Bearwall: Be yourself. Wait, didn’t I post this before?

I’ve been writing for too damn long. I’ve reached the point where, every time I think about doing a storytime because I’m reminded of something, I can’t remember… did I tell that one already?

I can’t just refer to my “Storytime” category. For a long time, I would intentionally segue… well, shit, I want to type “Segway” now because of that damn scooter, I can’t remember how it’s properly spelled. Yay. I could look it up, but I feel stupid enough about forgetting how to spell it in the first place, so screw it, I’ll just leave it for you to feel smugly superior over.

What was I saying, jeez… oh yeah. For a long time, I’d write these humongous bearwalls, and I’d start with one topic, drift into a completely unrelated mini-storytime, and then drift back.

I have now published 1,356 posts as of this writing. I can’t keep track of what I’ve said anymore.

My only saving grace here, is that if I do repeat a story… well, they’re all true, and I don’t lie (although I certainly will change the names of people to protect the guilty… and because I don’t know what statutes of limitations across country and state lines really are for what I may have pulled in the past) so if I tell one over again… I’m just emulating every other jarhead at the local Legion hall, right? It’s a tradition I’d be proud to carry on.

This rambling brings me directly to the point of this post; being yourself.

I don’t know if you read the Pink Pigtail Inn… I assume you do, because Larísa is more awesome than I am.

Anyway, if you’ve read the writings of the Inn’s hostess for any length of time, you know that she’s intelligent, funny, articulate, sweet and above all else, COURTEOUS.

She’s quite the hostess. Someone can be a massive douche in her comments, and yet she’s always remained on the polite side of the border when it comes to dealing with it. An innate ability to turn the other cheek, perhaps? Or is she really just that nice? I’m not saying she takes any shit, she certainly doesn’t, it’s just that she doesn’t descend to the level of mud-slinging or incendiary dropping to boot the little dillwad that I would.

Let me put it this way; I would vote Larísa the blogger most likely to violate the upper limits of Dunbar’s number than Godwin’s Law.

This being the case, you can imagine the moment of shock I felt when I read the PPI post that went up earlier this week, called “Publish and be damned“.

I started reading, and right away, I had to stop. What the heck was this? Where the hell did all this profanity come from?

I went back to the top of the post… ah! That’s not Larísa’s name as the author, it’s Tamarind! Tamarind of Righteous Orbs, of course.

That explains it. 🙂

I read Tamarind’s guest post, thinking all the while, “So, here is finally the best blog post of 2010. How like Tam to post it in 2011 just so it can’t win any Piggies.”

‘Piggies’, of course, being what I call the awards Larísa was giving out recently for great blogging. 🙂

There’s a lot o’ fun stuff in the post about big versus little bloggers, and courtesy and behavior and all that jazz. Great post, definitely a must read.

Just… be careful. Appropriately enough for someone with righteous orbs, Tam’s kinda got a thing for dicks. There’re dicks all OVER that post. Dick dick dick dick dick. After a while, you just start feeling violated by that many dicks, you know? I don’t know about you, but I’d never write a post with the word dick in it that many times, I’d be thinking the reader would start feeling a little uncomfortable, especially with having dicks coming at your eyes over and over like that. It’d be fine if there was some tits or ass mixed in there, but no, it was just a lot of dicks. Now, Tam’s undoubtedly got no issues with all the dicks you could imagine being shoved in your face, but you, my readers… you’re more cultured. More sensitive. More civilized.

…. what?

I write something like that, and I always wonder how many readers I just lost. But then I remember the movie “Star Trek: Save the Whales“, and I feel better. If Spock can drop a ‘hell’ or a ‘double dumbass’, so can I. And I do take to heart the single most important fact that Star Trek IV taught me; “Nobody pays any attention to you unless you swear every other word.”

Hey, go watch the movie and check if you don’t believe me. That movie prepared me for life in the Marine Corps very well. Damnit.

Let me, after only 750 words into a post, finally get to a point (besides quoting Star Trek or pointing you to Tams post, both laudable reasons to post in and of themselves).

If you’re going to write a blog, the very first thing you need to do is be honest. With yourself, with anyone who might come reading, with everyone.

Be yourself. I’m not a Shakespeare fanatic, but “To thine own self be true” is awesome advice, and I even know where that one comes from.

More of that quote, Paul Harvey’s ‘The rest of the story”, would be:

To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.

A lot of Tam’s post concerned drama. I don’t really care too much about drama, myself. If you say what you really think on your own blog, then you’ve done what I expect from a good writer. You can use tact or not, whatever your personality is about, but first and foremost be honest and true to your own thoughts and beliefs.

What I care about is knowing that when I read the writings of someone, that they are being true to themselves, and telling me what they really think. I don’t have to agree with them, I don’t even have to like them. What I’m going to do is try and see things from your point of view, and take that with everything else I know about you from your writings, and see if there is much to be learned from you. To see, in fact, if I should toss out some preconception I had and replace it with your keener insight and understanding on that subject.

