Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Roll the End Credits

 So, this happened last night....

I am NOT sleepy. Too much adrenaline.
(And my screenshots suck. This one, taken
by a fellow raider, looks much better. Don't know
how you do it, Tany. Seriously.)

I almost missed the raid due to an emergency at work, but I kept the raid lead informed of my situation as raid time approached, and because of that they kept a spot open for me when I finally got off work.

I'm not sure what I expected, but I felt that there should be End Credits scrolling or something. But we were treated to a serenade of Hey There Valhalla by the raid lead.

EtA: replaced the original with a bigger photo.

Monday, March 29, 2021

Say, Wouldn't that Hurt?

To say that gear/clothing found in many video games, particularly those in Fantasy and Science Fiction genres, emphasize form over function is a bit of an understatement. Of course, if you pick up a random pencil and paper RPG splatbook, you're likely to see pictures of PCs/NPCs wearing "impractical" gear/clothing scattered throughout the inside.

For every RPG that has art like this:

I recently acquired this. Makes
for fascinating reading, and it
looks very much like a D&D 3.0/5e lite.

 You have something like this:

A Cyberpunk RPG.

And don't get me started about how some novels depict things:

And this wasn't even the most
obnoxious of the Flandry novels.

And of course if you've ever played video games, there's a lot of fanservice designs too. You know, like the Spider-mage robe.

I'm not here to complain about that, because it is what it is. However, when I saw the artwork for BC Classic, something caught my eye.

From the WoW Classic website.

 I mean, nothing too unusual here: the oversized shoulders for all toons, the hefty bodybuilder look on the male toons, and the bustier look on the female toons...

But for the female Blood Elf, I noticed the pointed end of that bustier settled right. over. the. belly. button.

Even cloth "armor" needs some
form of basic reinforcement
to maintain that form.

It looks nice until said Blood Elf has to lean forward or bend over or something. Then that point goes right into the belly button and the gut. And that's gotta hurt.

By contrast, the female Draenei has a much more practical design (at least what we can tell):

Honestly, they look less like a bustier
and more like American Football
shoulder pads.

I'm not denying that, fashion wise, both look very nice. And comparatively speaking, not so much fan service as just a personal look. But I'd hate to cosplay that Blood Elf look solely for that pointy little reason. Probably rounding the bustier out a bit would work, or just flattening it out like the Draenei version would work too. But Blood Elves gonna Blood Elf, I guess.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Perfection Not Required

A long time ago, several years before this blog came into being, there was a seminar/discussion about writing and publishing at the Downtown library. It was free and open to the public, and hosted by several editors from Writers Digest magazine.* I'd always wanted to write Fantasy and Science Fiction**, but at the same time I didn't want to put myself out on a limb and show up as the clueless noob among a bunch of aspiring --and much younger-- writers.

My wife effectively kicked me out the door, saying that "you might as well show up and listen, because that's what you're passionate about". So I took a short jaunt to the Main Library and sat somewhere in the back while the editors presented and took questions from the audience.

The area the seminar took place in had enough chairs to easily hold 100 people, but I'd say it was about 1/3 full with about 10-20 other library patrons wandering in and out, driven by curiosity to stand in the back and listen for 10 minutes or so. What also immediately stood out was that I was very much a minority, both in gender and age, and most everybody else was more ambitious about writing than I was. Selling to a publisher wasn't my primary goal, although that wouldn't hurt one bit; my desire was to actually write a story I was proud of.

I quickly discovered that I didn't have to talk --or worse, present a writing sample-- so I could just listen and absorb what everybody had to say.

And people certainly weren't shy about the craft of writing.

Several of the women there wanted to write and publish poetry, to which my initial thought was "good luck with that". It's not that I didn't think they weren't good enough to get published, it's that poetry is such a niche market that it'd be harder to break into than publishing in general. I silently wished them luck, because I felt they were certainly going to need it.

Others played it close to the vest, like I did, but they did ask about the publishing process. And still others were interested in finding an agent and how one went about doing that.

The editors were knowledgeable, but some things --like catching lightning in a bottle-- they couldn't answer. I mean, finding the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King is as much a crap shoot as it is an educated guess.


