Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Elf Needs Food Badly

It's kind of weird, really, that the Steam Autumn Sale came and went and... I just kind of shrugged.

Oh, plenty of games were on sale, and quite a few in my wishlist, but I just wasn't interested in buying anything. I mean, that's good for my bottom line (particularly given just how many car repairs I've had to make this past year), but when push came to shove, I just didn't want to buy anything.

Yes, I did have Baldur's Gate 3 on my wishlist, but a) it wasn't on sale, and b) I just don't have the time to devote to playing it. Even if I gave up playing MMOs and all other video games to play BG3, I just don't have the hours in a day to play the game to the extent I want to. 

There's also the matter of me wanting to go back and finish BG1 and BG2 once more before delving into BG3, just for continuity's sake. 

Yes, I am that sort of player. I mean, you do read the blog, don't you?


Some months ago I stumbled on an old Blizzard gift card the kids gave me for Christmas a couple of years ago, and given that Blizz was running one of their sales at the time, I used said gift card to buy Diablo II Remastered. I figured why not? I was essentially getting the game for free, so it made sense to try the game that people still say was the best in the Diablo series out before delving into Diablo 3 and Diablo 4.

So.... Does that count as a new game purchase, despite the gift card itself being at least 2 years old?

Eh, whatever.

Now that I think about it, that's the exact same reaction I had when I played it for 4 hours some weeks ago. 

Your character is your character, just like if you were playing Gauntlet back at the video game arcade*

"Warrior needs food badly!"
From the WMS Gaming channel on YouTube.

And if you don't like your character's appearance, well... That's tough luck.

Believe it or not, there's a screenshot there.

Hmm... Now that I think about it, from what I can tell there's not much more story here than what was in that old Gauntlet game back in the day.

Or The Bard's Tale, for that matter.

Back when the name Electronic Arts
meant something good. Yes, kids, that
actually was a thing: EA being a good company.

I did discover that if you died in D2, you lost all your gear and you have to run back to get it. Which can suck. 

But in the end, there's really not a lot of "there" there. Run around, kill things, take their loot, use it. Rinse and repeat.

So.... Gauntlet, anybody?

*Boy do those two things take a body back to the 1980s!

Monday, November 27, 2023

Meme Monday: Black Friday Memes

For those not in the know, the term Black Friday doesn't have anything to do with a stock market crash or even a reference to the Supernatural, but rather is about finance.


Black Friday refers to the first shopping day in of the US Christmas season --between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays-- as the day when a lot of retail stores sell enough that they turned their balance sheets from losing money (aka "being in the red") to making money (aka "being in the black"). No more, and no less. 

Of course, the chaos that tends to show up on social media regarding customers behaving badly is, sadly, not too far off the truth of things. Having a spouse who works in retail, I'm familiar with stories of people who are assholes during Black Friday.

That being said, I can't help but post a few memes on this somewhat bizarre shopping holiday...

Leave it to the Star Wars prequels to
put a bow on this. From Imgflip.

Warhammer being in the thick of
Black Friday is oddly appropriate.
From Reddit.

A WoW friend works at Walmart.
I might want to share this with her
for her thoughts. From Pinterest.

I had a good laugh at this with some
of my WoW friends last night, until one
of them pointed out that this wouldn't
work in the South, as they'd just shoot
the "bear" and stick their head on a wall.
From Pinterest.

Monday, November 20, 2023

Meme Monday: Thanksgiving Memes 2023

Yes, it's that week again.

I've already got the turkey thawing in the fridge this time, so I won't spend very early in the morning on Thanksgiving with a frozen turkey in a sink filled with cold water, thawing it. 

Will wonders ever cease?

Without further ado, here's this year's Thanksgiving memes!

That's... an interesting turkey you've got there,
gang... From Pinterest.

Urg. Yeah, I've been there. Not since
my hospital stay, however.

For all my Star Wars fans.
From deavita.

