Friday, May 28, 2010

The Trial of Nmimo the Murloc...Finale

In lieu of Friday Frivolity, or in keeping in the spirit of it, I present the final part to of the cliffhanger "The Trial of Nmimo the Murloc". Enjoy.


Nmimo was taking a mighty risk, he didn’t really know if the true culprits stood among the council or among any other onlookers, but he followed an instinct given to every Murloc in the world. Ready to convey this thoughts, Nmimo stood from the center chair and slowly rotated in a circle careful to catch the eye of everyone in the room.

“Here is my story. On the day in question, the day that ‘someone’ killed my family I had awoken to a perfect sunrise. As I do every day I waded into the river to wash my feet and look at the nature around me. I heard the cries behind me and when I turned to see the cause of the commotion I saw a light, a bright light that I can’t explain flash from somewhere in the sky. Then a flash, of what I’m not sure. Maybe it was another light, but it was darker, almost like a shadow illuminated. All of a sudden I was struck and dazed, I fell to the earth and remembered no more.

It’s clear that the facts of the case are these: 1) An attack was made on the village by some outside force, 2) There was more than one attacker, as the flashes and the lights I saw were at a distance, while the stun and knock out effects were directly behind me, 3) The Argent Crusade, leaders of thousands and millions of warriors who have raided camps of other Murlocs all around the world is suddenly interested in my camp and claiming to have brought justice for an evil act.


Does it not seem strange to everyone assembled here that an unimportant village of peaceful Murlocs is the heart of discussions at a time of war? Last time I checked the Argent Crusade was not at war with the Murlocs nor have they been commissioned to protect my kind.”

Everyone in the room fell silent. Even Tirion Fordring was found staring at his boots as Nmimo delivered his impassioned speech. Feeling confident in the direction of his arguments Nmimo continued.

“I find it interesting, Tirion, that you have chosen a Preist, Warlock and Warrior to carry out my execution, for these are the very three that murdered my family, friends, and villagers.”

Shock and outrage shone on the faces of the three now accused. They looked at Tirion hoping for the order to strike down the defenseless Murloc, to kill him not thrice, but once and utterly. Tirion, as if tormented by some secret shook his head and denied them their wish. Nmimo continued.

“Has anyone ever witnessed a Priest’s Smite ability. It’s a light that starts somewhere in mid-air. It’s strange, really, it’s not released from the Priest’s hands like a Mage’s Firebolt, but is a bright yellow flash of light that starts above the one being attacked and falls down upon their heads.

The flash I saw was the streaking of the Warlock’s Shadow Bolt as it passed from the Warlock’s hands to the heart and soul of some family member of mine. And the Warrior, ah yes, the Warrior. Knocking me silly your stun caused me to faint.

No doubt the Priest, after all three had completely ravaged my village used her power of Mind Control to bring me here assuring that I would have no memory of my own of what happened, how I got here, nor of who was framing me for the killings of my fellow villagers.

Speak to this, Tirion, speak against these charges, Priest-Warlock-and-Warrior. Do I say wrong of thee or does your silence confirm the truth of my words?”

After a short moment that felt more like weeks or months of agonizing silence Tirion Fordring stood and walked over to place himself in front of Nmimo the Murloc. Lowering himself to one knee and bowing his head he exclaimed:

“Nmimo the Murloc, wise and just Murloc, I, Tirion Fordring, ask in the name of the three accused and of the whole Argent Crusade for your forgiveness in our actions. You must know that what we did we had to do, for both your good and for ours.”

Nmimo was stunned at such a quick and outright admission of wrongdoing. Stammering for the right words to say Nmimo could only get out one squeak, “Why?”

Tirion stood back on his feet and began pacing around the room. After another minute and an anguish-filled glance at Nmimo he began to speak loudly.

“What are we doing anyway? I have helped the Alliance and Horde to join together here in Icecrown to topple the Lich King Arthas once and for all. Now we have done that, and what’s left? Rumors have it that Deathwing is stirring and the Elementals are restless, soon they shall break their bonds and be released into all of Azeroth. But until then, what? I ask my people to sit around and do daily sorties that have no meaning? Nay, I shall not burden them with such tedium.

All we wanted was to have some fun, and Murlocs have been a thorn in our side since each of us were level 7. You girggle and run! I mean, really, you guys run so much faster than is normal for any creature in this world, you shouldn’t have to run so fast, it scares me. What is one Murloc camp in the grand scheme of things? All of this, admittedly, is for show. It’s a game we devised since we really have nothing better to do for the next few months. Surely you can understand, surely you won’t hold this against us.”

Tirion was confident that his own speech would lessen the anger boiling in Nmimo’s limbs. In truth, he never valued Murlocs as highly intelligent beings at all. He half expected Nmimo’s response to his initial accusations to be Mrrgggl rrglllmmmrl rmmmurrllgggle. But the Murloc showed a talent for words and a great insight into the human mind.

Nmimo gathered his emotions and calmly replied, “Tirion, I do not accept your apology, but I will accept your store of weapons, ammunition, books of magic and lore and all the building materials needed to rebuild my village to its greater glory, all while adding improved defenses…all supplied by the Argent Crusade.

You owe me this, Tirion, you see that I am not an imbecile nor a simple minded gurgling creature who ‘runs too fast’. I am as skilled with my tongue and my hands, and given some training by your best class trainers, I too shall create my own line of warriors to fight along side whichever faction moves to treat us Murlocs with the respect that we deserve. You will do this, Tirion, or you will die.”

Tirion turned and furiously gazed at Nmimo the Murloc. “HOW DARE YOU!?”

“How dare I, you say? How dare you!? Never have I nor my people ventured to threaten your existence, but if I desired I may call upon the power that my dying brothers and sisters have bestowed up me to rise up in defiance of you and bring you down to the depths of shame. I shall enslave you and your alliances if I must. What say you?”

Tirion pulled his sword from his sheath, all the spell casters and warriors in the room rose in their righteous fury and hurled all their strength and powers at the young Murloc.

With a wave of Nmimo’s hand everyone in the room froze in place, unable to break unseen bonds that held them rooted. Nmimo slowly walked toward Tirion, who was terrified and would have run away from this Murloc had he not been rooted and frozen himself.

Nmimo grabbed a chair and lifting himself on it to get closer to Tirion’s ear he whispered, “Fool, you do not know who you have been dealing with. Don’t listen to what anyone else says, for I tell you the truth. I…AM…DEATHWING.”

Tirion’s eyes widened, fear rushed from him to everyone in the assembly, although they understood not why they were afraid they mimicked that emotion that their leader displayed.

“I shall have my revenge, Tirion. On you, on all of Azeroth. People seem to think strange things about my past, but they do not realize that I was never imprisoned. I have been living among the Murlocs for generation after generation. Your treatment of the creatures I have grown to love after years of living and learning of them has caused me great pain. But now I shall cause you greater pain.”

Then, crying aloud so that all of Northrend could hear his voice, Deathwing exclaimed, “YOU ALL SHALL FEEL GREAT PAIN! Power I give to the Murlocs such as you have never witnessed. A Cataclysm shall reign upon your lands and I shall rule over all my slaves. Nmimo the Murloc no longer shall I be, I am your DESTROYER!”

The scene described here has been a documented fact. The truth of the motives behind Deathwing’s rise in the upcoming Cataclysm are now revealed. Maybe we should have treated the Murlocs better from the start, eh? I, for one, say ‘bring it on’. Deathwing says, ‘mrrglmrrgl’.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Trial of Nmimo the Murloc

The sun broke the tops of the eastern trees sending its rays of light dancing on the surface of the river. A little fish jumped into the air, and for a split second appeared to look from side to side, like a child crossing the street, and then vanished without a hint of a splash beneath the water’s surface. Nmimo the Murloc, son of Yrgl, stretched his neck and gazed out over the river. Inhaling deeply to take in all the sharp, clean scents of the river, Nmimo stepped forward and waded into the river until the water reached his knees.

This will be a perfect day, I can feel it, Nmimo thought to himself. The sun is shining, the fish are jumping, the water meanders at a perfect flow down to the farmlands below. But here, in the most beautiful village in the world, Murtlerglee, there is peace and…

Nmimo’s thoughts of a perfect day were suddenly interrupted by the scream coming from his hut. Turning to see what happened Nmimo suddenly felt his vision go dark. He collapsed. But just before his sudden stun and fall he saw a light and a flash and then nothing.

Nmimo awoke and was suddenly very cold. He looked around to get his bearings and found himself in a stone walled room with only one small window covered with bars. He sensed that it was day outside, but he felt no sun on his skin. It was almost as if there were a storm outside that ceased to allow the suns rays to penetrate its defenses.

A jangling of keys and a twist of a doorknob later Nmimo was face to face with none other than Tirion Fordring, leader of the infamous Argent Crusade.

“What is your name, young Murloc? Speak!” boomed Tirion’s voice.

“M…m…m…Nmimo…s…s…s…sir.” He stammered.

