The Cub Report – Raiding ALL the Things!

This Cub Report is fairly overdue, but I wanted to accumulate datas.

Yes, I said datas. I’ve noticed recently that adding a plural (s) to words that are plural without one is, apparently, cool. I, therefore, being the antithesis to cool, wanted to use it to kill that stupid fucking trend dead in its tracks.

You’re welcome.

In the last two weeks, Alex has enjoyed all that being level 85 means in the game.

We’ve run a lot of Twilight Heroics, and those are cool. It’s boiled down now, though, to wanting that damn two-handed axe that WILL NOT drop. Time takes time, and luck of the drop.

I’m waiting for the moment it drops, and a Paladin queued as healer wins it over him. That should bring his training in the dark side to it’s conclusion.

Until the day Darth Alex rises, we’ve also been doing many things to get pets.

Every single day, I group up with Cassie and Alex to tank Ahune to try and get them the pet. It’s a frosty Pebble, of course Alex would love it.

I refer you to previously mentioned affinities for ‘rock guys’.

So far, I got one on my Druid (who already has one), and I saved it in the bank.

Can anyone explain why the pets are not BoE? I thought this was already covered and announced to be a BoE future for pets and mounts, did Blizzard just totally phone in this seasonal event or what?

I’m saving my extra Ice Chip in the bank on the off chance that Alex or Cassie won’t win one before the end, and Blizzard decides to someday change the Soulbound to BoE after it’s too late to win it but could be bought on the AH for about 5000 gold..

Not that anything like that would ever happen. Sigh.

On the subject of Ahune… tanks? WTF, over?

I’m running it as a Druid tank, and I’m running it as a healer for a chance at the staff.

I am seeing tanks just acting like freaking beheaded chickens, are you kidding me?

I swear, I ought to Fraps a run just to show that chaos and panic does not have to be the rule of the day. At least I would if I had any idea how to turn Fraps video into a Youtube thing. It’s been years since I did one, I’ve forgotten.

Look, I understand, it’s not what you’re used to. But try to calm down and handle it, all right? It’s embarassing.

When the Ahune encounter starts, there will be one large add that hits harder than the others. Be ready and grab it. Lay down a solid whack to get threat and be prepared to be near the ice slick around the boss, but not in it, to grab the two new adds that will pop up.

Grab them, and huddle them together. They can cast at range but respond to threat as melee, you can gather them in. AoE them two times, then auto-attack to conserve Rage for the 1 second it takes for the next set of 2 adds to emerge.

Stay there at the edge of the ice slick. You can grab all of the adds as they emerge, if you just stay there on that boundary between ice and ground. If there is an ice spike forming beneath you, move further along the edge of the ice. Sometimes, if ranged DPS is really fast on the trigger, they may grab one that heads away from you fast, but that is what a ranged Taunt is for.

You don’t have to grab one like a terrier and ride it down to death. Focus as your prime task on gathering them in to you and hugging them, then looking for the next pair (or three on the second round of adds) to collect on the fly. The DPS are powerful, trust in them to finish the adds off, your job is to grab them and hold them and look for more.

Enough said about that, I hope. I’m starting to call Ahune ‘the chicken run” in my head when I queue to heal it, and that’s not a good sign.

Some of our other pet-related shenanigans have included doing the Troll quests in Stranglethorn Vale enough to get the Panther Cub, and sending hmi on an epic quest to…. get a chicken.

That one was hilarious. I showed him the chicken in my companion panel, and asked him, “You wanna go get some chicken?”

Ah yes, how fun. I just told him to head out to Westfall, and once he got there, i coached him on finding a chicken.

Then I told him he had to learn to talk chicken to get it to give him a quest, so he asked how he learned chicken.

There is only one way to learn to speak chicken. Practise.

I made him type out /chicken to the chicken, and then made a macro for him, and told him to get to it.

He started faltering in his resolve after no more than 15 or 20 /chickens, but I got through to him by explaining to him that the chicken can’t understand his accent. You gotta just keep practising on that chicken, it could take up to 200 times!

Pretty soon, sure enough, he got the chicken to takl to him, got the quest, got some special feed, got the egg, and boom! Fresh chicken.

He did this before I sent him after the Panther Cub, and this caused issues.

He rode his ground mount the whole way to the Stormwind Docks.

Why?

Well, he couldn’t take a flight or get on a flying mount, the chicken might vanish. Yes, he could resummon it, but that would hurt the chickens feelings.

So he rode all the way from Westfall to the Docks just so the chicken would stay at his side.

The whole time, he’s singing a purely improvised ‘chicken song’. Just singing uder his breath the whole way, ‘My chicken is the best, my chicken passed the test, my mount is slow, my chicken is fast, you better step away or he’ll peck at you next”.

So, pets are his big things. He wants all the pets he can get, and I’m trying to make a list of all the ones I can send him after.

the other thing he loves is raiding.

He wanted to do Dragon Soul for as long as he’s seen me do it.

A big part of that is simply wanting to do the same things mommy and daddy are doing, sure. But he’s also doing it because he likes it.

He loved Deathwing. Just flat out loves him. he loves seeing the fight, seeing us kill him, seeing screenshots and having the big image of Deathwing on his computer wallpaper.

He even got me to buy him a Deathwing poster for his wall.

Me, I hate the LFR for the second half. The fights are fun, but more often than not the groups just fall to crap. Sooo frustrating when you wipe from lack of give a shit in the group! The first four bosses, though, they seem to be too streamlined for even LFR groups to completely lose their cool over.

Ah well, it’s not about me. He likes the Deathwing.

Last week, my goal was to begin easing him into running the Twilight Heroics so he could get the gear he doesn’t know he needs to do the raid.

This is a point that others have made very well, but when you’re leveling up and even running instances, there isn’t a lot of emphasis on the need to gear up first. The gear upgrades are there, and they are nice, but for my son what the gear looks like is of more importance than how powerful it is. The numbers are just numbers, but cool looking shoulders, that’s something to cheer about!

Once he hit 85, he thought he could just play, do whatever. He thought the hard part was learning what to do, developing the skill he would need to do the raids. No worries, we got that straightened out, and he likes running the instances.

I’d gotten him all clear on the way that it works. I crafted a bunch of stuff so he could jump right into the Heroic Twilights. Then we’d run with him as DPS and me as tank until he had all the gear upgrades he could possibly get from the Twilights, plus some Valor and Justice upgrades, and then he’d be ready to step into LFR and try a raid for the very first time.

It made so much sense.

So of course, the second day he’s 85 or something like that, a week and a half ago, the alt night raid is forming up on Wednesday, and I’m asked if I’m up for going.

I let them know I’m hanging out with the youngster getting him geared, and they suggest I bring him along.

To normal Dragon Soul 10. The normal, full on raid.

Well, I guess patience hell, he’s gonna get to go in and kill somethin?

This is the point where a responsible adult would say, “Gee, thanks guys, but I think he should learn to do the Twilights and nail down his class a bit first.”

Instead I reminded them that he was brand new to 85 and undergeared, would have crap DPS, and they said, “Meh, bring him, we don’t care.”

Yep, an adult would put their foot down and say no, thanks just the same, right?

Sigh.

So there we were, in normal Dragon Soul 10, and…

…what?

Oh, shut up. I never said I was a responsible adult. Or, if I did, and you believed me? Bwahahahahaaha! Sucka.

So there we were, all plans of careful coaching and preliminary prepwork tossed right out the window. We ran with our computer desks side by side as usual, and blasted through boss after boss. In the few moments killing trash before a boss pull, I gave a briefing on the strategy on the boss, what to expect, and how we’d do it.

What was hilarious to me were some of the things he called our raid out on.

As an example, I’ve trained him to expect a star or icon over the main tank, so the DPS can see at all times where the lead tank is, and know where to shift when he moves instead of waiting to respond to the boss. If the tank is on one side, you get behind the tank’s target. If there is more than one target, you see who the tank is on, and that is who, in most cases, you focus on. From behind. On the butt.

