Monday, October 31, 2022

Meme Monday: Spooky Memes

Today is Halloween, and while I've not dressed up and gone trick-or-treating (for myself) in some decades, I appreciate the holiday for what it is: an excuse to dress up, scare people, and eat Scooby Snacks candy.

"Zoinks!! Run, Scoob!!" --Shaggy
From... Oh, come on. Haven't you 
SEEN my avatar? At least it's the original
"Scooby Doo, Where are you?" cartoons.

So in honor of things that are spooky and make us scared, here's a few things that scare me in meme form...

If for you the Satanic Panic was
a non-event, then I salute you.
But for those of us in the Bible
Belt (or near enough), it still lurks...
(From DnD Memes on Twitter)

I can't flirt to save my life. If
I want to say something witty, it all
comes out "Hur dur yoo prettie!"
I'm still not sure how I ever ended up
dating, much less getting married.
(From Reddit.)

I am scared of heights. I discovered this
little item when my wife and I walked
across the Roebling Suspension Bridge
one weekend. I got about halfway across
when I couldn't handle it any more and
shoved my behind up against the side of
the walkway that abutted the road.

Okay, that flying one is going to be fodder for another post, so you haven't seen the last of that particular meme.

I've caused my share of wipes, and I still
live in mortal terror of causing a bad pull.
I guess I learned "you pull it, you tank it"
far too well...

Sunday, October 30, 2022

It's Been a While

I feel like I've been here before.

Tonight will be almost nine months to the day that I was last in a progression raid.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous about tonight's raid.

I just want to be good enough that I won't embarrass myself.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Scourge Was Not Our Greatest Enemy

Mages in Wrath Classic are in a curious place.

In a role reversal from the heady days of Vanilla Classic, I have frequently found myself getting whispers less for people wanting me to join a group and more for being an easy transportation device. 

Not that I mind much, because tips of around 5 gold per portal* do add up, but I do realize that life has changed for Mages from the Vanilla Classic days. My preferred spec, as a Frost Mage, is great for being out in the field and doing solo content, but they're now a far cry from the Molten Core and Blackwing Lair days of being the Mage spec to be.

Gee thanks, Wowhead. I guess I'm
the comic relief.

Given that I'd already committed to being a Fire Mage in the raid, and that everybody in the raid is fine with that, I wasn't too terribly concerned. I mean, here's the charts for the first week of DPS in Warcraft Logs:

Poor Linna; Ret Paladins are in a
world of hurt. But at least they're higher
than Frost Mages. And my preferred Rogue
Spec, Subtlety, is at the bottom too...

While Fire wasn't as high as Arcane, it was significantly higher than bottom feeding Frost. (Poor Warriors; I feel your pain.)

I think it prudent to mention that classes and specs that require a lot of proper timing, such as Enhancement Shamans, are very good in the hands of someone who is much better (and younger) in their reaction times. Otherwise, it's not quite so great. 

The raid team was fine with Card coming as a Fire Mage, so I wasn't overly concerned about being a middle-of-the-pack raider. After all, I was the 4th or 5th Mage out of 6 in DPS in our AQ40 and Vanilla Naxxramas raids, so I was used to being in the hazy 30% down from the top area. 

But having not had much Fire Mage experience in months, and with my impending first foray into Naxx myself a week away***, I decided Monday to use that dual spec capability in Wrath Classic and began practicing as a Fire Mage.


In short, it did not go well.


You'd think that I remembered that Fire does not have the damage mitigation and crowd control that Frost has, but no.... 

I spent a couple of hours trying to get the feel for the cadence, but after multiple deaths in a zone 5 levels below my own I just threw up my hands and set aside the game for a while. 

The rest of the evening was spent doing other things, outside of helping my questing buddy move some of the WoW Hallow's Eve candy to her toon before raid time.**** When raid time came, I had that urge to join in --and I was dejected that I couldn't-- but I was perversely grateful that I'd already marked myself absent. 


While I may do things my own way, I set high standards for myself, and my (lack of) progress getting back into a rotation for a Fire Mage was very disheartening. If you've ever come back to something you'd set aside for a long while, such as a musical instrument or sewing or programming, and you discover that you're having big trouble getting the basics down and you're wondering just what the fuck is going on, that was what it was like. There's that enduring moment of panic that you think you're never going to get your skills back, and that you start to believe all of those doubts you have hanging around in your head. 

I couldn't shake that funk all Monday night, and my inner critic doubled down on me when I woke up on Tuesday to find that the raid team had cleared all the bosses in Naxx, plus Vault of Archavon and The Obsidian Sanctum. It was like giving a double shot espresso to a hyperactive kid. 

