Server Down? Awesome!

Good morning!

Yesterday was, of course, Tuesday.

Server maintenance day.

For the second week, most servers were scheduled for regular maintenance, while a handful were singled out for 24 hour expansion upgrades.

I know many players are on varied shifts and playtimes, and get screwed by this to a greater or lesser extent. For those that do, you have my sympathies.

For myself, if maintenance is done during the day, well, so long as it’s all over and done with by about 5 PM, I’d never even know it happened.

Having the server be scheduled down for 24 hours was pretty interesting, though.

You see, if it had been up as usual, I’d probably have done a little on my Rogue, trained Inscription, mined some Ore, and then logged off. I’m getting into a rut.

On Tuesdays we’ve also been watching Hell’s Kitchen on Tivo, and there’s a Top Gear to watch for dinner (again, thanks to Tivo, the greatest thing since sliced lunch meat).

Same old, same old.

With our server down, but other servers up and running, and an hour of time to mess around, we could have sat there bitching and moaning, but instead, we saw it as an opportunity for new fun.

“Hows about we randomly pick a different server, make some level 1’s we’ve never tried before, and level together for a bit just for kicks?”

So, we did that for a little bit.

We got on Skype to voice chat, picked a server, and made a pair of undead. Cassie chose a Warrior, and I picked a Priest. Off we went, and had fun bouncing around unfamiliar territory together.

It was a great time. We had a blast together. 

Somewhere in there, Cassie tabbed out, and remarked, “Wow, they released the Ruby Sanctum tonight, according to WoW.com. People on servers down for 24 hours must be pissed they lost their chance at being ‘firsties’.”

We both paused for a moment to visualize the folks we meant. The people who play this video game, pay a monthly fee the same as the rest of us, and who will go on the official forums demanding a refund of something like fifty cents to their accounts because they lost a day out of the month. People who scream if things are denied them that they feel entitled to.

After a moment of such quiet contemplation, I had to reply, “Well, I guess if you’re obsessed with getting to content in a video game before other people do, and you’re going to get angry about not getting to go “I was there first noob”, then I suppose you’ve got plenty of personal problems already. What’s one more thing to get angry about? That ulcer ain’t coming any faster.”

And then we continued on, playing level 5 characters, and you know, actually having fun while our server was down.

Which, from the scope of some comments I’ve seen out there, means we just don’t ‘get’ video gaming. Apparently, it’s not supposed to be about having fun, that shows a carebear attitude, a casual attitude, a ‘childish, irresponsible‘ attitude to the seriousness that proper WoW players feel towards content progression.

It’s about finding something in this virtual life to be better at than other people, and having a title or digital achievement ranking to prove it. Which, and now I’m just reading the subtext here… is necessary because a lot of people feel they have something to prove. In a video game? Really? Well, okay.

Ah well, I guess we’ll just continue to fail at video games by doing stuff that’s fun at the time, and not worrying about any of it anymore.

If my attitude about this, my flippant tone, my judgmental assumptions and stereotyping seem too harsh, or if in this post you find a characterization you take personally and choose to be offended about… please keep in mind, I really mean it. I’m not joking. I really do think WoW is a game, admittedly a great game, and games are meant for casual fun, not as a replacement life for people who find the real world to be too scary to handle, or too difficult to find success or happiness in. 

If you’re offended I feel that way… that’s okay. I’m good with that. Everyone has their own perspective on things, and it’d be a sad, boring world if everyone agreed with mine all the time.

I hope that, however your evening went, in game or out, you found your own way to have a nice, fun, enjoyable evening. Especially with family or friends.

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Storytime: Feeling the Surfing Blues

This morning while driving to work, I got a nostalgic twofer on the local rock station. They played a song by The Offspring, back to back with some Red Hot Chili Peppers.

That combination brings back pretty powerful memories for me, because both of those bands evoke for me the time when I lived in Southern California, and almost all of my free time was spent either on a surfboard, or on the beach playing volleyball when waves were rough.

