Friday, May 29, 2020

Friday Musings

Yes, I get a bunch of these "thinky thoughts", as my wife calls them, from time to time. Stuff not worthy of a separate blog post, but also things that make me go "hmmm...."

So here we go, a compilation of curious thoughts that I couldn't quite get rid of.


What is the appeal of The Cult of the Damned?

I get that there are some people who are psychotic and are so in love with death that they'll seek the Cult* out, and that there's the occasional person who wants power so badly they'll sacrifice everything about their human form that they'll willingly become a lich, but come on. All these people in Scholomance, the Plaguelands, and supposedly throughout Azeroth as Cult members?

What is it; do they throw great parties or something?

Looks like they could use a keg
of beer and some red solo cups.
Or at least a television with Mario
Kart running in the background.


Black Diamond would make a great name for an 80s rock band. I've mentioned that in a few Blackrock Depths runs, but only us old folks find it amusing.


If there was one thing that a Mage in WoW would dispel, you'd think it'd be a Magic debuff. But no, it's "Remove Curse". Go figure...


Every time I play Star Trek Online, when you talk to an NPC for a quest, there's just something about their eyes that is so unnatural that it creeps me out.

When the eyes shift from left to right...
It just looks like an alien pretending
to be human. From Playstation Nation.


People who write quest text should be forced to read it out loud as if they were talking to someone. If nothing else, it would force them to write quest text that actually sounds like a conversation rather than what passes for quest text these days.

Have you ever tried reading quest text out loud? It can be an incredible struggle to do just that. At the same time, it's supposed to be a conversation, so it should just flow properly like as if you were speaking to your buddies.

But you know what? It only rarely sounds normal.

If there's one thing that the SWTOR writers nailed, it's the quest interactions. Those cutscenes for questing are absolutely dead on, particularly in the original "vanilla" SWTOR areas.

*No relation to Blue Oyster Cult or even The Cult, both damn fine rock bands.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Notes from Nowhereland

I took the weekend off.

Oh, not from playing games or anything, because there were plenty of things that went on:
  • I got stomped pretty badly in a game of Settlers of Catan.*
  • I got into my first raid since my Horde guild back in the day did a 10 man raid of AQ40 in Late Wrath.
  • I'm seriously considering joining a guild. (Yes, this and the raid bullet point are related.)
  • I ran Dire Maul - North with someone as tank that I've not run an instance with since Az was last in Razorfen Kraul. (He is still as good a tank as ever.)
  • A person on my Classic server (Myzrael-US) passed away and his guild honored and remembered him by a long slow walk to the entrance of Molten Core.
 But I took the weekend off from the entire blogging process.
I even ignored my email, Reddit, and Facebook for the weekend, and the latter two turned out to be a very good thing because I would have been driven nuts by seeing all the lack of social distancing going on.**

It was freeing to not have to worry about coming up with anything for the blog, because suggested posts kind of fell in my lap regardless, but the one thing I couldn't seem to get away from was the endless parade of "Why aren't you in a guild?" questions.


On a very early Saturday morning, I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep, so I figured I'd get on WoW Classic and do some rep farming until I felt sleepy again. While I was perusing Cardwyn's current rep status and quests, I discovered I'd never finished the Marshall Windsor questline on her. I had the last quest in the Windsor portion of the chain, but I never completed the event. Therefore, I rode down to the entrance of Stormwind, waited for the person currently on the event to finish, and started it for Card.

About partway through Stormwind --for those Horde players who never performed the Alliance only questline, you end up walking rather than running-- a priest decided to tag along. She buffed me --and I returned the favor, because that's the polite thing to do-- and as we walked along she checked to make sure that I was aware of what I was getting myself into. After exchanging pleasantries and discussing WoW lore***, she then asked the inevitable question that people quiz me over: why am I not in a guild?

I explained the usual situation, about how I've been burned in the past and I'd really not deal with the drama in my gaming any more than in real life, but she made a point that stuck with me: I'm not obligated to remain in a guild if I don't like the drama. She herself had left a previous guild because she wasn't interested in drama, and the guild leadership was basically a generation younger than herself****, so she didn't have those social touchpoints to connect with people either.

