Congrats to Cassie for her new death-dealers

cassieswords.jpg

Well, a few weeks ago we identified that the best, most massive upgrade Cassie could get for her Rogue were the Season 2 Merciless Gladiator Slicer and Quickblade.

From that time, 12 days passed, and Cassie had earned the honor and Marks necessary to purchase both weapons.

Today, she sports both swords with Mongoose enchants, and when taken with the appearance of her gear, which actually matches, she looks like quite the color coordinated badass.

She had never done PvP before that time, so I think a bit of congratulations are in order for setting her mind to a goal, enduring the asshats of PvP, and the ganking that comes with being a PvE geared Rogue in PvP, in order to gain her objective.

Doesn’t she look hawt? Honestly folks.

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Blizzard Authenticator available for purchase

As an update to my earlier post, I wanted to let you know the Blizzard Authenticator is now available for purchase directly through the Blizzard store.

I have gone to the Blizzard store, and followed the process to purchase two of these devices. I was charged $6.50 each, plus a total of .85 cents sales tax.

Ground shipping was free, and was listed as taking from 8 to 10 business days.

So my order was placed this morning, 6/30/08, using Ground shipping. I’ll keep you updated as to how long it actually takes to receive, and what my actual experience with this will be.

Cassie may or may not choose to use the device, but I guarantee you I will be delighted to have the new peace of mind.

Storytime: Marines and sailing, what could go wrong?

Back in the earliest days of my time in our beloved Corps, I was stationed at the Marine Air Station in Beaufort, South Carolina. It’s just a hop, skip and jump away from Parris Island (where real Marines, not those effeminate Hollywood Marines, are made), and a fast drive North from Savannah, Georgia and the endless joys of River Street.

Okay, one of the joys of River Street? Irish Pubs. More? Great nightclubs. My favorite? A bar that professed to carry 101 beers from all around the world… and if you drank one of each, you got a shirt showing you’d ‘Been around the world’. Thankfully, you were not expected to drink them all in one night, they gave you a punch card. Although some Jarheads tried. Oh yes, they tried.

One of the other local pleasures was Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, storied locale of hot beaches, hotter women, and drink shacks right on the water’s edge.

All in all, if you are mobile, life in Beaufort ain’t too bad at all. For being in a swamp, anyway. And PT in Beaufort is fun… I love running in the rain, and it rains in Beaufort ALL THE DAMN TIME. Screw Seattle. I was always partial to throwing my headphones on and going for a run in the rain around the flight line, a trip on pavement that tended to always be deserted.

One of the lesser known conveniences of living at the Marine Air Station, was that they actually had access to the waterway… and the base has a marina. I say has, I am assuming that, like much else in the military, nothing has changed. I could be wrong.

But there was a marina. And while it was, technically, funded so that the legendary gods of the officer ranks had a place to stash their yachts, (insert Kelly’s Heroes joke here), it was not actually off limits to the enlisted population. Just… not advertised. Or mentioned. Or encouraged for young Marines to go make themselves a nuisance there.

But, being the curious sort that I am, I took a jog down that way one day and saw the sign saying marina, and ducked into the quiant wood hut that stood at the waters’ edge to see what there was to see.

And behold, there was a window with a counter and a sign out log, and a Marine that attended said counter. And upon questioning, it was discovered that, if one were to take a written test on water safety and traversing intra-coastal waterways, and navigating channel traffic markings, then simply by presenting one’s ID card, one could check out… a boat.

A real life, kick ass sailboat. They’d actually GIVE you the damn thing! And trust you to bring it back!

Well, considering that you have to give them your ID, yeah, I guess they figured what the heck. But considering how controlled so many other facets of a young Marines’ life are, where you go, when you go, HOW you go… the fact someone would just trust you with a sailboat was pretty extraordinary.

So, having grown up in South Florida, and having spent one summer working a deep sea fishing boat as crew for my uncle, who owned and ran the boat as his livelihood, I knew my way around boats to a certain extent. the motored kind, anyway. Powered. Churning the waves, blasting through the sea. Fun!

