And Now For Something…

I might be doing something a little different, in preparation for patch 4.3…

Laser Chiken on a Turbo Chopper

I flew in to Albuquerque, and boy are my props tired!

Worst thing is, trying to adjust to long cast times and dealing with spells getting interrupted by moving after the insta-destruction of the Warlock. Run and Gun or Extra Big AoE modes should be standard talent choices for every ranged spellcaster, damnit.

I Could Use Your Advice

So, this morning I was playing on my son’s main character.

He has been working on the Order of the Cloud Serpent dailies for months, and had finally gotten to within a stone’s throw of being exalted. Just a few more days of quests… or about 6 Onyx Eggs.

He asked me to help him find a few Onyx Eggs, in the hopes he could achieve exalted this weekend, when he’d have some time to look for hatchling pets in the Arboretum. In case you didn’t know, the only way to be able to tame Wild Hatchling battle pets in The Arboretum is to be exalted with the Order of the Cloud Serpent. So it’s not just the beautiful mounts, it’s some of the cutest pets in the game, too.

So, yeah. I decided to be helpful dad, and get him some eggs this morning. I just achieved exalted myself a few days ago, so I know where I had been finding eggs. I thought I should be able to score one or two.

There is a point to this, I promise.

I flew around the isle looking in the usual spots, and I saw an Onyx Egg on a ledge. I swooped down, landed, opened the egg, and mounted up to fly off. Before I took off, someone on a carpet flew up, paused, /spit on my character, and flew off again.

Now, here is where I made the first mistake. And it’s a big mistake, I grant you.

I whispered him with one word. I said, “Really?”

Yes, I did. And it was a stupid mistake. Someone that will /spit on you because you’re looking for eggs too, and you found one? Not someone that will respond well to any kind of response to their behavior. Just… if you /spit on someone in the open environment, you’re too high strung. This ain’t PvP, this is just flying around doing your thing.

So, I screwed up. I was on my son’s character, and I responded to someone that was rude. If I had been thinking at all clearly, or had any coffee yet, I might have restrained myself.

The person, as I should have expected, whispered back. A lot. Not really swearing so much as dumping on me for being childish enough to cry about being spit on. I called them childish for spitting on me, and put them on ignore. I don’t need someone whispering my son, and I seriously regretted opening my damn mouth.

The person then proceeded to swap to each and every character they have on the server, apparently outraged that I put them on ignore.

They kept this up for a long time. They followed me around, /crying at me, /lolling, and every time I’d put them on ignore they’d swap over to a new one. I was talking to them throughout this, don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t swearing, but I was trying to get them to stop, explaining that this wasn’t my character that played on my account, it was a character I let my son play, and I was ignoring him because I didn’t want someone whispering my son with this stuff.

That just set him off more.

Now, here is my dilemma.

I took screenshots of everything. As soon as he started swapping characters to continue to harass my son’s toon, I wanted to keep some kind of record of character names, so I could put them all on ignore for his other characters.

I never expected him to go that far, continuing to change over as soon as he found he was being ignored on one.

After I had all of his characters finally ignored, I saw in /1 General he began announcing back on his first original character, that my son’s character, called out by name was a whiny something or other.

I mention this because I was surprised that even though I had him on ignore, I could still see what he said in the General zone chat tab.

What do I do next?

I’ve honestly never had something happen like this, where someone spends over a half hour stalking my sons character. Even after all of his characters were ignored, he kept flying on top of my character, hovering in place, obscuring my view, doing /cry, etc. He even, and this was funny, I was hovering high up near one of the narrow ledges an egg can spawn on, and he did a /duel… and the flag appeared on the narrow ledge, and it dismounted him, causing him to plummet to his death. Okay, I chuckled, that was funny. Whoops!

But seriously, what do I do?

I mean, it was really annoying. While he was ranting at me for all that time and stalking me for having gotten that one egg, I got seven more Onyx Eggs. Not racing him to them, mind you, just flying around and going, “Oh! Another egg! Wow, that’s sweet”.

After I got the seventh egg, I might have announced in /1 that I had found seven Onyx Eggs after he had started stalking me, and that he was very lucky for me. Yes, I was weak. Someone else said “Bonus!”

So I found enough eggs for my son to hit exalted… heck, I found enough for him to have one extra for a souvenir.

But, I didn’t want to call him down until this was resolved in some way, because my son doesn’t need to be harassed.

It left me worried. The guy shows every indication of having nothing better to do with his time than spend a half hour camping my son’s character, even after I explained the situation. And putting him on ignore didn’t stop it, he just posted in general, and physically followed me around emoting.

But if I post all the screenshots of all the chat logs, showing his character names, that seems inappropriate.

Stuff lasts on the blog forever. Four months from now, someone could be reading the archives and see the screenshots, and it will be new to them so there will be fresh wonder at the childishness, and they might possibly whisper him. Months later, mind you, after what might have been just one bad morning they had.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no big thing in any way, it’s not like there would be an army of outraged gamers swarming him. But those of you who do read my blog, friends one and all, would probably be pretty annoyed and want to call him on the BS. Some of you might whisper him about his behavior, and the question arises… is that fair?

This wasn’t griefing a raid group or some other group thing. This wasn’t something that would be a public service to get out. I feel that if I’m in LFR and I find someone in my battlegroup that is clearly intentionally trying to wipe the raid repeatedly, then giving you his character name and server is a public service. You can then put them on ignore and not worry about seeing that one character in your own groups in the future. There is a reason to share it.

In this case, it was harassment on a personal level, and not to one of my characters but the one my son plays on my account. I don’t want my son to have to deal with that because of my actions.

Do I report it to Blizzard? If I do, how do I show that it was multiple character swapping and stalking? Is there a method where I can link screenshots I took to Blizzard, without making the screenshots public?

I could really use your advice on this one.

I talked about this in Guild chat with Trajar, and his opinion was that with stalking/harassment like that, putting it all up on the blog would be entirely reasonable.

In the long term though, what he did to me was a single morning where he might have just been really cranky. He did say early on that he /spit on me because he’d been farming eggs for hours and the one I got was the first one he’d seen. I don’t think that justifies stalking and character swapping to keep up the insults, but it would explain part of why he was so angry.

I have to think that if I had one bad morning, and regretted it later… what a nightmare it would be to have people still coming at me about it for days afterward. Nothing you can do if you regret it then, and even if you tried to apologize it wouldn’t matter. Someone could search for your character name, and there it would be, long after everything was long done.

