Supply Lines and Support Staff

A follow up to my Consumables post, a tangent that is obvious, but still amazing to contemplate.

In my last post, I ran down a situation from a raider’s point of view.

Given a need to prepare Flasks to last 10 raiders for 4 hours, you need Crystal Vials, various common Pandarian herbs, and 40 Golden Lotus.

One level 90 player exalted with Tillers and with 16 garden slots can make 33 Golden Lotus each week, regardless of gathering or crafting professions.

So.

First thought that comes to mind, of course, is what happens if you’ve got two level 90s with 16 garden slots?

66 Golden Lotus. Each week.

So.

At the very end of Cataclysm, I know a lot of people had leveled so many characters to max level, they NEEDED the new character slot that came with Patch 5.0, just to be able to make a Monk.

Can you picture it?

Can you see, off in the distance, the players who will level all of their characters to max, park them in Halfhill, and grind the Tiller rep to exalted to unlock their farms?

All those players, toiling away every night on 8 – 10 characters, harvesting, planting, mailing.

All those characters, sporting titles like “Defender of a Shattered World”, or ‘Kingslayer”, relegated to farmbots.

I can see one of those level 90s, in farming hat and coveralls, leaning on their shovel, gazing off towards the Golden Falls, saying to Farmer Yoon, “You know, I killed the Lich King. I was there, the day that Deathwing died. I have fought an elder god, and I have faced the celestial titans themselves to save our world from destruction.”

And Farmer Yoon looking back, and saying “Ayup. I’m gonna head in and take a nap. Mind you pull those weeds now, or that Songbell won’t grow tomorrow. And make sure you water the crops afore you leave for the day.”

You can see it, can’t you?

I know you can. Maybe not you, and maybe not me… but they WILL be out there. Even now, they are working on their third, and wondering when the patch to speed up alt rep leveling goes live.

To truly picture the full potential horror… imagine those multi-boxers, with multiple accounts and 20 or more level 85s, all looking at their character lists and calculating just how many Golden Lotus or whatever other materials purchasable by Spirits of Harmony they could accumulate, if they only spent x amount of time farming on each and every one, each and every. single. day.

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Preparing to Raid… UGH

So, I’m going to be raiding someday soon™.

My Hunter is a max Jewelcrafter/Alchemist, so naturally I checked wowhead to see what the new Cauldrons were like, where to get the recipes, what materials would be needed, etc.

I didn’t find any cauldrons at all. It looked… it looked like each player would need to have their own specially-made Flask, with a 1 hour duration. Each flask takes some Mists herbs plus 1 Golden Lotus. Yes, each. 

Spread over four hours of raiding, that would be 40 Golden Lotus per raid night for Flask buffs… minus the ones I wouldn’t need for my Alchemist mixologist buff.

Forty Golden Lotus? Holy shit.

Seeing that led me to go check into Raiding Consumables for Mists of Pandaria in general. Maybe I was missing something.

Tree Heals Go Woosh did a great guide a short time ago on Raid Consumables, still current, but at the time I hadn’t been really fixated on raiding. I didn’t study it close enough when it went up.

I sure as heck read back over it now.

There seem to be no Cauldrons. You want to raid with a Flask buff, you’ll need your own.

There are “Feasts” that the whole raid can eat and gain benefit from, but the best stats come from single-use food, not Feasts.

Even the most cursory glance at Raid Food shows that the mats each bite will take are immense.

It actually looks like Cooking mats were designed to consume all of the produce your farm can generate… meaning that if you want to make your own max quality food, you’ll need to do your farm every day, too.

Of course, if you’re using your farm to generate produce, you’re not plating Songbells for Spirit of Harmony.

This feels like severe culture shock. 

Notice, I’m not saying I don’t LIKE it. I’m just saying this is gonna take some mental readjusting.

In Burning Crusade, each raider was responsible for bringing their own consumables, and damnit we had a LOT of them to bring.

In Burning Crusade, if you wanted to be as buffed as possible, you could bring with you Food buffs, Flasks, Scrolls, Sharpening Stones of various kinds, geez I can’t even remember it all anymore.

It felt like too much, but at the same time it felt good to have made the effort to be totally prepared. Does that make sense? It felt to have gone that extra mile, to have brought every conceiveable buff with you, it showed you really tried to be the best you could be..

At the same time, back then the mats were too expensive for one person to realistically supply the entire raid every raid night without going off the deep end. So everyone brought their own, OR would make arrangements to pay someone else/provide mats to someone else that could make raid buff stuff for them. And usually give them a tip.

The key there is, even if someone didn’t bring their own, everyone in the game acknowledged in some way that they were responsible for bringing their own shit to the party. If they didn’t it was their own fault. Same as if they came without having repaired first, or enchanted weapons and armor.

Northrend changed things up some, and by the time Cataclysm came around, most temporary buff items were dead and gone, and we were left with two: Flasks and Food.

Then those were made easier as well, A single-crafted Cauldron could supply an entire raid with Flasks, and a single-crafted Food could provide the whole raid with spec-specific buffs.

Instead of every player responsible for themselves, it became obvious that one person was expected to be able to supply everyone. 

Now, maybe your group chose to pool food materials and cauldron materials, different people would bring flasks to feed the Alchemist, various people would fish to provide the mats for Feasts, but it was a HUGE shift in responsiblity.

Now we’re going back to individual responsibility?

So, what do we make of this?