So of course, we go running in and he’s right there saying, “But which one is the tank? None of them are marked and I don’t want to be on the wrong target and pull aggro.”

I’m so proud! Oh, and guys… can someone put a mark up on the tank? BTW, my son says lrn2play, noobs.

Before that night was through, our long-suffering guild endured a player that played as well as could be expected, but whose DPS was simply not up to snuff. We didn’t have any problems at all up to the ship, but once we hit Spine, it was tough. Too tough to continue.

Alex learned a lot, managed to make it all the way through Ultraxion alive and kicking, and did his best, but we just couldn’t quite hammer a nail into Spine. Can’t recall how many times we gave it a shot, but normal Dragon Soul is still a real raid, and a woefully undergeared Death Knight has no place being there. end of story. nice of the guild to have him along, but, no. Not until he is fully geared and pulling his own weight, in my opinion.

On the other hand, he got the tier leggings for his Death Knight set, so he gets to be the first Death Knight on his block with 397 tier pants, and a 347 blue mace.

We’ve run LFR since then, all of the run last week, and the first half again last night.

At first, he said he liked the first half better, and now last night he’s back to liking the second half better.

We tried to stack the deck in his favor for last night on tier drops, Cassie on her Rogue, me on my Druid, intending to do our damndest to roll and pass tier on to him.

Feel free to hate us for it, it’s okay. I’ve long been on the side of feeling that if you did your best performance to help the raid succeed, and the gear you just rolled on is for someone who will be able to actually USE it as a major upgrade, there should be no problem. Rolling just to trade for something else you want later isn’t quite the same to me, but not everyone feels the same way, I know, and I accept that.

What is funny is, we’re in LFR fully planning on rolling on gear to pass directly to Alex, and he goes and wins, with his own rolls, both the tier gloves AND the tier shoulders!

Now he’s got three piece of tier, almost enough Valor for the necklace, already got the Relic and Wrist and Boots, and STILL with the 347 mace!

Tonight, tonight by golly I’m going to get into the second half with him, and if you read something into my queueing on either my Ret Paladin or Fury Warrior, well, you might be onto something there. And Cassie might be on her Ret Paladin as well. No real reason. *cough* sword hacks *cough*  🙂

He’s so serious when it comes to raid. He soaks up the instructions like a sponge, and he’s right at that age where as soon as something is explained to him, it’s as if he knew it all along forever, so don’t come along later asking him if he remembers what to do, of course he does, duh. Just tell him, show him, then let him loose.

Sniff. My little boy is all grown up and killing internet dragons. Sniff.

They grow up so fast! Soon, he’ll be killing dragons all on his own, he’ll get his Druid up to max also, and he’ll be saying to me, “Hey dad, did you know that the target doesn’t have to be in front of you to use Growl on it? And that if you hit Berserk in bear form your Mangle hits THREE targets all at once?””

“No son, no I’d never heard that before. That’s very cool. Now, when you’re done with raid, can you help me program the VCR to record the Rockford Files? Thanks!”

OMG The Inspiration!

Okay, seriously, this isn’t what this post is about, but OMG folks, did you SEE From Draenor With Love today?

Look carefully at the face of Velen in panel 3.

No, I’m not going to show it to you, go look at their site and come back, sheesh, lazy pockers.

Is that, or is that NOT the most perfect WoW version of the infamous Picard Facepalm of ALL TIME?

I want Vidyala and Rades to put that image, blown up, on the front of a t-shirt.

That is good enough for the majority of us, but for the hardcore, I’d request the caption “Velen says, What part of No Eat Self don’t you understand?”

For bonus points, check out the Troll version of Goodnight Moon that Precious and Soft was inspired to do by the comic!

Okay,okay, back to what this post was about.

Shit, the digressions are longer than the actual posts around here.

So, okay, OMG this idea just came to me and I’m so excited! I just know I’m the first person ever to think of this!

We all know and love transmogging our gear and weapons in WoW these days.

One drawback we’ve got right now is the enchants are handled kinda funky.

Some weapons have inherent glows that overwrite whatever enchant you put on em, other weapons don’t have inherent glows and you see whatever enchant is on the actual weapon, and there is no current way to ensure that your mogged weapon will look exactly the way you’d like.

As an example, I have an agility polearm on my hunter. If you respond that hunter melee stat sticks are going away in MoP, I’ll ban you. The point I’m making as an example is that I mogged my polearm to look like the Hellreaver, a freaking wicked all-red polearm that looks great with my full Firelands set.

What looks goofy about this picture though?

The problem is, Hellreaver doesn’t have an overriding glow, and the Hunter best in slot polearm enchant is the Mighty Agility, and the glow is, well, it’s great for a Druid but for an all-red Firelands set, CRAP!

So, and yes I am the absolute first to ever suggest this, why not simply set it up so that whatever glow your donating weapon has is what goes on your mogged weapon?

Let me enchant Fiery on the Hellreaver, giving is a burning fiery glow, and THEN use it to transmog my Kiril, Fury of Beasts?

Goodbye crappy green glow, but retain the FUNCTION of the Mighty Agility!

Okay, okay, everybody else thought of it too, it’s obvious. But this is my attempt to get it back in front of Blizzard while they are still working on mists.

And just think of the money sink that buying old low level enchants would bring to the transmog market! Hey Blizzard, another benefit!

Oh please oh please oh please

Almost Feels Like Stealing

When I got home this evening, Alex was in the shower and Cassie was getting some dinner ready for them, and I had a few minutes to myself because I’m feeling pretty sick.

I logged in for my nightly chance at the Ahune staff on my Priest… nope. As usual, year after year.

I logged over onto my Druid to exchange more Justice for Honor, got myself a new PvP mount, and then checked the LFD box.

Satchel of Exotic Mysteries up?

Why, yes it is!

Shifty-eyes back and forth. I gots a few minutes, nobody is looking for me, let’s sneak one in.

I get End Time.

The group starts out a little inauspiciously, one of the players doesn’t react as we kill the first couple of packs of trash in the Ruby, but you know, things happen. I ask if everything is okay, and one of the other players says that person is just lagging back and is trying to reset their computer.

Okay, no problem, we hang out, do some Bear dances. A few minutes later they log back in, and from that moment on…

It’s a perfect run.

We had bosses go down with perfect smoothness. Everyone did their role, moved in concert, happiness and joy in abundance.

We had a few moments waiting for one of the other players in Obsidian, so we engaged in even more Bear dancing. More Druids! We want More!

It was everything a run should be. Fast, steady, smooth, people typed in complete words, there was even punctuation a time or two!

Nobody was rude to anyone, nobody complained about waiting for a few secs, and you know what?

Even with the waiting, things died faster than in most “go go go” groups I’ve been in, and dear lord I’ve tanked a lot of runs this week.

When the final boss died, I was sad to end out the run. I didn’t have time for another, but that was a group that simply all played well and made me happy to be a tank and do a random PUGged LFD.

It was the kind of run that reminds you how enjoyable the game can be when you have a team of people all working together towards a common goal instead of out for themselves or at cross-purposes.

If you happen to be running in LFD, and you see Aggressiøn-Dentarg, or Treetard-Dentarg (yes, I know, I know), or Dariusboo-Dalaren or Abw-Dalaran in your group…

Wave hello, and relax, because despite a certain wince-inducing name, these are all good players and I’d welcome them back in my groups any time. Damn it, I wish they all could be like these people. I really do.

When the run was over and we’d said our farewells, I zoned back into Stormwind, and opened my Satchel of Exotic Mysteries to see what flavor flask I got this time.

Behold, for the first time, something other than a Flask;

I’m telling you right here, right now, getting rewarded for a run like that seems like theft. It’s stealing, plain and simple.

Ah well. I may not have earned it, and I certainly don’t deserve it, but I’m a gonna ride it JUST like I stole it!

I guess it’s just a week for mounts, isn’t it?

 

A Little Too Much Powa!

This last week, I’ve been running frequent random Twilight heroic instances in search of a weapon upgrade for a certain Death Knight Cub.