Perhaps the reason why it resonated with me so much was because when I join a group such as a guild, I try to make it work. I put in time to be social, to help out in farming mats, and doing other (non-raiding) activities when I can. And I guess that makes me more loyal than it should. Certainly, if a guild's members or leadership don't reciprocate, I'm not obligated to remain with that guild. At the same time, I hate to leave people I like behind, but nothing says that I have to break ties with them just because I left.

Yes, you'd think that this is Adulting 101, but at the same time my tendency toward loyalty does become a problem this way. Even if I don't like a situation I'm in, I'd prefer to not rock the boat until things simply become untenable.

Or they blow up.


Because of this, I've spent a lot of the rest of the weekend thinking.

It's easy to tell others that they have to grow up and act in a more mature fashion, but not so much to shine the harsh glare of reality on yourself and practice what you preach.

And one of the things I've decided was that I invested so much time in my independence while gaming that it's become a large part of my identity, and likely to my detriment. That while it is fine to be independent, I shouldn't shy from making connections. I shouldn't reject everything because of a couple of bad experiences, and instead I should approach this in a more nuanced fashion.

This should be an interesting week. We'll see how things land.

*That's what I get for playing the percentages rather than "trusting my feelings".

**I saw the lack of social distancing in action on Friday when I "noped" out of walking around in the small town the oldest mini-Red's university is located. I drove through, saw all of the people hanging out and congregating in big groups, and said "oh HELL no" and took a pass.

***I mentioned that Christie Golden is a friend of a friend of mine of Facebook, and she got all excited as Christie was her favorite of the WoW authors. I did confirm that she seems nice on FB, but I don't really have any interactions with her. So beyond the occasional comment on our mutual friend's FB page, I don't really talk to her.

****She was my age. (Or at least she said she was, and to be fair if she was lying I don't know many people who'd lie and say they were older than they really were.)

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Smell of Burning Solder in the Morning

One of the things I like to tinker with is electronics.

Yes, I used to listen to shortwave radio back in the day, but these days old stations such as the BBC, Radio Nederland, and Radio Deutche Welle either no longer broadcast at all or broadcast to other parts of the world, not North America.

That doesn't mean that the itch to smell burning solder* ever really fades from someone who likes nothing more than to crack open an old radio and see what's inside.

Over a decade ago, I'd acquired a 1970s era Sony AM/FM radio for my son so he'd have a radio in his room. At the time he liked to have some music on overnight while he slept, and a radio like this one:

Sony ICF-9650W, from

for just a couple of bucks at a yard sale was pretty much a no brainer. Nice and solid feel, with only a couple of knobs and a single switch for small hands to play with, it was fairly kid proof.

So, for several years it stayed in his room until he acquired a modern boom box, complete with Bluetooth, and I relocated the old radio to the garage where I'd blast local stations when I was out working there.

The past several months, however, I'd noticed that the radio frequency would drift a bit, and the sound quality was degrading, so I figured it was time to crack open the radio and see if any of the parts needed replacement.

Well, this is what it's supposed to look like:

Again, from,
because my pic looked pretty lousy.
There's actually two more circuit
boards underneath the main one.

But instead I found quite a bit of corrosion coming from leaking capacitors.

See the two cylinders? Ignore the
dust and you can see the corrosion
at the bottom. It was even on the red
wire next to it.

So, once I found a schematic online I realized I had my work cut out for me. Sure, it wasn't going to be as exhausting as working on a classic 70s era receiver, but the circuit board design did not make it easy to access without taking apart and unsoldering several parts. But with the schematic I had a parts listing, so off to Mouser Electronics (yes, that's the name of the online store) to order a bunch of replacement electrolytic capacitors.

The caps arrived on Monday, so I took the better part of all of my spare time on Monday night and Tuesday pulling apart the radio and replacing all of the caps on the board. I probably didn't have to do so, but given that the radio was 42 years old I wasn't going to risk it.

I also had a hard deadline of finishing this before dinner on Wednesday, because I was using the kitchen table as my mad scientists' lab.

Still, I was on quite a high, tinkering with stuff I'd not touched in at least a decade or more.