It’s funny, I don’t know if it’s just because both of those bands were on the airwaves a ton back then while on the beach, along with Suicidal Tendencies, or if it’s a similarity in tone, but hearing them always brings back that ‘surfer vibe’.

Hearing those songs, bringing back those memories after so long really shocked me a little.

It crept up on me. I can’t believe I live in Minnesota. I’m a freaking Minnesotan? Like, you want to go to the State Fair this year? You betcha!

Grr, hell no. That ain’t me, man. No way.

If you’d have asked me years back, I’d never in my wildest dreams have believed I’d end up living in a totally land-locked state, about as far from the ocean as you can get in the continental USA.

I’ve got the sea in my soul. It’s trite, and even corny, but dammit it’s true.

I was born in San Diego, CA, and I spent my entire life living right up close to the ocean, whether West Coast SoCal or East Coast Miami/Fort Lauderdale/Boca Raton.

Right up until I left for Marine Corps Boot Camp, all my life I was never farther than a 15 minute jog to the beach.

All my memories of growing up are tinged with an awareness of the closeness of the sea. Jogging the intracoastal waterway, working my uncle’s tourist sport fishing boat off the Miami Pier during the summer months, boogie boarding and surfing and snorkling, lazing around on the scorching hot sand, bitching about the long walks to get from the street to the surf, lots of my time was spent hanging around the ocean.

Even when I wasn’t within sight of it, though, you’d get the smell, the breezes, and the attitude. The awareness that, sure, right now you may be suffocating in a classroom, but freedom was just minutes away. Skip class and you could be in the water in minutes. Ahhhhh.

When I was at loose ends after High School, waiting for my entrance date to go to boot camp, I had months to get ready. I spent most of that time in Delray Beach at an apartment off South Federal Highway, and in the evenings, like starting around midnight every night when it got cooler and the humidity only felt like breathing through a wet dish towel when you ran, I’d head out jogging, go down to the big bridge over the intracoastal waterway, run up that sumbitch at a dead heat (and then coast down the other side), and run all the way to the fancy pants Marriot and out back to the beach cabanas they had back there in the planted palms. I’d run full out to get there, and then just sit for a while and relax, in the dark, enjoying the cool sea breezes, just being there and feeling the pulse of the sea. It’s incredible. 

And then I’d have to run my happy ass back up that bridge to get home. Ugh.

It’s silly, but the whole thing feels like a weird dream when I take a step back and get some perspective on it. I never would have imagined a time when I’d live so far away from the ocean that people would talk about going to a waterpark, and seriously talk about the fun of playing at a “wave pool”. A big tank full of water with a machine that forces that water to simulate the motion of the waves of the ocean.

Say what? How, well, soulless.

Even in the Marines, events conspired to keep me close to the sea. Years spent in South Carolina at Beaufort right near the ocean, with Hilton Head Island a quick trip down the coast. Savannah just a little farther. Sure, it’s roads through swamps, but it’s still coastal. Then there was Okinawa and the joys of windsurfing. Oh, how I loved windsurfing.

I had no choice but to learn windsurfing in Okinawa, the big rocks they reinforced the coasts with mean the waves break RIGHT where your face meets concrete. That’s a scary damn thing for a soft sand beach boy to learn to deal with, right there. Coming in, coming in, coming in, Bail! Bail! Bail! Windsurfing gives you more steering control. 🙂

We won’t talk about the years in the desert, shall we? Let’s just say that I really, really enjoyed the stark contrast between life in the desert, and life near the ocean. I found it far more fun than if I lived in some normal place. Fortunately, the military isn’t in the habit of wasting perfectly good land to put a military base on. They’ll find some remote sandpit or swampland, and plant stakes there.

Yet, here I am. It was always meant to be a temporary visit until I could return to a REAL state, one with some tasty beaches. I came up here to visit because Minnesota is where my dad was born, and where all my family on his side still live. I came to visit relatives I’d never really had much chance to get to know before, and ended up hanging out for a little while. Inevitably, I made some friends. Next thing you know, I’ve got a job, apartment, friends I hang with, and I fall in love with a wonderful lady whose entire family lives here locally, and, well, once you start sinking roots that deep, you tend not to move very far away. 🙂

Is there a point to this?

