What is your least favorite group behavior?

Let’s do something different.

I’m gonna ask you… straight out, no wriggling out of it…

What, of all the behaviors you’ve seen displayed by people in a group event, what is the one that pisses you off the most?

I’ve mentioned a few PUG stories recently, I’ve read some on other blogs, and you’ve shared some of your stories in the comments, and there are some reoccuring trends in instances and raids that just blow me away.

Now, I’d expect to get some great stories in the comments from this one, and that alone is reason enough for the post. Great stories, by definition, are ones that allow me, the reader, to mutter “oh, that’s just amazing” in tones of horrified wonder and awe.

But I think there’s more to offer about the topic than just the entertainment value.

I think that if you give me your personal pet peeves about things people do in groups, whether small instances or large raids, and I catalogue it and put up a poll with those choices to see which ones people hate the most…

Maybe, just maybe, someone that DOES them will see it and freaking STOP!

Where there’s life, there’s hope.

Let me toss a few of the behaviors into the ring just to kick things off.

Remember, these are just different behaviors in general that may or may not tweak you, and I’m looking for the bulk of the list to come from YOU…

Showing up with broken gear, or gear so close to broken that within the time it takes to reach the first boss fight, the person says, “I need a break, I have to go to a vendor to repair.”

The person that wants to go on the run, but once invited, makes no effort to get to the instance entrance on their own. They just automatically expect someone else will, and will summon them. I’ve even seen this for Violet Hold, believe it or not. Oh yes I have.

The person that dies in a fight and makes no effort to actually get themselves back to the instance on their own. They wait for a ressurrection, regardless of whether the entire team wiped and has to run back, or whether it’s in Trials where you can run back in during the encounter itself and your team might need you, or whatever.

An addendum to that last one would have to be the person that dies in a big boss encounter, and walks away from their computer immediately for a drink or something without a word. You find these folks out when you battle rez them and they never respond.

Someone that never, ever brings consumables, they count on someone else bringing a Fish Feast to the run, or lending them a flask or potion. And they don’t help getting the fish.

The person that ‘tunes out’ in a run, they don’t really try and play the best they can, they figure they’ve got great gear, so they can run the whole way using autoshot/auto attack while chatting with friends or spending most of their attention watching the new episode of Army Wives.

Someone that insists on talking about the strategy on the next fight, even though everybody on the run has been doing this same fight together the last four months (this would be me… yep, I do that).

Someone that doesn’t spend two seconds discussing strategy. They might, if you’re lucky, ask if everyone is ready before they pull the boss.

Those are just off the top of my head examples of things that may or may not irritate you.

I’d sure like to hear yours.

I’m going to take the answers I get over a week, and see if I can put together a poll for you to vote on the worst of the worst.

So let’s hear those stories!

God, I love your stories.

I think, if possible, the person that came up with the most popular idea will get a button or a shirt mailed to them. So don’t be shy…

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Unexpected moments of awesome

A non-game related post, bear with me for a moment if you will.

Some of you that have been following the blog for a while may be aware that I was laid off from my previous position back in, what, January of this year.

I was fortunate enough to find, not only a new job, but a position doing what I love, for a company that is really moving forward and kicking ass.

In my position managing a maintenance department, I spend a lot of time dealing directly with suppliers and contractors on projects I’m sourcing. And one of the most common questions I get, that I never heard before this year, is “So, how’s business for you guys? You busy?”

And I can truthfully answer, “If I have a machine go down, I’ve got trouble, because we’ve almost got more work than we can handle… and as soon as we find more capacity, we get more work. We’re busier than heck, and going strong.”

Realistically… we don’t have more work than we can handle, because we’re expanding capacity at a rate that feels just right. We are carefully analyzing requirements and sales and improving our processes. In some places, saying that would be a snow job, but yes, we really are. It’s crazy, I’m not used to working with management teams that really DO care to improve and get things right the first time. Usually, you deal with people that say they are commited to process improvement and quality improvement… but really stopped thinking the day they got their MBA, because they knew it all at that point.