By the time my wife and oldest had both split for work, I'd had enough of this death by a thousand cuts. 

"Shut up!" I bellowed to an empty house. "Stop driving me fucking crazy! I am NOT going to quit!! Stop with all the 'they don't need you' bullshit! If that were the case, they'd never have asked me in the first place! Now shut the fuck up and let me get back to work!"

Cardwyn: "I would like a word with you
about this 'comic' and the 'imaginary' part..."
By Grant Snider at

A bit later, during a multi-hour seminar at work, I logged in again and began going through the Fire Mage's capabilities. I moved a thing or two around on my bar --such as swapping out Scorch for Pyroblast*****-- and I recognized that I needed to focus on a few spells a little differently than in Vanilla Classic, so began grinding mobs. Casting went better, I moved a bit smoother, and while I took more damage from enemies than if I were a Frost Mage, I was able to handle those same mobs I died to the night before. 

Then I got into some instances that night, and all that progress fell apart.

"The rotation feels janky," I said in Discord during a run of Culling of Stratholme.

"Are you missing something, like on your bar?" a friend asked.

"I already moved some things around," I replied, "such as taking off Scorch and replacing it with Pyroblast so that when Pyroblast procs it's an instant cast, but Scorch isn't used as part of the rotation anymore. The days of using Scorch to get five stacks of Improved Scorch are past."

After the runs were over, I went back to questing solo and the rotation felt fine, so it had to be something about the rotation for groups that was off. 


I then discovered I was doing things in reverse.

For a Frost Mage, I use the term "Lock 'em and rock 'em" to describe dealing with a mob. You freeze them in place using Frost Nova, then you can cast Cone of Cold then Blizzard to down the mob. Fire Mages in Vanilla Classic didn't really have anything to lock people in place, so you just waited for the tank to grab aggro then cast Blizzard. 

Well, in Wrath Classic there's one thing that didn't exist in Vanilla Classic: Dragon's Breath. It's a Cone of Cold for Fire Mages, so I figured that I should use it after an initial cast of Flamestrike. However, after conducting some research (see meme above) I discovered that instead of Flamestrike then Dragon's Breath, it should be Dragon's Breath then Flamestrike because of the tendency to get an instant cast of Flamestrike out of it.


There's also a tweak to Blast Wave, which is a Fire talent tree only spell. The Vanilla Classic version of Blast Wave dazed enemies for a few seconds, but in Wrath Classic it knocks them back, moving the "dazed" effect to Dragon's Breath. I thought that knockback was a Talent Tree effect, but no.... It's something that can be eliminated via a Glyph.

::grumbles something vaguely incoherent about juggling too many systems::

"Stop your laughing! I'm serious!"
Blizz did the original graphic,
I did the rest.

So tonight, I'm going to find out how these changes work in group content. It'll feel weird, but at least I no longer feel like I've totally lost my edge.


I'm a work in progress.

I realize that it's a daily thing, beating back the doubts, but being able to control what small things I can ought to help a lot. Falling back on my training, conducting research when I fail so I can learn how to fix things, will help too.

I just have to be willing to use them and not be so damned stubborn about it.

*The other day I received a tip of 30 gold for a portal to Dalaran. I wasn't going to turn it down --I may never insist on fees but will gladly accept any tips offered-- but given that they volunteered that amount a month after Wrath Classic dropped I was a bit surprised.

**The point was so that the Warlock in question understood that Warlocks were doing just fine; it was a pick-me-up sort of response meant to make the Warlock feel better. 

***Since we visited my son over the past weekend, I took one of the two initial bench slots for our team of 12 raiders. I could theoretically have made the raid on Sunday night if there were other call offs, but I talked with one of the two raid leads and he insisted that I just chill out and not worry about it.

****In WoW, that candy provides some buffs for players, so it's kind of a thing. But since it's a limited duration item --only around for the Hallow's Eve in-game holiday-- you can't mail the items at all. So, I became the mule for my questing buddy, trading the candy to her.

*****Scorch is better in a Battleground when you have to have a fast casting spell while you're on the move. Pyroblast, when Hot Streak pops, becomes an instant cast and then it becomes useful in a fight. But otherwise... I know some people who lead with Pyroblast, but when you've got a ton of people in a zone and you need to stake your claim on a mob fast, go with a faster cast to start with. Or just stick with Fireball.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Something is Heroic in the State of Northrend

I don't think I'm exactly breaking new ground when I say that Wrath of the Lich King marked a turning point in World of Warcraft. After all, everybody knows that WoW was at its height of both popularity and pop cultural influence during the Wrath era, and that the modern game began when WoW broke with its past in Cataclysm. But one of the more striking things I've discovered about Wrath during my play through in Wrath Classic has been how much the game's focus has changed since even TBC Classic. 