If you’re not being honest, it’s going to be difficult to get to know the real you, and learn from your point of view.

I may not be Shakespeare, but I too can play the part of an overblown windbag giving advice to a short-attention-span youngster out to conquer the world;

It is said that for everyone in the world, there is that special someone waiting to be found. Well, for every blogger personality, there are like minded people reading blogs. Be yourself, whatever that may be, and you will attract readers who are of like mind. Wouldn’t you love to meet people who are of like mind, who appreciate what you say and how you say it? How better to find friends whose company you will enjoy?

Do not try to be what you are not, for the readers you attract won’t be coming to spend time with you, they’ll be coming to spend time with some fictional stranger you are pretending to be.

I’m very serious. Don’t let concerns of politeness or courtesy or skill in writing or any of that bog you down. Be yourself, whatever that may be, and trust in the fact that there ARE people who will be attracted to your writing. It may take exposure to alert them you’re out there… but if WoW Insider links to you, there is a good reason that 1500 people will read your post that day, but only 15 will stay on as regular readers. Those 15 people were the ones that enjoyed the way you think, and decided to stick around. They felt comfortable.

Those are the ONLY folks you want to stick around. And get to know them!

Do you really want all the rest of those people to stay? Is it sheer force of numbers you’re seeking? Or is it a place to have a conversation with friends or like-minded spirits?

I’m truly being serious, this is the most important lesson in my opinion to give anyone writing publicly. Be yourself. Don’t try and get everyone to read you, write for yourself and attract YOUR kind of people to come read you.

Whether you’re goofy and exuberant or quiet and thoughtful, smart and analytical or profane and aggressively asshattish, there are readers for every writer.

Even Gevlon. 🙂

Gevlon’s a great example that you don’t have to be a kissass to be read and enjoyed by people. So don’t try to be one!

You don’t have to be bare assed naked up on stage with your real name and all that hanging out, trying to dig into the deeper meaning of being you, either. If you want to write from an ‘in character’ RP point of view, that’s fine. Or use an alter ego or persona to provide yourself a filter to protect your true identity, you super hero you.

It’s fun to be the Big Bear Butt… but BBB sounds an awful lot like John Patricelli because, oh wow, it’s the same dude. Talk through the persona of Tamarind or whoever you’d like, but let the thoughts and feelings behind the words be your own, and not what you think someone else wants to hear to make you more popular. 

If you say what you think and people don’t like it… as long as it is exactly what you really think, then so what? There will also be people that DO like it.

Don’t worry about the people that hate on you, did you really get along with everyone in High School? Really? I don’t know about you, but I took it as a point of pride that I didn’t get along with some of those idiots… they were freaking morons. I don’t want morons nodding their heads and loving everything I say, I want morons confused, or, in a perfect world, whipped into a white hot incandescant rage, spittle flying from their lips.

There are so many distinctive voices out there, and I would love to see yours out there too. If you start your own blog… please. Be yourself. The friends you make will be drawn to you, and not to some mistaken idea of what they think you are.

You’ll be a LOT happier in the long run.


Healing follow up

A quick post to thank everyone that commented and offered advise and suggestions concerning my failed attempts at healing last night.

Tonight, I was ready to throw in the towel on healing, and focus on 100% Bear tanking. I even went so far as to spend about 10,000 gold on Bear upgrades before assaulting the randoms.

Your comments and guidance led me to take a step back, respec, really rearrange things on my VuhDo and think about what you said, and I went into Blackrock again with a pug.

It went as smooth as Paula Dean’s favorite snack food.

My mana damn near stayed at 100% during the entire run, Lifebloom stayed on the tank in 3 stacks, I watched for and used Regrowth when the Omen of Clarity procced and almost no other time except when a Warrior looked like they could use some topping up.

I sparingly used Rejuvenation, prioritized Healing Touch more, and even halfway through started using Swiftmend for no other reason than to incorporate that plus Efflorescense into my arsenal.

It was a much easier pace, it basically felt like healing a half speed run, because of the lessened stress of the damage. It gave me time to experiment with what you’d told me in practise, without actually endangering the group.

The only time I felt the need to hurry out of a measured rhythm was when the tank pulled several mobs at once in the Quicksilver flame room, and I think he stood in the fire a little. No harm done, it was good to have to respond quick and see where my instincts took me, a good way to see what habits I really need to break.

To cut this short, I had an extremely pleasant healing run, I received two upgrades, the Intellect/Haste trinket dropped off the last boss for me and I won it, and my confidence in being able to learn as long as I do so at my own pace has been restored.

Thank you all very, very much.

Oh, and an special thank you to Nodenugget for recommending the addon GTFO!, which provides audible warnings when you’re standing in bad stuff, and visual warnings if you use Power Auras. It’s a lot of fun, and could be highly useful to pass the word around to all your friends.

Brown Bears Can’t Heal

When Patch 4.0 was originally released, I’d heard that Healing had changed drastically in the game.

