Making Golds and My Experience with the WoW Token

Good morning.

The new WoW Token system went live in North American regions yesterday, and you can bet your bippy I took advantage of it. Now for the morning after report. Regrets? Buyer’s Remorse?


This has been a damn strange expansion for me and no mistake.

For the first time ever in this game, I have more gold than I know what to do with.

This has never happened to me before. I’ve never been taht gold making guy. In fact, there is a long-running tradition of me wanting new shiny pet or mount, and having to go to Cassie for a WoW gold loan (at zero percent interest never to be paid back) because she is thrifty and makes all the gold while I’m always blowing it as soon as my pouch gets any weight to it.

That all changed this expansion, and I really don’t have an answer for you as to why.

I will give you some anecdotal evidence, which is a fancy way of saying this is all the shit that’s somehow working for me and I’m too small of a sample size to matter a hill of beans to the big picture. I won’t even say your mileage may vary, because at any moment it might vary for me too; for example, Blizzard can change things on the backend and suddenly the garrison gold missions I see all the time could vanish like a Rogue on tax day.

Anyway, I leveled early and often as soon as this expansion hit. I’ve found the leveling path through the zones to be easy and mostly pain free, especially since I prioritize the quests that lead to the garrison blueprint reward books and anything that rewards a follower.

This means that I currently have six characters at level 100 with fully maxed garrisons, every one of which has a level 3 Inn, Dwarven Bunker, Barracks, Salvage Yard and appropriate profession buildings. Almost all have a Trading Post to convert excess resources to crafting supplies, and the one that doesn’t is my Hunter, who has a max level Barn that I keep stocked 100% of the time to the rafters with large leather work orders that send me a steady stream of Savage Blood.

Five of the six level 100 characters have all 25 Followers maxed to ilevel 675, andon every follower that is not considered necessary to a ‘Mission of Interest’ by my Master Plan addon, I constantly reroll traits and abilities until i get one that is an Epic Mount with either Treasure or Resource bonuses.

I even have a seventh character that is almost 100, my Enhancement Shaman.

Basically, what I do is I log into every character morning, noon, evening and right before bed to collect and resend the followers on garrison missions. I prioritize those missions that are gold, then resources, then level 100 or above because they return the best salvage crates for greens and blues to sell.

I also at some point every day run every character through the herb garden and mine. This gets me resources for my professions, Archeology tokens on everyone, Primals that can be sold in batches of 50 for Savage Bloods and also extra resources to turn in at the various Traders.

And of course every character does their daily profession cooldowns and crafting.

I’ve done this from day 1, even when there seemed no point to it, and I never crafted anything in the first few months. I made a few items but never upgraded them.

Up until patch 6.1, the way I made gold from crafting was to sell every Savage Blood I got on the Auction House, craft tailoring bags and top level weapon enchants and sell those for thousands apiece, and that’s it. All other gold came from garrison missions and selling all the greens and blues that I got in Salvage Crates.

Since 6.1, I have upgraded almost every weapon and crafted armor piece on my alts. My Druid, Hunter and Death Knight are all sporting upgraded weapons and the hunter has the other two pieces at max level as well. With the barn cranking out Savage Blood faster than I know what to do with it, and the Traders giving me tons of primals for more bloods, the only bottleneck in crafting upgrades are the daily cooldowns on profession mats, and well, I had thousands of those on everyone.

Now I’ve taken to crafting the upgrade tokens and either selling them directly or upgrading an item and selling it on the AH.

All of this to explain how someone like me that does NOT make gold or manage a careful regimen of buy low sell high live on the margins of the gem or glyph market somehow still ends up with 30,000 gold to 60,000 gold and has to find something like rare pets and mounts to blow it on… and I’ve plum run out of shit I want to spend money on. It’s a terrible thing when you have excess gold burning a hole in your pocket and you can’t find a mount you even WANT on the AH to blow it on.

What can I say, there is something special about seeing Blingtron’s Vault come up with multiple multiples and being over 2000g.


Enter the WoW Token last night, and me somehow sitting on 65,000 gold even after spending over 20k on a Spectral Tiger Cub pet the night before because why the hell not, it’s cute.

When the WoW Token first went live, I had no intention of buying one at the store. I already HAVE the golds. But I also didn’t intend to rush to get one on the AH. At least, not nuless the price showed signs of rocketing up. I wanted to get one, but I figured the only way I’d get one on first day jitters is if it looked to be rising in price so I could get one before they stabilized at some obscene cost like 50k or 80k each.

At first, it looked to be doing that very thing. I started getting nervous. it was going up 1% every hour like clockwork, with no signs of stopping. I almost bought in at 32k.

Then I took a break to watch Agents of Shield with my wife, and other assorted stuff, and when I came back the price was not only shifting faster to demand, but it was on the way down and currently at 28.8k gold apiece.

I instantly bought two WoW Tokens at the 28.8k price point. Would it go down further? Probably. Would I consider 28.8k gold a fair price for a month of WoW time? Sure!

I based that decision on how much effort I think it will take in one month to earn that amount of gold. I think 28.8k gold per month is, currently, a sustainable rate based solely on garrison gold missions and selling greens and blues from Salvage Crates and from doing legacy raid runs and selling the accumulated loot.

As an example, and again totally anecdotal only my experience, I made probably 6k gold yesterday just from salvage Crates and gold missions. That’s probably a peak and I haven’t been tracking it on a spreadsheet, but even so I definitely know that I average more than 1k gold per day across my characters. That is all that is needed to sustain that income towards a WoW Token.

IF WoW Tokens eventually stabilize at 30k gold each, then we’re talking a 1k per day ‘nut’ to maintain your account. Once you’ve made your monthly nut to cover the mortgage, it’s all cheddar.