Okay, let me back up a moment.

Several years ago when I was mainly playing Elder Scrolls Online, I made a post about how it felt to suddenly find myself ingratiated with the faction leaders of ESO and how it just seemed so... unlikely to say the least. Shintar was skeptical about my opinions concerning ESO until she discovered that almost immediate acceptance and camraderie by the faction leaders when she tried out ESO as well. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed ESO, because the setting was all new to me (I never got more than a couple of hours into Skyrim), and I did like the worldbuilding that went on in Tamriel. The characters were memorable --the stories as well-- and the graphics and setting were gorgeous. Still, it felt like I shouldn't have been able to even get within 10 miles of the powerful of Tamriel, much less become practically instant friends with them.

Besides, just how many Dunmer end
up being good friends with the Queen
of the Altmer? (I'm the one on the end,
with the decidedly NOT heroic looking armor.)

By comparison, returning to WoW Classic was a breath of fresh air, where you hardly ever interact with faction leaders and the most powerful people of Azeroth. The assaults on Ahn'Qiraq and Naxxramas, let alone Molten Core and Blackwing Lair, did not have Thrall or Rexxar leading the charge. You didn't see Bolvar leading the attack against Onyxia. We were not trusted advisors and friends. There were no cutscenes or role playing among the leadership. We were just a raid, representing an army, no more and no less. 

Look at it this way: the entirety of the Ahn'Qiraq lead in questline for both the Horde and Alliance have nothing to do with any of the faction leaders. Instead, you're sent repeatedly to a Kaldorei Priest and a Troll Shaman, who are frustrated at their constant dismissal by their own factions as to the danger the Silithids represent. Fast forward to TBC Classic, where you're constantly checking back in with either A'dal the Na'aru, the High Priest of the Aldor, or the Scryer Seer. All three of these people are the "Big Guns" of Outland.

Even raids are switched up from Vanilla Classic to TBC Classic, where Black Temple and Sunwell Plateau have NPC Roleplaying sequences at the end*, with sections of the questline that lead to those raids having extended RP sequences of their own. They aren't true cutscenes, but they remain pivotal points in game.**

Then came Wrath of the Lich King.

The pre-patch events, especially the Scourge Invasion event, had a few changes than the Vanilla Classic version. Sure, it had the standard Scourge assault areas, the same tabards and gear (well, adjusted for heading into Wrath), and other, similar Argent Dawn driven stuff, but it also had TBC-esque feel to it with the Scourge assault on the transportation areas of the factions. Those locales were led in defense by faction leaders, which had RP elements of their own. 

Of course, there's the entire Death Knight intro experience, which has extended TBC-esque RP areas of their own. 


But then we head to Northrend.

Helloooo, Wrathgate.

I think that's the first full cutscene experience in WoW, and it's a doozy. The subsequent Battle for the Undercity is both fascinating, exhilarating, and awkward. The first two are self explanatory, but the third... Well...

You report to and then escort faction leaders. You are a major part in the assault on the Undercity, fighting with the faction leaders. 

Oh, and there's that whole Dragon Queen thing.***

I think Deathwing would beg to differ,
but I digress.

It was in Borean Tundra and in Dragonblight when I realized that Blizzard decided to abandon their design in Vanilla (and to a lesser extent TBC) an expac earlier than I thought they did and instead pump you up as a fantastic superhero-esque Champion, something they've never really let go of ever since. 

"Oh crap...."

If you've never played Horde, this is one
of the reasons why Horde players
really liked Saurfang.

After all, why should Alexstrasza be greeting you as a friend like this when you'd never met her before?

Yes, this was literally Cardwyn's first
encounter with The Lifebinder.
Obviously questing had brought Card
to "Friendly" Status with the
Wyrmrest Accord, but... come on.

"Uh.... thanks?"

Your first encounters with the Red Flight in Borean Tundra were a lot more pitch perfect (an "I could eat you if you so much as get out of line" sort of thing) but that rapidly changed once Keristrasza enters the scene. Although to be fair, her words to you at the end of the quest line sound more like someone talking to a pet or a nick-knack you put up on a shelf for display.

"Does that make me your Precious?"
"Well, you are kind of wrapped around my finger..."

Then there's Wintergarde Keep, where after one or two quests you're suddenly everybody's best friend.

This sort of cadence continues everywhere I've gone in Northrend so far, which to my mind actually cheapens the moniker of "hero". If everything a player does is "heroic", then the word "hero" loses its luster. 


When I worked as a materials engineering lab tech back in my early 20s, we began the day by ranking the priority of our work on a 3 point scale: 1 - High Priority, 2 - Normal Priority, 3 - Low Priority.