Alas, the drops have not been forthcoming in terms of weapons, but Valor and Justice are always welcome. Alex turned to me yesterday and announced he bought a Wooly Mammoth!

Yep, tooling around Dalaran, he spotted the Exotic Mounts vendor and checked out the wares on sale. Imagine his astonishment when he found you could buy a Wooly Mammoth to ride as a mount, and instead of costing gold, they cost Justice Points! He happened to have over 3000 Justice Points at the time, so one impulse buy later, he’s huge and hairy riding something huge and hairy.

Speaking of bears on camels, oh wait, that was my run with Precious and Soft. That’s for a different story.

So really speaking of huge and hairy, as I was saying, I’ve been tanking up the heroics for the insta-queue thing.

I thought I’d seen it all, but last night actually gobsmacked me, left me flabbergasted, boggled my brain and blew my cool.

It was wild, man.

We gathered up an all-guild run for a random Twilight Heroic, with Alex on his Death Knight, Cassie whacking all the things on her Shaman, BB throwing the red fire on his Mage and Ursi healing on his Priest from the Hellscream server.

I, of course, was bringing the butt.

The instance we got was Hour of Twilight, which elicited a groan from me. No weapon drops coming from THAT son of a bandersnatch!

Ah, well. Maybe next time.

As I bounced from place to place in true poohtigger style (you can call it Bearcatting all you’d like, I know who I draw my inspiration from), the comment was made that bears bouncing all the time must be a guild thing, since so many of our guild Bears do it.

I made some throwaway smartass remark about having done it for years and years now, as it’s the only way to exercise those rear haunches. Big butts are all well and good, but those legs have got to be strong to launch me into the fray. A wimpy Feral Charge would be a terrible thing, just terrible.

Apparently, my remark taunted the Priest. Sigh.

We blasted through in good time to the final boss, and gathered around while we waited for Archbishop Benedictus to shut up and give us go time.

Was I bouncing as I waited?

NO.

No, I couldn’t bounce as per Standing Order: Bear #1369, though, because that bastard Ursi abused the Priestly powers granted to him for no other reason than to prevent our bouncing.

When I ran into the chamber under Dragonshrine, Ursi cast Levitate on me, and then on every other member of the party including himself.

No bouncing! There was no bouncing! I wanted to turn around and say to Thrall, “There’s no bouncing with Benedictus! Thrall, there’s no bouncing! Make it stop!”

He did this with enough time to waste that we were able to comment on how I looked freaking cool bear paddling through the air. Cassie transformed into Ghost Wolf and we noted it looked like her wolf was standing on a flat plane of air rather than doggie paddling. There was plenty of time to pass for the posturing pontiff to propose the primacy of powa, the pontificating prick.

Being in this cooldown period, and having nothing at all to cause damage to pop the Levitate off me, I let it go and shifted to caster form. As soon as we got to about 12 seconds before the boss activates, I popped Bear (Furor +10 rage) and then Enrage (+20 rage +10 over time and prevents Rage decay) so I’d be all up and ready to throw down the bigbuttbeatdown.

What followed was instant epic karma.

The WoW gods are clearly Bears, for never before have I seen such sinister, swift justice to a misguided miscreant.

It all started with a Levitate, and went straight down to hell.

We’re all floating around Archbishop Benedictus, I’ve shifted out and in and have Enrage ticking and I’ve got my Rage bar full enough to get it going.

Boss goes active, I start with a Mangle to set the Bleed, Feral Faerie Fire, Lacerate stack going. My Tidy Plates/Threat Plates addon is solidly in the green. All is right in the Bear tanking world. My rage bar is filling nicely from all the damage I’m doing.

Except the boss isn’t facing ME, he’s facing Cassie and his back is to me! 

I’m trying to move him to the side in preparation for the waves and he ain’t going, but my bars are all green, so I should have solid threat, and he doesn’t have one of those “ignore the tank” mechanics, and WTF is going on? Cassie is a badass doing 28k – 30k DPS, but who the wha the how the fuh fuh fuh fuh

I use Growl to taunt, nothing, I’m doing the “Well DPS harder, damnit” thing,s no dice, I’m still green Threat Plates across the board but Cassie is on vent saying she has aggro, get it off me naow, what kind of fail tank are you, Ursi is healing Cass for all he’s worth, BB and Alex both die from lack of heals when the wave comes through, and it’s just freaking chaos, and I’M STILL FLOATING.

I was still floating.

I was still floating as the party died around me, Growl and Challenging Roar did nothing. My attacks all caused damage exactly as normal, but they seemed to have no Threat component at all. Nothing. But Threat Plates clearly thought I was generating Threat just fine. KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!

All I could do was float there, watch folks scramble, and search frantically among 20 little buff icons under my portrait for the Levitate one to click the damn thing off.

By the time I clicked it off, there was just Cassie and me left standing. Wimps.

We killed the boss, of course, I mean, Bear and Enhancement Shaman, c’mon. Chomp chomp.

That was the single freakiest thing I have ever seen on live. I’ve tanked that powa-ful idiot many, many times and I’ve never seen that happen.

In fact, I’ve done it so many times I’ll admit I was complacent and horsing around. I wasn’t taking him seriously. It was a point of pride in my skillz that of course I’d be full of Rage and ready to pop a claw in his skull the second he came off rant, but that was just because it’s that thang I do. It wasn’t out of fear of losing aggro or anything.

Woke my ass right up.

So of course, the only thing to do was get on my Priest, queue for an Hour of Twilight immediately, take a full PUG group in (Death Knight tank) and Levitate everyone at the same point on the Archbishop just to see what would happen.

It wasn’t to be mean, it was FOR SCIENCE!

Sigh. Nothing out of the ordinary. We won, no excitement, no screams or panic-filled chases. Bummer dude.

I don’t know whether there was some weird confluence of Talents and Abilities that just happened to create the conditions for a perfect bug, but I think I know what the real cause was.

The Bear Gods really did frown on Ursi preventing me from bouncing. And they took swift and powaful justice on the offender.

Let this be a lesson to you all.

Does a Bear bounce in a PUG?

YES

And don’t you even THINK of trying interfere. You’ve been warned.

Victory!

I just got the word from The Godmother, and I am zerg rushing the presses on this one.

The most important news to come out of the Beta is here.

MOUNTS ARE ACCOUNT WIDE AFTER ALL!!!!!

Mumper commented on this thread an update, and it’s pretty specific;

This is truly liberating news. I know, I know, most people probably read my earlier post about this issue and thought I’d gone batshit crazy. This is probably one of the most trivial issues you could find in the game, and here I am bemoaning some mounts not being shared.

Heck, Druid Tanks are facing some serious issues in MoP right now, and instead of talking about any of that I spend time whining about mounts.

The thing is, this isn’t trivial to me, because a large part of the fun I and Alex are getting from the game come from the aesthetics of characters, costumes, mounts and pets.

Those of you who have known me through my writing for a while probably know what I’m about to say.

Despite my grumpiness in my prior post…

I went ahead and already got a motorcycle mount. I farmed the materials, acquired the gold, and had my good friend Melpo craft it for me. I learned it on my Hunter, fulfilling my own long held desire, and then we spent an evening going for a ride.

I may bitch, piss and moan about how much better something could be, but in the end I said to hell with it and got me mah choppa!

Now I get to enjoy the fruits of my labors in MoP ANYWAY!

Oh, and I was already working, slowly, on gathering the mats for Alex to fulfill what he has wanted to a long time, to be able to become a Sandstone Drake. To transform into a dragon!

How much cooler that, once that is complete, he’ll know that it will be shared by all the other characters he ever has that rises high enough to do it. And if that has a level 85 restriction on it someday, so be it.

Rejoice! Rejoice my fellow bikers, and go forth to conquer those damn mounts!

 

Customer Service – Admit Nothing, Deny Everything

Despite the name of this post, and the stories I’ll share with you below, I’m not here to say that Star Wars: The Old Republic is a bad company that hates their customers.

