Going Without

I’m just a touch early with this, but I’m gonna be busy and/or hungover the rest of the weekend, so I’m posting it now.

 

Nim over at Ankh=Life posted a Blog Azeroth Shared Topic that works rather well for me, so I just had to respond to it. She asked what other people do when WoW is unavailable. Over the summer, after introducing Sharon’s mom to, and subsequently addicting her to WoW, we started having latency problems. Just one of us on would sometimes see lag near 1k ms, with all three of us on it would sometimes spike to 2-3k ms. This pretty much made WoW completely unplayable, and lasted for 3-4 months. Those months sucked, however we found ways to fill our massive amounts of newfound free time.

 

For starters, my Xbox 360 stopped filing missing persons reports on me. Found myself playing a fair amount of World at War, Modern Warfare 2, and Dragon Age. It also sparked an interest in finding 360 games that Sharon and I could play together with local multiplayer. Soul Caliber 4, Forza Motorsport 3, Left 4 Dead 2,  and Guitar Hero have all been tried, haven’t found one yet we can agree on, besides GH.

 

Netflix watch Instantly. Our lag issues were problems with response times and timeouts, not bandwidth, so we were still able to watch movies and TV on Netflix and other streaming video. Let’s see, there was just about all of the new Dr. Who, Penn and Teller’s Bullsh*t, all of Battlestar Galactica, various stand-up and documentaries, various zombie movies, Behind the Mask(awesome, awesome movie), all of Whitest Kids U Know, and all of Weeds. Finishing an entire tv series(or at least up to what had currently been aired) and going “So, now what?” was not an uncommon problem.

 

Learning to play the guitar. My in-laws are both guitar players, and have a fair few kicking around. With all of that extra free time on my hands, I decided to try picking up guitar. Used a website called guitartricks.com, and it worked fairly well, although I’ve stalled out on it recently due entirely to my lack of finding time to practice. I’m likely going to pick up an electric from a pawn shop and see about taking some actual lessons in the near future.

 

Develop a social life. This one has actually had long-term effects, aka friends. Before the Dark Time of no WoW, going out with friends and whatnot tended to be scheduled around raid nights. Sad, I know. Now, playing WoW is happening around hanging out with friends, and it’s definitely a change for the better. I’m even having a party tomorrow night, and there will be people there who…wait for it….aren’t in my guild! Craziness! As a side note, screw turning 30.

 

And, finally, doing all of the above spending time together, facing each other. This one more or less speaks for itself. Playing WoW together was kind of “our thing” that we did together. However, sitting across from each other, talking on vent with guildmates, probably not the healthiest together activity in the world. Don’t get me wrong, we still do it, but it’s not primary anymore.

 

Jesus, this almost seems to have come across as a WoW Anonymous type of deal. We do still play, and I enjoy it very much, it’s just that a break from the game seems to have given a bit of perspective on it, and a bit more moderation.

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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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History

With the release of Wrath of the Lich King looming on the horizon(ZOMG ELEVEN HOURS), I find myself looking back over the time I have spent playing World of Warcraft, and quite a lot of it, at that. However, looking back, I honestly can’t say that I am regretful of the majority of my time spent in game. A lot of people like to talk about how WoW players have no lives, are wasting their time on the game, etc.

In looking back, and considering how much time I have spent playing this game, and how much enjoyment I have gotten out of it, and then factor in the cost of the game, it becomes pretty obvious.

And there I go, sidetracking myself. The reason I am writing this post is more in regards to history than cost effective means of entertainment. So, here we go.

Four years ago, seems like forever. I played around in the beta, and bought WoW a month after it came out, since money was too tight right at launch. I rolled a human paladin, and got it up to level 20 before getting frustrated with the playstyle, and slow, slow, slow killing speed. So I went and rolled a dwarf hunter, who was the first character I ever raided on.

January, 2007. At this point, I had a 60 dwarf hunter, 60 night elf male, 60 gnome warlock, and 60 night elf druid. TBC launched, and I stormed through Outlands with my old guild, ransacking demons and fel orcs and naga for the glory of the Alliance. I remember, shortly before I took a long break from playing, attempting Karazhan and Gruul’s, and wiping horribly. This was before we really knew what the gear requirements were like, almost no one had the rep for heroics yet, and we were still trying to figure out how to raid in the days of 10 and 25 mans. Now, I look at my old guild, and they’ve merged with another guild to become one of the bigger progression guilds on the server.

November, 2007. I get back into playing the game, this time dragging Sharon into it with me. At this point, I can definitely say that I have not looked back since. Being able to share the game with someone I love, and being able to level and farm and grind and run raids with someone across the room to vent to, laugh with, and in general enjoy the game with is one of the most rewarding experiences to be found in World of Warcraft, in my opinion.

November 12th, 2008. Here I sit, anxiously awaiting the work day to be over, ready to dive into the latest xpack, at a midnight release no less. Last November, I rerolled Horde because Sharon preferred them. Now I’m rerolling DK because they’re awesome. I’m not going to make this a yearly thing, I swear.

