Monday, February 27, 2023

Meme Monday: Storm Memes

No, not Storm, the character from X-Men, but a real storm. 

As in, "conditions are right today for severe thunderstorms."

Yes, that's what Spring is like in the Midwest; we're kind of used to it. Still, there are memes... But apparently storms are a common meme in politics, so...

I selected these so you don't have to deal with those.

Yeah yeah yeah...

The older I get the more I agree with this.

Oh hush, Oprah.
From again.

I could get behind this, except that
knowing my luck it would be the day
that all we see is the "threat" of rain.
From pinterest.

Sunday, February 26, 2023

What Is My Personal Endgame?

One of the odd things I've noticed about the WoW Classic community is the willful ignorance that a certain subset of the community has. I know, I shouldn't be reading Trade Chat or LFG Chat, but when someone starts blathering about how the current Looking For Group tool is "no different" than the old one in original Wrath, I get annoyed. 

"No, it's not," I replied. "The old one was totally random; you were selected automatically and spat out with a group. This one, you control who you select." I didn't even mention the Battlegroup part (thanks again for the reminder, Shintar), but I was ready in case someone decided to try to counter me.

Nobody did; in a rare case of me actually "winning" an argument online, I actually had the last word.

Of course, this argument didn't come out of nowhere, as people were arguing about "When WoW started going downhill." Some said Cataclysm, others said "That Panda expansion, Mists."

It all depended upon whether they were talking about subscriber numbers or whether the game no longer felt like the game, I guess, but my belief that the seeds of WoW's downfall were already sown by the time Cataclysm came along and blew up the Old World is irrelevant to this crowd. 

This discussion was a constant reminder that the majority of people who play the game aren't very interested in the broader scope of WoW itself, but rather "What is important now?" 

And for most people, it's Raiding with Arenas as a distant second, with an occasional nod to Dungeons, Dailies, and the Auction House. 


This brings to mind something that I've been pondering lately: what is my personal endgame for WoW? I don't mean raiding per se, even though I'm not doing it anymore, but what happens to me after Wrath Classic is over?

I suspect that the Classic Team are going to go all in on Cataclysm Classic, but whether that means no Wrath Era servers is somewhat unclear. I've read scuttlebutt that implies the splitting off of Classic Era from TBC Classic servers was such a pain in the ass that the Classic Team doesn't want to do that again, so that likely means there will be no Wrath Era servers in perpetuity. 

So... What then?

I'm thinking that if I still play WoW Classic, maybe a return to Classic Era servers is a good idea. It's a known item, and I took advantage of the $5 (or whatever it was) transfer before it ended to move more toons' Era versions into place. While Classic Era may no longer be "progressing" if an old game can be said to be progressing, As Shintar has point out on numerous occasions the original Vanilla WoW experience just felt to be a perfect leveling cadence. I certainly discovered that myself in the Season of Mastery servers, where my leveling was so fast I was unable to train properly due to the lack of gold.

But, there's another option, floated by YouTuber Nixxiom in this video:

One thing that the WoW Private Servers do that Blizzard has so far been unwilling to do has been to "break" WoW. By that, I mean break the internal game design and go with servers with all sorts of quirks.

Things such as "Classless WoW", where there are no classes and how you develop your toon depends on what you find interesting. In this respect, it's a bit like how Elder Scrolls Online allows you to tweak your player with as much or little magical ability as you see fit. My own Nightblade on ESO has a healthy dose of magical abilities, because I went all in on those talent trees. However, she is still recognizably a Nightblade (aka Rogue) because ESO hasn't exactly crossed that "classless" threshold. 

There's a constant low level drumbeat for "Classic Plus", which is new content that is NOT TBC or other expansions but built upon the Vanilla WoW environment. New content and zones based purely in the Old World. 

Such as Turtle WoW.

What Nixxiom suggests, and I think he might be closer to the mark than you might believe, is that the reason why some of these Private Servers haven't been shut down by a litigious Blizzard is that the WoW Dev Team likely plays on some of these servers. 

But still, Nixxiom also further suggests something truly radical: provide for a fee --monthly or whatever-- a team to have access to Vanilla WoW and a set of development tools so that a team can rent server space from Blizzard and tweak WoW to their hearts' content. To put it succinctly, use the Minecraft model for WoW Classic. 