Sounds like a common sense approach, right?

Well, this entire system would get blown up on a regular basis because every couple of hours one of the bosses would come in and make something on marked 2 or 3 on the list a 1, saying that "This is high priority now, it needs to get worked on right away!" After a few days of this, the listing on the board went from:

1 2 2 2 2 3


1 1 1 1 1 1

Which would make me and the rest of the techs throw up our hands in frustration. Was it a failure of leadership? Oh yes. Was this an isolated incident from this company only? Oh HELL no. This behavior is pretty much everywhere.

Syndrome captured this sentiment
perfectly a decade later.

Now, transfer this to "heroism" in MMOs or other video games, and you get the idea.


While I do enjoy the stories in Northrend, this overenthusiasm for patting your toon on the back by --and chumming around with-- the powerful of Azeroth is tempering my enjoyment a lot. I can now see how Blizzard changed their focus so completely away from the players and onto the faction leaders and the powerful of Azeroth, having them drive the stories of later expacs instead of the focus being on the player.****

And as I indicated above, World of Warcraft is --by far-- not the only video game that falls into this trap. Any narrative video game that goes on for long enough has this sort of problem, but I guess that I'd hoped that this issue wasn't so entrenched in Wrath as it turned out to be. My memory failed me on that point.

One thing that my memory didn't fail me on was the pervasiveness of phasing, but that's a story for another time...

*Or so I'm told. Haven't seen them myself.

**The assault on the Black Temple I do know of, because I could hear it anytime I got close to the Black Temple given the constant stream of people performing that part of the questline. It was a constant reminder that I never finished Tempest Keep, so I made a point of avoiding Shadowmoon Valley. Or Shattrath, once the RP involving Lady Liadrin began taking place.

***I'm not going to go into any more detail because Spoilers. Sure, it's been around since 2008, but there will be people who never have seen it before. I can think of two people who currently Raid Lead off the top of my head who never saw anything in Retail Wrath, much less The Wrathgate and The Battle for The Undercity.

****And even when the focus is on the player, the player is merely a Superhero archetype, not something a real person can relate to. This lack of relatability is another common problem with MMOs. Outside of the powerful of Azeroth, everybody else becomes a Red Shirt. Even Old Blanchy, who makes an appearance in Northrend in Wrath, only to be slaughtered in Westfall in Cataclysm for the initial quest. Ouch.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Meme Monday: AFK From Memes Edition

At the end of this week my wife and I went to visit our son, who is a senior at college. Therefore, I was away from gaming for a few days. 

As I tend to game at night, when my normal login times hit I was lying in bed at the hotel room*, after having read a bit, and feeling twitchy about wanting to get on and play something. Meanwhile, my wife is lying next to me, snoring away, so I can't really do much else except reread the same book I finished an hour ago.

Extra sleep? I did that, and as a consequence I woke up massively early each day I was away.

Yeah, people don't like it when
you point this out.
From BottomShelfVodka.

Uh.... No comment.

My 10s team ventured into Naxx 
for the first time last night, but 
I was coming home. So I feel that.
From memebase.

But it was great to see my son, and we
geeked out over video games
(his is FF XIV right now).

*Sorry, I don't do AirBnB. I've seen what the result of that is, and it's for third party companies to aggressively buy out neighborhood homes, driving up housing prices, just so they can turn said homes into AirBnB places. I get phone calls on the average of about 5 per week from companies wanting me to sell them our home.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

The George Lucas Method of Preserving the Past

Time may change me
But I can't trace time
--David Bowie, Changes

One thing I’ve discovered about Northrend is that the questing cadence is quite different from Outland (TBC Classic) and the Old World (Vanilla Classic). I suppose that you could say that Northrend is the first area that contains the “Modern WoW” quest design, where you get quest chains that are: 

Quest 1 -> Quest 2 [-> Quest 3 Optional] -> Mini Boss

in flow. TBC Classic had some quests like that –and Vanilla Classic as well—but you find it in abundance throughout Northrend. Since I started playing WoW back in Wrath, I never realized that there was anything other than that style of quest design, but having seen the progression from Classic -> TBC Classic -> Wrath Classic, I can now see clearly how Blizz zeroed in on that questing style after fumbling around with a variety of different designs in Vanilla. 

Which also explains why I’m so used to that cadence throughout the MMO-verse, especially those that are called “WoW Clones”. 


Of course, doing things in threes isn't exactly new. Aristotle --yes, that Aristotle-- had a triptych about communication involving three steps:

  1. Tell people what you're going to say.
  2. Say it.
  3. Tell people what you just told them.

The first time I encountered that triptych, I was in college and part of a team working on a project for an Engineering Design Seminar. Everybody had a part to play on the team, and I got drafted (they pulled my name out of a hat) to present the team's findings in class. I remembered my old Speech class back in high school providing me some basics on how to lead a meeting, but it was only when I was putting the report used with the overhead machine did my professor suggest the triptych. 

