Tweets and Gadgets

You might have noticed we’ve added Twitter to our site. Part of the reason for this is that we’re moving and I wanted to be able to keep in touch with our WoW guildies and also the blog as we’re in transit and before we get our internet set up. That should be an interesting task, since we’re going to be out in the country and there is basically ONE broadband option. A WISP, or wireless provider that caters to “last mile” wireless rural broadband. Looks to be good, just will take some time to set up. In the meantime, you can look for “Tweets” from us about our trip and on the status of our internet setup. Pray for us gamers, now and in the hour of our installation.

Secondly, I have a new and fun thing for you Windows Vista users! If you are using the Vista Sidebar with all of the fun gadget options like calendars, clocks, sticky notes and slideshows, there’s a new one just for WoW players! It’s called WoW Explorer. A neat little gadget with several nice background choices, that will display the realm status of your chosen realm(s) on your desktop all the time. (Handy for Tuesdays.) Also, it has a search feature that lets you search from among your favorite WoW related sites such as WoWDB, WoWHead, Thotbott, Allakhazam, WoWInsider, Curse Addons and even the Armory! Just today it’s been really handy for me when I was trying to figure out where to find a kind of fish I hadn’t gone after before. I recommend it!

And on a final note, when we do get our access back up and running, we should be introducing a new blogger to you. A blogger with a unique viewpoint. Stay tuned!

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Deathknights and You

This isn’t going to be a post with prospective specs, play information or even any useful gear recommendations. We all know that Malfean handles the technical side of things and I’m more “color commentary” anyway. No, this is about why everyone should have a Death Knight, even if you don’t want to have one.

I had no real intention of playing a Death Knight. After dabbling with them on the beta, I knew they were fun and all, but I had no interest in having one of my own. Truth be told, I really still don’t. However, since Malfean intends to main-switch, I made a Death Knight to run around Outland with him until he hits 68, at which point I am going to switch over to my main, a rogue, and continue on into Northrend. I’ll keep the character around, though, because I’ve had so much fun that I’m thinking I might actually want to finish leveling her at some point. So here are a few reasons why, even if you don’t think you want to play a Death Knight, you really do:

1. Appearance. Ok, I’m a girl, but holy freakin’ tauren, the new Death Knight skins are wicked. Baleful blue glares and hollowed out cheeks, grey-bluish skin and sickly blue hair…they look half dead and all evil, which is how I likes it. It also seems that blue is a big theme with Death Knights. Half of what they wear gear-wise has a blue cast to it, at least until you start trading it for Outland clown-gear.

2. The Starting Area. Now, all of the new content has some new quest types that are interesting and fun. Yes, there are a lot of the standard “Go get me fifteen snake gonads and I’ll give you a whistle that makes you dance” quests, but there are also new siege engine quests and phased quests and the like that will keep you interested. The Death Knight starting area has all of the best of the new quest innovations rolled into one fast-paced and highly entertaining spot. You want to fly on a Frost Wyrm and set fire to mobs below you and explode things? Check. You want to experience the sensation of your actions actually having a dynamic impact on the landscape around you? Check. You want to experience the exhiliration of being part of an epic battle with death, destruction and dying screams that looks like something out of “Lord of the Rings”? You can do this! Roll up your Death Knight now.

3. AOE the World. Have you, much like me, never had one of those classes that people constantly scream about being OP? Have you always missed the brief window of insane DPS before the soul-crushing nerfs? Then now is the time to make a Death Knight. I knew that the Death Knights seemed overpowered in their starting area, but I had no idea what it would be like beyond that, as I hadn’t taken one any further on beta. When Malfean and I ventured into Outland, I was stunned. Mobs go down faster than anything I’ve ever seen before. We routinely pull giant groups of mobs and throw around the Pestilence, Death and Decay and Blood Boil Death Knight AoEs and everything just falls before us. Whole islands of Naga, elites we used to have to get guildmates to help with, group quests for 3 or more…all no problem for a couple of piddly little Death Knights. I can’t help but think that this stuff is going to get nerfed, especially since even I, the one who never PvPs, can see the PvP potential in all of this. Casters wouldn’t have a chance.  Get yours before they nerf them into the ground.