I am truly intrigued by this idea. Not that I'd be able to do this myself --I'm not made of money, so I couldn't pull this off-- but going all in on official support for WoW Private Servers would be extremely exciting. It would reinvigorate the WoW community in a way that WoW Classic itself did in 2019. Like the OGL that Wizards of the Coast originally introduced with D&D 3e**, it would unleash the creativity of the greater community on the game they love.

There's just one thing that would likely prevent Blizzard from going this route: they'd lose control of the narrative for Retail. 

Admittedly, as my experiences in WoW Classic have reminded me, a sizable portion of WoW players don't give a crap about the narrative at all, they just want a raid to beat. But still, Blizzard very jealously protects the WoW narrative, and having more people go off and play Private Servers --ones with an Imprimatur or not-- means that their "one true way" of the WoW narrative would get diluted. Especially if more people play those servers than the Blizzard official ones. 

That alone would likely prevent Blizzard from actually creating a "Vanilla WoW Toolkit" for anybody to use, but hey, a body can dream.

*Not sure how long that link will be valid, because it's for a private server, but hey...

**And they recently tried --and failed-- to kill off because of corporate greed. I could have provided about a dozen YouTube video links to this whole brouhaha, but Dungeon Craft's "We won!" video works.

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

We're Not in Azeroth Anymore, Toto

It may seem silly, writing an impression of Ulduar having only been inside the place for only one week before the raid team dissolved, but I've found that my first impressions frequently don't change that much over time. They may get tempered a bit in terms of "like" vs "dislike" --Karazhan certainly comes to mind*-- but my overall first impression has stuck with me. 

Outside of this video, of course.

Yes, I can be a stubborn bastard. Just ask my family or my questing buddy (and her husband).

If you want to skip the rest of the post, here's my TL;DR: Ulduar is the sort of instance that would be more at home in Wildstar or Star Wars: The Old Republic than in World of Warcraft.


My only previous time spent in Ulduar was once back in Mists when I poked my nose in there and had absolutely no idea what to do. All those Dark Iron Dwarves come pouring out of the place, and while my overpowered Rogue had no problem dispatching them I had no idea what to do next. All I did was kill Dark Irons for about 15-20 minutes and realized that --like Blackwing Lair-- there's some trick to getting past the initial area that unless you read a guide or watched a video you would have to die repeatedly just to puzzle it out. 

Given that I wanted to go into the place and simply explore what was considered one of the best raids that Blizzard had put out up to that point, I wasn't inclined to "do my homework" and read up on a Cliffs Notes of the raid, because that would puncture my immersion balloon** of trying to stop Yogg-Saron from escaping and destroying Azeroth.

So, I kind of knew the basics of what I was getting into on the week's run up to entering into Ulduar for the first time: there's a gimmick at first which leads to a fight with Flame Leviathan, and then you proceed onward from there. Luckily, being ranged DPS --and not having any 25-person raid gear on me-- meant I was going to be a passenger on the vehicles for the Flame Leviathan fight. I was supposed to go grab the fuel lying around on the ground after we shot down the flying machines, and...

/record scratch

Wait, what?

WTF is this, Mad Max: Fury Road?

I mean, the Mad Max movies would make a great post-apocalyptic RPG campaign, but inserting vehicle combat into Ulduar like this is Blizzard's way of saying "This isn't your effing Vanilla WoW, motherfucker."

Oh, and did you know that you don't target the flying vehicles to shoot them down --leading them via AA fire like you're supposed to do in aerial combat-- but to grab the fuel lying on the ground you have to select them and then hit the "grab" button? The tutorial video that I watched*** kind of glossed over that latter fact until my driver called me out and said that I had to click them first. 

So... inconsistent mechanics for that fight... Gotcha. 

The Flame Leviathan fight itself was, shall we say, underwhelming. If you ever wondered whether a solved raid presented a challenge to a reasonably geared group, Flame Leviathan didn't exactly show it. I'll freely admit that I was probably one of two people in the raid who'd never seen Ulduar either back in the day or that week, but I wasn't impressed.

My opinion of the place didn't exactly improve once we got past Flame Leviathan. 

The inside of Ulduar appears huge, designed graphically to present you with the overwhelming vastness of the titan complex, the entire raid itself isn't as nearly long a run as AQ40 was. That's because Blizzard embraced one crucial SF element all over the damn place: teleporters. 