It’s not like that here. It’s kinda wierd, actually. You’re not supposed to look forward to getting to work to get cracking on the days projects.

The company I am with is in the flexible materials industry. What that means, is that we work with raw flexible materials and create beautiful, functional containers for the end user to fill with their product for the consumer market.

Okay, pushing aside the sales-speak… we buy huge rolls of plastic and foil films, print them using a roto-gravure press method that is capable of beautiful color graphics, laminate those layers of film to form complex combinations of materials with varying color and pliability indexes and UV resistance, then slice/chop, cut and seal them to form… pouches. With or without zippers, pull open tops, spouts to pour or drink from, you name it.

You ever see Spam in the supermarket these days? Well, if you look, you’ll see they sell Spam by the Slice, and it comes in a sealed foil pouch rather than a metal can.

Yeah, we make those. Those exact ones. You buy Spam by the Slice, you bought our pouch.

You know Friskies cat food in the stand up pouches, and Mighty Dog dog food?

Yeah, we make those pouches, too.

We also make the sealed pouches that the 2pam chloride/atropine injectors come in for the military.

This isn’t a small time operation, is what I’m saying. We run strictly by AIB food procedures as well as medical standards in all areas of production, which means we are very, very clean and careful. We’ve got HVAC clean room requirements and food grade materials requirements that add interesting challenges to maintenance. We just had our AIB plant wide audit a month ago or so (which I had a massive share in pre-auditing) and passed with flying colors.

I’m in charge of the maintenance and facilities engineering department.

I couldn’t be happier.

I don’t mind saying, when I see the trend in the commerical products industry to move from cans to pouches, it fills me with a warm, contented glow of job security. 🙂

But nothing, nothing could compare to the feeling of awesome I had this morning.

I was walking through the plant, checking on areas of maintenance responsibility, making sure that assigned work was being done, and I saw our latest customer’s product in the assembly line for the sealing stage.

I just stopped dead in my tracks.

I knew that color. Anyone that had ever been in the military would know that color.

And the material we work with, that this particular product comes in… omigod. No, it couldn’t be…

I moved closer, and looked at the printing…

Granola.

Granola pouches.

US Armed Forces MRE Granola pouches.

We’ve started making pouches to hold MRE food for our armed forces.

OMIGOD.

I swear, I couldn’t be happier. The thought that we’re going to be contributing to something that so fundamentally affects the folks in the service is just freaking awesome.

I just HAD to go find the production manager, an old Navy dog that I get along with very, very well… and just point to the rolls, and make “Wha” noises.

He nodded and said, “How freaking awesome is that.”

Yep, that really says it all. How freaking awesome is that.

There is a potential downside, though, that only occured to me later.

Please… please don’t make us print pouches for Chicken A La King. I don’t think I could stand knowing that I was the cause of that much pain and suffering.

There's no "Get out of the fire!" in TEAM

Let’s have a nice, fun discussion about teamwork, shall we?

And no, this is not a QQfest about a recent pug. Just some thoughts to share, and opinions to solicit, on small unit teamwork and roles in WoW.

We’ve discussed mostly tanking related things when we’ve talked about the game here. But we’ve had discussions on DPS and healing as well. In my time in the game, I’ve done instances and raided doing all three.

A 5 person group is the most common situation, based simply on the fact that whether you’ve raided or not, everyone at some point, if they wanted the gear upgrades bad enough, has tested themselves in a group run. And the vast majority of group content in WoW is tuned for 5 players.

A tank. A healer. Three DPS.

The holy quintet of instance runs.

We’ve talked before about how tanks, being the ones to in most cases mark targets, set kill orders, and decide who to pull first, generally have become the ones expected to lead the group.

Is it necessary for whoever plays the tank to lead? No, of course not. Over the years, it has just become part of “How it is done.”

It’s about expectations. Over time, the expectation has become to expect the tank to be the leader.

I know plenty of great players that have avoided playing a tank, not because they feel they couldn’t grasp the intricacies of the role in a group (hint; it ain’t rocket science) but because of the greater requirements they feel exist FOR tanks in groups to perform as leaders. 

