Thank you for your help!

For everyone who pounced on the voting last night, you have my thanks and a hearty “well done!”

While it’s true that the poll was shut down as a tie, and it’s unclear how things will turn out, I think that what you folks did was amazing.

The fact is, the voting was stagnant in that contest for a long time. While it ended in a tie last night, it didn’t finish with a lackluster showing. Thanks to you, there was some seriously dramatic moments last night.

The contest poll, after being open for months, started in the low twenties last night. In just a few hours, you pushed it to 45 votes, and inspired the other contestant to rise to meet the challenge.

I don’t know where the votes came from for the other contestant, but I know if I were the one running the contest, and I was the one who stated publicly that the purpose of the contest was to increase pageviews and drive traffic to my website, then mission darn well accomplished. You guys rock!

For Jessica, I haven’t spoken with her yet today, but I know her well enough to think that just having had your support in this, and the kind comments some of you have made concerning her video, will mean a great deal. I’m sure she’s upset at how it all ended, but at least it’s over. Err, oh wait. Tie. Right. Ah well, at least it’s out of our hands.

If there is anyone I feel bad for, it is the third contestant, Kristen, who only had one vote. That has to hurt. And by hurt, I mean suck really, really bad.

Thank you again everyone, I really appreciate the effort you made, and I hope that your day and week go by swimmingly.

You know, swimmingly. Like, don’t stop or you’ll sink, man.

Asking for some Emergency Mobilization

I apologize for the last minute nature of this request, but I am asking for your help in a very personal matter.

I am asking for you to vote in a poll/contest.

I completely understand if you don’t want to, but I really hope you will, and if you do, the sad thing is it pretty much has to happen tonight. Like, right now.

Here is the situation.

There is a website called Violaman.com

Violaman.com is a website devoted to encouraging the play of and passion for violas. There are forums and discussions devoted to the viola, and all things said it is a nice website run for those who are already devoted to the viola as a musical instrument, and they also try and encourage more people to pick up the viola and play for the first time.

Now, a while back in January, violaman.com started a contest, where people could submit a video they created themselves into a contest, and the most popular video as determined by a poll on the sidebar of the violaman.com website by a certain time would win an actual viola.

Of course, that final day is today. The last chance for votes is tonight.

Here we come to the personal part.

My brother-in-laws’ daughter, Jessica, is a college student currently studying her tail off to be a veterinarian here in Minnesota. She works full time to support herself and pay for her schooling, and while I have never personally been a struggling student, Cassie was, and I think a lot of you who I consider my friends know full well what that’s like.

Jessica, besides fulfilling her dream of studying to be a veterinarian, is also passionate about the viola. She played one in band for years, is ardent enough in her love of the instrument to be a member of the violaman.com website.

As you can imagine, she can’t really afford one of her own. For Jessica, this contest seemed like the perfect opportunity to try and earn one through her creativity and let her passion shine through.

She created a video for the contest using claymation, and submitted it back in January.

The contest ends tonight, yes tonight, and she is currently not doing very well.

I am only JUST NOW finding out that Jessica, who is really, gotta say, hellaciously smart and creative and hard working, was doing any of this. I had no clue that she was trying to unleash the power of the internet and friends and reach out to those who might cheer her on and so forth.

Yes, I know. You see, I am family, but this was one of those ‘word of mouth friends and family on Facebook’ things, and of course everyone just assumed someone else had mentioned it to me.

I’m not on Facebook. Go figure. I had no idea.

As you know, I don’t really know anybody on the internet, and there is no way I could find a friend or two to vote and help out. Oh, of course not. Sigh.

Now, it can be hard to find where the stuff about the contest actually IS on the violaman.com website. It seems in earnest, but for example it will be hard for people to judge and vote for Jessica, since over the last few months her entry got, well, no longer where it’s easy to find out of the three contestants.

That’s right, Jessica is one of THREE final contestants, but you can[‘t easily find her video to judge it on it’s merits.

I can help you with that. Here is the video Jessica created on her own for the contest;

The contest rules are supposed to be on the site somewhere, but it boils down that, in order to vote, you have to register as a member, and then you can vote once and only once on the poll on the side. You can’t vote more than once per email address OR IP address. This isn’t a contest to try and spoof the poll, it’s a simple “I liked this better so here is my one vote” situation.