Right then and there, I hatched Operation: Island Invasion.

I launched phase 1 the next day. I mentioned, casually, how it was possible to check out a Sunfish sailboat at the base Marina for fun and games.. and that it sounded like a neat way to spend a weekend… some brews, some sailing, some sun and maybe even some fishing.

And one of my compatriots in the unit allowed that it sounded mighty fun, indeed.

So off we went, that week after the duty schedule, to take the tests and get some maps of the waterways in the area.

It should be said, that neither of us had any previous experience piloting a sailboat. Ever. BUT, I was a Marine… how hard can it be?

My buddy for this task was a rather skinny little runt (as Marines go, anyway) that I shall call Corporal Henderson. He had been in the unit for about a year, and after another year, he would be able to change duty stations. He was single, lived in the barracks, and as far as I could ascertain had zero hobbies at all. Still, a pretty nice guy. And single, which was key to my plan.

I had hit upon my master plan at the very beginning of summer. Each weekend, we would jog on down to the marina with backpacks of drinks, check out a Sunfish, and head on out into the water. We learned to tack back and forth to sail into the wind, to maneuver and generally have ourselves a blast. Sailing, just for the sake of being out on the water, is a hell of a lot of fun.

Now, I say we, but the fact is that I was the captain of the vessel, and Corporal Henderson, sadly, was just along for the ride. He really did show an appalling lack of initiative and imagination for a Marine. Very content to just put his brain into neutral and do what he was told. So, I took the lead in learning, training, and getting the sailing of this little sailboat down pat.

Finally, the day came where I felt we were ready to discuss the second stage of my master plan.

I mentioned to Corporal Henderson how I felt that we were doing quite well in small boat handling skills. He allowed as to how he felt the same.

And then I painted for him a picture with my words. I said to him, “Imagine this… here they are, these beautiful ladies, lounging in the summer sun on Hilton Head Island… drinking foofy little drinks with fruit stuck on sticks and little umbrellas in ’em. And from out of the ocean comes this agile little vessel, crewed by two buff and rugged young Marines such as ourselves, who pull our little boat up on shore and join them in drinks on the sand. And think how impressed these fine young ladies are sure to be when they hear of the length of our voyage and our travails across the seas. Frolicking, I dare say, may then commence in the surf and the sand. How does that sound to you, young Mr. Henderson?”

He seemed particularly delighted by this idea. Operation: Island Invasion was a go!

I had planned out our course most carefully. Making our way from the base marina to the waters of the ocean would be a long and interesting navigation, considering that there would actually be very heavy traffic. We were planning to take our adventurous voyage over the course of a 4 day weekend, and there were sure to be many other ships plying the waves at the same time. Plus, the Sunfush has a very shallow draft, making it an interesting challenge in heavy waves. We were going to need plenty of practise in choppier waters than the calm millpond crap you see in an intracoastal to complete our mission successfully.

So we stepped up our weekend excursions with longer and longer trips, lasting many hours of sailing time, to get closer out into the actual ocean. Much of the route actually passes right offshore of Parris Island, which was kind of spooky at the time. Kinda the same feeling I’d imagine I’d have sailing past Alcatraz… knowing that you were passing a land of pain and suffering beyond human ken. But I digress.

The point was, we’d need to get really comfortable with sailing in all environments.

I took to watching the weather reports VERY closely. It’s a serious shock how the smallest changes in wind velocity and direction, things that have little impact to traveling over the road, make traveling at sea on a wind-powered ship VERY different. There were more than a few hairy incidents, but we handled them all with calm and style.

Finally, the week had come, where that very next weekend we would be taking a little sailing trip. We were going to be taking the waters, leaving Marine Air Station Beaufort, SC, sailing through Beaufort itself to access Port Royal Sound, cutting across to the south side and then skirting the coast as we made our way to the beaches of Hilton Head Island… and we were going to take our sleeping bags in waterproof bags with us and sleep right on the damn boat on the beach. We’d spend the night there, and then sail on back. Perhaps we’d even be sleeping somewhere other than on the boat? 