If you’ve never led a run before, the pressure of what you anticipate a groups’ expectations would be can feel enormous.

But there are more expectations that are learned over time by playing in instances than just “the tank is expected to lead.” 

One of those things is that, if you get too close to the mobs, bad things happen.

Over time, even without study, the DPS and healers tend to learn that bad guys sometimes blow up. Or drop rings of fire. Or whirlwind. Or whirlwind. Or whirlwind.

The bad guys can also sometimes whirlwind.

The ranged DPS and healers, if they have any choice at all, tend to move themselves as far away from the tank, and those annoying mobs that can hurt you, as they can.

Melee DPS, give yourselves a pat on the back for braving the dangers of the mob to get in there and get it stuck in, all up close and personal. Not the life of the long range sniper for you, no, you like to see the ring around his collar as you stick the knife in. 

If you study the mechanics of threat, it only reinforces this tendency. The closer you are to the mob, the more threat your attacks and heals generate. It’s not a sliding scale, I don’t mean to imply that. I just mean that if you’re in melee range of a mob, your attacks and heals cause more threat than if you performed the same actions (where possible) at long range. So, what do I do if I’m ranged? I back the heck up.

So what happens? In a pug, without vent or other voice communication, unless someone provides specific guidance, if nobody is used to working as a team together, there are certain things you can expect.

The tank will pull the mobs.

The healer will be at max range waiting for the tank to establish aggro, and will be expecting to only heal the tank for the first little bit so as not to pull anyone the tank hasn’t hit yet.

The DPS, if ranged, will be at their extreme range, and spread out a little so each is not in the way of someone else’s line of sight for graphics on what’s happening.

The melee will rush in, either in stealth before or just after the tank, and get behind whoever the tank is beating up to start stabbity stabbing.

Tank tries to establish aggro on all mobs, the DPS kicks into gear, the healer starts healing whoever takes damage.

Mobs die. Next!

It’s what is expected. It’s cruise control instance running. These are static tactics that provide a ‘brain not required’ technique of playing.

Even more fun, the better the gear of the tank and the healer, the less likely anyone ever needs to engage the brain housing group during instance play.

If the tank is really well geared, his tactical consideration is probably along the lines of wondering, “How best can I pull all of the mobs in this room at once? Can I drag them to the next room too?”

In my opinion, the danger of this, besides it not being much fun to drift on cruise control, is that folks that are coming up and learning to play in groups for the first time can see this ‘accepted wisdom’, and stop thinking critically about what they can do besides wait for the tank to pull. 

Standing in the fire, while mentioned in the title jokingly, really sets the tone for what I mean.

There are people that play their characters in groups that don’t think to look for the fire under their feet, and if they do see it… don’t let it change what they do. They continue to pew pew, while standing in the fire.

Or, for melee, even when the raid calls out, “Flame Wreath, don’t move”, run to get behind the boss.

It’s action without thought. 

Perhaps the person isn’t paying attention to the environment around them, because they are more concerned with things that affect their status in the group (or what they think affect their status).

Things like standing still and maintaining their ‘perfect’ DPS rotation, because to take the time to move out of the fire will cause their DPS on the meters to drop.

If someone stands in the fire and dies, was it the sole responsibility of the healer to have kept him alive?

No.

Why? 

You all know the answer. Because yes, the healer tries to keep the entire group alive, but it’s your job to help the healer out by moving your ass, when your ass doth be on fire. 

Now, that’s an example that gets seen a lot. You may be patting yourself on the back right this very moment, congratulating yourself on not being the guy that stands in the fire.

But are you also thinking during the rest of the fight?

There is more at play in many instances than attacks that cause AoE effects to be wary of.

Some fights include situations where the adds are not present at the beginning of the fight. After the fight begins, after (usually) a boss is aggroed, adds spawn or path to the area to engage the group.

These new additional mobs can be scattered all around when they appear. There may be quite a few.