Now, portals in a World of Warcraft raid aren't exactly new: you can find them in Karazhan and AQ40, to name two raids I'm familiar with.**** However, those raids only had one portal each, and those portals were only unlocked once you finish the portion of the raid that unlocks the destination. An NPC would port you to where you were supposed to go, basically to cut down on runtime when you wipe. Naxxramas had portals too, but only after a wing was finished. Again, an unlock, but you wouldn't use a portal to get back to a place you've already cleared.

Ulduar, however, integrated teleporters into the design of the raid itself, so you can use those teleporters to blip around the entire damn place and go where you want to go. 

When I realized that, I suddenly also realized that I should have watched the entire freaking video, because we could skip around a bit rather than do bosses in order.

    ::cue Cardwyn cursing rather inventively at my lack of preparation::

Well, I figured, I could wing it. After all, I'm not likely to be the source of a wipe.

    Narrator: He wasn't.

From a practical standpoint, the teleporters made perfect design sense. Runbacks from a wipe are the main reason why raid nights can feel like forever, and minimizing those runbacks is a huge boon to any raid team. That's likely why Naxxramas was designed the way it was, unlike AQ40 with its huge winding path through the instance, but instead 4 rather semi-compact (compared to AQ40) wings: finish a wing, go back to the beginning. 

Okay, the practical bona fides aside, those teleporters pretty much establish that we're firmly in Science Fiction territory here, not Steampunk, and definitely NOT Fantasy.

We're basically in a raid that feels like the deeper parts of the planet Belsavis from SWTOR.


With each successive boss, the more I heard from people in the raid who'd been there before about how fantastic Ulduar is.

Not was, but is.

Some of them were reliving the past, to be sure, but by far the raid team really liked/loved the raid. It was fun, with interesting and innovative mechanics that Blizzard reused in later expansions. People liked the volume of gear drops, and that everybody was running the place all at once.

Except me.

I kept my opinion to myself, of course, but I felt that Ulduar was a lot like, well... I have to borrow a comparison from my prog rock days: Ulduar felt a lot like Yes' Relayer album. It felt like Blizzard was trying too hard to be too different, too hip, and too unlike World of Warcraft.

When you hear Brann Bronzebeard on a freaking communicator telling you where to go and what's going on, you've left where WoW was, and are heading toward a place where WoW's Retail is today. Halls of Stone and Halls of Lightning offered 5-person instance runners a taste of Ulduar, but Ulduar itself was like watching the end of Indiana Jones and Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.#

Remember when I posted about immersion breaking parts of Retail, with a pic of Goldshire as an example? Ulduar is like that. I mean, if you're going to break the Steampunk and semi-Fantasy mold and go full on Science Fiction, you might as well go all the way. The thing is, we're running around with swords and spells like the old D&D module S3: Expedition to the Barrier Peaks, but without the ability to pick up any of the SF gear lying around. Well, except for the vehicles for Flame Leviathan, I guess, but at least in that D&D module you could pick up and use the stuff on the crashed spaceship. 

Back in the day I had no idea what I was
in for when our DM ran me through this.
This is the Goodman Games'
conversion + homage cover.

Now, before somebody stands up and says "Hey, what about Krull? What about that last fight against The Beast??!!" 

Thank goodness for YouTube!

Yes, you have a point. Yes, you can have a fight --or a raid-- and keep your high fantasy gear and tropes around, and yes the ending of Krull shows the power of love in a fight even against an advanced tech fueled enemy. However, we don't see the effects of this culture clash on the society at large years later. Unfortunately for Azeroth, Blizzard has been happy to keep areas that would have changed over time due to such exposure completely static, as if a First Contact had never happened. 


But the biggest thing about Ulduar that just doesn't fit with me is the tone that Blizzard took with it as a raid. In Vanilla Classic, you went into AQ40, Onyxia, or Molten Core as a raid, not a raid led by an NPC. Up through Tempest Keep, that remained the same in TBC Classic. But I do know that by the end of Sunwell Plateau, at least, the tone had begun to change. An NPC was the de facto leader of the raid, and they got the in-game scenes at the end. I believe that might have been the case at Black Temple as well, but I have absolutely no clue about Mount Hyjal. 

Wrath Classic brought with it Discount Naxx, which didn't have any NPC changes of that sort, but The Eye of Eternity certainly did with Alexstrasza putting in a guest appearance. And with Brann in constant communication with the raid throughout all of Ulduar, the raid becoming just a tool for and led by an in-game NPC has come front and center. There is simply no going back, and Ulduar was that tipping point.


