Sunday, May 30, 2021

A New Beginning

(I felt it appropriate to close this phase of Card's story with a short piece. Nothing spectacular, just giving Cardwyn a chance to breathe a bit. And maybe get a chance to start turning the manure once more; compared to Naxxramas, the smell of manure isn't so bad.)


A New Beginning


The sun shone bright overhead, chasing away the darkness in my mind.

I stopped on the Old Elwynn Road, stood before the path that led to the farm, and smiled. I'd been back home numerous times over the past several years, but walking here? I'd not done that since I was a green apprentice in Stormwind. And it felt good to just walk for a change, rather than rush from one point to the next like a cat chasing her tail.

The Old Elwynn Road was clear once more, with memories of Defias lurking just out of view fading into the past. As I traveled from Goldshire, I'd seen merchants heading to and fro from Lakeshire and Darkshire, heading toward Goldshire and onwards to Westfall, like how things used to be. Spring Planting was over, and now the long lazy Summer lay ahead.

Just what I needed.

I stepped onto the path and let it carry me forward, quickening my steps as I strode on. Only a few short moments later, the trees parted and the house stood before me, same as always. 

Well, not exactly the same. There were a few subtle changes over the years that if you knew what to look for, they'd practically shout that a Mage lived here. "Once use of the Arcane becomes ingrained inside you," Mistress Elsharin once told me, "you can't help but reach for it when something needs doing." My work in hostile territory taught me how to suppress those urges, but here? Well...

I walked up to the empty porch, and as I placed my first foot on the steps the door opened a crack and a small someone popped his head out. 

"Cardwyn!" Lewys shouted. "It's Aunt Cardwyn!!!" 

My nephew shoved the door wide and bounced down the steps into my arms. A small throng of children flew out the open door and swarmed around me, nearly knocking me over.

"I think I see where today's lesson is going," Mistress Evelyn said as she slowly made her way out the door and over to an open chair. "Welcome back, Card."

"Thank you, Mistress Evelyn," I replied with a smile at my old teacher. She was just as determined as ever to show her independence, but I could tell that navigating even this short distance was becoming a chore for her. Still, I doubted she'd ever do things differently. "Mistress Elsharin says hello," I added, "and she intends to visit soon."

"Good, good," Evelyn said as she sat down. "How are things up north?"

"They look the same as ever, with one notable exception."

Her breath caught. "Did... Did you... Is he..."

"Yes," I nodded and closed my eyes. Dark, nightmarish images from inside a twisted citadel, lit by a sickly green glow, filled my head. Shaking myself, I reopened my eyes and the pictures fled. "Kel'thuzad is dead now."

"He was already dead," said a new voice from the door. "But is he destroyed?"

Even after all these years, Mom still had that intense look in her eyes whenever she needed to know something. Gray streaks now crisscrossed her dark hair, the lines on her face etching deeper than I remembered. 

"Yes, Mom. I wasn't in charge of the phylactery, but I trust that it was destroyed too."

"You'd better hope so, Card," Mom replied. "He has as many lives as a cat."

"I noticed."

By now the children began chanting my name in an effort to get my attention. "Cardwyn! Cardwyn! Cardwyn!"

"Woah woah woah!" I put up my hands, but that only encouraged them. 


I sighed and shrugged at Mom, who let a grin steal across her face. She leaned over the children and gave me a hug. "Welcome back, Card," she whispered in my ear.

"It's good to be back," I replied. "But who is everybody? There's no way these are all Jas and Karyn's."


Mom whistled sharply and the shouts subsided.

"Okay," she continued, "these days, the children come to Evelyn rather than she to them. You know Lewys and Starlys--"

"Wait," I interrupted, pointing at a youngster with dark hair, "you're Starlys? You were only this high when I saw you last."

"Car-wyn! Car-wyn!" my youngest niece replied, jumping up and down.

"She looks a lot like you at that age," Mom added with a twinkle in her eye.

Oh boy. If she is anything like me... Well, my brother and his wife were likely in for an exciting time.

"And you know Rachelle and Victor are Robyn and James' kids," Mom said, "This one is Steve's, these two are Anya's, and these two are Krista's."