When this happens, how many folks take the time to think, “If the tank’s best methods of establishing aggro are based on being within melee range of the tank… maybe I should, just for a few seconds, run forward into melee range of the tank, so any adds I attract will naturally come to the tank from the beginning.”

Do you think about each fight, and think about how you can deal with the situation to help the group?

I can’t tell you how many times I, as tank, DPS or healer, have seen fights like the second phase of Black Knight, where the army of ghouls spawns… and all of the ranged players are spread out at max range from the tank, AND spread out in a semi-circle so that it’s a wonder the healer can reach them all.

Yes, we learn that corpse explosion and the green circle of smoking death hurt bad… but they don’t happen in the first 5 seconds of the fight.

How have I seen most groups handle it these days?

By outgearing the fight so badly that they can continue to perform as normal, tank and melee standing still and eating the explosions and green circle of smoking death while everyone DPSes the entire group around the tank so fast they all blow up at once.

Except… adds run loose everywhere during the fight. They spawn and instantly run to the healer, to the ranged, run everywhere but to the tank. And the rest of the group outgears the instance so bad that they just kill the adds themselves.

This… this is an example of something, but it ain’t tactical thought.

Rarer is when I see groups where the healer or ranged DPS will huddle in close at the start, so that any adds that spawn will congregate in the middle… and give the tank time to gather them all up before backing up and unleashing hell on them.

When do I tend to see that? When the group has marginal gear for the encounter. In order to win, the players look for ways to help out the tank and healer. When they think they don’t have to… they don’t. 

What are your thoughts on this?

Do you try and figure out ways to help the tank and healer out, no matter what your gear is?

Do you prefer it when you outgear the content so much that you don’t have to do any thinking?

Honestly, I’m curious.

One of the ‘rewards’ of being extremely well geared is that content that would be challenging as designed becomes EZ-mode.

Is it that point that you look forward to? The point where you can solo Deadmines while yawning?

If the way the instances were set up changed, if instead of being static enemy levels and fights they scaled in intensity with the iLevels of your gear and levels of your characters… if Deadmines scaled at max level to be level 81 trash and 83 bosses… if you could not outgear content anymore, that what you played would always be a challenge regardless of gear or level, would it still be fun for you?

I’m thinking, for myself, that it wouldn’t be. A part of how I run my role playing campaigns is that I like the players to feel the increase in power of their characters. I like them to feel that, as their characters get more powerful, there are still people that used to kick their ass, that they could now go and beat up. To feel that awareness that yes, they are much more powerful than they used to be. I’ve personally played in games before where, if you were level 15, everyone else you encountered was level 15 or higher. You never got to a point where you actually met anything weaker than you. It’s kind of silly.

I think for myself I’d still like to seek out challenges… but it’s nice knowing that I have the option of going and feeling OP in Deadmines if I want to.

That’s mostly what I do now. More often than not, what I do in game is seek a group for Heroic ToC… not because I really want anything there for my Druid anymore, but because I feel there are still things I have to learn about the fight mechanics. It’s still a big challenge. The times I do other, easier content is just to get a drop or two for an alt.

There are actually drops in normal ToC I could use… but I never run that. It’s not as much of a challenge.

What do you folks think?

Ghostcrawler; epic thread, epic guy

There’s a pretty great thread going on, at least for it’s amusement value, for anyone that is able to think a little objectively and appreciate what it must be like to have a job you love… and have to deal with people who love to tell you that you suck doing it.

Think about that.

What an amazing gig it must be to work for a company like Blizzard, using your ingenuity and creativity, along with your skills and talent, and get paid for it.

There you are, going full bore kicking ass, taking names, and loving life…

You take a step away from your normal duties and do something completely unprecedented in MMOs. You take the time to visit the official community forums, read the customer feedback you find there, and provide as best you can constructive insight into the entire process. You try and bring a little light of understanding into the way things are planned and implemented to the community.

And time after time, as much as some folks love you and want to have your babies, a large community rises up, seemingly united in telling you that you suck because you have it in for them, or haven’t listened to them, or responded to them, or heeded their advice, or whatever. 

