Azriaga of Hellscream – guild ninja failsauce

Congratulations, Azriaga of Hellscream.

Instead of telling us you were leaving the guild, like a mature adult would, or stealth quitting like a person afraid of confrontation would, you logged in, took 18 Frozen Orbs and an epic tanking ring worth 1400g out of the guild bank, and then server transferred out of the guild without a word to any officers. Or anyone else, for that matter.

Yes, congratulations indeed. You have served to reinforce a lot of my feelings about playing with people, lately.

You asshole.

When real life and WoW collide

I don’t know about a perfect storm, but it sure as heck was a dark and thunderous weekend at the Bear household.

As you can imagine, the tumult we caused by deciding to leave as Guild Leaders of Sidhe Devils brought a lot of uncertainty to the guild.

You would think, having made our decisions with the best of intentions, that we’d be hovering all weekend, immersed in the game, hoping to talk with folks, answer questions, and be there for people during the transition.

Yeah, you’d think that, wouldn’t you?

Sadly, that turned out to not be the case, and it became a stellar example of how “proper prior planning prevents piss poor performance.” Because we DIDN’T plan properly prior to our announcement.

And so, we had piss poor performance. Wow, go figure.

We made our announcement about stepping down as guild leaders without considering what we already knew; that this last weekend, and indeed this upcoming week as well, are scheduled to be the very busiest for me at work of the last year.

Normally, as the Maintenance Manager I work a reliable Monday – Friday work week. I might work late, 10 or 12 hours days at times, but the weekends are almost always free.

This last weekend, however, I had a team of engineers flying in from Japan to perform a 3 day overhaul and intensive maintenance cycle on one of the most critical pieces of production equipment in the plant. Over $40,000 was invested in this 3 day maintenance cycle alone, and I was the coodinator at the heart of it. From Thursday afternoon until Sunday night, I would have a team here at the plant performing maintenance and calibrations, and they would be gone by early Monday morning. Everything I wanted addressed had to be done by Sunday night, or it wouldn’t get done.

I ended up being at work until after 8 PM on Friday working with the team and making sure day one went well, ordering parts, fixing bearing blocks, yadda yadda.

No problems, right?

Yeah, well, Alex had been sick for the last week, and he wasn’t getting better. By Thursday, we were getting worried about his fever and upset stomach and chronic cough. On Friday, Cassie took him to the doctor… and, of course, yes he is sick and is now on penicillin, the kind that he’s NOT allergic to. Not a happy little trouper (although he likes the flavor of the medicine. Apparently, medicine flavors have come a long way.)

So, Saturday became a lot more important about spending time with him and taking him to Home Depot and having fun and letting him relax. Instead of going in to work, I let it slide, let my crew take care of it, figured I’d spend more time in on Sunday.

And of course, that let me log in to see what was up. And… silence. Okay. Nothing being said at all on forums, except for a few very nice folks volunteering for administrating the forums, or providing a vent server, other things related to running a guild, but no discussion at all about actual guild leadership. Cassie and I were getting worried, because we expected that there would be some kind of discussion going on. I mean, there are over 70 members of Sidhe Devils, only 7 to 10 are usually online at a given time, and they play across three time zones. Where else is there going to be a discussion of it?

Of course, if we don’t want to do it anymore, why would we think others would be crazy enough to do it? What if nobody steps forward? We can NOT just dump guild leadership on some poor person and run screaming, after all. Hell no.

Then, late at night on Saturday, we had two groups post almost on top of each other with their proposals of assuming leadership, neither of whom were aware of the other’s plans.

We logged into vent to chat about it with folks, and started comparing notes of conversations we’d had with various people… and along the way, we realized that we’d made a pretty big mistake. The most frequently heard statement was that people specifically joined Sidhe Devils, not necessarily because we were in there, but because of what we’d long said we were about as a guild, and it was that attitude in the guild that was the attractive thing, and that if we leave then it might or might not stay the same. But, oh, by the way, here are some new issues that we’ve noticed when you aren’t around that are worrying us. 

