Archive for the “Blog Community” Category

I started this blog in a much sillier time, when the world was young, and I’ll admit, when it comes to this crap I’m an innocent. Writing some fun stuff and gushing about a game to a few friends isn’t exactly supposed to draw attention. This is the real world, and what I do used to be called ‘being a geek’. Anyone could play, all it took was the desire to write copious amounts of drivel about something you love in a place where they can’t taze you. It helped to be a little monomaniacal, too.

I know a lot has changed over the years. I’m not a complete idiot. There is money to be made, and the progression is clear-cut. Be outrageous, generate a lot of content, gain a following, produce merchandise, post ads, build the ‘brand’ of the fake identity you craft to appeal to a demographic and grow into other media markets through networking.

Nothing presents a clearer picture of the business side of selling yourself as a product quite as well as the recent Strip Search reality series/contest by Penny Arcade.

It wasn’t like that when I started, and when I think of the people who I follow within ‘the community’, the ‘build a brand and say crazy shit to get attention’ crowd aren’t the people that come to mind.

“The Community”. Dun dun dun.

The community, to me, are all of the people who love this or any other video game so much that we can’t help but be inspired by gaming, by the worlds, the stories, our characters and what we see and do with our friends, and take that inspiration and blast it out there to share it because if we didn’t we’d explode.

It’s that honest enthusiasm, that irrepressible joy in living in the game with our friends, moment by moment.

The rage we have to vent somewhere about desperately wanting that one drop, and seeing the fickle favors of RNG smile, flip us the bird, and call “Yoinks!” once again.

The delight at the new pets that will be coming to the game, and our frenzied desire to have a cute little dinosaur hatchling as our very own pet. To take pictures of our pets, and show them to our friends just as if they were our real kids, KNOWING that our friends are right there looking at those pictures, and being happy for us, buying into the whole thing because that’s where our heads are at.

The emotional attachment we have to our characters, the world, our place within it, all that can drive someone to write a magical piece of true storytelling that comes from the heart.

That is the community to me. It’s defined by what we are; people who love video games so much, people who are so emotionally engaged that far from being ashamed of it, we shout it from the heavens and share it with our friends and roll around in laughter, feeling that warmth that comes from knowing we’re not alone.

We’re all caught up in the same craziness. It’s what we share.

When I read a webcomic by Rades and Vidyala, I feel that bond, I feel that love for and immersion within World of Warcraft shine through.

When I listen to the Group Quest podcast, I can hear the faint traces of obsession in the hosting tones of Hasteur, and the genuine spark of madboy craazy in the voice of DeGei when he starts talking about Garrosh and Thrall and lore. I always expect Gulvan to have a Tranq Shot sound file at the ready when those times roll along.

Or when I follow along in the travels of Skolnick, as he takes the path of the Warcraft Less Traveled. Now that is some seriously awesome shit right there, and you don’t just decide to make that your gimmick. You’ve got to have a massive love for exploring the game as a voyager to do that.

I recognize the spark of community the strongest whenever I read the “Know Your Lore” segments on WoW Insider by Anne Stickney and Matt Rossi, and then read the comments. Oh lord, the comments. Especially to tinfoil hat editions.

That is the community to me, right there. Loving it, rolling around in it, wanting more, wanting to talk about anything and everything and speculate and tie it all together and wonder aloud, “What if… what then?”

So long as that spark is alive, so long as the enthusiasm burns, there will be a community. My idea of a community, anyway. And I’ll be happy to be a part of it, even if all I do is read the awesome things everyone else has burning within them that they want to share. I don’t have to write to be a part of it. All I have to do is read, and listen, and know I belong.

Godmother, Rades, Vid, Hasteur and DeGei and Gulvan, Skolnick, Anne and Matt and yes, so many others, too many to ever give a proper shout out to except to say, yo, blogroll, right side, read it, love it, live it.

Thank you all, you and everyone else that continues to share your crazy with me, and let me know I may be insane, but at least I’m not alone.

God bless you all. We are the new normal, because I said so.

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While listening to Group Quest #114 on Monday morning, one of my favorite podcasts alongside Convert To Raid, I heard something in passing that sat me back on my butt.

I listen to podcasts while working, and my attention goes to work first. Sigh. Damn priorities.

So, at times I’ll be working busily away and bits of something controversial will be said that blows right by my shields. It sinks into the vulnerable rear areas of my brain, the part where ideas like “wouldn’t it be nice to grind Dark Soil to get Best Friends with everyone on the farm?” come from.