At least I don't have to deal with this.
(Any more.) From

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Heard/Read on Classic Era Trade Chat

"Can we use the WoW Token in Era?"




"Why not? We boost"

"boosts got nerfed before the split"

"is that why people don't boost Mara?"


"if you're looking for Classic Plus, it ain't happening. when you clear Naxx in Era, that's it."

"nothing here will roll into anything else"

"but I want a boost and can pay"

"you could just play the game"


I was reminded of that chat from a few months ago (heavily edited to remove the call outs for WTB/WTS stuff) when I saw this shortly after Blizzcon's announcements:

And the other day, while waiting for my questing buddy to arrive for a Scholomance dungeon run, the tank said "Hey, are you seeing this?"

I looked up from typing away on my Great American Novel* to see toons appearing at the entrance to the instance and popping in.

Lots and lots of toons. With weird names that didn't quite make any sense.

"Looks like bots and boosts," I said.


"Like right out of TBC Classic. I've seen videos of stuff like this." I was a fountain of deep insight, I tell you.

"That's crazy."

I couldn't disagree with this assessment. I'm very much a 'diff'rent strokes for diff'rent folks' kind of person, but such an obvious attempt to bypass most of the game irritated me to no end.

It reminded me of something I once read, that Fines due to breaking the law are only a deterrent for poor people; for rich people they are just a fee for doing whatever they want to do. 

Is a rich person concerned about a $500 fine for violating a curfew law or a noise ordinance? No, they'll just pay the fine and keep right on doing it. 

Think of Steve Jobs and the loophole he exploited to never have to put a license plate on one of his cars, and you get the idea.**


This brings me around to the whales that some gaming companies chase after with those boosts and cash shops. 

There's that infamous video posted about how to chase after whales by monetizing things in video games, but I'm thinking of the side effects of those whales.

It's like chasing after that one big business deal for a small company. Or a community getting a new factory (or Amazon facility). Or the government building a military base nearby. You get this sudden windfall that boosts your bottom line, and you become addicted to it. But you also become dependent upon it. 

One of my ex-bosses used to say that he'd prefer to land a thousand small deals than two or three big deals. Sure, the big deals looked impressive, but those deals come with outsized demands. And if you lost one of those big deals, the impact on the company is far greater than if you lose one of the small deals. 

There are also other, unforeseen side effects. Such as the one that Dan Olson mentions in his (relatively) short video about what happened at the Darkmoon Faire at the 2023 BlizzCon:

The TL;DR is that there were several poor decisions that, when combined with the underestimation of whales doing, well, whale things, caused the gigantic wait times to get into the Faire portion of BlizzCon.


Was there any real point to this post other than free association? Not really. It just seems to me that the business model for a lot of video games is based on the same model that a lot of communities use in chasing after that big automotive factory or gambling casino***, hoping the influx of cash will solve all of their problems. The reality, however, is that there may be an influx of cash, but also an influx of potentially devastating side effects. 

Is the lure of all that money worth it in the end?

*That was sarcasm. I don't write that much angst to ever consider any of my mediocre scribblings anything other than just something for fun.

**Although as ITWire's David Heath was quoted in the article, "One might also assume that the leasing company was happy -- they had an endless supply of luxury cars to on-sell with the previous driver being none other than Steve Jobs," I would personally never buy such a car. There's absolutely no telling as to how that car was treated if the driver knew he was going to trade it for another in less than six months. That's a big reason why buying used rental cars aren't considered a good idea, and having driven my share of rentals over the past six years taking my kids back and forth from college, I have to agree. Some people simply look at a rental (or a lease to a lesser extent) as an excuse to treat a vehicle poorly.

***Probably closer to a gambling casino than the factory, to be honest.

EtA: Misspelled scribblings. Sheesh.

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Reading the Cataclysmic Tea Leaves

Okay, that little thing about curiosity... Well, at least I'm not a cat.*

I was curious about whether people would abandon Blizzard's official WoW Classic servers when Cataclysm Classic comes out, and that led to an even more basic question: are there any Cataclysm private servers out there?