I think I’ll be able to prove that I have a completely different point by the end of the post.

I’ve been hearing stories since SW:TOR was released of players having problems getting issues resolved through customer support channels. I haven’t paid too much attention to it, for a number of reasons.

In short, every game has issues, there are a ridiculous number of computer hardware and software platforms out there people expect to work just spiffy right out the gate, and, well, a lot of people out there seem to feel entitled to have any big company bend over and drop trou for a royal ass humping if the customer perceives their expectations were not properly met in the right length of time. I expect to hear people whine about customer service. Always.

Doesn’t mean there isn’t a problem.

In the last week,  a great blogger brought her experience with SW:TOR customer service front and center. She put a face on it, patiently went over the entire situation, and right from the start her experience has been just, well, it was complete fucking bullshit.

I’m not going to summarize her story. You’re all capable of navigating links, so here is the one to her site, where the entire story is now up in three sections and, thankfully, has a resolution that eventually completed it to Battlechicken’s satisfaction.

http://battlechicken.wordpress.com/2012/06/16/swtor-my-unexplained-ban-a-cautionary-tale/

Like I said, I’m not going to rehash the entire story, Battlechicken already related everything in fine style.

The main point I’m carrying away from what happened, is that Bioware has a process to find people violating their terms of service. Their system found Battlechicken to be in violation, and they closed her account for a week and sent her an email to say what they did, and why, but not what the actual offending issue was.

They used an automated process to find people guilty of things they don’t like, and when names were provided by this system, they banned them as a warning as well as a notification.

Battlechicken was presumed guilty until and unless SHE could prove her innocence to THEM… but they wouldn’t tell her what she was guilty OF.

It has now been resolved, and they are so very, very sorry.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe for a second, after the number of automated responses Battlechicken received telling her that the ban was investigated and confirmed as correct and proper and she was at fault, that this would have been resolved properly if Battlechicken didn’t have a blog, was eloquent in describing in detail what had happened, and that the story spread like wildfire.

This story has now been repeated back to me by people I swear don’t even know what blogs are. “Did you hear about the player Bioware banned and they won’t even tell her why, even after she begged them to give her any clue? Dude, how fucked up is that? Oh yeah, you violated our TOS, here’s week ban. Don’t do it again or we’ll permaban you. What did you do? I won’t tell you, just don’t do it again. Man, that’s some fucked up shit.”

That was a statement I actually heard said on vent last night, from someone in guild that brought the topic up completely on their own. This story has legs.

It’s nice they came back after the fact, and investigated, and oh yeah, we actually were in error, oops, sorry about that.

Would it have been nice if, when she emailed the first time pleading for some hint as to what she did wrong, somebody actuqally checked? Yes, of course. Either they didn’t check, indicating laziness, or they did check and didn’t do it WELL, indicating incompetence. Either way, yay.

I think it would have been best if, after the automated system threw up names of people in violation, a living person used their judgment to vet the responses before telling a paying customer “you are not welcome here, and I won’t tell you why.”

But that is an isolated incident, right?

How about this one, from the SW:TOR forums. I put a link, but in case it gets deleted from their forums, I’m also adding screenshots;

http://www.swtor.com/community/showthread.php?t=465256

This really says it all, in short form. A Bioware GM was reportedly harassing players engaged in world PvP on a PvP server.

The 11th and last page of the thread is where those three Customer Service replies all come in, in sequence, I did not edit them.

It supports my greatest objection to what happened to Battlechicken. A problem happened that hurt a customer, the customer reported it, and the very first official response is to say “We have investigated it, and proven you were in the wrong, but we don’t have to show our proof because we are professionals and would never lie or do a half assed job, so trust us.”

I really have a problem with the sequence of events here. To assume the player is guilty, take or threaten action against the player, be very quick to support being right by claiming to have investigated the complaint and found nothing wrong, and then shutting down the conversation until so many other people take up the cry for deeper investigation that it becomes a stink to clear away.

If I have one message to offer Bioware Customer Support, it is this; Trust has to be earned.

If you take action against a paying customer of your product, you are perfectly in the right to do so. But if that customer asks for specifics as to what they did wrong to validate your denying them the service they are paying for, you cannot simply say “We checked, you were wrong, trust us” and expect anyone to buy that unless you have established a consistent record over time of being accurate and honest.

Bioware, you have so far failed to establish that relationship of trust based on competence and reliability.

You have been shown, and admitted publicly, that you have jumped to conclusions without having first established and verified all the facts concerning reported customer complaints. That is, um, not good.

There is a positive side to this. There is room for improvement, and if Bioware commits itself to learning from these issues and improves all these preocesses and how it handles customer complaints and investigations, the players will be forgiving… and will also forget.

I gots proof. 🙂

Let’s step back in time to 2007, shall we?

These days, I see Biowares customer service compared to Blizzard, and coming up short.

There was a time, not that long ago, when Blizzard customer support flat out sucked in EXACTLY the same manner as what we’re seeing from Bioware.

If you doubt me and think Blizzard has always loved and cared for it’s customers, let me slap that blinkered bullshit aside with a reminder of my own personal experience from back in the early says of World of Warcraft.

Here is a post I wrote in October of 2007, my own personal tale of woe about the time my account was hacked, my characters stripped and all my gear disenchanted, ALL WHILE I WAS PLAYING, and all on Christmas Eve of 2006;

https://thebigbearbutt.com/2007/10/22/apathy-inc-and-blizzard-customer-service/

If you read that account of what happened to me, you’ll see how I tried to resolve it at the time, how much info I had just waiting to provide, and what kind of responses I was getting at the time. Look at how long it took to get any kind of recovered gear, and oh, WHAT gear!

The main things that are interesting to note in how Blizzard treated me as someone who was hacked compared to Bioware, is that I posted my problem on the forums, and when I went back to see what the response was, I found my post was deleted. I was not allowed to have a voice that others could see. I camped the forums for a while, clearly having no life and obsessed with some kind of fascination with just how shitty Blizzard CS could be to their customers, and watched others post their stories of being hacked, pleading for help, only to refresh my screen and see them deleted as well.

Think about that. Blizzard was not only ignoring those of us reporting being hacked, they were actively seeking out the posts and deleting them so it LOOKED like there were no problems with hacking in their game.

So what is my point?

My point is, Blizzard’s customer service was far shittier to me than Bioware is being now, but in the years since those days they refined their processes, changed their focus to actively HELP people, and have done so with such quality and consistency over the years that i bet half the people who would read that old post of mine would think that I either made the whole thing up, would think that it was an isolated case, or think that I asked for it somehow. Blizzard has turned the entire thing around, so now people hold them up as a shining beacon of communication and customer service.

So when you look at Bioware now, don’t see them as what they are, and judge them forever based on it like I was doing to Blizzard back in 2007.

Bioware has every opportunity to see what they are doing, to face it, and to accept that they have to change for the better. If they do, if they don’t try to hide it but instead work on improving the way Blizzard did, this could change for them too.

But there is one thing I’d like to point out.

Bioware are openly admitting fault. Blizzard never, ever did that.

There is a reason why. It’s Public Relations in the world of the eternal internet.

If you screw up, and you do not acknowledge it in words but simply fix the problem silently, admit nothing and move on, people will bitch, but there will be no active proof that what somebody claims happened really happened.

If you put in words on the internet admitting that you fucked up, those words will live forever, and 10 years from now somebody will post an out of context screenshot just to use it to prove some point that had nothing to do with it except that a big company admitted they had once screwed up.

Bioware is being honorable after the fact. They are admitting in public, “Sorry man, we fucked up.” It’s nice, but it’s a bad move. They need to turn it around and be honorable BEFORE they ban people or threaten them.

It’s a hard lesson to learn. Start with taking reports seriously, don’t assume the customer is a lying, cheating weasel, investigate reports, remain open to the concept that you too are human and might have made a mistake, and even with all of the automated hands free money and salary saving systems in the world, backstop it with somebody with a few brain cells to rub together to doublecheck for accidents.