I finished my work around 6 PM, spent about 20 minutes putting everything back together, and then fired it up.


I unplugged the radio, checked to make sure nothing was obviously wrong, and tried again.

Still nothing.

Muttering a few choice curses, I began checking to see if there was something fried on the board.

Yep, there was: all four diodes used in converting the power from AC to DC on the circuit board had blown. If you look at the second pic above, you can see that little stretch of parts in the bottom center that are covered in some tan goop; the green cylinders are ceramic capacitors that hardly ever are damaged, but the tiny black cylinders are the diodes that blew.
The good news is that their replacements (the originals are no longer made) only cost something like $0.04 or $0.10 each. The bad news is that I have no direct way of knowing if they blew because of something I did (which is likely) without more test equipment than what I have.** So I could simply buy a bunch of replacement parts once more, but I should also go over in detail everything that was replaced to make sure I didn't do something stupid.

And that --right now, anyway-- is something I don't have time for.

So I've got a torn apart radio sitting in my garage, taunting me every time I see it.

But I've not given up. Not yet. I'll get you, my pretty!

*and the occasional burning flesh accompaniment.

**I do have a digital multimeter, but I don't have the ability to check capacitors or signals or whatnot.
And I'm pretty sure my wife would not be pleased if I decided I needed an oscilloscope.

EtA: replaced the links with copies. For some reason the links broke some hours later.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Coming Soon to a Table Near You...

I'm just gonna put this here....

Before you ask, no, I've never played Small World before. Published a year after Pandemic (the board game, not the event*), I know it was covered by Wil Wheaton in his TableTop series, and it does remain popular, but I've never actually played it.

That might have to change.

*And when you hear somebody say "Nobody ever thought a pandemic would happen!", remember that enough people DID to create a boardgame franchise out of it.

Thursday, May 14, 2020


One unintended side effect of Blapril has been that I get this twitchy feeling that I should be writing when ordinarily I'd be relaxing or gaming.*

So, this post is the result.

And its all about understanding patience.

No, really.

You see, I've spent the past couple of days grinding both Timbermaw and Argent Dawn rep, and even in the best of times it's a long slog. Maybe not nearly as bad as Cenarion Circle rep in Silithus, but it's up there.

But what I've witnessed is how people approach grinding, and whether they really have any patience or not.

For example, today I spent some time grinding because I simply didn't have the time to fit an instance run before work. There I was, getting feathers from Felpaw Village, and for about 15 minutes there was nobody around.

Quiet, there was.

Slow, the respawns were.

Then an Orc Warlock arrived and started killing mobs near me.

"No big deal," I thought, so I moved to another section and began there. I wasn't going to complain about this guy killing "my" mobs because I didn't know how to share.

The Orc finished his side and then swam across the lake (?) and started killing the mobs on my side.

I shrugged, said okay, and then moved back to the side he recently vacated and began killing the mobs that were now respawning more quickly.

The Orc came back and started killing the mobs again.

I moved back to the other side and began the process again.

Rinse, repeat.

After about the third time he did this I wanted to point out that he didn't have to come over to my side because mobs were already respawning on his side, but the Warlock had it in his head he had to get ALL OF THEM, which mean crossing over to my side.

Now, to make this perfectly clear, there was no time where I had to stop killing mobs at all, because there were plenty of respawns happening all the time. But it was the approach to things, where the Warlock simply couldn't run back to the end of his area and start all over, that got to me.

I'm pretty sure I could have devised an Aesop's Fable about this, called "The Warlock, The Rogue, and the Felpaw Village", except for what happened in Winterfall Village afterward.


I'd set myself an internal clock of gathering 25 sets of feathers before crossing through to Winterspring and acquiring the quest to go kill eight of three separate Winterfall Village groups, and by the time I left Felpaw Village the Orc had been joined by a couple of like minded rep farmers who spent more time running around than actually farming at that point.

So when I arrived at Winterfall Village, I noticed almost immediately that every single Winterfall Villager had been killed. It would have been the site of a mystery, "The Winterfall Massacre", were it not almost immediately obvious who'd been doing the killing. While I stealthed around, investigating, I was passed by at least four other toons, riding around and hunting for available Winterfall to slay. At the top of the ridge, I found some Winterfall Ursa with nobody around, so I began work on the quest at hand. I got about halfway through killing the first Ursa when a Dwarf Paladin rode up, got in my face for a half second, then rode around, drawing aggro of all of the remaining Ursa nearby.