"Um, wow." I had no idea my oldest friends were all having children. Somehow this news hadn't reached me in letters from home. "I'm glad to meet you all!" I added, remembering my manners. "I used to play with your Moms and Dads when I was your age."

"Are you really a Mage?" one of Krista's kids, a blonde boy, asked.

"Really really."

"You don't look it!"

"She is, Ashe!" Lewys replied, crossing his arms. "She's the bestest Mage in the whole world!"

"I am not, Lewys," I interrupted. "Don't exaggerate."

"Yes you are!" Rachelle piled on. "You're the Hero of Westfall!"

I rolled my eyes. "Not that again..."

"And you rescued Marshal Windsor so he could expose that evil dragon!"

"I suppose I did," I sighed.

"And you saved Awbee!" Lewys added.

"I wasn't alone, Lewys."

"I liked Awbee! Is Awbee going to visit sometime?" 

"Awbee is back with their mother, Lewys," I replied, "but if I see Awbee I'll make sure to ask." Of all the adventures I was involved with, the one thing my nieces and nephew remembered the most was when I arrived from Blackrock Mountain with the gravely injured whelp, keeping the young blue dragon here, away from prying eyes in the Mage Quarter so they could heal properly and rejoin the Blue Flight in Kalimdor. That Awbee was likely older than them never crossed their minds at all.

"Are you on a mission?" Mom asked.

"No, I'm not. I'm just..." I took a deep breath. "I wanted to come home for a while. I walked here from Stormwind rather than use quicker methods because... Well, it felt good to be under the sunlight again."

Mom nodded slowly, her eyes probing mine. "Rachelle," she replied, not taking her eyes off me, "go find your mother and your friends' moms. Lewys, can you go get your sister and the rest? I think they'd all like to see your Aunt."

"Yes, Granmama," Lewys said. "Come on, Rachelle, I'll race you!"

As their footfalls retreated into the distance, Mom turned to the rest. "We might as well take a break. Go ahead and play Find the Ghost!" 

The kids scattered and Mistress Evelyn sat forward in her chair. "Cardwyn, did you tell Elsharin about Kel'Thuzad?" Mistress Evelyn asked in a quiet voice.


"How did she take it?"

I swallowed. "She let out a long, triumphant scream, and then she began sobbing."

Mom reached out and held me while I continued. 

"I'd never seen her cry before, Mistress Evelyn, even when I was her apprentice. And it wasn't anything gentle. It started rough, with a gut wrenching sob that bubbled up from deep inside, and just built from there. I.... The only thing I could do was hold her while she grieved."

"It had to come out, Card. She'd been holding all of these emotions back ever since Quel'Thalas fell."

"I know, Mistress Evelyn, but..." I took another deep breath. "I eventually got her to bed and stayed by her bedside through the night, holding her hand to make sure she knew I was still there. I wanted her to come with me, to walk outside under the sun, but she said she had a few things to do first and then she'd join me here. I think we both need this, Mom. Dealing with the traitor Kel'Thuzad... There was just so much death there inside Naxxramas. So much death...." My voice trailed off as I surrendered to Mom's embrace.

"I understand, Card," Mom replied. "We'll make sure Elsharin's bed is ready for her when she arrives."

"Would you mind if I slept in her room too? I was just so worried for her and I didn't know what to do, so I just want to keep an eye on her."

"You did everything perfectly, Card. Why don't you ask Elsharin what she wants first?"

"I suppose so."

Someone attached herself to my leg. "Are you sad, Car-wyn?" Starlys asked.

I reached down and picked her up. "A little bit," I replied.


"Because part of what I do is go into very scary places and make them not scary, so that people like you, Grandpapa and Grandmama, and Auntie Evelyn can all be safe."

"Even Carys?"

"Even Carys. Why do you ask?"

"Cuz Carys is a bossy poopiehead."

I stifled a guffaw at my niece's indignation. "Well, I can't help that, kiddo, but I do know that your big sister does love you."

"Hmmph." Starlys folded her arms and pouted.