That accident? That was a customer.  Oops?

The Cub Report – And Then Reality Came A Calling

Happy Fathers Day!

It was a pretty nice day, today. I got to spend it with my family, and that’s a good thing. Cassie only kicked me in the nuts once! You could tell it was going to be a special day.

Alex built a DVD cabinet, one of the Sauder wood kits, while I supervised/show me/tell me. Turned out very nice, he’s proud of it. He likes hammer time.

We also spent some time in World of Warcraft, and his Death Knight dinged 85. Woot!

In anticipation, I had the 397 BoE bracers for him, Lierthes had given him a present for when he turned 85 which turned out to be the 397 boots, and I had also crafted the entire PvP Vicious Pyrium Plate set.

You know where this is going. 🙂

Silarkias helped heal him and my Druid through Crucible of Carnage to get him the 333 two handed sword, and then Cassie got on her Enhancement Shaman to join us for his first ever heroic… Heroic End Time.

I’m sorry, but I fricken fracken HATE all the lower level 85 instances, normal and heroic. They make my fuzzbutt hurt with irritation.

I tried to take ‘Fuzzbutt” as a character name once, it was already taken. Sigh. So was “Fuzznuts”. Just saying.

I still love me the three heroic Twilights. I  run them for fun, any role, to get Valor. In fact, I prefer to heal or tank those for fast Justice Point gains whenever I want something you can get from the Justice vendor. Turning in Justice for Honor to get the PvP mounts is my latest thang. I’m not kidding, I run the three most recent heroics all the time, and I’m still not tired of them.

I do prefer Hour of Twilight, though. No real reason, except maybe that a good tank helps casters on the second boss by being predictable in waddling out of the smoke cloud, so the casters don’t get silenced if they know to stand behind your big butt.

Anyway, Alex equipped his new gear, hit iLevel 365, Cassie logged into her Shaman, I queued as tank, and we went into his first heroic ever.

Since Alex is sitting in the same room as I am, I was able to coach him on the mechanics easily. We had Azure first, followed by Ruby.

I was happy to see that he was not being carried. In his first heroic instance, he was pulling over 12k DPS, and he did not pull aggro, did not stand in front of the mobs while fighting, did not pull the wrong group, did not stand in the fire (even the purple fire in Ruby), did not stand behind the ghoul in Ruby but went all out on the correct target and moved into the safe zone after (unlike the Mage, that I had to Battle Rez the first time, and who died again the second time. Sigh.), he did a great job blowing cooldowns on the Bronze Dragonflight, yadda.

In other words, he did better as DPS than quite a few Death Knights I’ve run into before in LFG. He didn’t even pop Army of the Dead on boss pulls! Shit, that puts him in the top 10% in my book.

He got lucky, too. He got the plate Helm drop off Bronze, a very nice upgrade. That plus the Gloves as a quest reward, and gemming everything out, and our lad from the underground was doing right well. I was looking forward to seeing how he would do in his second heroic after getting so many upgrades right out the gate.

And so we queued again, and got the second heroic in the series, and that was cool, because that meant he’d get more quest rewards. And heck, 5 heroics by Monday night and he’ll have enough Valor for the relic!

Oh yeah, his second ever heroic instance, with his mother and father right there along with him. Grand times for a Father Day.

This is literally what greeted us within two seconds of zoning in;

Sigh.

You know, I can’t easily remember the last time someone was a jackass in chat for absolutely no reason. Even the trolls that try to wipe you, I just don’t see outright… well, be jackasses like this. For one thing, they usually troll by being afk or by pulling the wrong thing in utter silence, so it’s harder to /ignore them.

Here we are, second one he’s ever been in, so far a special night all around, he’s just jazzed and excited and happy and he’s passing on everything he can’t use and kicking ass despite PvP gear, and playing really well. He’s playing at adult levels of proficiency,  which is all anyone can ask for.

But it’s a group activity, isn’t it? And we didn’t control all five slots.

I had us leave the group immediately, and incurred the thirty minute deserter debuff.

He’s gone off and trained and enchanted his sword with Fallen Crusader, he’s sitting here beside me right now, saying, “Wow, I don’t have to worry about experience any more, do I? I can do whatever I want. I feel so free.” He’s exploring Twilight Highlands, he finds the Maw of Madness fascinating. I can’t wait to unleash him on Lovecraft when he turns 16.

He went and bought the Winged Steed of the Ebon Blade as a reward to himself for dinging 85. He could of got it earlier, but he saved it for now. He noted that he has no more abilities left to learn. He’s at max level. No more skills to get ‘someday’.

It’s just starting to sink in that he’s max level. And he’s doing so well.

He doesn’t pay attention to the chat text. I long ago turned off all trade and general chat on his characters, and I activated the profanity filter, and it doesn’t matter much anyway because he generally doesn’t ever look at the chat box. I’m there beside him to talk to, he doesn’t have to get his info from the box, so he doesn’t watch it like I do. He never sees people in guild saying ‘grats’, so I usually have to point it out to him, and even reply for him sometimes.

So it’s not like this was a traumatizing event. There is a profanity filter for a reason, and this was the reason. There are other tools in the game to report a player for inappropriate language, and Cassie and I both did so.

It can also be argued that nine years old is too young for a multiplayer MMO, even when supervised at all times, for precisely this reason. But then, that’s why I play with him and watch what’s going on. I wouldn’t leave him to play all alone in game any more than I would leave his ass out on the street. Not that I don’t trust any of you, but I don’t trust any of you. I trust Cassie, I trust me, and that’s it. Oh, yeah, and my mother-in-law. Hmmm. I’d trust my brother-in-law, too. Yeah, I think that’s about it. Leaving him alone and unattended? Oh yeah, you’re real funny. Excuse me while I go clean my guns. Watch where you step in the yard. Oh, no, no reason.

Ooh, somebody let loose with bigoted hate speech in an instance for no reason. Nope, you’re not going to find any outrage on my part, I’ve been playing this game for a long time, I know what kind of people play it.

The answer is, ALL kinds of people play it. All kinds of people, meaning every kind of person there is. Nice people and asshats, intelligent people and idiots, polite people and vulgar, respectful people and selfish trolls. Morons and the wise. All kinds.

The world plays World of Warcraft. You’d think that the modern media outlets would pick up on that at some point.

And that would be my point here. His second outing in a heroic, and he has a perfect chance to encounter in a controlled environment exactly the kind of asshat he will have to learn to deal with in the real world.

But here, he has all the power. Never forget that.

In the game, you have all the power. I know that there have been some truly terrible stories of abuse and stalking between players in the game, but there is a very real difference between a relationship that falls apart after emails and real names and Real ID and addresses have been exchanged, and some jackass you ran into in a random instance.

In the game, if a total stranger approaches you and is rude, you can put them on ignore, and they are gone forever. You can also report their behavior for investigation, and if they physically annoy you in game by standing on your mobs and such, you can hearth, take flight points, log into a different character, a different server… you have the choice. You have the power to walk away and there isn’t a damn thing they can do about it.

You may be annoyed that they are trying to hassle you when you’re not willing to log off that character at that precise time, but then, that’s your choice. To choose to ignore the idiot because you are more interested in what you’re doing right then.

Not that they can follow you against your will in a raid or instance, or Battleground. They can’t force you to pay attention to them, as real life bullies can and will do.

Obviously, I like the fact that you can get proof of in-game behaviors so easily. Screenshot, and guess what, it DID happen!

Like the screenshot earlier. Explain that away, bigot.

There is a reason why all our WoW accounts have the Elephant addon.

I had Cassie and Alex drop that group, even though it cost us a thirty minute deserter penalty, because that was my choice. I never run with bigots, ever. Ever. Thirty minutes? I’ll gladly pay that price to never see you again. I have a strict “no runs with asshats” policy, and I stick to it.