Ah, those were the days.
You know, before PowerPoint.
And computer presentations.
From Wikipedia.

I always thought the triptych came from Mr. Rogers --again, that Mr. Fred Rogers-- but only when I looked it up for this article did I discover its true origin.

Regardless, the triptych highlights the importance of the cadence of three things at a time, and one that Blizz* has embraced in their quest/story design.


Remember the long, meandering questline for Marshal Windsor --or for the Horde, their even worse Onyxia questline-- and how it sometimes took forever? Or the Green Hills of Stranglethorn? Yeah, those questlines would never get made today, and I recall Soul telling me when I first started encountering those missing pages for the Green Hills of Stranglethorn that even Blizz admitted that the quest didn't work the way they wanted it to. 

But you know, I was fine with that. It may not have been a streamlined experience, but it certainly had character. 


Being a Wrath baby, I had no idea just how much the Old World --and, consequently, Outland-- already had been altered from its original state when Wrath dropped. I was aware of the "Feats of Strength" achievements, for things that were no longer in the game, but since most of the people I interacted with in-game had begun in TBC or Wrath, I never knew about some of the quests and achievements that lurked out there. Such as Marshal Windsor. 

Or that the original Hemet Nesingwary quests in Nagrand didn't involve killing 12 animals per quest, but 30.**

Or just how many of those older quest zones --such as in Silithus or Burning Steppes-- began life with all those mobs as elites, not the normal mobs I encountered. 

Or that some of those roaming world bosses in places such as Burning Steppes were true world bosses, not the "rares" as they turned into when the Dark Portal opened. 

By the time Wrath came along, enough of the Old World had changed that some of those old zones were closer to the 1997 Special Edition Star Wars releases than the OG versions I thought I knew. 

Some of the changes were simple, such as allowing riding inside the ring and chains areas of Blackrock Mountain, which was how I remembered it when I first poked my nose inside. (Because Wrath, you know.) The same goes for allowing some of those high end (Vanilla era) raid/dungeon Summoning Stones allow summons for up to L80, an increase from TBC's more stringent requirements. 

Of course, the fact that Summoning Stones actually, you know, SUMMONED people without the need for a Warlock being new to TBC was bit more of a dramatic change to the environment.

Yep, a lot like that.
From WoW's Facebook page.

Or the questing additions to Dustwallow Marsh, which effectively doubled the quests in the zone and completed the mystery questline as to who caused the fire at the Shady Rest Inn. 

Oh, and the change of Tabetha from a mysterious character of somewhat unknown origin and purposes (and age, let's face it) to just another Mage with some apprentices hanging around was also significant. To a non-Mage, that might not be a big deal, but to me... Yeah, it's kind of a big deal. The Mage questline to make a wand in Vanilla Classic was hard to do at level, because you were outnumbered and outleveled by everything nearby. You either had to band together for mutual defense or you spent a lot of time and effort getting there and back to her farm, not to mention actually doing the quests. Even finding the farm was an adventure, because there was no path there and nothing to indicate you were nearby until you were practically on top of her shack. Yes, it was quite a rite of passage for a Mage if you tried to do it at level without an assist from a much higher level toon.***  

Even Horde Mages sought out
Tabetha. Also, note the name of 
Tabetha's apprentice in the screenshot:
Garion. Someone at Blizz was likely
a fan of David Eddings' The Belgariad.

That's not to pretend that Cataclysm wasn't a blowing up of the Old World entirely, it's just an acknowledgement that what I thought I knew wasn't the case. 


There are times when I simply don't understand George Lucas.

His historical reluctance to never release the original trilogy in their original form is totally at odds with his reverence for the movie serials of decades past. I get it that he paid homage to those movie serials with Raiders of the Lost Ark and the eventual Indiana Jones series of movies, just as I understand his desire to see Star Wars as he originally envisioned it come to life on the screen. I also understand that he wants his wishes as the creator of the work to be respected. 

That being said, the original Star Wars has significant historical importance from not only a fan's perspective but a filmmaker's as well. It's not just that the special effects were ground breaking --they were****-- or that the cinematography and editing were all well done, but the entire product is a film that can be studied by future students to appreciate the significance of A New Hope. (And yes, I'd be fine with the "A New Hope" scrubbed from the titles, but I realize that is likely never gonna happen.) As much as George studied those movies and movie serials of the past, future filmmakers should be allowed to study his movies as well.