I wouldn't have been shocked to have seen him yell "MINE!!" on top of it. (He didn't.)

Really, dude?

He could have just as easily whispered if we could group up for faster rep grinding (or in my case questing), but he chose to be an ass about it.

And I could have been just an ass by pulling Winterfall firbolgs near him when I saw him working on some Winterfall a couple of minutes later, but I chose not to. I simply worked around everybody else, stealthing as much as I could, and getting my quest completed the hard way.


As much as the previous post was about how reaching out to others worked, this post ended up being about how greed slows everybody down. It would have been better in the long run to share, because a group could easily have covered a lot more ground and gathered a lot more rep than a person working alone, but nobody took that chance. In fact, people were so wrapped up in "me" and "mine" that it worked against everybody's goals.

Funny how WoW mirrors real life like that. Aesop would have been proud.

*Or doing anything other than writing, I suppose.

Monday, May 11, 2020

"Time for Sharing, Class"

I'm not one to bug people online, particularly when I really ought to ask someone for a favor.

I suppose that some of that is my natural introversion, but a lot of it has to do that I was raised in the US Midwest. Pestering people, or calling them up and asking for a favor, is not in your typical Midwesterner's DNA. Saying hello, talking about pleasantries, and maybe agreeing to get together to game or just hang out is just fine. But favors? I'd rather have a root canal instead.

I've been a fan of Dar Williams's work for a couple
of decades now, and when in the song Iowa she
talks about how "we never mean to bother", she's got
the Midwestern ethos nailed.

So when Cardwyn joined a group for Scholomance and we needed a tank, I kind of hoped someone else would come up with one. Typically the tanks I do know and are acquainted with are already busy in a raid or running a 5-man, so I've never had to worry about reaching out like that. But this time, I did actually know someone who was available, and was mentioning to me the other day that they'd not mind tanking for me. Their main is a raid Healer, and he doesn't get a chance to tank that much.

The group leader asked if anybody knew a tank, and after a few moments of wrestling of whether I should bug my friend, I spoke up and said I know one who looks available. The group leader gave me the go ahead to reach out and ask if he was interested, and sure enough he was happy to join. He just needed a few minutes.

Now, to also add to this, I knew the Healer and the Warlock in this group from other pugs I've done, so this felt like one of those awkward social moments that you dread about in middle school: when a member of one friends' group meets another friends' group. When you consider that I was inviting a tank to join, if things went south it would also reflect poorly on me.

I shouldn't have worried.

We had a couple of wipes in that first area in Scholomance because of the group being feared into other mobs, but once we settled on clearing most of the middle mobs by doing pulls up the stairs, things went well. In fact, the only other wipe was when we tried the event for the Paladin fast mount: the first couple of waves went okay, but then --as the group leader put it-- it got "stupid hard real fast".

I actually got to see something I never had before, where the lich Ras Frostwhsiper was turned back into a human. And he was a lot harder to kill than when he was a lich. (Just sayin'.)

The most important part, however, was that the group meshed well, except for the Warrior DPS' tendency to take over aggro by not waiting for the tank to build up enough aggro. Card even got two pieces of L60 gear out of the deal. But I think the biggest part of that evening was that my friend the tank volunteered to heal Dire Maul - East so that I could get that Crystal Water quest done. (Any gear there would be a bonus, really.)


"So kids, what have we learned today?"

That it's fine to ask people to help out. They might just appreciate the ask.

This knowledge doesn't necessarily make it a cakewalk to ask people, but it does make it easier to do so.

Darn Midwesterners.

*The composition of the Midwest varies, but the term broadly encompasses the old Northwest Territory ceded to the new United States by Britain in 1783. From that territory, north of the Ohio River, west of the Allegheny Mountains, and east of the Mississippi River, came the states Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Iowa, Nebraska, and the Dakotas are frequently added to the list, but from my perspective they are more properly considered Plains States that came from the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon in 1803. Still, the Midwestern ethos thrives in those states too.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Just One of Those Days

The other night I had one of those runs that you'd prefer to forget.