"Anyway," I continued, "after a while, seeing all those scary places makes me sad, because I wonder why they got so scary in the first place."


"Because I don't think they started out scary, but people made them that way."


"I don't know, Sweetie, and that's what makes me sad."

"Otay. Let me give you hug, and you feel better!" She leaned over, wrapped her arms around my neck, and planted a big kiss on my cheek.

As my niece ran off to join the rest, I turned back to Mom. "Was I like that when I was little?"

Mom's mouth creased in a small, mysterious smile. "Do you need to ask?"

I took in the view from the porch, with children running to and fro, and the wheat growing in the fields. In the distance, I could pick out Dad and my brother Jas coming in from the western field. At the other end of the farm buildings, a group of my old friends emerged from Robyn and James' home, with Rachelle tugging on her mom's hand to move faster. A long time ago, I felt that I intruded on the farm whenever I would visit, but now I needed the farm more than they ever needed me. I needed to feel again, to appreciate life after my senses had worn down from that land of Undeath.

I gave mom another hug. "It's good to be back home," I replied.

Monday, May 24, 2021

Share and Share Alike

We're closing in on a week's worth of pre-patch --this is Day 6, given that the actual pre-patch took up the entire day-- but this is the first day I've had to really get around to leveling Briganaa to any extent.

Tuesday was a wash, obviously, but Wednesday I was swamped at work which ran late. Oh, and Wednesday was also the date for what became known as the Flight Point Raid.

The Flight Point Raid?

Why yes, I'm glad you asked.

Some of us, milling about at the starting
point in Winterspring. And that chimaera
that just loves to wander over by the FP.


It was a raid put together by the guild to get all of the new Draenei (and the occasional other new toon) the various Flight Points across Azeroth. From Silithus to Blasted Lands, from Darnassus to Azshara, we were summoned from place to place by a core group of warlocks and their associated clickers. Card and Az had a part to play too, as I would fly/port ahead on a toon and then help click the summoners across the continents to bring the rest of the warlocks over, then I'd switch back to Briganaa and get her a summons as well.

The presence of the L60s came in handy in case any of the high level enemies aggroed on our raid. We didn't need to kill anything, but there was a curious chimaera in Winterspring that gave me pause.

All in all, there were about 15-20 new toons that benefited from this raid, Briganaa included. But the lone drawback was that being summoned all over Azeroth meant that I didn't get much of a chance to do any leveling on Wednesday. The event was originally slated for Tuesday, but we all know how Tuesday turned out.

Thursday and Friday were spent getting my son from college and then raiding Naxx (Friday night). Saturday was spent with the youngest mini-Red's high school graduation and then a Blackwing Lair + Ony run.*

So I made it to Sunday, finally getting the chance to get on Brig and level her for a couple of hours. 

But I've discovered that there's a bit of a monkey wrench in the leveling plans: this computer is shared.

My wife and I share the desktop PC. Normally, this isn't a big deal, because I play WoW late enough in the evening that her social media habit doesn't interfere with my gaming.** But if I'm going to be boosting and aggressively leveling a new toon, that means my gaming will begin to intersect with her PC usage.

And on Sunday, it did.

In lieu of ongoing negotiations about PC sharing for this pre-patch and early TBC Classic rollout, I've been exploring what options I have. At one time we did have a 2012 laptop that was to be used by both the kids (for school) and my wife for when she wanted to look something up while she was watching TV, listening to the radio, or reading, but that fell apart years ago. Literally, as in the hinges ripping out of their spots and the case frame cracking and needing duct tape to hold together. As of now, the only other PC in the house --that isn't one of the kids' or is used for my work-- is an old 2007 Core Duo machine that runs 32-bit Vista. And let's be honest: it's not much of a solution. It struggled to run WoW back in the day, and once I replaced the graphics card it did run better, but Classic's minimum requirement is Win 7. So unless I'd be interested in replacing one obsolete OS with another obsolete OS that's a no go.

I'd been thinking of building a PC of my own for a while, but now, when I finally have the motivation to do so (and have the funding as well), there's a certain semiconductor shortage to deal with. 