Once that bit of overheard conversation gets down there in the dark, my internal drama bear reaches out and smacks me around a bit, no claws, yelling “Wake up! Shit just got real! HANDLE IT!”

What I heard was a segment on community posts, talking about somebody who wrote a blog post stating that their character in reasonable gear can auto-attack and do 32k damage without having to push any other buttons, so 32k can now be considered the “I don’t give a shit, I’m afking through this LFR, fuck you” level of play.

The conversation immediately moved on to discuss what is or is not a reasonable amount of DPS to expect players to put out in LFR, and I think either Hasteur or DeGei mentioned that top raiders can reliably put out somewhere around 200k DPS, so expectations on “what is good DPS” are changing a lot.

Good points, very good points.

I can’t recall another expansion that saw such a dramatic increase in player damage output in such a short period of time.

This ain’t all that new. We’re used to outgearing content as an expansion goes by. Even in Burning Crusade, there were plenty of jokes about bare ass nekkid bears tanking in 5 person heroics just to get some damn rage generation. “Tanks, drop your pants!” was the common cry. “Tank Naked” was the order of the day.

You know, because of the old system where you had to get hit to build Rage, and if you had awesome gear and maxed Avoidance, you ended up rage starved. You know. /Whistles. Yeah, I know, recap buzzkill. Anyway.

Hmm, a new shirt idea. Big words stating “TANK NAKED”, with a line of dancing bears underneath. Where is my Robert Khoo to monetize this shit? Moving right along…

Yes, I say we’re used to the concept of outgearing content during an expansion, but we are arguably only halfway through this expansion, and the content that is still current has become trivial for Throne of Thunder normal raiders.

Trivial, I say! Bah, humnuts! Or Chestbug. Or something.

Heck, it’s trivial for people decked out in Terrace and Throne of Thunder LFR gear!

I’m not complaining, mind you. The better my gear gets, the happier I am to do daily quests, because I can blow through them (and the mobs) in short order, and feel a bit like a badass at the same time. Which is a good feeling, after getting your ass kicked in a bad LFR or Brawlers Guild fight.

Every game needs to have a moment where you get to feel like a badass, right before it kicks your teeth in.

So yes, expectations shift and grow over the expansion. What would have been hot shit in LFR or normals a few months ago are now the low end of the spectrum.

Still.

The little drama bear thought it heard some awesome chunky drama, and hit the big red “Bullshit alert! bullshit alert!” button in the back of my head.

Seriously? 32k DPS is the new ‘afking through the raid, fuck you’ level of performance?

After the outrage registered, my very next thought was, “Well, what about those of us who don’t have an auto-attack? we no clickie buttons, our damage output is zero. I guess it’s all right for SOME, but we still be activating shit over in this neck of the woods.”

I’ll grant you, I’ve played on my Hunter for the first half of this expansion, and my Hunter has a nice, tasty ranged physical auto-attack. Also, my pet will tear the SHIT out of anything I start attacking, and if what I’m attacking dies and something else is in combat with me, why, it’ll go after the next monster all on it’s own. My pet is a big chunk of my DPS, and he can work almost completely autonomous.

That means my pet ain’t just a button on an attack bar, it goes out there and chews on some ass. Mmm, tasty.

darn right, my Hunter can stand there doing nothing, and my bow goes ‘twang, twang’ at the bad guys, pet goes and gets some Mogu tartare, damage be getting done. Makes me look like I’m doing something. Oh yeah, I’ve got a button I can press too. Pew pew. Or not.

I get it.

But the caster classes I be playing, there ain’t none of that easy mode shit.

I’ve been raiding on the Warlock at around 500 iLevels (with Grimoire of Sacrifice and no pet), and I’ve started doing introductory LFR on my Druid as a Moonkin at the lowest gear levels. /cry

My ranged caster characters? If I don’t hit a button, newsflash for ya, they don’t do SHIT!

My poor Moonkin in particular, it’s rough going. I’m trying to adapt my expectations from the instant casts of the Destruction Warlock with great deeps down to a poorly itemized Moonkin with long cast times for every-damn-thing, and it feels like the gear I’m shifting down to is reverse.

Cast… cast… can’t cast, gotta move, cast… PROCS! Cast… cast… cast…. gotta move, can’t cast, kiss my feathered ass Blizz fucking every fight a move fight, cast…. cast… ca OH SHIT CAN’T CAST GOTTA MOVE FIRE FIRE FIRE PUT ME THE F%^ OUT! Cast….

Yeah, you get the picture.

I am in a mix of 450/458 PvP gear, and a good collection of 476/483 gear from a week of LFR. Some enchants, some gems, don’t have a meta installed in my 458 PvP hat, sue me.