But reporting it to Blizzard… Cassie thinks that Blizzard takes this seriously, but we both talked about it, and we can’t think of how Blizzard would have any way of knowing if we were telling the truth about what happened, short of being able to provide screenshots, and I’ve never heard of Blizzard having a mechanism in place to have you submit one.

So… post on the blog, report it to Blizzard, let it all drop, what do you think I should do?

 

EDIT: Updated with information from Blizzard CM Daxxarri:

Harassment is a serious issue, and we’ve dedicated significant resources toward dealing with it. In fact, we have a large support team, and we’ve (comparatively) recently implemented faster tools to deal with harassment.
If you’re experiencing harassment in-game, there are a few steps to take.

  • Don’t respond, or get involved in an argument. Stooping to using language that violates our policies simply opens yourself up to suspension, and doesn’t accomplish anything. Seriously, don’t do it.
  • Use right-click Report on their name next to any lines of text that contain offensive language–the appropriate category should be Language.
  • Use /ignore to close the lines of communication.
  • If your harasser by-passes the /ignore feature and contacts you on an alternate character, immediately place that character on ignore, then open a support ticket to report Ongoing Harassment, and include that phrase, as well as the offending player’s name, realm, the exact phrase that they used to harass you and that they by-passed the /ignore feature to do so. Please be detailed, our Support team works hard, but they aren’t wizards. Mostly.

On the forums, just mouse-over the offending post, then click the ‘downvote’ hand, then select the ‘Report’ option.
You won’t receive notification when another player receives any kind of disciplinary action due to our privacy policies, but rest assured that we like to make sure that everyone is on the same page regarding what constitutes acceptable conduct in-game.

If you were in charge of Warcrafts next expansion, what would it be?

I’m old, so I have a collection of sayings, tired old sayings worn so thin they’re nearly transparent. Aphorisms. Amorphisms? No, they have shape, they just don’t have life. Anubisms?

One of my favorites is, “When you’re up to your ass in alligators, it’s easy to forget you’re there to drain the swamp.”

That was the main theme behind most of my old pen and paper role playing campaigns. I’d give the players a big over-arching questline to pursue, something big and grand and important, and then toss little annoying alligators at their asses to see if they could retain focus.

I loved having groups that were formed mostly of easily distracted players, with that one person that would keep trying to drag them back on target.

“Yes, I know the farmer has lost sheep to something lurking in the woods, but do we really have time to woolgather when the Queen’s virgin son is slated to be sacrificed and his soul consumed at the next full moon? How’s about we tell the local sheriff about the mutton-muncher*, and get our butts on the road. We don’t have time for Larry the Lamb** games.”

Alligators and swamps.

Let’s apply that to World of Warcraft right now, shall we?

We’re right in the middle of a wonderful expansion, killing dinosaurs, tearing it up in the Throne of Thunder, smacking down Lei Shen and destroying or uncovering the secrets of his power. We are pursuing the Sha, ALL of the Sha, wherever they may lead.

We’re farming, raising dragons, battling pets and looking pretty.

The war between Alliance and Horde is at the breaking point, but instead of resulting in a free-for-all, the Horde is fracturing over the actions of the ‘chosen one’ Thrall placed over them, and the Alliance is holding that same despotic overlord responsible for all the bad shit that has happened lately. So far. Well, except for Jaina. Who knows what that lady be thinkin’.

We can foresee a grand ending, with the current Horde Warchief overthrown, and the entire faction in turmoil. Will the Alliance swoop in to take advantage during the confusion?

Where do we go next when the Horde Warchief is taken down?

What major story will the next expansion bring us?

Taking one lesson from past expansions such as Cataclysm, we’ll probably just log in to find out it’s already been a few years since Garrosh was destroyed and a new Warchief was chosen, and things will be what they will be. We can then go and read a good book to find out what our characters missed.

Sorry, that was probably a bit snarky. Accurate, but snarky.

What if we were to try and imagine what our next expansion would be?

Right now we’re all occupied with the day to day playing of the game and the digestion of each content patch. We lament the ongoing delays of Pierre and the Skyclaw mount, we rejoice over reduced Lesser Charms fees for our Mogu Runes, and generally have fun in the now.

What about the big picture? What about the NEXT big picture? We don’t really know what’s going to happen, for all we know the last Sha will signal the resurrection of the Old Gods and the coming of Sargeras to destroy them, and us.

But we think we know we’re gonna take down Garrosh.

Let’s work from there, and think about where it would be really fun to go if we didn’t have to worry about the consequences to players.

Someday soon there will be a grand battle and Garrosh will be taken down. Right?

What, exactly, happens next is anyone’s guess. Will Vol’jin become the next Warchief, as datamining seems to indicate? Will Thrall (called in some circles the big green Jesus) come back to save the day?

Will something (Sargeras) come out of left field, something totally unexpected?

I truly welcome you to share your thoughts and daydreams on what our next expansion could be, where the big story could take us next, what would be big enough for a whole new expansion.

For myself, here is what I would love to see, the expansion I can’t stop thinking about, the game I would love to play in, so maybe by writing it down I’ll purge it.

The setup:

With the fall of Garrosh, and possibly the revelation and overthrow of the final Sha, the Horde will be in disarray.

The aftermath would be a sensible time for all within the Horde to re-examine their reasons for being together, what they each as a race had brought to the Horde, and what each had lost through their loyalty and commitment to their oaths.

A time perhaps to decide whether what was gained was worth the cost, and also to ask the question; was the Horde as a group as faithful to all of the races that were part of it as those races were to the Horde?

A lot could happen from there, but what I’d love to see happen next would focus on the actions of one prime mover; Sylvanas Windrunner.

There is much that has not yet been resolved with Sylvanas.

She is powerful, independent, intelligent, she is an outstanding character that I would love to see stand on her own as the focus of her own story, setting all of the past behind and working towards brand new goals defined by her alone.

At the same time, she has her own motives that ultimately put her against everything that lives.

Sylvanas Windrunner and the Forsaken have long been a part of the Horde, but it’s been for convenience, strength in numbers against the might of the Alliance. They share little in common with the long term interests of the other living Horde races.

What use to the Forsaken, secure fields to plant crops and domestic animals? Expanded land rights and defended territories? The Forsaken don’t need fields, they need fortresses. They don’t expand, they isolate.