But the reason why I bring this up is that one of the editors present, the Fiction Editor for the Writer's Market annual, has since gone on to have a successful writing career of her own. I was reminded of that when I saw an ad from our local independent bookstore about a Zoom interview of her in promotion of her latest novel. Sure, being in the writing industry gave her a leg up in figuring some things out, she still had to break through on her own. Plus, another local author is always a good thing for the local arts community in general.

One piece of advice she did give out to the aspiring writers that day has continued to stick with me: a writer has to write if they want to improve. You can't expect to show up, pound out a few lines, and expect to be hailed a genius. 

For every Mozart or Prince, there are a ton of aspiring musicians who have to work their collective asses off just to be considered "average". 

Okay, I know it's not historically
accurate, but while I admire Mozart
in Amadeus I appreciate Salieri's POV.
Don't approve of his actions, however.

And her words have rung true for me. 

Over the years of PC's existence, I've learned a lot about how to write. Or re-write, to be honest. Taking a post and editing it before release is critical to my writing process, and one I had to accept before I could improve past a certain plateau. When I was in high school and college, I used to compose at the typewriter because I hated rewriting. That meant I'd sit there and plot out a paragraph or more ahead of time, working everything out in my head before I would type anything. Yes, I would agonize over every single word I wrote, because I didn't want to rewrite a single thing. It slowed my output down immensely, but (I thought) I didn't have to edit the result. The thing is, while I could pull that sort of feat off in high school and get good grades, in college that simply wasn't happening. My professors ate me alive until I admitted that I couldn't just create a "good enough" result one time through.

Nowadays, I can't just pound out some words and then hit "Publish". I know better. And even then, I still miss things afterward, which explains the "EtA:" on the bottom of a bunch of posts over the years. 


This sort of approach --trying something, revising, and trying again-- is also important in gaming. I've been reminded of that in spades on our run through Naxxramas, where the raid team hits a wall, spends time examining data and revising the approach, and eventually finding something that works. Sure, there's a lot of strategies for raid bosses already published, but you still have to tweak it to match your particular raid team and their strengths/weaknesses. Even then, you're not guaranteed victory, only a shot at it. 

But it's not only the approach, but the humility that this approach requires, is what makes or breaks a raid team. We're one of the few raid teams left on our server that is still pushing deep into Naxxramas that hasn't yet killed K'T, and what keeps us going is that we're mature enough to handle setbacks. That doesn't mean we don't get frustrated --oh boy, do we-- but what's important is to not let those frustrations overwhelm you.

I don't drink Jack Daniels, but I still found this funny.

*It's perhaps a little known item, but Writer's Digest is based out of Cincinnati, even though the parent company is located in New York City. 

**I have a copy of Isaac Asimov's Asimov on Science Fiction, a collection of his essays on writing SF, around the house somewhere. I was also inspired by Stephen King's On Writing, which interweaves a bit of his own history of learning to write along with understanding the craft of writing. Both are interesting books, and I highly recommend taking the time to find and read them.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

It is Mine Now

When I discovered there was no such thing as Azeroth After Dark as referenced in yesterday's post, I decided to jump on it. 

I am now the proud (?) owner of azerothafterdark.wordpress.com. 

What I intend to do with it I have absolutely no freaking idea, but at least it won't suffer the fate that internet users in the 90s will remember with whitehouse.com. Or that time when Dick's Sporting Goods didn't own the dicks.com website.


Oh, and Happy St. Patrick's Day! Now you can go have a good cry first....

And then cheer yourself up with a few happy jigs and reels....

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Close to the Vest My Ass

 I, uh, made an oopsie last night.

No, I didn't pull aggro*, and we were finally able to down Sapphiron. And I landed the T3 robe as well. (Cost me about all my DKP, though.)

But it was after, when a raid friend and I were chatting back and forth and the talk turned to BC that I slipped up. I'd mentioned that I was thinking about cloning Card so that a version of her could remain on a Vanilla Classic server forever, which my friend was thinking of doing too, but then my friend asked me about mains in BC. 

I admitted that I didn't know for sure what I might do, and that I might even end up switching to Horde as a main, which shocked him. I had to explain that my first two toons I leveled [to completion] in Wrath were Blood Elves, and I do know that I'm likely to create a BC Classic version of them. Whether they'll be just an alt or whether I'll make them my mains remains to be seen, however.

Oh well. If word gets around that Card is "going to the dark side", I'll have earned that.


