Motivation

I was doing an LFR Dragon Soul with Redfyre last night, and we were talking a bit about our DPS, what we hoped to get from the LFR, why we were doing it, and what kept us trying to perform on things like the trash.

Thinking about it, it all comes down to motivation.

Why are we there? Once we are there, what spurs us on to perform at our best? If we do try to do our best, are we always going full bore, or do we slack on the trash?

This isn’t a theater class, but still, what is our motivation?

We’ve all seen people in incredible, god-like gear who nevertheless do barely auto-attack levels of DPS on the trash, and if we’re lucky wake up long enough to use a rotation and pop out 33k DPS on the boss before going back to sleep… or trying to get the raid to boot anyone under 20k DPS.

Motivation.

What is there to spur us on to join, and then to do our best.

There can be positive motivation.

For joining at all, and contributing once you are there, if you complete the run you get 250 valor points. If a boss dies, there is a possibility of loot.

For negative motivation, if the group fails, then you wipe and pay some gold out of your pocket for repairs. You have to spend more of your time in the group to get to the positive motivators.

What keeps you from simply coasting, and if the rest of the group doesn’t make it while carrying you, leaving for another group?

Long queue times, and a deserter timer, basically.

Plus, if you coast, you run the risk of being booted, but that is mostly reserved for the blatantly afk… until the boss fight starts, and it is too late to remove you for stopping what you are doing and getting carried.

Motivation.

For many of us, especially for those people I consider my friends, the lure of shinies and valor and participating in grand battles may be enough to get us in there, but self-respect keeps us trying our hardest, even on the trash.

Self-respect. Not epeen, showing off to others, but to earn the satisfaction of trying your best and knowing you did everything you reasonably could to contribute to the win.

Motivation.

There is something else that is also a fun motivator. Pride, pride and peer pressure.

Who wants to be the one that does something stupid, and not only do YOU know you did something stupid, but now everyone else is looking at you and pointing and laughing?

Fear of ridicule can be a powerful motivator, and I think most of us recognize that, which is why when asshats ridicule people unjustly, we want to punch them in the snout or defend the one being persecuted.

Motivation.

I was thinking about motivation, and game mechanics, and how I see people talk about how Blizzard failed with boring iterations of boss fights that have all been done before, nothing new, nothing challenging.

And I was also thinking, “Boy, I’d love to see people auto-attacking or AFKing their way to boss kills have some motivation to step up their game, since they clearly don’t have any self-respect.”

Redfyre and I were on Hagara when this train of thought was going through my head, and as we fought the powerful Shaman boss, it occured to me, I knew of one way we could see some motivation in a fun fashion.

Now, Hagara is a Shaman, and clearly has a mix of enhancement and elemental abilities. Most of her abilities could be placed solidly in the elemental theme, but she still dual wields her axes, which gives her an enhancement-specific touch.

In LFR mode, she does not Ice Tomb a player, but I think something else… unique… could be added in it’s place.

Instead of casting Ice Tomb, why not have her summon a pair of Spirit Wolves, which she then sics on whichever player queued as DPS actually has the lowest DPS?

I’m talking the same kind of mechanic as we see in Firelands on the Shannox fight, when Rageface picks out a target and then starts chewing on them until someone else lands a big honkin’ crit.

Just, you know… in this case, instead of being a random target, it’s more refined.

Suddenly, there is a motivator to getting you off your ass and doing some DPS, isn’t there?

All you have to do is follow the strategy employed when chased by a bear. You don’t have to outrun the bear… you just have to outrun anyone else with you who is ALSO being chased by the bear.

And if you’re afk and doing no DPS?

Wolf lunch. Doggie snack. Pup kibble. Wear your bacon suit and have a nice day.

Would it make any difference? No, no it absolutely would not.

But, come on, I would SO look forward to the Hagara fight JUST to see who is going to get nibbled on, and if anyone is going to step up and crit the wolves, or if they’d be left to get chomped on.

We know the answer to that. The only person stepping up to save them is anyone they queued with. And, really, aren’t they the MOST likely to laugh when seeing a friend munched on?

I won’t even talk about the possibility of changing it from a flat DPS ranking to something more organic like checking for effort/rotations/active use of multiple abilities so that an AFKer doing more damage than someone in entry level gear trying all out gets preferential eating privileges.

