit (which have been far fewer over the years, gratefully).

For years I refused to read and/or watch Pride and Prejudice, but I found that I had something in common with many of those people in the story, I believe in outward politeness, despite how I felt about somebody.

But things have changed, and it's everyone else's fault!!!

Well, not anyone who reads this blog, of course, because you are all awesome! It's everyone else that has driven me absolutely insane. I've been doing a lot of playing and no writing this past couple weeks. Starting yesterday I experienced what many others have in the past with new, shiny wow features: a flood of activity, and very little to none of it is polite.

There are so many people in the new 81-85 zones and in the new starting areas (especially Worgen), that in a short amount of time I have ceased my emulation of Mr Darcy and have become Lizzy's mother, rude, arrogant, pushy, loud, and insufferable. When there are 6 people standing around a spot where the boss/quest mob is about to respawn, and nobody wants to group up, I have felt the need to put off all politeness and move to be quicker than all else in order to kill that really, really bad dude or pick up that shark tooth. And when I think I'm alone, the mob respawns, and I see a Hunter's shot go through my chest and into the mob's, I scream...loudly!

I need to chill, I know, but this wave of people doing the same thing over and over, from realm to realm, quest after quest after quest changed me literally overnight from a polite, thoughtful bloke to a rude, selfish, and bitter old man. I haven't done anything yet today, and I hope to be able to control myself better this time, as now I know what to expect I plan on taking things as they come and not worry too much about it, I know sooner or later I'll get my chance.

I wouldn't blame anyone else if they had similar feelings, in fact I sometimes imagine what others are saying about me as they watch me stab a mob in the back before they can cast their first spell. I feel bad, obviously, for enjoying it, but for my sake I need to learn how to cope with it all.

But for all my rude actions, at least I'm not trolling. I have never, I repeat NEVER seen as much trolling in the General chats of the zones I've been playing in that in the last 24 hours. It's worse, by a hundred fold, than anything that has gone on in the trade chats of the major cities. I don't know how to explain it other than statistics, that with a bigger sample size the percentages may not go up but the volume does. I've never put so many on my ignore lists than I did yesterday.

Still, I'm having fun, the game is new, fresh, and better than ever, imo. I'd love to experience the Worgen starting area alone, or swim the ocean depths with no fear of being robbed by a guildie (which didn't happen, but with so many out there not paying attention to who they are robbing from, I suppose it's a possibility). I hope all of you are enjoying the expansion, taking the good and the bad for what they are but doing better than I am at staying focused on enjoying yourself, and hopefully doing it more politely than I am.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Questing, Deadmines, Silverpine

Of all the changes since the Shattering, three things have stood out in my mind: Questing, Deadmines, Silverpine. These three things are those I have experienced and I will not commment on something I have not yet seen or done, so here we go.

I've done the Human, Gnome, Troll and Undead starting areas. The Human and Undead have some improvements, especially Undead, and each goes by really quickly. The Gnome starting area was cute and had some really good music, while the Troll starting area provided a nice dialogue between Vol'jin and Garrosh but was a bit overloaded with tiki target dummies. All said and done I did enjoy each of them. Perhaps it was only because it was different and I can't see objectively, but I didn't really see anything wrong, I mean they are just starting areas, right?

Questing overall has become compact, orderly, efficient. The new feature where you finish a quest out in the world, can turn it in without going back a million miles to the questgiver and pick up the next one in the chain really adds to the pace of questing and takes away many a long stroll back to the quest hub. This especially becomes prevalent in Silverpine forest, which I'll get to, but can be seen in all areas to different degrees.

A good example of efficient and progressive questing can be seen in the Southern Barrens. You start up north and do some quests bashing alliance forces, then move down to the next camp, then to the next, until finally you reach the Battle Scar at the very south where all the area "PvP" comes to a head and you see the tensions between Alliance and Horde in their full glory. It was a fun trek as no quest hub held me questing in an area for too long, it was planned well enough so that by the time I'm done I've completed the 5 levels the zone is intended you to pass through.

Some may say it goes to fast and an Exp nerf needs to be put in place, I'll leave that argument for others to make. For myself I'm able, for what I've seen so far, to go through a zone and see it's full story (good or bad), from beginning to end. That's something that I've never done before, so in that sense I see that Questing has improved.

I wasn't expecting it to be any different than the old one, as I believed the changes were only meant for the Heroic lvl 85 version. So it was a fun surprise to see the deadmines changed. Quest givers are inside the instance, at the beginning (and appear at the end INSIDE the instance), which makes it convenient for sure. Perhaps the best thing was after we downed the first boss I see in party chat "wtf are monkeys doing here? lol". Yeah, monkeys with pick axes in the Deadmines, it was beautiful to see and absolutely hilarious.

All boss fights are changed, and each one is challenging in its own right. Improved boss mechanics, a little coordination is required to keep everyone alive, and at the pinnacle of it all to see Cookie the murloc jump into his cauldron and throw food at everyone was a sight I shall never forget. Oh yeah, there was a big bad Worgen on the boat that makes everything go foggy...really cool fight.

The changes are terriffic, really a fun experience to go through. Having to dodge cannon balls to dodging loaves of bread make the Deadmines my new favorite low-level dungeon.

Captivating story line, fascinating movtives of the Banshee Queen, a stroll through the ruins of Gilneas city, and ultimately to a bugged quest that killed all questlines in the zone make this my most loved and hated new zone.

What angers me most is that this particular quest that's bugged and stopped my new Troll Druid from finishing the story there was bugged in the Beta, on the PTR, and now on live. You would think that Blizzard would have done something about it considering it prevents people from seeing all the climactic events of the zone, but hey, why worry when you're getting paid, right?

That said, the zone had all the great elements of the new questing mechanics that any other zone had. All the worgen you get to kill really makes you starting thinking that you're a vampire with a human girlfriend that....uh, really bad tangent, sorry!

If the bugged can get fixed I may say that it's the best new zone in the game, but then again there are a couple dozen zones I haven't tried yet so my opinion really isn't worth much right now.

Let's just get Cataclysm rolling already, I don't like this two week waiting period to experience everything. But until then, there is still much to enjoy, to see and to do.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NOT my initial thoughts of the Shattering

Not today, folk, there's too much yet to explore. Yes, I logged in, and yes I tried out a few of the new starting zones, and yes I went exploring, but my explorations and evaluations are not yet complete for a full out post. So stay tuned, because I've got lots to say...and most of it pretty darn good at that.

Peace out!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sight Seeing

I did some sightseeing yesterday, the final day in the life of Old Azeroth. No, I didn't earn my world Explorer title, but I had a plan which didn't involve only myself. You see, I let my kids play as well, but not nearly as much as I play. So given that I've been around the world so many times with so many toons, I let my kids decide where we went.

Can you say Night Elf? Good, because that's all they wanted to look at. Any zone with any NElf structures, ruins, outposts, or lore they made me wade through. It actually went faster than I thought it would, and there were a few things that I had never seen before.

For example, in Feralas, somewhat east of Dire Maul there is one of the most beautiful waterfalls that I have ever seen. The green aura that permeates the region adds a unique glow a spectacular fall that shimmers as it lands in a small pond, only to lead to a stream that flows onward to the south. It was quite a site, one that I had never really paid attention to or possibly seen before last night.

I reset all of the hearthstones on all of our toons, since all portals will disappear from Dalaran and Shatt (which I love, btw). But other than that it was a fairly uneventful day. I think that's because I have seen so much now, the changes are not sad but a welcome joy.

Did any of you do anything special or was your last day in Azeroth just business as usual? Share if you like. Thanks for stopping by, and have a great time in the New World.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Party Time!