I have read Blue posts, both before and after the Patch release, that talked about the state of Mana regeneration, and how Wrath of the Lich King had shown that healers had it far too easy. In Wrath, Healers did not have to watch their Mana apparently, and thus could cast any spell they liked irrespective of what Blizzards’ designers intended.

I’d read that healing was now much more difficult, and also that it was now just right; that a challenge that had been lacking was returned to the healing game.

From the majority of comments and thoughts I read, I gathered that healing was much harder than it used to be, but that it is now exactly where it should be. A challenge, rather than a relaxed route to easy Justice and Valor points.

Of course there were opposing points of view, people who claimed that it was far more difficult now than it really needed to be. But such views have generally been met with disdain and scorn. I’ve seen a rise in claims that such complaints or concerns come from those who didn’t know what real playing was like back in Vanilla WoW or Burning Crusade. I’ve seen the term “Wrath baby” bandied about repeatedly, apparently directed at people who played during the Wrath expansion and committed the unforgiveable sin of liking it.

I haven’t shared any of my thoughts on the subject at all before, because I had not healed any group activity since Patch 4.0, long before Cataclysm itself was released.

I hadn’t healed… that is, until now.

That’s changed. I’ve healed some pugs. I’ve experienced the changes first hand, months after everyone else granted, and unsurprisingly I’ve got an opinion about it.

I have multiple characters that could heal, but the character I have the most experience with is my Druid, so that’s what I went with.

I leveled my Druid to 85 as pure Feral Bear tank spec. No, I didn’t tank my way to 85.

I know it probably sounds silly, but I like playing my Druid with a full Bear tank spec, even when I know I’m going to be solo questing as a Cat through the game. I couldn’t explain why, except to say, you just never know what may pop up. Like a sudden request to tank the CoC ‘Ring of Blood’ style quests in Twilight Highlands. It is, after all, the Feral Druid marching song: Be Pre-Beared!

Sure, I would have done more damage soloing in Kitty if I specced appropriately, but why bother? Fast or slow, they all die regardless.

I had not, not even once while leveling, considered healing something. I was too busy killing stuffs.

Once I reached level 85 it was time to try healing. Well, okay, once I’d leveled all my professions on 8 different characters, and leveled three characters to 85, and did this and that and bunches of other stuff… oh yeah, right, they changed up healing didn’t they. 

I did everything I could in advance to make sure I would NOT hurt other players while I learned how things had changed.

First, I as a level 85 Druid decided to only attempt to heal the first two instances of normals, Blackrock and Throne. No true randoms until I knew what was up. Level 85 does not mean ‘ready to rock’.

Second, I went to Keeva’s brilliant website, and carefully read and worked to understand everything she had to say concerning desired Stats, changes to spells, suggested Resto Druid specs and what situations they were for, everything.

Third, after respeccing and accumulating the best gear I could, I set up my VuhDo to incorporate my understanding of the new importance of Lifebloom, Nourish, Rejuvenation and the rest.

Now, my gear wasn’t the best, obviously. I had chosen leather spellcaster quest rewards as I leveled and kept them, IF there weren’t feral items available. I hadn’t gone out and worked at it. What I had done, though, was keep any spellcaster leather I made while leveling Leatherworking, and there was some good stuff in there. My eventual Resto set ended at an average iLevel of about 315. Not good enough to unlock Heroics, but that wasn’t what I wanted, anyway. I optimistically hoped that an 85 Resto Druid with iLevel 315 gear should be able to successfully heal a regular level 82 instance or two while I tried things out.

Right? I mean, that’s not out of line, is it? I know I’m rusty, but I was healing at level 80 quite a bit for fun, and yes, I know things have changed a LOT, but I have the instant responsiveness and visual awareness VuhDo provides, which is more than the default UI would provide for a healer.

Blizzard has to balance content with the understanding that people without VuhDo can successfully heal, right? That there could be as much as a .5 second delay between selecting a party member and casting the appropriate heal?

Yeah, that’s what I tell myself. Right now, I’m not really believing it.

My first healing instance was Blackrock Caverns. About as easy as you can get, and probably the single instance I know best other than Stonecore. I know exactly where to be, how things hit, what to expect, no problem.

Beyond that, I expect that if the instance is designed that an 82 could heal through it, it should be possible that I can do it at 85 with better gear.

I said possible, not likely.

The very first trash pull, and indeed the entire instance, I forgot that according to, I should be prioritizing Lifebloom on the tank, along with Nourish. Instead I fell back on old habits and used Rejuvenation 100% uptime, Wild Growth for party heals at an almost 100% uptime, and Regrowth for my “fast top up” spell. Nourish occasionally showed up, but Lifebloom was nowhere, NOWHERE to be found as part of my toolset. Terrible, terrible bear.

By definition, the healing went fine, because I kept everyone alive. I did burn through nearly my entire 67000 Mana pool on the very first trash fight.