I write a blog on the internet, and I still can’t imagine dealing with the official WoW forums day in, day out, ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

But he has bothered. He’s cared that much.

He cared so much that he read that shit day in and day out.

It’s been said that police officers may start out with a myriad of opinions about human nature… but after enough time spent getting sent to one trouble call after another, seeing nothing but humanity at their worst hurting each other, they start to assume that ALL people are like that. It’s all they see at work, all day, every day, people hurting each other, or being petty, selfish and downright evil, and pretty soon, if you’re not a cop, you’re just another person that ain’t innocent; you just haven’t been found out yet.

My dad was a police officer for over twenty years. I’m not making this up. All I knew, for the most part growing up, were cop people. Seriously. I’m not making assumptions about a small group of people based on limited sample sizes, here.

Want an eye opener? Read any of Joseph Wambaughs books. If reading the Choirboys doesn’t make you cry at points, and not in laughter, then nothing will. Want a gentler presentation of the message? The Delta Star is actually extremely funny… and no less brutally honest.

That being said, what do you think the impression someone who reads the official WoW forums would have of WoW PLAYERS, if they read those forums all day, every day, for the last two years?

I’m not saying Ghostcrawler is a saint.

I will say he’s a much better person than I am.

After a while, I think I’d start to plan nerfs that make no sense, JUST to screw with the idiots. I’d nerf something that nobody ever used anyway, and then add a fight somewhere where that one ability would have been very useful, but since the ability was just nerfed, it won’t get used for it, and watch people have a cow.

Like the way the Hunter’s ability to take control of their pet directly used to be used in Molten Core to send the pet a long way ahead and pull Baron Geddon back to Garr’s room so you wouldn’t risk pulling Shazzrah early. Some cute but tactically nearly useless ability that they could finally use… and nerf the duration to like, 3 seconds. OR make it a 15 yeard range. Something evilly obvious.  

I’d do it. Oh, don’t even think I wouldn’t. I’d take great pleasure in finding the pet peeves of the most hideous and nasty of posters, and make their bullshit paranoic fantasies actually come true.

Two years of daily reading of those forums and taking all that is said seriously? As Val Kilmer once said, “It’s a moral imperative.” But without the popcorn and orbital death ray lasers.

I’d find it amusing.

Oh, and just for fun…

Temerity Jane, the blessed TJ, the goddess and a half, recently wrote a beautiful post entitled ‘The #1 Peril of Blogging”

I think I’d like to change that just a bit, to be the #1 peril of sharing your actual feelings or thoughts on the internet.

In my opinion, the #1 peril of sharing your actual thoughts on the internet, is that there are people who live to tell you that you suck, you are wrong, you don’t know shit, or you are too ignorant to have a valid opinion. And it doesn’t matter what you said. The very fact that you took a position is enough to ensure somone will take the opposing positon, even if they have to invent one, just to tell you that they know you’re wrong.

I love TJ. Have for years. She says what she thinks, and hell take the hindmost. Nobody will ever accuse her of taking shit from anyone.

But as part of her awesomeness, she cares. Her heart is out there. And the peril in this whole blogging, public posting thing is that when you say what you really think, someone is gonna be looking to cut you if they can, just to see if they can make you bleed. Just for grins and giggles.

It’s very true. If you can’t have a sense of humor and laugh at things, if you can’t step back and see that an asshat is simply an asshat, no more and no less, and unworthy of your time, you’re gonna get hurt. 

And if you don’t blow off steam sometimes or take a break from it, it’s easy to start thinking everyone is like that. 

You read that stuff Ghostcrawler posted… that sounds to me like someone that has a great sense of humor, and can still keep in mind that the way some asshats do things on the forums does not represent the opinions of all players.

I hope that I can continue to post on my blog, and keep in mind that, while asshats are very vocal because they need an audience or the whole point of being snarky is wasted, they don’t represent everyone. They don’t even represent most of the folks. They might not even represent a few of the folks. They just represent themselves. A single asshat, hating themself so much they look for people to hurt, to take down, to feel a little better about their life.