Uh... I have no idea.

In the interest of answering that question, I decided to turn to search engines to find out the answer.

That led me to**, which actually has listings of private servers from all sorts of expansions from World of Warcraft.

Yes, even Shadowlands.

The homepage as of 16-Nov-2023.

The site claims that they keep it up to date, but obviously someone who spins up their own private server for themselves and their friends won't likely be represented here. Still, it does give you some idea as to what might be going on in the private server community.

What I'm going to do is provide a quick chart as to the numbers of WoW servers per expansion. Obviously I'm reliant upon what provides, and not all private servers are alike in terms of faithfulness to the original content, but hey, it'll give you an idea as to where the popularity resides.

Okay, here's the WoW private servers per expansion as of November 16, 2023:

You'll probably want to click on the graphic to expand it.

The "Promoted" servers don't show numbers on the lists, so I've kept them separate. Also, some sites have multiple servers and are counted individually. For example, among the several Warmane servers there's Warmane - Lordaeron (PvP - Blizzlike) and Warmane - Blackrock (PvP - Custom Style) in the Wrath listings, so each Warmane server is counted separately.

If you click on a server name, you get more details:

Warmane - Icecrown is the most populated
server in the Wrath listings.

...and the Classic Plus server that people
tend to mention the most, Turtle WoW.


I was actually surprised that there was a single Warlords of Draenor server out there, although it's very sparsely populated.***

But one thing I also found interesting were the people who frequent that (relatively) large RP-PvE Shadowlands server. I guess Shadowlands has its fans after all, albeit from the RP community.

A lot of the private servers are PvP oriented, so if you're not into that... Oh well.

While perusing the comments section, I see that the private servers are very much a "play at your own risk" environment. There are numerous complaints of misbehavior and bots throughout, and on some listings the occasional positive comment can feel like it was planted there by that server's team. 


My question as to whether there even are Cataclysm private servers has been answered. The Wrath private servers are by far the largest contingent, but Cataclysm is represented.

*Hey Wilhelm, did you know that if you put "you know what they say about curiosity telestra" into Google search, that one of your graphics is the third one that appears in the "Images" tab?

**As in "THAT'S A FUCKING 50 DKP MINUS!!!!" from the infamous Onyxia Wipe Animation video from back in the day, detailing a raid leader's meltdown on an Onyxia wipe. The original was removed by YouTube for graphic or violent content, so I found the original here on Rumble.

***I guess those people are hanging out in their garrisons.

Monday, November 13, 2023

Meme Monday: Miscellaneous Memes Once More

Sorry, I was listening to The Carpenters, and Yesterday Once More popped on. Hence the "Once More" part of the title.

Anyhoo, here's some memes that have been in my pile for months and needed a post...

Sorry, I couldn't resist. I believe
this was done in the middle of Shadowlands.
From Reddit.

I honestly don't know where I got
this one from. Still, highly appropriate.

The real reason why I don't like
flying in MMOs.
Again, I've no idea where I got this one from.

Uh.... maybe Demotivational sites?

Sunday, November 12, 2023

A Short Bout of Introspection

Believe it or not, I'm not a curmudgeon in real life. 

Okay, I was well on my way to becoming one until the pandemic hit and I decided to simply stop utilizing Facebook. Not having constant reminders of the insanity of life thrown in my face has helped me a lot, particularly with my ability to control my blood pressure.

Right about now, if this were posted on Facebook or Elon's Playground or another form of social media, I'd get at least one person commenting that because of who I am I can afford to ignore what is happening around me. And you know, they're not wrong; I acknowledge that I am on the default difficulty setting in the US. However, if I'm always angry or upset, that does me no good either. It may be great for advertisers or companies or people who want to use those emotions to make money off of me, but it isn't great for myself as a person. 

There is a big difference between pretending what happens in the world doesn't exist and acknowledging that it does exist but realizing I can't affect most of it. 