This morning, I checked the WoW Token price after doing my garrison missions and before heading to work, and the price was down to 23.8k each. So yes, I spent 10k gold more last night on my two tokens than I would have needed to if I’d waited one night.

Buyer’s remorse? Nope. I have those two days of game time, I still have over 20k gold across my characters, and more rolling in.

It’s going to really interesting to see where the prices go.

It all comes down to a balancing act. Once someone pays $20 for a WoW Token, the question becomes, at what price are they willing to place it on the Auction House? If I bought one, and I saw I would only get 23k gold for it, I would be tempted to hold on to it until prices rose higher to what I would consider an equitable return on my investment. 23k would feel too low to me. I might hold on to it until the prices rose back up to 30k.

If enough other people felt the same way, that they wanted to hold on to them until prices rose, then the supply of them would go down. That would tend to result in fewer tokens available for people to buy, and with increased demand the prices WOULD go up.

But… if the prices on the Auction House get higher than the majority of players are willing to pay, then demand goes back down until the prices do… from a glut of Tokens on the market and no takers.

It’s just so cool to see such a direct correlation of real money to gold in the economy. When it was all about gold to gold for digital goods, meh

But now, I see that Spectral Tiger on the AH for 20k gold, and my brain instantly translates that into $19 dollars of real money.

I put a ilevel 675 Shredder rifle up on the AH last night, and it sold for 35k gold. I can’t help but think someone just paid over $25 for that Hunter gun. Maybe up to $45 depending on Token market prices.

I’m sure I’m not going to be the only one this happens to. Gold is now a currency with an exchange rate to dollars, and since the gold price of Tokens is stable across the region and NOT dependant on server economy, we can truly expect a website to provide the current exchange rate for gold to cash and vice versa any second. Check in, see what one gold is worth in dollars, JUST LIKE THE OTHER GAMES THAT HAVE DONE THIS.

I always laughed when I saw the real world cost of a star destroyer or other massive ship that got destroyed in Eve Online, but that same scenario is now played out here in WoW, but without the perma-death of your purchased equipment.

Now, you can look at that Grand Expedition Yak and compute the exchange rate instantly to what that really does cost in real world dollars. And if you bought a Yak in the old days, how does it feel knowing that you have one mount that you got for on-the-go transmog that would be worth $104 in today’s market?

It’s going to be fascinating to watch how this effects everything.

No, really, this is going to be amazing to watch.

I expect more people to take the time to craft items or put stuff on the auction house that never took part in the online economy before because there is a real world monetary benefit in doing so.

I expect with the increase of available goods that the prices will drop on just about everything.

I expect that eventually the value of a WoW Token will rise back up and stay there as demand increases across the board and the people who have gold capped purge their reserves buying Tokens at the current low prices (to the monthly 10 Token max) and then have to try and rebuild their gold reserves in the face of stiff selling and undercutting competition.

Oh yeah, this is going to be a fun time to be a WoW player.

My goal is to see if I can maintain enough gold income to fund my own and my wife Cassie’s accounts month to month. Will prices climb to way above my monthly gold income? Frankly, i totally expect them to. After all, if it’s that easy for me to reach this gold amount, then it is the same for everyone else.

The big question is… will there be more huge gold sinks added into the game to give real money Token buyers a reason to keep wanting tons more gold? Blizzard has complete control over adding enticing new items to the game that cost obscene amounts of gold.

Will that beautiful new purple tiger mount be coming soon, and at a crazy price point of 150k or higher? That might drive a sudden spike in gold buying.

What do you think? have you bought a WoW Token yet, either in the store or on the AH? Are you happy with the cost?

The Cub Report – Big Guns Go Boom

Over the last few weeks a new class of games have entered the Cub life; first person shooters.

He’s already familiar with the concept of PvP. He does quite a bit of it with friends online in Minecraft server minigames.

Heck, I’ll be honest. At this point he’s probably played more PvP battles in videogames in his life than I have. PvP online with faceless opponents have never been my thing. Now, kicking a friend’s ass… that there is priceless pleasure, but my generation mostly did that on a console sitting together on a couch face to face (or butt cheek to butt cheek).

You know, close enough to throw down the controller, stand up and accuse your friend of being the cheap-ass Chun Li using bitch that he is, right to his face.

Not all that long ago I turned over my old tigerlordgm Steam account to him and created my own as Thebigbearbutt. That means anything I had on there is now his, and I can get him his own games as well.

Steam is very cool. I was able to link his account to mine as a family, so if he’s not playing games on Steam I actually have access to his complete game collection and can play any of them on my PC.

It also means that any games I buy on my account we can play in multiplayer. Sitting side by side in the same office on our own computers, close enough to, well, okay we don’t scream about Cheap Li. But in some ways, it’s nearly as bad.

The first game we played together on Steam is Terraria. We played a LOT of multiplayer Terraria. That fad has since died away, but before it did he had fully mastered summoning bosses and dominating everything currently in the game, thanks to some coaching through Youtube videos about Terraria that clued him in on the stuff in there and how to unlock it.

He does so love knowing more about a game than I do, and teaching me along the way. :) It must feel very empowering when normally you don’t know stuff because, hello, young, and other people have to coach you. The opportunity to turn the tables around and be the teacher is clearly good for his confidence.

The next game we moved on to was Transformers: Fall of Cybertron, a first person shooter. Transformers is a game that is simply beautiful to play, it has amazing graphics. He played through the very complete campaign modes, loved it very much, but the multiplayer matchmaking on there is dead. It’s been out too long for people to be camping in the matchmaking servers.

To get the multiplayer going I got it on a Steam sale, so he could fight me in there as well, and holy crap he took to it like a bear to honey. We figured out how to select mechs and change styles, and while he started out trying the big monster Dinobot skinned tyrannosaur mech against me, he quickly found that if he chose a flyer in an outdoor map he was going to dominate and own my sorry slow mech ass.

Cheap chirping pterrodactyl death from above swooping punk. grrr.