It sure as heck looks like the materials for Flasks are gonna take more resources that one person should realistically be expected to provide alone every week… if this system were staying live the entire expansion.

Let me rephrase that.

I, as the only current Alchemist in my raid team, have no intention of spending time every week farming 40 Golden Lotus by flying around herbing, for the next year, so I can provide the entire raid team with Flasks for the night.

Last night, in order to see how much I would have to farm to reach that goal, I flew around for over two hours on my Druid in Kun Lai Summit, farming a tight route of ever-refreshing Snow Lilies.

I gathered massive quantities of Snow Lilies, probably 5000 gold worth easy if I hadn’t been Milling ’em. So I gathered mass quantities… and then consumed mass quantities.

In all that time, I got 3 Golden Lotus. THREE.

Okay, so there are more ways to gather Lotus than herbing.

I tested the Revered Tiller Enigma Seeds, planting ten as a test in my garden. Out of 10 planted Enigma Seeds, I got 1 Golden Lotus. Which is nice, but over a week doesn’t come close to 40.

Now, if I were to plant Songbells for Motes of Harmony, you are guaranteed one mote per Songbell every day. You can purchase 3 Golden Lotus with one Spirit of Harmony at the vendor in your faction-specific place in the Vale.

So, best case, say I spent 7 days a week planting 16 Songbells, harvesting them specifically for Golden Lotus and no other reason. I could get 1.6 Spirit a day, eleven Spirit of Harmony a week plus two motes left over. That comes close to what I’d need, 33 Golden Lotus. Close, but still no 40 Lotus Cigar.

You know something? I’m Transmute specced, and it’s come in very handy for Primal Diamond tranmutes, I’ve procced quite a few extra. But I bet if I were to be Flask specced, or if I had someone who was do the actual crafting, we might hit that 40 goal.

Good lord, I’m exhausted writing about it, let alone doing it every day! Holy crap! I am seriously questioning my commitment to raiding at this point.   

This coupled with the way individual food buffs are more powerful that the new feasts leaves me thinking that Blizzard expects everyone to just start taking responsiblity for themselves, and the Banquets are meant for LFR kinds of situations or Heroics.

Or… alternatively, maybe this situation isn’t meant to last.

Are things the way they are right now because Blizzard wants the effort and commitment of crafting these food and flasks to be a challenge specifically aimed at progression raid teams racing for Realm Firsts?

Will we see, a few months down the line, the return of high level Cauldrons and Feasts for use once the competition for Realm and World Firsts is behind us and the time-challenged start getting ready for raids?

I don’t know, I haven’t been keeping track of any conversation about consumables in WoW. There might be reams already written about this, and Blue Posts, and it’s just passed me by.

I do feel kind of wierd. Like, I remember being here when the expansion came out, and I do have a level 90 Druid, and yet it feels like I have no idea what’s going on in the game. 

I blame Pet Battles.

If you’re really committed to getting progression raiding accomplishments, I could see food and flasks simply being set up as one more challenge to test your commitment. What I can’t see is the system staying that way long term for everyone in the game who has come to love raiding, if that IS the current goal of consumables.

For all I know, this is just the way things are now. 

I’m serious, I don’t want to say I lack commitment, but I can’t see farming 40 Golden Lotus every single week. I just don’t have that kind of time. I work a paying job all day, you know?

People bitch about having to do dailies, but there is an end goal there. Once yuo hit exalted, you can STOP.

I’m sitting here saying I just don’t have the time to farm raid mats, let alone do dailies on top of it.

Sure, short term I’ve been doing Tiller dailies… on one character, every day. Plus farming. NOTHING ELSE.

I cannot see doing farming, long term, every day for the rest of my game time to be raid ready. ‘

In the words of Cassie, I do not want to play a game where I feel guilty if I don’t log in to do my chores. That’s why we quit playing Animal Crossing, we got sick of having to log in every day to pull weeds.

As things stand, this is just the cost of raiding. Making that commitment in time to make the flasks and food.

Six months from now? Yeah, I don’t see maintaining that kind of momentum.

Now, if only the Agility food was bacon-based. And if my computer had smell-o-vision. Then maybe we could talk.

Sorry, Emeril. Had to say it.

I’m Looking For A Few Good Peeps

This is sort of a recruitment post, but not really.

I was shooting for the passive voice there. Did I hit the mark? Oh goodie!

I have been a member of the Band of Misfits, an Alliance guild on Azuremyst in the US.

I’ve mentioned the guild a few times here, mostly to mention in admiration how well they can be nice folks and at the same time accomodate multiple levels of raiding and achieving types of activity.

The guild is not strictly a raiding guild, people who are not raiders are certainly welcomed within it. And the talk on guild chat is not “raid raid raid” all the time. It’s always of a more personal nature, individual achievements and stuff.

Raiding progression is something folks take pride in, though. Bet your ass. 

Basically, if you are in the Band of Misfits, and you don’t want to raid, there’s no pressure to do it. I know for the longest time, when I didn’t raid, that I never had the feeling like I was an outsider or a lesser member of the guild. I just wasn’t on one of the raid teams, I was doing other stuff instead.

But the option to raid has been there, and after a while I took advantage of it. I joined one of the three raid teams.

There are three 10-person raid teams in Band of Misfits. They are completely seperate from each other.

Different raid leaders, different members. Sometimes when times were tight, some folks took part in two teams on two different characters, but for the most part it’s three separate groups.

There are Team Wanda, Team Teddybear, and Team Snuffleupagus.