Given that I got the Mage T3 robe, my current robe, the one I've dubbed the Spider-mage robe, isn't going to be on me for that much longer. Still, I really love the look and feel of it:

Azshara was empty the night I was
playing around with the look. I'm not one
to do this sort of thing while there's a crowd.

The official name of the robe is the Crystal Webbed Robe that drops off of Maexxna, and according to sixtyupgrades.com it's the second best Mage robe in Classic at the moment. ** However, the personality of this robe is something that you'd think Spider-woman or Spider-Gwen (both from the Marvel Universe) would wear. 

It just has that awesome look like something
that Ashley Eckstein would design.


It was while I was screwing around in Azshara with the look of the robe that I discovered that, much like the superheroes I could see wearing it, the Spider-mage robe has a dual identity.

I was wearing an orange shirt underneath the robe, but since orange looks perfect with the aesthetic I never paid it any mind. However, if you look closely at the chest of the first pic you can see where there are a few cross stitching marks where some lacing is. That got me curious, so I took off the orange shirt, and when I did I blurted out "holy shit!"

Uh.... Card?
When did you grow up so fast?

Card turned into a vixen.

Complete with backless look...

...and matching side boob and
spiderweb / fishnet pantyhose
on the arms.

Even in my dreams I wasn't expecting this.

Now, I'll freely admit that Card looks awesome in both looks, but the Spider-vixen look was truly shocking. And I'm not going to say that Blizz shouldn't have designed it this way, but as was pointed out by another friend who I showed this... transformation... to, Blizz does have a history of presenting female gear very differently than male gear. To her (and me), it was the overall lack of choice on a lot of the gear that annoyed her.***

At least with the Crystal Webbed Robe I had the choice to put an orange shirt on and turn Card into a budding superhero, rather than a femme fatale out of Azeroth After Dark.****

And yes, I'm going to keep the Spider-mage robe in my pack, just so I can put it on from time to time to hang around Stormwind or something. Maybe I should make a "vixen" look too, but I don't think I'm ready for that side of Card yet.

*Thanks to an Ignite I got to the top of the aggro stack on Thaddius, even though I'd stopped casting, and the Mage Lead was calling for a drop of Ignite. Luckily the main tank was able to taunt off me, but I didn't touch my cast bar at all until at least one other tank got past me on threat. That was an anxious 10 seconds there, let me tell you, and that was right after we'd been given a lecture about managing threat by the Raid Lead. I wish I could take credit for the aggro, but I had little to do with it. I wasn't even up high until aggro on the MT got shaky and suddenly it was one person, then a second, and then me atop the aggro stack. But we didn't wipe and we only lost one or two people on Thad total.

**The T3 Mage robe is currently best in slot.

***At least this isn't TERA or some other Korean MMO, where this look would be considered tame.

****Knowing Rule 34, Azeroth After Dark is likely a thing. But I'm stating here for the record that I'm not gonna search for it. Nope nope nope.... Okay, whew. It isn't a thing after all. Actually, I'm quite surprised.

EtA: Fixed a clarity mistake and "shirt", not "robe".

Saturday, March 13, 2021

More Chum in the Water, Please

As life has gone on in a post-Naxx release world, the more I'm struck by how much the last two raids, Naxxramas and Ahn'Qiraq, shook up guilds.* While some guilds have gone on to complete Naxx and are in semi-hiatus while waiting on Burning Crusade to drop, others have gotten oh so close to finishing Naxx only to come up short. And there are those who are still trying to finish content in AQ40 to just get to the point of being able to start running Naxx.

And then there are guilds that simply don't have the personnel to get a 40-person raid on their own and have to work with other guilds to just get a shot at clearing content. 

Even within the guilds that have been raiding Naxx, all is not roses and cream. If the guild has enough personnel to have multiple 40 person raids, great. If a guild only has enough to put together one 40 person raid, then there are issues with having a bench to work with, and also keeping that bench viable. I've watched guilds have a constant level of churn trying to keep a bench at all, much less keep those last 5 spots in a raid team filled.**

All of this has me watching and waiting for the other shoe to drop.


When a raid team is forced to reduce from 40 to 25 (and later, from 25 to 10) there's bound to be some hurt feelings. 