Side affect is, when a friend of his comes over they can play multiplayer as well, whether on Steam games or on Minecraft servers and be in the same room… but that means I’m kicked off my own computer. It’s hell, I tell you.

Lots of fun, oh my yes, but limited. You can’t do campaign multiplayer in Transformers, no coop, just the PvP matches or ‘two vs swarm’ mode against bots, and that got old super quick. Without other players besides the two of us, well, it really limits how much replay there is.

We moved on from there to Portal 2 multiplayer. No bang bang guns, instead cooperative portal puzzle solving. So far, I think that’s been our favorite. So wonderful.

The Portal 2 cooperative multiplayer has been extremely well done. Tons of personality in the characters and environment, a continuation of the main campaign (sorta), more GladOS goodness, more exploring of the environment in cool ways. And hard puzzles.

If anything we limit ourselves on doing those missions because we both realize once they’re done, they’re done. They are so good, we’re rationing them out.

So we’ve added a second game to the mix. When we’re not playing Portal 2 together… we’re playing Borderlands 2.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure, we’re cheating like a mofo in that game.

I bought it along with the Mechromancer DLC for my Tigerlordgm account before I created my own Steam account, so he had that extra character class available to him. The idea of playing as Gaige with his own giant pet robot was a winner, so that’s what he’s been doing.

Me, I’d originally been playing as the Mechromancer too, because duh giant pet robots, but once he chose that I abandoned it to level up a Zer0 assassin to play with him.

We started it up straight, but yeah, it didn’t take long for me to ask myself, ‘Are we playing for a challenge, or to have fun blowing stuff up?’

Shortly thereafter I downloaded and installed what is called the ‘gibbed’ Borderlands 2 save game editor, and used it to add some special weapons into our inventories. Weapons that normally aren’t available until much later in end game… and synced to match our much lower level. Legendary weapons.

So I was able, for example, to put a pistol called the Vengeful Infinity into his inventory, synced to match his level 8 in power, but retaining the special characteristics of extremely stupid rate of fire, and infinite ammo.

Or to drop an epic rocket launcher into his backpack that, when fired, spawns smaller mini-missiles at the distant target. Does he ever hit anything with it? No, he generally shoots it into the sky for fireworks. But he still loves it.

The point is, we’re cheating by giving ourselves fun weapons in the early game and playing together. We haven’t used it to increase our levels, because if you’re not taking damage and risking dying, it eliminates all the fun out of it. As it is, we still die every once in a while, especially when overwhelmed by bad guys and unable to revive the other one in time. Also, grenades. Grr! But racing around in a jeep, my driving because he bogarts the turret, is a heckuva good time. And charging into the guns of the nomads is great.

It’s been interesting.

He’s very good at the game, and he loves the sense of humor of Handsome Jack. Butt Stallion did get quite a giggle out of him. But I’m finding out that the draw isn’t the shooting, which is what most people seem to think of as what kids want.

I really don’t think he’d enjoy a more realistic FPS, like Call of Duty.

He likes the more outrageous weapons. I think in an earlier age, he’d understand the amazing joy of a BFG in Doom.

But the main point here is, sure he’s playing Borderlands 2 with me in cooperative multiplayer because we’re playing together and it’s fun to do that. But if given a choice, he’d much rather play Portal 3 with me on a very long coop campaign than play a shooter.

Creating portals, figuring out puzzles and dodging tricky scenarios is more engaging than the boom boom for him. Heck, it is for me too.

A game that we have on PS3 that was similar in concept to Portal, Quantum Conundrum, also engaged his imagination and tickled his funny bone.

The problem with that game was that rather than rely mostly on interesting puzzles involving heavy and light and other mechanics, they added in tricky moving and jumping puzzles on conveyors over lava kinda stuff that too. With the shitty control scheme of the game, it made later parts suck compared to the beginning. The Cub felt it was not nearly as fun and certainly NOT original. Almost as though they had a great idea for a portal style game, but ran out of imagination on creating the puzzles about halfway through and had to insert the jumping stuff to stretch it out. So he got that far in and lost interest. Such a shame, too. Quantum Conundrum had a charming setting and a great theme song.

But it is an example of where he would like to go, based on what games are out there. If given a choice, he doesn’t want to shoot stuff or blow stuff up. Okay, I lie, he loves to blow stuff up. But he’s not looking to get scared in a Doom style horror shooter, and he doesn’t have a craving to pop caps into the backs of peoples’ skulls in alleyways.

His preference is a game with a fun setting, meaning one with lots of humor and personality, jokes and sillyness. A game that let’s him have an avatar that runs around and jumps and can drive vehicles and explore and basically interact with the world in as many ways as he can think up. And a game that has puzzles that are challenging to think through and have lots of movement, that he can solve using his imagination and figuring things out.

He has another ‘game’ on Steam that he specifically requested, and that he spends a LOT of time in, based on the Youtube videos he’s watched. It’s called Gary’s Mod, and it’s hard for me to call it a game. It doesn’t have a story, or a campaign, or anything like that. It’s a giant sandbox. it’s like a big FPS, but everything in it you create from scratch. or download from the Steam community of players that upload their creations.

He’s happy spending lots of time trying to create a gadget or new construction using other people’s gadgets and tools, and then play with them on this big featureless plain.

Make a jeep putting together chassis parts, wheels, etc. Program a control scheme mapped to keyboard keys. Then climb aboard and drive it around. That kind of thing. Being able to use your own imagination to create something and then try it out on puzzles to come up with your own solution.

Another game he plays on Steam? Scribblenauts Unlimited. A game where he can use words to describe an item to create it, and then use it to get through puzzles and overcome obstacles.

Do you begin to see a trend here? The use of the imagination within the bounds of the game programming… and a desire to be able to have more options and less boundaries to restrict his imagination.