So the world will Shatter soon, which I say is cause for a party! But not quite yet, there are some things to celebrate, such as:
Paths trod, sometimes lonely, sometimes with the company of good people who make me laugh and scream and hope. The first time I saw the sunset over the coastlands of Westfall I believed myself to be in a dream, a mirage before my eyes of indescribable lights, colors, known to me then first and visiting my dreams regularly afterward.
The crunch of the snow beneath my feat as I wade my way through the frostbite and cold of Winterspring is recalled to memory as I move forward on my current path toward descruction. White, soft and crisp, I thought I could see my breath, if I was breathing at all. But I don't see how I could have as my breath was taken away. So one, two, three more steps I take along the snow capped peak as I take in the winter beauty and the peaceful desolation.
Then I woke up on a new path, a place of continual autumn. The yellow of the sun born into the leaves of Eversong Woods. The orange of the first pumkin of the season, waiting patiently on the ground surrounded by the greens leaves and the hope and spring of a new day; the orange suddenly taken and reincarnated in the veins of the trees of the North, South, East and West. I'm filled with wonder, with awe, with the new heart of a child who first steps foot on the summit of a mountain, when scanning the heavens above and the earth beneath first learns that he/she is not alone, that a wide world awaits full of promise and potential, while signaling an eventual finality.
New paths, strange paths, lead me into dark caverns filled with enemies and spies. Terror shakes at my heart and my courage falters for a moment. Then lifted again by the roaring charge of valiant Warriors I take the plunge into battle, where blood is frozen and shadows terrorize my waking dreams. Then fire, fire, everywhere around me, engulfing me and taunting me. MOVE, the call rings out, but danger causes my heart to fail and the spirit world became my closest friend and most bitter enemy. Yet in the midst of chaos I hear the clear call of laughter, not remote but near to the heart. There is joy even in the deepest dungeons of the world, where brave adventurers joined forces to vanquish the most evil of demons and men. Rejoicing at the victories, and sometimes and the monumental collapses that demand the heart lightened.
Then there were strange paths, curious paths, that fill my memories with awe and wonder. The shoreline is steep, the water lurks, and beasts unknown swim in the depths thereof. I find places forgotten, strongholds long lost, and green grass to rest my weary legs and meditate. Alone, but happier for it, for in this place nobody will find me. My explorations have lead me to the remote seashores and mountain tops in all of Azeroth, found only by the wandering few who sought solitude in times of trouble and times where their adventurous heart pulled them thither. My place, my own, regardless of who trod there before me, this place, this hideout, has been claimed by my peace of mind and it shall not be relinquished.
But through all these paths I cannot, will not forget my first few steps. Green grass, tall trees, a small abby with simple vendors desiring to equip me for the dangers that lurked. One short step at a time I moved deeper into this world. Even upon leaving my first home fear was never so much that courage couldn't find its way through, pulling me inexorably through the darkness of nighttime of Elwynn Forest to adventures and lands of greater wonder.
Soaking my boots in the Swamps of Sorrows only to dry out and crack in the desolation that was the Blasted Lands. Swatting the bugs off my neck in the sulty jungles of Stranglethorn to crawling on all fours in search for even the appearance of water in Tanaris. Once I recall my eyes drawn to the sorrow that was Arthas' Tears, growing solemly on the slopes of a lonely hill in the midst of undead terrors. How I sorrowed too for the man, the Prince, the King. Cursed, overcome, evil spreading to his heart only to be rescued by death in the end in the frozen north of the world.
So many paths, so many people, so little time. And now it's all about to change, evolve, even darken. Those tears do not stall my heart, for it knows now where it wishes to be led. Changes, shattering changes, soon to befall on all of Azeroth point to the need for its inhabitants to either run or stand and fight. Finding a solitary spot to sit and ponder the meaning of all these adventures is welcome when done voluntarily, but to be forced from my home and made to find a cave to hide in hoping that it will all go away is not the life I choose. I'll stand, I'll shout, I'll tell all of Azeroth that this is a glorious time in the history of our world, it's about time for the biggest party ever, and it'll be a wonder to behold.
Bring on the Cataclysm, for me and my friends (see above picture) are ready and waiting!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Incredible Hulk

I cannot say how many times I've been in Utgard Pinnacle and somebody says "Hey, can we do the Hulk achieve?" People then proceed to burn down both the Hulk and the boss, or some other stupid variation.

That's it, I am convinced that nobody knows what this achievement really is or how to do it. Well, nobody is a big word, so I won't say that, but my personal experience shows that more than 90% of people that have tried to get the achieve have no idea how it's done.

I wish to enlighten the 90% here and now, so spread the word.

A simple strat is thus:

1) Pull either Hulk and have the tank tank both the boss and the hulk in the center of the alter. DPS need to damage the Hulk, probably to somewhere less than half to a quarter remaining health, but don't DPS the boss...yet.

2) The tank continues to stand on the table/alter while the sword is being lowered for the Ritual of the Sword. Once the sword lands on the alter AoE damage will issue forth from the sword, damaging the Hulk enough to kill him.

3) Down the boss.

You see, the goal of this achievement is to have Sorrowgrave (aka the boss) kill the Hulk...not the stalwart heroes like yourself. It seems that this is the part nobody knows, she must kill him, NOT YOU. So all you idiots, please stop killing the Hulk, bring him to the table and take out some health and let the Ritual of the Sword finish him off.

BAM!!! The achievement is yours. Please play responsiby!

Thank you for your attention, have a pleasant morning/afternoon/evening/night (wherever you may live).

Nov 23rd - The Shattering?

It's just a rumor, of course, but I'd like to point out that I, once upon a time, predicted that Cataclysm would be released on Nov 23. Now I know that tecnically I was incorrect, it would be quite cool if the shattering happened on the day I guessed major changes would occur. It would be a consolation prize at best, but if it happens then I'll take it.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Fun or Childish?

Who am I to tell you how to have fun? I'm quite outspoken on the subject, I've come to really despise being told what to do and how to have fun myself, it would take some nerve to be a hypocrite now.

So I won't, I'll just make a veiled judgement and pose it in the form of a question. Is it fun or childish to visit one of the dead opposing faction capital cities (Silvermoon or Exodar) and begin slaying all the low level mobs within?

I'll take an example from last night, where a pair of stinking Blood Elves pranced their dainty booties around the Exodar taking on level 30-75 NPC's. Never attacking anyone of strength or importance, just being annoying by killing off auctioneers and salespeople and random Draenei walking around enjoying their daily exercise.

I stood there...wait, maybe I need to explain what I was doing there. It's funny, but when I'm in Dalaran there are two portals that you can enter mounted and still be mounted on the other side, the portal to the Exodar and the one to Shattrath. As there currently are no auction houses in Shat, I choose the Exodar because I can run to the AH faster. Yep, that's my logic, weird as it is.

Anyhoo, I stood there and watched as these two "Kingslayers" (btw) showed off their awesomeness by ransacking a city and NPC's that clearly have no chance against them. And they were at it for over an hour. They tried to taunt me, but I'm not stupid, I'm not about to PvP against a Pali and a personal healing Priest. Not only do I suck at PvP, I wouldn't have won anyway. They called me chicken and used other choice phrases, I am sure, but I just stood there and wondered if their behavior was simply two friends having a good time or two people being childish, picking on NPC of little or no consequence for the sake of wanting to behave like a coupld of jerks.

My initial belief is that their behavior was childish. They had no mission, no purpose other than take out NPC's that I and others use regularly who visit the Exodar. They did not engage in a PvP that I would call "honorable", rather only fighting those NPC's who they vastly out leveled. Now they probably were laughing and telling each other on their vent channel about how much fun they were having, and about how that stupid Warlock was a big coward not to fight, but the only thing they accomplished was to disrupt my ability to play and have fun the way I wanted to.

