Archive for the “General” Category

StuffofLegends

I stand on the very edge of glory, and I only need to reach out and grab it and hold fast, and I too could be the stuff of legends.

For quite some time I’ve been following the Dragonwrath Legendary quest chain, not as an all-consuming purpose but instead as something I do when the opportunity is there. Someone running Firelands? Sure, happy to go. Nobody is collecting that particular drop? Great, I can use them.

Now, that time has past.

I finally reached the stage where certain tasks were Delegated to me.

I had to gather four Charged Foci to be able to unlock a gate within the Firelands, and take on a special raid boss that you can only access in this way. Not that has loot, but that does provide the next step in the Legendary quest.

I have done this. I have the four Charged Foci in my possession. All that waits is to gather a group and go.

Ah, but what then?

After I have completed that part of the quest, things return to a ‘gather lots of stuff from raid bosses’ cycle. To continue on the quest, I’ll need to kill Firelands bosses often.

Maybe even clear the instance once a week.

Like maybe… as a regular thing?

So I am sending out the call.

I would love to have a few people join me in clearing Firelands each week. I’m not sure of a day yet, but I’m leaning towards Monday. Thursday isn’t out of the question, but Monday seems like a nice, innocuous day where little is left to do but wait for a server reset.

If you’re interested in going, please let me know. I’m not thinking of anything too formal, just getting together and knocking over Firelands in whatever difficulty we’d like at the time for transmog and such.

I know it can be done fairly smoothly with three, since Pankration the monk tank, Tom the Disco Priest and I on my Warlock cleared Firelands 10 normal in very little time last week, and that was including my screwing around with all the charged Foci. Get five or six of us, and the world is our oyster or mollusk of preference.

Even better… since I’m fairly far along on the Legendary quest already, there is room for more to get started collecting stuffs.

So, who’s interested in going back into Firelands with me and kicking a little molten ass?

Contact me on my Battle-tag, BigBearButt#1737

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I think it should go in the record books as the strangest first raid night for a new team I’ve ever seen.

Team Wanda of Band of Misfits met for their first 25 person raid last night, doing Siege of Orgrimmar in normal mode.

I was puttering around in the house, glanced at the time and thought, “holy crap, it’s 15 minutes to raid time! I better log on, I meant to be there chatting a half hour before the start.”

My expectation was that we’d all log in, see how many showed up, and then find out how many spots we had vacant we’d have to fill.

Hah!

I almost didn’t get to go on the freaking raid.

13 minutes before posted raid start (8 PM central time for those interested in these things) and we were only short three people.

Out of twenty-five.

Or were we?

I say short, but I tell a lie, because really the only folks in the team at that point were the ones invited from our own server.

Invites to cross-server folks went out, and at 5 minutes before we were even supposed to start we already had trash cleared and 24 people standing in front of the boss, buffed and ready to go.

One person, only ONE person from those originally expected to attend wasn’t there at that point, and several folks that were on the “Hey, I’d like to go list” were, guess what, online ready to go.

Eight O’Clock on the button and we’re pulling a boss for the first raid night, and at 8:03, the missing person showed up.

8:03.

“Hey, they just logged in, what do we do”, and the immediate answer was, “Sorry, guess you should have been on time. We’re full.”

Tom has adopted a new motto he seemed overly fond of, “Five minutes early is ten minutes too late.”

Harsh? Amazingly enough the solution is within the power of the person to control. If you want to go, you show up early!

It’s not like anyone is being asked to struggle and suffer for this.

You want to talk about suffering to raid? Do you remember raiding in Burning Crusade? Do you remember all of the scrolls, the potions and flasks, the food, the various buff stones and mana stones and sharpening stones and shit you had to bring to be ‘ready’ for each progression raid?

Shall we discuss… attunement chains and keys and resist gear? Shall we? Let’s not.

Somewhere on this blog I once made a list in BC to help folks be prepared and on time, I should go find a link to it, just to have something to point at and laugh.

Better yet, print it out, place it on an altar surrounded by lit candles, play some monk chants on a CD player, get a bunch of friends together and point at it, laugh at it, and thens et it on fire as a sacrifice to the Gods of utter futility.

These days, you just gotta be reforged, repaired and bring a flask. Someone even brings you the best food on a noodle cart, it doesn’t get more relaxed than that.

Next expansion, we won’t even have reforging to worry about. What’s next? Removing food buffs? Removing potions so you’ve only got a single possible flask buff per role, and a health or mana pot per fight?