The thought of who would be watching the damn boat once we got there and had no place to lock it never crossed my mind.

A truly magnificent adventure!

But first, we had to get through the week.

That week, we had an event that all Marines must do at some point. You have to requalify in many different things over the course of your time in the service, to ensure you are still prepared to do your basic job as an amphibious infantryman. Land, Sea, and Air. Gotta be prepared.

And while you obviously expect Marines to requalify on the shooting range, or the land navigation course with map and compass, or in moutaineering, or cold weather training… this week, we had our swimming requalification test to complete.

Among these tests include holding one’s breath while swimming a set distance underwater, treading water while in full uniform and loaded pack and gear (and mock rifle for the dead weight) for a certain time, that kind of thing. It was done at the on-base swimming pool.

And my unit formed up, and the instructors looked us over, and then, before we got started, said, “Okay, everyone that has had no problems with swimming in the past, over to that side of the pool. Those of you that can’t swim, over here.”

And as we all got ourselves sorted out, I see to my laughter that Corporal Henderson has gotten into the non-swim, or ‘brick’, lineup.

And as I laugh, because that’s a pretty funny joke, I tell him to get back over in our line.

And he informs me that, no, in fact he cannot swim.

He can’t swim.

He. Can. Not. Swim.

HE CAN’T WHAT?!?!

For three months we’ve been sailing over the waters for endless hours in a little freaking boat that could flip at any moment, without the faintest idea what we were doing, we were planning on sailing the damn thing into the ocean for a trip of about 30 miles, we have never, EVER worn our damn life vests the entire time, although we DID have to take them on the boat, I used mine for a cushion to sit on, and he doesn’t know how to WHAT?!?!

Just shoot me now, oh Lord, just shoot me now. 

And my fellow Jarheads, seeing my poleaxed look and dazed countenance, ask me what the hells got my panties all twisted up in a bunch.

And, more fool me, I told them.

Now, in my unit we all had GI Joe nicknames for fun. You earned your nickname the hard way.

We had one guy that had a pitbull, a dog he dearly loved, he was married and lived off base and god did he love that dog. And the base commander had gotten calls from the cops about his damn dog barking all the time. So, of course, he was “The K-9 Kid”.

I usually pulled the early watch, and I would jog into work early for my PT, get dressed there, get the coffee going, and drink about a pot of it with plenty of non-dairy creamer and sugar. All before 3 AM. By the time the rest of my team would come rolling on in, I’d have early radio checks done, radar would be turning and burning and ready for flight ops, and I’d be buzzing from caffeine like a livewire. My nickname was “Johnny Storm”. Flame on! Bouncy bouncy bouncy, ferret shock, ooh shiny!

So of course, right then and there, Corporal Henderson gets a brand new nickname, and “Aqualad” was born.

Needless to say, I never did make my trip to Hilton Head Island by sea. A failing I shall never forget.

Just a few Feral Druid notes on the Paris Worldwide Invitational

Okay, so I know there is a lot of news coming out, and as we are still a LONG way away from Wrath being released, I am not going to try to analyze stuff… yet.

But just in case you haven’t seen it yet, and so you know it’s out there so you can go look for more info, here are some of the things said at the Blizzard World Wide Invitationaal about Feral Druids…

First, there WILL be a brand new Dire Cat form with a new model, AND there will be a new model for Dire Bear form.

A panelist said that, when asked about changing the appearance of the skins for Druid forms, that they are thinking maybe, but they are afraid of community outcry, after the unanticipated rage they experienced over changes they made to Rogue Stealth animations in previous patches.

So, MAYBE they are thinking of changing the forms to a more beautiful appearance like Andriges’ work, but maybe not.

Shaman’s Windfury Totem WILL affect Druids in forms… AND will coexist with weapon buffs such as Weightstones, because Windfury Totem will be a player buff rather than a weapon buff.