I've mentioned this before, but I know that I'm not going to be part of the 25 selected to raid when our team goes through this process. For starters, Fire Mages*** aren't as dominant in raiding in BG as they are in Vanilla/Classic. Most of the 25 person raid compositions I've heard talked about for BC have mentioned about 3 Mages max, and I've even seen some raid compositions with 2 Mages. Assuming either composition, I'd be left off the 25 person raid team. On a good day, I'm 4th of the 6 Mages. Most raid days bounce around from 4th to 5th; some of it is my reaction time isn't what it once was, some of it is my lack of gear compared to the rest, and some of it is that I don't have the killer attitude to start DPS almost immediately, trusting in the tank to hold boss aggro. (I've died too many times due to pulling aggro to do that.)

So I'd be going onto either the bench or a "second" raid. 

But here's where it gets weird. When I read the TBC channels in Discord****, people are all talking about what they want to level and what spec is best, etc. etc. Nobody wants to disturb the excitement by asking the hard question: who's getting cut?

It was briefly broached in last Thursday's Molten Core run when someone (can't remember who) remarked that it was sad that with BC so close now that there are only a limited number of times left where we are all able to raid together. And then just like that, nobody said a peep about it. Maybe it was that the reality of it meant that 40% of a raid was no longer gonna be there, but perhaps people already knew where their pecking order was.

And what I expect is that raid teams will potentially fracture not along where the needs are, but where the cliques are. 


I've noticed that if you have people who you hang with regularly in a guild, you're going to stick around even if you may be on a raid's bench. But if you don't have that clique or general reaching out to include you in things, you're much more likely to split for greener pastures. It's only human nature after all to want to go where you're valued. And if you're in a guild but don't really know anybody, and people don't make extra efforts to reach out to you, then yeah, you're going to feel like you're not really there for any reason than to fill out a spot.

Looking back on my time in the guild I'm in --yes, the guild that has me as the only active Classic player-- I think I could have done more to play a couple of lower level alts, so I could participate with the slowly declining guild lists. Perhaps if I'd done more, the guild could have lasted longer. But then again, maybe I'm just kidding myself as I'm not only the only regular player but the only guild officer who logs in as well. Even the GM doesn't log anymore, and that says a lot.

But still, I've seen the unintentional lack of inclusion have an impact on various friends in various guilds. You join, you're excited to meet people, they're happy to see you, and then everybody goes back to their own subgroups. And then you wonder what's next. You get kind of stuck into this middle area, and it's quite easy to be present and yet not be "there".


So you've got a lot of dynamics in play coming into BC:

  • Are you actively raiding or on the bench?
  • Are you part of a raid team and/or guild subgroup that hangs out together?
  • Are you part of a class that is not going to be as dominant in BC? (Or the reverse?)
  • Is your guild able to put together a single 40 person raid team? Two? More? None?

All of that feeds into what's going to happen in BC when 25 person raids become the mains, with 10 person raids taking over the old ZG/AQ20 style 20 person raid. 

My belief is that while some raid teams will successfully navigate a reduction from 40 to 25, they're going to lose critical pieces because of the cliques. If your Main Tank also has quite a few friends who are going to be left off the raid team, I could easily see that Main Tank joining their friends in starting up another raid team, and maybe leaving the guild altogether. Suddenly that first raid team is in need of a Main Tank and potentially other people to fill the gaps. Did that original raid team stop raiding Naxx before a player finished Atiesh? How that player handles that disappointment is going to be telling, and could potentially fracture a raid team.

So yeah, this is gonna get crazy real fast, whether people like it or not. 

And me, I'm going to be watching and waiting to see what happens. As much as people want to not talk about it, this is going to definitely affect them, like it or not. 

As for my raid team, well, I think I know how some of this will pan out. I'm not gonna say anything, because I've intentionally kept myself out of the guild, but I've a pretty good idea what's going to happen. The real question I have is whether things will be worked out emotionally or not.

*That's setting aside guild drama the has blown up several previously well known guilds on Myzrael-US, such as Azeroth's Redemption and All Quests Matter (I was told by an ex-guildie that the name is from the Vanilla era, but was unfortunately a casualty of current events). And there are other large guilds that have had some pretty big splintering, even though the main guild has remained viable (such as Indecisive breaking away from Sunrise).