More complex, probably infinitely more complex, but also more satisfying.

Come on, can’t you see it with me?

You know you would see people actually put our more DPS if they knew they would be eaten if they were at the bottom, and if the criteria on how hard each person was trying to do their best was judged by an impartial Blizzard software algorithm that was not fully understood…

Let’s be honest. If Blizzard tried it once, we’d want to see some similar mechanic on every damn LFR fight, including trash. Try your best or get eaten.

I’m not a cruel bear, though. If everyone was trying, at a certain minimum rate, then I could see defusing the mechanic for that fight.

I’m not cruel. No, really.

Harsh enough to make slackers actually TRY once they step up and volunteer to be in a group raid or get eaten? That I am, my friends, that I am.

Motivation. If you don’t bring your own with you, I WILL dream of ways of imposing some on you, or making it not worth your while to join.

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The Fine Art of Boss Kill Videos

I’ve mentioned before that, while I myself am NOT (oh dear lord not) a progression raider, I find myself somehow IN a progression raiding guild, the Band of Misfits on Azuremyst.

It’s strange as hell because you know all those stereotypes of hardcore progression raiders? Yeah, I don’t see any of that around here. Just nice folks. Friendly. Personable. Mature (well, mostly).

Certainly don’t see any asshats, and I mean ANY. Freaking weird, now that I consider it. I wonder if they’re actually pod people?

I wonder how many of you are old enough to get that reference? Soylent Green is people, damnit! /backoffthelawn, bear.

Truth is, most of the time I forget that I’m in a guild with three raid teams. People are too busy talking excitedly about achievement hunting. 

In fact, two guildies, Random and Red, spent over an hour talking about food additives, allergies and healthy eating, and I swear it almost put me off my McNuggets.

There is one thing that does serve to remind me that I am in a guild that has some serious progression raiders.

Kill videos.

Band of Misfits may quietly go about their pursuit of excellence, but internal to the guild they are very proud of their successes, and they capture that success in the creation of kill videos.

I had previously thought that boss kill videos were mostly the province of bleeding edge raiding guilds sponsored by companies with too damn much money and pretensions of formula one or Nascar racing equivalence. Something you see on MMO Champion when a world first kill happens, and other than that, not so much.

Not so!

Team Wanda has as their videographer the esteemed Lierthes, who spends hour upon hour hand-crafting each video, and then putting them up on YouTube for the personal enjoyment of the team.

I’ve been thinking a little about this, and to me they represent the new breed of digital hunter, and their boss kill videos are a modern equivalent of the stuffed and mounted heads of their kills, proudly displayed in a virtual den, fueling fond memories over brandy and cigars while chatting in vent.

A stretch? I don’t think so. Can anyone honestly say that a big game hunter spends more time planning the tools and trip for a safari than a progression guild spends working on getting a heroic boss kill down? 

Here is one of the videos Team Wanda and Lierthes has put forward on YouTube, and while it is long, keep in mind this isn’t supposed to be for the public – this is for their own fun and to capture that moment, to have a chance to relive the excitement again.

Watching these videos and admiring their high standards of excellence, one of the things that impresses me the most is the amount of fun spent on introducing the characters. I can watch those character intros and get a definite feel for the personalities involved, and isn’t that one of the hallmarks of fine film making?

This makes me wonder… how many other guilds out there do this sort of thing, and to this degree of quality and care?

It was partially meant in jest before, but there is a lot of truth to the idea that, for our modern gaming society, a finely crafted boss kill video takes the place of a stuffed and mounted head, showcasing the thrill of the hunt, the battle royale and the final victory in a lasting and meaningful way.

Plus, it’s got a beat you can dance to. 

I think it’s a marvelous idea, that we as gamers DO have our own way of taking and displaying our hunting trophies using the high technology that fuels our joy. 

You know me, though.

Taking this to the next logical step… at what point will someone become a virtual taxidermist, taking your raw boss kill footage and vent recordings, and make your finished, polished video for you to claim as your own?

For every demand, there will be a supplier.

I bet you could find someone that already advertises their services in this regard, if you looked hard enough.