There is something obscene about bring given stupid high numbers for health and mana after all these years, only to have the costs of things increased to make those high numbers feel puny and insignificant. It doesn’t feel right at all. The numbers now feel meaningless to me in and of themselves.

“Oh, 1500 more health? Oh well, that’s nothing. Nothing at all. It’s not even worth eating the food, the mob will hit for 8,000 a pop. What, Runic Healing Pots? They don’t even heal 5000, might as well toss ‘em.”

That’s pretty sad. When advancement within the game is based strongly on improvements to stats, the value of those stats need to have meaning. I feel when  you’re reduced to looking at an iLevel, ignoring the number on a stat in favor of just checking which categories of stats are present, “I want crit more than haste, so I’ll pass on this iLevel 300 in favor of this other iLevel 300”, things have gone just that bit too far. Reforging just exacerbates the problem, by making it feel that how much of the stat is moved ain’t important, just move as much as is available over to a more useful category.

Just my opinion as a former theorycrafter for the past whatever years; the numbers aren’t impressive at all, because they do NOT correspond to an equivalent feeling of  capability.

Why not? 5000 strength has to be more impressive than 500, right? It would seem so, but the higher your characters level, the more of a stat you need to gain the same effect. Sure, you ARE more powerful with that 5000 strength… but at 85 with 5000 strength you aren’t as comparatively powerful as a level 60 character with 5000 strength. That’s always felt like a deceptive design practice to me; to visibly give you more of a stat on items as you level, but behind the scenes reduce the effectiveness of those same stats so they do less.

You feel like you’re leaping forward, but mostly you’re just treading water. In Cata, the stat imbalance almost feels like you’re drowning.

It gets too noticeable when the bad guys leap ahead in power faster than you do, even when your stats are getting all bloated and ridonkulous.

Enough about my little soapbox on the stat changes. It’s old news anyway, but it is how I feel, and it certainly applies to my shock at watching 67000 Mana evaporate by casting Rejuvenation and Regrowth during a single trash fight.

I felt, overall, as I adjusted to the changes the run went well. I used the wrong spells from the point of view of mana conservation, I spent a lot of time drinking espresso, but everyone was alive and nobody was ever even close to being in danger of dying. Wow, I could heal a level 82 instance. Cool!

What I took away from the experience was an awareness that the game had really changed from a healing point of view, if the fight takes just a little teeny bit too long and you don’t use the ‘right’ spells, you’re sucking vapor in your mana pool fast.

Even more urgent to consider, this was an 85 healing a level 82 instance. If I’m struggling on that, clearly I need to really get my head wrapped around the importance of Lifebloom and Nourish for tank healing.

It was a bit of a shock, but I wasn’t disheartened. I could make it work. I just needed to improve my gear and practice, practice, practice.

Last night, I accidentally queued up for a true random, and got Grim Batol. Not just GB, but a group that had apparently wiped already, because we formed up in the starting chamber with the three quests, but we ran straight to the drakes and rode quite a good ways into the instance before being offloaded.

I was not pleased. I don’t want to mess up other players while I’m trying to relearn the ropes.

But, the mistake was made, I was there, and I had improved my gear a little more. What’s more, I felt confident I was ready to use the proper healing spells in their place as directed by Keeva.

Our very first pull was complete and utter fail.

Everybody was below half health the entire fight, I abandoned half the party to fend for themselves as I tried to keep the tank at least above 25% health, by the time the fight was over, a Warlock in the group had died, and for most of the fight I was frantically trying to use anything in the toolbox just to get people up to half health.

I still don’t know what happened, but I do know that I put my Lifeblooms on the tank, and used Nourish, and it didn’t seem to do anything much to increase his health at all. If I didn’t spam Rejuve or Regrowth along with Wild Growth, my bad old habits returning halfway through, everyone would have died.

I didn’t stay past that pull. I apologized for being a completely worthless healer, rezzed the Warlock and left them to find someone that knew what they were doing.

I was shocked. And this was on normal!

I would like to keep trying, but after the complete and utter fail of healing a single trash pull at 85, do I have what it takes in this new WoW order?

Maybe I am a Wrath baby. I like tanking, maybe I should stick to that.

I walked away feeling pretty discouraged and demoralized. I knew I didn’t feel ready for the 85 normals, but I didn’t expect to be dropped in one and feel completely useless.

I dunno… am I the only one that feels like, in order to be halfway competent requires a really steep learning curve? Or, and this is totally possible, do I really just suck that bad?

Terin: Section 7 Chapter 5

Terin continued to smile as he leaned in closer to the young captain.

With a voice pitched to carry no further than the small room around them, Terin said, “Stop wasting my time and do something, Morgen.”

Something in Terin’s eyes shocked the captain, and he backed away quickly, stopped only when the back of his shoulders hit the wall. He looked more frightened than surprised. Clearly, this wasn’t going according to plan.