What have we seen from Sylvanas since the Cataclysm?

She does not rule a distinct natural race, but she does control a united cultural group that has grown from the perspectives of intelligent and free-willed undead working together to form a new type of civilization.

She has, despite saying that there is nothing more horrible than suffering the torment of being a soul trapped in an undead body, sought to increase the numbers of the Forsaken to expand her power base.

She has used weapons of mass destruction against the direct orders of her faction Warchief when it suited her purposes and furthered her own aims, with asides to her commanders that made it clear the culture within the Forsaken is to let the living fools believe that they can give orders to the Forsaken, but we know better.

So.

Does Sylvanas strike anyone as being the kind of person to leave questions concerning the undead unanswered? Does she seem the sort to be satisfied with being told by some patriarchal living overlord, “The war is over, and that is all you need to know.”

No, Sylvanas took the power of the last of the Valkyr to make more Forsaken, and if she had access to it she would presumably seize any other legacy of power over the undead she could get her hands on.

And all that aside, after the history Sylvanas and Arthas share, does it even make sense that she would not want to know exactly what had happened to Arthas, in loving detail?

And along the way, oh yes, what became of the power he wielded over the undead?

I would love the next expansion to begin with the existing factions of Warcraft shattered.

I would want to see people log in and find three factions to choose from: Horde, Alliance and Forsaken.

That’s right. THREE.

And right there on the character select screen, you could choose which faction your existing characters were now going to be a part of.

We could use the expansion “and some time has passed” thing to our benefit. So time has passed since Garrosh fell, the Forsaken split off and formed their own faction, and we live in troubled times? Good, in the time that has passed I can decide what my character did, and create an entirely new backstory.

Stay with your existing faction and maintain all of your guild relations and history? Or take a free faction change, with ALL that goes with it, to switch factions, keeping your race if going from Horde to Alliance or back, but choosing to be an undead version OF YOUR CURRENT RACE if you choose Forsaken.

I would love it if the new expansion started with Sylvanas having already overcome Bolvar Fordragon, seized the helm and the Frozen Throne, and taken her Forsaken out of the shadows into open war against the rest of the living, ALL the living.

With her new power, Sylvanas could raise any fallen race as a new undead, and so the Forsaken faction would consist of undead of EVERY race, not just humans.

As for the Horde and Alliance, there has been adequate groundwork lain to support either entire races breaking off and changing faction, or giving individuals the choice of which faction they would choose to be a part of.

I mentioned I’d prefer the individual choice, since entire races changing factions takes the choice out of the player hands, especially where guild participation is concerned. For many of us, the friendships we have within a guild is more important than faction.

But screw it, I’m not even remotely thinking any of this could really happen, so why not entertain the idea of the Tauren joining the Alliance, and the Gnomes allying with the Goblins to join the Horde? Come on, if the Goblins were to succeeed in making the biggest boomer ever that blew all the radiation out of Gnomeregan, finally returning the city to the Gnomes, and if the Dwarves run by the Moira dominated triune were openly hostile to Gnomes, wouldn’t that make a plausible start?

We could have a Horde where the fall of Garrosh led to Bane and Vol’jin seizing power from the Orcs, breaking the chains of Orc hegemony and establishing a new Horde governed once again by a shamanistic/druidic council that looked to working with the natural order rather than the steel fortress stuff of Garrosh.

In other words, a hippy cult Horde dedicated to working together as true partners, a Horde open to establishing peace through strength. And I’m okay with a hippy cult Horde.

The Alliance has been set up to try and assist the Trolls to overthrown the rule of Garrosh, but with all Jaina has done so far, especially in Dalaran, and us handing her a powerful staff imbued with the powers of Lei Shen, am I the only one wondering what atrocity may yet spring from her irrational actions?

I say irrational, and I mean it. I still feel that, for a leader of the Kirin-Tor, and from the talks we saw during Operation: Shieldwall, Jaina is on very unstable emotional footing and is still capable of anything.

Will she be able to keep all of her still-existing rage focused on Garrosh? Or will she use that staff to unleash hell on innocents among the Horde?

Can you imagine a three front war? Horde and Alliance having to work with each other, join together to truly face the enemy of all that lives, Sylvanas Windrunner and the Forsaken.

And perhaps, just perhaps, the big story in that expansion could be Sylvanas Windrunner and the Forsaken seizing and repurposing all of the power of Icecrown Citadel. And maybe adding to it the power of the Titan devices in Ulduar…

In response to losing terribly in battle against this energized Forsaken, would the Alliance and Horde be able to work together to take the terrible Titan weapons and devices they have just seized from Lei Shen and the Mogu, and learn how to control them to defend their own peoples and pit them against Sylvanas?

Legendary items are one thing, but when both sides unleash Titanic weapons upon each other, will even the world survive?

What would happen next? With such devices, such power… the power to create new bodies, of stone and flesh and other things, to transform matter from one state to another..

Would it be possible for the Forsaken to be out to convert all that lives to undeath, while the Alliance and Horde seek to master the Titanic forces of Pandaria to convert all undead once more to the living, or at least the permanently dead?

Could the tools of the Titans be used to create a final cure for the Curse of Unlife?

Remember, I said leave behind what Blizzard might or might not really do. Blizzard could go to a three faction system and explode story possibilities, but I’m sure they wouldn’t then have an expansion war that resulted in player-controlled undead characters being forcibly changed to living characters at the end.

Well, I think they wouldn’t. I know I would, but hey. I’ll take risks because I don’t have millions on the line from a commercial enterprise.

I can imagine playing that expansion. Of looking at the character select screen, and wondering… do I stay as part of the Alliance, after everything that Jaina did, with Varian watching and doing nothing to really stop it?

Do I join the Horde, and do my part to try and help rebuild in the aftermath?

Or… do I decide that my character is one of the many to fall in the final battles, and is reborn as part of the new, expanded Forsaken?

I know we’re only halfway through Mists of Pandaria, screwing around with Mogu and on the Isle of Thunder, but I can’t help thinking about the Forsaken, how ill a fit they are in any living faction, and how they truly do deserve to be treated with respect and given their own place to shine in the dark of night.

How awesome it would be to expand the Forsaken by allowing undead of every race, and not just human? I mean real undead, not reskinned colors on existing races as they did with Death Knights. Broken jawed, stitched together Gnomes is what I’m saying.