Team Wanda and Team Teddybear are both full, well organized, and have their plans nailed down for this expansion. Heck, they’re already raiding! Well, I know Wanda is, I’m not sure about Teddybear. If they ain’t yet, it’ll be soon.

Team Snuffy is the team I am a part of, and we are still working things out. We’re short a couple peeps.

I want to be clear that I’m not the raid leader, I’m not a guild officer, I’m just this dude what likes to play a game. That being said, we’re trying to get the band back together, and I’m helping out the responsible folks.

That’s right, I just called Elo and Bari responsible. I’m ruining their hard-won reputations! 🙂

Team Snuffy has a plan. We’re going to raid on Saturday afternoons, from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM Pacific time. That’s one day a week. We’re aiming for November 10th as being our first scheduled raid time.

Please don’t ask me to tell you what time that would be in another time zone. If you’re reading an internet blog and you can’t figure out how to look up time zone conversions on your own, you wouldn’t be a good fit among people who are responsible for being prepared and ready to go on their own.

What we’re looking for to help build the team is a single Paladin healer, and a leather-wearing DPS. It is possible we could use a leather-wearing healer as well, or instead, it’s kinda fluid at the moment, and things may change depending on who responds to us.

We’ve got two plate-wearing tanks, a Priest healer, a plate DPS and a Hunter, and there should be a few more folks too but I haven’t heard positive confirmation about them yet. So we’re trying to balance the team between range and melee, and make sure there’s a nice balance of people that can use each kind of drop. 

Here’s the biggest challenge. We’re not looking to fill a raid team by throwing warm bodies at it, we’re looking for people who would want to be part of the guild, full members who fit in well with the group and aren’t asshats and stuff, who will then also be part of the raid team.

It’s critical to get that point made. The guild is a pretty special place. Maybe there are flaming asshats in it, but if so they never open their mouths. It ain’t a bunch of prudes by any stretch, but the one thing that seems to characterize members is a sense of respect for other people as people, warts and all.

In the years I’ve been here, I’ve seen no trash talking, no belittling, and no venom.

People in the guild may mess with other people in a friendly way, but the normal asshat bullshit just doesn’t happen.

Two examples.

First, I swear the guild is almost evenly balanced between male and female members, including raiders. I mention this because I am tied into the blog/social media WoW network, and I see other people outside our guild bitch about how women in WoW are treated in game, in guilds and in raids, all the time.

I almost feel stupid mentioning it, because life in Band of Misfits has me sometimes wondering if people are exaggerating or something, because that shit just… it’s just not something in the guild.  I can’t even imagine that shit happening in the guild. Maybe I’m delusional, I’ve been in other guilds, I know it’s out there, maybe it’s even so common that it’s assumed to be a part of life, but… well, maybe the guild is just magic or something. I dunno. But it’s a thing I notice in the absence, because other people on Twitter or on blogs talk about the tough times they have in their guilds elsewhere, the demeaning, the condescending, the patronizing, and I’m just like… “but why would you put up with that shit when there are other places to go that aren’t like that? What, just to raid?”

That shit doesn’t happen in Band of Misfits, not that I have ever seen. And it’s not the other direction, either. It’s not aggressively anti-male. It’s just… again, maybe it’s respect. People don’t treat other people like shit in any direction.

The more I think about it, the more I’m wondering who these freaks are I’m guilded with. They don’t sound like real people. They might just be alien pod people.

The second thing is, the age of a player isn’t as important as maturity and skill. I’ve seen several people in the guild that are freaking insanely skilled… and they’re not 18 yet.

You might say “yeah, so?”, but I know of plenty of guilds that would never have given them a chance, based purely on age. But I see them play in groups when I’m lucky enough to be invited, and I wish that someday I could be as skilled as they are. 

Okay, or as mature.

You don’t get a raid team spot if you don’t have the skills and the mature attitude to take your responsibility seriously to show up, be ready, etc. But age isn’t an automatic block. If you can be 14 and have skills out the wazoo, AND be mature and responsible, well, so what? Go kick some butt.

Maybe it all comes down to respect.

I’m not an officer, I have no idea how they manage this magic. Maybe they just try people out, and if they’re all drama-prone, they boot ’em when I’m not looking, I dunno.

So, this isn’t a real recruitment post. I’m not looking for two raiders to join a raid team.

What I am saying is, Team Snuffy has at least two openings to our team, and if there are a few folks out there who would love to be a part of our guild and think it would be a good fit for you, AND wanted to be a part of the team and raid on Saturdays with us, then you can whisper me on Bigbearbutt or Beartrap at Azuremyst-US Alliance side.

I can make sure you get in touch with the right person from there.

 

Edited: Changed raid time from 11-3 to 12-4

Bearwall – A Timely Debate (Warning Political Bullshit)

Why should you, or anyone, care about a debate? Just put some names on a ballot and everyone can vote, they’re all the same, right?

I have a surprise for you. This post has NOTHING to do with the US presidential debate.

It has to do with making the best choice you can from what is offered. Okay, and it’s to say my piece before the election is over.

I bet what I’ve got to say ain’t what most of you think though.

American politics is, at it’s root, about having the power to choose who will rule us.

Supposedly, we as individuals have the power to decide how much authority we are going to delegate to a chosen representative, and then to choose those representatives to make decisions on our behalf.

In reality, once you get to a certain level, there are organized entrenched political ‘machines’ that represent big money and power. You want to be a candidate and play in the big leagues, you need lots of money and support to get in the news, get signs made, get the word out about your name. So a would-be candidate picks a side, joins a machine, and gets run through the mill.