I ask of you to watch the video Jessica made for the contest, and if you like it, I hope you will go to the violaman.com website, register, and then vote for Jessica in the poll.

I really, really would appreciate it. This would mean a lot to me.

Remember, please only vote once. But, and I’m serious here, if you watch the video and like it, please vote.

Thank you all for your time.

 

Writing Challenge goes live tomorrow!

So, if you saw my earlier post about a writing challenge, I mentioned that I was hoping folks would hold off until Wednesday to post them.

Why? So folks would have a chance to write their own creations without concept contamination. Or something like that.

How the heck will this work? Seeing stuff in comments is a pain!

Well, here is how I see it working.

If you have your own blog or website, just post it on your own location, and leave a link to it’s location in the comments of THIS POST tomorrow.

If you DO NOT have your own blog or website, post the entire thing in the comments of THIS POST. Make sure you sign  your work!

Tomorrow night, I will gather up all of those comment stories and links to stories, and put them all into one big post so that everyone can see them nice and easy.

Simple? Easy?

I hope so. If people write something, I just want to help others have a chance to read them all at their leisure.

I suppose I should write mine now, shouldn’t I?

And the winner is!

Congratulations to Saffron and Thelandira, you are both the winners of the spontaneous “Come up with Epic Calss Abilities” contest!

The idea was, come up with your own ideas of epic level class abilities that could compete in awesomeness with the proposed possible maybe kinda hopefully hunter Stampede.

Here are the ideas the two winners came up with;

From Thelandira; 
My suggestions for an “OP”, or “Special”, ability for all classes:

General rules across all classes
* None of the following abilities can be used during Heroism, Bloodlust, etc or in conjunction with other cooldowns.
* All abilities are active for 15 seconds with a 10 minute cooldown.
* Player takes no damage, or suffers no pushback, for duration of ability.

Hunter – All Specs – Stampede
• Calls out all 5 pets at once
• Pets limited to basic attack (smack, bite, claw) and one special (toss, lockjaw, rabid, etc.)
• This is a channeled ability and pets do 200% of Hunter’s AP in damage (200% damage is combined and not for each pet)

Warlock – All Specs – Demonic Force
• Calls out all demons to targeted area, except Infernal and Doomguard
• Demons limited to basic attack and one special
• This is a channeled ability and demons do 200% of Warlock’s SP in damage (200% damage is combined and not for each demon)

Mage – All Specs – Mirrored Mirage
• Calls forth 6 images of Mage to targeted area
• Images mimick Mage’s attacks/spells but Mage’s SP is reduced by 50%, while images receive no reduction…Or
• This is a channeled ability and images do 200% of Mage’s SP in damage for their normal attack/spell (200% damage is combined and not for each image)

Shaman – All Specs – Mother Nature’s Fury
• Drop a totem that is immune to all types of damage that calls forth a Wind, Water, Fire and Earth Elemental
• Elementals do damage based on 200% of Shaman’s AP/SP
• Shaman’s AP/SP reduced by 50% while totem is active, but Elementals receive no reduction
• For Resto Shamans this totem could just increase the Shaman’s SP by 200% for duration since Restos don’t necessarily need Elementals to do damage. Or, it could still summon one of each of the above Elementals that would provide 200% resistance for raid/party dependant on type of Elemental (Fire Ele for Fire resist, Wind for Shadow resist, Water for Frost resist and Earth for Nature resist).

Druid – All Specs – Forestation
• Calls forth 6 Treants to fight along side Druid with a special attack based on Druid’s current spec
• Feral = Whipping Limbs – Treants lash out with branches doing damage based on 200% of Druid’s AP (200% damage is combined and not for each treant)
• Balance = Burning Branches – Treants cast Wrath and damage is based on 200% of Druid’s SP (200% damage is combined and not for each treant)
• Restoration = Falling Leaves – Treants shower raid/party, within 35 yards, with “falling leaves” healing them based on 200% of Druid’s SP (200% is combined and not for each treant)
• Druid is still able to attack/heal during duration at a 50% reduction in AP/SP, but treants receive no reduction…Or,
• This is a channeled ability and treants do 200% of Druid’s AP/SP in damage/healing (200% damage is combined and not for each treant)