I don't know all the rules, written or unwritten, of world PvP, but I've heard a lot of stories. I know of high level toons camping low level places in PvP servers, making it nearly impossible to level sometimes. I don't think that that behavior is honorable, and therefore should not be engaged in. Now I do know that some say that "if the rule doesn't prohibit then anything goes", an attitude that many lawyers take in many a court system, and we all know what the world thinks of lawyers.

Social "norms" exist for a reason, cultural traditions or acceptable yet unwritten patterns of behavior are present in every country. Nobody has absolute rights, not even the right to have fun. In America, rights are granted to a point, where your rights infringe on the rights of others your rights end. That's how I believe what world PvP should be. When you begin to do things that restrict the rights of others, then it is behavior that should be avoided.

Unfortunately, I believe I must conceed a few exceptions. But those exceptions assume that players are mature and thougtful. Two players of opposite factions, of approximate equal level in the same zone on a PvP realm - GO FOR IT! If some Gnome is mining go ahead and hit 'em in the back of his head with your foot, or an axe, either one. But if your are 80 and that gnome is lvl10, what exactly do you (the level 80) get from that transaction? How honorable is it to kill someone 70 levels lower than you? How is that in any way reflect positively on you?

I don't claim to have all the answers, and I guess it's too much to ask people to act in a reasonable, mature manner. Why would it ever be cool to wipe out NPC's that other, much lower level toons need to enjoy their side of the game? Is it a step to prove your metal? An initiation of sorts to prove what a great warrior you are? Bah! It's childish, cowardly, and yes even on PvP realms a trouncing of the rights of others.

To those two stinking Blood Elves that were having SOOOOO much fun last night, YOU SUCK! Hope you had fun deluding yoursleves into thinking your cooler than you actually are...meaning your not, your just childish.

Monday, November 15, 2010

In or Out of "The Loop"?

I used to live in Florida, that lasted about 6 months. I moved back to Las Vegas in about 2005. I got a job. Shortly after getting the job we hired a new Controller, who became my new boss. Then something interesting happened, there was a new water cooler in the office. No, not a literal water cooler (although we did have one in the kitchen), but a metaphorical water cooler, a place where people congregated to talk. Business or pleasure, my boss' office became the new place for people to hang out and bash each other's fantasy football teams. It became the place to be if you wanted to be "In the loop" of the business or department's goings on.

Being the shy type of person, I didn't find my way into his office often, but I watched people go in and out all day long. Sometimes I knew it was business and sometimes it was obvious that it was another rundown of last night's The Office episode. I was a bit jealous at first. I guess I had hoped that I had the guts to stop working for 30 minutes and chat with my boss, like other people seemed comfortable doing, but somehow it always felt...weird.

As time passed and I moved my way up the corporate ladder I felt more at home in a manager's office because I became one myself. No longer a complete subordinate but more of an equal I felt comfortable and pleased to be in the loop, it's a place many people naturally enjoy being being. There's a sense of power that comes with greater knowledge, and whether that power is real or perceived is unimportant. One begins to feel important, special, and sometimes believes him/herself to be a better person for being so knowledgeable. I can't explain it all, remember I'm not a trained professional, but that's how it feels to me.

In the WoW Loop
It's hard to stay in the loop when it comes to gaming. I wonder at how people who play many, many games stay in the loop of all the new things for every game they play? I can barely keep on top of the information about one game.

Now there are quite a few people who purposely remove themselves from all the Cataclysm news, and that choice is theirs and I will not begin to throw any criticism their way. There are the other side who tracks changes daily, even intra-day changes and blue posts. Some take it on themselves as a sort of job to keep the masses informed, and others are still part of the masses informing themselves on a regular basis. I know, I was one of those people for a long time.

Recently I've backed off, although I admit that I probably wouldn't if I hadn't lost my job, I would have been able to maintain a routine that I had to inform myself. I must admit that it's weird now feel like I'm not invited into the office anymore. Or rather, I know I'm invited, but my schedule changes in life are so different that one thing has led to another which has led to me falling out of the loop.

Only last night I was watching an intelligent conversation in trade chat about the new battleground changes. I had no idea what they were talking about. It was strange, I felt like, well, a noob again. Blind, stumbling from zone to zone only to find out that I just got walloped by a level 40 dinosaur...oops! I read other blogs still here and there, but that routine is changed for the time being as well. It's maddening, mainly because I enjoyed feeling special, important, knowledgeable. Now I feel like the guy who's not told anything at the office because I'm the one that is going to be laid off. Weird how that's how it always feels when you're about to be laid off or fired. People stop talking to you, you are kept out of the loop.

The difference here, of course, is that my removal from the loop is partially self-imposed. But it feels odd, and leaves me feeling strangely naked as well. Vulnerable. So many things happening to this or that class, to BG's, LDF tool, balance, achievements, strategy, whatever, I just don't know as much and now don't feel like I have any power or influence. True, that power and influence was only perceived and wasn't real to begin with, but the higher people get in the loop the more powerful or influential they feel, whether it's real or not.

The future is hazy, unsure. To what level of being in the loop will I ever reach again I do not yet know. But like a Blood Elf's thirst for magic, I still thirst for information and am beginning to feel the withdrawl symptoms. The question I need to ask myself is 'is it worth it? to be in the loop again?' Does it make me better at what I do? A better player? Perhaps. Knowledge usually doesn't hurt, unless it's the kind of knowledge that shatters your reality, but that sort of thing doesn't happen as much as the opposite. Most of the time knowledge does you good and not harm.

Well whatever happens, it sure can be fun to be in the loop, so if you're there right now I say ENJOY IT WHILE YOU GOT IT! Because circumstances may change and you may find thinking yourself a noob as well.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Capital City Challenge

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy that Dalaran will no longer be the hub and capital city of all level cap toons. No longer will we be able to hearth and port our way around the globe. Yes, it's convenient, but I'm glad it will be gone.

So am I to expect Stormwind or Ironforge to become my new capital city? Hardly. I have a better idea. I vote to create a new capital city, Las Vegas!

Let me explain what I'd like to do today, then I'll be the first to participate. I'd like to call anyone willing to comment to propose why they think that their RL home city should be the next new capital city in WoW. Set aside all the immersion crap for a moment and indulge in this little fantasy game. It can be one, two, ten or one hundred reasons, but for the sake of fun and fun alone, I would like to hear from anyone willing to make a case for the city they live in. As I live in Las Vegas, I'll make a case for Sin City. You may follow with arguments for your own home town.

So, without further ado:

Las Vegas in Azeroth
First of all, I would like to clear up a rumor that seems to easily spread around the world about Las Vegas - which, in case you cared is part of Clark County, Nevada. Prostitution is NOT allowed in Clark County, it is not legal in Vegas consequently, and anyone who says otherwise is a liar and a traitor to Mother, just kidding on the traitor thing. I'm not saying it doesn't happen in Vegas, but it is illegal, period!

That out of the way, I believe that Las Vegas would be a great Azeroth city because the strength of this great city is in the ability to plan, host, and effectuate events. Vegas is an EVENT city. Nobody is better anywhere at putting on a one night show. If you're looking for a guild event to help bring people together, Las Vegas is the place to go. Back in the 70's, 80's and 90's, when boxing was still strong, nobody put on a more exicting, well run, boxing event than Vegas. Entertainers from around the world have found homes here in Sin City and put on some of the greatest shows that can be found anywhere.

You want a convention? Great! Come to Vegas. Quite honestly I think Blizzcon should be in Vegas. It could be bigger, better, more poeople could come here and it would turn into the biggest party anyone has ever seen. Sorry for the tangent, I'll get back to my Azeroth arguments.

Another strength of Vegas are its people and the service they provide. If ever there was a city founded on a Service Economy, Las Vegas is it. It's our job to welcome people and make sure they have a great time. Sure, it's also our job to take your money and use it fund our state budget and allow us to never pay state income tax, but you like it so it's a win-win for everyone involved. But it's more than just money, the service workers of Vegas work their tails off (ex-draenei and all) to make your visit as welcoming as possible. We know we can entertain, and any efforts made to get you into our shows is done out of a confidence, a knowledget that our service will cause you to have fun!