Why look… almost as though he is ripe for beginning to try pen and paper old school role playing games, where there is no imposed programming limitation on using your imagination. In fact, the only real limitation is how hard it is to get your idea across to a dim-witted gamemaster.


Soon, my friends, and his transition to the dark side will be complete.

Story time – I came, I Saw, I ran like hell

We own a home in a nice, quiet suburb in the midwest.

It is more than just the American dream, it was always a dream of mine. All my life as a child, my family never owned property. Even after my parents divorced, neither side owned a home, a place to call their own while I lived with them.

One thing that holds true; no matter how nice the place you are living, if you’re just renting space there, then you know any month could see you looking for a new place to call home.

Emotionally, they are less a home than what George Carlin called them; a place for your stuff. The bigger the place, the more stuff you can stick in them. If you move from a larger place to a smaller, you gotta get rid of some stuff… or find an extra place for a bit of your stuff.

I internalized that message at an early age. I remember, several months into living in one rental apartment, showing my stepmother how I’d arranged my room, and proudly showing her how I’d managed to unpack just enough stuff to do schoolwork and move around while leaving the remainder neatly packed and ready to go.

I was proud, without any irony at all, to be able to show her that I was prepared to leave at a moments notice with a minimum of effort if that was what the family had to do.

Life in the Marines didn’t exactly require a lot of preparation when it came to traveling light and living out of a seabag. I even kept all of my comic books in a nice, reinforced steamer trunk so it could be moved as one piece of furniture. Ah, the old steamer trunk o’ comics. I miss that trunk.

But I’m an adult now, and one thing I always wanted for the family that I would someday have was that sense of permanence, of community, of being of fixed address that home ownership would surely bring.

Yeah, so I was delusional.

In hindsight, of course you can be a part of a stable and vital community with friends and good relationships with your neighbors while renting a house or apartment.

And home ownership doesn’t magically transport you to a land of block parties and sharing cups of sugar, and lazy Sunday grilling and beer with the neighbors while a bonfire roars into the sky.

In fact, you can be isolated as hell owning a home, especially when your neighbors are dicks that like to let their dogs out to snarl and bark and chase your kids along the fenceline every time you go outside in your own yard to play. In fact, it can be ever so much worse because if you’re renting and your neighbors are selfish dicks, you can always move. When you own a house? Ah, that’s when your thoughts turn to homicide. I mean, so I suppose. I’d imagine. I really wouldn’t know.

But I wanted a house. My wife wanted a house. We both had visions of the perfect house, and the perfect yard, and the perfect kids, all in the perfect quiet little suburban community the perfect distance from work and the perfect distance from the inlaws.

Be careful what you wish for.

Well, we got a house, and it’s got a yard.

That means I’ve got yard work. FUCK.

Being in the midwest, we get snow, we get rain, we get heavy leaves falling in a blanket of gorgeous colors in the fall.

What these translate to is we get a driveway covered in snow and ice for me to shovel, a driveway that the snowplow truck buries in hardened mounds of snow, ice and rocks at 4 AM in the fucking morning AFTER I’ve cleared the driveway, rains that flood the yard a foot deep and come pouring through the basement windows like leaky portholes in a submarine, and leaves that choke the gutters so that if I don’t get up there and clear the gutters by hand a couple times of year I get gutters filled with rotting vegetable matter that stinks to high heaven.

Oh yeah, and in the spring, that much lauded and delightful time of year when the birds sing, the flowers bloom, and the air is fresh and warm?

Yeah, that time of year is when shit starts growing like plants versus zombies on crack, and you need a machete to beat your lawn into submission.

My personal favorite time of year is the first bloom of summer, when the lawn has been beaten until it’s quietly moaning and is afraid to grow too fast because I’ve got power tools motherfucker, and the pollen hasn’t exploded just yet because I’ve got poison to dump on the lawn and kill the weeds, eat hot death cottonwoods, and the torrential rains have eased up so I can stop bailing the basement like our house is an ark and we’re trying to take the cats to the first new dry land.

This story? This is about all of that. The joys of home ownership, yard work, and my favorite time of year.

The hot mad sex of spring was finally over, and everything that was going to grow had worn itself out. The weeds got poisoned early on, and the Sun was getting a tad hot so the lawn only needed to be slaughtered a few times a week. Memorial Day weekend was upon us.

During this lull in the eternal battle of the great outdoors, I needed to take advantage of my opponent’s momentary weakness.

One of my targets of opportunity were the trees that like to grow along the fenceline.

One of the many miracles of spring is that a single sprout, invisible to the naked eye in the fall, can somehow grow in ONE SPRING into a ten foot sapling with a two inch diameter tree trunk and deep, branching roots that somehow grow into, around and through the chain links of the fence as if to say, ” You can take my leaves, but you will never take my ROOT SYSTEM.”

Those trees only think they’ve won.

As I said. I’ve got power tools.

This, by the way, is how a religion gets founded. It takes the inspiration of a great leader, a charismatic voice that people will truly believe in.

Like Tim Allen. I believe in Tim Allen, and I follow his commandments. Well, commandment. there’s really just the one.

The religion of Tim Allen can basically be boiled down to this; There is no problem, however large, that cannot be solved by the application of a powerful enough tool.

If the tool you are using isn’t working, it’s simply not powerful enough. Step it up, heretic.

Also a mark of faith among the believers of the Church of Tim Allen is the knowledge that explosives are, in fact, tools, and fire is a legitimate power source. If you light a fuse or activate an electrical detonator on explosives you are using power tools. Accepting that fact makes a lot of other things in your life simpler and happier.

So I’ve got trees that grew over the course of one fucking season from a two inch tall sprout lost among the grass to towering pieces of green and brown shit over ten feet high, thinking just because they’re part of my steel fence there ain’t a damn thing I can do about it.