Death Knight – All Specs – Legion of Death
• Calls forth a “Legion of Death” (similar to Army of the Dead) but they only attack the target that the DK is attacking/targeting.
• Legion mimicks the DK’s attacks and they do 200% of DK’s AP in damage
• DK’s AP is reduced by 50%, but Legion receives no reduction

Paladin – All Specs – Hand of God (or replace “God” with whatever name of a WoW God fits best with Paladins…I’m not familiar with WoW lore)
• Paladin casts an improved version of Consecration that does 200% of Paladin’s AP/SP in damage/healing
• Paladin can move while ability is active and Consecration follows Paladin
• Damage/Healing affects all targets within 20 yards of Paladin

From Saffron;

For Druids,

Strength of the Ancients
Guardian: Tortolla
Balance: Aviana
Feral: Goldrinn
Restoration: Aessina

The long-lost strength and fury of the Ancients of old is summoned to your side, enhancing your shapeshift forms. Guardians change into a massive turtle, massively reducing damage done to them (70%? 80%) for however many seconds. Balance turn into ancient stormcrows, causing lightning to strike the ground around them. Feral changes into wolves and summon a pack of wolves to swarm their target. Restoration causes the earth around them to explode with life (something like that vanity item from the Molten Front) doing some sort of healingy thingy!

As stated a few times before, while these ideas were awesome, actual winners were picked based on very, very scientific principles. Very. No, really. There was, like, maths and stuff involved. Charts. Math and charts.

Congratulations to both our winners, and thank you to everyone that came up with cool, awesome and fun ideas. I enjoyed reading them all, and I hope you had fun coming up with them.

The contest, it is closed. Results tomorrow!

The contest is now closed, all comments are under consideration. Careful consideration. Scientific methods will be used.

Someone may even be wearing a big reflective disc on a band around their head, or have a strange machine that focuses on an eye and magnifies it for display.

“Reaction time is a factor in this, so please pay attention. You are reading comments for a contest and the writer did not mention Druids. Describe in simple words how you feel about… the writer?”

“The writer? You want to know how I feel about the writer??”

*bang!* *bang-bang!*

But seriously folks, all of your comments were fun and enjoyable, including the ones that weren’t suggestions but were made for fun in the conversation, like wanting Druids to be able to fish in forms. It’s going to be hard to pick just two to offer stuff from the store, and when I do announce the names, please don’t take it as my not liking your idea, it’ll just be that I have to make a choice, and the comments that will be at the top are those that in all ways follow as closely as possible what I asked for.

Then those names will go in a hat, and Alex will pick two. 

That’s right! Blame the boy!

Oh, and if you didn’t know there even WAS a contest… well, guess you shoulda read the whole bearwall, huh? He he he.

This be some crazy sh*t, mon

Here at BBB Worldwide Amalgamated (or is that Wordwise Propagated?) we have a tradition of initially ignoring most BlizzCon buzz, then following up later with a call for calmness.

This time I was sure I could break the chain. I hate being predictable.

For the most part I eschew discussing the meatier news that comes out of a ‘con, because I know that by the time an actual PTR hits the potential delicious entree of awesome will turn into a bland tidbit of taste, if it doesn’t evaporate entirely like dry ice first.

This time I knew that people wouldn’t rise to the usual bait of BlizzCons past, getting frenzied from speculation and building castles made of sand from the cool-sounding ideas that were tossed out off the cuff.

I had faith in the cynicism of my peers in WoWland. Wiser heads shall prevail.

Time to throw that caber by the wayside, because they just keep pushing and pushing this one potential piece of kickass thought out in Blue posts, and I’m seeing excitement ramping up fast. Cool your jets.

From this Blue post by Kaivax;

Here is a Ghostcrawler quote for you —

“One of the potential ideas we’re considering for a new hunter ability is one where they send all 5 of their current pets to attack, for a short period of time, on a long cooldown. No guarantees that we’ll go with it, but we’re at least considering something like that.”

Um, what? Okay, am I awake? Or did I dream reading that just now? They don’t honestly expect me to believe they would really do that, right?

Further comments from Kaivax keep appearing, fanning the idea as though this were really under consideration.

We’re talking about something that is completely hypothetical, so anything is possible.

I personally would want the ability to call the five pets that I actually have on hand at the time, since that would give me control over what everyone sees when I send out the stampede.