4. Lore. Admittedly this is an area where Malfean has more interest and knowledge than I do. I tend to be the kind of person that flips past game intros and skips reading quest “color” text just to get to the heart of what I’m supposed to do. Lets get on with it! However, when you watch Arthas and Tirion Fordring’s scene at the end of the last quest in the Death Knight starting area, it’s hard not to be enthralled. Even me. It’s hard not to get swept up by the epic scope of it all.

In short, even if you never wanted a Death Knight, even if you aren’t interested in them at all, make one just for a little while. Enjoy this new, truly Heroic class that Blizz has given us. It’s one of the few things in the game that actually feels like you hoped the game would feel when you looked at your first World of Warcraft box and thought “Wow…I want to go there.”.

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My Enthusiasm is Still in Beta

It’s been a while since we posted. Whew! Where to start?

Malfean discovered that it was possible for us to get a beta key through WowInterface‘s mod author beta key program. He wrote a little mod that simply announces when you’re rezzing and, bang! We waited a week and the beta key was ours. Amusingly enough, a few days before we recieved the WowInterface key, Malfean’s opt-in key showed up. We tacked the opt-in beta onto my WoW account and, deciding we didn’t really need TWO beta keys, gave another to a friend and guildmate of ours so that she could test out hunter modifications in Beta. Maybe we’ll have her write something up about her thoughts once she’s had a chance to look around some. I’ll try to keep spoilers, if there are any, to a minimum.

I say maybe because, well, the servers are so frickin’ unstable. Now, I understand completely that it’s a beta and I honestly haven’t done any complaining or griping about the server stability, but it really has reached a ridiculous extreme. They inserted a new patch on Friday during maintenance and after that the servers weren’t fit for anything. At first they traced the crashes to two new level 80 areas they had just put in, but it quickly became apparent that, oddly enough, a rank 2 DeathKnight spell, Unholy Blight, was crashing the servers. Not rank 1 and not rank 3, only rank 2. Seems people would log on and either unknowingly use it and crash everything or be told that it was a problem and feel that they needed to test it out for themselves. For 24 hours it was pretty much unplayable. This morning it seemed that there was some semblance of stability again, so I got together with the above-mentioned friend and we headed over to the first Northrend area and started her questing around. About twenty minutes later, though, repeated crashes start up again. We eventually gave up.

From what I’ve seen, however, between crashes, I’m really going to enjoy WotLK. It feels so much more connected, somehow. You get zepped over from Orgrimmar or Undercity, giving it much more of a connection to old Azeroth. The terrain, too, is less otherwordly and odd. I have to say that I LOVE the vrykul as a race. Tall and nordic with booming voices and a regal bearing, they seem like worthy adversaries. Admittedly I haven’t quested too far in either area, a dozen or so in Howling Fjord and a handful in Borean Tundra, but I think I prefer the former for now. I prefer the terrain and you spend a lot of time interacting with they vrykul, including one highly entertaining quest that requires you to go insult their leader in a strange language. The quests are engaging and a few of them are downright fun. If it weren’t for the server crashes I’d probably be looking at it more as a pleasure-game than a beta test.

For now rogue poisons are insanely screwed up, applying at a 100% rate and ticking off way too hard, causing mobs to go down before they’re done with Cheap Shot for extremely well geared rogues. A few more hits for me, in my Kara/badge epics. There’s a bug that affects all classes that causes energy/mana/rage not to regenerate at all. I notice it right away because, well, it shows up as my having 0/100 energy. Mana classes, from what I saw playing with my hunter friend, don’t notice it until their mana bar goes empty and they’re not getting any back. Relogging will usually solve the problem, but not always and sometimes you spend your entire 5-10 minutes of time between crashes relogging trying to get your energy/mana/rage to catch up with you.