My congratulations go to Team Wanda and to Lierthes for having the spirit to take their time in a raid and turn it into something fun to look back on and laugh. 

Blizzard and other gaming companies make a point in their terms of service to tell us that nothing we do or have in an MMO is our property except our memories. How much more, than, should we treasure something meant to make those memories last.

Does your guild also craft boss kill videos, or better yet event videos, just for the enjoyment of you and your guildies? 

If so, and if you’re not embarassed at sharing, why not link to one? I’d love to see it.

I know that I’ll never forget the pure amazement that came from seeing the video Herzrah made of the Raid for the Cure run from years back. Even though I was there, seeing the video brought back the whole event so vividly I couldn’t believe it.

Meme for me? Gnome way!

Gnomeaggedon the chilled-out mage has returned from his blogging hiatus with a bang, recently dropping a devilish duo of posts.

The first of these is about his earning the title Battlemaster, and after seeing what really went into earning that title, all I can say is, “Holy crap, dude. Grats.”

The second of his posts was, of course, to make more work for his friends by expecting us to post too.

Can I just say, “Really? Gnomer, we know you’re a frosty mage, but you take screenshots of huge snowflakes? I think we can all see who the real ‘flake’ is in this picture, right?”

Anyway, he’s revived some meme of six where you’re supposed to, like, go through your screenshots folder, and then go into your sixth sub-folder, and pick your sixth screenshot in that folder and then publish it, and make six other suckers do the same.

He was kind enough to name me as one of the six people he’d most like to make go do some work, so I went into my screenshots folder, and, lo and behold I don’t have sub-folders. I have a million folders with screenshots in them scattered amongst my document areas, but I don’t keep those in the WoW Screenshots directory.

Not that I don’t trust Blizzard to leave my screenshots  folder alone when they patch the game, but… I don’t trust Blizzard to leave my screenshots folder alone.

I subscribe to the dual theory that, first, shit happens, and second, my screenshots are only of value to me, so if Blizzard deletes them in a random drive-by patching accident, well, no skin off their nose, why should THEY care?

Anyway…

To pick a screenshot, I tried to stay in the spirit of the meme, to pick something as randomly as possible. Therefore I opened my screenshots folder, started at the upper left-hand corner, and went diagonally six pictures down-right to grab this gem;

I have to say, I’m mighty pleased that out of all the screenshots I could have grabbed, I got one that I was intentionally trying to frame as an action shot – my Worgen warrior Bigfurrybutt surfing on an alligator while leveling in Sholozar.

Nice looking ‘gator there, too. I think that might make for a pretty sexy mount.

Part of this meme is that I now have to tag six other suckers…

So, that being the case, who do I choose to ask to take part? There are LOTS of people I’d love to see offer up screenshots. Some because they are talented artists with an eye for framing attractive scenes and seeing what is in their folder would be entertaining.

Others because there is a high likelihood they’d have WoW Porn in there.

I’ll let you decide which is which.

The six folks I will ask to take part in carrying on this meme are;

Magritte of Precious and Soft
Mataoka of Sugar and Blood
The Pugnacious Priest 🙂
Rades. I mean, come on. It’s Rades. You know you want to know whats in that folder.
Hello Tauren. This one is kinda a wish, since I can only hope Su-Li will offer up a screenshot. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed!
Nibs. I really, really want more Mystic Chicanery to read. 🙂

How many degrees of seperation are there before every WoW blogger has been asked? Only time will tell. Thank you Gnomer for the opportunity to remember how cool surfing on an alligator is.

Good times, good times.

 

You wanna get in at the ground floor?

Bear with me here, because I have a confession to make.

I don’t really watch much television.

I am what you might call functionally TV illiterate.

I never watched… well, anything that you might consider “must see TV”.

Never saw Battlestar Galactica. Never saw Stargate… well, I saw the movie. It was damn good.

I saw Babylon 5 ONLY because my main man Mannyac had all of them on video. If not for him, I never would have seen such genius.

I still have never watched Firefly… although I have the series on DVD, and saw Serenity. Loved Serenity… haven’t seen the series before it.

Haven’t seen Star Trek: The Next Generation. Haven’t seen any of the Highlander TV series.

I have seen all of Buffy and Angel. THAT I have done. Own the DVDs, some decade I may even see them again.