Oh, and do you really have to go? This is your guild, it seems wrong for you to be the ones to leave. So many people think of Sidhe Devils as “Wind and Cassie’s guild”. But if you really HAVE to…


By 3 AM on Sunday morning, we’d waffled back around to deciding to stay in the guild as guild leaders, because let’s be honest, we love the people in the guild, we really, really do, but to really, and this time we mean it, lean on other officers to take some of the burden of dealing with issues off of us. Right away, the biggest issue would be to have someone administer the forums, and to work directly with someone else on applications, and cut us out of that loop.

Cassie drafted a very nice write up on our changing our minds about leaving on Sunday morning over cereal, while I taught Alex how to paint the neat wood wagon he’d made at Home Depot. He picked this incredible fire engine red color. Maybe Cassie can post some pictures, I think he did a great job. A very proud little boy.

And then, as I raced out the door to get to work, I asked Cassie to go ahead and post it so people would know what we were thinking.

Ten hours later, it’s past nine o’clock, and I haven’t been back home of course, and Cassie’s computer died. She can get into forums, but not the game, and people are “quitting Sidhe Devils all over the place”.

Well, with my head in the middle of a gearbox upside down, that’s the impression I got from the cellphone conversation, anyway. Oh, and did I mention her work computer, with which she makes a living, is dead?

Yes, we’ve got a backup USB external hard drive with automated daily backups, but it’s late on Sunday night, and if it’s a hardware issue, I don’t have spares on hand when I get home. Sigh.

Let me tell you something.

Being at work at 9 PM on a Sunday night with a crew of Japanese engineers who speak no english (thank God for the translator I hired), a sick son and a wife with a dead work computer that needs fixing at home, and a guild imploding because you’re clearly not adept at thinking things through, and absolutely no way to do a damn thing about any of it, except the work part?

That right there is what I call a fine feeling. Spiffy.

Once I bid farewell to the engineers and the translator at their hotel late Sunday night, I drove home, deciding I was done blogging and playing the game. Just over. This kind of stress, worrying about people quitting without even the possibility of being able to be there to talk to them because all this real life stuff happened during the virtual stuff, worrying about the guild when I’ve got real life stuff that just has to come first? This is crazyness.

And then I get home, and I ask Cassie how many more people quit the guild, and how bad it was getting, and she asked me what I was talking about.  Sure, a couple people did quit, but more just said they were worried about what we meant or what we were intending to do, but were glad we’d be staying. Everyone was nice. She’d had a nice talk with several people through email, and even on the phone. Where did I get the idea the guild was imploding?


I finally got to log into the game and look at the forums at, what, 10:30, and there were about 10 people on, the ‘night crew’. Just having fun, doing stuff. Poor Azriaga told us what happened to his car, and I plotted with Stop to, um, ‘cheer him up’.

Then Cassie and I did Argent Tournament dailies, and off to bed, to prepare for the rest of hell week. And make no mistake, the rest of this week will continue to be hell. Alex is still sick, I’ve still got tons of events at work I’m coordinating, and critical machines that need emergency repairs.

But I did fix Cassie’s computer. And Alex IS getting better. And his wagon IS cute.

And the guild is still there. Maybe a little battered, a little bruised from rough handling. But still the folks that make up the guild are what counts, and for the most part, we’re still here. 

At least, they were when I went to bed last night. Who knows, things might’ve changed. 

Another day in the trenches, another opportunity to take a swing at things, another dance among the broken glass, finding enough time to do everything that needs getting done, and knowing that if I miss something, I’ll find out when it starts to smell.

Hopefully, another chance to find a way through to fun without stress.

I think we can do it.

After all, we’re getting more than a little help from our friends. :)

Azriaga, I found the culprit!

Azriaga, just tonight you were telling us in guild chat about that darn raccoon that smashed your little Scion all to shreds, totalled your bumper, took out your A/C, and all sorts of other mayhem.