These days, you don’t even have to sweat repairing first. If you forgot to repair, someone will have a Jeeves. And if you didn’t reforge? Well, you can go kiss my ass, but sure, someone probably has one of those crazy 100,000 gold mounts.

I can’t tell you the last time I saw someone show up for a raid only three minutes late, and be told “Whoops, you’re too late, spot’s already filled and we’re pulling. Other people were hungrier, next time pack a lunch.”

Eagerness and timeliness are a good sign. :)

On the progression side of things, the raid lasted exactly one hour and forty-five minutes without breaks, and we cleared up to and through General Nazgrim. We debated going after Malkorok in the 15 minutes we had left, but Tom felt there was too much trash in the way to get it done exactly by the two hour mark.

You have to give him credit. He may expect you to be on time, but he also respects that when the raid is supposed to be over, the raid is supposed to be over.

First night with a brand spanking new 25 person raid team, everyone early and up for it and 8 bosses down in normal mode.

I’m not all that sharp at times, but even I think this bodes well.

Second raid night is Sunday, we’ve got four hours to kill six bosses.

Somehow, and I know this sounds crazy, but somehow I think we might do it. Maybe, just possible, kind of magic eight ball says all signs point to yes levels of expectation.

Want to know the secret of our success?

It helps when more than half the team are normally part of a 10 person heroic-geared progression team, including both tanks and several healers, and everyone knows the fight.

It also helps when most folks don’t need anything from normal raids, they’re waiting for us to get settled in and begin the heroics. We might on the average overgear normals. Maybe.

My favorite parts of the night were the repeated times Tom would start explaining how we do a fight, and someone would immediately do some crazy shit like drop Rain of Fire on the Sha or wander near a Dark Shaman puppy and facepull the boss.

“Blah blah blah OH SHIT WE’RE DOING IT LIVE GO!”

Really, the only fight that didn’t go smoothly was General Nazgrim. Lots of ravagers up for some reason, and at the end Tom decided to push the kill and keep fighting through Defensive stance when Nazgrim was still at 18% health.

We killed him, but it was a case of ‘last few standing, bring home the flag.’

So. Much. Ravagers.

If World of Warcraft were modable like Minecraft is, wouldn’t you like to be able to swap one thing in a mechanic for something else?

Like, say, swap Nazgrim’s Ravager Axe for actual Outlands Ravagers?

That would be so much fun! Every time Nazgrim gets too much rage, another ravager critter would appear and chew on someone’s face with the Firelands Rageface mechanic.

Can’t you just hear the screams of “get it off, get it off, GET IT OFF OF ME!!!!!”

Also, that would give people a reason to hold a personal grudge against someone else in the raid that stood in the splash and gave Nazgrim tons of extra rage. “It’s YOUR fault I got ragefaced! How’s about next time you get your slow ass out of the splash?”

Such hilarious fun it would be! But at least then you could burn down the extra ravager and move on with your life, it wouldn’t be floating around the whole match.

Anyway, all I can say is, in the words of Shang Tsung, IT HAS BEGUN!

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I’m back in World of Warcraft where I belong.

It was a cold, lonely two days unsubbed without Azeroth to call my home.

I’ve come to the realization, and it’s a somewhat surprising one to me, that over the years I’ve gone from being a solo player to being a raider.

I don’t have to raid all the time, and I don’t have to raid serious progression, but I play the game first and foremost to have fun times with friends doing stuff together.

In World of Warcraft, that means raids.

I enjoy pet battles, and flying around looking for ore, and putzing around leveling alts I know I’m never going to play at max level. That’s still good fun.

There will forever be something magical in riding a dragon, soaring through the sky over mountains and green valleys, scanning the ground below looking for something to kill. Death from above!

For me, the true gaming pleasure boils down to either looking forward to (and preparing for) the next raid, or being IN the raid.

I log in and look at my in-game friends list, and that song from Frozen runs through my head, but the lyrics are changed. What I hear is;

Do you wanna kill a dragon?
Come on, let’s go and raid!
I never see you logging on
Come on get on
Don’t you want to come and play?

Yeah, I’m very excited to be back in World of Warcraft. It’s raid night, baby!

Tonight is supposed to be the first night our raid team in Band of Misfits begins 25-person raiding in Siege of Orgrimmar.

Will we still be called Team Wanda? Inquiring minds want to know, this is serious business!

The first raid will be tonight on Wednesday, and there is a second scheduled night each week on Sunday.

Doesn’t seem like much, is it? Two nights a week to do raiding.