I haven’t spent much time playing around with Deathknights yet. I only played one through the first level and, according to what I’ve heard, they’ve nerfed their DPS since then, but oh my god I was practically one-shotting everything around me. I never seemed to run out of power. The most awesome thing so far is seeing a small army of ghouls ranged out behind you, swinging their arms and galumphing along. I’ll leave the rest for Malfean to fill you in on, as he managed to get one up to Outland and, I believe, went back to start the quest to make the guards in Orgrimmar stop spitting and throwing fruit at people.

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Gamer Girls

Who cares if you’re a female or a male, right? It’s a moot topic nowadays when so many girls play that we just go unnoticed. It’s actually a topic I never really think about anymore, until I happened across this post on Big Bear Butt Blogger .

Now, I’m not a “serious gamer” and I never have been and most likely won’t be. I have dug into WoW with a serious enthusiasm, sometimes bothering Malfean to play more than he’d like to. I don’t know if it’s the game itself or a Pandora’s box it unlocked in me, but I really have embraced it. Prior to WoW, though, I didn’t play video games, but I did play an online version of the tabletop games of White Wolf. Vampire: the Masquerade, Werewolf: the Apocolypse, Mage: the Ascension. You name that dorky stuff, I did it. It was chat-based, with Storytellers to hold the reigns and game mechanics mostly followed through. It also had its share of skeezbags always on the lookout for a girl playing the game and ready to glom onto her with all of their greasy “charm”. It was annoying, yes, when all you wanted to do was play the game and all they wanted to do was get into your virtual-panties, but you also got used to it and became adept at turning them away. (We won’t mention that this game is how I met Malfean. His charm, thankfully, isn’t all that greasy.)

Understandably, then, when Malfean wanted me to try WoW out for the first time, I was apprehensive. He had jokingly told me that being a girl in the game could be profitable and that didn’t really allay my fears any. Once the game got hold of me, though, the thought came and went. I didn’t notice any real problems with boys or men pestering me, except for the somewhat annoying, though easily ignored, comment regarding my real-life gender behind my character. What do I care if they think I’m sporting extra jiggly bits?

I think, too, that I got really, really lucky in my guild. My guild has a large number of female players, usually wives or girlfriends of the male players, but some aren’t. Some are just single girls that like the game and like that our guild offers a very female-friendly area to play it in. Sometimes I think the estrogen in Vent actually gets too thick for the male players and you can hear them making choking noises as they starve for testosterone fueled conversation. Of course, it takes a special kind of woman to enjoy gaming and our ladies hold their own, dishing out scathing or ribald commentary when they feel the need and taking it themselves with aplomb. I have never felt uncomfortable or nervous around our players in Vent and, in fact, am probably one of the most talkative people on during raids.

Getting back to the BBBB topic at hand, I don’t know if the gamer girls (women! but that’s not as cutely alliterative) that came before me blazed a trail to open up the gaming world to women so that they could be free of male harrassment, or if things have remained entirely unchanged and I am just one lucky woman. Obviously this particular blog bears no title stating the gender of either author, or even alluding to our relationship status, but one of us is a woman and, I dare to assert, a gamer and I find the topic intriguing. I would be interested to hear about other women and their experiences. Are they still having problems with their male counterparts in gaming that would indicate that I, and those that claim gender is moot, are simply lucky or has the tide has turned?

Also, on a side note, being a girl in WoW totally didn’t turn out to be profitable. But I think that has something to do with my lack of willingness to strip naked and dance. The only time the rest of the players see me strip naked is when I’m preparing to do a death-jump of some kind. And then there’s just not much time to throw money at me. Darnit.