Right now, people will look at Star Wars: A New Hope decades from now and wonder just how much was modified over the years, and how much was left alone.


Admittedly, video games --and MMOs in particular-- don't quite have the same problems. If you'll recall when discussions surrounding Blizz creating an "official" Vanilla version of WoW first began in earnest, the biggest question was "Which release version of Vanilla should Classic be?" Wilhelm Arcturus weighed in on that more than a year before Blizz officially announced WoW Classic, and others did too. Trying to figure out what release version of an online game --even if it were just an exercise among friends relaxing on a weekend, remembering the "good old days"-- is bound to raise some passionate responses among any fan base.*****

This isn't going to devolve into a "no changes" versus "some changes" argument, because I'm not interested in that. It's just that I wanted to point out that in WoW at least, there really never was a static "Old World" that I thought existed once TBC and Wrath released. I'm not even talking about class changes and whatnot, because that's been tweaked from the beginning, but I meant the world itself. Blizzard didn't have to blow up the Old World to make things better in Cataclysm, because they already had tweaked it a bit in TBC and proven that "some changes" could be done without ruining everything.

I guess it says something about Wrath Classic that my very first impressions about the expac were what changed in the Old World versus a return to Northrend itself. Having seen firsthand how the class changes in the prepatch suddenly felt overpowered compared to TBC Classic, I can understand now how some people felt Wrath wasn't what they were used to, raiding and other things notwithstanding. What I thought was an unchanging world definitely wasn't.

*And other software development houses, to be fair.

**When that changed in the Wrath Pre-patch, my jaw dropped.

***One, that I might add, I did not accomplish at level. 

****As much as 2001: A Space Odyssey broke new ground in special effects in 1968, the overall feel of those effects was to emphasize the cerebral nature of 2001 as a film. Lucas expanded on those designs and integrated them seamlessly into an action movie format in a way that still feels concrete today. I look at the average Marvel, DC, or Star Wars product today and think that I'm watching a comic book rather than an actual film. There's a certain amount of Uncanny Valley feel to them, where in the back of your head you comprehend that it's all computerized special effects, and there's nothing that people can actually reach out and touch.

*****If Bioware wants to bring back "Classic" SWTOR, I'd be on board with playing! I remember how much harder things were back in the day, and how convoluted certain things were (commendations on a per planet basis, anyone?) But I also remember going through just about every quest on every planet because you needed all of the XP and gear and whatnot you could get. The people who blitzed to the end, WoW style, then filled chat with "I'm bored" moved on very quickly, so these servers would most definitely not be for them.

Monday, October 17, 2022

Meme Monday: Frosty Memes

This past week saw the first hard frost of the Fall around here. It brought some relief from Fall allergies --ragweed, I'm looking at you-- but we need a good rainstorm to truly flush that out of the air. 

When my questing buddy plays her
Priest, I frequently have this pop into
my head. Oh, for no reason.
(Before she says anything, yes,
I know she plays Disc Priest.)

But after last night's dungeons,
I'm eternally grateful that she was
our healer. And that I didn't die
even though I stood in stupid.
More than once.

Okay, this wasn't EXACTLY me
last night, but it came close. I accidentally put
up a Shattrath portal instead of a
Dalaran portal. I then had to hop
over to Shat and put up a Dal portal.
(From Ranker.)

This cracks me up every time I see it.
And I have no idea where this is,
because from this angle it looks like
a park. You know, where you'd just
expect to see Warcraft cosplayers
simply hanging around.
(From Pinterest this time.)

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Lich King + Buff = People Going Bananas

Having watched the population on the Wrath Classic servers swell from pre-patch through the launch to now, I can safely confirm that the old saying "a rising tide lifts all boats" applies to WoW. 

It's a shame, really, that people abandoned the smaller population servers to create these megaservers, because I've found enough people out and about in Azeroth on Myzrael-US that are looking to have fun that there was really no need to leave. 

But here we are, and all the wishing in the world can't change what happened.



This post isn't about that, but rather this video:

You see, I wasn't the only person who noticed that there were more people out in the Classic environment. The title of this post references a line that All-Trades Jack made in the video:

"I also just wanted to point out how easy it was for Blizzard to make Classic a bit more popular and bring people back to the game. All they have to do is say 'Wrath' and give a 50% XP buff and people go fucking nuts."
--All-Trades Jack, from Wrath Classic Pre-Patch Saves World of Warcraft.. For Now

And another thing I noticed while watching the video was, well...

I circled it in yellow so you could
see the guild name.
(From Wrath Classic Pre-Patch Saves
World of Warcraft... For Now)

"Hey," I blurted out. "That's Variance." My first thought was that this was an old video clip, in the pre-exodus days, and I was looking at an instance from Myzrael-US.