If you could imagine anything for the story of our next expansion, the cost and time of art resources and technology no object or concern, what would it be? Where would you want to drive this bus?

*Formerly muttonguzzler. I changed it just ’cause I thought mutton-muncher sounded funny. Er. Funnier.
**Like Mickey Mouse games, but fluffier. Because the story would be a piece of flu… oh, you get it.

Because Trolls Didn’t Have Enough Toys

I ran the new LFR with a bunch of experienced raiding guildies last night.

I have a bit of a war warning for you. A notice to be attentive on the Twin Consorts.

There is this incredibly fun mechanic in Twin Consorts.

There are four celestial pedestals, one in each corner of the room. On these pedestals is one of each of the four Celestials in miniature, crane for DPS on the boss, tiger to slow down the boss attacks, ox to increase the raids health and dragon to grant health and mana regen.

No Life at 90 once again did an outstanding write-up on LFR mechanics that makes perfect sense once you’ve done it once and have seen what they’re describing. I’m delighted to link to their post, so if you’d like some excellent details on how to do the fights, you can find them there.

I’m here to talk pedestals.

These pedestals are awesome.

If you run to one and click on it, it takes you out of phase to the rest of the raid and bosses, and the chamber clears out to be replaced with a shadowy replica of the room, and seven stars in the center.

You have a pattern appear over your head, and you must run through the stars in the room to duplicate that pattern, starting with the brightest star. If done correctly, you are returned to the raid chamber to the fight already in progress, the celestial appears and the effect begins.

Here is an image from our ten normal run on Sunday to show you exactly what I mean.

Twin Consorts celestial small

As you can see from the picture, there is a little picture over your head that shows the motion of your projected path through the stars. You can also see that I am just completing the “W” path, and the beacon of light over the star that you must use as your starting point.

If you fail to do the pattern correctly, the star that you ran through that was wrong pulses red. You have to start over. If you take too long, then you are booted from the phase just as if you’d done the whole thing correctly… and after a couple of seconds the pedestals all reset and you (or someone else) can try again.

Since I did it successfully on normal, our pre-made peeps on vent nominated me to take control of this mechanic and lock anyone else out from using it at the wrong times. Perhaps my having the lowest DPS among our guildies in the pre-made also had something to do with it. 🙂

Here is why this is a concern in LFR.

When one pedestal is clicked, the player that activated it is taken out of phase. While in there, nobody else can interact with or use any pedestal.

There is a limited amount of time to correctly do the pattern, and if the person fails they are returned to the raid. But they take no damage while inside, and they are not blocked from immediately trying again.

If you take too long, if for example you just entered the phase and /danced, then at the end of the time allowed you are returned to the raid, where you can immediately click the pedestal in front of you and try again.

I’ll say that again. Whoever is the fastest to click any pedestal when they come to life will be the first and only person to enter the phase, presented with the pattern for that pedestal, and the game waits for you to successfully duplicate the pattern, locking out all others. If you fail, there are no consequences to you the player at all. You are simply returned to the fight.

Once a celestial effect is successfully activated, the player is returned to the raid, and while the effect is live, all the pedestals are inert. So, there is a short period of time you can use to get to another pedestal and be ready to click on it to activate it as soon as the last celestial effect wears off.

There are four pedestals, one for each celestial effect. You can use each effect only once total spanning the night/day phases, and then they all reset when dusk phase begins.

Think about that for a second.

There is a mechanic in Twin Consorts that lets someone click a pedestal, be taken out of the raid area to a special place where there is NO DAMAGE WHATSOEVER, where they can do whatever they’d like until the timer runs out. Then, they are returned to the raid standing in front of that pedestal, which will reset in just a few seconds for them to click it again.

This is LFR we’re talking about. How long will it be before someone simply clicks a pedestal and stands there phased out doing nothing for the entire fight, preventing anyone else in the raid from using any of the special effects while they were at it?

I would strongly have desired there to be an LFR-only lockout, where if  a player goes into a pedestal, when they came out it would prevent them from interacting with any other pedestal again.

That would give eight players out of twenty-five the opportunity to use and experience the phased space every pull, while preventing any one player from bogarting the celestial kingdom.

Maybe it’s not a perfect solution, but I think it would solve more problems than it would cause, and encourage people to learn the mechanic. I’d be happy with it.

As I said at the beginning, our pre-made players nominated me to do all the celestial pedestals, and let everyone know in raid chat I’d be handling it, so not to worry about it.

Even so, we had an arms Warrior that wanted to fight me for them, without actually activating them.

Yep, that fast.

At the beginning, I took the Tiger and activated it. Our intention was to use the Tiger in night to slow down the green mists that put you to sleep, give you a chance to duck away from some of the AOE damage.

Then I would leave them all alone until day phase, where I would in sequence use Crane for the direct DPS against the Sun boss, Dragon for the healing and mana regen because OMIGOD flame buff and ignored Ice Comets, and then I’d ignore Ox and just DPS.

What actually happened was, I activated Tiger, and then proceeded to DPS. While doing so, I kept an eye out for the pedestals, just to see if anyone else intended to play with them.

I saw the arms Warrior go over to Ox, and sure enough, he clicked it and vanished. After a while, he reappeared but there wasn’t an Ox. He failed to activate it.

Then he vanished again.

Huh. Well, let him play say I, because we weren’t planning on using Ox anyway. Who cares, if he wants to learn the mechanic instead of DPS, well, it’s LFR.

Day phase hit, and now we needed more celestial action, so off I went to get the Crane, and look at this, I’m in a race to activate it before the Warrior got to the Crane and clicked it first. Will he activate it if he goes inside? Do I risk it?

I won the race, activated Crane and came out, to rocket off towards the Dragon.

From that point on, I was in a race against the Warrior to see who would reach the pedestals first. Fortunately, I had the advantages of Engineering rocket belt and Burning Tendrils to get to the next one before the previous effect wore off, and I knew when I would be coming out and which ones were going to be dead.

Mind you, we had announced in raid chat that I was going to handle the celestials, so not to worry about the bloody things. And the whole time this is going on, I’m DPSing at range on the run while getting to the pedestals while the Warrior is just running around screwing with the corners of the room, accomplishing nothing, hoping to get in before me.

I managed to get them all anyway except for Ox, and then DPSed until Dusk, where I was under strict orders to activate Crane immediately to get maximum DPS on both bosses at once.

I got that off, but before I could reach tiger, in my Warrior buddy went.