Even before social media --back in the 80s and 90s-- I spent a lot of time watching the news and keeping up with politics and being angry about it.* And you know what came out of that? From my viewpoint, I had absolutely no impact whatsoever on things. 

Sure, I voted, but beyond that did I affect change? No. 

Did I get people to come together to do things? No. 

The reality is that very few people have the drive and charisma --and the money/influence-- to make things happen. If you don't have that, all you end up doing is being angry for... what, exactly? Being impotent in the face of current events? Having things not go your way?**

Are there other currents going on in my life that I won't talk about on the blog? Of course there are; I'm not the person to air my dirty laundry in public, and after a certain point I've come to the realization that said certain things aren't going to change. Are those things worth further disruptions in my life? Probably not.


I think the biggest realization that I've made of the past 4-5 years is that I should focus more on what I can change --myself and my relationship with other people-- more than what I can't. I can acknowledge events but I have learned only recently to finally just let it go. 

What, you wanted Elsa?
From Memedroid.

It is still not easy.

If I sound like a curmudgeon when expressing my displeasure about something, I apologize for that. Old habits die hard, I suppose. 

*The Microsoft antitrust trial alone generated a ton of heat among my acquaintances at work.

**I cheer on Cincinnati sports teams --and the University of Dayton-- so you'd think that I'm used to things not going my way. 

Monday, November 6, 2023

Meme Monday: NaNoWriMo Memes

Okay, they're not *specifically* for NaNoWriMo, they're writer memes in general, but boy do they hit home.

If you've been writing of any sort --and yes, my fellow bloggers, that includes you-- you probably see yourself in a couple of these memes.

One of the first things I learned when doing
research is to use Incognito Mode at the very
minimum. Not that I end up in any areas that
aren't going to put me on a watch list or something,
but serendipity is a real bitch for a writer.
From Neil A. Hogan.

When I write, this is my demon that
I MUST slay. From Twitt-- aw, screw it.
It's Elon Musk's bitch. Maybe we ought
to just call it that and be done with it.

...And here's my fever dream. I think I ought
to be worried when my fever dreams start talking
back to me, but outside of some cute graphics
I've posted, they haven't done it yet.

I haven't had this specific issue much,
the positive (?) of having a small readership,
but it does hit on that inevitable "Who?"
you might get as a writer. I encountered this
when I mentioned WoW Insider to someone
in raid who used to raid back in original Wrath.
From Bookbird.

And one bonus NaNoWriMo meme....

When I played basketball as a kid in 4th
and 5th Grade, I WAS THAT KID on
the right. The only difference is that I'd
contort my arms and legs because I simply
couldn't sit still. Yay, hyperactivity!
From, whose blog
has included a Meme Monday as well!
Woo for Meme Mondays!!

Sunday, November 5, 2023

That Feeling When... look up and realize it's November, and you've been unconsciously writing fiction for the past week without prompting.

It must be NaNoWriMo.

I didn't sign up for it this year, because every time I did I would end up with barely 2000 words. And this time it wasn't about trying to prove to myself that I could write something, like I did the past couple of Blaugusts, I...

Well, I just started writing. Not because of NaNoWriMo, but just because of the urge to do so.


One thing I don't understand --I truly don't-- is why Cardwyn has gotten under my skin as much as she has. 

I mean, she's by far not the first fictional character I created and wrote about, and also not the first RPG/MMO character I've written about either, but something about her has just taken root and I can't shake it. This is one of life's quirks that truly annoy me, because I'm not one for fan fiction. It's not that she's a canon character or anything, but the world that she inhabits is owned by a corporation, and that definitely qualifies her as fan fiction in my book. 

And I'm not projecting myself on her, either. At least I don't think I am, since if you gave me an offer that I could be whatever RPG class I wished in a real life scenario, I'd probably pick a Paladin. 

I really don't know why, but I've already put down 9500 words and 22 pages worth of story, which ain't that bad for someone who really started cranking this out about 3-4 weeks ago, sandwiching it around work, gaming, and blogging. If I were to simply abandon any sort of editing along the way and just spewed words out, I could really keep this story going for a good long while. 