Well, a lot of us in the guild couldn’t figure out how a little raccoon could do so much damage to your car.

I found out!

I’d help you get even, but I think we’ll need to form a raid to take him on. He looks mean.


Massive changes are coming, slow and sure

I wanted to let everyone that follows this blog know that changes are going on in the lives of Cassie and myself that will affect what happens here in some way.

This is a warning for you. I really don’t have any idea where things will end up.

Last night, Cassie and I announced in our guild forums that we were going to step down as guild leaders of the Sidhe Devils guild.

What we’ve been doing for months now is talk to each other about where the game of WoW is fitting into our lives.

What we finally came to terms with was that when we both first started playing, first myself and then Cassie, we were beholden to nobody but ourselves for our playtime decisions.

First and foremost, we logged into WoW in order to enjoy playing the game for fun. Every aspect of the game was present to further this feeling of relaxation, enjoyment, escape. A break from worry and stress.

The essential aspect of a break, is that it provides a way to relax and recharge after the stress and worry of real life gets to be pretty big.

What happened to us was that, as more people applied to and were invited into Sidhe Devils, it went from being a very small guild of friends that required very little in the way of administration or oversight, and became a pretty large guild of people that we knew mainly from applying for their own reasons, and friends of theirs, and people who thought it sounded cool, or people that had wanted a new guild who were told that Sidhe Devils was a fun, relaxed place to be.

And that was fine. There were a few problems, but by far it’s been a good thing.

Our mantra was real life comes first. A close second is, be good to each other.

Along the way, we tried very hard to stay true to that feeling, but when you go from a small guild of close friends and family and grow it into a large guild full of people that you may never get to know aside from seeing them log in and out of game without a word most of the time, the way we looked at things like behavior couldn’t just stay on the “we know it’s all good” plan.

We had to start looking closely at applications, to look for signs that folks we didn’t know who were applying wanted to be in a fun guild for reasons other than scheduled raids, for example, since we don’t do that. Or that they were immature or didn’t really give a shit, and just wanted some place to score some runs and phat loot. You know what I mean.

That put us in the situation of having to judge people. Right there is where the entire thing began going straight to hell for us.

In the game itself, suddenly, impersonal situations cropped up. People are playing with people they do not know, and problems come up. Friction, misunderstandings get folks cranky. People have bad days, and because they don’t know each other, a misunderstanding turns into situations where lots of folks become upset.

It became what all guild leadership positions become; a guild where the officers either take an active role in investigating conflicts, which again involves judging people, and inevitably results in hurting someone’s feelings, or where the officers step back and do nothing, and you hope that people are good to each other, and that you don’t get a lot of ever more upset folks who feel that nobody cares if someone is rude, or offensive, or a ninja, or just a prick. 

Again, the playing with our friends part, including the new folks we were priviliged to meet; great. Just wonderful.

But we became a big guild, without ever really thinking about what it meant to be guild leaders of a big guild, and what it would take to try to tackle those responsibilities properly.

It grew slowly, so the work load grew slowly, and we didn’t even notice… again, until the first time we looked at each other and asked ourselves who the hell we were to judge other people, or make decisions that end up affecting the playtime enjoyment of other people in the game.

Playing WoW as the guild leaders of Sidhe Devils became a full time job. We routinely spend hours every week, mostly out of the game, reviewing applications, talking about reported behavior issues, worrying over how to do the right thing and the best thing and somehow not hurt anyone’s feelings, and above all, make sure that if someone in the guild acts to directly hurt the feelings of someone else, especially with inappropriate behavior, that it is addressed. Immediately, if possible.

I think this situation should sound very familiar. Every person that is a guild leader, an officer, or is in a position of authority or responsibility in a guild in game deals with the exact same issues every day. We’re certainly not special in what we work with.