It might not seem like much, but it’s enough to give me something to look forward to. There will be good times, fun conversations, people joshing with each other in vent while internet dragons are battled.

When it’s over, there will be reasons to go out and get stuff to make more flasks, some food, get some Valor to upgrade things maybe or seek out new items in old content to build a new transmog set to wear to the next raid.

There is one truth we all know by now. In order to get a group of folks together on a consistent basis, there has to be a reward those people want. Fun in groups gets most people there the first few nights, but self-interest and the carrot of an actual reward gets people coming back time after time.

A rare mount, a pet drop, that item for transmog, and above all else a better gear upgrade, these things are motivational. Sure, we all want fun, but we also want loot.

That is why raids are going to continue being the thing that brings people together. So long as there is a potential upgrade or achievement or shiny new thing to seek, you’ll get the seekers banding together.

I’m sure some of the folks tonight are only coming because they hope to get gear upgrades, and if it wasn’t with us it’d be with someone else.

I’m sure others are just bored and here is something to do. Maybe they’ll last, maybe not.

Still more might be starting with us tonight because there is nothing in it for them today, but it’s an investment of time now to ensure that when the Garrosh heirlooms get a higher droprate they’ll be right there to get a shot every week.

And of course, most of the core team are doing this now in the hopes of a smooth, speedy transition into the new Mythic raid format once Warlords of Draenor pops it’s cork.

Me… I resubbed, and I’m going tonight, and I’m going to do my damndest to be there every Wednesday and Sunday for raid because I finally got it through my head… I just like playing with friends, and the folks in Team Wanda? They’re my friends, and I like to hang out with them.

Same with Tuesday nights. I’ve been priviliged to run with some of the fine Horde folks in Elitist Jerks in flex runs for the last several weeks, and you can imagine my surprise in finding out they’re a bunch of great folks, too.

Who knew fun friendly folks that know what they’re doing still play this game? From the drama on social media you’d think it was dead. Amazing.

People can bitch about whatever they want to elsewhere, or get enthusiastic about another game, or whatever. It doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t affect me, and it doesn’t change my experience in the game that I do play with the people I like playing with.

World of Warcraft remains a great game. It’s controls are smooth as silk for me, there is a ton of interesting and enjoyable content to play through, and there are still many things I’d love to do, most of which takes a group to do and wouldn’t involve rewards or upgrades for other people, which is why I haven’t done them yet. :)

I remain hopeful and enthusiastic, however. Even the worst night playing with friends is a damn good time.

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Since WoW is now dead to me, at least until I totally cave in and resubscribe because I am cracking up and can’t take much more, I have lots of free time on my hands.

I spent some of it tonight fixing my music playlist.

I go to the gym most every morning, and I use my iPhone and the Amazon Cloud Player to manage my music because fuck iTunes.

Some songs get too burned into the brain to keep getting the blood thumping, and others are momentary flashes of fascination before I lose interest, but for right now, this is my absolute ultimate “just hit random and go’ music selection.

Since this is me, I have infested my playlist with my own personal sense of humor and touch of hell. As an example, I derive great joy from making Nickelback rub up against both Rage Against the Machine AND Skrillex. I like to think Nickelback wakes up each morning screaming from my own personal brand of voodoo hoodoo, and that RATM and Skrillex would be getting together and plot some kind of vicious blanket party except, you know, they hate each other too much to drop the fashionable scowls.

See if you can spot some of my other “I may love this song but I’m going to make the artist feel dirty” song arrangements.

It doesn’t matter what order they’re in anyway, I always run my playlist on random, so don’t read anything into which is top or bottom. They’re all evensies.

Keep in mind, I’m an old bastard, and I really don’t care if you like these or approve of MY liking them or what. This shit gets me moving, and at my age, that’s a freaking miracle. Also, I am long past the age where I worry what people would think of my music choices. My music choices should all be grateful I choose to like them, it’s like bestowing a blessing upon them from on high. They’ve been anointed, and that leaves room for more beer.

Do you hit the gym or work out and are on the hunt for something new to freshen your playlist tracks? Something here ought to get it done. If it doesn’t, you’re dead.