No, not really. Just on my mind how funny things turn out, in ways you’d never expect when you sit down as a teen and plan out how you think your life will go.

If you’d asked me back then, nope, never in a million years would I have expected to end up in Minnesota. Just, how?

And yet, here I am, and honestly, I can’t imagine living anywhere else… because this is where the woman I love is, and where we are happy with our son.

Now I get to think about what life will be like for my son, with all of his roots here in land-locked ‘flyover country’. Having never known the sea, never known it’s power, what will his future be like? Will he grow up never imagining a time when he’d end up living anywhere else? Will he someday find himself living on a small atoll in the South Pacific wondering what the hell happened?

God help me, he’ll probably end up on a Navy Submarine.

I guess if there is a point to any of this, I guess it’s to not get too hung up on making long term plans, or setting serous expectations for the future.

If you get all wrapped up in how you think your life should go, then when real life comes along and changes everything around you, you might be too caught up worrying about what might have been to sit back and really enjoy the things you actually HAVE. 

Still. Dammit, I miss good barbeque. One thing you can say for Southern Florida, barbeque is plentiful. And fresh seafood. Oh, the fresh seafood. How do I miss thee? Let me count the ways. OH! And cuban food!

Okay, I don’t miss Florida, I just miss the food!

In all seriousness, the one thing I really do miss is just being at the beach, at night, when things are quiet and there’s nothing but you, the sound of the surf, the feeling of massive waves pounding into the rocks transmitted to your feet, and the stars in the clear sky overhead. That’s just the best.

On the other hand… what I get now is the joy of watching my son hit a ball off a tee-ball post, and run to first base like a nut, arms waving madly all over in his excitement. Oh, and the way he giggles when he farts, driving his mother batshit insane, because “he’s just like you!”.

It doesn’t get much better than that. 🙂

Professional Pain!

Woo.

Call me the buzzkill…

I’m here to remind you that soon, Professions will have higher limits, and new recipes.

So, in honor of our upcoming grinds, I’d like to take this moment to look back on the profession fun of days gone by, and give everyone a chance to weigh in on what they consider to be the most painful profession to gain useful recipes for, once you’ve hit the max.

What, you thought I was gonna talk about painful professions to level? Oh c’mon, that’s so last year.

“But Bear, in my day we had to walk uphill to farm ore, in the snow of Icecrown, BOTH WAYS!”

Get over it. Shake it off, you ninny.

No, let’s have fun debating what the most painful profession to get all the useful recipes for is.

As a person with, count ’em, four max level Engineers, I’ll do my part and kick Engineering to the curb. It’s dead easy. There are only a couple recipes to grind for, hell maybe only the one, Jeeves, if you decide not to count the rep grind for the Engineering Chopper.

No, I’m thinking more along the lines of how you can whip up your Jewelcrafting to max in a few days of ore mining, and then be stuck for months as you do the daily Jewelcrafting Quest to get tokens to buy recipes. How many recipes do you need? The answer is, how many alts do you have?

Or how about Inscription, where you get to max and have fun making your Darkmoon Cards, only to realise you should’ve been doing not one but TWO daily researches, for both a Minor AND a Major. Have fun the next few months, and make sure you’ve got lots and lots of nice, tasty herbs to destroy. Oh, and don’t go on vacation, it’ll put you behind by a week.

Or how about everyone’s favorite, Enchanting. You grind and grind and grind your way up, and the higher your level, the more expensive every point is… and those Greens you used to sell for good coin get D/E’d straight down the drain to feed your voracious appetite for mats. And just when you’re nearing the end… they make your Disenchanting automatically shared among a group of four strangers. Ain’t those Blizzard cats some funny folks?

Every profession has it’s story, has it’s own hook for singing the leveling blues.

What I find curious is how some professions are damn expensive, but the only thing throttling your getting all the recipes is how deep your pockets go.