Furthermore, it makes a lot of sense for the spell effects to not vary much from hunter to hunter, so special abilities would be right out, *but* I wouldn’t mind seeing the pets going through their best motions.

Okay, Hunters? All of you but most especially Beastmasters that are following this and saying “Oh please oh please oh please?!?”

Take a deep breath.

Is it an idea worthy of excitement? Yes, of course it is, because it fires the imagination. If you dwell on the potential of Stampede as described and as hoped by Kaivax, if you start thinking about what pets you’d want in your stable to be called out by the spell, say a pack of five wolves, or a pride of powerful pussycats, or a who’s who of various T-rexes, or even one of every kind of spirit beast, why you can just go on like this for days.

That is exactly what makes a spell like Stampede the msot dangerous in terms of unwonted enthusiasm. The base idea allows for us to take it and run with it, getting all excited as we mentally explore the possibilities for us to make it our own within their framework.

Let me remind you of another BlizzCon, and another concept tossed out that fired our imagination.

Titan’s Grip.

They just tossed out this idea, Warriors could dual wield TWO HANDED WEAPONS as their max class talent. Isn’t that awesome? And now moving on to other boring things as though we never said that…

Credit to Blizzard, in the end they went through with Titan’s Grip. We can dual wield two handers. And yes, I did originally level my Warrior as Fury simply because of my enthusiasm inspired by that idea.

But what really happened?

When it was first implemented, it was just as incredibly OP as we all expected. It was amazing. And if you’re badass enough to dual wield two-handed weapons while Whirlwinding, shouldn’t you expect it to be?

But what happened next?

Balancing.

Which meant, after unleashing the full might of Titan’s Grip on the PTR, came the inevitable reigning it in and bringing it in line so as not to be too OP in overall DPS compared to other classes, who didn’t all get the same level of awesome.

They built in a big miss percentage, then brought it back down. Then they just nerfed overall damage output by 10%, then brought that back up.

The point to carry away from Titan’s Grip from first mention to final iteration, is that YES, we did get Titan’s Grip, BUT don’t go into it imagining that the pony or moose you thought you were promised will be what you actually get at the end of the 5.0 PTR cycle.

There is the first awesome idea, but there WILL come the inevitable balancing. Especially if the other classes don’t get something comparable.

Think of Titan’s Grip, and Stampede, and then think of the challenge that Blizzard faces with Mists of Pandaria.

It’s a challenge of bringing the awesome. They have to do it equally for all God’s children.

Blizzard is mommy and daddy, and the players are the kids. Mists of Pandaria is Christmas (or your festive gift-giving season of choice).

Blizzard CANNOT give one kid an Xbox 360, and give the rest slipper socks. Well, they could, with the sure and certain knowledge that the rest of the kids will cry and cry and cry.

Whatever brilliant idea for a class ability that Blizzard may have, they know going in that if they don’t bring equal levels of awesome to ALL the other classes, they WILL hear about it later in the forums, at BlizzCon Q&As, on blogs, wherever.

So even putting aside the issue of class balance and having a button that sics FIVE Hunter pets on a target to nom nom nom them, by bringing out Stampede, Blizzard would be committing to coming up with at least one new class-specific ability for every other class that would be just as freaking awesome. And then balancing ALL of them.

PLUS a new Race and Class thrown in!

Now, between you and me, I feel that setting the goal of coming up with awesome new kickass OMIGOD stuff should be at the top of the brainstorming board.

You shouldn’t set yourself the goal of ‘meeting expectations with more of the same’. Not when you are bringing the next expansion to your product. It should be, dare I say it, expansive? You should be challenging yourself to push the limits, to make your customers say, “Holy shit, that is going to ROCK!!”

Stampede, on the Hunter front, is one of those things that, as a Hunter, you would say, “Holy shit, that would totally ROCK!”

I truly hope that Blizzard really is keeping silent on core class abilities because they are trying to dream up that one special class ability for each class that all specs can share, available at max level, that is a Stampede-level holy shit “that is so going to ROCK!” moment.

That is what I hope.

But these are hopes and dreams and wishes and wingéd goldfish. They are the stuff of candyfloss and hot summer days you wish would last forever.

Don’t build it up too much in your mind. Any dreaming done now, any plans and speculation made based on BlizzCon statements or Blue posts is not just premature but counter-productive. 

