So sweet!

Twenty days seems like a long time to do anything, but they went by really fast, faster than a, say, oh, a WINTERSPRING FROSTSABER?!

Rivern Frostwind and the draenei girls get along just fine. He’s entrusted Matty, Haanta, Luperci, and Zeptepi with the reigns of the Winterspring Mounts, which they all completed this morning. As I jokingly told guildmates, if I only spent that much time washing and waxing my truck as I did on getting those dailies done, I’d be, well, in a clean vehicle, I guess. But I wouldn’t have cool tigers to ride.


Zeptepi with Winterspring Mount, Shadow Priest edition


If you want your own, seek out Rivern Frostwind in Winterspring, a bit northwest of the Everlook lodge.   The dailies are super quick, and really don’t take much except for a tiny bit of patience. Besides, Winterspring is beautiful this time of year.

So, while I also have my reputation to consider, this simultaneously happened, too. Now to work on a few more reps with the good population of Azeroth. For the time being, I’m going to go wash my truck.

Theme song: ‘Mustang Sally’ as peformed by The Commitments*
*If you haven’t seen the movie The Commitments, perhaps you may want to check it out. Get your Irish blues satisfied.

Always look on the bright side of life.

I full-out blew today off in a big way. I stayed in Azeroth like it was a job. My priest friend wishes me well everyday, and tells me to be good, but I was NOT today. But tomorrow is another day. As I leave the keyboard, I need to regroup a little bit.  Hours of play will leave me with a mixed bag, just like a normal day in the real world. And I do have some heavy real world stuff right now, that even the sparkly moths of Azuremyst couldn’t glitter me out of. (Can that be a verb? Glitter? Sure. If I say so.)

So, before the cloudy northwest sun sets, wanted to come up with 10 things I love/hate about Azeroth:

1. Teabagging. As I was told by a guildmate, I’d better get used to it. No. No I don’t. It may happen, but I will never like it or think it’s funny or cute. Just can’t. I first heard the term in a John Water’s bio-flick called Pecker. Great movie, by the way. Martha Plimpton is an under-used actress.
2. Being a ninja. I really don’t like being an ass, by error or default.
3. How needy my dog is when I play. He’s a needy breed anyway, but seems to have a smaller bladder during dungeons. He is a sweet dog though. Maybe I should get a cat.
4. Mashing keyboard spells. I am more like Salieri than Mozart when it comes to my keyboarding skills.
5. Not enough compliments. The tough streets of Stormwind are deceptive: they seem friendly, but they are sorely lacking in courtesy or manners. Perhaps we need more Canadian players, eh?

1. I know, yes, I am Princess Dork, but once in awhile I can actually watch my characters do their things, and just watch them work. They are, dare I say it? Beautiful. Watching little pig-tailed Lupe face a big dragon, or Matty slice and dice a big monster dog or on the battlegrounds, or when Zep’s chakras are pouring out golden light — ah.
2. Friendships. I have said a lot about these, and without these, there really is no point.
3. Achievements: When that banners pops up, it is on too briefly, but love it. Sschwwwingg!
4. Creativity: playing has inspired me to write more. I may not have an audience, or a following, but I enjoy this part very much.

So, to all you teabaggers and ninjas, your hair looks great today, and you’re so funny and smart! Your friends must love you, and I am sure that mashing your keyboard won’t hurt your achievements. BRB, need to let out my dog.

Drabble of the Day: Corner

*A drabble is a 100 word story. No more, no less. Sometimes I just have to write down these little scenes.

For days, she felt like a rough rock being tumbled by the wash down a flooded stream. Smoothing away the edges demands a pound of flesh. His eyes were a bit heavier too. The soldiers scraped around the holding room waiting for battle. She made one request, and he complied. The wings embraced, cracked like a whip, no escape, in the corner, and kissed her. Sustaining faith. In a splinter of a moment, it stuck. He said she was beautiful to watch. Sustaining hope. He said the words out loud, but only she heard them. Sustaining charity. Beautiful, but deadly.

Itsy-Bitsy Spider

Down came the rain, indeed.