Then I noticed...

Again, highlighted for ease of observation.
(From Wrath Classic Pre-Patch Saves
World of Warcraft... For Now)

The Anti-Drama Society is an Atiesh-US guild, so All-Trades Jack must be on Atiesh-US.

This was confirmed by this last one:

You can't really tell, but that's because
his quest lists kept getting in the way
when I'd do screen caps.
(From Wrath Classic Pre-Patch Saves
World of Warcraft... For Now)

That's Rage Against the Murlocs, another Atiesh-US guild, and one that I've a couple of acquaintances in. (They're more my questing buddy's friends than my own, which is why I said acquaintances.)

So I was amused by All-Trades Jack's utilization of the Atiesh-US server for his videos.

Still, that does color my perception a bit. I don't think he's aware of the "Great Myzrael Mass Migration Event", which is why a lot of newer toons showed up on the server. Admittedly most of those are max level, but still an influx of about 1000 raiders will have an impact on server populations.

And there's a very real connection between that YouTube video and my own activities, one that had me combing the background to see if Deuce showed up somewhere.

(Narrator: She didn't.)


Overall, I thought it a good video, although I disagreed with his characterization of Classic Era as dead. Compared to, say, Grobbulous-US, Atiesh-US, or Pyrewood Village-EU Classic Era appears dead, but as Shintar's numerous posts on the matter confirm Classic Era still has an active population that is simply not that concerned with what a lot of Wrath Classic's population is into.

I was kind of nonplussed about All-Trades Jack's suggestion about having more wacky servers from the WoW Classic team as one-off events, although to be honest I could get behind some of the ideas he had, such as having Hogger as an end boss. Sure it sounds funny at first, but wouldn't it be just how some of these stories would end up? That it turns out the evil mastermind wasn't Kel'Thuzad at all, but rather Hogger, someone you bypassed and ignored after you left Elwynn Forest?

Speaking of ignoring things, there's
Kira, oblivious to the fight surrounding
her. Somewhere, Card and Linna
are facepalming right now.
(From Wrath Classic Pre-Patch Saves
World of Warcraft... For Now)

But I will say that I suspect that All-Trades Jack is a Jaina Proudmoore fan. Why would I believe that?

Look at all the hearts...
Oh, don't give me that, you can see the
hearts as plain as day. I sure can, just like
how I can see that Jaina's eyes are blue. :-P
(From Wrath Classic Pre-Patch Saves
World of Warcraft... For Now)

Oh, no reason....

EtA: Corrected some grammar by removing a few commas.

Monday, October 10, 2022

Meme Monday: Great White North Thanksgiving Edition

Yes, today is Canadian Thanksgiving, or as Canadians call it, Thanksgiving.

If you know people from Canada --Hi, Vid and Voss!!-- make sure to wish them a Happy Thanksgiving today!

When my first Jedi character in SWTOR
--a Shadow-- reached Coruscant, my thoughts
were along these lines. From Pinterest.

"the gods of interesting decree
you should check that out."
--My ex-DM, probably
From Pinterest.

"Those Were The Days."
Sometimes, I just want to hear
The Fifth Dimension's version of this
song. From demotivational.

Maybe I ought to cover the
Traveller RPG, but you could
put any RPG map in there.
And yes, those are star systems.
Hope your crew isn't being chased
by the Zhodani or the Sword Worlds.
From Pinterest.

EtA: Corrected a grammatical issue.

Sunday, October 9, 2022

An Homage of Sorts

When I first started poking around on Atiesh-US, I thought about resurrecting the old guild name I was a member of on Ysera-US, Is Up To No Good. Instead, I created that guild on Myzrael-US as a home for some of my alts, such as Az and Linna. 

Something about Linna's Mona Lisa-esque
smile fits that guild name perfectly.

But if nothing else, I wanted to put a guild together on Atiesh-US for Deuce. I'd discovered the joy of having an entire guild bank to yourself, and I figured that if I was going to have an alt over on Atiesh it'd be nice to have a mammoth amount of space for oddball junk as well.

I try not to be a packrat, but with WoW
you never quite know when some of this
stuff might come in handy.

My questing buddy and I got to talking about this blog, and I mentioned about how the MMO blogging landscape had changed over the years. 

"There's a lot of blogs that were watering holes for the community, and they're no longer around. Places like Tam and Chas' Righteous Orbs, Rades' Orcish Army Knife, and Larísa's The Pink Pigtail Inn were the places to go, not to mention WoW Insider."

"What was that?"

"What? WoW Insider?"

"No, The Pink Pigtail Inn."

"Oh, Larísa ran that. She stopped blogging long ago, 2014 maybe?"