Terin gave him a few moments to take some kind of action, but it was clear the young man didn’t have a backup plan if his first one fell through, and was frozen in indecision.

“Morgen, I can’t help it if you’re stupid enough to act on what your friends tell you without checking the facts first, or foolish enough to follow the example of the hot heads out in the eastern kingdoms when it comes to your sense of honor.”

“You’re not capable of angering me enough to challenge you to an official duel, and I don’t have the time to waste killing you in a properly sanctioned fight anyway.  I have a journey I have to begin first thing in the morning.”

“So this is how it’s going to be.”

“You either prove you’re not all talk by taking a swing at me or pulling steel, or you get your sorry ass out of my way. Make a decision, right now. You are capable of making a decision, aren’t you, captain?”

A sudden rush of anger brought a crimson flush to the captains’ fair features, the red climbing high enough to show through the thin blond hair of his scalp.

With a scowl of rage transforming his face into an ugly mask, Morgen fumbled for the dagger at his belt.

Terin watched calmly as Morgens’ shaking fingers finally wrenched the blade from its tight leather sheath, a slight smile playing at the edges of his mouth.

Morgen shifted into what he must have thought was a knife fighter’s stance, then he launched himself at Terin, pushing himself off the back wall to get extra force for the lunge.

Without changing his stance, Terin reached out with his left hand, firmly grabbed Morgen’s outstretched knife hand just as it came within reach, twisted his upper body slightly to the left to twist Morgen off balance, and then used his shoulders to pull hard, keeping his left arm out to push the knife hand out of line and away.

Morgen, already moving forward as fast as he thought he could, found his wrist snatched out of the air with a movement too fast for his eyes to follow, and felt himself yanked forward, his body all twisted up, back arching painfully, flailing out of control, his knife hand pinned in a grip like steel.

As he tried to understand what was happening, flailing away at the air with his left arm, trying to regain his balance, he felt fingers grab a handful of his hair at the back of his head, and the last thought he had was a sudden awareness that what was about to happen was going to really hurt a whole hell of a lot.

There was a sullen wet sound followed by a crunch as Morgen’s face was driven hard into the rough wooden planking of the wall beside Terin.

Terin released his grip of Morgen’s head and hand, and watched with concern as the young man dropped bonelessly to the floor. Using his foot, he nudged the captain’s body around so he sat mostly upright, his unconcious body propped back up against the wall.

Terin leaned down and checked the mans face carefully, and listened for the wet blubbering of his breathing.

“Good, he won’t choke on his own blood. A few teeth lost, a crushed nose, mashed lips. Nothing too serious.”

Terin stepped out of the room, closing the door behind him. He glanced up and down the hall, but of course nobody happened to be there at the moment, as Terin knew from listening for the sounds the boards made when walked upon.

Terin strode briskly down the hall to the doorway leading to the main mission room, still bustling with activity. Corporal Garthan, the same energetic young man that had led him to the briefing room, was back at the desk along with his two comrades, busily working through the returned scouts.

Terin took a moment to watch the activity in the mission room.

From what Terin could see of the situation, someone here in a position of authority was either a graduate of Terin’s training, or had taken the advice of someone who was.

Captain Morgen was unfamiliar to Terin, so he hadn’t been directly trained in Terin’s methods. It was normal for each base or station to have people on duty at all hours to assign or receive missions, but they would all be of enlisted rank except for the one officer placed in overall command.

Any changes as drastic as what Terin had set in place would never have taken root this deep here without the willing and eager encouragement of the man in charge. Even if the Duke himself had lain down the order to adopt Terin’s policies, there were half a hundred ways a man set on blocking them could delay things if he really felt stubborn about it.  

So, what we had here was a man poisoned by ideas of honor from the coastal kingdoms, a man who believed he should hate me for what he’d been told by his peers concerning my personal actions during the withdrawal from Madrigal, but also someone who’s smart enough and open-minded enough to listen to new ideas and training, and use those ideas even if they come from someone he hates as long as the reason for them was something he believed in.

Regardless of what other problems the young fool had, that speaks of someone whose priorities were in line with Terin’s: to accomplish the scout mission of gathering information from remote and dangerous locations, and see those scouts return from their missions alive.

Terin thought over his own actions of a moment before, and nodded in satisfaction.

“A man who puts the welfare of his scouts over his own prejudice is too good to waste by killing out of hand. Much better to give him a lesson and let him decide what he’ll take from it. Next time, maybe he’ll think before he acts.”

“Then again, maybe next time he’ll leave off wasting time on words, and try me with a dagger in the back. Whatever he does, I administered the lesson, what he learns from it is on his head now.”

“And damn it all anyway, I don’t have time for this kind of foolishness right now.”

Terin moved smoothly forward and leaned down to speak closer to Corporal Garthan’s ear.

“Corporal, I’m done with the journals.”

Corporal Garthan jumped a bit as if startled, and whipped his head around to see who was speaking. “Oh! Sorry, your lordship, I’d forgotten that you were still at it. It’s gotten quite late getting this mob sorted out. If you’re all finished, I’ll get things straightened up then?”