I don’t watch much TV. Always been too busy working, or traveling, or lately, playing WoW and blogging.

What TV I do watch, I see because someone lets me know it’s out there to find, or because I happen to come across it while flipping blindly through channels sitting bored in a hotel room during a trip.

I only see Top Shot, Top Chef, Top Gear (I’m detecting a theme), Sons of Guns and Chopped because I know to look for them now thanks to you.

You folks have told me, time and again, about great shows that I never would have seen without you.

Hopefully, this one time, I’ll get to return the favor.

There is a new show on the History channel, in the same style as Top Shot and perhaps by the same producers. I don’t know, I don’t get into that behind-the-scenes stuff.

The show is called “Full Metal Jousting“. 

New episodes appear on the History channel Sunday evenings, 10:00 PM Eastern, 9:00 PM Central time.

The very first episode ran last night, and I recorded it to see what it would be like. I only knew it was coming out because of a commercial on, of all places, a Youtube WoW video I was watching.

It is brilliant.

It is real, real armor, real 2000 pound warhorses, real lances, real full contact, real competitors. They are setting it up as the start of a new full contact sport with a $100,000 prize for first, and are doing it as a ladder competition with 16 contestants.

Alex and I were amazed, and can hardly wait until next Sunday.

Are you excited at the idea of seeing real jousting and the training for it, but missed the first episode last Sunday?

Guess what.

The first episode is being replayed TONIGHT, Monday, 11:00 PM Eastern and 10:00 PM Central.

If you’re not in the U.S., or don’t have the History channel, unfortunately it’s not streamed on the internet just yet, although you can see bios and rules and stuff on their website. I wish I could help you.

But if you DO have access to the History channel, THIS is your chance to get in at the beginning.

Seriously… this show KICKS ASS. Give it a shot!

Diminishing Returns of LFR

When I started running LFR, I didn’t realise I was going to end up on Let’s Make a Deal.

I still like running Dragon Soul on the LFR, but then I’m one of those kooks that likes running raid content even when there aren’t any carrots to chase after. I like running content for the sake of the experience, and hey, I know there are quite a few others out there that feel the same. Where my kooks at?

Those of us that like going for the fun of it with no loot drops in mind are definitely in the minority.

Is there any question that a huge part of the draw of running any kind of content is to chase after a ‘drop’?

The drop is the carrot, and hasn’t it been amazing to see how quickly the old content got revived once transmog gave us a purpose to chasing those drops beyond base stats?

I’ve even seen people complain, and isn’t this hilarious, complain that the old raids like Black Temple aren’t available for level 85 cross-realm LFR.

Umm, as long as we’re on that topic… add my name to the list of people that would like to queue for BT at level 85.

Yep, that good ol’ carrot works just fine. Getting more life out of old content to help extend the game… well played, Blizzard.

Let’s move past all that.

Dragon Soul LFR, a place where we can go to get some Valor Points, and some decent gear, and kill us some internet dragons.

Anyone else notice that the new standard of loot behavior is to roll on everything whether you need it or not, and then later on when that ONE thing you wanted drops, start offering the shit you won earlier in trade?

If you ever wanted to see an example of the term ‘short-sighted’, there you go.

“Well gee, it sure is hard to get that one drop, so I know! I’ve got a bright idea. I’ll roll on everything, and then when what I drops I’ll have something to offer as trade!” 

Which would be a fine strategy if you were the only one to start doing that. But when it turns out that wasn’t such an original thought, when everyone else sees what you’re doing and figures that is how they have to play to have a fair shot… then instead of having an advantage, now everyone has the exact same chance of being the random winner, no matter how many times the loot has dropped or been won in the past. 

The competition never gets less.  

It seemed so simple when the LFR was released, didn’t it?

You go into LFR those first few weeks, and everyone rolls on everything because they need everything.

Then, NEXT week the folks who won last time won’t roll on those items again so the folks that are left have a better shot. Right?

Sounds reasonable?

If you assume that would remain constant, then over time, most people would have most drops, would be queueing in the hopes of getting just one or two pieces and passing on the rest, and that would mean a greater chance to win SOMETHING for those who are left.