Enchanting? If you’ve got the money, honey, you can get the skills. Just dump all your cash into buying Greens, D/E, rinse and repeat ad infinitum.

Leatherworking? Technically, if you feel like buying enough leather to trade into Artic Furs, well, go for it. It’s silly, but not TOO bad. Well, okay, it’s bad. Just not as bad as it used to be. Now, it’s more like a sharp whack in the forehead with a rubber mallet rather than a swing in the nuts from a sledgehammer. It feels good, but only by comparison.

How about Inscription? That must not be too bad, right? Nope, if you want all the Glyph recipes, buckle up buttercup, you’re in for a bumpy ride. Every day, two new recipes, one Minor, one Major. That’s it, thanks for playing. Try our home game!

Jewelcrafting isn’t far off, either. Your Epic Gem recipes do indeed come from the daily JC quest, but Blizzard was almost fiendishly cruel in the upgrade patch. Now they dangle the possibility of leveling faster in front of you… if you, oh I dunno… just farm enough Titanium Ore to prospect. It leaves you feeling that you’re somehow being lazy if you DON’T turn thousands of gold worth of raw ore into dust.

Letting Alchemists transmute the Titanium BARS is almost grinding salt into a JCs wounds, isn’t it?

Oh, and I’m sure as bad as Blacksmithing is to level, there’s no crying at the end game leveling now that Miners can smelt Titansteel endlessly without regard for cooldown sillyness. Why, take an Alchemist making Titanium Bars, and an Engineering Miner farming the Primals and smelting Titansteel, and you’ve got a great combination to feed a leveling Blacksmith.

Not that any of us are so far advanced in the game that we’ve got multiple, or even ALL, max level Professions scattered amongst our characters. Oh, heavens no.

So, what’s your take? What do you personally feel is the most painful Profession to level once you finally hit those last few points and want to get cracking on making something useful?

Notice I don’t even mention the confusing hell that is Tailoring and cloth specialising and variations at end game, or the fun of tokens that is Cooking. 🙂

Gotta give Cooking a big thumbs up, simply from having so many easy to get to daily quests.

As you think about it… of all the many and varied systems Blizzard has implemented in professions to learn new recipes and advance them… which do you like the best? And why?

No really, why? If your answer is you like the hardest because you’re into pain, well, that might be fun to know. 🙂

And of course, that leaves us wondering… will any of the professions SWAP recipe leveling methods once Cataclysm comes to town? Will Blizzard decide they like one more than the rest, and just use that copy/paste?

Oooh, that fun and easy Engineering might turn into the white whale! Ahoy there, Ahab!

Ding! And victory!

I know this is of no interest to anyone else, but what the heck.

My Rogue is now level 64, and pretty much done with Hellfire. I started at level 60, did all the quests mostly without rested, and had one run each of Ramparts and Blood Furnace.

I don’t know about anyone else, but even with Heirloom Shoulders and Chest armor, I think 4 levels in one zone seems crazy.

As I recall, I dinged 61 in Hellfire when Burning Crusade was released, and was most of the way to 62 just as I entered Zangar.

I only bring it up, because it feels like the accelerated leveling has been changed to go all the way to 70, which wasn’t how things were originally.

When they announced the accelerated leveling program to help new players (and alts) get to upper levels faster than during original game release, it was my understanding that it worked like this;

  • Instance quests gave a lot more XP per turn in, to reflect being group quests.
  • From 10 to 60, quests provided more XP than before.
  • From 20 to 60, it required less actual XP to reach the end of each level.

This meant, and I swear I felt it in action on at least one alt, that leveling to 60 felt fast and smooth, and then you hit Hellfire at 60 and ran smack into a brick wall of leveling pain.

Did this get changed from 60 to 70? It sure feels like it, and if so, what was I doing when this was announced? Waxing my muzzle hair? Trimming my paws?

Weird.

In other news, this morning, hold onto your hats, Alliance managed to win one in Wintergrasp on Kael’thas at around 5:30 AM server time.

