Wednesday, 26 September 2012

The odd thing about in game relationships

And by relationships I mean friendships / acquaintances etc... not the romantic kind.

It's really quite strange when you think about it. With the launch of Mists of Pandaria I have just spent most of the last 36 hours (while I was awake - I'm not that dedicated) with a group of people who I most certainly consider friends, but at the same time could knock on my door and I would not know them from Adam.

Some I might recognise from photos but even the more extroverted have only posted a few (a handful at most) and so I would need to go back and check to be sure.

Some I might recognize if I heard them speaking. But even then I have never heard any of their voices that haven't been digitally encoded, sent hundreds of miles, decoded and reproduced by my speakers or headphones, and people never really sound the same in person as they do on the phone. Plus if they have something distinctive about their voice (like a strong accent) anyone with the same characteristics will sound the same at first. Case in point I raid with a Dutch guy, and I used to work with a Dutch guy with a similar strength accent. In my head they sounded the same, although objectively I know if I ever talked to them together they would sound completely different. Not all x group sound / look / act the same, but it's a natural memory short hand to only store the most distinctive information. - no scientific basis whatsoever for that statement.

And then their are those that are more security conscious people who I only know through an Avatar and a nickname. Over my time online I have spent many hours communicating, playing and raiding with people who could live next door for all I know. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this - in fact I respect the discipline of those who manage to maintain the integrity of their online privacy. But it does lead to some odd results I my crazy brain.

In the absence of certain information my brain just makes s#1t up. Completely unconsciously I find myself picturing and (what's the auditory equivalent of picturing?) dubbing these people over as real life analogues. So online friends with similar names to real life acquaintances suddenly look and sound like them in my mind's eye. If someone is unique and distinctive enough personality / name wise but the play a tall blonde human male warrior, take on the build and facial structure in my mind's eye. Young ladies who have a similar sense of humour to a real life relative become a cousin in one's mind.

And now that I really think about, I think I'm OK with my illusions. It would be great to know many of these people more / better even IRL, but I suspect in many case the mental image would be over written. In a sense my friends would cease to exist, and even though a real life interaction could well be more meaningful, I think I would mourn the loss of the person I got to know in the first place regardless.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Goblin starting area

So with the arrival of the sproglet, I've been needing to find things to do other than group related content. Killing myself to deal with a screaming baby is no problem, wiping a raid or even a 5-man seems a bit d1ckish. I don't mind DPSing in a 5-man, but I prefer my tank and healer play.

One of the things to do in this situation is level some alts. The little one kipped so nicely the other evening while the missus was doing catch-up that I used up all my rested XP on all three alliance sub 85s I'm currently working on. Last night I figured, it's been almost a year and a half, maybe I should check out the goblin starting area.

Man what an experience. You get a hot rod to play carmaggedon with, get to play a bit of mech-warrior football (ok that's a stretch I know), rob a bank, party hard, rob the boss, kill some stuff... and all with a fun story going on and a good feel for seedy goblin life. And this whole area only lasts 5 levels. That's like 20 minutes of play time, even savouring the experience and ready quest text (well skim reading it - still more than I usually do).

I feel a bit short changed for my Worgen chars. Sure the Gilneas thing felt pretty epic, and was well done. The Goblin city is FUN. I've only just washed up in Azhara and I've really enjoyed it so far. Looking forward to exploring the rest of the starter area.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The little things

Wow, it's been a while. The main reason being, I've been on paternity leave. Just under three weeks ago my lovely wife gave birth to a beautiful little baby boy. So all my online time has been devoted primarily to uploading photos and showing him off on Skype.

I have managed to push my rogue and priest through Cataclysm content and top out at 85, bringing my 85s count to 5 - crikey. But it does mean that raiding is off the table for at least a little while as we readjust to having the sprog around.

I've also been keeping an eye on the MoP news, and the pet battle music set off a massive bout of Blizzard nostalgia. One of the first games I played on a PC was Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. It also reminded me of sommething that impressed me about Blizzard games very early on, and that was the little bits of humour they stuck in their games. If you click on a peasant he says "more work?" Or something like that. If you click on him again he'll pick one of his other responses. If you repeatedly click on him he eventually gets annoyed and says "stop touching me." My friends and I quickly made it a mission to find out what the various characters said as soon as we'd unlock a new unit type.

One of the my favourites was the siege tank in Starcraft. Mostly because all their responses where shouted as if they had a bit of hearing damage from all the close proximity to artillery. I had a link to a bunch of StarCraft quotes but my Blogger app lost it, sorry.

I did try clicking on a WoW NPC, but alas they didn't seem to have any hidden responses. But there are other little things in WoW to keep one smiling. I was thrilled to stumble across a foal named Bambino walking around Grizzly Hhills with her two friends, a rabbit and a skunk. I loved finding the Goblin prince's pleasure palace North of Orgrimmar complete with swimming pool and diving board. I read about and subsiquently hunted down the scary weapon wielding critters near Thunder Bluff. There are many, many more fun little bits about, but I'll leave them to you to go hunt down.

Thursday, 3 May 2012


Did I miss something? When did X stop meaning kill straight after Skull, cause I think the whole of Azeroth may be trolling me... well I KNOW my raid team IS trolling me because I whinged about it and now they go out of there way to kill X last. But complete strangers seem to be trying hard to NOT kill X anymore.