“Well, Nmimo, it seems that we have a problem. Come with me immediately.” Tirion, without waiting for an affirmative response from the young Murloc turned on his heel and strode gracefully and powerfully from the room. Nmimo, unsure of what to do, but sure that it didn’t include staying in that cold…cell any longer than necessary quickly fell in behind the Paladin.

Up some steps, down a wide hall lined with suits of armor, turning left up another flight of stairs and finally into a circular room Nmimo and Tirion entered. All eyes turned on the little Murloc, and I mean all of them. In the room were representatives of every race, class, spec and all other diplomats that could conceivably be found in Azeroth or beyond.

Tirion escorted Nmimo to a chair in the center of the room. “Sit here, young Murloc.”

Nmimo, sitting in the chair as directed became nervous, his eyes started to blink unusually fast and his feet tapped the floor with increased rapidity. Overwhelmed by all of his surroundings he spoke up to all who would listen.

“Uh, would anyone be so kind as to explain what is going on…please!”

As if he were ignoring Nmimo, Tirion Fordring stood and looked around the room, gaining the attention of all present, and spoke.

“Welcome friends, allies, comrades to the Trial of Nmimo the Murloc. Today we shall decide the fate of a Murloc who, despite a plethora of denials, is charged with the slaughter of his entire village of Murlocs. A crime so horrific and dishonorable that we, the Argent Crusade, have deemed it within our jurisdiction to try and sentence the guilty party according to our laws. But before, we shall hear the story directly from the Murloc himself.

Nmimo, please come forth and stand before this council. Place your hands on this pulpit I have here before me and relate your actions to all who have ears to hear. Doing so now will lessen your sentence. Refusing to do so will require immediate punishment…nothing less than death will suffice for your ill deeds.

If Nmimo was scared before, he was terrified beyond imagination now. He, a murderer of his own kind? Never! There must be some mistake, he knew it. How could anyone believe him possible of such atrocity? And what about his memory, all he recalled of that day was a light, a flash, and being stunned and collapsing to the ground. After that he recalled nothing until this morning. Certainly did had no memory of a previous interrogation where he denied the claims. Surely running would be to no avail, not with so many powerful people here to stop him the instant he made the escape attempt. But there had to be a way out of this, there just had to.

I have to start somewhere, so I’ll try this. “Dear Council, honorable and noble, I, Nmimo the Murloc come before you today as an imperfect Murloc. When I was but no bigger than a tadpole I remember taking my brother’s snail collection to a mound of fire ants and pouring them into the mound laughed so loudly that my brother heard me and came running to see what I had done. Upon witnessing such treachery he told our mother who promptly grounded me from any fishing for a week. That was a painful week for my stomach, I can tell you that.

But this…taking of lives of my brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers I have no recollection for I did not do it.”

Tirion started and raised his sword and with fury on his lips cried, “Thrice now have you denied your involvement in the slaughter, and now thrice shall you die. By the hand of this Warlock, Priest, and Warrior you shall suffer three horrific deaths, the final to be your last.”

“Please wait, oh mighty Tirion, for not only do I not recall the day in question, I do not recall previous denials on my part. Plus…” but the crowd already started to grumble and cries of “Death to the Murloc” began being chanted among the council and audience member.


Tirion was startled, his hesitation due to the conviction now present in the Murloc’s voice, conviction that wasn’t present in previous interrogations. Maybe he didn’t do it and my rush to judgment has been hasty. What if he’s right and we have a far worse treachery in our midsts today? Tirion mused to himself. Trusting his instinct Tirion raised his sword again and addressed the crowd.

“We shall hear his story and judge for ourselves if he speaks the truth. Tomorrow, just after your morning jousting training and daily quests, all now here in attendance, and any other you can gather, shall hear the tale and evidence of young Nmimo the Murloc.”

Then turning to Nmimo he added, “And it better be good.”

Come back tomorrow and find out!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Toilet List

I'm sure you've heard of a 'Bucket List', a list of all the things you want to do before you kick the proverbial bucket of death. In a more general sense, it's what you want to do before event X happens. I've seen quite a few bucket lists floating around the internet in various forms, things people want to do before Cataclysm hits.

Well today I'd like to present my Toilet List. Yes, ladies and gentelmen, my toilet list...or the list of all the things that there is no chance of me doing before Cataclysm hits. Not just things that I can't do because it's logistically improbable, like my level18 Hunter killing the LK in ICC 25 Heroic next week. No, I mean things that have about as much appeal to me as sticking my head in a toilet full of...

Maybe I exaggerate, I'm sure I do, but my point is that there are a few things that I have no desire to accomplish because they simply don't appeal to me. They might appeal to you, and that's fine, I'm talking personal preference here and not arguing a side or attempting to offer something as absolute truth. Some of these are specific events while others are activities in general. I'm not asking anyone to agree or disagree, but I'd be curious to see other's Toilet Lists, it would be fun.

Gronthe's Toilet List

Reputation Grinds: None in particular, it's just that I'm sooooooo done with any that matter to me. Over the last few months before Cataclysm I don't think that I would ever want to participate in something where I had to kill like 1000 ogres or 1000 field mice or whatever.

Something like the Explorer title would be cool, but that isn't a grind because you are, by definition, exploring new things and new places with every step forward. The word 'grind' has a negative connotation to it for a reason. So count me out with any more reputation grinds. Also, now faction specific enchants are BoA so there's no specific reason to grind all reps to exhalted.

Loremaster: I want to be understood that I respect this title and achievement. But it's not for me, not now anyway. If I went for this now all I would do is run from quest-giver to quest-giver, look on my map to see where the mobs were, make sure I have bag space for 10 Plague Berries, and burn through without paying any attention to the Lore. I'm not a big one for the lore anyway, in that I don't pay attention as much as others.

Some of the stories are really great and deserve our attention, but there is no way that I would pay that attention if I attempted to earn a Loremaster title now. No, I admit that I would go about it in a rather mechanical fashion, and that is not what that achievement deserves so I'm not going to do it.

Shadowmourne: Not that I could use it (on my Shaman or Priest), although my DK would probably like it. There are certain things about this game that, from the start, have appealed to me and things that have not. I've not ever been big on loot or gear for show. I've concerned myself with equipping the best I can given my circumstances and then performing to the best of my ability, but show has never been a desire.

Now before you think I am saying that "anyone who wants Shadowmourne only wants to show it off and it doesn't have any practical use", I'm not saying that at all. It's that you need to rely on so many factors to obtain it, and I am just way too casual to care. I've got a great guy in my guild who talks about it all the time in every guild and pug run possible. It's his obsession. That's cool, but it ain't mine. Now if it was BoE and he wanted to give it to me I'd take it, but I'm not looking for it.

Gold Cap: Two reasons, 1) I can't forsee any need to have 214K+ gold and 2) I don't care enough to make that much gold. No, I am not a moron or a slacker. I am, in fact, a well educated, highly intelligent and resourceful man but I have my set of values and priorities in this game and gold making simply isn't a priority.

Could I if I wanted to? You bet! I've studied psychology, economics, finance, accounting, sociology and politics to understand market forces and what drives prices and markets...even in a game economy like wow - but I choose to spend my play time in various activities with my many, many alts. It's how I roll and there's nothing wrong with it.

In case you haven't noticed, a common theme for each is that I just don't care enough. I'm not apathetic, I just have priorities and these on my Toilet List aren't one of them. Anyway, continuing.

Tank: I recently leveled my DK to 80. Initially I planned on making him a tank, and told my guild I would do so. But upon reaching 80 I realized something, I don't want to tank. I have tanked all of 3 times in my life on lower level alts (a druid, pali, warrior) and in not one of those instances did I enjoy it in the least. So much for promises. Actually I never promised, I just said that it was likely I would tank. Might I enjoy it in the future? Maybe. But until Cataclysm comes out I ain't-a-tankin'. I love to play DPS classes, and occaisionally heal with my Discipline Priest (I heal with my Shaman but I have no particular love of it - I do it because my guild needs me to).

I don't like to DPS to top the meters, I'm not "one of those guys", but I enjoy the variety that comes with different encounters and differnt abilities that I can use to take down a world elite solo-style. I sometimes enjoy the repitition of rotations, it makes sense to me as an accountant - doing the same thing over and over yielding excellent results feels good to me. Again, I'm not saying that tanking is boring or you can't be creative or useful, all I'm saying is that at least for the next few months, tanking holds zero appeal to me and that's final!

So look, I know there's a lot out there that you want to accomplish before Cataclysm. You may have your bucket list ready to roll. I'd like to know what's on your Toilet List, however, and if there is something that you absolutely will not do before Wrath ends. I'd like to hear from you, fell free to comment as much as you want.


Monday, May 24, 2010

On MMO's, Attitudes, and Other Crap

I've been inspired. Larisa and her pink pig tails brought to my attention (not the first to do it nor the last) the sentiments of a segment of the gaming population that purport that MMO's are in need of a Cataclysm of it's own, as the current menu items are stagnant and on the verge of plunging into oblivion.