All that just to say, my Moonkin is doing around 35k DPS, raid buffed, with me busting my butt to crank out some damage and not be a complete drain life on the raid.

So yeah, like I said. I heard that 32k damage was the new ‘you’re not even trying’ range of DPS in an LFR, and the little bear in my brain stood up on hind legs and wanted to maul the shit out of something.

So… reality check.

That’s fine to have for a first reaction to something heard in passing, but what were the facts?

I went back and looked at the Group Quest website to see where that community piece had come from. It sounded familiar, but I sure as hell didn’t remember any drama inducing, brain-vessel-bursting posts like that recently.

Come to find they reference it as being from The Grumpy Elf.

Okay, so clearly what I thought I heard wasn’t what I actually heard, ’cause the Grumpy Elf wouldn’t have said that.

No, the Grumpy Elf didn’t say they can do 32k DPS afking through an LFR.

It was 38k DPS.

Well, shit!

But they weren’t saying it as a “this is what you should be doing, and if you’re not you suck” way.

Instead, it was put as a conversation starter. Like, okay guys, this is what I’m doing over here, got 38k DPS going just auto-attacking, what’s going on and why are other players not reaching those same numbers in LFR?

It’s a good question. The Grumpy Elf is playing a Hunter, just like I had been (and still love to), and just like I said, the class has basic mechanics that allow for automatic damage output.

Is it a function of being a physical damage class?

If I consider those classes that have to get into melee range to do DPS, those classes where physical positioning is important, they all have auto-attack damage as a large component of their DPS.

But the auto-attack is offset by the melee classes all having to constantly move their butts to stay within range of the target to do damage.

For ranged classes, there are Warlocks, Mages, Elemental Shaman, Moonkin, Priests and Hunters.

Of all of them, only the Hunter gets a ranged auto-attack. Warlocks and Mages can have pets too, but not an auto-attack. And when you’re ranged, positioning on the target doesn’t matter, you just have to move your butt out of fire once in a while.

Huh.

The Grumpy Elf has a great point. Why the heck are Hunters able to enjoy such a strange advantage?

Is it because of the old caster Wand mechanic, when everyone could auto-attack if they had an equipped ranged weapon, but casters had to use the Shoot spell, and Hunters could just, well, go bang?

But aren’t Wand attacks gone now? I know you can still equip a Wand, but they’ve become main hand caster weapons, there ain’t no separate ‘Wand’ slot anymore.

Hmm…

I know one thing. I like there being an auto-attack on the Hunter. I really like the feel of my Hunter attacking the bad guy with a baseline attack, while I control the timing of when I activate the ‘special’ shots. It puts me solidly in the mindset of controlling cooldowns, with EVERY shot becoming a cooldown.

Maybe what is needed is to bring every class in line with the Grumpy Elf’s ideas.

Maybe it’s time for every class to have an auto-attack, with traditionally ranged spell-casters getting a nice filler.

I know Demonology Warlocks can have a ranged spell auto-attack when in Metamorphoses and, I think, under the influence of the Glyph of tanking Awesomeness.

I think it is time. I think every class should have a baseline auto-attack, with melee being in close where their big damage attacks are, and traditionally ranged classes having a ranged auto-attack.

The more I think about it, the more I love the idea.

Hopefully, that’s something for ‘someday’.

In the meantime… let’s never forget that what is easy mode for one class is most certainly NOT for another. Sometimes, you have to bust your ass just to get a ‘meets expectations’ rating on your annual review.

In case this isn’t clear… I love the Grumpy Elf, and I loved the post once I went back and looked at it and realized that was what Group Quest was talking about. ‘s post. All the attitude came from my hearing a partial conversation by other people talking about it, and then thinking about what I thought I heard.

I still think it’s funny. I swear, I thought that was what they said, yer honor! now don’t go bringing any of your goldarn facts into it.

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I have finally stirred from my cave to see that my friend Nymphy is taking a break from the stress that I among others caused her yesterday.

I accept that I was a major contributing factor, because a mature person would have hit ‘save draft’, considered the ramifications of what was about t happen, cooled down a bit to gain perspective and then gone to let his friend know what was happening rather than just hit publish in a blind rage. Good friend? Not me, not then, and I suck. I said it in the comments, and it’s true. Friends don’t let friends get hit by guild drama trainwrecks out of the blue.

I hope and pray that Nymphy and her family and future family are all well, and will be well, and that all manner of things will be well.

It’s at time like this that I find music to be a soothing balm for a troubled heart.

I’d like to offer my own, perfectly chosen song of sadness to show Nymphy how much my thoughts are with her.