**The Guild Recruiting channel on the Myz Discord is good for watching that sort of thing, as well as the recruitment ads in the in-game LFG channel. I hardly ever --evah!-- see a guild recruitment ad in the actual Guild Recruitment in game channel.

***And Mages in general.

****And boy are there plenty on various guild Discord servers. That's how it goes when you're a pugger; you accumulate guild Discord servers like people collect autographs.

EtA: Fixed a "of" to a "or". Makes a bit more sense now.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

A Short Mid-Week Boost

Courtesy of Shintar of Priest with a Cause (among other blogs).....

She sent it to me with the comment "Everybody who raids Naxx needs to see this..."

And she's absolutely right.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Miscellaneous Musings on a Quiet, Sunny Sunday Morning

I knew this day would come.

Last night I received my usual invite to Blackwing Lair, helped summon people by being a clicker, made and distributed food and water, and organized the Mage Int buffs.*

Then I turned my attention to the reserve listing, and discovered there was nothing Cardwyn needed. Sure, there were a couple of T2 pieces I'd like to get to finish out the set, but as far as gear I could use right now? Not a thing.

One of the pug Mages last night even whispered me, asking what I'd reserved, and I told him that I was good. "I got the Claw last week, and that was the last piece I needed," I replied.

"Oh cool, congrats."

"Thanks. But yeah, I'm just here to help out."

I still could use enchanting recipes out of Molten Core and AQ20, and there's always the need for idols in Zul'Gurub, but Blackwing Lair is the first raid that Card has semi-officially "outgrown". And when I started progression raiding and my gear needs were so great, this moment seemed so far off that I felt Card was never going to get enough DKP to finally finish the task. But in a weird quirk, the opening of Naxxramas helped me out because the official Friday night BWL raid shut down in favor of an extra day of Naxx raiding. Its replacement, the Saturday night BWL run, used a soft reserve system, which meant I could pick and choose the specific pieces of gear to roll on based on who wanted what. And after the people ahead of me in the progression raid finally got the Tear of Neltharion they'd been waiting over half a year for, my turn came with nobody else to roll against. By then, I'd accumulated the other popular BWL Mage pieces, so all I had left were the Tear and the Claw of Chromaggus. And, in two successive weeks, I got both pieces without any other competition in the reserves.**

So here I was, after six months of running BWL, and I finally "finished" it on Card.

It felt... weird, but also freeing. I grew to enjoy running BWL, the goblin packs notwithstanding. There's an ebb and flow to the raid that is comforting in the same way that a well geared MC run simply works. You can make small talk, laugh, joke, make quips about the various methods of dying to goblin packs (my favorite: blinking away from one bomb right into another), and in general just relax. When you have as many regulars as we have, you know the raid is going to be okay. It's only in the details where we have a few anxious moments, like getting a bear tank for said goblin packs, but we somehow manage to work things out.***

And I'm not planning on giving up my spot in BWL for quite a while. I love it too much.


In case you haven't noticed, the MMO blogosphere has simply exploded with talk about Valheim, the latest hotness game. Which, I might add, is still in Early Access on Steam.

Yes, a game from a small publisher --that isn't finished-- is getting a ton of exposure in a way that I haven't seen since, oh, No Man's Sky.

The major difference between Valheim and No Man's Sky is that Valheim is complete enough for people to play via Early Access, so you'll know pretty quickly if it's a dud or not.

And by all accounts, Valheim is good enough, and far enough in development, that there's plenty of blog posts discussing it in such a way that the major AAA publishers wished people would talk about their upcoming releases.

That's nice and all, but PC is one place you're not going to see any Valheim posts for quite a while.

The reason? It's in Early Access.

I haven't bought a game in Early Access, and I'm not planning on starting now. I waited until My Time at Portia was officially released before purchasing it. Same with Pathfinder: Kingmaker, and in that case I waited until the final release was on stable ground before purchasing the game. Since that's my policy, I'm going to do the same with Valheim. That's for one really really good reason: I've got a ton of games already purchased that I can play without needing one that isn't finished. And really, I think it more likely that I'll get a PC of my own before I get a chance to play Valheim.

So I salute all of those who took the plunge and are enjoying the game, but I've been George R.R. Martin-ed enough times for me to not jump in.****


As long as I live, I will never understand how multiple meters can come up with such disparate results. 