I didn't think leaving a comment would allow me to express all my thoughts that wouldn't have her deleting it due to its length, so I'm saying what I think right here. So listen up.

You can check out the article that got Larisa going, and consequently me as well. There is talk about lack of evolution or innovation. Let me quote Wolfshead here so I get it right:

"The only explanation I can fathom for the lack of evolution in the genre is that Blizzard is purposely withholding all of their innovations for their upcoming next gen MMO..."

Let me get this straight, Blizzard is to blame for thousands of other people not being innovative? That would assume that other game developers are paid by Blizzard to not innovate, not yet anyway. This argument assumes that Blizzard is so powerful they control the budgets and development of the entire industry.

I am lucky enough to live in America, and even more fortunate to live on planet Earth (not that I'd have much of a future on Venus or Mars or something). But in my country and in our world there are many intelligent, ambitious, creative, and innovative people who seek to maximize their talentsa, abilities, and sometimes their profit margins to create competitive products and services. There are a few industries where people are paid to be unproductive, the US Governemnt pays farmers to not farm too much (Don't believe me? Research it yourself and find out that I'm telling the truth).

Sorry, I digress.

MMO industry is not the farming industry, other MMO companies are not paid to not innovate, and to claim that one company holds the strings on the release of all innovation is ridiculous at best.

I haven't been around 11 years, more like 1 and 1/2. I've seen clearly the stangant nature of a new level 80 having to spam run heroics to gear up, day after day after day...but that's not the whole game. It's true that you can't do any/everything you want in a game, all games have rules and limitations and we live and play these games with that foreknowledge. It then is in our hands whether to pursue entertainment in this manner knowing that inherent to any game will be limitations of some sort. Innovation, although limitless, still must find joy within the bounds of certain laws.

As part of Wolfshead's concluding statement he relates the following:

"What I’m going to say will sound trite but it needs to be said: read a book, take up a hobby, plant a real garden, walk a dog, spend some time with your family and friends, seek out the meaning of life. Get some perspective and open your eyes. At least for me, maybe I need to realize that there’s more to this life than looking at a computer screen and hoping for salvation from a virtual world."

If you think it will sound trite it's because it is trite...and unnecessary. One thing I've discovered in my lifetime and experiences is the gross danger in making broad sweeping generalized statements that attempt to explain behavior of masses while completely ignoring individual circumstances.

"Read a book." I've read half a dozen in the last month, how's that for ya?

"Take up a hobby". I've got plenty of those and dedicate myself to them a little bit every week.

"Plant a real garden". I live in Vegas, we're not allowed to use water here.

"Walk a dog." I'd rather kick one, but that's just me.

"Spend some time with your family and friends." I have no friends. Actually, I spend more time with my wife and kids than with myself. I love my family and constantly do stuff with them and love every minute of it.

"Seek out the meaning of life." I'm religious, yes, and guess what...I believe I know what the meaning of life is. I'm working every day to be a better person to achieve that meaning in it's fullness. Check that one off the list as well.

"Get some perspective and open your eyes." This assumes that I have no perspective and am blind to all around me. Broad sweeping generalization here! I've lived in various countries around the world, speak different languages, have been educated in worldly and spiritual matters, am active in politics and strive to view issues from all sides. I am a contradiction to the arguments that Wolfshead has put forth.

I don't seek salvation from a virtual world, and I don't think that anyone else does either. Yet after all this I play WoW. Why? I have my reasons (First, Second, Third). I play it and most of the time I enjoy it. I don't claim to believe that it's the most graphically intense, sociallly pure, or most intelligent game I've ever played. In fact it does not lead the list in any category I can think of. But what it does have is a well-roundedness that I enjoy. It's good at a lot of things, much like myself. Maybe that's what I like about it.

I'm not sure what Wolfshead or any other who agrees with him wants out of a game. Or maybe they realize that video games are more trivial than any other activity life has to offer and therefore it should be avoided at all costs. I sure hope they don't watch TV, I can't think of anything less productive than that.

Oh, and one more thing (less wow related). Here is a quote again from the same article:

"There’s an old saying that goes like this: people get the government they deserve. This same logic applies to MMOs: players get the MMO they deserve because ultimately we vote with our dollars."

"People get the government they deserve." Wow, I mean, wow. This isn't offensive or anything, is it? Let's not mix politics with video games too much, the comparisons aren't fair or accurate and won't do anyone credit to make such comparisons. But given that he went there, so will I (with a bit of sarcasm, so please indulge me).

Here are a list of people that would definately agree with that:

Jews living in Germany during the 20's, 30's and 40's.
Chinese people of today and many generations past under the reign on Communism.
Cubans under the dictatorship of Castro.
Russians under the rule of Stalin.
The people of the old Czechoslovakia who were rounded up and murdered simply because their GOVERNMENT decided that they weren't of sufficient human worth. Yep, this is a good one too.
Yeah, these people most certainly enjoyed having freedom of everything usurped and having mass genocide made upon them. I do not swear, as a personal rule, but if anything would ever make me cry out profanities it would be a statement that attempted to prove that people DESERVE the government they get. This is a gross example of over-generalizing and even worse, outright stupidity and insensitivity.

I would assert that nobody listen to a person who could make a claim without thinking of the consequences of such statement. But it was said, and poorly done so.

Back to the issue of MMO's in general, and WoW in particular. I still enjoy it, mainly becuase I make a point of taking time to do things and play in ways that is fun for me despite what anyone else says about it. It's my life, and this is something, just one thing that I do to have fun. When it stops being fun I'll stop, case closed. Frankly, I don't care much what innovation there is or isn't, I have no expectations so I have no way of being let down. But to say that one company is to blame seems to slight the intelligence, creativity, and spirit of everyone else in the world who is attempting to make a better MMO, a better community, a better place for everyone to play.

Let's give encouragement to those who want to have a better game AND are doing something about it. They are out there and they're working hard (unless, of course, you believe Blizzard is paying them to NOT innovate). Do what you want, don't do what you don't, but don't be trite is all I have say for now.

Class Balance and Switching Mains

My guild runs 10-mans, mostly. Lately we started a 25-man run 1x/week for extra kicks, although I don't know if my back can take an extra night of raiding. Anyway, we have 2 ten man groups, in mine we roll with 2-3 healers (a couple of us rotate between our hybrid specs so one may dps while the other heals and vice versa). 85% of the time when we roll into a 3 healer fight it's 2 shamans and one of the following: Holy Priest, Paladin, and most recently Druid.

I have a priest sitting in the wings, unable to do anything because there is no need for another shadow priest in our guild, we recently have recruited more ranged DPS and picked up 3 new shadow priests, bringing the total to 6. Plus my SP isn't my "main", according to everyone else (I despise the use of main and alts, but most understand the distinction so I'll use it to appease). But the more I heal on my shaman, standing next to our other shaman, I get the feeling that I should very much like to change my alt into a main, and finish a project I've been working on for a while and run her as Discipline full time. No priest in my guild has a Disc offspec, I'm the only one.

Problem: As is the case with many Discipline Priests, their worth is highly undervalued and abilities grossly misunderstood, and in my guild the sentiments are no different. So how does one go about changing mains when their guild is in the process of fighting their way to defeat the Lich King? I can't go into ICC unless I pug it and my back can't take two extra nights of raiding, neither can my family. I run fights and think all the time (wow, my shaman can't do this or that but my Disc Priest could and then some), but I can't do anything about it.

Another problem is that I love to DPS as Shadow. It's as fun as my Enhancement spec. But I know I could forget that and heal as Disc. So how would you go about making the change? Do I just do stuff on the side when I can and gear up, and once I get my gear and experience to a certain point tell my gleader that I'm changing mains? Is this acceptable behavior in a guild, to change mains mid progression? I don't know, that's why I'm putting it out there, to judge the social norms of the player base.

I've seen the videos and listen to and read the testimonials of how useful a good Discipline Priest can be in ICC. For the sake of healing class balance would it be a good thing? For the sake of my guild unity would it be a bad thing?

By the way, I will not promise to never use poetry again to make a point. Well, it wasn't exactly poetry, and my Shakespeare style writing isn't perfect, but I shall resort to it again when the whim comes upon me.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Friday Frivolity!

It's Friday Frivolity time again, boys and girls! I welcome stories from any and everyone on something funny, something insignificant, something of pure senselessness but at the same time worthy enough for you to share it.

Take time to post it in the comments section. It can be a funny thing from real life, from wow, from another game, or anything you like. I just have 2 rules: Please no foul/offensive language and please do not say anything bad about anyone else's comment/story.

This is all about the frivolities of our lives, of our games, and how the two come together so often. Every friday I will leave the forum open to anything that gives you humor and makes you smile. If you want to contribute a post to the front page just email me at I'll review it and post it as long as it meets my criteria above.