The Tea Party is universally hated by both machines for challenging that power structure. Don’t be fooled otherwise. If you can look past the rabid rhetoric and name calling, at the heart of things is power, who will hold it, and who won’t. No matter what a Democrat thinks about a Republican and vice versa, neither candidate wants to see a third competitor for wealth and power.

A political machine is all about controlling who our choices will be come election day, and making sure that whoever is chosen, the power is retained intact.

Once you get to that level… once a machine gets involved, whether you know it or not, you’ve already lost.

The Tea Party can be seen as a prime example of what happens when someone rises to challenge the existing power structure. The hate both existing machines have heaped on members of the Tea Party is very revealing.

“But, they share your stated views on this issue…”  “They are illiterate, inbred redneck scum and probably violent extremists willing to bomb Americans.” “…that seems harsh.”

The conceit is, we are told that all of the politicians are in the game out of a sense of covic pride. They have, each of them, devoted their life topublic service to make the country and the world a better place. Altruism, not self-interest.

Um… think about it. Without someone on a TV telling it to you in a matter-of-fact tone as if, duh, of COURSE they serve out of the goodness of their heart. How could anyone think otherwise? That is a given. No self-interest, no lust for power and wealth, just good spirited civic-mindedness.

Think about that for a bit… and then think about all the people you have ever met in the real world. Don’t think in TV fantasyland terms, think of what you know about reality.

And then remember the old cop saying – wanna know why someone did something? Follow the money.

A reminder here. We are, all of us here in the United States, people first, political activists second.

America consists of those who have voted for many different political parties.

I hold a controversial opinion. I firmly believe that voting Democrat or Republican does not make a person inherently evil.

According to the latest polling figures, the country is pretty evenly split 50/50 between the Democrat and Republican Presidential nominees.

If you can truly believe in your heart that half of the voting population of the United States of America is EVIL because they are of a different political party than you, I mean seriously hold to that idea that half of the whole fucking country is evil, than you’re a worthless sack of shit that can’t think for yourself, and fuck you.

I can’t challenge that level of rabid closemindedness. I don’t dislike members of political parties, I dislike any person of any side that can HATE other people because of whatever their values may be.

I can drill down and give you just one example of how fucking stupid this “party as evil” idea is.

Do you think our armed forces consist solely of Republicans or Democrats? Hmm? These are people who have, all of them, chosen to step forward and risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor in service to our country.

Do you feel that a large portion of them are evil? Are without value, because of affiliation with a political party?

Or can you entertain the concept that a large portion of the men and women who stand up to defend our country and our way of life do not share the same political views that you do, and yet they are still brave, honorable and valiant defenders of liberty?

Many of them do not share your views, whateverthose views may be, but they have stood up just the same. Putting their lives on the line for their own reasons, yes, but many of them because they love our country and our way of life, and our freedom to express ourselves and hold fast to our values and beliefs without fear of persecution.

Can you hold fast to your belief that they are evil scum? And yet, they are still willing to risk their lives in service to our country.

The freedom they fight for is the freedom of choice, and of opinion, and that includes fighting to defend your right to be a hate-filled little snot.

I know who I will choose to stand beside. And a spoiler? It ain’t someone that tells me how we need to silence an entire group because you do not agree with what they have to say.

There is an old adage that has a bit of truth to it. If you’re under the age of 21 and aren’t a democrat, you’ve got no heart. If you’re over the age of 21 and aren’t a republican, you’ve got no brain.

The truth there isn’t about the ideologies of either side, it’s about how the two parties have packaged their arguments.

Each political machine has packaged their argument to pit “heart” against “brain”. Either vote for the party that cares about people and trust that the money will be there to spread around, or vote for the party that cares about economic prosperity and trust that the people will be taken care of somehow.

Either/or.

Another way to spin it, either vote for the party that thinks you need to be told what to do and how to live your life because they know better, or vote for the party that believes that every single snowflake is precious and equally responsible and there should be no rules limiting our behavior because everyone is a fabulous rock star.

Either/or.

Can you see through the bullshit?

Holy crap, I hate to look to fiction to try and make any point about the real world, but look at the fictional world of Azeroth for a minute.

Azeroth is created from scratch, and yet it has a more diverse political structure than the one we have in the United States.

What, the fictional world of Azeroth is somehow more compicated than the real US? The power struggles between Garrosh and Vol’jin and Baine and Sylvanus and Thrall are really MORE complicated with more sides and opinions and beliefs than a country formed of many diverse ethnic groups and centuries of growing and conflicting social and religious issues?

Are you fucking serious? Two parties, two ideologies, and that covers EVERY eventuality, every valid opinion? You can buy into that?

Just no. Basic Campfire for President. Burn it all down.

Once you reach the level of the political machine, the candidates are all slime. Power corrupts, and so does the hunger for power. You don’t have to possess power before you become corrupted. Just wanting it bad enough will do.

To join a machine, a politician had to crave personal power over you and me so badly that they were willing to shit all over principles and make deals and promises and assurances that they will do what they are told. That kind of money isn’t thrown behind someone unless they are sure you’ll do what they tell you.

The interesting thing is how clean, how packaged, how prepared the candidates all are at that level. You see them, and they all seem stamped from the same mold, right?

Do you think they were born that way?

Hell no.

There is a way you can see exactly what these people are like. And it’s called a debate.