If you're not into big events or pampered services, there are still others strengths of the Las Vegas Community. It is, unknown to many outsiders, a friendly and family-oriented community outside of the brigt lights and fancy cars. The parks, movies, restaurants, music, theater, and community centers allow people to settle down and isolate themselves, if they wish, from the powers of The Strip that bind some people, er, that serve our wonderful visitors. Granted, the schools aren't great, but more reason for guilds/families to help teach each other or use outside resources to gain the knowledge needed to achieve goals.

If you want to be a part of a guild that doesn't act like a corporation, but a family, Las Vegas is the capital city you want to go to. Yes, you'll find entertainers, the best events, tremendous service, but you'll also find the most down-home, level-headed guilds/families anywhere in the world. Part of this, I believe, is that Vegas has attracted the best people from all around the globe. If you are looking to server or faction change, Vegas is the melting pot you will want to jump into. It's the place so many others have gone and have found a HOME there. Las Vegas could serve as the place to connect. Combine the power of networking with the service of the residents, Las Vegas could become the most populated capital city in Azeroth within weeks, if not days.

Organization, entertainment, service, community - these are the strengths of Las Vegas and are attributes that would make it the biggest and best new capital city in Azeroth for all to enjoy!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Great Deal

My life is Fruit Punch, a tasty blend of this and that when mixed together create a smooth, refreshing blend of all kinds of stuff. I'm still unemployed, and that sucks, but life and games move on ever so. I have another toon at 80, hooray, and even though there's not much time till Cata I'm having fun with him.

Even my son has an 80 toon, which he loves to PvP with. But just last night he shared a desire to make some gold and level his professions more before the expansion but he doesn't exactly have the time to do it. So, how to solve this?

He as desires, and I need help too. So, I made a deal with my kid. I will farm with his toon and run one heroic per day, in return he will use his strong arms and legs to massage my back and neck for 5 minutes every night. For those of you new to my blog, I have a bad back injury, and have had it now for more than two and a half years. My muscles get tight as a result of the damage in my spine, and working out the knots is good for my health.

So, he agreed. Now he gets something that he wants, and I get something that I really need help with daily. To be fair to my kid, he often offers to scratch my arms or rub my neck, but that only once a week, if that. This is a mutually beneficial trade for the next month, something I believe will truly work out well for the two of us.

Of all you people out there, some are single and some are not. I don't believe that any have made deals like I made with my son, but I suppose it's possible. But what other deals have you made? Do you offer to clean the kitchen and take out the garbage if your "special someone" allows you to raid for three hours on Thursday night instead of two? Do you trade days of the week for time spent? Do you pay people in your family to leave you alone? I don't know, there are infinite possibilities I suppose, but I wonder what sorts of deals that other people make? And how far do those deals cross over into real life?

Deal making is a tricky business sometimes, I've tried to make deals with my family before and some didn't really turn out to be successful ones. But I think this latest deal is a great one, and I look forward to nightly knots being undone in my back, while he looks forward to a chest of gold and high level professions!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Is relative. Seriously, it is. Time is actually affected by gravity (among other things) thus making it relative. But standing on planet earth time basically passes at the same rate for all of us.

Too much time. Not enough time. I'm bored, the day is going by slowly. Wow, this is fun, the day is flying by. I have HOW LONG before Cataclysm? That's not enough time. There is still a month to go, that's plenty of time. And on and on it goes, each of us feels time pass differently, even though the actual passing of time ON planet earth remains constant. For each there are factors that push us in one direction or another.

My Shaman and Priest have been at level 80 for over a year now, a year and a half or more with my Shaman. It's been 6-8 months for my DK, I can't remember exactly. For those toons, who I only use to earn gold and farm for BoA gear now, time is passing too slowly. I want, I need a change for these toons or both they and I will go absolutely crazy. But for Gronthe, my lovable Lock, who just turned 80 less than a week ago, time is passing by too quickly.

I feel sorry for those that have worked to hit level cap just before an expansion. It's a time of disquiet, not completely sure what to do or how fast to do it. Does someone just turning 80 before Cata try and earn as much of that fansy-schmancy gear that everyone else has been running around in for 9+ months? Or do these folk just wait to accept the gear they will earn via quests in the new 80-85 zones?

It's a tricky question, really, but perhaps not for all. Still, it's a decision that Gronthe and I am sure many, many others are dealing with right now. People still run plenty of heroics and weekly raids and there are still call-outs for fresh ICC groups, etc. Yes, people are still playing, moving on with daily life in-game as if no expansion is on its doorstep. And that's ok, I think. There is only so much someone can do to prepare for a new expansion. As this is my first time I'm not sure if there are standard protocols or traditions, but I've been doing those things that I feel are important. I know that getting my professions leveled as high as possible will be a good thing, I don't want to get too far behind.

But when it comes down to it, people who have a very recent max level toon needs to decide what is and what isn't worth their time. I don't think there is a right or wrong, it's all relative. For me, it's nice to earn a few emblem/JP items, but I'm not too worried. I will not buy ANY epic gear off the AH, just a few ilvl200 blues for cheap and nothing more. I'm playing the game casually, letting things happen because they will happen.

Time, it's a funny thing. It feels different for everyone, yet we know for a fact that there are only so many days before Cataclysm, and those days become fewer and fewer at the setting of each daily sun. Normally I'm not a big fan of relativism, I tend to generally think it's a sneaky way for people to justify stupid things, but in this case however you feel about the impending expansion and how it affects your currently gameplay, truly is relative.

May you do what you want, and not worry about the future too much, it'll happen naturally enough; it's not like we can stop it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Response to Responses

First of all, to all those who posted a comment on my How do Introverts Find Guilds? post yesterday, (thanks to, thank you. I published all comments this morning when I woke up (Pacific Time, USA). I have a few things to say in general to all of you.

#1) Lol, I don't have a clear understanding of the exact differences between introversim (is that even a word? you know what I mean, so I move on), social anxiety and shyness. That's ok, I hope you all understood the purpose even though I get the specific psychological terms mixed up. Thank you for not making fun of me and my ignorance.

#2) What I found funny is that for me, who is someone with social anxiety, I became extremely nervous when I saw that WoWInsider and linked to another article of mine. They did it once before and I was happy. They have now done it twice and it made me scared to think that people out there were actually reading MY words. I became scared and thought about deleting the post because I wasn't sure I was comfortable with so many strangers taking a glance at my thoughts. It's funny, right, that someone who blogs is nervous about others reading their blog? Well, that's how I felt.

#3) I was overwhelmed by the number and tone of responses I got. Wow, it's amazing how many people share similar trials, it makes me wonder how many more out there are a bit anxious about trying to meet new people in the virutal community, even when we know that we'll never see these people face to face. It brought a smile to my face to see such comments from every one of you. Thank you for your visit, I am honored, albeit still a bit nervous.

That's all for now. Have a wonderful day, and may your gaming be fun!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A Vote for Your Spells

It's election day in the USA, proof that I rhyme when I've got the time. That said, I'm not dead, and to the voting booth I go to tell those politicians what I know.

A New Decision Making Paradigm
Imagine a game developing world where the players were given the right to vote on the different spells and talents that their favorite toon has. Wouldn't all Warriors want an attack that could one-shot all raid bosses and feel justified in receiving such a spell? Of course they would, Warriors are arrogant elitists, every single one of them, right? Alright, they are not all like that, but no doubt if Warriors or anyone else had a say in what spells they had every toon would be running around with 100 action bars with 12 spells on each totaling 1,200 spells/abilities/talents.