Last weekend I was running ICC 25m with part guild part pug. I can't remember what exactly was going on but I started yelling at some idiot who kept blabbing at how awesome he was while standing in fires and dying on every fight. At a time of hightened annoyance my wife walked into the room. I know she asked me some kind of question, but with my headphones on I didn't quite catch it. Unfortunately at the same time she finished asking her question I went on a rant about how utterly stupid that idea was and that "your're an idiot" in various forms strayed from their intended target to my wife's ears.

Next thing I know I hear her scream:


It dawned on me that she thought my response was to her question, not realizing I was yelling at the moron on my screen.

"Oh baby, I wasn't talking about you."

It was about the only thing I could think of quickly. I then pointed to my screen, took off my headphones and asked, "Now what amazing and wonderful thing did you ask me again? I'm sure whatever it is it's perfect."

Oh, that was embarassing indeed.

Let me hear from you, what stories would you like to share today in Friday Frivolity!?

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

To Burn or Not to Burn

To Burn or Not to Burn - That is the question.
Whether tis nobler in the game
To level slowly from 80 to 85
Or to oppose such atrocity and to burn,
Aye, to burn through content
As if there is only one important function -
To Raid.
How the heart longs to take it's time
To see the mighty changes of the world,
Deathwing, the Elements, forces of that change.
Would be a sorrow indeed to be blind
to such a Cataclysm for vanity's sake.
But who such bends the will?
Who indeed shall determine, once and for all
Whether tis at all so noble to walk,
and not to run,
Aye to run at the speed of lightning?
Which, when fixing it's eye on the target
Finds its way into the soul, only to find
that through the burn I alone have been burned.
Thus guild leaders makes cowards of us all.
For it's to their will that we might bend,
and leaving all courage behind we burn,
burn our way from 80-85 and not live
our lives that we so arduously created.
Nay, that is left to those with true valor,
to stop, to see, to smell, to live.
The left hand loves meat while the right
delights in the easiness of lettuce.
Tis a choice to be made, but not by me
rather by those whose values we fear.
Even though I find myself in a raiding guild,
am I to put off all that I strive to be,
all that I worked to become, all at the whim
of the guild leader?
Oh that the rules had been set by a lesser man,
and to ask myself if what I value is,
and ever was what my guild leader values;
to run, to be blind, to burn.

From 80 to 85.

Joran and The Dragon

It was an age of superstition, shrouded magic, dark legends. It was an age of valour. In a land until at present forgotton was born Joran, seer and doer of the will of the Dragon. Humble were his beginnings, son of a blacksmith and brother to a harvester Joran applied himself in the apprenticeship of both. His father Preol, had Joran manage the fires in his shop in the mornings. In the afternoon Toran, 10 years the elder or Joran, taught him the delicacy with which the seeds must be sown to yield the optimal crop in the perfect season.

Joyful in his labors Joran became strong in both body and mind. His dutiful mother, Sieleya, would impart intelligence to him; reading, writing, history and philosophy. In such a situation one could not help but grow in satisfaction and admiration of the life gifted. Joran was such a one, ever grateful to those whom he loved, obidient because of said love, ever mindful of becoming the best man they all hoped he would one day achieve.

The Dragon claimed to be neither good nor evil, but the seer and speaker of unfulfilled truth. His power was in to show people the future. But to just witness the future without understanding the consequences was, in the Dragon's mind, insufficient knowledge. So he endeavored to enlighten the minds of those willing to gaze into his eyes. What he showed them was that the future is always conditional, but nobody can escape the consequence of their decisions.

The Dragon, in the age of Joran, had become nothing more than a distant memory to those of the land. But superstition wayliad many plans of courageous adventurers, superstition so strong that even the most outspokenly valiant did not dare enter the caves of the great mountains for fear of meeting the Man-Eater, the Terrible, the great Dragon of the past. Of course nobody in truth believed that such a dragon existed, but superstition held them at bay.

Until one day.

Joran was planting corn on the edges of farm near the northern borders of the forest. The light caught his attention, a light that eminated from deep within the forest. It wasn't a natural light, the sun was in the south this time of year. This light changed color and shape, and as Joran approached it he noticed that all view of his farm had dissapated into the darkness of the trees around him. Now the light seemed to be moving, slowly at first then faster and faster as Joran approached.

Out of breath and reeling of pain in his side, Joran fell to the ground and moaned. Water, he just wanted water to quench his insatiable thirst.

"Then water you shall get, young Joran."

The voice startled the young man, it seemed to be coming from the source of the light, which was now in the opening to a giant cave. Joran was at the base of the Great Mountain, and the cave of the Dragon.

As Joran stared at the light it began to shape shift. First it was a deer, then a bear, then a mammoth, then a snake, then a lizard, and now a giant Dragon. Startled and frightened Joran quickly glanced around him for anything that could be used as a weapon, but found that he had fallen in a grassy field that preceeded the cave.

"A blade of grass, as beautiful as it is will not serve as protection against me, the Man-Eater," snorted the dragon. His laugh was menacing yet hinted at playfulness. The Dragon did not wish for Joran to fear him, for he was, in truth, a peaceful creature who only wished to impart intelligence and wisdom to man. To Joran, in particular.

"Peace, Joran, I shall not eat you. I have brought you hear so that you may see. You must see! Will you not gaze into my eyes to see the truth of your future?"

Joran, stunned and confused by the tone and the change of subject from the dragon started. Slowly he rose and approached the dragon. Curiosity overcame reason and Joran spoke to the Dragon: "Who are you, what is it that you want to show me? I care not for my future for I will make it each day that I live. There is nothing you can tell me, show me or do to me that will change me. So be at it, Dragon, do your worst."

"It is neither bad nor good that I am come to give to you, but a choice. Look and see."

Joran gazed into the eyes of the dragon - and light filled his mind.

The next morning Joran found himself waking in his bed, his real and very much his own bed.

"Just a dream?"

His brother's voice refuted the question, "I doubt it, thick-head. I found you asleep in the field late last night, obviously I've been working you too hard. What happened?"

Jorans retort was cautious and slow, he wasn't sure if he had experienced what he thought he experienced. "Nothing, I must have fallen asleep, that's all."

"Huh! Well, it's time for breakfast, sleepy-head. Mother has food for you at the table, get up and get clean and get moving, kid!"

Morning at the blacksmith was easier than usual. His father tasked him to move all the tools from the storage onto the new wall recently constructed to fit all of the tools the blacksmith had acquired over the years. But the tools seemed light and the task simple. Cheerily Joran worked and soon was finished. It was a wonder to both Joran and his father, Preol, who was pleased to see Joran finish so quickly and so early.

"You may go home early today, Joran. Very well done. I expected the job to take two full days at least, I was preparing excuses to give to Toran as to why I kept you late these two days, but now that you are finished you may spend the next day harvesting the yearly mellons. Give this to your mother as well, will you child?"

Preol handed Joran a small envelope. Maybe this was another love letter or poem and Preol had written to his wife Sieleya. After 28 years of marraige they loved each other more now than they day they first fell in love.

"Yes father, and thank you. I will see you at supper."

As Joran walked from his father's blacksmith shop and started down the road to his home, he felt a strange feeling in his heart. He couldn't describe it, it was if he was reliving something from his past, some evil event that already occured but he could not describe nor remember it clearly. It only came to his recollection moments before he thought of it. What an odd sensation this was to him, but worse it was ominous. Something was about to happen, and Joran suddenly felt that he did wrong.

He turned and ran back towards his father's shop when all of a sudden a giant explosion erupted from the blacksmith's fire, blasting the entire building to tiny pieces of metal, wooden slivers and ash. Horrorstruck Joran screamed in terror as he was witness to the destruction laid before his eyes. His father was dead, he knew this. Not simply because he felt it but his father's severed hand landed directly in Joran's path as the shop exploded. Grasped in the hand was a simple blacksmith's hammer, burning hot from the eruption.

Joran was inconsolable as he brought the news to his brother and mother. Falling on their knees the family wept through the night. Shortly before the sunrise when Joran's brother and mother had fallen asleep, Joran saw a light outside his window. He ran to it, accross the field and through the woods to the opening of the cave.

"You knew this! You knew it would happen and did nothing! Dragon, come forth and answer for your sin!"

The Dragon came forth with no look of triumph in his eyes, only sorrow. "I can do nothing, that is not in my will or power to do. It's my destiny to show you yours, nothing more and nothing less. But if you don't remember, look again at what I showed you."

Joran was crying but felt the truth of the Dragon's words. He gazed into his eyes and witnessed two scenes. The first was what occured the previous day. Stung by the horror of having to witness his father's death twice he attempted to wrench away from the Dragon's gaze, but once you gaze you may not be released until the vision is complete.

The second scene began in his father's shop, but Joran was not done with his job. He was struggling under the weight of his own complaining, which made the assigned task difficult in the extreme. He saw his father speak to him and say he had a message to deliver to Sieleya and would be back before mid-day meal. As his father approached his door 3 villans hiding in the trees ambushed him and threw him indoors. Already inside were Sieleya and Toran, bound with rope. Preol was bound as well as the thieves rummaged through their valuables. Upon leaving one said, "We cannot leave witnesses, they have seen us and now they must die."