A day or two before, this had happened:

Okay, so I'm a bit of a minimalist,
add-on wise.

so I was kind of itching to finally get access to the Crystal Water that L60 Mages can create. Sure, you can use that skill to make a bit of money in-game*, but I'm not one to monetize something that ought to be freely given to people who need it.

Now, I'd not been in Dire Maul North at level before --and not inside it at all since Cata dropped and reworked Dire Maul to a much lower level instance-- but I knew that after it was over the Crystal Water walkthroughs all pointed to getting to the Shen'dralar area for the quest. I did read up on DM-North, just to make certain what I was getting into after a near disastrous run of DM-West on Az, and I kept thinking that a bunch of Ogres should not be that hard to deal with. Unlike the various mobs that gang up on you in DM-West, the variety of mobs in DM-North are pretty vanilla. So when an opportunity opened up for a DM-North run I jumped at the chance.

To make matters even better --from my perspective-- Cardwyn had run with the healer before in an absurdly long Maraudon run and a very well done Blackrock Depths run, so I was confident in how things were going to go. This was primarily a guild group --except for Card-- but in general the guild group runs I've been in have worked out fairly well. When guild group runs talk among themselves in Discord that can be an issue as I don't use Discord***, but I figured that wouldn't be a problem here.

We wiped on the first trash pull.

Well, there were additional issues there. Just as the tank told me to sheep the moon, another mob came at us from behind so right after casting all hell broke loose.

Oh well, just like my first run in DM-W, I thought. No worries.

We proceeded to get ourselves clear of the first area, crept over to the second, and eventually made it through the door. The main concern I had was that we were performing sheep pulls, and before I could get close enough to sheep the ogre in question I'd aggro the rest of the mob. Therefore, I'd cast and haul my butt back to the rest of the group with ogres right on my heels. Since this wasn't working so well, we switched to the tank pulling and I'd sheep before the mob would arrive. We cleared a mob or two, then on another pull we were in the middle of a fight when another mob from over in the corner aggroed on us too.

We wiped there.

We cleared another mob, but I died when the ogre I'd sheeped suddenly popped back up and blasted me before I could sheep it again. I grumbled at myself a bit, but I got a battle rez from the healer and we kept going.

Hugging the wall, we went around the bend toward the next trash mob in the far corner, but before we could get even close the mob across the hall aggroed on me and two hits later I was gone.

With the Druid healer's battle rez on cooldown, I had to run back. By this time I was starting to wonder when I was going to see the "gear in danger of breaking" figure on screen.

The group said they were going to wait for me, which was a good thing as I had to wait while a wandering ogre first blocked my way at the entrance and then he blocked my way at the raised platform. After I finally made it through that, I joined the group while they were in the middle of another pull. I got up there and tried to sheep the caster, but he resisted. I sheeped him again and this time it stuck, but right after I turned to help the rest another group aggroed and that was that.

On the runback I noticed in the group chat "sheep the caster" from the healer. "I did sheep him, but he resisted, so I did it again," I replied.

"I know, I just panicked," the healer replied.

We eventually got all the way up to the top floor and another door, but we didn't have the key. We had to go get the key from a boss outside, so down we went. Somewhere in the middle of that running around the DPS Warrior aggroed a mob on the floor below us --which we were able to dispatch-- but it made me feel a little better that the ogres didn't explicitly have it out for old Cardwyn.

We ran through the second area, but I thought when they said they needed the key from the boss outside I thought they meant here, so I hung back with the Hunter as the boss was moving back right to where we were.

You can kind of guess what happened.

On my runback I was kicking myself for not just following the tank like I usually do.

Well, we took care of the first boss who had the key, but I was following the group back when a mob aggroed on the Hunter and me. He feigned death, and I died. It was only after I died when I noticed "stop" in chat.

"That was my fault," the healer said. "I was saying 'stop' in Discord, forgetting you weren't in there."

"No worries," I replied.

After this, well, the rest of the instance was pretty anti-climactic. Killed mobs, killed the boss, got into the Shen'dralar area, and got the quest for the Crystal Water.