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Really, that song flows right from my heart.

(If you like that song, be sure to visit my favorite local awesome Irish band, The Tim Malloys, who played at my bachelor party.)

(Oh come on, you know me, I feel sorry but at the same time, laughter is the best medicine! It shows that people care.)

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What follows is something I’ve written for Matty’s Boon Writing Challenge!

The guideline was to write something concerning your relationship with your favorite weapon. Yes, I’m paraphrasing to make it sound dirty. :)

I Bring Your Doom!

We were raiders once, and young.

You look upon me now, an aged veteran of wars ranging from the frozen north of Icecrown to the outer limits of Ulduar, my blood long spent amongst worlds lost to the twisting nether.

That is now, but once the world was new and raw. As new adventurers we fled the safety of hearth and home to challenge the dark heart of Azeroth, never knowing what we might find, but sure in our innocence that we had the Journal of Lord Thottbot to guide our way.

The time I wish to speak of was shortly after I had (first) reached the height of my physical prowess. At that time I was known by the name given to me at birth, Windshadow, long before I had suffered through the wall of words that led to earning another, bigger-butted handle. None had yet stepped through the Dark Portal to take the battle to the Shadow Council or the Burning Crusade. Instead, the world was still gripped by the twin threats of C’thun within the Temple of Ahn’Qiraj, and Lord Nefarian in Blackwing Lair.  

It seems now such a simpler time, before we knew how widespread the threat posed by the Old Gods or the Lich King really were. When Ragnaros himself seemed but a momentary challenge to be braced and banished before facing sterner foes, and Deathwing yet slumbered somewhere out of sight and out of the thoughts of the shorter lived races. 

I fought then with the brave souls of Divine Might, and I sought to join in their battles with feral abandon. When I first met them, they had begun tiring of Upper and Lower Blackrock Spire, but still ventured forth in those places in search of various items of power that had proved elusive.

The gathered strength of Divine Might challenged the black queen Onyxia, stormed the depths of Blackwing Lair, and struggled to reach C’thun. I joined them in their battles full of a need to rend and tear. I longed to test my feral might against whelps on MANY sides, for I was sure I could handle it.

My desires for feral fury in full scale wars went unfulfilled, for at that time the furry feral heart of a Druid was considered to be of less advantage to the group than the soothing restorative healing and battle rezzes we could offer… and that is why, when the great battles were being fought, I stood in the van with tree heals in my hands, watching green leaves sprout while the warrior tanks milled about with a loutish scream and shout, drinking at the bloody fount of glory. 

Though I could not achieve my dream of feral war in the largest scope, there were still other battles to be fought. Battles that were not quite so serious. Skirmishes where our ranks numbered fewer, perhaps twenty or so, and the unnatural concept of ‘being your true self’ could finally be explored. If a Paladin thought to tank, or a Druid wished to give in to their wilder side, well then people might turn their heads and look the other way while such deviant behavior was going on. Not without a nose turned up as if I had kitty fish breath, but there were still fun runs going on where I could be allowed free rein.

Into one such run I was allowed to dash in full Cat mode, ready, willing and able to tear big chunks of raw meat off my prey. As a team of twenty we boldly stepped into the Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj, and I tore into those squidly things. TORE INTO.

I found that Old One minion flesh is kinda rubbery and tastes of phlem, by the way, but salt and the liberal application of wow wow sauce does amazing things. 

As I prepared to enter the Ruins of Ahn’Qiraj for the first time, one of my fellow elves in the Cenarion Hold asked me to take on the personal task of slaying one of the fell overlords haunting the ruins there, and steal from him some of the venom unique to him. If I were to do this, and if my travels ALSO ever took me into Zul’Gurub where the troll gods and their foul venom held sway and I captured some of that, then I would be rewarded with a massive weapon. 

A freaking two handed sledgehammer with all these spikes and red glowing symbols and just holy shit badass OMG, I know right?

This weapon of insane awesomeness was just, crap, do you even know what the name of it was? They called it, and I am not shitting you here, DOOMULUS PRIME.

Doomulus fucking Prime.

Sounds like the cranky older Decepticon that used to kick Optimus Prime in the nuts and steal his lunch money, right?

And did it look awesome? Oh yes it did, especially with the black glow around it like some evil ‘don’t fuck with me’ aura when properly enchanted.

I wanted that weapon. It wasn’t legendary, it wasn’t even epic, but what it was to me was a visible symbol that I was raiding, taking part in epic battles across the length and breadth of Azeroth.