So... I'm going to soldier on as best I can, negotiate for the time that I can, and just go from there.

*I also had a plumbing emergency during the day, where the water intake for the refrigerator began leaking and I very nearly missed graduation until I finally fixed it with less than a 1/2 hour to go before we had to leave.

**The kids and I have gotten her a) a tablet and b) a decent smartphone for her to use for social media over the years, and she simply will not use them. She likes sitting in front of a keyboard and computer screen, and that's that. For a brief period of time we even had a "family" laptop, and she absolutely HATED it. She likes what she likes, and there's nothing I can do about that.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Upon Reaching the Flip Side

I'm not going to talk about the extended downtime that it took for The Burning Crusade Classic and WoW Classic to become two separate entities, because I'm sure there will be plenty of posts on the matter. I will say, however, that I really feel for the IT personnel who had to work so freaking long to get the data integrity issues in the mail system sorted out.

I've been there, and I can sympathize.


But the servers are now live, and the BC pre-patch is up and running.

I logged in before work this morning, and my first order of business was to migrate most of my toons to BC Classic. I'm keeping one totally behind to clear up toon space, and I cloned Card back to the WoW Classic Forever server.

And then it was time for toon creation.

Raid be damned, these two came first:

Feels weird seeing Q without Quel'Delar.

Always good to see Neve again.

Then I turned my attention to the Draenei Shaman I was to create.

I spent quite a bit of time tossing names around, wanting to have something that sounded like a Draenei but one that would fit her class as well. As you can guess, I already knew I wanted to create a female Draenei because my Draenei toons from my Retail days --largely represented by Tomakan-- were all male toons. And for some reason I tended to suck at having those toons succeed at jumping skills. So I figured why not go with a female Draenei?

"The Caboose" is how a couple of friends described female Draenei to me, and the name kind of stuck. 

Anyway, I spent some time kicking around names with a friend last night while we waited for the servers to (not) come back online, and something she suggested was to model the name off of Brigid, the Irish Celtic goddess (and also the name of St. Brigid of Kildare, who was likely based on the earlier goddess.) We initially had some trouble getting that name to morph into something Draenei like, until I discovered that the (roughly) British Celtic equivalent of Brigid was Brigantia.

"Hey, I can work with that," I thought.

Some tweaks later....

Emphasis is on the second syllable.
So, brig-AH-naa.

I actually spent most of a meeting listening while tweaking Brig's appearance. Given BC Classic's limitations in toon customization, I spent waaaay too much time obsessing over this. Neve and Q were easy: just look at Retail, and emulate. But Brig had to be just right. I did seriously consider silver or gold hair, but I kept her hair dark. It just seemed to fit better.


And that was that.

For all of the excitement of other people getting a chance to start the pre-patch, I've been very, well, low key about it. Part of that is work; it has amped up considerably the past week or two and I've had that very much on my mind. Another part is that my youngest graduates from high school this Saturday, and I'm SO looking forward to that. Then there's my oldest, who is graduating from college next Saturday; and I'm so happy to see her achieve her dream. And finally there's another part that I have to get my son from college; he has to be out of his dorm by noon on Friday, so I'm driving up Thursday afternoon and get a hotel room for the night.

But there's also the reality that I have to blitz through leveling to get Brig up in time for raiding, and that's a pretty daunting task ahead. I'm pretty sure I'll be sick of boosting by the time Brig finally reaches L70 and is properly attuned.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

One Last Update

This morning I woke to receive a "re-evaluation" notice from Blogger, which said they didn't find any malware, so they restored the posts.

Hell, I could have told them that.

What I don't get is if they get a report about malware they don't have a quick scan of the offending pages. That'd shake out any malware present and not force them into a manual re-evalutation.

But hey, I only work in IT Security.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Oh, How Nice

Apparently PC has been reported as a "Deceptive Site", so I filled out a form to Google to dispute this.

This blog is so freaking old that I'll have to go back and see which link is the "bad one", which is likely an old blog that no longer exists.

Oh. Yay.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Ups and Downs

The emotional roller coaster continues unabated, which is kind of weird since the past couple of days' worth of events had nothing to do with any of my toons directly. (Yet.)