So… I’m thinking all the Horde were sleeping off a drunk in Nagrand this morning?

The armor looks cool with the purple engineering Deathblow X11 goggles 🙂

May I direct your attention to a song full of win?

Here in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul in Minnesota, USA (known as the Land of Two Seasons – Winter and Road Repair), we have a pop radio station called KDWB.

This station has a (mostly) funny morning show called the Dave Ryan Show. They’re mostly idiots, playing to the “oh I’m so pretty, I’m better than everyone else” crowd, while at the same time trying to prove they’re better than that themselves by having skits where they mock vain, pretty pretentious people… which is akin to Microwave Oven manufacturers making commercials mocking people who eat fast food.

Just as a brief side note, and feel free to disagree with my take on it, but if you ever wonder why people in any form of paid media continue to hold to outdated stereotypes and lazy thinking about communities of people, keep in mind… if you’re looking at a show that has paid employees, with paid advertising, they are going to be sucking up to/kissing the ass of a specific demographic of their audience. If that demographic is perceived by the media folks to enjoy feeling smug or superior over another social group, why, the mindless mocking and playing to the lowest common denominator will begin.

I really do think this is why there is both a continued mocking of videogame players as all being basement-dwelling nerds with smashed glasses and pocket protectors in some media markets, and why in other media markets there has arisen a catering TO gamers’ interests and a general attempt at being more respectful of gamers on a regular basis. One group of media is catering to the demographic that desperately wants to believe that they’re still superior to the geeks and nerds they thought they were better than in High School, and the other media types are recognising the reality of gamers as a demographic that, like, graduated, went to college, got an actual well paying job, and now SPENDS MONEY on consumer electronics.

Did you really think there was another reason anyone would kiss our ass? They want our money, and they figure if we think they really like us or respectful of us, then we’ll give our money to them. Which probably works.

In short… changes in gamer portrayal in the media don’t reflect a greater awareness or maturity among the public in general, but rather greed among media executives in particular. Eh, whatever, it’s not like I trust any of them to be unbiased in the first place. Just funny to watch who says what, how they say it, and to whom are they intending to say it.

Watching the TV show “60 Minutes” makes me laugh my butt off. That show is so twisted in it’s portrayal of events, ALL events, that trying to nail down what demo they’re targeting could be a blog post all on it’s own.

Back to KDWB. This is a radio station with a mix of pop hits and palatable white bread rap/hip hop that tries to act like they’re in the forefront of current trends and culture, so the demo they cater to on their talk shows are the “oh my god, I’m so pretty and I was, like, SO popular in High School!” crowd that loves relationship drama and following famous celebrity gossip to escape from the pointlessness of their own meager, shallow lives. Nuff said?

Hehehe… that would be an example of spin to cater to MY targeted demographic… anybody properly cynical and sarcastic with an IQ higher than the temperature of freshly cooked tapioca, and a love of bacon. Mah peeps!

Oh, why do I listen to their show? Sorry, but their morning show simply cracks me up, and since I swore off political talk shows for the sake of my sanity, there are few other choices. My hard drive with my entire MP3 collection vaporized itself, so I’m a radio listener now. 😦

Dave Ryan in particular can spin some great chat. He has a wonderful comedic delivery. And the morning drive is sooooo boring. I flip to other channels whenever they start playing actual music, but that thing I said about mocking stereotypes to cater to a demographic? Yeah, our local rock station caters to the “I smoked in High School and drank bud and played football or liked to cheerlead and flash my tits to drunk guys” demo, so they also mock anyone who dares enjoying video games. Sigh. So few choices to listen to that don’t feel like they have to kiss ass and score points by bashing other social groups.