But if the voting process was highly regulated, like sports betting is in Las Vegas, could there be an instance where player voting could directly determine gameplay in a way that was beneficial? Let's assume that we're all Mages. In my limited experience in Magedom I recall that I got the Blizzard spell fairly early on, around level 20 or thereabouts. Now, Blizzard isn't available to Mages until level 52 (I think). What if this went up for a vote? When would a Mage want Blizzard?

The logical answer is I WANT EVERYTHING AT LEVEL 1. And if not logical then at least predictable. So let's add constraints to the voting equation. You may learn Blizzard at 20, but you will have to give up another damage spell until level 40, which are you willing to give up? Frost Bolt or Fire Bolt? Of course this is just an example, but if you give someone the option of gaining a spell at 20 or 30, I believe 100% will want it at 20. So, you make the voter make compromises, or choose to leave things how the developers want to reshape them. This may or may not work, I don't know exactly, it's just a thought.

Same principle applies to talents. 'At what level do you want Living Bomb'? Well, uh, let me think...LEVEL 1, duh! No, for talents we'll keep certain restrictions that devs place on them, but the option could be that a talent can be moved up higher in the talent tree only if it's accompanied by a nerf to the spell. The vote is yours, and if you choose to move the talent you must accept the consequences.

Interestingly this would create imbalances, and those would be the fault of the player. Despite that, however, players would still find ways to blame the devs for creating a system that gave them, the player, the right to make direct changes via their voting systems, thus the fault still lies with the devs for allowing stupid people to create the game instead of smarter people that it's fun to disagree with.

Voting in changes to spells and talents would be similar to real life voting. With everyone given the chance to vote, people both informed and ignorant, we accept a system that has consequences both good and bad. Then again, some of those consequences are relative, and I'm sure it would act the same in a game. Some people would like the changes, others would hate them. But all would have to accept them to a degree because the system would allow direct player input into the decisions.

How it is now can be useful. Smart people give quality feedback and the devs to their best with it. WoW, just as in RL politics, will always have proponents and opponents, people who like the resulting changes and others who hate them and call for all kinds of changes. I for one am glad I don't have a vote in direct spell or talent changes. But the reason isn't what you think it is. I'm glad because if we, the players, did have a say, I would be angry with some idiot who was able to get enough people fired up over something stupid and influenced them to vote in a direction that I would disagree with. But then that's sorta how I feel about real life voting. I'm glad everyone has the right in my country (over 18 years of age), but I wish that a few of those would just stay home. Not because I disagree with them, but because they are too stupid to know even the names of the people running for office. How I would hate it if trolls had a say in my talent tree.

The system may not be perfect, in life or WoW, but both serve their respective populations well. In WoW it's better to keep the players involved but not given direct control. In RL it's good to give everyone a voice, no matter how stupid or uninformed they are. You see, in a game it does not matter if there is a Big Brother, because that super power is not bent on destroying my will to choose. The devs really are trying to make a good game, whether we think it's good is another quesiton. They try because they love to make games, it's what they do. In life, if my voice was taken away and Big Brother established, making ALL my choices for me, my life would have little variety, no creativity and even less meaning. Both systems work well...well enough.

I vote to have no vote in the games I play! Give me a voice, but don't make it binding.

Political (Tangent)
Youngin' people 18-25 will only vote at a 30% clip this election season...if we're lucky. Young people just don't care, coupled with the fact that they don't know as much as they think they do. Oh, don't look at me that way, but the reality is that the longer you live two things can happen: 1) Biases become more biased, you become entrenched in traditions for the sake of tradition, or 2) Experience shows you the differences between rehtoric and reality. From that position we base our decisions and we vote accordingly. So even though young people are free to fight for what they believe, often they lack perspective of those who have actually lived through more years. That's what I think and I'm sticking to it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

In Flux - Interaction between life and games

It's annoying, really, how real life can get in the way of a good game. My oldest son makes me aware of this often when I ask him to take out the trash while he's on the XBox. 'C'mon dad, I'm almost done, just give me a few more minutes.' Yep, life gets in the way of his enjoyment big time!

I want to immerse myself, or at the very least take some time out of my life to enjoy some good stories or a fun quest or getting Gronthe to 80 (I'm so close, 79 and more than half way there). But life doesn't always let you finish, sometimes life wants you to take out the trash and it means NOW!!!

I don't apologize for not writing for over a week. I mean, who am I offending? My readership is small, but THE BEST IN THE WORLD, yet I feel as if I've been caged, hutched and desperate, unable to express myself in the most free way that I've found yet.

We live, we play, we love, we cry, our pulses race and our emotions are stirred. I've worked with people I viewed as cold-hearted, persons who believed that work was the only life worth living. I personally felt pity for them as I did not share that same sentiment. I've always believed that good leisure time was a good life spent. To take those precious minutes or longer each day to rest the mind and the heart, to escape the troubles of life and the pressures of work is a gift to oneself that should not be denied. But still some denied themselves time with...themselves. And done in the name and for the sake of money, power, prestiege, and show.

In times and seasons of change, where an old world is coming to an end and the ravaged world of Deathwing is upon our doorsteps, life interrupts the liesure and gaming of the strongest and the weakest of us. For some life has more to say, for others its existence is evidenced occaisionally while the "me time" that one enjoys is of longer duration than another. So now priorities must be examined and a plan of action followed. How boring, right? Yet life won't accept you if you take "just a few more minutes", it needs to be attended to, and it needs it right NOW!!!

I don't hide the workings of my personal life, for if I've said it once I've said it again, and is the basis for this blog, that me and my toon are one. When one experiences grief, so does the other. When my raids failed, my life was affected (or so my wife complained often). When life failed, it affected those that I created and played with over hundreds of levels.

Life, games, it's all connected to me. Why? Because real people play games. People with blood flowing through their veins and electric signals being passed along the corridors of the brain. These people, you and me, we control our toons, and our toons influence us. Or the world our toons live in influence us, and can change habits that we develop in real life. So it is that we're always connected, and I'll never stop talking about my real life here. It's who I am, and what I do, and nobody will stop me. You can stop reading, that would suck, but I'll continue to write.

That said, I'm in a season of change. I'm recently unemployed in one of the worst job markets in the US of A. I'm handicap with a disability that is only getting worse. I'm a shell of my former poetential self, and don't know where or how I will keep a roof over my wife and kid's heads two months from now. Forget Christmas, I've already told my kids it ain't happening this year. But the amazing thing is this, and listen closely, I still try to make time to sit down with my eight year old boy and play some wow when I can. Why? Because it's him...and something we both love, and we laugh and sing and dance and cry together and love it.

Ladies and gentelmen, don't ever think that the interruptions of life need to stop you from taking some leisure time with yourself, and if you have some, with your kids. Mental health is important, and money isn't the only thing in this world that lifts us up out of slums. Love, family, friends, and even the companionship of friendly guildies that you probably have never seen can make your life better, even when life not only interrupts your life but throws a screw ball at your head (baseball reference, Congrats to the SF Giants for winning the World Series). In my case, my employer, after knowing that I just picked up my wife after a week in a hospital and hours from potential death, sent me packing with little pity in their eyes and fat wallets in their pockets. Curse them!

But bless you, dear readers! I am not gone, I'm just interrupted by life and have to take out the trash. I'm around and will continue to bring you music (yes, I rememered, but as I've said life is sucking right now and demanding much more time of me than anticipated, but I WILL NOT back out on my promise to deliver a really bad musical song). I will continue to offer opinions, share stories, report fake news, and ponder endlessly about the connection between us and the games we play. Until next time, adieu!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Overselling Yourself

On the heels of my conundrum yesterday, a trailing thought, lost in a daydream, walked right into the front of my head. Has that ever happened to you? It didn’t hurt, don’t worry about me. And the thought is in good shape as well. Some of us are fortunate enough to play WoW and other games with their RL friends. Together they can form groups, raids, guilds, activities, premades, whatever. Others come in solo, but are able to latch on to guilds, sometimes for better other times for worse.