Of Monsters and Men – Little Talks
Rihanna – Where Have You Been
Within Temptation – Faster
David Guetta (feat Sia) – Titanium
Rihanna – We Found Love
Lana Del Rey – Summertime Sadness (fast remix)
Nemesea – In Control
Nonono – Fire Without a Flame
Dragonforce – Through the Fire and the Flame
Audioslave – Like A Stone
Agent Provacateur – Red Tape (from the Jackal soundtrack. The Jackal. It was a movie with Bruce Willis, damnit, sue me)
Shakira – She Wolf
David Guetta (feat Sia) – She Wolf
Nonono – Like the Wind
Havana Brown – Warrior
Nonono – Jungle
The Cranberries – Zombie
Kelly Clarkson – Stronger
Lady Gaga – Applause
Skrillex – Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
Nickelback – Side of a Bullet
Rage Against the Machine – Killing in the Name Of
Avicii – Wake Me Up
Nonono – Pumpin Blood
Christina Aguilera – Fighter
Eminem – Lose Yourself
One Republic – Counting Stars
Avicii – Hey Brother
nicki minaj – Super Bass
Coldplay – Viva La Vida
Of Monsters and Men – King and Lionheart
Katy Perry – Wide Awake
Ke$ha – Die Young
Katy Perry – Roar
Pussycat Dolls  When I Grow Up
Veronicas – Untouched
Vast – Touched
The Crüxshadows – Eye of the Storm
Rihanna – Disturbia
The Offspring – Lightning Rod
Dragonforce – Fury of the Storm
Namie Amuro – Hide & Seek
Concrete Blonde – Tomorrow, Wendy
Johnny Cash – God’s Gonna Cut You Down
The Offspring – the Noose

I put together every one of these that I could find in a shared playlist on Grooveshark, to help make it easier to try them out. Nonono isn’t on there that I could see, and neither was Namie Amuro, who does the song Hide & Seek on the famous Blind Machinima video. I was shocked by how many were, so hopefully the playlist there works for you if you’re interested in listening to any that are unfamiliar to you.

I am always on the hunt for more pounding songs for my workout, so if your personal favorites aren’t here (and I can’t imagine that tehy would be), please share them in the comments or on Twitter.

Have a great weekend!

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The final countdown has begun. I have less than 24 hours remaining before my paid World of Warcraft subscription goes dark.

Cassie frankly doesn’t think it’s going to happen, and I’m kind of curious if I can manage it myself.

A little voice in the back of my head tells me, “You know, you KNOW that a week after your account closes, Blizzard will announce new in-game rewards based on continuous subscription time… and you’ll have gone from ten years to zero. Don’t do it.”

Last night, I decided to log into each of my characters to find that one special place, mount and pet to pose with and take pictures of before logging out for what might be the last time.

For every character I have leveled to max over the years, I have some special place that springs immediately to mind with images of great battles, raids or fun with friends and family. At least I did until I reached my last character, Chainblade, my poor abandoned Death Knight.

Poor Chainblade. I created my Death Knight to play with my son, and we spent a good bit of time together in Cataclysm on the long march to 85. When Mists of Pandaria came out, many of my other characters traveled on, but Chainblade was left behind. He never took the magic airboat ride.

As my son’s Death Knight Hailsword adventured deep into the mist-shrouded pandaland, Chainblade became a pet battle alt. His duty orders sent him to spend a long, LONG time standing next to Major Payne, where he would briefly appear each day to engage the good Major in pet battle before returning to his tent for the rest of the afternoon.

Chainblade was the character that joined my son in completing the daily missions to gain a Winterspring Frostsaber, so that mount is the one that Chainblade shall always be riding for me. I was happy to see that he still carries with him a photograph of his cub’s first toy. That brought a smile to my face.

But what location resonated with the Death Knight? I could certainly log out next to Major Payne, that would feel proper considering the length of time spent there, but it doesn’t half speak of adventure, now does it?

In fact, Chainblade spent so many months in brief daily battle with Major Payne that I didn’t create a story for him so much as had the head canon build up for me.

You see, once the Lich King was finally defeated, the great wars of Chainblade’s time were over. He had battled valiently and been true to his cause, but once the grand threat was removed, what place could there be for the dead in the lands of the hot blooded and quick?

With his days of glory behind him, Chainblade the worgen Death Knight retired to the Argent Tournament in Icecrown, near to the scenes of his past glories, and there he spends his days lost in his memories of friends and fallen foes from the past, and continuing on from day to day in a kind of timeless, changeless rhythm amidst the comfortable trappings of his life on the front lines.

Chainblade has his tent pitched near to Major Payne’s tower at the Tournament, where he has been for several years now. He’s a familiar sight to the vendors there as he goes about the same time-worn ritual, each day the same as the last.

At midday when the pale sun is at it’s zenith he will emerge from his tent, vigorously sniff the air, and then light one of his foul-smelling Nerubian cigars. Once he has it going well, he pulls out his old campaign chair and sits beside his fire to enjoy the feel of the weak sun on his fur.