In my defense, I had to avoid some Flames of Passion to get there, that routed me around the long way. Pedestal Defense FAIL!

In he went, but if he activates it, it’s all good, right?

Nope, no effect. Out he comes, accomplishing nothing, and there I am frantically clicking the dead air.

I’ve got Tom cranky on vent wondering where the hell his Tiger is, and I’m all “Damnit, give me just a sec here” and I managed to get in and get it done.

So, was the Warrior trying to get practice on the mechanic, and just really bad? Or was he trying to afk out of the run and screw us over at the same time?

I couldn’t tell you, but the effect was the same, and he might as well have just died on the stairs with the other three who got locked out behind a wall on the pull for all the DPS he did.

So, you’ve been warned, right?

Twin Consorts; because trolls didn’t have enough ways of being a pest before.

4/17/13 – updated with added picture

Late to the Party

Last night, I was called off the bench to join Team Wanda in their first serious attempt at Iron Qon normal 10, and in the process we killed both Iron Qon AND The Twin Consorts.

I then had the pleasure of dying at the hands of Lei Shen.

I can’t wait to see these released on LFR. I think they’re going to be fun for 25 people, but easier to grasp than Drurumoomoo.

Of course, I might also be huffing paint, so we’ll see tomorrow.

This post isn’t about that. 🙂

Instead, I am just gushing to talk about PET BATTLES!!!

I did get a team to level 25 a while back, got a bunch of achievements, I even added several more pets up to 25 so as to have some variety.

What I didn’t do was ever finish the Pandaren Spirit Tamer quests, the elementals.

Seemed to be tough, legendary pets, you know. Something to save for when I had some free time. Something to look forward to.

This last weekend, my son saw the Burning Pandaren Spirit Tamer sitting on an island as I flew past to collect ore, and asked me if I could fight him.

Picture of burning Pandaren Spirit Tamer from Wowhead

Picture by Cymre and posted on Wowhead!

Well, okay. Sure, I guess.

I checked on Wowhead to see what kinds of pets he had, and they recommended a Humanoid, specifically the Anubisath Idol that drops from Twin Emperors in AQ40 to go after the Dragonkin, a pet with Aquatic attacks that wasn’t actually water for the Fire Elemental (like the Rapana Whelk), and then whatevers to take on the flying one.

Huh.

I have an Anubisath Idol, I got it from the AH. Still level 1, though. And I have a Rapana Whelk, but it’s only level 24. My go-to Aquatic pet is the Emperor Crab, with the instant Aquatic attack, Shell Shield and Healing Mists.

I do have a Humanoid, though… the Kun Lai Runt. He was an easy humanoid to ge to 25 late in the leveling game, because you can capture one at about level 22 in the Kun Lai Summit area.

Meh, a humanoid is a humanoid, an aquatic is an aquatic, let’s kick this pig.

So, smash the humanoid attack over and over, Dragonkin dies. Elemental insta-kills my Kun Lai Runt, then my Emperor Crab soloes both of the last two pets easily with Shell Shield and Healing Mists keeping me at full the entire time. Not even remotely a chance of losing.

Hmmm.

So, I won! The elemental fire spirit is cute. I’d like one of those. I should finish that quest someday

Something about that made me remember, back in the day, people were talking about this tamer being an easy faceroll to use to quickly level pets. I can see what they meant, I didn’t even have an Anubisath Idol and it was easy.

That made me wonder, just how fast could you level a pet that way? Was it nerfed?

I took my Kun Lai Runt and Emperor Crab, plus the level 1 Anubisath Idol, to Terokkar Forest and fought a Skunk. Anubisath Idol dinged level 4. You’d expect that, with a level 1 pet getting XP from some level 20’s.

Okay, so then I took the Anubisath Idol as first pet, Kun Lai Runt as second and Emperor Crab as third to the Burning Pandaren Spirit Tamer.

The first pet he uses is always the Dragonkin, and the first attack the Dragonkin uses is ALWAYS the Tornado, which calls up the whirlwind but doesn’t actually do any damage in that first round. Low level pet is assured to survive that round.

So, level 4 pet, Dragonkin summons a whirlwind, my Idol walks up and punches the Dragonkin on the snout and bravely runs away.

Swap in the Kun Lai Runt, and proceed to spam my humanoid ‘punch in nose HARD’ ability.

The whirlwind did a lot of damage to the overall team, but nobody died, not even the level 4 Idol. I can see why people say the Anubisath Idol at 25 is good for this, because that sandstorm ability nefs the damage done by the whirlwind to the ground, preventing your cowering low level beasties in the back row from taking too much damage.

Can we get through this round?

YES!

Dragonkin died, Kun Lai Runt died, Emperor Crab finished off the last two same as before.

Anubisath Idol dinged level 11.

Really? Level 11? One fight?

Wow.

Okay, try a second fight.

Wait, level 16?

Holy crap.

My Anubisath Idol was level 25 in about a half hour to an hour of fighting… because I don’t have any bandages, I didn’t look up where the nearest Stable Master was for quick heals, and my Kun Lai Runt died every time so I had to wait out the 8 minute rez timer.

I had pets go from level 23 to 25 in one fight. Pets need about 2000 xp to go from level 24 to 25, and you get around 3000xp or more for beating the Spirit Tamer. One fight, and you ding from 24 to 25. That’s pretty nice.

So, sure I swapped some of my other ‘almost but not quite’ 23s and 24s in to top them off.

The thing is, I never finished the original quest. I was lazy, so I’d do it ‘someday’.

So, now I can go up and fight him over and over in a chain, instead of him being a daily quest giver.

I am so late to the party on this it’s not funny, but all I can do is make sure to share this with you now.

If you have at least three 25’s, and you haven’t completed the quest for the Pandaren Elemental Tamers yet, you can go grab a high level Emperor Crab from the Dread Wastes water area where the Saurok hang out, you can grab a Kun Lai Runt from the Kun Lai Summit, and they’re already pretty close to 25. It shouldn’t take too long to finish them off.

Then, once you level those two to full, you can take them and level ALL of your other pets from 1 to 25 pretty darn quick.

If you were the early bird that got the worm, already did the quest and have been doing the dailies, then it’s too late…

But, well, sometimes it pays to be the procrastinating buzzard that eats the roadkill.

On the positive side, doing the dailies got you lots of chances to get those awesome Pandaren elemental pets! So it all works out. Right?