A debate is all about putting this ball of cats together in a room, throwing water on the lot and let them tear the shit out of each other.

We the people get to sit back, /popcorn and watch, and see how they handle themselves when the claws come out.

The higher in office the candidates get, the more prepared, the more coached, polished, packaged and sterilized they have become. So… you really wanna see them, catch them early in their career before someone spackled bullshit all over them.

I’ve talked a lot about “once you get to the machine level”, but every candidate has to start somewhere.

You ever hear the phrase that if you want to get into politics, you have to start somewhere, like third assistant city dogcatcher?

It’s true. There are many positions that are on local ballots, and in the US, there are so many of them that the political machine can’t grab and package and prepare every single one. They try, but at the lowest levels, common everyday mere mortals like you and me have the sheer effrontery of thinking we can be a candidate too.

At the lowest level, you see a mix of machine candidates and actual real living human beings that have no clue but are infused with outrage, or greed, or driven by one issue that they want to get elected to ram home.

At this lowest level, the local City Council (or School Board, that’s another one), you see a broad mix of folks.

Entrenched power versus upstarts, machine candidates against independants (real independants without any group behind them), nut balls and whack jobs, concerned citizens and power hungry freaks.

The City Council election gets them all.

This is where you get the chance to see where your Barack Obama and Mitt Romney starts. Every candidate has to start somewhere, and most of them didn’t explode onto the scene sanitized and ready to perform.

You want to have fun? Do you want to really get involved in politics? Do you want to see the reality underpinning all this bullshit for yourself?

Try to find out information about every candidate for a City Council position.

You have to find out as much as possible about each and every candidate to make the best choice you can when you vote. Right? Supposedly, as a responsible citizen, you have to make a personal judgment about the candidates. You have to compare their qualities, and then choose one to be your best option.

The candidates know this… and know that it is in their best interests to conceal as much about themselves as possible, especially at this earliest level, so that when they get elected and attract the attention of a machine, they have no baggage to make it difficult for a machine to mold their image.

Remember, fundamentally, they are slime. All of them. YES THEY ARE.

Do you think they want you to get to know the real them?

Of course not, they look forward to the day when they have handlers and flacks that will insulate themselves from you. They want you to see the image they have created, the package they’ve put together. Scripted, primped, powdered and pandered to.

If a candidate can get away with it, they will give you nothing about themselves, and as little about what they would do once in power as possible, because anything they say to get elected can come back later as a campaign promise they did or did not fulfill.

If they make no promises, then they can’t be held accountable for any decision they make, or have to explain their reasoning for making it.

I live in the city of North Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States of America.

It’s not the actual city of Saint Paul, the famous big city. It’s a tiny little suburban town on the northeastern outskirts of Saint Paul.

Every time the City Council election comes due, Cassie and I try to find out details about the candidates. Who are they? What do they represent? What is important to them, what do they intend to do or change once elected?

It’s hilarious. Most of them have little or no information. No websites, no position papers. When the newspapers try to get info out of them by giving each candidate a list of questions to answer, most leave the questions blank.

That’s right, candidates when asked point blank by a newspaper to state their positions to get publicity and attention refuse to answer.

That says it all right there, doesn’t it?

If the candidates tell you nothing about themselves, how do they expect you to make an informed chocie?

They don’t. They expect you to vote for the name that sounds ethnically pleasing, or catchy, or by alphabetical precedence. Or because you saw it everywhere on little signs in front yards, and it sounds familiar, and your neighbors must know what they’re doing.

Or because they call themselves a Democrat or Republican.

So, if the candidates are trying to make you vote blind, how do you find anything out about them?

That would be the purpose of the debate.

You attend the City Council debate, and you see these people as they really are.

Remember, these are the people who are baby politicians. Some are in the machine, mostly the incumbent (another word for bought and paid for), but sometimes a promising challenger gets in the machine early. Some aren’t in the machine. The only difference between them and a Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is how much time and effort has been spent coaching them and training them to HIDE WHO THEY REALLY ARE.

At the City Council level, you can see them unmasked… IF you get them in a debate, and IF they have not already joined forces and made deals behind the scenes to make sure one gets elected and the others get what they wanted.

Oh yes, of course. One guy is running because he wants to put in a bike trail, and another is running for the power of the position? That is a situation ripe for a deal. The guy running for the power of it makes sure the bike trail gets done in exchange for the other guy throwing his support in the ring and giving up. Where do you think endorsements come from?

If you made it this far, you deserve a present. And I have one for you, courtesy of Cassie.

Cassie was researching our local City Council candidates, and getting disgusted at the way most of them try to conceal their info. But she found a wonderful Youtube video made of the most recent City Council candidate debate, where oh my YES you can see them in action. Being themselves.

You watch this, and as you watch it, remind yourselves that these are the people who are fighting for control over an entire city… legally. And when they have that control, millions of dollars are placed in their hands to make decisions as they see fit… and this is because, supposedly, they represent the will of the citizens living in that city.

Remember that key point. Their job is not to govern responsibly. That implies that we are voting for a ruler to do whatever the ruler sees fit, furthered by divine inspiration and just knowing what is best for everyone. 

Their job as elected representatives is to act to further the will of the majority of the citizens, and in cases where that will is not clear, to call a complicated issue to a vote.

Govern responsibly. lol.

Think about your local city. How is it governed? How much do you know about them?

Is it possible to find out what they are really like?