I'm not often one to toot my own horn, but on last Friday's Naxx run I got top DPS. 

Now, to be fair, the top Mage on the raid team lost her buffs on the first pull when an abomination got loose and wandered into the main raid, killing about 8 of the ranged DPS. And if you've ever played a Fire Mage, just whose name ends up on an ignite is a pretty random thing, so the fact that Card showed up there was just luck.

But hey, I'm not gonna look a gift horse in the mouth. Especially when I had TinyThreat on the threat meters and wasn't paying attention to the DPS meters until I started getting congrats from the other Mages. When I saw the results, however, I felt that I'd finally gotten something right in the Naxx raid. Until I looked at the Warcraft logs.

When I pulled them up, it claimed that while I was the top Mage, I was more back into the middle of the pack. 

Which got me to thinking just how is it possible for the two to be so far off.

The only thing I could figure is that I was out of range for some of the DPS, but that didn't make sense since I didn't really have to move to get into position to cast (Patch came to us instead of the other way around). Now it is possible that the melee DPS started earlier than the ranged, but not that much earlier to make that much of a difference in the TinyThreat DPS meters. For a fight as long as Patchwerk's is, we'd have had to have held off for 20 seconds or more to make that much of an impact. 

So all I can do is shake my head, shrug, and do my best.


With all the talk about BC, I thought about revisiting my past and reviving a toon long since retired:

Time to pay the bar tab and get moving.

Yes, Neve will ride again in BC Classic!

*I'm the only Mage designated "Raid Regular" who attends all of the pug raids put on by Valhalla, so I've simply absorbed the job of organizing which Mage buffs which group. (If a guild member attends, I defer to them, but most of the time they're simply happy to let someone else handle this gig.) Once in a while I'm the sole Mage in a raid, such as Zul'Gurub, and when that happens I like to have fun with my posts in raid chat. Such as the time I posted "Mage Int buffs: Cardwyn Group 1, Jaina Group 2, Khadgar Group 3, Rhonin Group 4."

**A soft reserve system means that you can reserve an item (or two, depending on implementation), but other people can reserve that item too. So, if that item drops, the only people who can roll for that item are those who reserved it. Instead of 20+ people rolling, there are far fewer people to roll against, increasing your odds of winning. But for a new L60, a soft reserve system is a godsend: if you DON'T reserve anything, all the gear that drops that doesn't have a reserve on it means that you have first dibs on that gear. There's also no limit on the number of non-reserved items you can win. We've seen in ZG and BWL runs people who are fresh L60s make out like a bandit and take home 6-7 pieces of gear in one setting. And one more thing of beauty about the system is that even reserved people do have a shot at non-reserved gear: all it takes is the non-reserved people to not roll on that first, non-reserved roll, and then a second open roll takes place where anybody who could use the item is invited to roll. It may sound complicated at first, but once you get the hang of it the soft reserve system is fantastic for people needing to gear up. We've accumulated a LOT of regulars to our soft reserve raids because they work so well, even among the most highly rated guilds on the server. I'm also pretty sure that the progression raid as well as Valhalla as a guild has gained people due to Jes' handling of the soft reserve raids. 

***Or rather Jes does. She's a natural leader, and yet she works hard to pull off a smooth raid. She's also pretty well known around the server as one of the go-to people for enchants, so that helps with name recognition, even when she's on one of her alts.

****Can you believe that Patrick Rothfuss' Wise Man's Fear was published 10 years ago? I didn't even realize that until a month ago.

Friday, March 5, 2021

The Weekly Department Meeting Come to Life

Back when I attended college, Fridays at 3:15 PM were reserved for the weekly Physics Department meeting. Classes on Friday ended at 2:50 PM, so it was only natural that the department would schedule their meeting right after that, and once the meeting ended the professors would "retire" to the on campus pub and drink together for a while.

The students --both Physics majors* and any other interested students from the Science and Engineering fields-- were invited, although not that many students actually attended. Since part of the meeting was put on by the Society of Physics Students --and as I was the chapter President my Junior and Senior years-- it fell to me to go bring the donuts and coffee from the student union to the meeting. I'd have to say a few brief remarks ("Glad to see everybody here, we've remarks from the Department Chair and a presentation from so-and-so") and then the meeting would run itself. 