But after it was over, I apologized to the group for my poor showing, as it was easily the worst job I've done in ages.

"Don't worry about it," the healer replied. "There was plenty of blame to go around."

Still, I felt badly about doing such a terrible job. I know those things happen, but I don't want to be known as "that guy" who can't be trusted to do well in group setting.

But I did learn one important thing: those ogres have an obscenely wide aggro radius. When I read about the DM-North tribute run, I thought that it wasn't going to be a big deal, but now I see with the aggro radius those ogres have it'll be quite the challenge.

Oh, and my repair bill? Well, I kind of earned that bill given my poor performance, so I'm okay with it.


And oh yeah, the kicker on this was that I explicitly turned off "auto loot" to check the reward gear and yet it still auto looted.

"WTF, I turned that off!" I said.

I have actual independent proof that I did it, because my oldest was watching the last part of the DM-North run and she saw me turn "auto loot" off.

"Hey," she said, "I saw you turn that off. What the fuck?!"

Luckily I killed the auto loot before the greens were looted and I gave the water and healing to the people who requested it. Along with a bit extra.

*When you're L55 and up, the struggle is real when you're constantly trying to drink with L45 water and you're sucking wind with mana because a single fight with a couple of uses of Blizzard can wipe out about 2/3 of your mana. Unless you get lucky at constantly getting best in slot items out of instances, you're going to not be totally optimized until much later, once you have run multiple instances to get "raid ready." I for one am not fond of slowing down the group by constantly having to drink, so I just try to get "reasonably close to 2/3 mana" and then catch up with the group once the tank has a good lock on aggro.

**Creating a portal, however, is a bit different as you need a Rune of Portals to create a single port, and I don't have any issues recouping your losses there.

***My voice carries even at normal volume, so accidentally waking the entire house up because I got excited isn't necessarily a good idea.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Being a Slave to the Mantra

Remember Blizzard's mantra, "bring the player not the class"?

The seeds of that mantra lay in their design for Vanilla, and you can see that in operation whenever the raiding guilds put out ads in game. Guilds looking for Warlocks, Holy Paladins, etc. are currently seen all over Myzrael-US, and are typically accompanied by "will take any class with exceptional players" as a catch-all just to make sure they're getting the best potential raiders possible. Raid composition is important for the success of the raid, and that unique composition requirement can be found even in 5-man instances.

Take Sunken Temple, for one well known instance.

Sure, you can have a primarily ranged DPS group and do quite well in almost all of Sunken Temple, but when you get to the Shade of Eranikus at the end, his sleep action pretty much requires an off tank to pick up tanking while the main tank is out cold.* I was part of a group without a tank spec (yes, a Healer + 4 DPS run because the tank had to bug out midway through) who managed to take out Erkanikus, but we got extremely lucky in the process that we had another DPS who could effectively off-heal (Shadow Priest), so we were able to heal through the designated tank's sleeping.

The same thing goes for Blackrock Depths, where you put two or three Mages in a group and you can clean up on the Lycaeum (aka the "group check") room filled with rapidly respawning Anvilrage Reserve enemies. Even if you don't have such a composition, having a Stealth class being able to roam through the room and mark the few Flame Keepers out there can be priceless to the success of a BRD run.

What got me thinking of the "Bring the player not the class" mantra, however, was a Lower Blackrock Spire run I was in the other day.


I hadn't been in LBRS since, oh, 2012 or so, and my first run through it (using Az) was pretty rough. It's not that the players weren't skilled, but since none of us save for the Healer had been in there since forever, it took us a long while to get into a groove. Still, we were highly dependent on the Ret Pally for any rezzes, because a Resto Druid only has a Battle Rez.

The second time I got into LBRS however --with Cardwyn-- turned out to be the equivalent of a speed run. It's not that we were trying to do a speed run, because we were chatting and having a good old time, but it just ended up that way. Only one player death, and even when we had an extra mob crash into us during a fight or two we turned out okay.

I mentioned how smooth the run was to the Healer afterward, and he said that the group composition was really good. Several players could remove various debuffs** which took the pressure (and mana usage) off of the Healer, and the ranged DPS (Card and a Warlock) could trade off of each other and mostly keep any ads or runners at bay.