I suppose I should be glad that my raiding time in Wrath Classic is over, because the vision in my mind of what Ulduar would be like made the reality a bit underwhelming. Nothing, it seems, can match the Vanilla Classic feel of 40 people all doing something greater than themselves. And to be fair, my experiences in Wrath Classic only served to remind me that TBC Classic personally ended so piss poorly. The raids I wanted to finish I never did, the gear I would have liked to have gotten I never did##, and the stress of having to prove to myself and others that I belonged in the raid rather than "being carried because you're on the raid lead team" was too much.###

Ulduar could become like Karazhan for me, in that I could grow to love it over time, but I doubt it. There's too much of what became Modern WoW in there for me to truly embrace it.

*Despite my dislike of the instance itself from a practical standpoint --once a scientist/engineer ALWAYS a scientist/engineer-- I've grown fond of it because of all those months of my raid leading the Friday Night Karazhan Run. That has almost nothing to do with the raid itself but the people involved in the raid. Alas that a few of those people are no longer playing WoW, and moved on to other raids.

**If there's one thing that drives me nuts, it's that even in Retail you as a raider are expected to follow guides and what comes out of examination of the Public Test Realms. It's as if you were planning a trip to Gatlinburg instead of entering into a new and unexplored area. Then again, if you wanted to explore and experience the "newness" of something, MMOs are definitely NOT it. They're filled with --and cater to--people who have to have control over every last detail as if we were a bunch of mathematical exercises. Okay, video games are at heart just that, but their developers try hard to use mathematical modelling to enable the illusion of freedom. By breaking down the game back into its mathematical components, we're left with a dexterity fueled Algebra problem set for homework composed of shiny pixels. Assuming you even look at the game rather than your button bar and all of the addons and whatnot that overlay the game. Or, as they put it in the Folding Ideas video about Why It's Rude to Suck at Warcraft, "Players make World of Warcraft look fucking ugly."

***It was a requirement for the raid, so I didn't have much choice in that. But like at work where every "required" training course I had to take I'd resist as much as possible, I waited until the last moment to go and finish. As in, 1/2 hour before raid. I figured we'd only get to about 4-5 bosses anyway, and I'm not under any true requirements to do much more than bring the Arcane heat, so why sweat it?

****Remember, I haven't done Mount Hyjal, Black Temple, and Sunwell Plateau. If there are portals there, I'm not aware of them.

#I haven't watched the whole movie, but I was unfortunate enough to be walking through a Best Buy or another one of those stores and the ending happened to be playing on televisions. 

##The gear I would have liked to have gotten I always stepped aside and let others have because:
  • As Loot Master/Raid Leader, I felt it would have been unfair to get gear ahead of the rest of the raid. I'm a leader, and to lead means to do so by example. You put your people first. I'd been in semi-pug raids before where a tank finally got what he was looking for and decided to stop going to said raid, basically torpedoing everybody else's fun because he got what he wanted.
  • I knew I didn't have the physical skills to compete with the best DPS players, so I felt they should get priority on gear over myself. Even when I ran the Friday Night Karazhan, I refused to roll on the ring that dropped from Malchezaar because if someone else could use it in a future raid they should get priority over myself, who was just doing Karazhan for fun. That it was a significant upgrade over my own rings didn't enter my thoughts. To me, desiring something just because I wanted it was simply being greedy. 
###Nobody ever said it to me, but I said it to myself. Constantly. I could hear the voice of self doubt every time I logged into the game, knowing that my DPS wasn't up to par. 

EtA: Corrected a grammatical error.

Monday, February 20, 2023

Monday Memes: What I Do Warcraft Memes

I don't try to create these sorts of memes, not because I don't think I could create them, but because I'd have a hard time not relying upon "You think you do but you don't" for a lot of them.* 

Or jokes about Goldshire.

Or no-lifers.

Or... You get the idea.

But then you come across ones like this:

Hey, it's Mr. T! From Pinterest.

Or ones like this:

Sigh. I'm too old for the NES to be there.
If you had an Intellivision or Atari, however...
From Pinterest again.

Pretty sure my questing buddy would have
a few... opinions... about the "What I think
I do" part. Such as "Why isn't there a Gnome
Warlock there?" From

But probably the most telling one is this one:

That last one makes it final: this should 
have been named "What World of Warcraft
Players do on their Bank Alt".