 

As an aside, if any of you five people who read this are going to be at the Arsenal Mall in Watertown, MA for Gamestop’s midnight release, I’ll be the heavyset guy with beard and glasses, black wool coat and black hawaian shirt…screw it, I’ll put up a picture when I get home. Although the black with red highlights Patriot’s hat might be a good distinguisher.

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On Warhammer and Distractions…

So, it’s been quite a while since I last posted, and there have been a couple major contributing factors to this.

One, I gave Warhammer a whirl. It was pretty cool for PvP, and having read over the highlights from Blizzcon, I’m happy to see that Blizz will be incorporating some of the features into WoW, notably queueing for battlegrounds anywhere. Unfortunately, Warhammer’s PvE was sorely lacking, and a game whose only major merits are PvP-based can’t hold my attention for very long.

Two, must…level…alts. Trying desperately to get alts up to 70 before the xpack hits. I should easily have my shaman up to 70 by the time xpack hits, and my mage should be well along the way. This makes me happy. Options are always a good thing, although I very likely will be rolling a Death Knight on launch day. I’m about 90% on that. Which leads me to thing the third…

Beta! Got into the beta a while back, and really enjoyed messing around with stuff. Actually spent very little time on my druid(never even hit 71), however I did tank a bit of Naxx on a premade druid, and that was fun. Most of what I did, however, was play around with DKs. I wanted to get a good feel for how the class plays, and decide whether or not I would play one, and where in the roster it would go. I am sorely tempted to make my Death Knight my new main, and make it the first thing I do on launch day. They’re extremely fun, with quite a few cool abilities.

So, the main reason I’m making this post is to break the radio silence. I plan on posting in the next day or so regarding Death Knights, so if you’re interested but don’t have access yet, I’ll be breaking down some of the cooler/more fun abilities and aspects of being a former servant of the Lich King.

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Vote, Damnit!

Video Game Voters Network

Don’t worry, I’m not going to get all political on you here. This post is for two purposes. One, I want to apologize for slacking off so bad and failing to blog. This will hopefully be rectified in the next week or so.

Secondly, on the politics front…I don’t care if you’re left or right, if there’s one basic tenet of our system of government that we can agree on, it’s that one of the most important aspects of the system is that everyone have a voice and be heard. I’ll be keeping a link to the Video Game Voters Network on the sidebar at least until the election is over, possibly permanently. With the internet and video games becoming more and more political issues as well as entertainment, we are actually seeing legal issues and laws surfacing surrounding the world of video games, and especially MMOs. Check it out.

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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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I’ve Got the No Wrath Blues

So, I’m hungrily devouring all of this cool Wrath info floating around the WoW blogs lately, and as I’m reading all of it, behind the excitement, behind the lust for secret, unattainable knowledge from the beta, something is gnawing at me. I am missing out.

Now, it’s not a getting to play Wrath before it comes out thing. I mean, that would be totally cool and I’d love it, but that’s really not what it’s about. It’s just a game, and it’s still in beta, so things are still changing and I wouldn’t necessarily be getting a taste of what it will be like on that magical November morning(post coming on that topic soon). It’s not even that I’d be able to stick my toes in the DK water and decide if I really want to play one when the expansion goes live.

It’s the scoop. I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out on awesome blogging material. I see all of these posts with hot little tidbits of Wrath info, and think “Damn, if only I could have been there.” Now, don’t get me wrong. I certainly don’t begrudge those who’ve gotten into the beta. It’s awesome that you have gotten this awesome chance. However, I can’t help but feel a bit like one of those people who didn’t get in to the hot new club, standing around in the velvet ropes hoping.

I think part of it is that I’m currently struggling to find my voice, and, to be perfectly honest, I seem to be running out of things to say. My posting has been sadly infrequent, and it has nothing to do with lack fo desire. It has to do with lack of anything I could think of to post about. Maybe it’s all just sour grapes, I dunno. Anyone else feeling this way?

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The Promised Explanation

So, basically, due to a falling out with our webhost, we became temporarily unavailable, and since I didn’t have the foresight to do regular content backups, I thought all of our content was gone. Luckily, my own giant ego drove me to subscribe to our blog in my google reader(also to see when Sharon posts) and, thankfully, I had all of our posts during the period we self-hosted cached, so I was able to save that. The comments, sadly, are dead. But we’re back! Hopefully won’t be any more snafus, and as soon as this post is published I’m backing our stuff up.

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Thanks, Bansidhe and Imaya

So, this post serves two purposes. The first is to introduce everyone to our new home at RaidedM.com. Sharon and I have made the jump to self-hosting, thanks to a donation of webhosting from one of our favorite guildmates. Imaya, you rock.

Also, I want to thank Bansidhe the Museful for her awesome banner she provided for us. It’s pretty kickass(that’s Bourguignon, my druid and Allysera, Sharon’s rogue displayed).

Expect things to go through some changes, here, and just about everything to get moved around, jumbled, and generally disarrayed while we figure out this whole selfhosted thing.

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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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