See, I’ve got a Sawzall, which is the tool version of Kleenex. Sawzall is really the brand name for a reciprocating saw like a jigsaw but bigger, stronger, beefier. Much more powerful. They’re generally called a sawzall but mine is in fact a Tiger Saw.

Depending on what blade you put on this thing, you can cut through trees, ceramic pipe, steel struts, sheetrock, you name it. If it’s less than three inches thick, you can probably cut through it.

If you can’t, well, there’s always the cutting torch.

On this particular day in early summer, battle was joined as man and tree faced off. The tree had a strong defense in place, being in de fence as it were, but I was armed with my Tiger Saw and a nice wood cutting blade that would slice through those branches like they were warm butter.

One of the nice things about a sawzall is that you can use that sucker to go after the roots of small trees even when they’re deep in the ground. You just start at the base of the tree and take that thing down and the reciprocating blade will churn into the soil and throw dirt like crazy, letting you chop up bits of roots and stringy grasping vines with ease.

I made my way around the fenceline, and you could see where I had been by the wreckage I left behind. Dead limbs torn from the trunks lay scattered around the lawn, leaves torn from branches, the clean lines of exposed chain link gleaming in the sunshine.

The scent of the sap flowing sluggishly down the torn bark smelled like… victory.

I cleared the field of battle, and looked over the work that I had done, and I saw that it was good.

The yard was returned once more to a state that could be easily maintained by frequent use of the deadly torture device known as the lawn mower, and it’s smaller kin the fence patrolling weed whacker.

I turned from the fence and examined the foundations of the house itself, where weeds and such liked to grow where the mower lacked reach to grab and slice.

As I surveyed the foundation, I found that I had missed a tree.

This one was tall and strong, and the son of a bitch hadn’t been there the year before. And it had chosen a particularly cunning location to make it’s stand.

It had grown in the center of, and directly underneath, my outside gas meter, where the city natural gas line runs from the street and under my lawn to the side of my house, up to an explosed meter so the city can see how wasteful I am of my natural resources and fine me accordingly, and then the solid metal gas line descends once more into the earth, to head deep underground and be routed into my house to provide warmth to the air, hot water for our baths, and heat to cook bacon, all vital functions to survival. Especially that cooking bacon part.

Oh really?

I approached the tree, standing tall and defiant, it’s roots clearly grown so large in one spring that the damn thing was about ready to start moving my underground gas pipes. Yeah, that’s ALL that I needed. A fucking tree breaking a gas line.

The more I thought about it, the more I had to admire the revenge. I had cut down it’s arborial brothers and sisters, and it would exact revenge by tearing my gas line asunder and blowing my whole damn house down. And what could I do about it? It was already too big to simply grab and pull out by the roots, it wasn’t a weed, it was a damn tree.

Well, I wasn’t going to try and pull it out, I can recognize an exercise in utter futility when I see one. I’ve played a warlock for years.

So instead, I took a quick look over the gas meter and the pipes heading into the ground, checked to make sure everything looked nice and solid, and without engaging any actual sense at all to THINK about what I was about to do, I went after that tree with the sawzall, chopping it down and getting good and deep into the roots in the soil.

It was about right then that the blade encountered resistance. A fierce knot held firm against the assault and deflected the blade, right over against one of the gas pipes.

Surprisingly, once you get under the actual ground, what I found out was the gas line wasn’t steel pipe any more. It was, in fact, a rather small, thin gauge of rubber sheathing over very thin copper tubing. The whole underground pipe was not much more than three quarters of an inch in diameter.

Now, you may be curious just how much protection a thin rubber wall provides for a copper tube when attacked by a determined sawzall.

Let me assure you that it does not in fact provide any protection whatsoever.

You may also wonder just what, exactly, you do when you’ve just cut the main gas line running from the city street to your house in half.

Well, it turns out that there isn’t actually a cutoff to shut that gas off when you cut that main line.

In fact, that’s kind of the point of the gas meter. The gas line goes to the meter, and you can shut it off FROM the meter TO your house.

If you somehow manage to cut that line BEFORE it reaches the meter, why, it’s quite impressive. But then what fucking idiot would do something so incredibly stupid?

So, my saw took a bad hop, it’s advances rebuffed by a determined knot. Sliced RIGHT through the main gas line to the house.

Oh my.


I had one moment where I looked at that cut line down in the churned up soil, and I said to myself, “You’ve just gone and completely fucked that up, haven’t you?”

And a little voice in the back of my head channeled from the movie Spaced Invaders replied, quite clearly, “Ain’t life a bitch?”

I have to admit, I never really appreciated before just how MUCH pressure that natural gas has behind it when it reaches your gas meter with it’s built in regulator. It doesn’t just ease through that pipe, it doesn’t simply hiss a bit, it explodes out of that hose like a fire fighter working a four alarm.

Speaking of fire fighters….

I stopped running the sawzall, took it to the outlet I had it plugged into, unplugged it and set it down. There, no source of spark immediately available outside.

Then I ran inside and explained to the lovely and talented Mrs Bear that yes dear, I have in fact managed to arrange for some excitement in an otherwise dull day by causing a situation that could lead to our house, you know, kind of exploding. Could we all please go outside, maybe?

Yes, in fact I do mean now, and perhaps we should bring a cell phone with us because there may not be a house to go back into later.

Do I know the number for the city public works department off the top of my head? Unfortunately I do not.

However, 911 comes trippingly to the tongue. Why don’t I give those rascals a call and let them know that yes, why thank you dispatcher yes it is a fine day, and could you please let those nice fire fighters know that we have a severed gas main at my house that cannot be shut off and is JUST waiting for any spark or source of fire anywhere to ignite the stream of pressurized gas that is flooding the entire neighborhood at a stunning rate of many hundreds of cubic meters per second?

Thanks, I’ll hold.