Right?!?

Pandaren Monk training video

I know Preach Gaming is supposed to have the best ‘how to play your class’ Youtube videos, but I think this video of a bear with an equipped staff is pretty OP.

You can try to nerf bears all you like, but we just upgrade by getting our noses into it.

Noses… feet, whatever.

We can kick your butt with a staff while nibblin’ on our toes, so just step back.

Team Wanda Calls Up A Raid Rookie

I haven’t spoken much about raiding recently.

The reason being, I haven’t been doing it. No, LFR doesn’t count. If it did, I would not simply be a raider, I would be it’s king.

I finally gave up on being part of a regular raid team to cut down on how many evenings I had where I simply had to be sitting at my desk all night. I don’t need to go into that again, you know the deal. Most of the time, my character may be logged in, but I’m not actually at my desk. It could be argued that even when I am sitting there, I’m not really there, but let’s not go there.

Um.

So, I stepped back from being part of a regular raid group or schedule.

Instead, I’ve became one of the ‘backup’ DPS players on the bench for Team Wanda, the progression raid team in Band of Misfits. Nothing can go wrong there, right? Backups never get called up from the bench. Right?

Right?

I expect this will mean I play less in the future. Someday.

In the short term, I’m spending more time playing than ever before, because I feel the need to do everything I can to be geared, prepared and ready to step off the bench at a moments notice.

Yep. That means I’m trying to Valor Cap and get full clears of all three Throne of Thunder LFRs as early into the week as possible.

Good news! At this rate within a few weeks I’ll be about as geared as I can from LFR, and I can back off the push.

And then comes a new patch! Gah! Okay, just kidding. The next patch won’t have raid gear. Whew!

It is nice, though. All kidding aside, I only have one commitment in the game; Being as ready to go as possible on my Warlock, and waiting for the call.

As long as everyone in Wanda is good to go each week, I might never get called up off the bench. Right?

You never know when the lightning might strike. Check my Twitter, check my Texts, am I raiding tonight? Do they need me? Or can I log off and read The Man Who Saved The Union; Ulysses Grant in War and Peace by H. W. Brands?

You just never know.

Case in point.

Last night I’m strolling along, minding my own business, and about 45 minutes prior to regular Team Wanda raid time, I get the whisper. “Super can’t make it, he’s got something really important happening, can you step in for raid tonight? 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM your time.”

Um… sure.

 

Stepping foot for the first time into a fresh run of normal Throne of Thunder felt amazing. To see it somewhere other than LFR. To put into practice the good advice and strategies learned from Fatboss videos and by listening to the Convert to Raid podcast.

And of course the most important bit.

The stress of hoping you’re not the reason the raid wipes by standing in bad.

A two hour normal Throne of Thunder run, and in that time we blasted through the first five bosses, each killed in one attempt. Nice and smooth.

The thing that stood out for me was how calm everyone else was in vent. It was farm content for them at this point, what you have to plow through to get to the good stuff; Flight Team Alpha and nest smashing, maze dancing and blood pool soaking.

Wednesday night was what they had to get through to get to the good stuff.

For me, last night WAS the good stuff. 🙂

You know what cracked their jaded voices, and sent a surge of enthusiasm through vent?

We were entering the Megaera area, and just past Tortos in the tunnel was a massive gold explanation point meaning a quest was there to be had, a quest called Rocks Fall, People Die.

It was a quest… to kill an NPC in the Megaera trash area, an NPC named Rocky Horror.

That’s right, the ICC weekly random raid quest challenges are back! Genuine enthusiasm was felt at the prospect of killing Rocky Horror.

Chron had a horrible pun… so I’ll repeat it.

He said that while fighting Rocky Horror, the monster fears people, and that fear should wipe away our buff cooldowns so, yes, you guessed it, we could all do the Time Warp again.

Yes, I know. I suffer, so you have to suffer too.

Okay, secretly I think that would have been a great idea. Shh, don’t tell him I said that, it’ll only encourage him.

Looking back on the crazy that was last night, I don’t have a recap so much as a few flashbacks.

Whirl Turtles are either a LOT slower on 10 man normal than in 25 LFR, or they nerfed the shit out of them. In LFR I move my butt as fast as I can, and it seems like I get hit no matter what I do. There I am running like hell, and boom, Whirl Turtle right up the butt. Normal, not so much. You have a chance to move if you are actually trying to, like, move.

There is just too much trash on the bridges. We could stand to have two fewer of the hags on each stretch of bridge. Plus, holy cowpatties the floaty trolls knock you back on normal, stay out of those blue circles, I kid you not. Respect to the trolls, I thought they were just silly in LFR.

Horridon is a lot of fun on normal, as long as you remember to target the mobs that JUMP DOWN and burn them down first. The guys running in through the gates? I swear those scrubs are LFR bait to sucker you into targeting the wrong stuff at the start.

Does Blizzard hate healers this expansion or what? Or does it just seem that way to me?

You can tell what a raid leader fears most by what gets called out on vent. Most of the run was fairly laid back without much in the way of announcements. On Council, Every time that Loa Spirit was up, it was called in vent. No exceptions.

Megaera… ah, Megaera. Green Red Green Red Blue Red Green. Or something. I hear tell you can have fun switching up the order any way you’d like to get different effects, depending on your groups strengths. Just doing it on normal one particular way was fine with me. Cinders on you! Run away, little girl. Run away.

An amazing night, lots of fun, good times with good people.

So, I was called up off the bench, did my job, now I’m back to the minors again, satisfied that whatever else can be said… we never actually wiped.

Better yet, I don’t believe I ever once heard anyone exclaiming “bear! bear!” in that “I’m calling you out for not doing what you’re supposed to be doing without saying what you’re doing wrong” way. Always makes for a good night.

The Cub Report: The Mystery Revealed!

Okay, are you ready for the big reveal?

I bet you scrolled down to see the pictures first, didn’t you? You scrolled down, then scrolled back up. Shame on you.

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..

..

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Pac Man? Is that you? Wakka wakka…

What was in the box is a Figureprints statue of one of my sons characters, Wooffie. Well done Andrew for your accurate guess, even if you talked yourself out of it immediately.

Figureprints statue of World of Warcraft warlock character Wooffie, a Worgen in purple robes clutching a staff

Wooffie the Worgen Warlock!

Yes… yes, it is a Warlock.