He witnessed the cries of his family as their heads were torn from their torso and the house burned down. Horror, evil, it was the heart of the Dragon as Joran believed it. Released from teh Dragon's spell he stared in disbelief.

Calmly the dragon said: "The villans, upon seeing the explosion moved on to a different village. They will not return, ever. Your choice, young Joran, was to decide whether your entire family died or just your father. Although you seemed to forget much of what I showed you, in your heart you knew that your best choice was to live without complaint. That led you to work harder, smarter, and faster than you ever have before. As a result only your father died, and you shall have the comfort of the rest of your family until the end of your days. Not everyone is so selfless, indeed had you chosen to whine and complain and proceed in selfish ways the consequence was the destruction of your whole life, of all your relations. I commend you, therefore Joran, for a choice well made."

Joran wandered the forests for weeks, unable to believe that he had a choice in the matter at all. That no matter what he did he could not save his family from pain. 'Is this any less pain', he thought, 'to lose just one rather than the whole? Death is pain, life is pain. Why was I given the reigns of fate to whip and direct at will'?

Joran lived the remainder of his days in agony, but only within. Outward appearances were of a man who lived well, married better, and had many children of his own. He was good and kind and thougtful and ever cheerful. Inside, however, he wished selfisheness because he wished death upon himself. Why could he not bring that upon his own fate? Why did he seem destined to do the will of the Dragon and never his own?

It's a question that haunts him even today, in peaceful slumber.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Good Experience

I just wanted to link to a post of a pug group that evidently had a great time together. The post explains it all. I would just like to say that despite the belief that conflict is the only thing that sells in entertainment, I believe that positive experiences like this can sell as well.

Enjoy the story.

Blog: Falling Leaves and Wings

The True Hero

Given the audience it won't come as a big surprise that one of my favorite movies is The Lord of the Rings trio of movies. I also love any movie Denzel Washington is in because he's just so darn magnetic. Aside from my obvious man-crush, I enjoy movies and stories with great characters.

A debate has raged on in my own mind, a debate that I vocalize with my wife more often than she would like, is 'who is the true hero of Lord of the Rings, Frodo or Sam?'. More importantly, what does this have to do with you or me who play World of Warcraft. Stick around, I'll attempt to make the connection.

To determine who the true hero it has been required of me to not only define the term hero but to further define the words that define hero (I hope that's not too confusing). According to Webster's Dictionary a hero is:

a : a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b : an illustrious warrior c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d : one that shows great courage

Wow, neither Frodo nor Samwise fit either A or B from above definition. C is only partial, since they are not men they are clearly Hobbits. So I guess we'll have to go with part of C and all of D to help further the case for one or the other.

Frodo: Did he display courage and noble qualities in his quest to fulfill and achieve his goal?
Samwise: Ditto

They both fit that description, crap! That means that they are equally heroes, and that just can't be. I'll have to throw in my own reasoning at this point. A hero must display this courage and other noble qualities while under the hand of suffering. Who suffered more, Frodo or Sam? Frodo carried the ring for far longer than Sam. It's weight, it's power a constant and unwelcome companion through many trials. For all that Sam did to help lift and support his master to the slopes of Mount Doom, clearly Sam did not suffer as a much as Frodo, which clearly makes Frodo the superior hero.

But wait, define suffering? Does suffering include in it a component of sacrifice? If so then is it not fair to say that Sam, knowing the danger he went into and knowing all that he left behind in the Shire offered up the greater sacrifice? He left a place he loved and a hobbit lady he loved to serve his master whom he also loved to the bitter end. He entered a tower filled with orcs against all judgement, he defended himself and Frodo against the wiles of Gollum to the best of h is ability. And even when Gollum thought he had Sam and Frodo trapped, it was Sam who found a way to defeat Shelob, displaying courage not even the greatest of Elf warriors ever displayed. And when all of his strength had abandoned him and his master, it was Sam who, despite the loss of strength, conjured the will to lift his master onto his back and carry him up the side of Mount Doom. Clearly, does this not indicate a greater sacrifice and overt courage than Frodo? Clearly Sam was the true hero.

At the end, however, what was sacrificed by Frodo if not his whole life and soul. Some say that he was weak and lost to the power of the ring, but I think his display of heroism proved that the most noble and courageous are imperfect. So when he claimed the ring for his own it was the epitomy of his sacrificing his life in his quest to destroy the ring. He lost everything, he always believed he would, and yet he persisted toward his goal. Without a doubt, Frodo was the true hero.

My friends, let us talk shop here. Let us understand each other. We play a game, a fun game, and exciting game, a game with lore, beauty, purpose. We, each of us, can be a hero as great as Frodo or Sam. I'm not talking about giving your life, that would be stupid. What I mean is that the defining characteristic of both of those heroes was they made a choice, a conscience decision to strive to achieve something so many believed to be a hopeless journey. Larisa has suggested, as she did on a comment here, to cut down on blog reading and the such to avoid the negativity that exists from those who have been around for a while and are not as excited as those few who are still fairly new to the game and still enjoy the smallest pleasures.

I understand her now, I get it and it makes sense. Every now and then I may say something ragefilled, but do not construe it as me being fed up with the game and on the verge of a break. I have learned my lesson already, and learned it the hard way. You see, when I first reached 80 I went into a frenzy. For some reason I was always anxious that I was behind the progression curve of every other 80. I was always fighting to gear up and progress up, but my own personality and overly shy attitude often froze me into inaction.

But then I made a choice. I made the choice to remember what I loved about the game, what I enjoyed doing and why I loved it so. That choice saved this game for me, it kept the spark alive. I am a big believer in choice and that only your choices affect your attitude. There may be circumstances outside your control that affect your external life, but you can always choose how you feel about it and how you react to it.

We don't control (directly and absolutely) what changes are made to the game we love. Some changes we like others we don't, but how we react to those changes is up to us. I can't wait until Cataclysm, I think that there are a lot of changes to the world that I will truly enjoy. But until then I've decided to keep on having fun in whatever way I feel like the moment I log in every night. If I feel like leveling a new toon, raiding ICC, trying to get a group to run Naxx or Ulduar, or doing Argent Tournament dailies, or making gold, or taking my 80's into lower level dungeons that I've never seen just to see it I will do it.

I can understand it if people get tired or bored or lethargic, I really do get it. I think it's mostly a natural response when you've been at the same things for years. Luckily I ain't there, I'm here, still considering myself new. And Larisa, I'm still gonna read blogs (but more guarded now). If I see negativity I'm gonna check back another day and see if there's something positive. I don't mind negativity as long as the arguments aren't based on offending rather than working to solve a problem. Still, I rather follow the examples of two of the greatest heroes of fantasy literature, speaking of course of Frodo and Sam, who made a choice that changed their lives and the lives of all those they influenced by their actions. Maybe I can do the same, or Larisa, or you or somebody else in the blogosphere.

Have fun, stay positive, remember those good things that made you love this game in the first place and do them! Be the true hero by your choice!

By the way, the winner was Frodo, but I still love Sam. Not as much as Denzel, but I still love 'em all.

Monday, May 17, 2010

That's What it Feels Like

The first few times in ICC, that is when it was first released and I wasn't as well geared as I am now, I ran as my preferred spec...Enhancement Shaman. It was great, we wiped on Marrowgar over and over, but that was ok. As a guild we were inexperienced and undergeared, but we had fun trying.

Quickly people began gearing up more and a few top geared people got experience with other guilds for a few weeks, experience they brought back to us lowbies (how generous). It was about this time that my guild lost some people and I was called on to heal.

I had only commenced down the road of Restoration shortly before this request was made. True, I had been saving some gear for the occaision, but never intended to use it. But I was either going to heal in this guild (as there was no active recruiting going on) or I wasn't going to be a part of any raiding unless I wanted to pug or /gquit.

So Resto I went, and continued until Saturday. We organized a pug 25M, mostly with my guild and one other with a few scattered true puggers to fill it out. I was given the chance to DPS.

I was so nervous I made a deal with a druid to heal the first 3 fights then switch to Enhance while he went heals from the 4th fight on. Good thing it was Saurfang, I just had to stand there and bash my axes into his rear side. (As an aside, it would hurt to be hit in the butt with axes, daggers, swords and maces. I and my wife like my butt).

It was great, my kids loved it, it felt like the good'ol days when I was doing what I loved the most. We got to Rotface and wiped (btw I was around 5-7th on dps). Suddenly there were voices on vent saying:

"I think we need Gronthe to switch back to heals. Absolutely no offense to your dps, it's just that I don't think we can do this without your absolutely kick @$$ heals."

There were a few other comments along those lines. My kids hated that! But I realized as soon as it happened that I had just been paid an incredible compliment by these people. As a healer I can't stress enough how underappreciated we feel. Rarely do people mention us unless they wish to complain about not healing enough, or blame for a particular wipe is laid on our doorstep. To be shown such appreciation and admiration for something that I never wanted to do in this game...EVER...made me feel like I had finally made the transition, and that makes healing that much more palatable for me.