Back on track here… one of the KDWB morning show, ahem, “personalities”, is Lena Svenson, which is simply the most hilariously ethnic radio DJ name I’ve ever heard for a market in the mostly Norwegian/Scandinavian Minnesota area. I truly believe it’s got to be intentionally made up to mock the locals. I’ve got two reasons for thinking so. First, Lena sometimes slips and sounds too intelligent, and she has real talent and a fast wit. So, I think she dumbs down her routine for the demo she’s paid to play for, but mocking them with a name like Lena Svenson really seems in character. And second, one of the more prevalent “I’m a racist, and I’m telling a racist joke but it’s about white people so it’s okay” cultural phenomena in Minnesota is the telling of “‘Ollie and Lena” or “Ollie and Sven” jokes. Which is why I think “Lena Svenson” for a morning show DJ in Minnesota has just GOT to be made up.

The morning show does various skits to distract commutors from the horror of our daily lives, and one of them is this thing they call “American Idiots”. Listeners text in song titles they want the morning show to write song parodies with, and the morning show crew each has to write a parody using the song title, and then sing it live.

These are frequently horrific, sometimes amusing, often very revealing of the inner prejudices of the DJs when you hear what they came up with for lyrics, and rarely, rarely brilliant.

Last week, Lena Svenson did this parody of Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” she called “Indoor Summer Girls”.

She only did a verse or two, but it was brilliant, because it was just so… so “us”, meaning Cassie and me.

So many people here love camping and hiking and living the outdoor life, which is great. I was a Marine for 8 years, I’m not exactly afraid of being outdoors in harsh or extreme environments. I loved camping and getting in crazy, remote, wild areas where you could still feel as though you were exploring the world fresh and new.

Out here, though, a lot of locals take it to this smug, really offensive level, like, if you have a TV, or turn on your AC and close your windows, or if you like chilling out and reading, you must be scum.

Lena’s parody was like the positive anthem for our way of life… the people that enjoy closed windows, low humidity and working air conditioning in the summer, who think being proud and boastful of leaving your windows open and the AC off all summer is idiotic, people who enjoy watching TV or reading a book while eating popcorn, or having movie night with friends instead of getting drunk and grinding against skanky strangers before puking your guts out in the bathroom every night. 

Yeah, I know, chances are good you didn’t hear it on the radio in the Twin Cities that morning. So, why am I blabbing away?

They got such a massive demand for them to replay her 1 minute rough parody that they did a studio version of the song, and play it all the time now.

And you can listen to it TOO!

Download it for free on mp3 at their website.

So.. a free song parody that cracks me up. What have you got to lose?

So go check out Lena’s Indoor Summer Girls song at KDWB!

~~

For extra credit, see how many times I intentionally mocked demographics other than gamers in this article to kiss the ass of my readers when it was completely unnecessary to getting the point of a fun MP3 being available, and where.

For a perfect score, list each different demographic mocked!

Yes, yes, the Ice Stone has melted, whatever

Welcome to a post that actually mentions WoW.

No, really. Well, I’m sure we can digress into other stuff if you really want me to.

No?

Okay, then let’s go.

Midsummer Fire Festival is here, Ahune is trying to freeze the Slave Pens, and players the world over ask themselves, “Why should I care what happens to the Slave Pens in another universe? Oh, wait, there’s loot? Frost Emblems? Well, okay then. This time. But only if I don’t have to fly back and forth to get there, man.”

Massive kudos go out to Blizzard for taking steps every stretch of the way to implement the seemingly perfect Holiday Boss Event.

Queue for random group from anywhere. When grop forms, everyone instantly forms in the instance, right in front of the boss encounter, no pesky trash (except for one, but come on) and no stupid questions about “Where do we go from here? Which way?”

When the boss dies, the only loot that drops from the communal chest are Cloaks and snowballs. And the quest item the first time. All special, rare, eagerly fought over potential drops are delivered as a random chance directly into each player’s own bags by the Developer Fairy, no ninja opportunities allowed.

It’s a beautiful thing. You either get a pet in your bag, or you don’t. No fighting over drops, no ninja loot tries, just did ya get it? No? Okay, we’ll try tomorrow.

And there is even incentive for groups to continue forming regularly throughout the entire holiday, unlike the last special encounter in Shadowfang Keep, in the form of Frost Emblems for a 5 minute encounter.