The corporal’s voice ended in a question, and Terin nodded affirmative. “Oh yes, I’m quite finished. I think I’ve learned all I could hope to about the area I’m headed for. While you’re clearing the room, I’d also appreciate it if you’d look in on your captain for me. I left him with some serious issues to consider, and I warrant he’ll need some help working them out.”

Terin straightened up, and gave the young man a tired smile. “Please be sure and tell him that if he ever wants to discuss any issues with me again, I’d be more than happy to make time for him just as soon as I’ve returned from my current task. You’ll do that for me, won’t you?”

Corporal Garthan snapped off a sharp salute, and said, “Of course, sir, you can count on me!”

Terin smiled again, and headed for the door.

“I’m sure I can, son. I’m sure I can. Carry on.”

PBeM Converging Forces story post

This weekend, I intend to set aside some time to write a story from the Converging Forces world.

I’m still waiting for James to give me some instructions before I can continue with his storyline, and Manny is still on hold because his next post is a massively significant one with a huge chunk of “oh shit” direction that I really wanted to hold off on until James was either close to the right spot, or dead, or some other wild tangent where I knew it was safe to continue.

BUT… I really want to do some Converging Forces writing.

So here’s the situation.

One thing I haven’t done as of yet, due to this being a PBeM game/story, is tell any stories from the point of view of nemesis or antagonists or other places in the world, or anything that the players themselves would not have access to.

What I’m thinking is of changing that a little. To take a peek on events happening somewhere else pertinent to the story… or someWHEN else.

I’m open to your suggestions on what you’re interested in knowing more of.

Right now, there are a couple things I’m leaning towards, one scene from a LONG damn time in the past, and another of somewhere happening right now.

But if anyone has developed any questions so far that really bug you, or something you’d like a LOT more detail on, tell me and I might write the story on that aspect instead.

Manny, yes this is open for you to suggest as well.

James, you’re banned from participating, you should be telling me what you’re doing darn it!

Who knows, I’ve never tried this kind of thing before, writing short fiction by request. It sounds like a lot of fun… I trust in myself to NOT screw the story up or hose revelations but still write something worth reading.

I may be deluding myself, but I guess we’ll find out together.

I do love you all

I do, I do love you all.

I’m not going anywhere, the lack of postage lately is NOT a sign I’m fading away.

Blame it on Twitter.

See, normally while I’m working my butt off during the day, my mind is turning around different fun things, and from such mental meanderings comes blog posts. At the end of the day, look: writings!

But now I have a phone that gets internet reception. The keypad is still quite small for my big Desert eagle sized paws, so typing is a laborious process; but I can read.

Now during the day, instead of my poor little brain cruising along with a sub channel devoted to bloggy thoughts, I’m getting derailed with Twitter shinies from the prolific tweets of Restokin, and Matticus, and GamerGaz, and SuicidalZebra and Jaedia and _Angelya, and DiscoPriest and Velidra and Restokin and so. many. more.

Yes, I mentioned Restokin twice. Have you seen the numbers of tweets?

Seriously, I get my ‘talking about Wow and games and geekdom’ fix simply by following along the thousands of tweets that scroll across each day.

I know I’m not ‘with it’, but I didn’t realise Twitter was a combination of IM and an open party line. I guess I didn’t know what it was, but now that I do, it’s ability to suck all imaginative, creative writing impulse in favor of passive chatting is terrifying.

I’m at the point where I can either think, or follow Twitter. That says more about my lack of processing power in my frontal lobes than anything else, but there you have it.

Crazy, man. Crazy.

In other news, a massive congratulations to Fannon at Dwarven Battle Medic on the birth of your adorable Dwarfling. She is just the cutest little girl ever. Congratulations, to your wonderful family.

Valentines’ Day in WoW, tinfoil hat edition

Welcome to another amazing installment of “What is that Bear smoking, anyway?”

Yesterday, I started a new Tauren character.

I hadn’t played through the Tauren starting zone since the Cataclysm changes, so I was having a lot of fun. I went from 1st to 13th levels all in an amazingly short amount of time.

The last quest in Mulgore has Baine sending you up to take care of some Grimtotem business, halfway up in Stonetalon Pass in the very Northwest corner of the zone.

The quest objective is to fight the last remnant of Grimtotem about halfway up the pass, led by Orno Grimtotem, a truly badass looking Tauren.

As I faced the foe, Baine came to fight by my side. Together, we would end the Grimtotem’s threat in Mulgore forever!

Orno taunted Baine; “You will die in shame like your pathetic father.”

Enraged, we both launched ourselves at Orno, and with a whirlwind of blows, brought him to his knees before us.

As he kneeled in defeat, he looked up and said, “This isn’t over, Baine…”

Whatever he may have intended to do next counted for nothing, for with a single swift blow, Baine ended his threat, and crushed the last of the Grimtotem power within the valley of Mulgore. 