I still love to play with my Enhance spec, I run my daily random as DPS just to keep up with the feel and play of the spec. I wouldn't want to forget how to play him, you know, just in case I was asked to DPS in, let's say, ICC on a random Saturday!

For as grateful as I was to have earned the compliments of my healing prowess, it was nice to know how it feels to contribute in a more brute force sort of way to raid success.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Frivolity!

I'm starting something here, today. It's called Friday Frivolity. It is where I welcome stories from any and everyone on something funny, something insignificant, something of pure senselessness but at the same time meaning enough for you to share it.

Take time to post it in the comments section. It can be a funny thing from real life, from wow, from another game, or anything you like. I just have 2 rules: Please no foul/offensive language and please do not say anything bad about anyone else's comment/story.

This is all about the frivolities of our lives, of our games, and how the two come together so often. Every friday I will leave the forum open to anything that gives you humor and makes you smile. If you want to contribute a post to the front page just email me at I'll review it and post it as long as it meets my criteria above.

I'd like to share a commercial that I heard on the radio recently. I believe it translates well to written form. I will not relate it verbatim because I can't, but I'll get as close to the essence of it as possible. The setting is a man speaking lovingly and adoringly to his girlfriend. So without further ado, welcome to Friday Frivolity!

Boy: Sarah, I just have to say that I...I...I love you. You are so very special to me. I think that it's time that we take our relationship to the next level. Sarah, will you marry me?

Girl: .......

Boy: Sarah?

Girl: .......

Boy: Sarah?

Girl: My name is Rachael.

The floor is open. Share what you like. Let the Frivolities begin!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Call to Frolic!

The world needs more frolicers. Especially the World of Warcraft. Oh sure, you may debate that the world we play in is that of Warcraft, but the FACT is that every army this world has ever seen has set aside time to relax, have fun, let their hair down and maybe, just maybe frolic.

Let's take the Civil War (in the US) for an example. Has anyone ever seen the movie Glory? I'm probably older than most of you, but if you had any taste or sensibility you would find a way to watch this movie.

In short, it's the story of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry made up entirely of African-American men, except for the officers (the story is actually told from the perspective of the commanding officer, Colnel Robert Gould Shaw - a white dude). One of the iconic moments for me in the film is when the 54th is assembled after many long days of training around the troop's campfire. All of their stress, all of their worries, all of their trials and tribulations are absorbed in a musical and religious song - with periodic spoken statements of hope and faith by the soldiers.

Shaw relates in a letter to his father how amazing it is to him how the men can relax and laugh with each other so easily despite the difficult training and living conditions and the knowledge that many of them may very well meet their end one day. It's so easy for them to play games when the day's duties are over. Admittedly I don't recall any frolicing going on, but then again I wasn't actually alive to witness it. I like to think that somebody was having a frolic.

So after a raid, do you frolic? Before a raid, to get your mind free and clear for what will soon become havoc and confusion, do you frolic? Please dont' say "I need to focus before a fight" or "after a raid I just need to sleep". Please! To frolic is to release, to relax one's mind and free it from worry and stress. You will sleep much better if you run around the woods spawning lifebloom and singing to the deer. Not only that but it will make you smile.

You've got to try it, at least once. Frolic! Do something impulsive, merry, fun! Run around singing Phantom of the Opera or reciting Emerson or bellowing out Nirvana, I don't care. Just Frolic!

If, after you've tried it you don't feel better I will guarantee a refund of all your morose, melancholy, moody, stressed out feeling free of charge. I dare say that if frolicing doesn't improve your mood, you probably deserve to feel stressed out and tired. So good luck with that!

As for Glory, don't watch it thinking it will make you frolic, but it's still one of the greatest movies ever made. I fell in love with Denzel Washington because of that movie. But what the 54th teaches us I challenge you to do. When your job of raiding or dailies or randoms is over, take time to relax and enjoy the world around you. Take time each day to'll be the best 2 minutes of your day.

Hooray for frolicing!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Fancy Talk and Arguments

I am not a philosopher. I am not intimately familiar with the structure of a valid or sound argument. I know of many fallicies and can recognize some of them when used, but I am not close to being an expert. But I have 5 senses still, for which I am grateful, and I have instinct. With these highly imperfect tools I can sniff out, see clearly, hear with perfection the most ridiculous arguments that are intended to either sway my opinion or prove my opinion false.

Pardon me for getting just a little bit political, but politicians are perfect examples. I will tie this into wow, trust me. For those of you outside the US, we have a television channel here in the States called CSPAN. On it we can watch our congress hold hearings, debates, congressional sessions and votes. It's a wonderful opportunity to watch our fearless leaders debate the most important subjects.

My favorite to watch are sessions where they question our head of the Federal Reserve Bank. Many of there questions are phrased like this:

"Thank you Mr. Bernanke for being here today. I am sure that you saw, as well as I did, that the DOW (Dow Jones Industrial Average) had an intraday loss just yesterday of over 900 points. Does this not prove that President Obama is not managing our economy well and we need to lower corporate tax rates equal to the lowest in the world? You're a sensible man, I see, can you please explain what the President is doing wrong in a way that everyone here can understand?"

Can you smell it? Some say it's horse, I say it's cow dung. First of all, the question wasn't really a question, was it? No, it was a statement of opinion formed in a way as to illicit a desired resonse at best, and a display of political positioning at worst. The senator/congressman has no intention of having the question answered, he's just taking the stage to make a point with no supporting evidence for purely political purposes.

Admittedly this is just a blog, which I believe means that the opinions expressed here are my own and there's a good chance that I use illogical and unsupported arguments to make my point, just like any good or bad politician does on a daily basis. But some arguments just stink more than others, meaning some are so unfounded and ridiculous and unsupported by any fact that you have the right to put on your gas mask and run for fresher air on another blog.

I am not about to get into a fight with any other bloggers out there, so you'll just have to trust me that my comments here today are as a result of something that I've read elsewhere, but I won't demean myself by attacking that blogger, I'm not popular enough to do that just yet.

While reading through a few friendly blogs this morning I stumbled accross two conflicting points of view. I found both to be extreme points and both stunk of disdain for the other. But the disdain was overshadowed by the lack of thought or evidence that was placed into either of their arguments. I concluded that either both truly believed what they were saying or were arguing varying point just because they dislike each other.

We see this often on the official forums and even in our own trade chat in game. People make comments about gear, dungeons, raids, social activity, class balance, gold making, PUGS, and each comment is biased based on both the experience and belief of that individual. Sometimes comments are simply malicious because that's what the person wants to be.

There is no reason to say to somebody else that they are a &$@*$&^% retartd, is there? Why would you? And why would you do it in public? I can only guess that you would want to show yourself superior, show that you're right at the expense of another.

There are simple issues of debate, such as what class and sub-spec are OP and which are broken. It's obviously subjective and equally predictable that your class clearly isn't optimized, while the other person emphatically declares that you are not broken but indeed OP because you keep beating him in duels. Who is right? Probably neither, but the relativity of the argument is what entertains the two. Perhaps that is why people make such offending comments on a blog, forum or chat - they wish to be entertained by colorful debate regardless to the logic instituded in such a debate.

I've heard some say that until you truly PvP in a hardcore way you will never know everything about your class. Others claim that those uninterested in making wow gold are idiots, not uninterested. Still others believe that heroics can only be tanked by toons decked out in full T9 gear. These common arguments beg the question, why? Why do people feel the need to make these claims? Are they true? I think both you and I have our gas masks at the ready when we hear them, why? It's not because we have imperical evidence to counter the arguments, it's because we have multiple working humans senses and an instinct to not step in cow dung.

I've made the argument on this blog that the real life persona is "IN PART" transfered into the games we play. In what way do I mean? Well obviously I am not so stupid as to believe that I am a participant like those in the 1980's movie Tron where humans were literally digitized into a video game. Nor do I mean that I do what my animated toon does (i.e. slay dragons with swords or axes), it's a ridiculous notion and an insult to my intelligence to inply that that is what I mean.

What I mean is that a part of our personality and our attitudes we project THROUGH our character. Mainly it is via the form of chat or vent, where our real life voice is heard (or read). We speak things that we would in real life, often we say things that we would only say in real life if there were no consequences. Our voice is very real (excepting Role Players, of course) and most of the time we mean what we say and we cannot hide the portion of our personality that comes out in those words.

Example. I used to play with a mentally handicap person (before he server and faction transferred). Dispite his mild mental handicap, there were a significant amount of people who were rude to him whenever he lost control of his faculties. Sometimes he would say rough and even offending things, but it was mainly due to his handicap, not his personality. But in response people would get enraged and return offense in kind. Even when they knew of his handicap, they would respond to his outbursts such.

Now put all of us in the same room together, and in comes a doctor to explain what mental handicap person X has. No matter what person X says or does, how many of you do you think will exclaim "SHUT UP YOU #$%@%@#$% RETARD!" How many of you would say that to his face? Hopefully none, probably none...for fear of public appearances and scorn for treating the mentally handicap in such a manner.