This is a mature system that has taken into account all the ugly realities of human nature as learned from an MMO system over the course of five hard years of bitching.

So, what’s left for the players to bitch about? Nothing, right?

Why, the fight of course.

If you have not taken your appropriately leveled** character into Slave Pens after Ahune yet, please, I implore you to do so.

**I say appropriately leveled, because while I don’t know what level you HAVE to be to get in, I know on the first day I saw a level 79 in there, so it ain’t only for 80s. I ain’t saying only well geared 80s should go… I mean everyone that CAN get in there, SHOULD get in there.**

Too bad my 63 Rogue can’t get in. Damnit.

Ah, the Ahune fight as it’s set up right now is one of the most brilliant cross sections of social observation I’ve ever seen.

I have seen more concentrated examples of sheer idiocy, in the shortest possible period of time, in that first day than in the last year combined.

Yep, gotta love it.

If you ever wanted to see tanks that have no business tanking a run let mobs go hog wild on your healer, or DPS ignore a dozen mobs and fire mechanics in favor of standing in one place doing boss-only damage while being hit by ice spikes, or healers that suffer nervous breakdowns or descend into crying fits, than Ahune is for you.

It’s awesome. I’m not being facetious, morons fascinate the shit out of me.

Where are these people when there ain’t a holiday boss? What the heck do they do?

This comes hot on the heals of a Dev/Blue Poster that recently said something along the lines of, “We can’t design things the way we used to, because modern players are so highly skilled.”

To that I respond, no.

/facepalm. NO.

Today’s players are not highly skilled. One day of seeing unguarded, live, raw responses to a new boss fight without Deadly Boss Mods holding their hands proved that.

No, todays players have websites to tell them how to gear, spec, and play, addons to tell them what to do, and guides and videos to show them in advance what’s about to happen. And raid leaders to provide detailed writeups and by-player breakdowns of expectations.

Todays players aren’t highly skilled in anything except learning how to read what other people said, I swear.

I’ve seen more 5500 Gearscore idiots running around like chickens with their heads cut off than I can frankly believe.

Why? What in the world causes this monstrosity?

I honestly think it is nothing less than what the players are really like when left on their own without guidance from someone that takes the time to LOOK and THINK about what’s going on during the fight.

By last night, things had settled down a lot. Most folks have figured out by now what a blue circle on the floor means. You know, unlike all those OTHER times a circle began to form under their feet, this time it meant bad things, so move your ass.

Most folks have also figured out that adds form at blue circles, adds form at boss and run in, and adds left untanked go for the healer. I know this is startling new territory, but okay.

Most DPS have, unfortunately, figured out that most of them outgear the encounter so much that they can successfully do what they prefer… stand in one place, ignore the group, the tank and the healer and all the adds, and just DPS down the boss. Let the tank and healer deal with all that ‘game mechanic’ stuff. Oh, and sometimes they get thrown in the air, but that’s what the healer is for. Damnit, that interrupts the rotation!

I love it. Watching people that first day, live and UNscripted, was mahvelous, dahling.

I saw three different groups wipe, while on my Shaman as Enhancement DPS.

Three groups. THREE OF THEM IN ONE GROUP HAD OVER 5600 GS! One had the Kingslayer title! And Ahune kicked his ass, lol.

Gear equates to skill MY ASS.

I’m not upset at all, by the way. I want to be clear about it.

I find it relentlessly refreshing to see people in the raw showing how skilled THEY are as players as they react to the unknown for the first time on the fly and have to think fast. 

Adapt or die.

Sure, it’s been two days. They’ve had other people tell them by now, “Hey, get out of the blue circle before the spike forms. Spikes be bad.” “Hey, if you don’t grab the adds, they’ll swarm the healer and we’ll die. Get off the boss, he doesn’t move.”

It makes me appreciate every individual I see that demonstrated skill and style. It makes me doubly appreciate the players with words of advice, encouragement, and a positive attitude.