Maybe you can’t physically attend your City Council meetings, maybe you can.

And maybe, just possibly, once you see these fucking idiots in action, you’ll be able to translate that into the larger world stage and realise, we’re not voting for infallible gods greater than us lesser mortals, we’re being told to choose between two pieces of shit slapped with a grade A coat of polish to make them shine, baby, shine.

Sure, we’ve got a choice. But… it’s between shit, or shit. That’s a choice?

And no, the other side is not evil and hateful and everyone on your side is not wonderful. Whichever side it is. That is the bullshit you are being fed, to choose to fight against the evil “Other”, to make you believe that you are embroiled in a battle of good versus evil.

Don’t be that naive. Don’t give in to hate. Don’t be used that way.

We can make our choices, and we can fight for our individual causes, and hope that we can make the right decisions on who to vote for, starting at the very lowest level and paying attention to every single level of government throughout the entire system, without buying into the ludicrous idea that half of this country is populated by twisted, hateful, evil.

Presidents. Shit. If you want to be passionate, throw that passion where it will do the most good. Start local, and work your way up, fighting for your issue and for the best of a bad choice all the way up the line.

If you don’t start paying attention to these bozos until they’re fighting for King of America, it’s too damn late.

The End of a Druid Tank

This is going to be a very hard post to make.

I’ve been avoiding facing it for a while now, but I owe it myself to stay on target here. I started the blog by talking about Bear Tanking, and when something this drastic happens, it’s time I say so.
 
I’ve lost that Bear Tank feeling.

That’s not just a whimsical pop culture reference, it’s the closest I can come to the truth of what has happened to me.

A core belief of mine is that everyone has their own preferences in playstyle.

It could be as broad as melee versus ranged, or as narrow as instant attacks versus slow cast times, and anything in between. Visual feel, lots of buttons available to always have something to pop, fewer controls and lots of dead time to watch surroundings, everyone wants something unique to them.

There are raw numbers, which determine a baseline potential for a class. And then there is that amazing feeling, when you just “get” something, as if you and the class were meant to be as one that take you beyond numbers (or bring you to where those numbers say you can be).

It’s not just good class design, although that has a lot to do with it. Every class out there will have someone who, when they try it, find a second skin they pull on and become one.

For me, right from the beginning the Bear Tank was The One. The class that, when I pop Bear form, it’s instinctive, natural. Everything made absolute sense and went from being mechanics or buttons to press and instead became an obvious way of life.

Bear Tanking was as natural as bouncing.

What has happened to me is that as the mechanics have changed over the years, the class numbers may have improved in effectiveness or balance, but the class stopped being a perfect fit.

The fur felt a little tight around the wrists. I started feeling lower back pain from the new posture. Whatever you want to call it.

It didn’t happen all at once, but the addition of Active Mitigation has taken it the rest of the way. It’s no longer just a bit of a bad fit, now I just don’t have fun as a Bear tank in a real content group.

I can still Bear Tank, but I feel no joy at the thought. Not anymore.

And I HATE HAVING LOST THAT JOY.

That’s what it’s come down to. I no longer tank naturally or instinctively. It is a struggle for me now, to incorporate Active Mitigation in an intelligent way into all of the other changes, and still maintain spacial awareness of where the party and the mobs are so I can grab and maintain threat.

Perhaps I am simply not capable of playing at that level anymore. Maybe the problem lies entirely within my range of ability.

As a Bear Tank, or as any tank for that matter, when I manuever into the pull, I know where the bad guys are, where all entrances into the area are in case of new adds, I know where the rest of the party is and where they are moving to in relation to everything else, I know how much threat I have applied to whom, and who needs more, who is next on my priority list, and what to anticipate.

I find that, in adding Active Mitigation into the mix as buttons that I need to hit in different priority sequences, which can take some or all of my generated Rage away from my threat generating attacks… I can no longer keep all of it going all the time.

It’s a stupid analogy, but it’s true. There are too many balls in the air for me to juggle, and stuff gets dropped. What do I lose track of the most? Dodging, Frenzied Regenerating, and balancing charges/cooldowns against Rage volume timing.

I could learn it. I could force myself to just get out there as a Bear and solo groups in the Summit and try and try and try. I’m sure that, after a while, it would get better.

But I don’t know that I want to. It’s just not… it’s no longer fun for me to be a Bear. And while I know I could attain the skill level I expect out of myself, that’s not the same as finding that sense of joy, or that magical conenction to the class.

I don’t have that feeling that I once cherished, that sense that I was totally in tune with the environment and could have the time to look around me and see the bad guys and grab them before they ate someone’s face off, and see when someone is pulling and swap targets and taunt it off, and all the other little things that need me to be paying attention to the environment instead of my cooldown timers.

It sucks. I miss it. I really do.

I know that, just as I have lost that Bear Tank feeling, others will have found the changes bring the class more in line with their ideal. There is a balance in these things, and somewhere out there are new Bear Tanks that feel like the class has finally ‘clicked’ with something within and they are rocking the charts and their groups.

I wish them well.

For now, the only class I am playing since the changes that really has that perfect fit for me is Beartrap, my Beastmaster Hunter.

I haven’t wanted to admit it, but Beartrap the Hunter has become my new main.

I leveled my Druid to max first, and I focused on my Druid for everything up to now, but I have to admit it to myself. I don’t want to play my Druid in groups anymore. It feels… wrong.

So, my level 85 (now 87) Hunter is my new main, and not my level 90 Druid.