Oh, did I happen to realize that today was not only Sunday, but was in fact the Sunday of a three day holiday memorial day weekend?

Yes, yes I did happen to notice this, it is in fact why I was out doing lawn work.

Yes, I am aware that it’s quite inconvenient to have done this on the Sunday of a holiday weekend when city public works, union workers all, are at home drinking beers and grilling. And of course yes I do understand that the fire and police departments are mostly out and about at community parks doing meet and greets and letting young kids like mine bounce on the seats of their squad cars and fire trucks.

I am so sorry, I truly am, you have no idea how sorry I am that I didn’t schedule this particular emergency for normal working hours during the Monday – Friday work week. I promise the next time I have an emergency I’ll do my best to be more considerate.

Just this once though, since I am rather new at this whole ‘accidentally blowing up a house’ thing, do you think you could try to send someone over that knows how to shut the main off at the street? Thanks, you’re the best.

As we stood out at the street watching our home and clearly hearing the roaring of the natural gas pouring out of the pipe even from forty feet away, the lovely and talented Mrs Bear says, “You need to go warn the neighbors that their houses might blow up.”

Oh shit, do I really have to? I hate those fuckers and their damn dog.

Okay, okay, you don’t have to give me the look, shit, I’m going.


There are few things in this life that are quite as distinctive to the memory as that moment when you have to knock on your neighbor’s door, the neighbor that has the angry vicious dog that they let out every single time your son tries to use the swing set in your yard that you built with your own two hands (and power tools), that neighbor that you think of as a true piece of shit, and tell them that you fucked up on such a grand scale that their house might very well blow up.

That right there, that moment’s a keeper. That’s one you just have to look forward to recalling when you’re old and fading away in the nursing home, wondering where your life went wrong, because you were going to live forever and getting old only happens to other people.

Of course, a few more moves like that one and I’ll certainly not have to worry about making it to the nursing home.

Such a lovely sight it was on the fine Sunday afternoon, as the fire trucks came roaring around the corner to stop in front of our home, and the police came to see if they could blame anyone for anything and write a ticket or two, and then a truck from the public works department came by, and then two more trucks from public works came by, and there before you knew it was a block party!

What followed of course were over a dozen police and fire crew standing around watching the public works guys dig a hole.

Rock on.

In only a few hours, a massive hole was dug, a hole big enough for two men to stand in, and the entire gas meter was ripped out and replaced with a new one, along with the gas lines, which they replaced with some nice stout looking pipes. Why, they even filled in the hole!

And shortly thereafter we received the bill.

Oh my.

I’d have to ask Cassie, but I want to say that after I negotiated with the city, and then begged with the city, and then tried a little crawling and sniveling, that it only took, what, two years to pay off that lovely little memorial day mishap?



Let the record show, the score stands at Tree: 1, Bear: 0.

Well played, tree. Well played.

I know what went wrong.

I brought what I thought was a big enough tool for the job.

But the tree? The tree brought the gas main. And thus the one with the bigger tool won.

Although, if you were to ask Cassie, I imagine she’d say I was the biggest tool she ever saw.

The End Draws Near

I wanted to let everyone who visits my blog here know that this Friday the 13th will be the last full day this website exists.

This Saturday the 14th my self-run WordPress website will be shut down, and all of the content on it will be placed in my archives.


I wanted to let you know now, so that if there were any posts that you wanted to copy before they’re gone you have some time to get it done. And of course you have my express permission to copy and save anything of mine from this website for your own personal use (as a dart board target, cat litter pan liner, whatever you like) that you’d like. You can even share it with others, as long as you make sure you note it came from me. If you’d like, you can think of it as making sure people know who to blame. Just don’t reprint or republish anything of mine somewhere out there and claim it as your own work. Don’t be a dick.

It is possible that I will continue to maintain a blog in some form, administered through a WordPress free site that my domain would be tied to.

If I do continue with a blog, I do not specifically plan on having any of my existing content carried over.



If there are any of my previous posts over the years (good lord HOW many years?) you would want to see carried over to a brand new site, any posts that would be like a condensed super teeny time capsule of what you think should be saved, please let me know exactly which ones in the comments to this post. It is possible to export them and even save pictures.

As I said, I don’t rightly know that there WILL be a blog past this Saturday. If there is, I will make sure to save any posts you wanted preserved before it goes.

I will see you all again for a proper farewell this Friday the 13th.

Until then, take care and God bless each and every one of you for being here with me.

The Alt Zone

So you’ve been playing Warlords of Draenor for a bit now, and you’ve discovered that the alt game is a dangerous time sink.

They aren’t daily quests, oh no. You have absolute power over your actions.


The temptation to log into those alts. It’s strong. Like an itch in the veins, just below the skin.

Jut a few minutes each day to do the follower missions, then the profession dailies, then set up work orders, and finally the bonus round of harvesting herbs and ore. You don’t really need those mats, not anymore, but at the same time, you might. You might.

Oh, and then trapping beasts for the Barn, and stockpiling materials for the trading post work orders.

And the ultimate gambler’s rush that comes from opening the salvage yard crates. Is it a 665 BoE today? Is it? IS IT?!?!

Yeah. You don’t have to do it. You don’t!

You just have to possess the willpower to push yourself away from the table.

Okay, now for the rest of you that are still here with me, let’s talk about where to go with our alts.

If you’re anything like me, you had one or two ‘main’ characters you wanted to play and level and get going into he land of the big 100.

Then there were all those OTHER characters. You know the ones. The characters you leveled in Mists of Pandaria when you were bored off your ass, and now you like but not in that special way. You’ve pushed them into the friend zone, um, I mean the alt zone. They’re good enough to go fetch you things and do your chores, but not good enough to take to the prom.

They do have some useful professions though, don’t they just?

S you might have taken them JUST FAR enough into the game to hit garrison level 2 and have profession buildings on site.