Assumptions… as Samuel L. Jackson once said, they make an ass out of u and umption.

It made sense, until you factor such real life modifiers as folks that have lots of alts that all have to get cycled through, and folks that started new characters and raced them up to level cap (not that I would know anything about that), and other reasons for a continuous influx of characters needing every drop.

Well, still. As the months roll by, we should certainly expect our favorite character that is steadfastly plugging away, week after week, to see the chances improve for a drop, right? Sooner or later Hagara will drop those shoulders, and this time it’ll be YOUR turn.

Hah!

Instead, as people get almost everything they want out of LFR, they now roll on everything they’ve already got or can’t even use just to have trade goods for barter later in the run.

Or maybe those hunters really can use Expertise on their rings. Who am I to judge?

There is only one way for the community to fix this. People have to start rolling ONLY on the item drops that they can actually use, and stop trying to play Let’s Make a Deal.

So, everybody just start doing that, mmmkay?

…..

Yeah, right.

Well, maybe Blizzard will just fix it!

Lolwut?

The existence of dual-spec and multiple roles for one character with different gearing choices makes this a tough design situation.

The LFR loot system had been setup to allow one lucky bastard to win two of the exact same thing off one boss. Blizzard fixed that, not because Blizzard did not want one person to have two of those items, but because Blizzard did not feel one person should get two all at the same time.

Will there ever be a change so that, if your character has won that item once already, they cannot ever win it again?

I can’t possibly imagine it.

What happens if you were a tank, you started building a tank set, and then decided you were switching to DPS? Are you just screwed then, because you chose the tank versions of two LFR pieces before deciding to switch, so tough luck?

It could go either way, but I find it highly unlikely that Blizzard would ever do that.

Blizzard does expect us to fend for ourselves. They do say, if you don’t like the way loot worked out this time, run it again next week. If you don’t like how your fellow players roll on loot, then don’t play with them.

Your choice.

So where does that leave us as the weeks pass, and there is no new content on the horizon to replace Dragon Soul LFR?

There has to come some point where people finally DO have everything they want from LFR, on every character they have, and will stop rolling need on everything. Right?

Of course, if someone doesn’t want anything from LFR anymore… why would they run it again? 

I still like running Dragon Soul LFR, but I’m now running it more to see how people behave and what they’ll do next than anything else.

The last run I did, I ran on my Rogue. I came into the second half of DS LFR on Spine of Deathwing, fought hard and won the Wrath of Unchaining, a great trinket.

I had no less than three whispers from people in the raid offering to trade me a previous loot drop from the raid for the trinket, apparently not realising that I had been a mid-season switch hitter.

I inspected their equipped gear, and of the three, ALL THREE already had the pieces of Tier armor they were offering me equipped.

I turned them down, and do you know, when Deathwing finally fell, not a one of them spoke up at the end of the run to say they had a piece of Tier they couldn’t use, and to offer it up to a roll.

Maybe they just traded their pieces on their own via whispers, maybe not. I know there are a lot of folks out there that would never dream of shananigans like this, and I know one guy that, just out of the blue a few weeks ago, whispered me to say they had won a piece of gear they hadn’t realized they already had, and since I was the second lowest roll, they gave it to me.

The point remains… I don’t see how Blizzard will find a way to regulate loot drop courtesy for us, and does anyone really expect the ‘community’ to act responsibly as a group?

Maybe it will. Who am I to say? And maybe bears will be able to fly, too!

I know for myself, I’ll be expecting Blizzard to add winged bears before I’ll see people say, “I won’t roll, I already have one.”

The Cub Report – Dashing Towards Death (Knights)

In the time since we last visited Alex’s Adventures in Azeroth, he has rapidly climbed through the levels, until he is now a stones throw from being a level 50 feral worgen druid.

How have we gone so far in so short a time, even with the Recruit-A-Friend XP bonus?

Well, Cassie has begun running Alex and myself through instances, and with that bonus the levels are flying past.

RFD, Scholomance, Stratholme live and Stratholme undead, just that fast we are already up to being able to do the delving deeps of Blackrock Depths. With each instance, even with Cassie’s level 85 presence, we see two or even three level increases when you count in the quests.

As we chased after Cassie in the Scholomance, Alex suddenly announced that “my official nickname is the Cute Kitty of DOOM!”