Baine himself returned to Thunder Bluff, but before he left he told me to seek him out, that he wanted to show his appreciation for my strong support.

After Baine had gone and the pass was calm, I surveyed the crushed Grimtotem camp, lost in thought.

Orno was just another fool. His dreams of power led him to reach further than his meager skills warranted, and he paid the final price for his failure.

Or did he? Why did he think we would die in shame? What could have caused him to act so confident and arrogant, even as he kneeled before us in defeat? 

And why would he choose for his campsite a position halfway up a pass, rather than on the high ground up above? Stupid, amateur move, to leave yourself caught between two forces.

Unless the top of the pass was held and protected.

Could there be something at the top of the pass, something that he wanted to keep us from finding? Was there more than idle bluff behind his dying words?

Did he expect reinforcements that never came?

I had to know. If there was still a threat to the peace and safety of Thunder Bluff, I had to seek it out and eliminate it. Baine was an honorable Tauren. I knew it had cost him dearly to kill a defeated enemy. I would spare him the decision of executing more prisoners. I would see to this threat myself. Permanently.

I ventured further up the pass, climbing swiftly but silently, my hooves muffled with leather wraps against the noises they make when striking the loose stones.

When I reached the top of Stonetalon Pass, what I found eased my mind and relaxed my worries of a new Grimtotem invasion.

The top of the ridgeline was not entrenched or defended, there were no emplacements or fortifications of any kind. No Grimtotem lay in wait, armed and biding their time.

As far as the eye could see, the ridgeline was a scene of peace and beauty, covered in rolling fields of lush green grass, trees growing straight and true, their branches twisting gently in the wind.

And the hills were alive with active, frolicking bunnies. Bunny rabbits everywhere, hopping around to and fro.

Truly, a peaceful scene, serene and perhaps even placid, if placid were a term ever used to describe anything except crocodile-infested lakes.

Just grass and trees and cute litte… hold on, wait a moment.

Is that right? Those look like some big fucking rabbits over there.

Okay, those rabbits are huge. Those are some whopping big ass bunnies. What the hell?

Wait, what the heck is that? Is there something in their mouths? It looks like they’re all carrying something around in their teeth…

Hold still, ya idjit rabbit, I wanna see what that is…

What the…

That’s not possible. I… I didn’t see it clearly, that’s all. My mind is playing tricks on me. I came seeking a plot, a strategem, a threat to our proud civilization. I’ve just got treachery on my mind. No, really, what ARE those?


How did he? How COULD he?

Orno armed the rabbits!

Thunder Bluff MUST be warned!

The horror…. the horror….

But wait! How could I go to Baine and convince him of this?

What would I say? “Orno Grimtotem grew giant bunnies, armed them with axes and planned to invade Thunder Bluff in an attack that would have brought everlasting shame to the Tauren. We must be prepared! We must strike first!”

He’d laugh me out of the city. What would he say?

He would ask me to show him the bunny.

I can see Baine now, standing proud and fierce.

“Show me the bunny!”, he would cry.

And I would have no bunny to show.

I must bring proof!

I must bring Baine a bunny!

So I snuck up reaaaaaaal close, seeking to grab a bunny to bring back to Baine as proof that Orno Grimtotem planned an armed bunny invasion of Mulgore, and that we must all be prepared.

It took hours, but I was patient. This was the most important mission of my life. All the lives of Thunder Bluff, my kin in Bloodhoof Village, all were at risk.

As I finally approached JUST to within touching distance…. keeping a close eye on that axe, mind you… look! LOOK!

He cast an illusion to look like a normal, SMALL safe cute little bunny! And the axe vanished!

Well played, bunny. Well played.

*Okay, out of character, my Hunter wants one as a combat pet, and I mean RIGHT FREAKING NOW.

I can haz Kindle?

Okay, so I’ve installed all the beginner-appropriate apps on my new Android 2.2.

I’ve got my gmail and yahoo mail apps set up, got Google Reader, Goggles, even Twitter, god help me. My contacts are integrated with Google. I can communicate with the outside world through more options than I know what to do with.

Now, I’d like to ask you awesome folks for some suggestions as I enter the world of content.

I installed the Kindle for Android app, and dabbled my toes in enough to find that I can get most of the works of Alexander Dumas for free.

This is an amazing thing.

If you add up all that Amazon has in their Kindle store, and include the Internet Archive and Open Library, there are literally millions of free choices available.

I ask you now for your suggestions on your favorite free ebooks for me to grab to read on my phone. I promise you, I will be delighted to have your thoughts and suggestions.

I coulda sworn I was a badass a few months ago

Last night, my Paladin was tromping through the vast, treacherous desert, seeking to aid Harrison Jones in his archeaological excursions.

I like the Harrison Jones quest chains. They’re fun, and for some reason the many cut scenes don’t annoy me, instead they feel neat. Probably because they are used quite sparingly in the overall game, so they’re more of a treat than a snore.