The other day I got a whisper from Shintar of Priest With a Cause:

"We killed KT!"


"But also, our usual raid leader ragequit the raid on Sapph
what a night"

Wait, what?

She assured me she'd get a long blog post out of this, and she wasn't kidding. It's well worth a read. But I'm still incredibly proud and happy for Shintar and the rest of the Order of the Holy Fork for beating Classic just before pre-patch. Way to go!


As for our BC preparation, the raid lead team was busy reviewing and slotting where each person was willing to go, and we finally got down to the nitty gritty. 

We needed Shamans and we had too many Mages.*

So I put my money where my mouth is and volunteered to switch my main to an Enhancement Shaman.

I'm still going to play with Card, but she's not going to be my primary toon. And neither will Linna, although I'm likely to utilize the boosting service for her. 

So this upcoming week's raid is going to be bittersweet: the last time before pre-patch that I'll have Cardwyn as my main.


What will Card do afterwards?

Most likely, she is going to take some well deserved time off. She'll leave the Plaguelands to others for a while, port down to Stormwind, and walk back home to the family farm in Eastern Elwynn. There, she'll spend as much time out in the sun as possible, trying to chase away dark memories from the inside of Naxxramas and Ahn'Qiraq, along with landscapes where the very air takes on a sickly hue. She'd never take the wheat and barley growing in the fields for granted again. 

Things have changed since Card started out. She has several nieces and nephews now; two of the farmhands, James and Robyn, married and moved into a small place Card's Mom and Dad built for them on the northern edge of the fields. They now have a couple of children of their own. Linna is still out there with the Knights out in the Plaguelands, keeping Light's Hope Chapel open and the Scourge at bay.

Mistress Evelyn is semi-retired; Card's family built a small place for her adjacent to the farm buildings so she could continue her pursuits without constant travel to Stormwind. Instead of visiting the children of Eastern Elwynn, they now come to her for lessons. 

The ebb and flow of children suits Card to no end. She gets to play with her nieces and nephews, go fishing at the nearby pond, and even do things she used to hate, such as turning manure. Being out in the sun, in nature, and surrounded by friends and family keeps the darkness at bay. It also serves as a reminder of why she fought in the first place, which can get lost in the heat of the moment.

Perhaps that call will come, a summons to cross the Dark Portal and face Illidan and the Burning Legion, but for now time is Cardwyn's most precious resource, and she intends to use as much of it as possible making herself whole again.



*Not one or two, but four, including Card.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Yeah, It Figures

Figures that Blizz would drop the news about BC Classic a couple of hours after a post.


June 1st eh? With a May 18th Pre-patch?

Not amused, I am. Naxxramas' Event went on longer than the two weeks' worth of pre-patch for TBC Classic.

Boosting services on the servers --the ones you pay for in WoW gold, not the ones that Blizz wants you to use-- will be brisk, especially if you want multiple Shamans (or Pallys on the Horde side) in raids fairly quickly.

I look at the two weeks as a push by Blizz to capitalize on their own monetary boosting services, but given that most of the toons in need of a boost won't be able to get one (Draenei and Blood Elves), why stick to two weeks?

Unless they asked the sweatiest of the sweaty guilds for advice on lead-in to release day, that is.


Oh, and I left my old guild today.

Within the past few days I noticed that a lot of my old guildies began logging in like clockwork, with TBC Classic on the horizon. To be fair, I was never on Az when they were, because I was either doing some leveling on alts or raiding/whatnot on Card, but when I logged into Az to do some farming, I noticed the last logged in times and went "hmmm....."

After a couple of days of this I began to get irritated. I'd been the only one to consistently login over the months, and I guess they figured they could pick up where they left off. It was at that moment that I realized that I'd moved on without them, and I really didn't need Retail Orphans any more. So I gave the GM role back to the original GM and /gquit.

Az is now a free agent again.

Will she join Valhalla? Nah. Not for now at any rate. She can remain independent, especially since she has been doing her own thing for so long. Besides, I'm going to be busy doing raid stuff, and Az will be an alt that I'll goof around with from time to time.