And on that note, if you HAVE CC (I'm looking at you hunters and mages - others too but they seem to be the most reluctant these days) then USE it. Even if your tank doesn't ask for it you're allowed to sheep / trap / sap / sleep / mind control stuff. And NO knockbacks are NOT CC - save that s#1t for questing. Don't snare unasked but proper CC, go for it. And if your tank MARKS something with ANYTHING other than skull or X, then CC that bad boy. Don't stand around saying, we don't need CC. You don't have to be terribly skilled to do it. Your casting range is much further than aggro range and since Blizzard nerfed CC pulling there not much skill needed at all.

And assuming that your tank has some skill, don't CC the skull or the X. If (s)he's taken the time to mark the adds, he probably has a pulling plan in mind that may need a shield to bounce or a line of sight that you aren't necessarily aware of. You may like to argue the toss over whether or not the tank SHOULD lead the group, but the de facto situation at the moment is that they are EXPECTED to in most cases. And they ALWAYS have to be in charge of the pull.

It takes longer to wipe and run back than to just CC and kill a mob on its own.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Happy Noblegarden

I was going to mention some useful tips for the noblegarden holiday, but I was way too slow, maybe next year. Sorry.

Hope you all achieved your Easter goals. I myself got my spring Strider on Monday and didn't look back. Along the way I got the last two random drop achievements so unless they add more next year I'm done with that holiday.

On to other news. Still no helm token for Ironshield, but if that thing ever drops on Normal my EPGP is so high now there is no question it's mine. But RNG gods seem to have it out for me so we'll just wait and see. I suspect I'll get heroic tier shoulders or something at about the same time just to rub it in. Bit of background, I'm using LFR tier shoulders right now instead of the Heroic off set to keep the 4pc bonus. Naturally the tank off piece shoulders are BiS.

Speaking of LFR, there has been a lot of venom around the blogosphere lately about LFR griefers. And some of those are sounding like absolute world class d-bags. People have been asking... what can we do? Well not much really.


There are a few things. First off remember that even if there are 5/6 absolute asshats in your group, 80% of the group is fine. It's important to remember that the bad people are memorable because they are bad. And usually because they are vocal or conspicuous in some way. But the good people quietly get on with things. Don't forget the decent people, it will improve your stress levels.

Now what can we do about the bad? Healers, you have a Lot of power here. Even on low damage fights everyone is getting something. Don't waste your mana on the idjits who can't click the heroic will button or move out of morchoks slime. Tanks, don't taunt off the guy which breaks CC on Hagara trash. But other than that, manage the bad as best you can. The off tank on spine should pick up the bonus hideous amalgamations and keep them out of blood pools. Preferably go stand them on top of the moron DPSing tentacles just to scare him a bit. And take note of griefers and call them out in /s (or /rw if you're assist). That way you can possibly get a votekick in before the next boss.

But the most important thing to do, is not stoop to their level. Don't be a BAD. If someone is doing the wrong thing, start with polite correction, don't go straight to insults - although this is sometimes a big ask. The best way to improve the community is by being a decent member of it.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Is this the coolest world boss of all time?

I am thinking so... Darkmoon Rabbits on Wowinsider
With the baby on the way I don't know how much WoW time I'm going to be able to squeeze in by the time Pandaria rolls around, but this boss is tipping the scales in favour of continued subbing and upgrading.
I wonder if you have to bring up the holy hand grenade and count to 5 - NO 3! - In order to kill it? Maybe do some strategic "RUN AWAY, RUN AWAY"ing before you make it that far.
It's these little random acts of awesome that make world of Warcraft so fantastic in my book.

Innovative ignorance.

Not so long ago there was a bit of noise in the blogosphere over Blizzard's somewhat confused censorship policy. In a nutshell people were confused as to why Blizzard had chosen to censor some words while not censoring others. One of the words was transgender. I remember thinking at the time that this didn't make sense. (Bit if background) I am a white male who grew up in South Africa and have spent a lot of time in various all male institutions, as such I have heard a significant quantity of derogatory language in my time. Discrimination of pretty much every group imaginable and across a broad spectrum of maliciousness. And while I have heard many words used in a negative context transgender was never one of them. Maybe it's just a bit to weighty or long or benign sounding to work as an insult. It's a word that I would be much more likely to expect to hear from an LGBT advocate than detractor. As such I think it should probably not be censored. However a couple nights ago I witnessed something that might at least explain Blizzard's heavy handed approach. Please note I'm just playing devil's advocate a bit and I don't have all the details of all the language filter furore. But I was in an LFR where a player started berating people for not targeting properly by asking if they had AIDS. Now leaving aside the idiocy of the comment it was fundamentally clear from the context that this was intended as an insult along the lines of "moron" or "retard" and to the WoW player base's credit he was immediately challenged and accused of inappropriate behaviour, to which he offered the defense of "AIDS isn't a swear word, if it was it would be stopped by the language filter!" I was flabbergasted. I was overwhelmed with a desire to drive home to thjs individual the ignorance and downright illogic of this comment, but i couldnt even think where to start. Although in retrospect I suppose this was foolish, I mean I've SEEN /trade chat. All I could think to do was hit report and ignore him (or her - I have no idea - but as generalizations go I doubt the feminist community will be too upset with me for claiming this particular ). Now I accept that the language policy is disjointed at best and downright discriminatory at worst, but in the interest of hoping that it is at least well intentioned, I can understand the reasoning that leads to people making mistakes when it comes to designing a language filter to combat this kind of twisted logic.