But people blogging, posting on forums or in chat have no fear of any consequence or retribution. There is no accountability for what you say or how you say it. I guess for a blogger the worst is that people stop reading. But given the type of entertainment news that exists in the world and the high ratings that such gossip media gets, we can probably assume (based on that empirical evidence) that there are a lot of people who like it when they read a blog who states the everyone who disagrees with him/her is an idiot.

I fully admit that any examples that I used here are anecdotal, and not based on years of scientific research. Heck, even if they were many would likely reject it stating that the science was "probably" bad to begin with.

I guess what I'm trying to say is to watch out for politicians wearing blogger hats. Be careful not to be deluded into believing something just because somebody says it in a way that makes you laugh or illicits some strong emotion in you that you can't quite describe but you succumb to their tenants out of lack of any viable opposition.

We all enjoy a good argument, I as much as anyone out there. But please, if you're going to make a statement on your blog about the factual nature of something, I would appreciate it if you didn't resort to politician-like arguments and facepalming. Insults are not arguments, they are insults no matter what kind of dress you put them in and what kind of makup you splatter over their face. When you insult somebody it's an affront to their character and personality.

For the record I think that Enhancement Shamans aren't as strong as they should be, we run into too many periods were everything is on cooldown. We need to be buffed big time! And nerf the Pali, for goodness sake...all specs! If Blizzard doesn't do this they are total idiots!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Super Powers - Winner

Whew! That was exhausting. I perused the various entries for my super powers contest, and the winner is...

Da da da da!

Kitten Swarm!

Yes, out of the depths of the mind of an undead hordie comes this terrifying tale of violent cuteness. Spawned by a Blizzard request for hunter pet suggestions, Kitten Swarm is a power, unleashed by a Hunter, where 30 crazed (but cute) kittens swarm the enemy, wrapping it in a ball of yarn thereby rooting him for 10 seconds while the hunter unloads his/her mighty fury.

I can just picture this in action, 30 cute little kittens, so innocent and benign, lure the enemy into a loving coo only to pounce with the ferocity never witnessed (until now) in all of Azeroth.

Yes, beware of the Kitten Swarm - coming to a forest near you!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Playing With Pain

If you don't like it when people mix their personal lives with their wow blogging, then come by for a visit on another day and I'll do my best to make you happy. Today is definately not that day.

I believe so much of ourselves is revealed through the games we play I cannot, in good conscience, ignore the interplay between the two at times.

For those who have not followed me long, know that I suffer from a mix of genetic and injury related back pain. Genetic is bad enough, but when an injury targets what genetics already fails at, the compounding consequence is often very difficult to live with.

I have no idea how I hold down a job, but every night when I get home I load myself with pain killers, get into a comfortable chair, and begin my gaming night. It's a real solace and can often help me get away from a world that not only can't offer solutions to my unique pain, but also deny me the healthcare that could have any hope of providing some measure of relief (seriously, I hate insurance companies).

But there are nights when my pain meds don't work very well and I'm left to my willpower to get me through the raid. Saturday night was one of those night, but my guild never knew it. When I'm in pain it's omnipresent, I can't avoid that. Being a healer in many of the ICC fights I have to be super alert, super aware of the mechanics of the raid as well as my healing duties in keeping those pesky health bars as full as possible.

Dispite the pain we were able to manage to get past a particularly troublesome fight for our casual guild and continued our progression into ICC. Our guild leader wasn't with us, for whatever reason I don't know (he was on, he just didn't want to go). So I took the healing lead. I had to teach our new Pali healer all the fights and coordinate everything from a healing standpoint. This responsibility helped drown out some of the pain, I'm not sure I could have endured if I wasn't forced to speak up and lead so much.

Maybe this is a great thing, I'm sure it is. I play to help me forget my pain, yet there are times when my pain keeps me from playing at the top of my game. Perhaps then this is the secret, to keep my mind so occupied with thinking and leading and directing that my pain can somehow fall into the background.

At the end of it all I could barely stand up from the chair, but as a guild we had progressed. So in the end it was a proverbial "good and bad" thing.

I live with some comfort knowing that another guildie of mine suffers something similar, we can empathize with each other. I can only imagine how he feels yet he too never says a word about it. People play this game and many others with weights on their lives that at times seem insupportable. But guess what? You are not alone. I know that only too well. Just because nobody in your guild is going through what you are, doesn't mean there is nobody.

I'm lucky, very lucky to have met somebody that can truly understand what I suffer through. I know that not everyone will. But I guarantee you that someone in the world does, so take comfort in knowing that somewhere, somebody knows what it's like to play with pain - whatever kind of pain that is.

Stay strong!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Speak for Yourself!

I apologize in advance to all of you good-natured, even-tempered, understanding individuals that have the unique ability to see past my anger and know it's not intended to offend you. To all the other self-serving, condescending, impatient, uninspired, boring, close-minded fools...this is meant to offend.

I've been reading a lot around the internet about "pre-expansion doldrums". It seems to be coming from people who are fairly long-time raiders or even people who have been playing World of Warcraft for many years now. Evidently there is a time before each expansion where activity is less, people get bored, prices of goods are volitile, and bloggers start commenting on how everyone is just experiencing the same pre-xpac doldrums.


Literally! You are not me! I have been playing for shortly over a year, and raiding for far less. I can't seem to get lucky with any loot drops for the past few months and my gear still sucks (realtively speaking). I don't have the T10-4pc set yet...I've only got 1 freakin' piece. I've got guildies of the same class that seem far luckier than I and who have passed me in gear by a long margin just because I've been so freakin' unlucky.

I haven't even done all of ulduar, I haven't ever finished ToC 25 normal. Gosh, there is so much I haven't done yet because I am still a new raider it's disgusting. I am SOOOOO SORRRY you're bored out of your mind. That's so terrible that you are a Kingslayer and stand around Dalaran for 2 hours doing nothing but hoping people will stare at your new title and tell you how awesome you are. (By the way, I really am happy for Larisa, I don't put you into the group I just mentioned. There actually were people sittin in front of the bank in Dalaran last night for two hours showing off their Kingslayer titles. Anyone got self-esteem issues? Good gracious!)

The absolute selfishness of anyone making a blanketing, general statement that EVERYONE is bored is mind boggling. If you, as an individual, are burned out and make it clear that it's just you and not EVERYONE, I appreciate the distinction. But let's get something straight, if you are going to make that statment, make it clear that it's you...speak for yourslef, not for me!

I'm still excited to play when I get home from work. I still get excited to research a new character or a new spec that I want to try out. I'm still excited because I'm only half way through ICC with my casual raiding guild, and have virtually no gear to show for it...which pisses me off to no end.

Heck yeah I'm excited for Cataclysm, but I've still got so much more to do and to learn and to experience and very little time to do it in. So if you don't mind, please don't ever project your opinion on me, I speak for myself and I expect you to do the same.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why I Never Did...Why I Just Might

Letter to self (and to others, if you so wish):

Have any of you ever contemplated starting your own guild? Did you follow through on that? If yes this post is not for you. I mean, you're welcome to stay and delight in my nouns, adjectives and occaisional adverbs. I assure you, however, that not one gerund will be utilized in the making of these thoughts.

Avoiding reality was never my strong suit. Dancing on the ceiling was evidently only possible by Lionel Richie and his select group of gravity-hating friends. (Ok, so I lied about the gerunds, so what!)

Creating a guild has been an ambition of mine from early on in my playing days. Once I learned that people organized themselves into guilds for various purposes I became instantly entralled by the motives that drove people to such actions.

Coupled with that was my own experience trying to get to know people (for my own reasons). I came into WoW with no RL friend, that I know of, but by mere chance actually. I saw that some of the content avaiable mandated that you either be super powerful or be part of a group. I could see the advantages of being part of a guild, where you have access to resources of supposedly like-minded individuals that, given their availability, could support me on my way to achieving my in game goals.

But everyone is different, no two people are alike. That may be too obvious of a statement, but it's a real truth that both brings people together and drives them apart.

Here is a list of some of the reasons why I wanted to have my own guild:

1) I like to help people. What better way to foster an atmosphere of help and support than to be the leader of the group and set the example. I believe that leadership sets a tone for a guild, and those who are open minded often will be influenced by the attitudes and behaviours of said leader. I knew that it would be difficult given the individualistic nature of many of the people on my server, but I set high standards for myself.

2) Access to Resources. Although I am quite self-sufficient, I quickly began to see the benefits of a group of people pooling their resources together to help each other skill up their professions, provide others with greater power in battle, and instill in the group a sense of community or a closeness that comes from being a part of each others success.

3) So I can experience more content. Even at low levels, I wanted to experience more content. But I wanted to do it in an environment where one death in a group would cause a complete disbanding of the whole (which sadly does happen every now and then). At higher levels I could be the means of taking people who just reached 80 for the first time and lead them through content, again with a group of people who would be supportive and undersatanding of the learning curve that everyone passes through (albeit some faster than others). It wasn't just MORE content, it was more content with understanding and good natured people.