What we have decided is that we just no longer can put ourselves forward as the self-appointed bosses that police the behavior of other people. To be the ones that decide whose applications should be accepted, and whose should be declined, to try and reduce the chance of future problems. To decide how to talk to people that other people, not us, complain of behaving intentionally offensively, and what to do about it next when, inevitably, the person says they had no idea, never meant it, didn’t happen, etc. 

We no longer want to affect the fun of other people by judging their behavior, by making decisions that affect other people in a negative way.

The problem isn’t the people in our guild. Far from it, a greater group of people I’ve never known. We have so many wonderful friends in the guild, and actually logging in and playing, that’s all great. It really is. Playing in the game is perfect.

It’s being in charge of having to judge. I know I do not feel, and I’ve said it many times in the past, that there should ever be drama because of having fun in a video game. And yet, as the guild leader… it’s my job to look for, root out and prevent drama if possible.

We both hate it. HATE IT.

I can’t think of a worse way to spend an evening in a video game than being on vent, talking to someone that I’ve had other players complain about, explaining that I need to talk to them about these complaints, and have them break out in tears, upset and sad and crying because of having this being dropped on their heads.

It only took one time like that for me and Cassie to look at each other and ask what the hell we were doing, and why.

And it’s almost never just a question of someone doing something obviously wrong, booting them, and moving on. As horrible as that is on it’s own, at least that would be clear cut.

One problem we had, that really kicked off the stress levels for me in a massive way, was when a good person in the guild, a really nice guy, had one of his characters involved in proven guild bank item removals, and AH selling. And I mean an entire operation of removing items from the guild bank, high ticket items, and immediately posting them under their own name in the Auction House.

I had to talk to them… and I didn’t want to. But it was my job to. It was my responsibility. And it turned out that it was their very young son, that was allowed by him to play on their account, on a toon that happened to be in the guild, that was doing it without the dad knowing.

It’s easy to put on a guild charter that a player will be held responsible for the actions performed by their characters, regardless of who was playing the game. But it’s a vastly different thing to be talking to someone in vent, and be told that the issue is that their son is playing on their in-guild character… and have to try to find some solution without hurting anyones feelings.

I am not the boys father. It is not my place to suggest any solution, in any way, outside of game. And you don’t really know the person, so is it really a son, or is that just a convenient excuse? How do you really, really know? When you set yourself up as the judge, you’re saying you can tell, aren’t you? I have to believe the father didn’t do it. The son did not apply to join the guild. You wish that only the people that applied to join the guild and were approved are actually in… but how do you knwo? AND, again, who are we to suggest to someone that they are welcome… but their children aren’t? Or their wife? Or brother? Or third cousin twice removed?

How dare we?

But at the same time, I have to do something to stop it happening again.

We had another, similar situation except that I was not online when events took place, and instead of items being taken from the guild bank, instead I was told that during a guild 5 person holiday run during Brewfest, one of the guild members ninjaed loot drops and then logged off. When investigating the complaints, I again am told that it wasn’t the approved guild member, it was their son, and the son is allowed to play on the in-game character without having sent in an app or being approved. 

And now some folks are upset at having that situation in the guild. Or are they? Some folks have conflicting stories of what happened, and I wasn’t there, and again, who the heck knows what was going on at the other end of the person’s keyboard? From the description, maybe the boy just got called to dinner and went afk and then disconnected, not realizing what had happened. Or maybe he didn’t know what was happening in the first place. Who knows?

So, what do you do?

These things happen. And you have to decide how you’re going to respond. Do your best to find a solution and inevitably hurt someone’s feelings, or do nothing?

It’s the no-win scenario. No matter how things turn out, we are the ones stressing over having to talk to someone about an issue, and somebody is going to get hurt feelings.

Over a video game. Over what is supposed to be fun and refreshing.

We’re the ones in charge. We’re responsible.

We don’t want to have to be the person to make those decisions for someone else anymore. We don’t want to judge other people. I can’t stress it enough. We don’t want to ever, ever think about the behavior of anyone else in the game in a judgmental way. If someone does something we don’t like… we want to have the option of… doing nothing. Nothing at all.