As the light slowly begins to move, tracing stark patterns across the face of the Storm Peak mountains, he relaxes in his chair and sips his kungaloosh. He drinks to forget, even as the taste of the kungaloosh mixed with a dash of quinidine bark reminds him of the times he drank it in the hot jungles of Sholozar Valley to keep his undead heart moving slow and sluggish in the quickening hot climate.

When night finally descends in full and the lights of the Tournament are aglow, he gets up and wanders his way over to visit with Major Payne, and watch as a fresh crop of hopeful challengers bring their pets, eager to show off their skills to the master trainer.

He sips his drink and watches through the dusk hours while the natural drama of victory or defeat goes on around him, untouched by it all but still feeling something, some small sense that he could have been any of them, with a bright future ahead, and with a life where such a small thing as a lone pet battle victory or defeat could seem like the most important thing in his entire young life.

Then the day has finally ended, and the youthful challengers all run off to celebrate or drink away their disappointment and tell stories of the grand adventure they have had, and their hopes for more excitement in the days and weeks to come.

Chainblade sets down his drink and cigar upon the steps of the old, cold tower and faces off with the good Major for the last battle of the night, two old warhorses replaying an old and familiar game. He takes his victory with the ease of long practice, using the same tactics as has worked each month and even year that has slipped on by.

Picking up his drink and cigar once more, he gives the Major a long-toothed grin, and retires to his tent, letting the moments of the day slip away to blend into the long line of unchanging and forgotten fallen dawns behind him.

Kind of sad, really. He’s a Death Knight, he shouldn’t be sitting around molding away by a campfire, he should have one last, bright charge against a valiant foe left in him!

I decided to resurrect Chainblade, call him up out of his retirement and make him shake loose the cobwebs from the rut he was in, give him one last hellride through mystery and adventure.

Chainblade had always been Unholy, so it was really time for a change. The tired old wardog needed to learn everything all over again, and what better way than to take a lesson from the new World of Warcraft Crash Course video on Death Knights, and try Frost? Dual Wielding Frost at that, really shake things up!

I watched the video, and I enjoyed it. Then I read the guide for Frost Death Knights at Icy Veins, and thought, “Holy crap, that is a lot more complicated than the Crash Course made it sound!”

Then I read the small section on simplified Frost DPS, and saw that it was about the same as the Crash Course, only you know, Icy Veins talks about things like Army of the Dead and glyphs and what kind of Runeforging enchants to put on weapons and all that stuff. Whew! A ton of stuff to take in.

Chainblade finally took his first steps into Stormwind in years, and was summoned to a visit with the King. He was directed to take a magic airship ride to discover what had happened to the fleet and the White Pawn, and stepped once more into adventure.

Two words: Holy shit!

I have played through the starting Jade Forest Alliance zone as every character class now.

I can say, without reservation, that I have NEVER before blown through that zone like an unstoppable juggernaut the way the Frost Death Knight did.

Just, holy shit!

I know I should be popping some of my short duration cooldowns, but I didn’t have time, because even when swarmed by adds like Hozen I just destroyed them. I never even bothered with Obliterate, I never had to.

I will say that the combination of summoning my pet on a 2 minute cooldown, and then using the talent that takes half of my pet’s health away to heal ME for half of MY health on a 2 minute cooldown was awesome. If I got swarmed by more than four or five things, I’d wait until I was finally below half health (and most of the mobs were dead anyway), then pop my pet and my healing Talent and boom! Back at full health AND with a pet to help finish them all off.

Felt overpowered while leveling, and that’s no lie. I never died, and I took on swarms of Hozen. I pulled the Hozen camp where Admiral Taylor is found right before you rescue him and take him to the fishie people, and it was nothing but a thing. Just pull the camp, kill them all and loot enough keys in one go to finish it all up. And then get the skulls easy because everything’s dead.

Never, ever felt anything like the god-like power of the Frost DK in that area.

I think I only ever summoned Army of the Dead once, and that was when I started feeling guilty killing swarms of adds without it, like I was being a fail DK. Army, damnit! I’m supposed to use that.

One last night to go. Tonight will be the last one.

Chainblade is level 86 already, and he’s remembering why he had to drink that kungaloosh to make it through a hot forest full of things that wanted to eat him in the first place.

Even if he finds himself retiring there among the fish people, he’ll at least have had the pleasure of one last hurrah, and the knowledge that yes, even in this modern age, an old wardog can learn one more trick, and be a total badass while doing it.

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