For me, I leveled my Warlock and Druid to 100, and I pushed my Rogue, Priest, Death Knight and Hunter into the alt zone with level 2 Garrisons for professions.

It’s been a while since launch. And what have we learned, class?

We’ve learned that our low level alts have mighty fine garrisons and can make damn near anything with their professions, don’t have to leave home to harvest herbs or ore, they can just sit there and log in every day and level professions to max and craft sweet gear. And your higher level characters can feed them the Savage Blood they need to make epics.

All well and good.

If it weren’t for those piddly little follower teams, it might just be perfect.

Followers. Aye, that’s the rub.

My alts have shit for followers.

Quality is good, it’s the quantity that is for crap.

After the last few months since launch, my alts have leveled their followers to epic 100s. No problem.

There’s just only so much you can do with 4 or 6 followers, damnit! If you ain’t out there questing, you ain’t out there recruiting!

So what do we do now?

What I’m starting to do is change their shit up.

They’ve been sitting there hoarding Garrison resources and nursing their trading posts for so long, they’ve got 6000 or 7000 built up. So fine, time to dump that trading post or lumber mill and get me an Inn.

Now I’m taking my alts into Gorgrond and completing that Outpost quest chain. At the end, you get your Outpost Construction Manual, and you can use it to upgrade your Inn blueprint to level 2.

Viola! Or perhaps a nice cello.

Suddenly, after one night in bangkok I can retire my alt once more, but now every week they can visit the Inn and recruit a new follower to add to the team. Over time those alts will finally have their full load out of Followers, all at epic, and I won’t have had to step another foot out of the house. I mean Garrison.


You know what our Garrison needs for our alts? A basement.

I need to be able to have a basement in my Garrison my alts can hang out in, so I can sit in a basement and control a character in a videogame that sits in a basement and controls followers and sends them out on missions in a game.

Because I’m all about the irony.

Seriously though, it’s time for that next level alt zone stuff. Put ’em to work!

WoW Insider – the Omega and the Alpha

This sucks.

Sure and nothing lasts forever, but some things should.

WoW Insider as a collective of outspoken positive voices writing about World of Warcraft is absolutely one of those things that should be eternal.

WoW Insider will be shut down by their parent company, along with all of the other websites in the Joystiq network, on Monday or Tuesday or thereabouts, February 2ndish.

It’s one of those weird things, you know? It’s a website devoted to World of Warcraft, but at the same time it’s a business to make money from ad revenue, and someone else gets to pull the plug if they decide it’s not performing well enough… and the parent company gets to decide what ‘well enough’ means.

There are so many websites out there scrambling for advertiser money, doing anything and everything to get a click from someone running a browser without an adblocker on it. Many of them, and I’ll be blunt, suck. Vultures. Clickbait artists.

WoW Insider was and is different. Yes, the writers on the website get paid for their articles. It’s a job. But all you have to do is actually read the articles and you can see the love and the positive spirits that drive those articles.

Yes, it’s a job, in the best sense of that word. As your guidance counselors like to parrot at you, “Find something you love, and then find someone willing to pay you to do it.”

The writers of WoW Insider love the game and love to write about it, and that comes through in everything they write and create. Always has, from the very beginning.

I’m really going to miss WoW Insider, for the wonderful people and the varied points of view, and always for the great writing. It’s easy to single out the Know Your Lore and Tinfoil Hat articles because of how well written and imaginative they are, but all of the articles have served to do something amazing.

WoW Insider has provided a centralized location for everything going on in the WoW community. It is where you could always go to count on finding a discussion you could join about whatever was the latest thing, and a place showcasing everything going on in the community. Fan created WoW movies, comic strips, articles, crafts and even cooking recipes were found and had the spotlight shown on them, and it did a hell of a lot more than make somebody internet famous for an hour.

What WoW Insider always did was show you that you were not alone in loving World of Warcraft. Every time you visited, the main theme was “Hey look at these cool things other people just like you that love the game did, and here we are sharing them with you, isn’t that freaking cool? Check this out, isn’t it cool? Isn’t this game special and awesome and OMG I love this place.”

It’s going to be hard to imagine the World of Warcraft game meaning as much as it does without the usual suspects.

For a very brief time, back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth, I wrote a few articles that WoW Insider posted about the Druid class. Dan O’Halloran gave me a chance oh so long ago, and I will always thank him for that. I got to meet the people behind the writing (virtually, but still) and found that they really were as nice as they seemed. It’s not often you get to say that about people in the public eye, but it’s true. They’re a bunch of great people. I’m not saying they specifically hire nice people to write at WoW Insider, but hey. Maybe they do.

I’m really going to miss you folks. There is going to be a big gaping wound where the heart of the WoW community used to be, and as I said in the beginning of this, it sucks. But what can you do?

Hey. Maybe there IS something you can do!

It’s been whispered by some of the writers that come February 3rd, there just might be something coming that you can throw your support behind.

An attempt, just maybe, to keep the spirit of WoW Insider alive by forming a new name, a new brand, but having (mosty of) the same writers, and maybe they can do this by a show of crowdfunding support.

Our support.

I don’t know any specifics, but the best thing I think we can all hope for is that this isn’t just the end of something great, but the birth of something to come that will grow into something even better.

Would you support it? When you think of the role WoW Insider has played through the years in trumpeting our fandom to the heavens, is it something that you’d be willing to actually drop dime on to help keep it going?

If so… I have some folks I’d suggest you follow on Twitter so you can stay informed of what might come next.

Fare thee well, WoW Insider. I hope the winds carry your sails to new and exciting shores. Damn it, I’m going to miss you.

Warlords of Draenor – The Everlasting Story

Watch your back, Crowler. Cause I am.

Who do I have to kill to get that cloak?

One of the most amazing things I’m enjoying in Warlords of Draenor so far is the continuously evolving story, as told through Garrison Campaign Quests.