We want to be able to not let it bother us, because it’s not our problem. They’re not our child, we’re not their mommy, and if someone is an asshat, that’s they’re problem to live with. And if someone has drama… let it be theirs.

We talked for hours last night, and we just don’t see any way out except to step down as guild leaders. 

So that’s what we’re going to do. 

I guess you could say that we take things too seriously, or that we worry about things we don’t need to, or that by leaving we’re being selfish.

We’ve certainly said those same things to each other plenty of times.

But no matter how many times we tell each other not to worry about it, not to let it bother us, not to get worked up about about what someone said to someone else, or how someone acted to someone else, or what someone wrote on their app and just invite them… we still end up going around and around, worrying.

I think there is no finer guild than the Sidhe Devils, anywhere. And that’s the truth. If you can’t make it as a guild leader here, you’ve got no business being one, because these are the best damn people I’ve ever met.

So I’m left with the conclusion that as guild leaders, we’re failures. We can’t handle it.

And I’m okay with that.

What we hope is that the Sidhe Devils are not, as has been said, a cult of personality around me or other bloggers that will fail without us, but that instead it is what we always wanted it to be, a guild full of really nice people, and that everyone will continue on, having fun and enjoying the game as before.

I don’t know. I think so, but only time will tell.

I would sincerely hope that people are not just in the guild because I am. That’s silly, because I’m not that special. Clearly, I’m not.

Just ask any of the people I’ve removed from the guild in the past, or the people whose apps we did not approve, or did not approve fast enough, and they’ll leap forward to tell you how unspecial I am. That alone should show you that we’re not the people to be the leaders. All the people whose feelings we’ve hurt as guild leaders… all those lives that were negatively affected by us over a video game.

Screw that.

All I know is that I still love the game, I absolutely adore playing with my wife, and I still love all these folks that I’ve played with for so long and come to know well. I hope to continue playing with them for many long months to come, even years if I’m lucky.

But we just can’t be the boss of anyone except ourselves anymore.

For all those people who have felt that we were inspirations, or that we were some great guild leaders, or anything like that. This is it. This is the real deal. This is where we’re really at.

But as much as it feels like shit now, if I never have to talk to someone in tears over vent again, and be the cause of it, it’ll be worth it.

Take care to all of you, and Godspeed you safely home. It’s cold out there today.

Interview with a PvP Hunter

I had a fun conversation with Ruuaarr after a Heroic ToC run a few nights ago, and I thought the conversation was well worth relating here for a bit.

Ruuaarr is a member of our guild, and is known mostly for playing his Hunter.

I’ve played with Ruuaarr in raids like Naxxramas, in 5 man runs, and more recently in our takedown of Onyxia.

He’s always provided some serious DPS, and can be counted on to play attentively and with great skill.

That being said, he’s a bit of an oddity in our rather laid back social guild.

You see, Ruuaarr’s first love is not for PvE content in groups.

Nope, Ruuaarr is, instead, a devoted afficianado of PvP.

Any time of the day or night, you could expect to see Ruu in Wintergrasp or one of the other Battlegrounds, presumably pwning face.

Because of my PvE background, the world of PvP for me is a bit like a closed book. Talking about it, aside from telling stories about this really bitchin’ Alterac Valley I did on my Druid back in Burning Crusade whilst grinding towards some epic shoulders, consists of “PvP, huh? So… fun, then?”

The conversation started when Ruuaarr dropped his third Fish Feast for the group, after a ‘I died and ran in and died and ran in but the bastards are dead so screw it’ encounter.

I commented that I really needed to get to farming some fish to give to him, since he was being so very generous with dropping the Fish Feasts for the group.

Ruuaarr replied that he didn’t mind, he had plenty of fish. All the fish he could ever want.

He got them while fishing for Rogues to gank in Wintergrasp.