That brings me back to the Blizzard mantra, because these experiences highlighting the utility of certain classes over others is likely what drove Blizzard into eliminating the unique capabilities of each class over the years' worth of expacs out there. If it was perceived as a limitation to bringing a class to a raid, it was eventually removed. Such as the Battle Rez only capability of Resto Druids I mentioned above. Or eliminating the ability of the Rogue to select various poisons for various situations. Or extending classes (such as Druid, Shaman, or Paladin) to other races, so that Horde and Alliance essentially have the same makeup, class-wise.

Some tweaks to the class structures from Vanilla to Burning Crusade were inevitable, and many people I've run with in instances keep saying how BC was their favorite expac for various reasons. But at the same time, they've also said that Blizz has gone too far relying upon their mantra, and that class uniqueness should matter.

And the more and more I've delved into Classic, the more I've come around to that idea. "Bring the player not the class" works to a point, but when it becomes the be-all-end-all of class design you lose sight of what makes a class unique. And for my money, uniqueness matters.

*Unless you have a Shaman who can counter that sleep action, something the Alliance doesn't have in Classic.

**At one point during the run, the Healer asked whether I could counter a Magic debuff. "No," I said. "I only have Remove Curse." "That doesn't make any sense," he replied. "If there's one class that you'd think would be able to remove a Magic debuff, it'd be the Mage class."

Sunday, May 3, 2020

I Need a Vacation from my Vacation

Well, Blapril is over.

And if you want a quick "lessons learned" response to Blapril, then it's this: Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.

I posted 18 times in April, by far my largest individual output in any month for PC. At the same time, the sheer volume of posts wore me out because I spent more time writing than enjoying myself. And when writing ceases to be enjoyable, that means the quality of output inevitably declines.

What also declined were the number of pageviews to PC for individual posts.

Sure, the total pageviews to PC went up, but the number of eyeballs on a specific post went down as the month wore on. Given that most of PC's regular readers are also bloggers, it only goes to show that the grind was getting to them too.


And, I have to admit, that Blapril pretty much didn't make a blip outside of the merry band of MMO/Gamer bloggers out there. It's not like I logged into WoW or LOTRO and found people talking about Blapril at all. It was pretty much an exercise in posting among a small group of people, no more no less.

A good portion of why it didn't make much of a blip outside the blogger community is that, well, blogs are pretty much on the outs these days as far as social media is concerned. It used to be that you'd go to blogs to get info that you can now find better at other locations. But blogs are also about telling stories --fictional or not-- and in a Tik-Tok world we're writing manuscripts on vellum.

At times like this, grabbing an ale at a local
tavern with friends sounds like a good idea.

This pretty much leaves that doing Blapril for reasons other than your own is that you're setting yourself up for a letdown.


Was I let down by this?

Not really. I mean, I knew going in that I was trying to see if I could do it. And, for the most part, I was able to get reasonably close to a goal of posting once a day. Well, I came twice as close as my closest month of output, and I'm not including last month's fiction boosted output. After a certain point I decided it was best if I just posted every other day, as otherwise I'd have no time for any actual gaming. And no gaming means Red isn't a happy person.

Additionally, I don't have people randomly coming up to me in-game and saying "Hey, are you that Redbeard guy, the blogger?" Which would be mildly embarrassing, to say the least. After all, I think Ancient is the only other blogger I know who is on Myzrael-US, and while I still do have toons on the SWTOR server that Shintar plays on I'm rarely on that particular server.

But I do believe that --for personal reasons-- pushing myself harder at blogging was a good thing. It makes me respect published authors that much more, because they frequently hold down another job (at least) in addition to writing. That doesn't mean that I think I'm as good or any better than they are, because there's a reason why they're published and I'm not*, but I can see how dedicated they were toward realizing their dream of being published while managing job, family, and other time commitments.

So, thank you, Blapril, for the motivation. And thank you, other bloggers (and other authors), for showing what the end result can be.

And thank you, readers, for hanging in there. (You know who you are!!)


*Hint: the quality of writing plays a large part in that.