Whatever Blizzard creates will have to be balanced so it is not OP for burst damage in PvP, and so it does not bring that class higher in average overall DPS in comparison to other classes. So go ahead and dream of useful and fun and neat abilities, but keep your expectations in check.

Mists of Pandaria seems very ambitious in scope, so I think they are committed to building and improving WoW for at least the next few years, new MMO or no new MMO on the horizon. They might do a Stampede and a whole lot more for all classes.

But please, just relax for now. Get interested, but don’t get all crazy. We’ve been here before, we’ve seen the attempts to build early buzz in the month RIGHT before a massive new competitor MMO gets released.

Don’t buy into it until you see the five pets rush out on the screen and eat the entrails of your enemies like so much colored licorice.

I guess, what I’m trying to say here, is;

Don’t believe the hype!

I wonder, wouldn’t it be fun to have a thread requesting players to come up with their own wild ideas for new, outrageous class abilities in keeping with the spirit of Stampede? I mean, the hardest part is coming up with the creative idea, the implementation is, as John Ringo might say, ‘fiddly bits’.

Do you think you can do as good or better for your class? Do you think you can come up with that ‘holy shit that would ROCK!’ ability for your class to be on the same plane as Hunters with Stampede?

Tell you what. Contest right now say what?

Post your own imaginative idea for a new outrageous (but possible, damnit make it possible!) class ability in the comments down below, one that could hold it’s own in awesome with Stampede, and I will pick a couple of my favorites to give Big Bear Butt cafepress t-shirts to. I might use some real scientific and fair method of picking the winners, such as random number generators, or reading them all aloud to my 8 year old boy and letting him pick the ones he likes best, so you’re warned.

You want in? You’ve got until next Friday, November 18th, to make your comment on this post. Go for it!

And no, this totally is not a test to see who read all the way to the end of the Bearwall. Would I do that?

Drawing results for the guild website and chat server, courtesy of Enjin!

It’s been one week since the drawing was announced on the blog, and Maxim and the crew over at Enjin.com have picked a winner in true video gamer form; they used a random number generator.

Personally, I’d have used some dice, but then again… I’ve got a lot of dice. Hmmm. Actually, remembering some of the gamers I’ve known, I don’t have a lot of dice. I only have one large tackle box full. I’ve known gamers with far more than that. Perhaps I should simply say that I have a wide variety of potential high rollers to choose from and leave it at that.

However they did it, your comments were counted, the names were entered, and the winner has been chosen.

Congratulations goes to the lucky winner, Ken R!

Ken R left the following winning comment on the original post;

I’m a long time reader of BBB but rarely comment. That said, I appreciate the serious thought given to whether or not to do something like this and appreciate him gving his readers a chance to win (and to bring a few others out from our lurker holes). :)

I would love to be able to go to my guild’s leadership with this as a present to thank them for the literal years of work that have gone into keeping the group active through multiple games and the comings and goings that will occur as real life intervenes in our gaming time together.

I’m a member of guild named Esquire on Mannoroth. While the guild name hasn’t always been the same, the group has played together in Everquest, Dark Ages of Camelot, and WoW throughout it’s lifespan with occasional dalliances in Star Wars Galaxies, Age of Conan, etc. This is a group of people committed to playing together and tackling content in everything we play as a guild and has cameraderie that simply can’t be beat. We have a website right now that no one uses because it’s a pain to manage and therefore gets updated rarely with our officers’ busy lives. Our Vent server is paid for out of the kindness of one officer’s heart, despite there being plenty around who would help.

Ken, I’m emailing you as we speak to get you all set up with Maxim.

For those of you that had commented on the post to enter the drawing, Maxim would like to offer you a a special two (2) MONTHS of free premium hosting on Enjin’ Advanced plan, which comes with a 10 man mumble server.

To take advantage of that offer, all you need to do is create a website on Enjin.com, and then send Maxim an email at info@enjin.com with the Subject “Big Bear butt commenter – your commenter name”.

In the body of your email, let Maxim know the details of the guild website account you created, and he’s told me that he’ll take it from there.

With that, I’m calling this drawing completed, and hopefully a success.

Good luck to everyone that entered, and especially a great good fortune to Ken, who I hope will enjoy the website and server with his friends for the entire year to come.

Good night!