Well, there’s a story just begging to be told there, so I had to learn more.

“What I do”, Ruuaarr said, “Is go fishing in Wintergrasp, and I’m the bait. Rogues can’t resist trying to kill someone just standing there fishing. So, they stealth in to take me down, and that’s when I destroy them.”

Wait… somehow, this sounds like you’re cheating, and destroying these poor unsuspecting Rogues… but to do it, you have to stand there motionless and fish. Just standing there. And you have to wait for them to come in and make their attack.

“Yes, they come in to gank me, and when they do I kill them. That’s why I’m there. But I get a lot of fish, too.”


That’s awesome. But this leads me to ask… why the vendetta against Rogues?

“Back when I first started playing, my son had been playing for a while and liked PvP. I wanted to try it, and went to join a Battleground. My son warned me, wait until I was 28 or 29, but I didn’t listen. I went in at level 25, and I was killed instantly. There was this Rogue there, and he just stayed and killed me over and over. The match seemed to last forever, and I was killed by this one Rogue 18 or 19 times. I refused to stop resurrecting, and I refused to stop playing, but he spent the entire match doing nothing but waiting for me and then killing me. That was when my war against the Rogues began.”

Well, I can certainly see how that might irritate a person. You must really hate people that corpse camp, after having to deal with something like that so soon in your playing. 

“I don’t hate them, but the way I see it, if you are going to corpse camp someone, you deserve what you get. There was one time, my son was playing and got killed, and the other player corpse camped him, killing him over and over for 15 minutes or more.”

“I logged onto my main, and went and found the player corpse camping him, and killed him.”

“Then I sat on him and corpse camped him back, killing him five or six times.” 

“He logged off, logged onto an Alliance character and asked why I was being an asshat and corpse camping him.”

That would make my day, personally.

It sounds as though you mostly like playing to have the challenge of an evenly matched battle. What are your thoughts on twinking?

“Twinking would work a lot better if they opened the pool of players to be cross game, and not just cross battlegroup. There just aren’t enough players in one battlegroup taking part. I think looking for the most advantage you can is built into the desire to twink… to be able to gank your opponent mercilessly and be overpowered. There are people that enjoy twinking their character to play in the twink only matchups, but if Blizzard wants that to be a success, they need to open the potential pool of players. There just aren’t enough in one battlegroup right now.”

It sounds to me like you don’t look for opportunities to destroy weaker opponents. Do you always play looking for an even match, in level at least?

“There was one time, and I still really feel bad about this. The arena in Stranglethorn Vale, I don’t know if you’ve done it, but it’s a free for all arena. You can kill people of your own faction in it too.”

“I was in there once, and there was a big fight moving all around, and I was taking on any target I saw, and I saw out of the corner of my eye someone enter the arena area and become flagged, and I took him down instantly. It turned out to be a level 31 or so of our own faction. I still feel really bad about that, I normally look to see what level someone is first, but in the arena I saw someone flag and just turned and took him down.”

Ruuaarr… thank you very much for giving me this look into the life of a PvP player, that truly does not fit in with any of the stereotypes I see all the time.

It was really refreshing to talk to someone that loves the PvP game, someone that really lives for the hunt and the hair trigger tension.

I hope that your story will help a few other folks remember that PvP isn’t all about corpse camping or ganking lowbies. A lot of very mature people love it too.

They just don’t get all the publicity. And maybe they should.

The cat is OUT of the bag!

Let the games begin!

Allow me to unveil the secret project…

A brand new podcast!

By all means, hurry on over to our new website, and bask in the glory that is;

Sidhe Devils Gone Wild!

Let me tell you exactly what this is.

This is Bre, Big Bear Butt, Ratshag and Lady Jess complete and unedited, in the pure spirit of that classic 70’s porn.

What is our podcast about? Nothing whatsoever, anything you can imagine, and more than we should ever share.

This is  a podcast that is WoW, unscripted. Four people chatting about whatever comes to mind, all messy and blotchy and without airbrushed touchup.