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We Bought the Hype

Have you seen it yet? Simply Recruit-A-Friend and you get all sorts of lovely bonuses. A free new mount! Triple XP! Free levels! Come on, you know you want to. The siren’s song of triple experience is too seductive to pass up. It’s obviously Blizzard’s attempt to encourage people to, if not do exactly what we did, then get anyone and everyone involved in WoW before their big expansion. Mmm, that $15 a month must be like mother’s milk, dripping in from all over the world.

I consider myself WoW-addicted, but I wasn’t sure how badly until I saw that advertisement and actually woke Malfean up to pester him to start a third account so that we could take advantage of the deal. It also doesn’t hurt that we’ve lost a few tanks and heals from the guild lately, so it just seems like a great way to quickly level up both. Plus, I get to try my hand at tanking while Malfean heals!

If the levels go fast enough, we likely will do another pair with him tanking and me healing so that we have one of each on my account and the spare account. Honestly, the levels are going so quickly that it feels like cheating. We actually dinged our first level off of the very first “go see” quest and made 16 levels in four hours yesterday. It’s crazy. Crazy awesome.

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Festival Dumplings

I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of The Bronze Kettle, but these people are GENIUS! Malfean found the site, I’m not sure how, and decided he had to try their recipe for Festival Dumplings and, oh…my…word. They were SO GOOD. Even my son loved them and chowed down with gusto. I wasn’t too keen on them at first, because steamed dumplings are gooey and gross to me, but we fried them like the option in the recipe says and they were delicious.

Our Festival Dumplings

Our Festival Dumplings

Next I want to try their Spicy Hot Talbuk. Heck, I eat it enough in game. I want to try the real deal!

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Drama Llama Visits a Wow Couple

Playing WoW with your significant other has a lot of advantages. You can spend a lot of time together having fun while leveling, raiding, farming or just screwing around on those amusing new alts you just made. You always have someone to attend those crazy-fun BRK events with. You’ll never be one of those couples who goes out to dinner and simply stares at one another across the table with nothing to say, because there’s always some theorycraft to hash over or some amusing anecdote one of you missed in guildchat. You might get stares from people at the table next to you who think your discussions of shot rotation and mage talent builds is mind-bogglingly weird, but at least you’re enjoying your time together!

However, playing together has its downside, too. There are the nights when you want to work on those alts because, by god, you can taste 70, but your significant other wants to farm heroic badges. Or the evenings when one of you feels like raiding, but the other doesn’t, so one of you just goes along to make peace and not to be left lounging around watching TV alone for three hours while listening to one-sided Vent chat. It’s like anything else you do together; there’s compromise and sometimes not everyone is going to be happy.

Sometimes, though, it slips from being just casual “Oh darn, I didn’t want to do that tonight” stuff into actual disagreements. We’ve had actual arguments about who caused a facepull or my pulling aggro off of him when he’s tanking. Occasionally we’ll get miffed at something someone is doing in group and, because we don’t feel comfortable yelling at someone for their aggro management over Vent, we’ll lecture one another about what we’re doing wrong. Generally it’s mild, like two small yappy dogs going at it for a few minutes and then settling down again.

Then there are those other times, when the pressures of guild dynamics and politics actually start to weigh you down. People who don’t play, or who have never played a game with social interaction, simply have no concept of how “a game” can get to you. At least your significant other understands when you’re peeved over something someone in guildchat said or did, rather than asking why you’re angry over pixels. But when the politics and circumstances in the guild are getting to both of you, when it’s actually stressful and distracting, it begins to taint the fun and camaraderie you had built within this game you’re trying to play together and it starts to become “srs bzns”. Especially if one, or both, of you feels personally caught up in the complex guild implosion taking place around you. It’s hard to be happy-go-lucky when your over-dinner game hashing becomes less about how to write a sheeping macro and more about who said what to whom, possible Machiavellian motives and other dramatic complexities.

