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.


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?


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


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, 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?


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


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.


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.

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;

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;

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;


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?