Did I mention the cheesy 70’s porn vibe? Just checking.

We have a vision for our podcast, a mission statement if you will.

“This is a World of Warcraft podcast that makes whelpling farming go a little smoother, and fishing seem less of a chore.”

An alternate tagline would be, “If you’re going to waste an hour fishing, why not listen to our podcast?”

I truly hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

This… this is a mugging of all things professional.

Just think Seinfeld; the podcast.

If people are pissed at how I’ve treated Blood Elf ladies, wait until they get a load of our Night Elf lady logo!

Raid jump down go boom!

So, last night was rare white elk day, we actually had a scheduled raid.

It was a notable raid for many wonderful reasons.

First, the entire raid was tanked by two people; Suxtobundr, feral Druid… and by Lady Jess’ Paladin tank!

We did Obsidian Sanctum, Abomination wing of Naxx, and then Vault of Archavon…. and you know it’s gonna be a fun night when one of your tanks gets the “Emblem of Heroism” Achievement on the first drake kill in OS.

Grats, Jess! :)

Second was that the entire raid was healed entirely by Druids. Three trees leafing around in the backfield; Jardal, Faydre and Windshadow.

As Lady Jess said at the time, “I never would have imagined a year ago that someday I’d be in Bears’ guild, and I’d be tanking a raid while he healed it.”

Third, Elystia was back!

I’ve missed her terribly, it’s like having your sister move away. Ely and her hubby Cal have been moving to an entirely new home in Canada, and it’s been a long, hard time for them, living rough while renovations have been done. People move all the time, it’s true, and packing and moving and unpacking sucks… but let’s please have a moment’s quiet consideration for poor Ely and Cal, who had to live with Ely’s neo-luddite mother-in-law the whole time, a lady who thinks high technology is using a phone with buttons instead of a round dial. A wonderful woman by all accounts, but she just doesn’t understand that a person has needs… the kind of needs that only high speed internet can satisfy. She’s had no internet for months!

I’d crack. I’m not even remotely joking. I know I would, because in Pennsylvania when staying at a home that barely had electricity, I roamed the neighborhood looking for unsecured wireless networks to ninja, and spent time at the Public Library every day checking mail.

Oh yeah, it was also a notable raid in that we had the most disturbing vent conversation ever. We were recovering from a trash wipe (those pricks after Gluth, the ones with the knockback from heck, they suck when you’re not prepared to handle two of them at once and aren’t all the way in the room for the first knockback) and Penny Arcade’s latest post prompted a discussion that started with their list of phrases that aren’t dirty yet, but that they anticipate WILL be soon… and from there went on to discuss what a Dirty Sanchez is (and people ignored my advice to NOT look it up on the internet, did it anyway, and went eww… why do people not listen?) and then went all the way to discussing the aesthetic merits of Two Girls One Cup.

Warning; I swear to god, I will banhammer anyone in the comments that graphically describes, or links to, Two Girls One Cup. You’ve been warned. Just drop it. And no, if you don’t know what it is, you DO NOT, DO NOT want to look it up on Youtube.

No, really. Please. Just let it drop. Knowing what it is does not ‘enhance your cool’. In fact, I think I lost a gazillion cool points by knowing what it was… I blame listening to the hip hop radio morning show crew on the way to work. They talk about it on KDWB’s Dave Ryan Show all the time.

Who would have thought I’d end up regretting the day I stopped listening to political talk radio. At least Rush Limbaugh never talked about, or described, Two Girls One Cup.

Okay, anyway, moving past that (shudder)… we did not actually describe what it is, but just the thought of doing so was enough to send terror running freely, carrying scissors handle first, down the halls of vent. People typing in [sticks fingers in ears] lalalalalala and all the rest of it.

As far as the raid goes, I think we had a mostly wonderful time. We had some learning curves, which I think is understandable, but it was all learning the fights, we didn’t really have any gear check issues at any time.