And I made sure Alex understood, that was not running away. We could have all put Marsie on ignore and got what we wanted. But, that would have given Marsie the run they wanted. By leaving group, we gave them the inconvenience of finding another tank and two DPS. Maybe it only took 2 minutes for that to happen, but it was a consequence. And of course, I didn’t have to carry them or wonder what other asshat thing they would pull in a group while Alex is learning the right things to do.

That is the lesson I hope Alex will learn from me, as he gets older. Don’t ever be a victim, don’t ever accept abuse, don’t ever give another power over you unless you choose to. And whenever possible, stick their hate right up their ass.

Living well and being happy is the best revenge. Let them twist on their hate, fuck ’em.

There are always options, and in the real world, the consequences are often a lot more severe than a thirty minute deserter debuff.

Standing up to bullies, in the game or in real life, can come with a cost, but in my opinion it’s a cost worth paying. I know that’s not the politically correct view, but then again, I joined the US Marines, not the Peace Corps. If he chooses to turn the other cheek, good for him. I will wholeheartedly support him. If he chooses to stand his ground and to hell with bullies, I’m right there with him as well.

You don’t usually expect your video games to come with a moral lesson, do you?

But the lesson for the day is, if there are people to be found anywhere, then there will be offensive, immature little asshats. I don’t care if it’s Lego Universe or WoW, the playground or the classroom, people will be people, and the asshats will make their presence felt.

Best to learn how to deal with it and rise above it, than to hide or pretend it can’t ever happen. If you start hiding now, when will you ever decide to stop?

The Cub Report – Yuscha told us where to go!

This is a special report!

Holy crap, what a fun couple of days.

First, a bried recap.

In our last Cub Report, I talked about our smash and grab through Deepholm, and the trials and tribulations of Pebbles the potential pet.

Since that post, I’ve been checking each day, and we’ve managed to get two Lost in the Deeps in a row, out of ten needed for the Pebble pet achievement. Either they buffed the frequency, or we’ve been seriously lucky with the pop rate on that quest at Throne of Therazane.

In the comments of that post, Yuscha talked about and linked a related pet-providing Daily Quest, Underground Economy.

I say pet-providing, but only sorta.

I had studied this one back in the day, but since I only collected pets on my Druid, and my Druid didn’t do and WASN’T going to do Deepholm, I didn’t look too close.

Suddenly here was Yuscha, reminding me that things have changed. Pets will be shared across account. I’ve got lots of other characters exalted with Therazane to do quests.

This mission just got reactivated, Mr Phelps.

Hey Yuscha, how hard is this Tiny Shale Spider gonna be to get?

In the Crumbling Depths, that tunnel full of gyreworms in Deepholm, there is a Daily Quest giver named Ricket (yes, the awesome Ricket from Storm Peaks and the Molten Front!) that CAN have a quest for you called Underground Economy.

The way this works is, just like Lost in the Deeps, Underground Economy is a Daily Quest that may or may not be there each day. Even more interesting, it shares the time slot with Lost in the Deeps. If Lost is up, Underground ain’t. I think Wowhead said there is also a third quest it shares with, but that didn’t give me a pet, so screw that one.

The second interesting thing is, Ricket is to be found INSIDE the Crumbling Depths tunnel, before you reach the untargetable/unkillable elite massive gyreworm that goes in endless circles. And if you are not IN the Crumbling Depths tunnel? You do NOT see the quest exclamation point on your map!

That’s right, you can’t just fly overhead looking for an icon for the quest giver. You have to go inside the Crumbling Depths to see if she’s there.

The hilarious thing is, the quest doesn’t give you the pet… it just gives you the means to get to where the pet is. Or at least to Jadefang, the rare mob that has a 100% chance of dropping the pet… if Jadefang happens to be there.

Jadefang is pretty popular. Not only is there a 100% pet drop, but Jadefang is a cool green shale spider pet that hunters like, for her green color. Goes with a Blood Elf’s eyes, don’tcha know.

Yuscha and the Wowhead link made it clear, clear enough even for me to get; If Ricket is there in the tunnel, you get the daily quest from her, and she gives you bombs. Unlimited bombs.

These bombs have knockback. Hellacious, insane knockback… controllable knockback. Send you UP and BACK knockback.

Inside the Crumbling Depths, there is an upper ledge easily within view of the first large cavern after you get past that Elite Gyreworm that keeps running circles around and around.

When you get in that first big cavern, there are lots of tunnels that come off from it, and directly across is one higher ledge. That’s the one Pebble appears at when you get the Lost in the Deeps quest. Well, if you look to your upper left from the entrance to that big cavern, next to Pebbles ledge you’ll see another, slightly higher, ledge. THAT is the dead end tunnel where Jadefang hangs out.

Boiling all the comments in Wowhead down, all you got to do is get to the ledge where Pebble usually hangs out, stand on the edge of the ledge with your ass pointing in the direction you want your character to fly, making sure the big cystal/white rock isn’t gonna block you, and drop the bomb.

Boom, instantly blown to the Jadefang ledge, first time, no problem. Easy as SHIT, man! Right?

And once you’re on the ledge, you’re good. You could drop the daily if you wanted, but why do that? As long as you’ve got it, you’ve got bombs to get back there whenever you’d like. But you’re on the ledge. Log out, check in every once in a while, try odd hours, sooner or later you might get lucky.

Well, last night I went and looked with my Priest, and there was Ricket with some bombs to hand over.

I took the boomies and ran, man.

I got to the ledge first time, just as I said.

No Jadefang. Aww.

According to comments in Wowhead from the dedicated and hard working rare farmers out there (Like Perculia), I could anticipate a nine to twelve hour respawn timer… but I had no idea when Jadefang was last killed.

Solution?

Camping time! Where’s my Kindle, it’s John Ringo time! Time to get comfy, stay a while and readem’.

I’m not gonna give you a blow by blow for the rest of last night.

Everybody camps in their own way. For me, I tapped the keyboard to jump every once in a while, waved to other players that hopped in and then saw me and logged out in place when I saw them, and read my Kindle.

This had all the makings of one long, tedious, boring night. Some fun, right? Hours of camping.

Ah, but this isn’t the Bear report. This is the CUB report!

Cue the Cub, who wants to see what Dad is doing.

I explain what I’m doing… and as expected, he gets interested, logs into his Death Knight, and flies into his beloved Deepholm to explore the Crumbling Depths.

“Is this the quest giver you were talking about?”

“Yep! She’s the one that gives you wings. I mean bombs.”

“Okay.”

A little while later, I walk over to the ledge and look down. There he is. I point over to where Pebble spawns. “You want to get over there, then blow yourself over here.”

“Oh.”

And not long after… I have a visitor. Who blew himself over to the ledge in one shot, I might add, did it himself.

From that point, as the saying goes, Hijinks Ensued.

You see, I grouped up with him, and he discovered the joys of setting bombs and blowing himself all over the place. Then I taught him how sneaky Life Grip can be.

Then we started experimenting.

One thing he found was if you set your bomb, then time a jump, it has a bit of a radius effect. It will still bounce you even when you’re in mid-jump.

Then he found you can set bombs while on your mount. Blowing yourself up while in mid-flip on your Golden Dragon mount looks pretty hot.

Then we started playing with mutliple direction bounces.

See, if he stood there, and I stood behind him, and we timed it, he placed his bomb about 1/3rd of a second before I placed my bomb right behind him, then his bomb would go off first launching him backwards just as my bomb went off flinging him in the other direction, leaving a zig-zag contrail in the cave.

We also found out it’s fun to play ‘tag’ with bombs.

As an adjunct to that experiment, I can tell you with 100% conviction that a Priest can use Leap of Faith to pull another character up to Jadefang’s ledge from the lower level. Even after you blew them off with a bomb.

Ah, good times, good times.

Which is a damn good thing, because I camped that spot for seven hours and no Jadefang.

But there would always be other nights.

We both logged out in place, and went to bed at our seperate times.

When I woke up this morning to work out at 4:45 AM, I logged in quick to check…

Jadefang Up! Woot!

Boom, pulled, punched, pet acquired, instant regret sets in.