The Maiden Voyage of the Loot Master

I should have taken screenshots.


I'd never performed any raid lead functions before, and I mean the "real" raid lead functions, not merely organizing the Mage Int buffs. But last night during our regular Zul'Gurub pug run* I assumed the role of Loot Master for the first time.

Courtesy of my new gig being part of a raid lead team, I knew I was going to have to learn this job anyway, so I figured no time like the present. I'd already been growing more and more concerned about the burnout that the pug Raid Lead had been facing, and I wanted to take on a greater role in her raids to make her job easier.

So last night's ZG run was a great testcase as to whether a) I could handle this technically, and b) I could handle this without getting too much stress.

While I realized that I wasn't going to be as smooth as she does it --she's been doing it for months-- I have no idea how she juggles all the hats on these smaller raids.


We spent about a half an hour before the raid working out the settings for the LootReserve add-on, which is what we use for our raids with the Soft Reserve loot system**, and then based on a quirk of Classic I had to assume the Raid Lead position and then grant her Assist so she could perform all of her 'regular' tasks.

It actually wasn't that bad.

It helped that the raid was composed of a mix of guildies (still feels weird saying that) and regulars, and they were very encouraging throughout the raid. The two other Mages stepped up to help out with managing the Int Buffs and taking care of other small things I'm used to doing, so it freed me to focus on the Loot Master's job.

Which actually contributed to my death at least once. 

I was busy looking at the reserves and whatnot in the approach to the spider boss while we were killing those spider packs. Since my mind was on that, I kept spamming Arcane Explosion and not paying attention to my threat levels. Naturally, I pulled threat and died.

"A Card in her natural habitat: eating dirt" was how I described it in Mage chat.

"What happened?"

"Died due to skitterer packs."


"Was busy looking at reserves, spamming AE, not paying attention."

"Yeah, that'll do it."

I died one or two more times, both of them directly related to me focusing on the Loot Master job, so I'm not terribly concerned. But given that I'm not exactly swimming in gold, that money spent on repairs did hurt.


Since I'll be taking this job going forward on the two 20 person raids, I'm sure I'll get better at this as time goes on. And I think I can do this when we get to BC and I graduate to the DKP tools we currently use in our progression raids. Of course, stakes about loot are a bit higher there, so hopefully I'll have this down enough to not cause any drama all by my lonesome.

*While technically it is a pug, this raid (as well as our Saturday BWL and Sunday AQ20 runs) has so many regulars from across several guilds that it's more of a semi-pug at this point. 

**If you're considering running Soft Reserve, the LootReserve Addon is AMAZING. For both raiders and the lead team. For raiders, you get a GUI that handles everything you wanted to do (so you don't overwhelm the Loot Master with requests to the point the LM's account is throttled by Blizz). For Loot Masters, you only have a half dozen settings to worry about without having to type out commands on the chat line. If it was all command line driven, it'd take forever.

Monday, May 3, 2021

Here, have some homework, but bring your hardhat

I received the ping over a week ago.

It was after a detailed yet really emotional discussion on the raid guild's Mage channel about Thaddius. Or, more specifically, the Mage team's lack of decent parsing on Thadd. While we consistently down Thadd, the Mage crew has had to lay off of pushing the pedal to the metal because we frequently get an Ignite that either comes close to or actually pulls threat*. If you map out our threat levels, one of us with Ignite's threat looks like we're on a sudden rocket ship to the stars (almost vertical). So, to combat that we frequently start by soaking the first Ignite, use a Rank 9 Fireball to start with, and then switch to Max Rank when things look stable.**

But all of that has an effect on our parsing which, to be fair, sucks. 

One of the crew was arguing about his need to fix his lack of parsing so much and in such a way that it set off alarm bells in my head. I can't describe it, but if you've been a parent for long enough you just learn to recognize where something takes a detour into dangerous emotional territory.

"Dude," I finally responded, "If you're thinking you suck, you don't. Trust me on this one. I don't want you to think you suck, because you kick ass." 

Things calmed down after that, but still it was a pretty raw discussion.