To bear that weapon as a feral Druid would be the ultimate achievement. Ultimate Doomulus Prime!

We did enter the Ruins, we met the bosses, and were victorious. I held within my bags one half of the requirement for attaining the prize, and I hungered for the day when I would see the other half.

My hopes, however, seemed destined for failure. Trolls just weren’t all that interesting, and the only reason people would remotely consider going was to see if a certain Rogue in the group could get the other sword that would let them turn into a tiger sometimes when fighting.

Getting a war party of twenty gathered together for the selfish desires of one Rogue didn’t matter a hill of beans for us little people. These were the old days, the bad days, when that 10% of mouth breathers weren’t just endured, wars were tuned to take it into account. Show up for war why? Waste a raid night for what? Right. Um, no.

That evil can just grow, call me when it’s ripe for plucking.

My despair was averted for one reason; the rise of the alts.

The idea that one soul could have two bodies, and that both of those bodies could have equal power in epic war was unheard of… until the opening of the Dark Portal drew near. The phenomenon grew where one soul might be shared between two bodies, one lying dormant while the other went forth to war. And while they might be equally experienced and savvy at the ways of battle, one would be newer, younger, and in need of arms and armor.

To gear those alternative bodies, our war party took ship from Kalimdor to venture into the jungles of Stranglethorn in search of troll gods to kill. And I went with them.

I was freaking ecstatic. Death to the troll gods! Screw truth, justice and Mary Poppins, just give me mah hammah!

We killed the gods, I looted their venom and returned both poisons to Cenarion Hold, and in return they gave me Doomulus Prime.

The victory was made all the sweeter for having been a 100% feral victory. This was loot that I won by playing the way I like to play in a time when it wasn’t just the guilds that enforced preferred playstyles, by itemizing sets for healing the frozen gods of the blizzard seemed to be enabling it.

I bore Doomulus Prime as my feral weapon from that point on, and nothing could replace it in my heart. I knew the time would inevitably come when something more powerful came my way, but it was my one true love. Yes, a huge black sledgehammer with glowing red runes was my one true love. Don’t judge.

How much sweeter, then, that when the Dark Portal opened and Druids entered seeking to tank ALL the things as Bears, the ultimate weapon of feral tanking domination was identical to Doomulus Prime in every way except color? Earthwarden was boldly swung by Druid Tanks for a long time as we waged our battles amongst the stars, each and every one carrying on the legacy that was started with Doomulus Prime, whether they knew it or not.

Times change, the wars go ever on though the battlefields move around. Now we find ourselves struggling to prevent the end of all that is, for Deathwing has returned, and brought with him all the fury of the Old Gods madness.

Tomorrow, who knows where our battles will take us? Perhaps our work with Deathwing will make us so thirsty we will venture out in search of the legendary land of hops and barley, where the brews are so fine we’ll be too drunk to wage war anymore.

As I head into battle once again this night, I find with sadness the weapon I clutch to be neither staff nor hammer but a huge polearm, a weapon once reserved for other, lower classes of people. Like Hunters. A fine weapon, but one whose beginnings and traditions belong to another class entirely.  

If this is what I must carry now, so be it.

I wear my “Elder” title over my head with pride, and I cast my thoughts back over the years with a sense of wistfulness over the way things have changed. The weapons we carry have always been one of the prime symbols of our ongoing struggles, and while we can still use many weapons, it has become nearly impossible to find some types that we could use that would be worth the wielding. 

Maybe someday in the future things will change again. The waves of war will wash over us, and we will see another two handed mace that brings back the legacy that was Doomulus Prime.

Perhaps our paws will hold a weapon that hearkens back to the miles traveled with Earthwarden.

A mace to be carrying on with. 

Until that time, I have my memories, and I do what I can to keep them from fading away into the mists.

My fellow Bears, we shall never forget.

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Some of you who have been with me for the very longest time know that what to think if I were to say “Oh John Ringo No.”

I don’t have to say any more, now do I?

Oh, and if you haven’t read Princess of Wands, seriously, what’s stopping you? Go read it, it’s an awesome standalone book. I’m not in it so it’s missing 100% in awesome bears, but other than that, it’s brilliant. As I’ve said before.

Today, I read my Warchief’s Command Board, and through the tears and the pain and the howling cries, all I could think was, “Oh Garrosh Hellscream NO!”

I would hereby like to nominate Garrosh Hellscream as writer of my favorite humor post of the year 2012. If someone else thinks they can top that, good luck and pack a lunch, you’re gonna have to camp that shit all day.

Well done. Just flat out well done.

I laughed, I cried, I fell down. It changed my life. The end. 

 

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