The main portion of the meeting, however, was the presentation put on by a guest speaker, frequently one of the professors or someone from the research division over at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. And to be frank, those presentations were technical.

Highly technical.

Oh, how I wish the equations were
this simple.


By my Senior year I could begin to follow along with the presentations, but my Freshman year? Hoo boy, was I lost. I remember one time I left a presentation with a Chemistry major, and as we walked outside the building he turned to me, laughed hysterically, and said "I have no idea what I just saw. Can I buy you a beer instead?"

"Sounds good to me," I replied.

While I enjoyed the meetings, to this day I still can't explain any of the presentations I saw. The fact that they didn't fire my imagination** was likely an indicator that my major wasn't going to pan out for me, but I could appreciate the work that went into them.


I was reminded of those department meetings the other day while I read discussions about DPS and Sapphiron on the raid's Guild Discord.*** The more theorycrafting people worked on, the more my eyes glazed over.

Look, I'm not an idiot, and I do want to optimize my DPS for both my own and raiding purposes. But from my perspective, there comes a point of diminishing returns. There's only so much WoW (or any game) that I can take. Shintar put it well in her post about how the more she plays Shadowlands the less likely she is to read fan commentary about Shadowlands.

I completely understand and I agree wholeheartedly. 


Like I described in my About Me section several years ago:

He isn't that interested in the intricacies of Theorycrafting --which he likens to his old Boundary Value Problems class-- but appreciates the results that others have provided.

And really, that outlook hasn't changed. 

I thought I'd be more amenable to Theorycrafting and more WoW (or other MMOs) once the mini-Reds grew up, but the reality is that my gaming time is limited by access to the PC. I share the PC with my wife, and given the current budget situation that isn't going to change. Additionally, on days when my wife isn't around in the evenings, I don't spend all evening playing WoW either. After a while I just say "okay, that's enough" and log out. I just can't push myself to do more WoW if I tried. 

I suppose that doesn't make me sweaty enough, and so be it.

And I'm at peace with that reality.


The other day I was asked by someone I knew why I go into Zul'Gurub runs if I don't need anything from there. "To support [the raid leader]," I replied. "To help out."

I don't think that quite computed, as he suggested I could be getting another Idol to use for enchanting purposes, and why wasn't I reserving them? (We use a soft reserve system on ZG runs.) I told him that there were a lot of people already reserving idols and I'd won one fairly recently already, so I was fine with waiting a week.

Again, the desire to play things on my own level and give others a shot didn't quite compute, because he wanted to help me improve my DPS.

And I get his desire to help out, really. But I'm not greedy, either. I don't have to be at the top of my game all the time, and when you reach 50 years old your reaction time isn't the same as what it's like in your 30s (or 20s). In terms of maximizing my DPS, should I be chasing down someone on the server to get a Fire Enchant to gloves? Sure. But do I have the time to spend hunting them down --and making sure I have the gold to cover the enchant-- to make the exchange happen? No, not really, not if I have to constantly farm for mats for potions and other items for raiding. 

I don't mind getting a bit sweaty, but there's limits. And in Azeroth I can pretty frequently reach them without trying too hard.

Now, will somebody point me in the direction of the doughnuts and coffee? Before the next presentation starts, I'd like to make sure I stay awake and well fed.

*Yes, my degree is in Physics.

**With the exception of the superconduction presentation. Yes, I'm old enough that superconducting was a brand new thing when I was a college student. I also remember the entire Cold Fusion debacle, and how the papers by Pons and Fleischman spread like wildfire from university to university in a pre-modern internet world, with students and professors frantically cobbling together materials to duplicate the papers' results.

***Before you ask, I've finally decided that I'm not going to join the guild. (If anyone from the guild reads this, sorry. Cajoling won't change my mind.) I'm going to wait and see how the Burning Crusade Classic shakes out with guilds before committing. I know that dropping from 40 to 25 raiders for a team means 15 people have to find another raid, and I also know I will be one of those 15 based purely on numbers: I'm 4/6 mages, and I believe at best they'll take 3 to the main progression raid. I also don't know whether there will be 2 co-equal progression raids (or more, if you count the 10 mans Zul'Aman and Karazhan) or a main team and a farm team. All of these have the potential to fracture guilds, so I'm not going to commit just in time to watch a guild blow up. Again. 

****Ye Gods, I need to update that.