How Wooffie the Worgen Warlock became a Figureprint is fairly interesting to me.

I asked our son what he thought. If any one of his characters could be a statue, who would he want it to be?

I tried to ask in such a way that he never once suspected it might actually happen. This kind of questioning is usually the province of Department of Homeland Security gestapo, and spouses desperate for birthday ideas, but I did my best.

I expected the answer to be his Worgen Death Knight. That is the character he actually plays, the character he’s run numerous raids with, Dragon Soul, Molten Core, he has his bank with full 22 slot bags and his entire Void Storage choked with transmog gear.

Nope.

He wanted Wooffie, his Worgen Warlock to be a statue. And he was serious about it.

He knew the exact outfit he wanted to be wearing, as well as which weapon. How? Because he spends more time in game browsing the MogIt addon than he does actually playing.

Which reminds me, I really need to try and get enough people scraped together to get his Worgen Death Knight the Molten Core chest piece. He has the rest of the set along with the heroic mode chest armor, but that flaming red doesn’t blend well with the nice orange of the normal mode. Someday.

Anyway.

We made sure to run raids until he had every piece of the Warlock Tier, looked smoking hot, that Warlock was on fire, man. He also got the staff he selected as his transmog weapon.

I revealed that this was for real, we were actually going to do a Figureprints statue. His reaction was so cute, I swear he squeeed.

We went to the Figureprints website, where we were able to import his character and equipment directly from the Armory.

I was shocked to see Figureprints does Minecraft as well. I was quick to hide that from Alex, I shudder to think what could come from THAT revelation!

Our first surprise in browsing the character options was that you weren’t limited to gear you actually had equipped on your Armory page. You could also browse character sets, and choose from among them to deck out the character you wished you had instead of the one you were stuck with because that damn helm won’t ever drop.

After browsing sets for a while, he went back to ‘HIS’ Wooffie, and then chose his own pose, base, colors for his name, everything.

He got to bring his own character to life, and we placed the order.

What might have thrown you off in your guesses from the previous post is how big the box was that arrived. It’s a big honking box.

That is because the statue is HUGE!

I had in my mind that this thing would be, okay, bigger than a wargaming miniature, but not much bigger. Maybe as big as normal action figures in the stores these days, around 3 1/2″ tall.

Um, no. This thing is around 10″ or more tall, and very wide. The entire thing is sturdy as heck, and I’m not kidding about how big it is. This is a statue under glass, something extremely noticeable on your shelf. It doesn’t get lost among the clutter.

Wooffie the Warlock statue, with a noticeable matte 'dust' appearance.

Wooffie the Dusty Warlock

So, to the good. It looks great. I don’t know how these pictures will turn out, but holding the statue in your hands, it looks incredible. It IS Wooffie, right there, big as biscuits and gravy. I was concerned about the fine details of the armor and glowy bits, but in person it looks incredible. There is absolutely no question what this is, and he looks good doing it.

The one thing that isn’t a negative but is something you notice is… as you can see, the manufacturing process does leave the product with a slightly dusty finish.

I think, for a character wearing cloth, it looks great. It leaves stone spikes and skulls and cloth all looking very good.

Alex did notice the dusty finish right away, not so much as a complaint as in thinking that it may have gotten dusty before the glass dome was put on. “Can we take the glass off and brush it off?”, so it’s certainly there and does give the impression of a light coating of dust.

Again, looking closely at the staff and cloth armor, it doesn’t take away from the figure at all.

My only thought is, if I were a devotee of ‘slut plate’, or chose a character wearing shiny metal armors or lighter colored tones, would the dusty appearance have mattered more?

I have no idea. I’d love to get the opinions of others who have Figureprints of characters wearing colorful metallic armors, and especially pictures I could feature, to find out more.

I was talking to Tesh of Tish Tosh Tesh, the Master of Peep Mayhem and Marshmallow Mastication his thoughts about the dusty finish.

He thought it might be possible for someone to use a clear coat polymer over parts that are supposed to be metal to get a nice effect. He did point out it gives you more of an incentive to play a cloth or leather wearing class. 🙂

I agree with him, but when you’ve invested in something this special, it would take massive guts to experiment with paints and coatings. Or to breathe on it too hard.

Overall, it’s fantastic.

I know I teased you yesterday, but I hope the final surprise was worth it.

Thank you to Cassie, who took a lot of pictures and, to my mind, did a great job of getting details through the glass case. Thanks, sweetie!

It’s a Mystery

I have something special to show you, something really neat.

I’ll show you pictures, I’ll do a big reveal.

When you see it, you will laugh, you’ll cry. It’s not a hoax, not an imaginary tale.

It’s real!

But… you’ll have to wait.

For now, all I will say is…

Whatever it is, it’s in the box.

Closed carton, marked this side up.

It’s a Mystery. Ooh, spooky!

You Have to Earn Respect

Of all the roles in World of Warcraft, tanks tend to get the most respect just for showing up.

Players who go for DPS are there doing what everyone does everyday. Since everyone does it, there isn’t much inherent respect for someone as a DPS player. Nobody is sitting in LFR thinking, “Woah, a Beastmaster Hunter, that must be one heck of a skilled player!”

No. Nobody says that.

Healers are a mixed bag when it comes to respect. Those that have never played a healer often seem to think they just stand there playing whack-a-mole on a grid of health bars, afk half the time watching Benny Hill.

In fact, healing is mostly noticed in the absence. You don’t know how the healers are doing or that they’re even there until people start dying. I’ve noticed in LFR that many people don’t care WHY someone died. Apparently mechanics are out the window, and it doesn’t matter if you were standing in purple or not, if you died, it was the healers fault because LOL LFR.

Of course, those of us who have played as tanks know exactly what kind of hell we put healers through, and God bless you, you poor, sad, abused souls.

But tanks?

Tanks get respect just for showing up.

The tank is the boss, the leader, the supreme poobah that is going to lead us out of the desert and into the promised land of 90 Valor and great big heaping… bags of gold.

Now more than at any other time, 25 random strangers appear in a room, and all eyes turn to the tanks to lead the way and go go go.

The tank is expected to automatically (and instantly!) take charge and lead the raid, right up front in the spotlight, all eyes upon you. Better not screw this up.

It is the tank that starts marking, controls where bosses move, and has the full responsibility for positioning everything properly.

The difference between a run that goes smoothly and a run that has you screaming hatred at the monitor is generally how experienced the tank is with the fight, and whether they know how to position everything/taunt/tank swap properly.