I’ve read that GC is planning on taking a break from posting for a while.

I say, good. I know it’ll drive TJ nuts, but I love getting advice from my readers, and I’ve got my own unsolicited advice just for Ghostcrawler.

By all means, take a break and get the hell away from the official forums. That crap will rot your brain. In fact, why not just go make a new Troll Hunter, head for Barrens and hang out for a while.

I think you’ll find the chat there a relaxing diversion, full of thoughtful conversation and interesting discourse.

As long, of course, as you know where Mankrik’s Wife is.

But while you’re there, why not whip out a fishing pole, ease back, and while you’re leveling fishing skill…

..and think about nerfing something just totally outrageous right into the ground.

No, really. Try it. I bet it would be a lot of fun!

Hey, can any of my readers come up with advice on what he could nerf? Or better yet, something GC could buff that would really send someone over the edge?

Come on, I’d love to hear it!

Anyone can be a noob at times!

You’re gonna love this.

I like to think that I’m careful… that I arm myself with that most powerful of weapons before taking planned action.

No, not a Holy Hand Grenade, I’m talking about information.

I research. I study the how and the who and the what, but I place prime importance on the why.

When I set out to tank as a Paladin, I went out and looked for resources. I was already armed with a fundamental understanding of Defense and Weapon Skill and how group threat works and all that kind of jazz. It was the nuts and bolts of Paladin threat mechanics I needed to complete the picture.

Right?

Well, it turns out that all the research in the world ain’t gonna help you if you’re a dumbass.

Now, that may seem harsh.

Hold judgment for a moment here, shall we?

(See what I did dere?)

See, I worked with Cassie, and it is work, on a brand new initiative Sidhe Devils is launching to bring fun for all levels back to the forefront.

Doing that, plus work, plus real life, meant zip time for, well, you know… playing.

I had about an hour last night, and then off to bed.

I figure, an hour… maybe, just possibly, I can pop into hordieland and pug a Coren Direbrew gankfest for the crit trinket, or maybe pug a regular ToC and see if my tanking pants finally drop.

Something quick.

I entered LFG as a DPS with interest in regular ToC, and then checked out my gear.

Looking pretty good, looking pretty fine.

So.

Why the hell on the second of the two heroics I ran, Utgardt Keep, did I keep having people pulling off of me?

I ran a Heroic ToC as tank and we kicked ass… and an hour later, I went in as tank with a different crew in Heroic Utgardt Keep and it was damn near a wipefest. I was working my butt off holding aggro, and I have to say, at the end of it I was doing okay, but it felt pretty shaky. Holding aggro with two well geared Warlocks and a Ret Pally was very, very hard for me.

WTF?

Clearly, grasshopper, you’re doing something wrong.

Rotations? Check.

All those other things like the single target taunt, multiple target taunt off a team member, Avengers Shield, all that jazz? Check.

Mana stuffs? Check.

Heck, using Ret Aura instead of Devotion? Check, even.

Hmm, damn, does my gear suck that bad? It’s almost all epics!

No, shoot, it looks great to me.

I must just seriously suck.

At that point, I get an invite for a regular ToC. “Can you tank?”

Sigh.

Oh what the heck.

“Sure.”

I then take another glance at my gear, and notice that I DO have my new dodge rating trinket from Coren Direbrew equipped, but I DON’T have the “on use” function mapped to a macro yet.

I decide to hook it to Consecrate (since I flip between different Judgments), so it goes off whenever it’s off cooldown when I use Consecrate, and when is there going to be a time when I don’t want to use Consecrate?

And as I do so, I do the normal lazy man’s macro method.

I copy a previous “on use” macro tied to a spell, something from my Priest I think, and then clear out the name of the old item, open my inventory paperdoll and click the item to have it’s name automatically entered into the macro, then clear out the name of my old spell, and open my spellbook to click on the spell and have THAT name automatically entered in.

As I leaf through my spellbook, a certain jarring note of discordance tingles in my mind.