*The irony is that in 2023, in Wrath Classic, there's a ton of people who actually do want some of the conveniences of Wrath (and the modern game) put back into that "Wrath Classic". You know, things such as the automatic dungeon finder. Or the Heroic Plus instances. So... maybe we shouldn't mock that line as much as we do.

Thursday, February 16, 2023

A Story in a Loading Screen

While waiting for Stratholme* to load the other day I got to thinking about how the loading screens reflect the design principles in World of Warcraft. 

Not necessarily instances, since their loading screens are meant to evoke a locale for the instance, 

From Wowpedia because I was lazy this time.**

but the loading screens for places such as the Old World.

From Wikia because I had trouble finding
my own copy.

The Vanilla/Vanilla Classic loading screen for the Eastern Kingdoms is a good example of what I kept turning over in my head. It's plenty raw as far as graphics goes, but it's designed to evoke certain aspects of the various races whose starting zone is in the Eastern Kingdoms: Humans, Forsaken, Gnomes, and Dwarves. There's a Human Paladin, a Forsaken Rogue, a Dwarven Hunter, and a Gnome... Something? But hey, the Gnome is on a Mechanostrider, so at least there's that.

then The Burning Crusade expansion dropped, and with the arrival of Draenei and Blood Elves the loading screens changed:

From Wowwiki. Yes, lazy again.

The Human is now a Mage, the Forsaken is now a Priest (I think), the Blood Elf is the Paladin ("That's a Blood Knight!" --Quintalan), the Dwarf remains a Hunter, and the Gnome is... Maybe another Mage? I like to think she's a Warlock, since she's got my questing buddy's attitude all over her, but either way she's definitely a caster of some sort. Nevertheless, the look is more professional than Vanilla's version yet still evokes the essence of WoW: a game where you can drive the story by being who you want to be. 

Times come and go, and the ages pass. No, not a riff on The Wheel of Time --okay, maybe it is just a little-- and Wrath drops. This is the expac I started with, so this was what I was most familiar with when I started playing:

From Wowwiki. Again.

The Dwarf Priest gets some love here, along with the Blood Elf Mage ("About time!" --Neve), the "Small but Mighty!" Gnome Warrior, Forsaken Rogue (guessing here, because of the weapon hidden by the Mage), and the Human Warrior (because Paladins don't use daggers) Rogue. (Corrected by Shintar, but I was right about that not being a Paladin!) By looking at the graphics of the loading screen alone, WoW has grown up. It's no longer rough around the edges, and unlike previous expacs you don't get the impression that different artists created different toons on the loading screen and were then jumbled together into a mish-mash.###

WoW had a unified vision that people were moving toward.

Then Cataclysm dropped, and that vision became even more evident:

Wowwiki once more.

From that point onward, in late Fall of 2010, World of Warcraft's Old World featured the faction leaders based in each continent. 

If you ever needed evidence that the focus of the game --and the plots involved-- shifted from the players to the faction leaders, there it was in full color. Considering faction warfare was to be a primary focus in Cataclysm --and the associated media that Blizz released with Cataclysm-- it made sense, but the thing is, Blizzard kept this same loading screen through both Cataclysm and Mists of Pandaria. It was only in Warlords of Draenor that we then received our final update to the loading screen:

What's with the lips?
Wowwiki again.

Okay, so what gives with the artwork? Oh, not the bottom four on the graphic, but Varian and Sylvanas in the upper left and right respectively. All of them have a cartoony feel to them compared to the more realistic look from Cata/Mists, but Varian and Sylvanas are pretty much over the top. And apparently this is how things have stayed in WoW, because I logged into Retail this morning on my L1 bank alt on Ysera-US and snagged this loading screen:

Uh... Isn't this out of date?

Isn't Varian dead? and Sylvanas replaced? And... Oh, nevermind. 

Okay, the point isn't that it's out of date, it's that Blizzard has provided us what their vision of the game is right here in front of us. I suppose you could say that in terms of focus the game has calcified, given that late Fall of 2014 was the last time the Old World loading screens were updated. Over 8 years ago. 

Say what you will about the old loading screens, but at least the promise of an open world to explore was there. And that promise was lost as the focus changed from an open world to a very specific story featuring, well, NOT YOU. Oh, you're there, of course, but you're at the beck and call of those truly featured in WoW. As much as they may call you the Champion in game, you're conveniently in the background when the real players come on stage.*** Maybe these loading screens are meant to inspire you, but give me generic races and classes in the Vanilla-BC-Wrath days. At least the inspiration then was "play a character like this" instead of "play someone in the service of these people".