At one time, when we first started playing together, if you had asked me if we would eventually be embroiled in guild drama, I would have definitely said no. We don’t take this game that seriously! But I honestly should have known better, having been involved in social games in the past and knowing the way people work. However, there’s a point when, regardless of the people on the other side, you have to make yourself step back and say “It’s just a game”. You have to remember that you started playing the game to enjoy it and enjoy the company of the person you’re playing with, not to play an Azerothian version of Knot’s Landing (Whoa, I’m dating myself).

So do you quit? No, you don’t quit. Too much time and effort is invested! (Not to mention money, baby, with that $15 bucks a month each.) Do you leap headfirst into the maelstrom? No, not that, because you’re sick of that mess. Do you try to keep a cool and judicious head and keep trying to help things along? Yeah, ’cause that’s been working really well so far. Do you jump ship and strike out for calmer waters? Not promising, as this problem seems universal. Or do you just pull back, put on the brakes, and let things settle where they’re going to settle while concentrating on enjoying the game together, much in the way you originally did?

Yep. I’m going with that last one.

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Moving Day! (Yes, again)

So, we started up this blog on WordPress with the intention of getting ourselves to a selfhosted status eventually, whenever we had the money and time to spare. However, a guildmate of ours does webhosting and, in a stupendous gesture of guild friendliness, has allowed us to become selfhosted way ahead of schedule.

Please do join us at http://www.raidedm.com for all of your mouthy Druid and Rogueish needs.

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Almost cool

So, yesterday I was farming up Netherweb Spider Silk for my alt because I can now make imbued netherweave bags (yay!), when Malfean says “My AV is about to pop, but Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftains are about to play at the World’s End Tavern in Shatt!”. Of course I, like most silly WoWheads, really kinda like L70ETC, especially since they wrote such a nice song about my main’s class and why they like to do it from behind. There are times when I’m playing and I swear I can hear it playing in my head. “Sinister strike, eviscerate, cheapshot, backstab!”

Anyway, I got over to the tavern and there was quite the crowd. Sure enough, L70ETC popped up into the main stage area. I called in my son, who has a deep love for them, and showed him. At which point he said “But…there’s no music. Look, they’re dancing and singing, but there’s no music!”. Well, he was right. It would’ve been cool, but it wasn’t. I know there’s no capability for that level of rockage in the game and whatnot, but maybe the band should’ve been just partying around in the back drinking too much and feeling up groupies. Haris Pilton, perhaps. Y’know. Rock band things. So, while neat, not ultra-cool. Still, people were dancing around like maniacs and leaping onto the stage, so I was only able to snag one screenshot. Enjoy!

L70ETC Playing at World's End

L70ETC Playing at World's End

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Patch Day! 2.4.3

Lots of little tweaks, but the two I was most interested in are the fact that you can get mounts at 30 now and the huge freaking bags the slut Haris Pilton sells at the tavern in LC.

Honestly, I’m stoked about mounts at 30. It just means less trouble for my alts. Am I poor-mouthing about “back in my day we had to wait until 40. Then travel five miles uphill in the snow to get our mounts!”? Well, maybe a little, but it still makes things easier on everybody and I’m for that. Besides, it just makes it easier for them to put new mounts in Wrath and wring more pixelated money out of us. As for the bags, holy unlimited cargo space, Batman! The price on those things is just this side of extortion. Not to mention the assorted useless items she sells that are 2-3k. Who’s going to pay 2k for a pair of sunglasses? (Ok, I admit, I was tempted for a moment there. An around-town outfit with sunglasses and a pair of the knit sandals that look like flip-flops? Awesome summer chic. Gimme a break. I’m a girl.)

I’ll leave the dissection of the changes and how they’ve  nerfed/buffed various classes to someone who knows everything about all the classes. Meanwhile, how sad is it that the first thing I did, was go get a Nether Ray Fry ? It matches!

Mother and Baby!

Mother and Baby!

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