My Paladin was shocked, shocked I say, to discover that there are sand pygmies running amock in Uldum. Little mumbling idjits.

No worries, they’re scruff. Dandruff on the shoulders of life to one who has wielded the power of Quel’Delar.

Harrison, knowing who to go to to get the job done, wanted me to blow an opening in a really big door, and when it comes to blowing stuff up, I’m a  firm believer that there are few problems so large that they can’t be solved with the judicious use of high explosive. So let’s pack them crates all around the door.

Now, I know what I’m doing, and setting up the crates around that door is only the first step. The next is to set up a barrier to shape and direct the force of the blast directly at the door where it can have the most effect, instead of having most of it radiate harmlessly into the area around us.

Sigh. Few things are sadder than to place the words “radiate harmlessly” and “high explosive” together in the same sentence.

We ain’t kidding around here. We’re in the market for an earth shattering kaboom, and the selection on hand is quite good.

Before I could take even one step towards building the barrier, though, a sand pygmy shot me in the butt from behind, and wouldn’t you know it, but a carelessly arranged brazier fell over and touched everything off!

Now, I’m a Paladin. Of COURSE I was going to bubble. That’s what I do. It’s writ in words of fire a mile high in the Paladin handbook; “When thy ass be burning hot, just freakin’ bubble and worry not.”

Sadly, blizzard ex machinama decided that I don’t know how to bubble. They created a cutscene, one character fits all, and since all those other characters (except Bears)are pansies and would run and hide, they made my Paladin go leap into a box. A box that got blown up and flew through the air, to almost land on a sand pygmy. I noticed that I didn’t even get to kill the sand pygmy. Harrison’s box did that. Blech.

Oh, and of course, my Bear wouldn’t have jumped and hid in a box. Thick Hide, baby, high armor value and Damage Mitigation. Bears just tank it with their face, knowutimean?

Sorry, this is a Paladin’s tail. Er, tale.

What, did I forget how to bubble? Screw the box, I’m a damn Paladin. I don’t run and hide in a freaking box, I bubble and wade through the fiery aftermath unscathed… that’s what Paladins do.

Ah well. In my mind, I didn’t hide in a box. All I’m sayin’.

But the next bit, this is the bit that just makes me go “wtf”.

I’m looking for some old bits of stone, old relics and talismans and such. I’m finding some in the desert sands, but I’m also running into a lot of these damn sand pygmies doing it. Not sure what they’re looking for, what, do they eat sand? One things for sure, they can all go pound sand, so I guess it’s possible.

So, I want tob e in the same area as the sand pygmies. This results in me killing quite a lot of sand pygmies, the state of Paladin/Sand Pygmy relations being what it is in Uldum these days.

I’m killing their stupid little Hyenas, too.

I’m fighting the Pygmies, and if I get triple-teamed with two Pygmies and a Hyena, my ass is going down fast. How the heck does that work?

I actually get jumped while slightly distracted, don’t use my self-heals fast enough, and in total shock my heavily armed and armored ICC raiding butt dies. Dies!

Dead? DEAD!?! How the hell did I just die? I am a Paladin! I am a flaming sword and bubble hearthing machine of blood and steel, how the heck did I just die?

And not just die, I’ve died before, there was this one time a massive undead abomination with multiple arms, a huge scythe and a bone chilling aura killed my ass dead, sure. You can kinda respect dying to something that was created by the Lich King to do nothing but look badass and kill stuff, right? No shame in that.

No, I just died to a naked Sand Pygmie and a scrawny half-starved dog that not only sounds like but LOOKS like Whoopi Goldberg!

*That’s just out of order. If I were the Paladin I was one expansion ago, I’d take a FLAMETHROWER to this place! Killed by a sand pygmy? Really? Who the hell do you think you’re mumbling at?

I’ve been around, you know? There was a time I could self-heal from Judgment of Light. And I have self-healed. Through fights like this, more mobs than this, the flames reaching high, the gibs blotting out the sky. 

But this is nothing like the glory days of Paladin power. There is no bringing back the feeling of… competence. 

You think your new expansion is sending us out to explore new zones and gear for instances, but I say you are gutting our former feelings of strength and glory! And for why? Because there is a new level cap. 

Level caps. 

You reset our level caps, and you make us feel like taking Arthas down all happened in some half forgotten dream of yesterday, some other heroes that, like, could probably be expected to actually kill a sand pygmy and a flea bitten mutt.

And to all you Sand Pygmies, Hyenas, Elementals and gormless underwater fish that kill us as though we hadn’t just pacified an entire continent and placed the heel of the conqueror on the neck of Northrend…




* For those of you that wonder why this post took one hell of a wierd turn, or worse, who wonder if I was actually seriously upset when I wrote it… all I can do is recommend you watch Scent of a Woman starring Al Pacino and Chris O’Donnell, and then get back to me. One of the greatest films of all time.