So, full respect for tanks, right? They choose to take upon their shoulders that responsibility, and I for one am very grateful to them.

Most of them.

Sadly, not all tanks in LFR are up to the task.

Maybe it’s precisely because I respect those who step up and tank and fully appreciate what is involved in tanking well done that when I see someone queued as a tank with a piss-poor attitude, it sends me into paroxysms of rage.

Look, the only thing a tank truly has to have is the right attitude.

You don’t have to have maxed out epic gear or prior experience as a tank on the boss fights. In fact, you don’t even HAVE to have been in the LFR as a DPS or healer first to get some experience with the base fight, although I strongly recommend it at least once.

What you have to have is a desire to perform your role well, and enough give-a-shit to prepare a teeny bit ahead of time.

Let me tell you something. If you can’t be bothered to do the bare minimum necessary to have a clue what to do before you step in the raid, then pick something else to do in the game. You aren’t cut out to be a tank. Don’t let people think they can count on you, you’re not ready for it.

At the point where you don’t care, that exact point where you really just can’t be bothered, but you’re going to queue as a tank for fights that you have never seen before and have no idea whatsoever is about to happen, it is at that point RIGHT THERE that you have lost my respect, and I hope you get the reaming that you are due. Even for LOL LFR.

It doesn’t have to be that way. I could macro it, I see it so much,  “Don’t know the fights? Never been here before? Next time why not try Fatboss strat videos on YouTube! Guaranteed to keep you from looking like a noob or double your money back.”

How to be better prepared to tank LFR, by the numbers;

1) Watch a strategy video.

This is an easy step to take. There are a lot of videos out there, easy to find, and many of them are funny to watch with great commentary. The Fatboss series of videos is good for this, and can be found on Youtube. No cost, easy to find, great sense of humor. A quick watch and you will understand what the basics of the fights are, without ever having stepped foot in the place.

Watching a video while someone else spoon feeds the fight mechanics to you is so easy that not doing it is inexcusable.

Maybe you want to be surprised by the mechanics, you want to experience it fresh and new.

Great. Go do it with friends on normal.

LFR with 24 complete strangers, queued as the tank with everyone relying on you to have a clue is not the time to be a dumbass. You want a fresh spoiler-free look at the content, do it on your own time with friends who love you and will put up with you because friendship transcends the stresses of time and stupid people.

2) Read the Dungeon Journal.

There is a resource built into the game that gives you detailed data on every boss in the new raids, every mechanic, every situation. Consider it a Gamefaqs for WoW raiding, a cheat sheet for chasing valors. Many Bothans should have died to get this information to you, and it’s all there, the weaknesses of the enemy, presenting you with all the info you need to shove your missile right up the enemy exhaust port.

The resource I speak of is the Dungeon Journal, and you can find it on your button bar. It’s okay, go look for it, spend some time reading through it. It’s pretty cool. And it’s free! They just GIVE this shit away! It’s like they want you to win, or something. Knowledge is powa, grasshopper.

It’s not perfect, I know. What the Dungeon Journal will not do is tell you what the ‘commonly accepted’ tactic is for handling a boss fight. It tells you what the bosses will do to you, not what you should do about it. But if you watched a video, they probably talked about the ‘commonly accepted’ tactics already, so you’re good, right?

And the Dungeon Finder will give you LFR specific information!

3) Do an LFR as something other than the tank FIRST, at least once.

I know you want tank gear. And I know that, until patch 5.3 rolls around, the only way you can queue as one spec and have a chance to get the gear of another spec is to change specs  on the fly after the boss is dead but before you use your Bonus Roll for that boss.

Don’t lose hope, that DOES work! I’ve seen it happen.

If you have never done an LFR before, please run it as something other than the tank the first time. Give yourself that one chance to see the basics and integrate them before you add on the specialized tasks of the tank. You have no idea how critical the proper positioning of the bosses can be for these runs. Tanks make or break groups by how they position mobs, and both tanks are necessary for most of them. You can’t just queue for tank expecting to be the unnecessary offtank, and coast off of someone else doing the real tanking work.

If you really have to run it as the tank even for your first time, then I refer you once again to strategy videos and the Dungeon Journal. There are still ways you can prepare without announcing in full-on ignorance, “This is my first time in this raid ever, what do I do? Is there a taunt?”

4) Immediately whisper your co-tank when you step foot into LFR to coordinate with them.

When all else fails, talk to your other tank and work with them on who will do what. Maybe they will be experienced and will guide you on what they want you to do to back them up, maybe they will be in the same position as you, and you can agree to work together, boldly advancing into certain death.

It’s sad, is what it is.

I wish I could be sure that the people who need to see this ever would. The runs I’ve been on that make this post necessary leave a bitter taste behind.

I truly never expected to see a day when a 25 person raid would get someone who proudly proclaims, at the start of EVERY fight, “I’ve never seen this raid before ever, what do I do?” And it’s not a joke, or irony, or any of that! Dead serious, ignorant and queued as a tank anyway because why should they care? The queue was shorter and they’ll get better chances at tank gear. Truly has no idea, is in all greens and blues, but is there as the tank so yay.

First half of Heart of Fear, and on the fifth wipe of Horridon we are still trying to get through to the tank, “Stop, please stop standing in the purple circle. Please. Please, stop. Stop standing in the purple circle. Dear lord please stop doing it. Please. I just want my 90 Valor and to go curl up in a corner and cry, please stop.”

You don’t have to show up dripping epics to be a good tank. You don’t have to have run it a billion times. You don’t even have to have done it before, everyone runs everything for the first time sometime.

What you gotta do is, you have to care just a tiny bit that you are assuming a role that carries with it some responsibility. Just a little bit.

You have to give a shit.

When I think back over the years to some of the really nice people I’ve known who wanted to tank, who really wanted to try it but were afraid to because they weren’t confident in themselves or in their skill, who were nervous of failing under the pressure of all those eyes, judging them in case they weren’t great…

When I think of all the people I know who cared so much, who tried so damn hard to be perfect tanks, the stress of tanking for strangers could make them cry if things didn’t go well…

I want to take some of these new asshats and put their nuts in a vise. Just, give them a first class case of the nutcrusher.

Serious, no shit, I wish I could put an account on the ignore list and vote to kick them off the internet.

Ignorant louts. You give tanks a bad name.