Then sometimes we require, or at the very least desire, change. For those who raid seriously or who PvP seriously, there is often a process whereby they are accepted into a new guild. It’s called an application process. Although I’ve never gone through it personally, I believe that applications are used by high-end guilds and not your average, ordinary, everyday, run-of-the-mill raiding/PvP guild. Classify it how you like, there are guilds that do and guilds that don’t.

In the real world we do similar actions when searching for a new job. There is usually some application process involved, followed by an interview, which results in either acceptance or rejection. When I was in college, I was taught that a great resume stood out from the rest. A potential employer will only look at for about 15 seconds or less. That’s it. That’s often how long you have to impress, to sell them on you as a candidate that they need to take a closer look at. So how does one accomplish that? I’m not going to give away my secrets (because my resume absolutely rocks the house). What I will say is that they need to be able to quickly see what you’re good at and what you achieved. Therefore, your information must be obvious.

With the need to impress, and the belief in many that they are capable of doing the job if only given the chance, some are led to exaggerate a little; some exaggerate a lot, although I’ve never been counted among those. They oversell themselves in the hopes that they can land the interview and then perform “well enough” to be considered for the job. If they don’t know something Mr. Exaggerate will say “just give it to me and I’ll get it done, sir.” While that may indeed work in some professions, it doesn’t work as well in a raid situation.

“Just throw me in the raid and I’ll DPS.”

Well of course you will, idiot, you’re a hunter. You are literally incapable of doing anything except DPS. Tell me something that will impress me, something to prove that you know what you are doing AND that you can do it better than the hunter I’ve got waiting in the sitting room flirting with the receptionist.

How would someone attempt to oversell themselves? They could make claims on their application of having reached certain damage output on a certain fight, but have no logs to back them up because their previous raid leader, in a fit of rage, deleted all the logs. How could the new guild verify the accuracy of the statement without taking that player for a trial run. But just like the “just give it to me and I’ll get it done, sir” guy, a trial run is what the person was seeking. This is an interview, in effect, a chance to prove himself. But in the attempt he opens himself up to ridicule if he doesn’t produce at the rate he claimed to. In the end, Mr. Exaggerate is rejected either because the guild had strict rules about presenting logs (which this guy could not), or was given the benefit of the doubt, offered a trial run, and performed miserably.

What happens when there is an interview process, and Mr. Exaggerate answers the questions but, according to the guild the answers are wrong. Out of desperation Mr. Exaggerate says that “according to all my theory-crafting, this has proven to be the optimal stat setup for my class/spec”. Once again, an oversell that’s difficult to prove. If Mr. Exaggerate doesn’t have the simulation data to present, it’s his word against the recruiting guild’s. And his attempt to oversell his knowledge is foiled once again.

The more I think about it, the more it seems that it’s incredibly difficult to oversell yourself to an organized, strict guild. Application processes tend, from what I’ve read, to challenge a player to prove his experience, skill and knowledge. Unable to do just that, the applicant won’t even get a sniff at a probationary period to prove himself.

In life we can use other intangible skills to get a job. Charisma, influential language, determination, short skirts or expensive suit (oh, people use what they’ve got, and I’ve known many a pretty lady use her body to influence stupid men to get a job before). We can give rehearsed answers to common interview questions. There are a lot of “tips and tricks” to a good interview – but one thing you’ll never see in any guide is “just be honest and be yourself”. No, it’s always about putting on a good show, because evidently employers are stupid and can be tricked. But an intelligent raid leader looking for a competent Holy Priest will have a hard time being duped by someone overselling themselves. Either they know what spells are optimal for fight X and encounter Z or they don’t. Either they know the mechanics of every phase of the LK fight or they don’t. And usually all that stuff gets flushed out in the application process.

In conclusion, I have come to believe that for those guilds with strict application processes, it’s nearly impossible to oversell yourself. Funny, because out in the real world, in places that pay you $60K a year, it’s far easier to trick your way into a job just by using some flattering words and coy misdirection in your conversations to keep on topics where you are strong and stay away from subjects you know little about.

I’ve never lied on a resume or in an interview. I’ve never lied to a RL just to get in either. But if I were given the choice of trying to dupe somebody, I would stay away from that guild who requires an application and go for the CFO position at Bank of America (who, btw, is a significant investor in ATVI).

What do you think? Is it possible to be accepted into a high-end guild by fudging your way through an application process by overselling your skills? Have you ever tried it? Shame on you if you did, but you can still admit it – it’s good for the soul and all.

Have an absolutely wonderful weekend. I’ll be working on my song still and planning the destruction of my employer, who laid me off yesterday. CURSE THEM!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

How Do Introverts Find Guilds?

Pain. Agony. My lonliness burns through the cavernous caverns and this awful smelling cave..."Hold on, wait just a second! Did you see this place? I mean, really, get an interior decorator in here and give me a new lyricist cause these words are just, DANG!"

Ok, enough making fun of the Cataclysm Cinematic. Yes, the writing could have been better. I am not here today to talk about that. I'm looking for a bit of advice, and maybe your soul too, if your offering. A couple or few months back, I can't remember exactly, I realm transferred my levl 80 DK from my main's realm (Malfurion-US) to Llane-US. I had to change his name, bummer, but he now rocks that joint as the only Trezzoth in all of Azeroth. Go figure!

I sent him there for two very specific purposes: 1) to help my boys level their characters by providing them with occaisional mats, gear purchases (I don't give them gold, I work with them if they need a big upgrade, but it'll always be nothing more than a green item of the AH that is more appropriate for their level). And what else? Let's see, oh yes, I brought many of the heirloom gear items from my main's realm - which, by the way, I have but all replaced for my Worgen whatevers that I'll be rolling in Cata. Reason #2) To get away, find some peace and quiet, free of guild chatter, social pressures, raiding requests, and so forth.

For these months everything has worked out perfectly. Although my play time is far more casual as a non-raider (currently), the whole peace and quiet thing is pretty easy to come by any time I want. Because of that, something else has taken it's place, anxiety. My DK is beginning to become anxious about Cataclysm. Why? Because he stands guildless. The anxiety is not due to the loss of guild perks that many others will enjoy, I believe rather that it stems from a desire to want to get to know new people on a new realm but I'm really scared to do so.

Despite my putting myself out there on this blog for all you hundreds of thousands of readers to see, I am still quite introverted and incredibly shy. My main's guild grew out of a merger, and my initial guild that I joined when I hit 80 was as a result from a compelling recruitment post in Icecrown general chat. I had responded to the post and talked with the GL for 30 minutes before joining. Everything else just flowed from there. But here I am now, a max level toon on another server, and I don't know a soul. I no longer feel peace but emptiness when I log on to Trezzoth. I really do want to talk to people, to come out of my shell more, but the same anxiety that drives me to meet people keeps me away from them. Each force pulls simultaneously and equally strong, and I'm being ripped apart.

So, what do I do? I tried going online and checking a couple popular sites (including the official forums) for any guilds recruiting for anything that isn't HM1CC25/RS (Need Holy Priest, Feral Druid w/0/33/3 spec). Plus, and this is where the forums are messed up, the recruitments aren't sorted by realm, that I can see. What else have I done? Well, I try to pick up the weekly and try to be somewhat conversational during the 10 minutes I'm with people of the same realm. My thought is that maybe I'll click with someone or I'll be asked why I'm guildless or I'll be inspired to speak up to someone who impresses me. But so far I've had no inspiration or any conversation that would lead to becomming part of a guild.