That is a massive change, as far as Feral Druids go. Matt Rossi on the podcast mentioned it first, damn him, but I was gonna say it too… being the main tank as a Bear and having Windfury active? OMIGOD!!!!

Oh, and… Shaman Totems will affect the entire raid, NOT just the 5 man segment of the raid they happen to be in. Hey, that’s what they said. So, not only do you get Windfury Totem as Bear tank (or Kitty), but you also get Strength of Earth and Grace of Air.. oh, and did I mention they are COMBINING Strength of Earth and Grace of Air into one totem? And that is even if the Shaman is NOT in your 5 man segment of teh raid.

So yeah.. Shamans are going to be MASSIVELY buffing Feral Druids with Windfury… I love it.

And they said that they are working on the Feral Druid range bug, and they MAY have it fixed by the time Warthof the Lich King is released. LOL.

They are NOT removing Diminishing Returns from Cyclone as they had discussed. Instead, they are making Entangling Roots work indoors AND out! Viable Druid CC! Without long cast times! Yay!

So…. that’s what we got so far… and as Wrath is playable at the WWI, I bet we are going to get tons of hands on impressions.

I hope that this encourages you to go seek out more info… I know that WoW Insider has been doing a great job at covering everything. While I pugged Kara last night with Cassieann and Doodlebug until 1:00 AM, WoW Insider were up all night long freaking out and transcribing and going nuts.

So now that I’ve whet your curiosity.. go! Have fun!

Oh, and just cause I can’t help myself… Hunter’s PETS get their own talent trees, three trees, Utility, DPS and Tanking. God, that is gonna be fun to play with.  AND, there will be new pet classes… AND some pet classes will have unique abilities in their trees! Expect BRK and Mania to go nuts… I wish I could see the look on Mania’s face right about now. OMIGOD TALENT TREES, GREAT… BUT, (here it comes…) when asked about new Pet Stable Slots.. a single word answer from the panel… NO.

WTF?!?

WOW Insider Show Today

BBB will once again be on the WOW Insider show today at 2:30 CST/3:30 EST.  It should be a busy show as they talk about all the new class changes that were announced at the WWI ’08 WoW Dev panel (see here for some overall details about the fantastic changes coming).

You can go here at the time of the show to listen to it live.  We’ll also post the link Tuesday or Wednesday when it’s available for download if you can’t make it today.

Thanks!

Cassieann

My first PvP shoutout

I would like to thank Killersand of Hellscream for representing your server’s PvP population with maturity and honor.

Your threat to visit me at my house, and ‘bring a shotgun or two’, filled me with awe and respect.

I have seen some things in PvP chat that has impressed me, surprised me, and even at times disgusted me.

But rarely, if ever, have I laughed out loud nearly as hard, nor as long, as when I saw that.

Thank you.

After reflection, and killing a few more Horde at Blood Elf Tower, I grew afraid… deeply afraid for the consequences of daring to ask that you stop calling everyone else in the Eye of the Storm run ‘the worse noobs in the entire game’, and instead ask that you, like… play? Your 5 Honorable Kills and 11 deaths filled me with great fear, it really did.

In the future, I will remember, when I see you enter the fight… that if you stand up, I need to sit down.

For you, with your two shotguns, are The Man.

All must fear. ALL must fear.

BTW… email me, if you live in the Twin Cities. I would be DELIGHTED to meet you. There is a contact form at the top of the page.

You’re welcome to bring friends, if you have any. And if you can fit through your mom’s basement door to leave the house.

God, I’m still laughing, even though we got crushed in that BG. It was worth it for that.

What retard scrote threatens to go to someone on the internets’ house with two shotguns? Are you freaking kidding me? For being called out on being a useless asshat?

Just… go away from the internets. /facepalm

I’m sure your guild, Voracity, is very proud… and it’s nice to see you are such a master of PvP with your 1282 rated 3v3 Arena team.

Okay.. back to the joys of Eye of the Storm on bonus honor weekend.