The spell I moused over on my button bar was Consecrate Rank 4…

The one in my spellbook goes up to, like, 8 or 9.

Wait, what?

Oh no.

Oh no freaking way.

I start mousing over the spells on my button bar for my tanking spec, and comparing them to the ones in my spellbook.

Wow, I must really rock, being able to almost hold threat using level 50 spells, huh?

Oh yeah, that’s right, baby.

Good old master Big Bear Butt went and tanked heroics in group without having the most current, within 30 levels, ranks of spells on his button bar.

A word to those of you who do not wish to be a dumbass like me.

If you dual spec very early, and you have a damage dealing leveling spec as your main, and an infrequently used spec like healing or tanking as your second (or a PvP spec as your second), and you do not ever actually DING on that second spec…

Your second spec’s button bars do NOT automatically update to the most recent spell like the active spec.

Now, why does this make me a dumbass?

Because I bloody well KNEW that!

Grrrr.

But no, I went dual spec the first chance it was available on my Paladin, and I never, ever let the thought cross my mind that the spells I put on there were the same ranks as the day I started the spec.

Yep, changed things around, went through and updated, went in and tanked that regular ToC, and the group was so delighted that we went in and blew it apart a second time, in less time than it takes to eat a good waffle.

Had a crew with insane DPS  just trying for those rarely seen items like the Black Heart that never seems to drop, and we had no problems whatsoever.

I did get my new pants. 🙂

Seriously, that’s just lame.

Oh, and FYI before anyone mentions it… you do not need to have the spell rank listed in the macro, if you just use the spell name, it automatically casts the highest level one.

Just wow. Makes me glad I waited to dual spec my Druid until after I’d been 80 for 6 months. No chance I didn’t have the max level spells on that one.

That would have been really embarassing.

Not as embarassing as Mannyac on his Hunter, though.

I’ll never forget the day I was chatting with him about his then level 56 Hunter, back when there was no Burning Crusade, just vanilla WoW.

He was complaining about how hard it was for Kortenharig as Beastmaster to fight mobs without pulling aggro off his pet kitty.

I asked him if he’d gone out and tamed the critters with the highest rank of Claw so his pet was doing more damage. 

His response was, if I remember, something on the order of “There are different ranks of pet skills?”

He was still using his one and only pet, the kitty he tamed in Dun Morogh at level 10.

With level 10 skills.

Yeah, that makes me feel better every time.

Omigod, I got a reference!

Holy shit, the world has come to an end.

When it comes to ‘in jokes’ and pop culture references, or references to just about anything at all in the world, I don’t ‘get’ them.

I may know where it came from sometimes, but I don’t ever get that “Oh, I am a special person and know JUST where that came from and why it was used a reference, GLEE!” feeling that so many folks I have known over the years have expressed.

At least I haven’t… until today.

I cruised through my normal collection of webcomics, until I came to…

Least I Could Do. (That other comic done by the Looking For Group guys. I explain, because I know my audience. If I wrote a blog about deviant sexual humor, I’d be referring to LFG as that other comic done by the Least I Could Do guys. Go with what works.)

I pop in to see what the daily funny is, see what Rahne is up to, and I read the comic… and then, as always, I read the title of the strip in the upper right corner, to see if, just for once, I have some clue as to what he is taking about, which is about a 30/70 on the over under.

And it happens.

Nerdvana!

I have read the content of the comic, enjoyed it, looked at the in-joke title of the comic… and had an explosion of joy!

I got it! I know where the in-joke came from, why it was especially relevant and added to the joke from the comic (if it wasn’t in fact the only real joke in the comic), and it came from my favorite author of all time!

I know who Ronnie is! Woohoo!!!!

And now, my apologies as I scurry away to start re-reading that one. I haven’t re-read one of his books in at least 3 days now. I must be coming down with something.

Oh, and if you don’t have the faintest clue what I’m talking about, if you click this link and read the entire synopsis you’ll get it, but trust me… it just won’t be the same.

Although, if you read my blog and DON’T know where it came from… shame on you!