And he IS a cute kitty of doom. He loves dashing and pouncing. He also really loves having Cassie clear the way of mobs so that Alex can loot them. He’s cool with that.

Nice work if you can get it, but I hated to break it to him that in normal groups, you can’t just run around looking cute and once everyone else kills all the stuff enjoy the loot. 

Then I stopped and thought about my recent Dragon Soul LFR runs. Now that I really think about it…

We completed Stratholme Undead a few nights ago, and I checked to see what the next instance was up on the list. Blackrock Depths? Oh, I love BRD. I have ALWAYS liked BRD, even when it was a mammoth unbroken slog for 5 hours, when you had to go in four damn times to sync everyone up on the escort quest for Onyxia attunement because someone forgot to clicky before we started, etc. I know that place by heart, all of it’s twists and turns and tricks.

I informed Cassie of our destination decision for the next night of playing, and she put her leather-clad foot down.

NO MORE RUNS.

At least, no more runs until we had quested through, in her words, the “must see quests” of Badlands.

Awww 😦

Just kidding.

In the Badlands, there are a few quests that both Cassie and I loved when we did them, quests full of humor and style.

There are a lot of quests throughout the revampled Cataclysm 1 – 60 areas that Cassie lumps together as ‘gimmick’ quests. Gimmick quests can consist of many things, but the core of a gimmick quest is anything that replaces your normal, familiar character mechanics with a new action bar and new abilities only relevant to that one quest.

Cassie doesn’t generally like gimmick quests. She’s playing her character to play her character, not to (as an example) suddenly be the driver in a tank simulator in order to proceed with the story in that area.

All that aside, the quest that Cassie knew Alex HAD to do is an early quest in Fuselight.

Fuselight is a gnome city perched high atop a rocky peak in the Badlands. The ‘must see’ quest is called “It’s Goat Time, Baby“. The quest consists of you taking a blasting stick and walking around the perimeter of Fuselight, blasting goats off the peak.

When you use the blasting stick, the goat is launched away from you as if shot from a cannon, to fall into the canyon beyond.

If you haven’t done the quest yourself, I’ll let you ponder that mental image for a second.

Okay, let’s move on.

I took Alex to Fuselight, went through the prelim quests, got him his blasting stick and the OMG quest, and then got taken violently ill and had to leave him be. I came back to the office a half hour later to find him STILL blasting goats off the peak in delight, or as he put it, ‘goat punching’. He was still going at it enthusiastically and experimenting with arcs of travel, shooting goats at distant peaks, and generally delighting in goat punching mayhem.

I showed him how, by moving around to be on the other side of the goat from Fuselight facing in, he could punch the goats to land INTO the city, and thus could begin shooting goats at buildings, NPCs, and yes, other players. Much more fun was thus had.

If a few friends felt like it, I imagine a little game of Tag could be conducted by shooting goats at each other, but I would never do such a thing myself. It would be unseemly.

What surprised me most about this was the quest item activator button.

On most quests, you are given a task, say “punch 12 goats off the mountain”, and the button appears next to the quest on your screen. You can easily push the button to use the item, activate the goat punching blast stick, whatever it is while you do your quest.

Once the 12 goats or whatever requirement is complete, generally the button vanishes off your screen. You might still be able to use the item, but you’d have to open up your bags and click on it from there, or drag it to your button bar.

For this quest, he must have punched, I’m not kidding, hundreds of goats off that damn mountain, and the button never vanished.

Makes me wonder if Blizzard knew people might like to keep that quest and item active forever, and come back every once in a while for some therapeutic goat punching.

As we ran around punching goats, Alex taught me something I didn’t know about the game.

When we group up in a party, Alex likes to mark himself with a skull and me with a star, so even in the crowded streets of Stormwind City we can find each other. We run around everywhere marked.

As we were running around Fuselight, Alex decided he wanted to involve his non-combat pet in the action, and so went to click on the pet and mark it with a diamond.

I started to tell him you couldn’t mark non-combat pets, and before I could, he did! Put a damn mark right on his pet bunny.

… yes, Alex the Bunnyslayer runs around EVERYWHERE with a pet bunny. What?