*One of the things I've started doing under the header "making my own fun" has been to enter into places such as Stratholme on my L80 toons and do some creative farming. There's still plenty of demand for Runecloth these days, so I can always sell what I get, but for those toons that never got a T0 set in WoW Classic this is a chance for me to fill in that gap. That gear may not have been "Meta" or "BiS", but I truly liked the look of those sets. Now that I think about it, only Cardwyn 1.0 got the complete T0 set. Azshandra was close, but I think she's missing the shoulders or something.

**Did you know that you had to use a product such as Snip and Sketch to grab the loading screens? I discovered this when I began capturing them for posterity's sake and good ol' Print Screen wasn't working; all I kept getting were the areas hidden by the loading screen.

***As it has been since Burning Crusade. I saw the end of Sunwell Plateau back when my Horde guild did it back in late Wrath, and it was Velen and Liadrin who did almost all of the talking. 

###EtA: Thanks to Grimmtooth for pointing out that The Blood Elf Mage in Wrath's loading screen is done by Genzoman, which means that multiple artists' work were used on Wrath's Old World loading screens as well. It's just that those loading screens were a lot closer together in style than, say, the Vanilla loading screens. If you want to see more of Genzoman's artwork, you can find it here on DeviantArt. Just be aware that you have to have an account to see some of it, due to its adult nature.

Monday, February 13, 2023

Meme Monday: Love Memes

Oh, this could go in several different directions. I mean, just "RPG love meme" or "MMO love meme" alone brings up some rather adult results. But hey, let's live a little, shall we?

When couples play online.
My wife is not one of them, so
I have no reference point here.
Power-something's tumbler.

Uh... No reference here either.
From Stephen McGee.

Reading some of the r/ClassicWoW
posts on Reddit can give me a warped
sense of what's important.
From Memecenter.

And then there's the guy who
turns MMOs into Ladies' Night
at a disco.
From WoW Amino.

Bonus: Not technically an RPG or MMO Love Meme, but it popped up and I was amused:

Maybe someday. Then again, I saw my
wife play Breath of the Wild; it wasn't pretty
and she gave up despite a ton of help
and encouragement from the kids.
From Griffon Ramsey and Luke McKay.

Saturday, February 11, 2023

Fumbling Around With Social Engineering

My old WoW Classic server, Myzrael-US, had rallied in population when Wrath Classic was released. It was to be expected, I suppose, given how people wanted to return to see the content. 

That bump in population apparently has not lasted.

On January 26, unknown to me, free server transfers opened up from two of the small West Coast servers, Myzrael and Azuresong, and to Old Blanchy.

Old Blanchy? The smallest of the three? REALLY?

Well, that is certainly no longer the case as some of the remaining Alliance guilds have moved off wholesale to Old Blanchy-US, and the population dropped to Low once more. 

I swear it was Medium a week ago...

My suspicion was piqued when I noticed that we'd dropped to Low, and a couple of people whom I'm BNet friends with moved their toons to Old Blanchy, which I thought was a strange location to move to. Back in Vanilla Classic and TBC Classic, Old Blanchy had a small server population, much smaller than Azuresong and Myzrael, but once Wrath Classic released the population swelled to where Myzrael-US was during Vanilla Classic. And while Azuresong-US has remained steady with about 1000-1500 raiding toons, Myzrael's Alliance population plummeted once more to where it's a majority Horde server.

The thing is, the Horde population on Old Blanchy is roughly the same as on Myzrael, so really, unless the Horde guilds on Myz start migrating over, there's no real incentive for me to move any of my toons over unless Blizzard announces Myzrael's server shutdown or something. 

And for the record, I'm not going to move toons from Myzrael-US to Atiesh-US, because while the Horde population there is twice the size of what it is on either Old Blanchy or Myzrael, it's still miniscule compared to the Alliance population on Atiesh. 

My Alliance toons on Myzrael? 


I mean, I've got 2.0 versions on Atiesh already, so I'm not moving them there, and I wasn't planning on raiding with them on Myz anyway, so I'm not going to chase the population exodus there.

And I'll be honest: my experiences pugging on Myzrael vs Atiesh have been rather enlightening. 