It’s sad, and in admitting this to myself and to you, I feel like I’m letting everyone down. As if I have a responsibility to be the Bear Booster until the end of time. BBB can’t ever not be in love with Bear Tanking.

I’m still in love with being a Bear Tank. It’s just that the Bear Tanks I am in love with are no longer the Bear Tanks I’ve got.

What I’m hoping is that in time the class will change and evolve in a new and different way, and bring it to a new place that gels with me again.

Never say never.

Until then, I will remain a big bear butt, but that butt will have a Hunter running along behind me, pretending she’s in charge.

I don’t know what else to say, except,

well SHIT.

Capturing Battle Pets Made Easy – Maybe

I ain’t tested this yet, but yesterday Kay left a comment that has rocked my world.

Kay:
See, now, the very BEST thing about that Terrible Turnip pet? It’s got an attack that will never reduce the opponent to zero HP. PERFECT for capturing more pets!

This is game changing info for me, folks. And if you are anything LIKE me, it will cut down the frustration factor for you, too.

The Terrible Turnip ability in question is Weakening Blow.

From the text on Wowhead, “Unleashes a restrained attack, dealing 20 Elemental damage. This attack cannot reduce the opponent’s health below 1.”

Obviously that is level 1 pet info. Ability power and damage scales with level.

I just completed my 250 discrete pets achievement last night, acquiring my Feral Vermling in the process.

I haven’t been shooting for high level teams, I’ve been prioritizing going from zone to zone, capturing those pets I don’t have.

My max level team is around level 11, with my go-to badass being my Grunty the Murloc Marine.

My other two main pets are the Darkmoon Zeppelin and the Phoenix Hatchling.

What I’ve basically done is create a Marine Corps Fire Team, with a direct fire assault specialist, call for artillery and medic.

You do things your way, I’ll do them mine.

It’s great, I love my team. They’re lots of fun to level and battle with when I’m trying to go for a complete takedown. I’ve kicked the butts of level 13 battle pet groups in the wild.

BUT… I am flying around the world, visiting every zone, and trying to capture every pet I don’t have yet, including the level 1 pets.

My A-Team is just a tad bit overpowered when trying to capture a level 1 Spirit Crab.

That means I’ve got to have a second plan just for capturing pets.

Every time I mouse over a pet I don’t have yet, I swoop in and then check their level versus my various saved Pet Battle Teams (love that addon), and try to balance a pet team so I have one pet that is underpowered, one that is right on or a teeny bit higher, and then usually my high level Phoenix as a backup.

The way I’ve been doing it, I try to pick a low level pet so I can do just enough damage without doing TOO MUCH, killing my desired capture target. Then I’ve got an appropriately leveled pet so when a second or third pet shows up, I’ve got someone I would like to level up a bit available to swap in and do some butt kicking, get some XP. And I’ve got my high level Phoenix to make sure I can pull it out if I am in over my head, and ALSO to provide after-battle healing.

I’ve tried to spend enough time thinking about it to be ready, without going overboard on matching precise teams to every kind of pet balancing, you know?

Despite all this, I cannot count how many times I have killed a rare by hitting it too hard. Usually because my ‘underpowered’ pet has become overpowered from all the previous captures, and needed to be swapped out before I pulled that last rare, damnit.

Is it a big problem? Nah.

Is it something I’m going to lose sleep over?

Of course not.

But damn it’s annoying to get that rare I wanted, only to kill it by hitting too hard!

I killed three rare Polly’s in Northern Stranglethorn before I found a team low enough to get ‘er done while healthy enough to live through the adds. 

Now, here is where the timeliness of Kays comment saved my bacon.

I had a Terrible Turnip pet in this mornings crop, and I went and put it on the Auction House.

It was only when I got to work that I checked comments, saw what Kay had to tell us, and about blew a vessel. I had the perfect capturing pet and let it get away? Ah crap!

Thanks be to Cassie who saw it on her own, and canceled my auction for me, so I still have it waiting to learn and level when I get home.

I am absolutely going to add the Terrible Turnip to my team, focus on getting that little guy leveled, and make him my permanent go-to pet for all capturing duties here on out.

I don’t know for certain this is the perfect answer since I ain’t tried it yet, but as far as I can see, no more shall I lose those rares from my own idiocy.

Thank you Kay, and thank you to Blizzard for thinking ahead and giving us a pet to prevent morons like me from killing the very things we fought for in the first place.

So Much To Do, So Much Time!

Are you in a frantic race to get prepared to raid? Or are you kicking back and enjoying having too much to handle all at one time?

It doesn’t really matter how much time I’d have, there is still more stuff than there are hours in the day for me. That’s fine with me, I just have to prioritize what’s important to me, and do that, happy in the knowledge that there is stuff on the table I can look forward to for later.

You know… instead of just hoping I’ll get a content patch ‘soon’.

From some of the conversations I see on Twitter, I get the feeling having all of these blue exclamation points is a problem for some folks.

I’m just going to throw this thought out there – when there is more content available than can be done within a single 24 hour cycle, you might need to exercise some personal restraint to determine what to do, what not to do, and when to call it a day.

If you can’t stop yourself until you’ve done every single last possible daily in the game every day, please do me a big favor and don’t blame Blizzard for it.

Me, I like having tons of content to play through, and if you start bitching in public about having too much to do, I’m going to mentally punch you right square in the nuts.

That sudden burst of agony, fading away into a dull ache in the stomach? That was me, punching you in the metaphorical nuts.