I also keep my eyes posted to chat, because I've noticed that guilds have started recruiting again in preparation for Cataclysm. Knowing that numbers are good, the more the better in many cases, I'm keeping my eyes out for a guild that meets my needs. Which are:

*Mature (knowing when and where it's appropriate to use certain language)
*Friendly (I will not stand for a guild with people who troll)
*Allow and encourage any/all activty (raiding, pvp, RP, laughing, etc)
*Active - One thing that bugged me that I learned while leveling is that many casual guilds recruit heavily only to find their players never logging in. So one week you'll have 15 people online, and a month later you are flying solo day after day. I don't want that kind of guild.
*A guild with connections, friendly with other guilds who raid. Even though I don't raid right now, I'm rehabbing my back so that one day I'll be able to get back into it. I'm terribly excited to raid in Cataclysm, I don't want Wrath to be my only experience. Especially considering that by the time I was raiding seriously, Naxx & Ulduar were obsolete and ICC was the new IT thing to do (ToC remained something that people did who were desperate for 1 more thing or just really, really bored). I want to be able to experience the first tiers of raiding, but I need time to be phycially strong enough to do it, which means I need a guild who is casual enough to let me hang but progressive enough to want to raid as well...eventually.

I know, I'm a hard case at best. I have strange and diverse needs, and they often are conflicting and don't make much sense. But there they are, as murky as ever. I've seen what happens to people who post in chat "LF Guild", as they get lambasted and told to 'be specific', etc. Do I post a reverse recruiting message of my own with my own requirements (shortened, of course)? It's a possibility. Are there other resources that I don't know about that I can tap into to find guilds that may meet my needs and I theirs? If I knew, I wouldn't be asking.

It's remarkable to me how I've gone from someone who didn't want interaction with anyone to somebody who craves it as much as I do now. I wonder if other people go through similar things in their games. Have you had a change like this before? How did you resolve it?

Introverts want interaction with others, I believe, they're just too afraid to make the first move, like me. Yes, some may always feel like they want to be left alone, but I think even those fine folk want to feel like they are a part of something, something that involves the good will of other people.

If you know anyone on Llane-US (Alliance side, I'm not faction changing), let me know so I can given them a shout-out. Thanks!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

One Million Reasons!

"Terrell has 25 million reasons why he should be alive."
-- Kim Etheredge, Terrell Owens' publicist

To sports fans, you'll recognize this quote. After it was reported that Cincinnati Bengals Wide Receiver Terrell Owens (not playing for Bengals at the time) allegedly attempted to committ suicide, Owens' publicist, in a statement to the press, made the above remark in reference to Owens' recent signed contract.

I've hired Kim here at Deuwowlity to make another statement, this time on behalf of goblins and gold-lovers alike: "Now you have one million (1,000,000) reasons to play WoW."

That's all I could get from her, oh well. She makes a point, which she probably got from checking out MMO-Champion today, where a reminder of sorts was given to us that the gold cap has been raised to One Million. While technically, it seems the actual cap is 999,999g 99s & 99c, we'll round up by one copper and make it an even Million.


What does this mean? For me it means very little, as I've never even approached the gold cap that was in place currently. I guarantee, even if I play this game for 5 more years, I will never have 1M gold in my backpack, or even a total of 1M gold spread out over every alt of every realm, faction, or race, etc. I don't place much value on playing the gold game. There have been exactly three times where I have played that game, and each time it lasted no longer than a week.

The first was when I decided to save up for my epic flying training. It took about 2-3 days to get 5K gold, and I played the game for a few days past that. The second time was when our guild truly became a raiding guild, I wanted to save money for the large amount of gemming/enchanting/other stuff that was going to be needed, so I played the gold game for another 5 days and made tons of gold (per my standards - given I only was online a couple hours a day). The thrid and final time was after I stopped raiding and decided to save for Cataclysm. For a week I played the gold game on an even more limited basis (an hour a day or so), and within that time I earned nearly 10K for each of my two mains (YES I HAVE TWO MAINS, AND SOON I'LL HAVE THREE, WHACHA GONNA DO?).

So, it's not that I don't know how to make gold, it's that I choose not to.

Gold Sellers

I realize there are gold sellers out there who were just made happier that they can now horde more gold per account, but I don't really see this as a buff to gold selling. My opinion is that there will always be people seeking to break the law, and no matter the gold cap, those folk will find ways to sell gold just as they have done in the past. So while they may find the increase of the gold cap a benefit, I don't see that it will boost or curtail gold selling. The only thing that will curtail gold selling are strict regulations and even more strict enforcement. I'm not very tech savy, so I don't know exactly how to police it well, but there must be a way to enforce it better than whatever Blizz is currently doing (if anything).


This group, more than any, should be excited about this change. They can now treasure approximately 4 times as much gold as before. What they will use it for I have no idea, but I'm sure they'll be able to find something. Maybe there will be a race to gold cap, perhaps one of these days we'll see some gold-making website claim that they hit 1M gold and they are the new, self-proclaimed Master of the Universe.

I say fine, let 'em have their glory, let 'em have their day in the sun. I'm all for free markets, and if they can achieve the new gold cap quickly without doing anything against the official Blizzard rules, then I say go for it! There are many legitimate and creative tactics out there for making loads of gold, and those that value that activity will be great at it and I applaud them for it.

Not Terrell

If given a choice, I'd rather be in Terrell's shoes than be first to gold cap. $25 Million real world dollars would be infinitely more welcome than $1M virtual gold. But I'm not Terrell, so I'll have to make due with a fantasy for now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Let's Ride!

Greetings from the Wild, Wild, West! That’s right, boys and girls, I’m all Cowboy’d up and ready to ride (but not into the sunset). As RL settles as the dust about my feet, I’m suited up in my finest leather, my horse is strapped, and the path before me is now clear. Deathwing, I’ve conquered every watering hole from the Mojave to the Rio Grande. I’ve dueled with the biggest and baddest roughnecks this side of the Mississippi. I’ve seen my enemy use fire and ice, shadow and flame, so what makes you think I’m going to be at all intimidated by you?

Groooooooowl! Because I’m huge, and I just ripped the world apart!

What was that? A little wolfie growl? Surely not a big, bad, fire-breathing dragon! Yesterday I was scared of you, but the myth has faded just as your name shall fade from the history books of Azeroth when I am done with you. Ladies and gents, I ride into the Cataclysm, not away. Who’s with me?

My love of Priests cannot be overstated, because today I feel Renewed as I never have before. Perhaps it’s the simple life joy of having all my family again under one roof after a week of torment and distress. No, it’s definitely that, and a renewed hope that this time around there are new and bright paths before us, a faithful certainty that my wife will not have to go back into the hospital. How that changes a person! A renewed vitality has strengthened my love for the game I play, and for the people I play it with (and talk about it with).

What is in the past but things we cannot change? Memories, unalterable except through coercion and disease, refresh me, give me clarity as to the good things that come out of playing and out of blogging, of being part of a community that teaches each other and supports each other. All of this out of some strange common bonds that we share, bonds that shouldn’t exist if I gave myself to deep thoughtfulness. But they do exist, because we share, to whatever degree, small or large, an interest in a game that has spanned the continents and sailed the mighty seas.

And so we play on, riding towards a destruction of the world as we know it with fervor and anticipation unguarded. The world is slowly groaning beneath the feet of people who have changed, some believe for the better and some believe for the worse. Always there will be those that cry foul when a parent takes their ball away from them, and sometimes they do not accept the gift that is a new car or Hawaii vacation because they loved their ball infinitely more than any other gift that had been or could ever be given to them. Perhaps slowly they will begin to see the need to take the ball away from them. Maybe it was made in China and the paint used had lead in it, something the parent knew but the child was oblivious to. There’s a level of trust that exists, then, between player and dev. For all the feedback that we, the players, give, discretion will always remain in the hands of those who wield the power…for good or ill. If change happened just for change sake, I may stand and fight, but although I wear stained glasses, I can still see that change is a-happening for a reason, and it’s incumbent on me to do my part to make sure the change benefits as many as possible.