So with that in my mind, I received a ping from one of the raid guild's leadership later that day. "Cardwyn, do you have some time to talk?"


First, she used my full name, Cardwyn, which I only hear in raid when the Raid Caller/Leader says something officially in raid or when the Loot Master says it when I win something. Second, with the rather generic "do you have a second to talk" following so shortly after the Thadd argument, I got that sinking feeling that I'd overstepped my bounds in the parsing discussion, and I guess she drew the short stick to talk to me about it. 

"Well," I said, "might as well get this over with." I responded and said I had time today or tomorrow, but now is fine too. I was alone in the house at the time, so no big deal.

After a couple of hours --and, of course, after my youngest and her boyfriend had dropped by and were up in her room-- she finally responded and I pulled on my headset to chat while I worked on dinner.

"So Card," she began, "You're aware that in BC we're going to have two 25-person raids, right?"***

"Right," I replied, realizing belatedly that Mage parsing was not on her mind.

"I'm going to be leading the Monday raid, along with [a couple of other people]. I'd like to know if you would like to join the raid leadership to be our fourth."

I blinked.

This I was not what I was expecting.

I mean, in the raid surveys that we'd filled out, I had checked a little box that said yes if I wanted to help out in some way. I'd conveniently ignored the entries for Raid Caller, Loot Master, and other official duties of raid leadership, because I figured I could help out by doing a few minor things here and there. After all, I'm not exactly the sweatiest person out on the raid team by a long shot.

Somewhere in the back of my head was a small voice saying "Just how few people offered to volunteer before they got to my name?"

But it was an offer, and I accepted it without hesitation.

We chatted for about 10-15 more minutes, and finished the call.

As I took off the headset I suddenly realized what I'd committed myself to doing: I was going to have to give up on my grand dream of taking my time and exploring Outland. (At least initially.)

And I was gonna have to get sweaty. No way around it.

"Well, crap."


Around the same time, with the latest patch came the ability to dethrone a GM if they'd been marked as inactive. Since my guild's GM has been inactive for months, it was kind of a no brainer that I took the opportunity to perform a coup and take over the guild. Sure, it's a guild of (essentially) me at this point, but hey, it's something. And I didn't even have to gather signatures or anything either. 

It had kind of irked me for a while that if the GM wasn't going to even make an effort to come back, he could have given me or someone else the GM job and then left, but oh well. I guess people figure that things will remain unchanging. I once asked him about some of the people who leveled in the guild an then split, and he kind of shrugged. It was his guild, I was informed, and he was fine if people didn't necessarily want to stick around or anything. I thought it weird to not have a vested interest in the people in your guild that you didn't necessarily know that well, but I rolled with it.

And now it wasn't his guild at all anymore.


It's kind of weird how my work instincts immediately kicked in when I began analyzing the documentation we already had. Usually I try to separate my work from home life, and in spite of me working from home for a couple of decades I do that fairly well. Unless, of course, something like this comes along and then my lizard brain says "Ooo... Data..." and then the work part of me wakes up. 

Naturally, the next thing I thought of was "I don't have enough info on raiding in TBC --or classes for that matter-- to help out." So I started reading up on raid compositions, goals, and whatnot.

 This sort of thing has been
my diet for the past week.

I quickly discovered that there was going to be a problem.

As part of the raid leadership team, I was guaranteed a spot in the raid. But a lot of the 25 person raid compositions in TBC had only one Mage in them. And with two raids, that meant 2 Mages total.

Our core group of Mages currently totaled four.

I knew that at least 3 of us were planning on playing a Mage in BC Classic, and if --as I assumed-- all four of us would, we'd be hard pressed to find space for all of them.

While I could theoretically switch to Az, the slots for Rogues in 25-person BC raids numbered somewhere between zero and one. And I knew that we had far more talented Rogues out there in the raid than me.

I cursed up a blue streak, realizing what that meant. Unless something happened, we were at risk to lose at least one of the Mages from not only the raid team, but potentially from the guild. And our Mage crew is pretty tight. If we all lived in the same city, we'd likely hang out together, go for beers**** and in general have a good time. We look out for each other and reach out when we think things aren't okay. It may be totally selfish, but I didn't want to lose that friendship.