Shit, I should have logged Alex’s character in to get it first! Son of a bear!

I had good reason not do it at the time, but I had second thoughts immediately afterwards.

Alex wanted to do it himself. He wanted to see Jadefang, he wanted to fight him, he wanted the thrill of victory for himself. That a pet would come from it was the bonus, not the point.

He loves “boss fights”, he loves the experience of taking on the big bad. So I wasn’t going to take that from him, I grabbed Jadefang myself to get it out of the way.

As soon as I did, the second thoughts came rolling in about wasted opportunity.

I get up lots earlier and stay up lots later than Alex does. I have more opportunity to camp than he does, so the first lucky shot should have gone to him to make sure if there isn’t a second shot, at least he got the pet. He only has a very limited window, right at prime time.

Was it right to sacrifice a sure thing in the hopes he’d get lucky again later?

Crap. Crappity crap crap.

When Cassie and Alex came to take me to lunch at my work, and yes I do like my new job thank you, I told Alex about waking up this morning early and getting the Jadefang kill, and the Tiny Shale Spider pet. I also told him that, with the respawn timer, Jadefang might be up again early this afternoon, so he should log in and remember to check.

Alex was super stoked. He wanted to know what the boss looked like, what the pet looked like, how hard it was, etc. I told him it was a giant green version of the little Depp Spiders he’d been knocking off in the cave last night. Cool!

I’m sitting at work today a little after lunch, and the phone rings.

I pick it up, and there’s a seconds silence before an excited young Cub starts screaming in my ear “I got the pet, I got the pet, it’s so cute oh wow it’s so cute, it’s awesome!”

Turns out, when they got home from lunch, Cassie went downstairs to check since she didn’t trust my respawn math assumptions. Sure enough, she logged Alex in, looked around, there was Jadefang standing right behind him. Jadefang wasn’t hostile, btw. It didn’t start eating his face right away.

Cassie pulled him with Death Grip to tag him, then yelled to Alex to come running before he got his face eaten off and turned the reins of power over for the actual kill. 🙂

Well, I guess it all turned out all right after all.

Seriously. If I had had any idea how easy it was to get to that ledge with the bombs, I would have done this months ago, hell, a year ago. Of course, it would have been far more heavily contested then.

So, I don’t know when it respawned exactly, but I killed that sucker at 4:45 AM, and it was back up by 1:30 PM. So, less than eight and a half hours at least that time.

We had so much damn fun in there.

It’s a rockin’ fun place to party down.

I have these visions of a small meeting of friends just heading into Crumbling Depths and partying, drinking, chatting in vent and blowing each other all over the caverns for an evening. Talk about a wild time!

Next time you have a guild meeting, why not have it in Crumbling Depths? If yo’re a member of the guild, and your officers are all stodgy and stuck up, mention it to them as a way to seem ‘hip’ and exciting.

Then while the serious officer types discuss the TPS reports fro your last heroic DW raid, the rest of you can drive them crazy blowing each other up. For extra fun, bring lots of crafted leather balls and paper zeppelin kits!

 

Shiny Happy Slithering Serpent Chopper!

My son got a drop in Outlands while running with Cassie and I in SSC, where we were just trying to get him neat looking stuffs, the Pauldrons of the Argent Sentinel. The shoulders look very cool, so he transmogged them and has used their appearance ever since.

One day he saw me on WoW Model Viewer, and I showed him how I could load his character from the Armory and play around with different looks.

He asked me if the shoulders he had were part of a set.

Well, shoot. I think so. You’d think they would be, they’re pretty sharp looking, right?

Not so simple.

What I found was that technically they are a recolor of a recolor of a Paladin shoulder armor from a Tier set, but they weren’t really part of a full recolor “set”.

I had faith, however, that if I scoured the Model Viewer long enough I would find a complete matching set in theme and color.

So I have, and I’d be delighted to share it with you, because I think it looks very… dignified. It seems to me to be the equivalent of Full Dress Uniform for military plate. I can envision a Plate Warrior or Paladin using one set of armor on the front lines, spiky and brutal and efficient, and then having this set of armor as Full Mess Dress. Your Dress Grays, as it were, for The Field Army Ball.

The set consists of the following pieces, all from Outlands. If you pay close attention, you might, I say MIGHT, detect a pattern;

Head: Brighthelm of Justice – Drops from easily reachable boss Hydross the Unstable in SSC (Serpentshrine Cavern)
Shoulders: Pauldrons of the Argent Sentinel – Drops from boss Morogrim Tidewalker in SSC
Back: Recovered Scarlet Onslaught Cape – Purchasable from Justice Points from the legacy vendors in Dalaran
Chest: Glowing Breastplate of Truth – Drops from the Lurker Below in SSC. Best have your Fishing skill up there for this one.
Gloves: Glorious Gauntlets of Crestfall – Drops from boss Lady Vashj in SSC.
Waist: Girdle of Hope – A drop from boss Azgalor, in the Battle for Mount Hyjal raid.
Leggings: Pyrium Legplates of Purified Evil – A strange one for this set. Crafted by an iLevel 397 Blacksmith with a Dragon Soul pattern.
Boots: Blue’s Greaves of the Righteous Guardian – purchased from the Justice vendor in Shattrath
Weapon: Two Handed Axe, Honed Voidaxe – You might have trouble here. This is a quest reward for completing the Ring of Blood in Nagrand. If you already did it, and got rid of your reard or chose something different, that’s gonna hurt. This is a rockin’ axe look.

So, if by chance you happen to be part of a three or four person team that would all like to take your geared up level 85s (or, with MoP, level 90s) and farm some interesting gear, why, this is a fine set.

Almost like a team of two adults and a few gaming youngsters, huh? Go figure. 🙂

Happy hunting through the underbelly of slithering serpents for the gear!

 

The Cub Report – Rock Guys Rock!

This last weekend saw a lot of movement, mostly in an upward direction.

Alex and I spent a bit of time on our Death Knights questing, and saw the 100% completion of Deepholm.

Alex has achieved level 84, and thanks to some of his Archaeology adventuring my DK only reached 83.

So, we’re in Uldum. We did the first two sets of Harrison Jones quests, and then he had me turn off his XP gain, because he wanted to get more experience learning PvP before hitting the “big time”.

I now have the opportunity to catch up so we are both 84 before continuing on together. I think we’ll ding at about the same time, I’ve had experience leveling with Cassie before, where we both dinged at exactly the same time on the same quest. it just takes careful timing. Queue ‘The Gambler” soundtrack. 🙂

We both played our Death Knights as Unholy two handed the entire way… without any research. No guidance, and I’ll be honest, without really caring what all the buttons did. We spammed whatever lit up, put everything new on our bars, and hey, stuff died so it’s all good, right?

We were having too much fun chatting side by side while exploring the mysteries.

Oh, and fathers, just in time for Fathers Day, don’t ever forget the awesome power we wield. It’s not just the finesse of choosing the perfect age to watch Star Wars, Transformers or Indiana Jones together. (Note: It is not yet time for Raiders of the Lost Arc. I give it another year or so for the spiders, dead bodies impaled by spears, and snakes).

As an aside, I think nine is the perfect age to first introduce Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Galaxyquest.

No, but beside that, just think… if you time it just right, YOU will be the one to pass on the rites of manhood.

Such as the Beans song.

Teaching the Beans song to my son has elicited hoots of laughter.

For those of you whose fathers did not accomplish their mission;

Beans, beans, the musical fruit
the more you eat, the more you toot.
The more you toot, the better you feel,
so hey let’s have beans for EVERY meal!

These are sacred mysteries. You must not be derelict in your solemn duty.

What the heck was I? Oh, right.

You only think I’m joking when I lose my train of thought. At this point, it ain’t really a train, it’s more of a wind-up tonka truck.

Hey, did you know Tonka Trucks originally came from here where I live in Minnesota? They were built in a factory in Minnetonka, Minnesota, hence “Tonka Trucks”. I think they’re made in China now or something, but hey, fun facts, right?