But more than everything else… it gave me a refreshing few hours to mock the hilariously stupid antics of people that will tell you how leet they are for their titles and epics until they’re blue in the face.

That’s all well and good, dude. But, if you’re so great a player, if your skills are really all that… dude, why’d you let the healer die under a wall of adds? He was standing right behind you.

Oh, and in other news… I did Ahune just once on my Druid, and guess what? I got a little buddy. He’s an Ice Chip off the old block.

So now I’m just splitting my time between trying to get a certain awesome looking Scythe on my Shaman, and playing my Rogue. Oh, and watching the Wintergrasp timer, of course.

As of Thursday morning… nope, Horde still own it. Damn they’re badass.

The Gift that keeps on giving

Another offtopic one, sorry. I’ve got a lot of posts in me today.

Last year, a problem was brought to me at work.

Picture this, if you will.

Our company is situated in a corner-style junction between two very busy streets. But not RIGHT on the corner.

Right on the corner is a small strip mall with a Pei Wei, a hair stylist, a Caribou Coffee, and some other stuffs.

Behind this strip mall, filling up a strip of space touching on both streets, is our company.

Our employee parking lot, therefore, touches both busy streets. It’s a straight shot between the two, as seen here;

South street access to parking lot.

North street access to the parking lot.

As you can see, it’s a straight, unobstructed shot between the two streets.

Right where these pictures were taken, located right where I’m standing, is the employee entrance to the building, and several picnic tables where the employees enjoy their breaks on all shifts when the weather is nice.

The problem that was brought to me, was that asshats looking to save themselves a .5 mile drive around the peak of the corner, not even a half a block, would cut through our parking lot at 95 freaking miles an hour, and there were frequently close calls where drivers would come damn close to killing one of our employees as they sat on the picnic benches.

I’m not kidding. This apparently had become known by people as the perfect shortcut if you wanted to feel slick in cutting off 30 seconds from your drive. What, people might actually want to not get killed for sitting on their picnic benches eating their dinner? Well, what the hell are they doing sitting where *I* want to drive? I is important!

So, I did something about it last year.

I got myself some barricades. And I ain’t taking about no bullshit plastic things, either. I mean, I got me some BARRICADES.

See how big they are in comparison to Jim sitting there? Yeah, I put those in about 8 months ago. Something like that.

Almost immediately, they paid for themselves in pure, personal enjoyment.

All day long after the crane installed them, people would come roaring into the lot at full speed, slamming over the dip in the ramp where the road meets the lot, only to come to a full-on screeching brake stop as they realize HOLY SHIT THERE’S A BIG ASS WALL THERE!!!!

Then the pleasure really cranks in as we watch these idiots turn and back and wobble around to turn their SUVs around and head slowly back the way they came.

This didn’t hurt anybody here, since we’ve got seperate shipping and receiving docks for actual truck deliveries. Nope, this just cut off the straight line throughfare in our employee parking lot. The lot that is clearly marked on both ends at the street, “Not a through street”, “Private parking lot, trespassers will be towed”, and Employee Parking Only”.

Our former highway became, wonder of wonders, a safe and peaceful parking lot overnight. Why, we can even set up more tables, chairs, and barbeques and hold company ‘picnics’ there safely now.

But still, 8 months later, it continues to bring me pleasure.

Just moments ago, I’m standing out there in the parking lot, and what should I see but an idiot come roaring blindly into the North street entrance, doing at least 45 around that blind turn, only to come to a dead stop in the lot, with the driver visibly in a rage, swearing and frothing at the mouth in his car. And, still swearing and raging, he slowly backed his ass into a spot and turned tail, and carried his ass out of our lot. All under the view of our security cameras the entire time, you understand. The cameras I installed. 🙂

As I stood and watched that, the old, familiar grin crept over my face in genuine pleasure.

It’s the exact same pleasure I feel any time I tank a run, and an asshat goes out of their way to pull groups FOR me, and the healer and I combined stand back and let them die.

Ahhh… asshats that get every little bit that they deserve, but so rarely receive. The true gift that keeps on giving.