So I decided to sacrifice Card.

"Listen, Card, it's just a figure of...
Tell you what, go finish farming Demonic
Runes and I'll explain it later."



I brooded over this decision for a couple of days, because I've grown quite fond of her. It's likely due to my writing attempts, because her fictional personality is a mesh of my two daughters, and I've connected to her in a way that I never did with my other toons.

But I've played a Ret Pally before, and I've played a Warlock before, and both were going to be needed in BC raids. I was fairly certain nobody was clamoring to play Ret --the only person I knew who did had to retire from the raid due to personal reasons-- so I could slip into that role fairly easily. And I already had Card's sister slated in my head for a Ret position, so I could do that.

If I was going to lead, I had to set an example and do what I could for the betterment of the team.

"My time has come!"
Hold yer horses there, kid....

I took my concerns to the Raid Leader, who told me that once the teams (and leadership) were announced there was going to be another survey to see who wanted to go where. So she said we have time, so just wait and see. 

Okay, I could do that.*****


A short time later the Raid Leader pinged me in Discord that we had an issue. Since a lot of the raid leader tools (WeakAuras and add-ons) are configured to be guild specific, my presence was going to cause problems. She cast out a feeler about whether there were any real issues about joining the guild. 

I kind of figured that this would happen --and I was surprised that the topic wasn't broached when I initially agreed to join the raid lead team-- so I'd already decided it was going to be okay. I laid out my checkered history with guilds, but I told her that since I'd made a commitment, I'll follow through on it and join. All I asked was that since I hate being the center of attention, can we please do it while hardly anybody is on.#

That went as well as you'd expect.

Oh, it worked out at first, because only a few people were on at the time, and half of them were guild leadership and so were aware of my decision. But once they changed my tags in Discord, well....

This was one of the more tame
memes; you get the idea.

Uh, yeah.

Of course, before all that happened, I wasn't about to give up my newly acquired GM role in my old guild. So I managed to finagle something and move Az into the GM role, freeing up Card to drop Retail Orphans and join Valhalla.

It all blew over after a day, thankfully, so by the time the Friday progression raid was set everybody had gotten the ribbing out of their system. 

But except for a few people in the two raid lead teams and guild leadership, nobody knew what was coming when the raid leadership teams were announced.


...and there has been drama. The curse lives.

*And guess who is often the owner of said Ignite. I watch those threat meters, sigh, and say "I'm gonna have to LIP, aren't I?"

**We're one of the few guilds on our server that have cleared Naxx and yet don't have a single Thunderfury on the raid team. Oh, we've tried for that second Binding off of Baron Geddon, for almost a year on a regular basis, and still we haven't gotten one to drop for either of our tanks who have a Garr Binding. If we had even one TF, the additional threat would be enough that we could just go to town on Thadd.

***This is by memory, so it may not be completely accurate. 

****And tequila. I see you, Raike.

*****We worked on an overview statement as well as a proposed raid composition this weekend, and the Raid Leader and I decided to mark me as "TBD", so that if things work out I can play on Card, but if not I'll fill one of the other slots.

#As I've alluded to in the past, I'm extremely shy in real life, but every day I get up and put on a (virtual) mask to get me through the day. When I first went to university, everybody had to take a day's worth of psychological tests. When I received my results back, they included an appointment with a university psychologist, because the psych staff was concerned about my ability to handle day to day life in college. When I finally met with the shrink, she took one look at me and said "You look fine; so why the results?" "I hide it well," I replied.

EtA: Replaced "raid teams" with "raid leadership teams".

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Moar Changes

 I, uh, now have a bit more of an incentive to get to L70 in BC than before. 

And unfortunately, until the official notice drops, I can't really share the reason why yet. I'd been holding on this post for a week now, and I was getting tired of holding it so I'm putting this placeholder out while I'm waiting.

But there was a price to be paid, at least from my perspective. I paid it willingly, but it did not change my personal opinions on anything. Probably the labels will give some of it away, I suppose.