Cataclysm will change many, many things that we know and love. Changes to our own selves have been drastic in come cases (Paladin), less so in others (Resto Shaman – they were already nearly perfect). Let’s not stray into paths of ill-reason and high expectations, however. We will still be playing World of Warcraft, and many of the basic principles of the game are unchanging, as are my memories still. Rest assured that you will still do battle with Hogger, albeit in a slightly different setting than before. You’ll still wield the power of fire, frost, nature, arcane, and the Light, though you may pass through times of comparative power that you did not experience the first time around.

I’m an old fashioned New Englander, frugal and independent as any good New Hamshire-ite could ever be, and yet as I find myself on my homestead in the Wild West of the Mojave Desert, I’m now influenced by the past and the deeds of the great and even notorious Cowboys the Southwest has ever known. All the fear of the future that I once had is now gone. The trepidation of facing perhaps the most powerful dragon Azeroth has ever seen is assuaged, and the Rebel that I am (UNLV Alumn) is ready and willing to ride into the fire of a bright sunrise and take dead aim at those who would bring hurt and destruction to the world I love. The changes are inevitable, the path is clear, so on I ride into that chasm that is the unknown future, but not without hope, and not without light, and not without all of you. Let’s ride!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010


Introverts are a funny sort, I should know. We keep things bottled up until they explode, and when that happens good things DON'T tend to follow. But can they? Will they ever? A variable longed for in my life is hope.

I've been out of sorts this week. Preoccupied. My thoughts have been scattered and remote. I've been unable to think clearly; lack of sleep does that to you. Where are my friends? Where did my heart go? What happened to my inspiration?

Disclosure: I'm going to speak of incredibly personal things, so if you don't want to know or are not in the mood for that kind of stuff, please don't read on. I will do better next week.

Out of the Darkness - Or Into it?
Anyone who has read my little sliver of the blogosphere for any semi-significant amount of time know that I merge the personal with the game. I am a person playing a game, that there would be crossover is natural and inevitable, and each person experiences the merging of life and game to varying degrees.

Not long ago I stopped blogging for about a week, perhaps slightly more or less, because my wife had been hospitalized. Much to our shock, it's happened again this week. If it were just me and her that would be one thing, I may cry myself to sleep at night and not think twice about it. But I've got two kids who live to love their parents, and it's incumbent upon me to keep them calm and help them understand that their mother isn't going to die, will be able to come home, but unknown to us as to when. To help them deal the best way possible I need to present a strong exterior, or they will get scared. I need to encourage them to talk to me about their feelings, knowing the good that comes from expression. But I cannot reciprocate, I cannot lay my worries on an Eight-Year-Old child. It's not fair to him because he's not emotionally equipped to handle the stress of caring for an adult.

But my heart burns.

I have my parents living close by, and I have a friend that is in a position to help me as well. My wife's best friend helps by picking up the kids from school and such, so there's no lack of support in my life. But still I'm an introvert, and in order to function at all at work and around my kids I need to put on a cold exterior - if I don't I know I'll break down and absolutely lose it!

Music & Writing
I've changed directions with the song I'm attempting to write. Wait. Are you saying that you're going through with this thing, Gronthe? Go and be with your family, it's ok. As I was saying, I'm still attempting to write, and the reason is so that I can channel this emotion in a way that will be both meaningful to me and allow me to tether myself to the real world that I enjoy. Writing, blogging, is what I do because I wish to express myself, not to become popular and have 1,000 readers a day. So I'm continuing to write a song, but don't be surprised if it sounds familiar to my own life, but with obvious WoW overtones.

I play because it's fun and it helps to clear my mind. I play because it's something I can do with my kids, especially since soccer is out of the questions. I play because of my childhood, my teen years, and my adult experiences. I write because I have a hard time expressing myself vocally. Usually when I make the attempt I break down emotionally or end up stuttering myself into incoherent nonsense. Writing, though definately not a master, let's my fingers talk, let's my mind say those things I need to say when saying those things aloud would mean certain tears.

The Song/Musical
I'm still gonna do it. Out of the darkness that is the unknown fate of my wife has come feeling. If I fail to express this feeling it would result in negativity. I need to be allowed to be creative on my terms, and even at night when I know she's resting comfortably and safely, I will be channeling myself into song.

The music I cannot vouch for, I'm not a great musician, but the lyrics at the very least will have meaning, as much for you as they do for me.

I apologize for not being myself lately, I just can't help it. There are things happening in the game that I have opinions about, and I'll share those as both time permits and inspiration abounds. I may be working on my song project a little longer than I first imagined, but it'll definately be done before Thanksgiving, and possibly as early as next week. Time right now is never-ending. Days run into nights which turn into hours of waking and sleeping and confusion.

To everyone out there, I hope you are enjoying the changes in the patch. Late at night when I can't sleep I too have had the chance to feel the power given to many spellcasters, and it's a sight to behold. May your weekend be filled with good moments, memorable sights and sounds, and simple joys such as a fine game with fine friends. Good morning/afternoon/evening/night to you all!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What is the benefit of Casual? Is there any?

Have you ever written a blog post containing nothing but questions? I wonder, would it even work? How many readers would be driven crazy by the incessant ramblings of a person who couldn’t formulate an articulate opinion and relied on the imagination or input from readers to draw conclusions?

How many of you laughed at those in trade chat last night as they asked “when do Assasination Rogues get Mutilate”, and be told “level 82”? How many of you felt sympathy for those players who had no idea not only that patch 4.0.1 would drop but about all the changes contained therein? Could there be an easier way to assist these needy souls and help them through what happens to be the biggest changes to class play since who knows when? Wouldn’t it be great to have a HELP channel? That’s a silly question, for don’t we already have forums for that purpose?

Who will champion the cause of helping the casual? You? Me? Nobody? Are there not already a plethora or resources for these players to access that give them valuable insight and proven, tested methods that will help the player achieve high dps, high threat, or high throughput? But are these people not called casuals for a reason? What could possibly motivate a casual to log on to the internet and perform a search for the best, new Unholy DK DPS rotation?

So when these casuals logged in, or tried to, did not they and you sit face to face with a blizzard downloader and then a new WoW Launcher? Did they not say to themselves, “oh, look at that, a new patch, I wonder what it has for me”? Are you in a position to deny that they said this to themselves?

So to you, Mr./Ms. Casual, what was the biggest shock to your system when you finally saw your character standing there before you with your talents reset? Did you quietly search your talent tree for those comfortable, safe talents that boost Shadow damage by 2/4/6%? Or did you open your heart in trade chat, admit your ignorance and ask for help from the general populace? Did you regret your decision to ask for help from strangers when you were told that the Mage class was being discontinued? Did you fire off a frost bolt just to prove those trolls wrong?

Alas, Mr./Ms. Casual, what shocked you the most? What did you say to yourself when you found that it would take you a month’s worth of heroics just to purchase one PvE heirloom item? Were you mad or were you pleased (for some strange reason)? Did you cry to see all your hard earned stone keeper shards disappear only to discover that they had been converted into Honor Points?

Are you a Druid? Did you mourn the loss of Tree of Life Form as you have come to know and love it? Are you a Paladin and are totally confused at how your DPS can go from 8K to 4K overnight, realizing that now you may have to actually do something to do competitive DPS? Are you a Shaman, realizing that all your abilities to clean yourself, save it be curses, was stripped and torn from you violently? Did you lash out to your family, your guild, other trolls?

In the end we learn a valuable lesson, do we not? Did we not learn that Mr./Ms. Casual has one advantage over all of us who learned about all this stuff beforehand? Did we not learn that to be casual and ignorant is one way to remain innocent and allow us to be truly surprised and have true emotional responses when changes (major or minor) come our way?

I don’t really have any answers, so I’m asking, what do you think?