I prefer to think of it as Alex being haunted by the ghost of bunnies past.

The other ‘must do’ quests in Badlands in my opinion are the tall tales told by a certain dwarf, gnome and orc over near Dragon’s Mouth.

Alex was enthralled at the idea of the first quest, where I promised him he’d get to punch Deathwing in the mouth. I neglected to tell him that it is Deathwing in his mortal incarnation, and so he was very disappointed when he finally saw him. Note to Blizzard – the child in all of us would like to punch Deathwing the GIANT DRAGON in the mouth, please. Much obliged.

Along the way, something came up that reminded me of just how long the memory of a young child can be.

He was controlling the dwarf Theldurin and punching his way up the Scar of the Worldbreaker, punching through rock walls and Earth Elementals, and he says to me, “I like punching rock guys. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine.”

His saying that instantly threw me back to years ago, when I was leveling a character in Badlands, and he was watching me climb up into those southern areas of the Badlands where Earth Elementals gather. I’d ride up there or run up there, kill the elementals and mine the surrounding ore. Had to have been during Burning Crusade, and he would watch me play, see me kill ‘rock guys’, and then ask me if he could play my character to kill them for a while and I’d let him kill rock guys for a while.

Years ago this was, so it had to be when he was five or six, and here we are now, fulfilling his ‘lifelong dream’ of punching rock guys himself with his own character.

Ah, that all of our life ambitions could be so easily realized.

As of today we’ve completed the ‘must see’ quests of Badlands, and hopefully tonight we’ll be able to go through the joy that is Blackrock Depths.

Our goal is to continue to play until Alex the Druid reaches level 55. At that point, he will achieve a second ‘lifelong dream’.

He will be able to create a Death Knight.

From the moment I upgraded his account, he has spent some time every couple of days on the “New Character” screen, choosing the Death Knight class and trying out the appearance on various races.

I’m frankly curious to see what he finally chooses. I’ve told him you can only ever have one Death Knight on a server, so he has to choose his race and appearance wisely. Whatever he picks is going to be exciting for me, since I deleted my old Death Knight (that I had even bought the DK undead flying mount for!) just so I can pick the exact same thing and level with him.

I told him that you can’t create a Death Knight until you have at least one character to level 55, and so that is a burning goal of his. Will he continue playing his druid past 55 once he has a Death Knight? Only time will tell.

Perhaps having a kickass looking transmog set for his druid will help. Effraeti was kind enough to design one specifically for him, in his favorite color, orange, and he is delighted and excited. Maybe exploring throughout Outlands looking like a pumpkin will do the trick?

His delight in the goat punching quest, his fun at punching his way up the Scar until he punched Deathwing in the nose… those were both memorable moments in the game, epic moments that I know he will remember long after he’s forgotten questing on his druid.

Which brings me to my question for you, dear friends.

What other quests in the game would you consider to be the “must play” quests?

What are the quests that, if your friend were to start playing the game for the very first time, you would say to them, “Oh you’ve GOT to go do this, this is so cool!”

I have a few others in mind, one small chain in particular on Horde side I love, but I’d really like to hear yours!

You Sank My WTF?!?

All right.

Seriously?

Let me make absolutely certain I’ve got this right.

1) Liam Neeson.

2) Berserkers, a la Fred Saberhagen, brought up to modern Tranformer sci-fi special effects.

3) Liam Neeson.

4) U.S. Battleships, which (unless I’ve suddenly gone batshit insane) do not even exist anymore, not since like 1995.

5) Liam Neeson.

6) A deus ex machina plot device to explain why naval air power, and the use of aircraft carriers as a platform to project that air power, cannot in this instance be used.

7) Liam Neeson.

Look.

I don’t ask for much in this life.

(Stop snickering. I’m being melodramatic for effect here.)

I said I don’t ask for much.

But if you’re gonna make this movie… if you’re gonna make Battleship and you’re gonna put Liam Neeson in it…

You gotta make Liam Neeson strap broken bottles to his fists, jump onto the alien ship from the broken hull of his impossible battleship, and punch a robot Berserker Transformer shark to death while saying in his chill voice, “You sunk my battleship.”

Otherwise, wtf is the point of this movie?

Oh, and you know I’m going to see this, right?