If you weren’t born with them, have no fear, a long time ago in a D&D campaign I had a mage who researched a new spell that attacked a targets vulnerables, and if the target didn’t HAVE vulnerables, temporarily gave them some. Then it whacked ’em.

You may call it something innocuous like “Apply Vulnerability”, I called it “the Nuttifier 4000”. It got the job done.

Ahhh, so much content. The luxury of having a CHOICE.

It’s been glorious.

Who do I level? Do I level some more now and go questing? Do I queue for one of the new dungeons? Do I look for a cross-server Sha of Anger run?

Do I take a break and go Pet Battling? Maybe it’s raining in Jaguero Island and the Baby Ape is available to tame!

Or should I go do some Archeaology, or some fishing? Or plow my farm and plant some tasty carrots!

Or heck, maybe I’ll just wander around, looking for a real fighting challenge by taking on one of the many, many rares that can be found in Pandaria.

Or search for some of the hidden treasures.

Scenarios? Good lord, you mean there are even more things to do?

So much… just so much. Spoiled for choice.

I’ve tried to spread out my playing responsibily, a balance between having fun now and preparing for tomorrow.

When playing in Pandaria, I focused on questing with my Druid.

As soon as I reached level 90, I had to choose what I’d really like to do first.

I’m still 7 days away from upgrading my Ghost Tiger Staff to epic level with Inscription, so I chose Lorewalker rep and Archaeology. And yes, I did get the Spear of Xuen on the second day. 🙂

Getting the Lorewalkers to Exalted, and Archeaology to max was fun. While working towards maximum level Archy, I managed to get enough Sealed Artifact Crates to pile up the fragments for 5 Tol’vir solves… none of which were rares, but that’s okay. The system WORKS.

Blizzard, please make the Crates I get in exhange for your crated solves stackable? PLEASE?

Regardless of what I got, I know the process works. Just be solving Pandarian artifacts, I will eventually get my Tol’vir rares.

How do I know this?

Cassie did it last night, had 30 crates to turn in, and not only did she unlock the Crawling Claw pet I’ve tried to get for the last year, but she ALSO got the Vial of the Sands Alchemy recipe from her Canopic Jar! Woot!

So yes, you can get your rares, and even the Alchemy recipe. Eventually. 🙂

So much to do, so much to do.

I’m taking a pass right now on almost all other rep. I will do it all, eventually, but I just don’t want to burn through the whole game.

I’m excited to be doing the Tillers and expanding my farm, and doing a little cooking while I’m at it.

On the subject of farming, Alex saw Cassie and I doing OUR farms, and wanted in on the action.

I helped him get to Halfhill, showed him where to get the first quest, and let him loose.

Two days ago, as he harvested his plants, one of them coughed up a monstrous seed. “What does this do?” he asked. “No idea! plant it and we’ll see what grows tomorrow!”

So yesterday, he went and harvested his plants… and the monstrous seed had grown into a Terrible Turnip companion pet!

No shit, I don’t know who was more surprised, him or me. Really? You grew a pet? WOW!

He thinks it’s awesome, and so do I.

Now here is the “Ugh” part. I looked on our AH, and those things are being listed at 25,000 gold each. So, do we tell him he could sell it now and get some amazing gold and risk getting another one later? Or let him enjoy his awesome pet in innocent bliss of the opportunity for cash on the barrelhead he’s missing?

I think we’ll just let it be. It’s not like he’s needing any gold to save for anything.

Cassie and I will just push him to USE that pet, that’s all. 🙂

It’s worth noting that Alex was level 85 with a 4 plot trainer farm when he got that seed, and I think he got it from planting Carrots. So, rep doesn’t matter, level doesn’t matter, farm size doesn’t matter, anybody could get that lucky seed in their own crop and get the pet.

Now that my Druid is max level, I’m taking my Hunter into Pandaria to do all the areas I passed by the first time.

My Hunter, for whatever reason, feels massively more powerful than my Druid when it comes to killing quest mobs by the dozen. I am a Dino-wielding Sha Destroying Machine. Maybe it’ll change once I get into other zones.

One thing I am not doing is preparing to raid.

I’m not yet running instances, let alone heroics, and I’m not one of the folks worried about gearing up to raid.

The two other raid teams in our guild are in full swing preparing, with Team Wanda already successsful in downing the first two raid bosses. I hear Team Teddybear will start raiding in a month or so, maybe. If they can hold out that long. 🙂

The raid team I am part of is, sadly, in the procss of rebuilding for the expansion.

Our former raid leader has very, very recently announced he and his lovely and talented healing significant other will be retiring from the game, and enjoying some new adventures in real life.

We’re going to miss them as friends to play with, very much. That being said, as a crotchety old person it’s nice to see young people look forward to the future, and move on to other things to do.

Still means we need to figure out a whole new game plan for the team.

I’ll tell you, it feels like good news to me.

I know I’ll still get to play with Elo and Bari and the others when we do kick things off, but for now I know that it may be a month or two before we have a full ten person team put together.

That gives me all the time in the world to get prepared, FULLY prepared, in my own style. With lots of side quests and ooh look shinies along the way.

Heck, maybe there will be some raiding after all… just in Ulduar and Sunwell instead of the Vaults!

Best of all possible worlds. A great game full of new things to do, and no pressure to get it all done NOW.

I hope that, whether you are in a rush to raid or taking your own time, you’ve been having as much fun the last few weeks as I am.

God speed!