On Myzrael, the pugging scene for Neve has been pretty low key. I get into an instance, whether it's Heroic or the new Heroic Plus, and I don't have any real issues with people getting frustrated or trying to go faster faster FASTER. Or people aren't being asshats when things don't go well.

On Atiesh, however... It seems that the puggers and instance runners there are all far more hardcore in outlook and who they select for their pugs: Gearscore has made it's return to World of Warcraft Classic in a big way. People demanding minimum Gearscore levels for instance runs or easy raids --such as Vault of Archavon-- are very much a thing on Atiesh-US, and I can only shake my head and sigh at this behavior.

All that's old is new again, I suppose.


In light of these developments, I'm planning on staying put on Myzrael for the time being, at least until I get a feel for where the Horde population is (or isn't) going. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if Myzrael-US folds, I'll likely take my toons to a server that I know isn't going away because it serves a unique player base: Bloodsail Buccaneers, the only PvE-RP server in North America. 

Hooray for the Roleplaying community!

Tuesday, February 7, 2023

Meme Monday: Groundhog Day Memes

I'm old enough to remember a time before the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day.

Okay, it was only 1993, but it's still a year older than my marriage.

Back in the Before Times, Groundhog Day was a kind of cute but meaningless holiday in the same vein as "National Cheesecake Day" (July 30th) or "National Bratwurst Day" (August 16)*.

Then that movie came along, and... Well... It's now a meme all on its own about reliving the same day over and over and over...

Being from Ohio, I kind of like this.
From Pinterest.

From imgflip.

From redbubble.


(Sorry, couldn't resist.)

*I was actually surprised that National Bratwurst Day wasn't every weekend during football tailgate season. Maybe that's because I live in the Midwest, but brats are a staple of tailgating here.

Monday, February 6, 2023

Meme Monday: Groundhog Memes

I'm old enough to remember a time before the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. 

Okay, it was only 1993, but it's still a year older than my marriage.

Back in the Before Times, Groundhog Day was a kind of cute but meaningless holiday in the same vein as "National Cheesecake Day" (July 30th) or "National Bratwurst Day" (August 16)*.

Then that movie came along, and... Well... It's now a meme all on its own about reliving the same day over and over and over...

Being from Ohio, I kind of like this.
From Pinterest.

From imgflip.

From Redbubble.


*I was actually surprised that National Bratwurst Day wasn't every weekend during football tailgate season. Maybe that's because I live in the Midwest, but brats are a staple of tailgating here.

Thursday, February 2, 2023

In Case You Ever Wondered Whether Game Companies are Soulless Corporations...

...I give you the latest little brouhaha from Blizzard.

I give major props to Brian Birmingham, the now ex-Activision-Blizzard manager, for his principled stand against the stacked ranking corporate policy at A-B, but as soon as I read the words "stacked ranking" I knew he was swimming against the tide.

For the life of me, I have no idea why executive corporate management loves stacked ranking among those other "corporate trends" --I'm looking at you, open office floor designs*-- but that it was popularized by GE's Jack Welch says a lot. 

I've been in the work force full time since 1991, and yes, I've encountered stacked ranking before. Numerous times. And its basic principle, that teams should be shoehorned into a bell curve and that the bottom 10% are poor performers, is something I despise. There is very little nuance to the stacked ranking system, where the best performer on a crappy team is given a higher ranking than an average to poor performer on a fantastic team. The stacked ranking system also encourages cutthroat behavior among peers, which includes such items as coworkers sabotaging projects to make their own work look better. Again, I've seen such behavior in the past among coworkers. The focus isn't on putting out good work, but playing the system to maximum advantage. 

From AD&D Dungeon Masters
Guide (1e), Page 111.

So yeah, I have a history with stacked ranking. 

And if you're playing politics with the system, you're not spending time putting out a good product. And in the case of Blizzard, you're not developing bug free, well designed games.

*I'm incredibly grateful I work from home, because if I had to work at the office, it would have been in an open office design. Even in a post-pandemic world, corporations still love the open office design for some strange ungodly reason. I work in IT Security, so by nature I tend to have sensitive material up on screen a lot of the time. If you're thinking "Hey, wait a minute, if it's up on screen and you're in an open office, anybody can walk by and see that!" then you'd be absolutely correct. Without any privacy whatsoever, there's little ability to securely handle sensitive data. I didn't say there's no ability, because you still can, but proper handling of sensitive data out in the open also involves additional cost, and cost is the antithesis of corporate life.