My questing buddy began gushing about what a great name PPI was, and then she mentioned something I hadn't considered. "That would be a great guild name!" she added. "Hold on."


"There!" she said a few moments later. "I reserved it. Want to sign the charter?"


Alas, that charter then proceeded to languish for some months, as we moved on to other things. 

Fast forward to this past week, and I logged in on Deuce to find this:

"Yes, Mistress Elsharin. I like it too."

So Larísa's blog now lives on in game.

Larísa, I know that you've moved on and don't play any more, and I'm pretty sure you've put your gaming days behind you, but in case you come across PC again I wanted to let you know that you were an inspiration to me and a lot of other bloggers over the years. This small thing, a guild name for a few people, is just one way of saying thanks for your writing and community way back when. It still means a lot to me, and I hope I'm not the only blogger who thinks so.

EtA: I had "gushed" in there twice. That looked weird, so I fixed it. No more gushers here.

Friday, October 7, 2022

What Goes on in My Head, Yet Again

After my post last week, Shintar and Bhagpuss collectively kicked me in the ass to get me out of my funk. They might disagree about how I characterized their comments, but that's how I took it. And it was greatly needed.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about that last post, and referencing a few other posts, such as this one from this past July (or during Blaugust), or even why I shun the spotlight to my detriment, as I've opined on several occasions here over the years.

Those brooding, often melancholy moments, remind me that in the Nature vs Nurture debate I'm far more on the side of Nurture. We are the products of our experiences, whether we like them or not, and it takes a lot of effort to overcome deep seated tendencies that stem from those experiences. When people talk of the term "reverting to form" I imagine this face in the Wikipedia article:

This ol' pic is getting up there
in age.


I've had a hard time of thinking of anything more to say than what I've already said about this, other than I used to not be this way when I was much younger. I used to not be the sort of person who hid from others, who put up impenetrable barriers in gameplay designed more to keep myself separate than preserving a sense of "authenticity" or some other bullshit excuse I can think up. No, I learned to do this as a reaction to my own life experiences.

And really, I don't want to rehash more life stories any more than I have to. I mean, if you've read the blog you know about some of them already, and I'm hardly unique in that I was bullied or forgotten in my youth. 

But I will say that I had become introverted enough by the time I reached college that after I took the psychological exam that all incoming students at UD took back then*, I was summoned to the Health Center for a discussion with the shrinks there. My responses were such that they were concerned I would be able to function in a collegiate environment, but as I told them, I hid it well. 

You'd think that over the years at work that I'd gradually outgrown this sort of reticence, but that has most definitely not been the case. I've learned to tolerate it, that's all. It's only when I can relax and let my guard down that my introversion comes rushing back to the forefront, such as when I'm gaming. 

Someone mentioned in a YouTube video I was watching last week about how the automated dungeon finder in WoW was a godsend for introverts and the shy people who have a hard time reaching out and forming groups on their own, which gave me pause. WoW's well known toxicity kept me from enjoying dungeon runs in Cataclysm and later, but I do have to admit that selecting a role and waiting for a dungeon to pop was a lot easier than trying to reach out and do it yourself. While some people complained that it encouraged passivity, I'd argue that for the shy it was a godsend.

There were times --even in WoW Classic-- that I wanted to get into an instance to finish a quest or three, and I'd get a whisper that I shouldn't be looking for that instance because I'd outleveled it. That sort of behavior encouraged me to shut up and be passive when watching for groups, because people couldn't just keep their opinions to themselves.


Still, I need to be more responsive to my friends. They know me well enough, and in spite of my foibles they do appreciate me. That's where the kick in the ass came in handy.

"I might have deserved that..."
From Pirates of the Caribbean:
Curse of the Black Pearl.

*I have no idea if they still take those exams today; I don't recall any of my kids having to take psych exams for their Freshman year. For me, the exams took about 5 hours on a Saturday, and the guy I drove up with had psych problems of his own, namely that of his very overprotective mother. If there was a mom who fit the classic Italian-American stereotypical mom, it was her. She even called the university to check on him while he was taking the exams. This was in an era before cell phones, mind you, and he was totally embarrassed when they summoned him out of the exam room because his mom called.

EtA: Added a link.

Monday, October 3, 2022

Meme Monday: Meme-tober!

Okay, that doesn't make any real sense, but it certainly sounds good.

Anyhoo, I've been working on another post as a follow-up to my last one, but in the meantime, have a few snorts/chuckles/whatever:

Before Gorak's Guide, there was
this. From and

Thankfully the healers I know aren't
like this. From
and ghostwolf901.

From J!nx on Pinterest.

There's a ton of variations on 
this meme out there, but
I really liked this one.