Anyway, here's a short sample of what falls out of my head like it's part of a fever dream:

I faced the next broken beam, summoned the Arcane, and used the magic like a pry bar. The pieces plopped to the ground.

“Gah.” I shook myself as a tendril of frost curled up my spine.

Jas had an odd look on his face. “Uh, Card?”


“Are you sure you’re not cursed or something? As soon as you cast, your entire complexion changed.”

“Yeah, I’m sure. I was checked out by a couple of Cenarion friends of mine, and even I inspected myself several times. I know what aura a curse leaves on a person, and I just don’t have it.” I called upon the Arcane again, and the replacement beam rose into place. “Everything I’ve seen so far makes me think it’s all in my head.”

Jas hammered away at the nails. “I’m not saying I don’t believe you, but…”

“…you don’t believe me.”

“Oh, I believe you’re telling the truth, but I also think there’s more to this than just something in your head.”

“Jas, I love you to pieces, and I’d like to think you’re right, but that doesn’t change my reality: my time spent in that place damaged me, and I’m not afraid to admit it. I don’t want to end up like Mom and hide it deep down inside, where it’ll explode sometime later.”

With me using the Arcane, we made quick work of the remaining two beams and clucked at our oxen to pull the wagon back. I shivered and rubbed my hands.

“Card, there’s something wrong with you,” Jas said.

“Yeah,” I replied, rolling my eyes. “I noticed.”

“No, I mean really. Your breath is frosty.”

I sighed. Well, if nothing else, both of my old teachers were going to eat with us tonight, so I had two pairs of trained eyes in one place. “Okay, I’ll ask Evelyn and Elsharin to look me over this evening. Happy?”

“It’s a start. What about one of your friends from the Cathedral?”

“I didn’t know that Trevor counted as just ‘one of my friends’,” I teased. Jas was, after all, the last member of the family to figure out that the Knight and I were lovers.

“You know what I mean. One of the priests.”

I took off my work gloves and mopped my brow; despite the chill in my bones, I was perspiring. Maybe later this afternoon a dip in the pond would be a good idea. “I think Lukas and some of the others are over in Outland, but I’ve got enough contacts at the Cathedral that I could probably be seen by someone.” 

“Good. If they need somebody to provide an eyewitness’ account, I’ll be glad to oblige.”

“Not a bad idea, since by the time we get back to the house I’ll be fine,” I replied, amused by my brother’s choice of words. Evelyn made sure that all of us were taught rhetoric when we were growing up, and Jas’ command of language was much greater than the average Elwynn farmer.

Friday, November 3, 2023

Kinda Sorta Classic Plus

The report from Blizzcon 2023 is that the WoW Classic team is rolling out Cataclysm Classic --to the surprise of nobody-- and a new "Season", the Season of Discovery.

The blah-blah-blah about finding new abilities is one thing, such as Mage Healers*, but there are two big ideas to make Classic Era fresh that caught my eye:

  • Starting the level cap at L25, and then after a predetermined set of time the level cap is slowly raised a few levels at a time.
  • The concept of new raids such as a 10 person Blackfathom Deep raid and other assorted "endgame" content.
For all of those people who created L5 Hogger raids, this might be just for you. 

To be honest, the concept of re-imagining some of these old instances as full on Classic style raids is very appealing. Low to mid level instances such as Blackfathom Deeps, Maraudon, Uldaman, Gnomeregan, Razorfen Kraul, and Razorfen Downs would feel much more epic in a raid format, as long as they don't get a "modern" treatment of instance/raid design and chop off all of the immersive feel in pursuit of button mashing difficulty. 

And wow, I was just thinking about the possibility of trying to do a Season of Discovery toon in hardcore mode.  

*"I prefer my healing done by a specialist. After all, would you really want me to heal you?" --Cardwyn

EtA: Fixed the link for Cata Classic.