What?

Oh, right. playing Death Knights like whack-a-mole.

I finally went and visited Elitist Jerks forums to see what they suggested for specs and ability synergy and all that. And Glyphs.

After that, I went to the Training Dummy, and did it my way. I got about 3800 DPS. I had Alex go for it. He pulled in about 5200 DPS. Pretty good, pretty good.

Then I respecced myself, optimized the abilities, moved stuff around so I could hit what they said were the best ones, and tried again.

I got about 8000 DPS.

Alex is now rocking about 10,500 DPS. Sustained.

I’ve been in LFR with people sporting lower DPS. Not that he’s gonna be in LFR any time soon, but still. I think that’s good for going on into the level 81-84 PvP bracket for a week.

Alex really likes the Harrison Jones quests, although I’m curious what he’s going to think of Schnottz.

Oh, who am I kidding. As soon as Gobbles burst into flames, he went into a giggle fit. Did anyone fail to see that coming?

The biggest hit of leveling so far, I think, was Deepholm. As a self-professed fan of “Rock Guys”, exploring and questing in a world devoted to all things Rock Guy was the bestest thing ever.

I’ll admit to a twinge or two along the way.

He doesn’t quite get the philosophical design reasons behind mindless grinds and repetitive, miserable questing to get something cool. He just doesn’t have the same beaten in, fundamental grasp that some things you think are neat and cool have been intentionally designed so that items most people who will want them won’t ever get them.

The idea that someone would want to intentionally exclude players from having something neat just hasn’t occurred to him. As experienced players, we all know that Blizzard intentionally designs some super cool, neat things so that most people won’t ever get one. Won’t ever even SEE one.

They are always things that do not affect or hinder progression in PvE or PvP. Things that nobody in the game is stuck without. I’ve seen them called vanity items before, but they’re really just… cool, neat stuff.

They’re items that are neat and cool, that you don’t have to have in order to play and succeed in raiding or PvP, that are kept rare either by making them super-rare drops, or requiring extensive research to know how you get them through questing, or through Rep or Honor grinding.

We’re used to it, right? It seems normal.

You see something and think, “Oh, sweet! That rocks! I’d love to have that!”

Then you research it to see how you get it, and find out that if you farm this one remote critter for about 48 hours straight, you might get one. Each kill only has about a 0.01% chance of having the pet Whelp or Firefly or whatever drop, though, so you might just be the exception that blows the curve. Good luck on that Baron Mount!

So it’s kept rare, only those folks that are willing to suffer enough, invest time enough, or pay money enough will get it.

I know that I’ve read that the rares are thus more desirable from a certain point of view.

I know I’m freaking weird. I accept that. I might be the outlier on this one. No offense, but as far as I can tell it’s the point of view of “Nyah nyah, I’ve got one and you doooooon’t”, but what the hey. I’m more than willing to admit that I might be the idiot that doesn’t get it. I mean, I love the Creepy Crate, and it’s not rare at all. Anyone that wanted to do the quests last hallows End can have it, and it rocks. Likewise, I love, love, love the Red Drake you got for running timed Culling of Stratholme.

What I love isn’t having stuff other people don’t have, it’s having a complete collection. God help me, if I let myself, I will try and collect an entire set of… well, anything I think is cool. I hope Alex doesn’t have it as bad as I do.

Anyway, we get all of that about neat rare stuffs. We get that, if you really want something, you have to prove your commitment through sacrifice. Kinda like, if you really want to get the opposite number to go on that date with you, you have to cut your ear off and mail it to them to prove you’re serious. Right?

Oh, wait, wrong support group.

Alex doesn’t really get that part of games, not so much. The first twinge I had along these lines in Deepholm, of course, came the very moment the cute wittle Pebble appeared and offered us quests.

What was the very next sentence uttered by Alex? Oh c’mon, you know what it was.

“Oh, he’s so awesome and cute! Do we get to keep him later as a pet? He’s the greatest!”

Aw… just, crappity crap crap.

Thus follows a fun teaching moment.

“You don’t get him as your pet at the conclusion of these quests, son. You feed him and help him and spend time with him, yes, but he is not a permanent pet just yet. If you want him for a permanent pet, you have to complete all the quests in Deepholm until the daily quest givers are unlocked at the Throne of Therazane, and then you have to check every single day to see if there is one particular quest available, called Lost in the Deeps, and then you have to do that quest a total of ten times. Once you’ve done that, you’ll get the Rock Lover achievement, and you’ll get Pebble mailed to you for your very own pet.”

“Oh. Okay! So I have to do the daily quests for ten days? No problem! It’s just like when we did daily quests to earn our Wintersaber mounts and it took a month!”

Sigh. Yes, that would be the logical thing to expect, wouldn’t it? To simply invest ten solid days of daily questing to get one cute little non-combat pet that you want because you love “Rock Guys”.

“Actually, son, it will probably take more than ten days. In fact, when we finish questing we’ll want to check back every day. You see, the quest doesn’t show up every day. There are all sorts of quests that can appear, a different selection ever day. And if we’re really unlucky, why, we might never see that quest at all.  So, it’s actually something you have to devote a little time to checking every single day for the long haul. So the question you have to ask yourself is, just how badly do you want that pet Pebble?”

“If I get Pebble, will he fight with me?”

Sigh. Oh, do you mean will there be more of a reward for your time and effort other than a standard pet? No, no there won’t. But of course I won’t say that. He just has an honest question. he knows what it takes to get normal pets, and he knows there are pets he has gotten from quest chains, and even pets from the Darkmoon faire dailies. So, if he has to go to what seem unusual lengths, it seems fair to him that there be unusual rewards.

Ah, the innocence of youth, when you still think the game developers LIKE you and just want you to be happy. Giggle.

This is more the area of Tish Tosh Tesh, but the Pebble pet seems to me to be a perfect example of this particular design concept. You don’t have to have that pet. It doesn’t affect raiding proficiency, running instances, PvP capability, it won’t even harm future pet battles.

There are no buffs, debuffs, escapes, evades, achievements coming FROM the pet. The pet is the result of getting an achievement, just like other pets like the little fawn and the skunk. It is a reward for doing stuff that you do not have to do to advance by what is considered progression in the game.

It is 100% entirely optional. It is just one of many potential time sinks.

And thus, there is no requirement on the part of Blizzard to make it easy to obtain in any way. It can even be bugged and never appear ten times as the daily quest, and it doesn’t matter. There is no need to fix it. Random is random, better luck next time, it’ll be even better then. And the more rare it is, in some lights, the better it must be, right?

So. It’s gonna be very interesting to see how badly Alex decides he really wants that Pebble pet.

I’m betting, based on how he handles things, that he’ll log in and check Deepholm a few times over a week this summer, and if he doesn’t see the quest for a few days straight, he’ll never even think about it again. He’ll move on to some other fun thing, either in game or out.

Time will tell.

From what I’ve seen of how he handles goals, he prefers taking on a task where he can see progress, even if it’s just a little at a time. He doesn’t like random blind grinds, he likes being able to see that there was some movement, even if it’s only a little bit, rather than just whack and whack and never know if you’re ever gonna see that one drop.

Like what he’s doing right now, which is playing a couple of Eye of the Storm and Arathi Basin matches each couple of days with XP locked, gathering Honor points for the Death Knight set he thinks looks the best, the Brutal Gladiator’s Dreadplate.

It’s interesting he likes that one so much. And after I went ahead and developed a set I thought would indulge his love of crystals!

FYI, if you’re interested in what went into this set, let me know. I can break it down. I know I haven’t seen it on any of the normal Transmog sites, but I love it. Alex, however, has more Brutal tastes. With spikes.

Well, that’s not really what he’s doing RIGHT NOW. That would playing be on his new level 2 Undead Warrior alt, murdering innocent people and eating their brains and stuff.

Okay, now I’m intentionally taunting the silly peoples. Bad Bear! Bad! Sometimes, I can’t help myself.

/sarcasm off