You know when you’re fighting something, and you’re having trouble… you can feel the difference between struggling to win based on being undergeared, or struggling based on coordination and understanding of what to do. You might not be able to pin down who ain’t on the program, or exactly what is missing, but you know there was something that just wasn’t right.

As an example, our first shot at Grobbulus was pretty close, just a few slime add issues and a few bad Mutated Injection blooms… and our second attempt was pure running around like chickens with our heads cut off, blind panic.

You just step back and ask yourself, wtf did we do dere?

And then the third shot goes so smooth it’s damn near a record downing with nobody even mussed up.

That’s not gear, that’s poorly described fights and folks that are seeing things for the first time or working together for the first time. Whoops!

Another example is when we did Patchwerk, a fight that is generally a tank and healer gear check.

You might think, with Lady Jess main tanking Patchwerk, and having just earned her first Emblem of Heroism, that there were issues.

Nah. She was just fine. Neither tank ever went below 75% health for more than a millisecond.

Like I said, we had some fun, we fought our way in, had some interruptions but generally closed escrow.

And then we faced Thaddius. Ah, Thaddius.

I love that fight.

I also loved seeing Jess get tossed across the room over and over. That’s hilarious.

Anyway, I calmly described the entire fight, I walked through what we do for the two mini-bosses, the tossing, the threat pause after a toss, the keeping close to lightning generators, the 3 seconds you have after the mini-bosses die to jump off the back ledge and for the tank to engage the boss, the positions to stand for polarity shifts with Negative to the edge of the ledge in front of him, Positive to the vat behind him, running 10 yards apart counterclockwise around Thaddius like moons orbiting a planet to keep seperation, etc etc.

I was pretty pleased with myself. I think I covered it very well, and I felt the group exuding confidence.

We split into teams, and it was smooth as Babs.

Both bosses were DPSed at a nice, balanced rate, they died together, we gathered and jumped, Sux aggroed as the main tank perfectly on schedule, and I cat dashed to be right on his butt for insta-healing. Everyone hit the ledge, we were just nailing every phase. I felt so proud.

As Sux grabbed aggro and I dropped my first HoTs, Thaddius began casting Polarity Shift, and I prepared the raid for it, calling my reminder out over vent, “Polarity Shift in two seconds, Positive to the front, Negative to the rear, get ready!”


Oh, hell yes I did.

Some folks did what I told them to do during our preparation, and some folks did what I told them to do on vent at the time.

Raid go boom!

What’s funny is, I knew we were doomed as over half the raid went down, but I started the chain Battle Rezzes anyway. After all, you never know.

Well, yes, yes I did.

I, the Big Bear Butt, wiped the raid. And when I say wiped, I mean I am the annihilator, baby. Total and complete destruction.

I’d like to blame Cassie for standing over my shoulder distracting me… but she really had nothing whatsoever to do with it. The fact is, I simply let my mouth run on automatic pilot while my concentration was on positioning, wathcing main tank aggro and position, my position, who was alive and who made the jump, and all the other raid leader crap. Oh yeah, and casting heals.

My mouth apparently thinks we like to put the Positive charges on the edge. Who knew?

Brain was not involved at that moment in any way.

In fact, it took me a second or two for what I actually said to filter up into my brain, sink in, and kinda knock around for a moment, saying “Um, excuse me… you might want to run the instant replay on that one chief, I think there’s a flag on the play.”

On the plus side (sorry, sorry, can’t help it) we kicked his ass the second attempt… and then trashed Archavon and Lady Jess got to be lunged, grabbed and have her dwarf tanking butt tossed across the room. One of those moments that just make you glad you’re a tank.

So, a good time was had by all… I hope it was, anyway. I know I never mind the occasional wipe, I find the moments rather endearing.

If stuff is too damn easy, where’s the sense of accomplishment? The struggle makes victory taste all the sweeter.

Good job, everyone! It was a (ahem) blast!