Garrison Campaign Quests, despite the name, aren’t actually quests to advance your garrison or are even entirely focused on your garrison. The name just reflects that you get them while IN your Garrison. The quests themselves advance your story a little bit more each week.

In order to get your first Garrison Campaign Quest, you have to be level 100 with a Garrison that is upgraded to level 2. Once you’ve done that, the first Garrison campaign Quest will be available to you, and consists of a chain of quests that tell one section of story.

So far, another set of Garrison Campaign Quests has been released at the reset each week. So from day 1, each week there has been a new chapter to the story of Warlords of Draenor released for us to play through.

If you think about what’s happening here, I think it’s very exciting. Like ‘OMG squee holy shit’ levels of exciting, not just right now but for the future of the game.

Think about how the story of this expansion has been told to us so far.

We’ve always had the leveling quests through each zone, quests that we can complete as much of or as little as we’d like while we level. We can progress at our own pace through them, and they set us up for the lore of the world, the people, and the reason we’re doing raids. Same as we’re used to, right?

Normally, the story stops there until the next major content patch. If you are the kind of person that blows through content day 1 to be the first max level in your neighborhood, that’s it until the next patch.

I know that I have always tried to savor those quests. They’re a gift, and once you’ve done them they’re gone and the story, such as it is, is over.

Ah! But wait, there’s more! Now there are these new quests, the Garrison Campaign Quests.

Now the story doesn’t end just because the leveling does! These quests get offered to you each reset, advancing the story a little more each time. They take you all over the world, they cause you to meet people and gain different rewards, and they’ve been unveiling more of the actual story every week.

I completed the Garrison Quest “Primal Fury” last night, and no I won’t reveal spoilers but it was the one that is supposed to add a new Follower to your garrison team, and not the Legendary Garona. In my case as Alliance it is Thisalee Crow. Horde are supposed to get Choluna. I also got some other Follower-related rewards that were truly epic. When you do complete it (if you haven’t already), well, yeah. Yummy rewards. The end of the quest clearly set up some really cool stuff that will continue in patch 6.1.

*Sadly, at the time of this writing that quest is bugged and I didn’t actually get Thisalee as a Follower. Crithto has posted in the forums that after a realm reset that will be fixed.If this happens to you, don’t panic, you’ll just have to be patient.

The key thing here is that these Garrison Campaign Quests adds something truly new to the game.

They are similar in concept to what we had with the unveiling of the Isle of Thunder in Mists of Pandaria. The Isle of Thunder had us unlock new areas over time by completing solo scenarios. As each phase became available, we had a new solo instance offered to us, and before we could proceed we had to do it.

That was cool, but it had its problems. Remember how annoying and/or challenging that became once everything was unlocked and you brought a new alt to the Isle? Suddenly you had 5 or 6 solo instances to plow through before you could do anything on the island. Also, we didn’t have them as quickly as once a week because it certainly takes a long time to build a custom scenario like that from scratch.

The Garrison Campaign Quests have been similar to those, but instead of a solo instance each time it’s a short series of quests, and nothing is gated behind these quests except the next quests in the chain.

New quests every week, serving to advance the overall story of the game BEYOND the leveling quests in each zone.

That’s just freaking cool.

And there is no reason to believe they’re going to stop them.

To quote a blue post from Bashiok on January 13th, “It’s a weekly campaign that unlocks over time and is intended to continue through future updates, not too dissimilar to the 5.1: Landfall content, but this is a bigger and more sweeping story that sends you out to the various level 100 areas across Draenor. The first 8 weeks offer quests somewhat randomly, and then the four after those are a set story progression TO BE CONTINUED IN FUTURE PATCH RELEASES.” (My emphasis on that last bit).

Yes, I reached the end of the 6.0 Garrison Quests and got the achievement for it. Presumably, I won’t be offered more until patch 6.1 comes out.

But 6.1 is coming on us fast… Blackrock Foundry will be unveiled in early February, and while Blizzard has said that 6.1 will NOT be tied to the raid and can come later, it might not be that much later. The way things are going, I wouldn’t be surprised it if came out at the end of February. That seems plenty fast enough to me.

Plenty of opportunity there for everyone to get all caught up in the story.

This is just… OMG seriously?

This is, to me, the single best thing of this entire expansion. new, fresh weekly content.

The one thing I think has been a note of constant complaint over the years is how, once the leveling quests are completed, the story is over until next content patch, and it’s all unleashed at once at our pace. And mostly it comes in new raids, or scenarios or dungeons. Not just a new series of fully accessible quests.

The Garrison Campaign Quests give us something new to do, even if it’s only for an hour or two each week. Each time a little more of the shape of the story is revealed to us. The ending for Primal Fury certainly set up some interesting things to look forward to, things that are coming in the next patch.

This is I think what we’ve all been waiting for in the game. That extra something that helps us feel that the game is growing and changing all the time, not just when a major patch comes out. Even in the shape its in right now it’s great.

I hope that Blizzard likes how the Garrison Campaign Quests are working, and decide to invest ever more resources into it. The feature hasn’t gotten a lot of attention yet, but they have had a huge impact on how this expansion feels to me. I can truly say that I have never felt this expansion release was ‘completed’ because there was always something new popping up on reset. And that something has never felt overwhelming to me. It could maybe be a little more each week, but it’s certainly not too much.

Just… so happy with this expansion. So many moving parts, all contributing to the overall game and nothing feeling like the only focus.

By the way… I hear that the next tier design is going to be a departure from what we’re used to. I think I can honestly say that if it’s a departure from tentacle staves flipping my raid team off, it might just be both a good thing and a bad thing. How about more designs like from Burning Crusade? I really loved the aesthetics of Burning Crusade. Ursinerate, what do you think of that?

Oh yeah? Well same to you, buddy!

Oh yeah? Well same to you, buddy!