These are just a few of the reasons why I've always wanted to start my own guild. Now you may say to me "Gronthe, you can achieve all these goals without starting your own guild, you can do these things with a pre-made guild and still be an example to others and earn their respect. Why go through the hassle of starting your own guild?"

Well let's look at some of those problems that may arise out of guild leadership. Contention in the ranks, recruitment, retention, money (gold - i.e. policies on, contribution, etc), obtaining start up signatures, difficulty of finding "like-minded" individuals, or at least people that are close enough to what you believe a guild should be.

Yes, I admit that those are some sticky issues, and are examples of things that I would never have to deal with as long as I kept my nose out of guild leadership/ownership. So back to the question, "why go through the hassle of starting your own guild?"

Being a leader FEELS different than being a soldier. Sure, you have more responsibility, but I think you also feel more gratfied with your successes. Imagine how your guild creator feels when a group of people that he/she put together downs Arthas. Now compare that to how you feel. No doubt you feel pretty darn good, but I guarantee you that the guild owner/leader feels A LOT better, is satisfied in a way that you simply cannot be due to your position.

I don't have a need to feel powerful to know that I'm of worth. But I can't shake the feeling that I was never meant to follow, but to lead. Have you ever known somebody who was an outstanding teacher during your brief or long years of your educational career? Imagine that person denying his/her talents and how the world would be different without their influence. I'm sure there would always be somebody else that would have been hired to teach that Spanish class, but your life would never have been touched by that person, ever.

I am not saying that I am a great teacher or a great leader, but I've had enough life experience to know what my talents are, and it's not in following.

So why haven't I done anything? Because along with my strengths I have some debilitating weaknesses. I'm insanely shy, except when I choose not to be (which takes a mighty effort on my part). I have a speech impediment, and have since I was a child. Interestingly enough that impediment never surfaced during my brief acting career when I could stand on a stage and deliver flawless lines. It surfaces more when I have to actually talk to somebody real, which is just about all the time. I make excuses...enough said.

I guess what I am trying to say is that I'm scared, and always have been. I'm scared of rejection, I 'm scared of failure. So to compensate for that I follow. I can guess at some of the comments that may arise from this post (that is if anyone actually reads this stuff).

"Just do it!"

Thanks, Nike spokesman(woman). Ever heard the cliche "easier said than done"? Yeah, try saying "just do it" to somebody with serious social anxiety disorder, that goes over real well. I think I would do it if I had a plan, it's just that I've never sat down and carved one out in stone yet. Maybe you could help me. How would you (if you were me) go about leaving a good guild with good people to start your own guild without creating resenment among the friends that you have made? Would this require a server transfer?

With Cataclysm soon upon us, this may be the best opportunity I have to experiment with my beliefs and start my own guild. Casual v hardcore? Raiding v leveling? So many things to think about. Maybe all I need is the right kind of encouragement, I'm not sure. But I do know that I want to, I just need to find a way to overcome my fears and, for lack of a better term, just do it!


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Super Powers

I talk about my real life a lot...why? Well just look to your right at the definition of Dualism. We can't escape the fact that our real lives have a direct impact on how we play the game and how we interact with everyone in it. So I had some ideas that came to me while having a small chat with my youngest son (7 years old, btw).

For years my wife and I have been attempting to devise the coolest and most powerful superpower that we would like to be endowed with. At first I made up something stupid (according to her), I would like to breathe anywhere. I justified it by saying that if we were locked in battle in outer space, invisibility or super strength or super speed or flying ability wouldn't do you so good because you would die from lack of oxygen.

I, on the other hand, would survive.

My answers have changed over the years, but I still hold fast to that power as a "side-power" only. Recently my kid has involved himself in these debates. Most recently I gave him a choice of 3 super powers, here they are in no particular order:

1) Power to control the minds of all non-human creatures
2) Power to control the minds of all HUMANS
3) Power to CREATE magic out of his thoughts

Yeah, the last one is cheating a bit, but when I told my wife about the list she gasped - "Ambitious for such a gentle person". And so I agreed, but I wasn't going to tell him to not wish for those, using your imagination as a child is a positive and constructive development tool.

When I play wow I am limited to the spells, powers, and abilities of the particular race/class combo that I have chosen for the moment. Warriors cannot shoot frostbolts out of their hands, no matter how much it would make them feel special. So if someone who played a warrior really wanted to shoot those frostbolts he/she would have to roll a mage (preferably not a Gnome, I would be afraid for their safety and for the rising cost of shoe makers as punting would become an epidemic).

But what if my Shaman or Warlock or Priest or whatever could do something completely and totally awesome that would make everyone within a thousand yards go "Holy crap, that was AWESOME!" Even if they were made speechless, that would be another desirable effect. I would even go for myself being impressed at my own supernatural powers. So, what would I want my Shaman to be able to do?

First, since shamans can bend the powers of the elements to their will, I would like to see myself with the ability to pull lava (magma inside the earth) up through the ground until the rocks or earth around my body became intesely hot, then I would take that lava and rocky earth and spin it around like a tornado then unleash it into a village of evil murlocs, all the while I was in control of the path of devastation that it took. Upon destroying the village and everything in it, I would call upon the forces of water to flood the village so that no living thing could ever spawn there again; this would save me and my posterity from a lifetime of unwanted murloc raids.

I'd also like to see my mage with a frozen lasso, like Indiana Jones. I would take the lasso and wrap it around every bad dude in the room, pull them all together so that I could freeze them in place. I'd take a step back to admire my handiwork, at which time my lasso would snap through the air faster than the speed of sound making a sound so terrifying that even you may wish to quit wow for fear of the possibility that I am no toon, but my toon is a manifestation of my true self, dangerous and lethal.

Everyone would stand there and look down at their bodies, only to see the top half of each of them slowly slide off their bottom halfs, death in their faces.

Or maybe my son had it right, to be able to control all beasts, demons, elementals, etc and call forth an army of all of them as I do single battle with the mighty dragons of Azeroth and Northrend. My army would swell and my enemies would cower. Their doom moments away as each beast that came to my side continued to split in two for 20 seconds, then to fight by my side for 2 minutes. Can you imagine how big my army would be?

I think that the kinds of powers, or better yet the manifestation of our powers could be a lot cooler than they are now. I also think that the ideas for various super powers that our toons could wield are limitless, but there just are not enough keybindings to accomodate them. Plus that would make for very complex rotations, don't you think?

Still, it would be better than only pushing 2 buttons.

I have not even scratched the limits of potential spells, powers or abilities. I wonder what your minds can create? Let's have a contest, let's see if we can spread the word around the community and try and come up with the coolest ability in the world. The only guideline is that it must be in harmony with the class, so basically no frostbolts for warriors, stuff like that.

And no "snap my fingers and the universe implodes" stuff either, that's just weak. It has to be a power that can be controlled, managed, manipulated by your character. It can be powerful, for sure, but let's also keep it realistic. For example, no "swing my sword and all of Ulduar dies before me". I want unique, fun, but in harmony with the World of Warcraft.

Feel free to comment on any that come to you off the top of your head. I'll give this experiment one week. So next Tuesday I'll review the suggestions and post the best ones. We can then vote for the best, the winner to receive acclaim and a year's supply of root beer.

Well, maybe not the root beer.

Monday, May 3, 2010

When Guild Members Abuse the Guild Bank

What are the rules your guild follows for use of its guild bank? Does only the guild leader have access to withdraw stuff, or are officers given the chance as well? Does everyone have a chance to withdraw at least 1 item per day? What if nobody is online and a guildie could use something from the bank but can't withdraw, are there procedures or rules set up to help this guildie? Do you mandate donations or farming?

I was talking with a friend the other night, and she told me about how her guild leader had been taking thousands of gold and thousands worth of mats out of their guild bank to craft high level gear for the new alt the g-leader just leveled to 80. All this without giving anything back (which, according to their guild rules is against the rules - they must contribute if they wish to withdraw, is the rule). Not 1 for 1, but at least a portion (maybe 1/3 or 1/2).

She was irate! I suggested to talk to the guild leader and be upfront about her concerns. That might just get her /gkicked, but at least she would have expressed her discontent to the proper person.

Evidently this has been going on for a while, but since nobody in her guild really checks the gbank logs, nobody really noticed, until recently.

Frankly, if it were me, I wouldn't know if I would say anything. Probably because I've always been self-reliant and am uncomfortable wiht sharing resources when the norm is that I receive less than 1/4 of the benefits of what I put into my guild bank.

I have never been a fan of hypocricy, I wonder what any one of you would do if they noticed this sort of activity in your guild. Would you report it? Does the guild leader have the right to set rules then abuse them? Can a guild leader, just like a business owner, do whatever he/she wants even if it means their company/guild fails?

Please help! I'd like to give the right advice to my friend, but I just don't know what to say.