Damn, I don’t think I have a screen shot, and that is a shame, because since I’m #29’th choice out of 10-man team, if that, I may not get another chance to go back in there. I signed up for the new Firelands raid instance, figuring that since we were all new and learning together, it would be a fun and safe time to see what’s what.* When I said something to the guildmaster about, “Are we there yet?” the response was “We? Who is we?” or something to that effect, I realized that I may not be included. I did get to go, only because one of the solid players wasn’t on-line, in fact, two of our best players couldn’t make it, so I got a spot. I am not happy about that they couldn’t make it, not at all, but I guess even ugly stepsisters get a chance to go out once in awhile. It was with the clear understanding that if either one of them showed up, I would be asked to go, and was I okay with that. Sure. I’m okay with that. The guild members who have paid their dues and have more experience have earned their places a hundred times over. (Blizzard doesn’t allow for a lot of middle ground on this one: you’re either doing raiding or not. There is no variance for learning curve. A player must know everything, it seems, before going into any new situation, about what abilities they should use in every situation: that is the high nerd-rage end of the spectrum. The other end allows for more cooperative strategies. And I would imagine every guild, every group, usually slides between the two variances at any given situational moment.)

Oh: let me know if you want to know what you can and can’t hex or elemental bind. I’ve got your back. 

The Firelands Raid say it’s “outdoors,” which is kind of like saying going on a picnic with Satan. Sure, there is an atmosphere, but damn, that brimstone…your buns will get toasted.

Beth’Tilac, The Red Widow. is a crazy fight, too. It is a Cirque Du Soleil level of a performance from first impressions: little spiders, medium, large, and there are spinners you must climb up, and in the center of it all, The Red Widow. Before you can say “Charlotte’s Web,” you’d better put on your contortionist face and start spraying pesticide.

It was a lot of fun though. There is a double-edged sword, however: because it was “Patch Day” many of the add-ons weren’t functioning. We all went in there somewhat blind, without the benefits and blaring of GTFO, or Recount. It was kind of refreshing in a way, just to strategize, not worry about DPS races, and figure out which thing to kill first. Gulidmaster is very good at this, and very good at listening to players’ suggestions.

The GM and GO made up a fun game, an entertaining distraction between mobs. Oh, and by the way, I won! It was word game, category: “alcohol.” I have never actually had most of the drinks (never has a Rusty Nail or Brandy Alexander crossed my lips). I am a reader, and that’s how I knew. Yes, I have read bartending guides. Want something to wash the taste of spider guts out of your mouth? This might do the trick, a Chocolate Martini:

A Chocolate Martini—7 Square Restaurant, New York City
2 oz. vodka
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 oz. Frangelico
4 oz. chilled hot chocolate

Directions: Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake, and pour into a stemmed glass. To make it even sweeter, dip the rim of the glass in honey and then in cookie crumbs

I realize that my younger guildmates see me as this, and I cheated because of age:

For some guidance:
Videos/For the Horde:

*There are a lot of great blogs written from the guildmasters’ perspectives. Frustration with players’ performances, attitudes, demands, etc. It occurred to me this morning that I am relating the other side, well, at least my side, from what it’s like to be a newer player, to want to hang with the big dogs, and what obstacles we face. Mostly, the biggest obstacle is truth, and the truth hurts. I do mash the keyboard when I am in a tough fight. I do lose sight of some buff or debuff. But I also try my damnedest to listen to instructions. When the boss says “Kill the red X” I will go kill the Red X. I am the Spider Killer in my house, hobo, black widow, whatever. Have shoe, will squash.

Stumbled across this manipulated image (found it intriguing):

ChrissieCool/Deviant Art

No one can abstract-random like I can.
I am consciously making an editorial decision to create ‘guild mates’ as a compound word, ‘guildmates.’ I realize it is grammatically incorrect, but I can try to start language trends, too, can’t I?

Three-letter words.

I am compiling a dictionary of three-letter words that pack a punch. These are my translations: please correct or respond as needed.

Most of these are used by dwarfs:

Aye: affirmative, yes, in a steady, forthright tone
Meh: Apathy, shrug, indifference, of no consequence
Bah: Dismissive interjection
Heh: A cross between a laugh and a smirk
Wee: Not used often, but heard it last night to describe a gnome, as in “The wee one” when I asked for clarification on a tank question. Since, as a draenei, I was not the ‘wee one,’ it was the frozen gnome.

Am still collecting. Meh.

Dear Matty: (Significant other and cosplay edition)

Mistress of Pain Conceptual Art (see link below)

Dear Matty,
I have a problem I think you can help me with: I love playing WoW, and have been playing for years. It got me through the boring times in college, and through some rough personal times, too, as an escape. My girlfriend says she understands when I say I have a raid on a Saturday night, but then I notice she will give me the silent treatment later. I want more than anything for her to play with me, to start a character. I’ve pretty much conquered what I need to, and want to hang out with her in Azeroth. I could help her level up fast, and it’d be so cool. And, there’s this hot draenei girl* who’s been flirting with my gnome warrior, and I’m feeling guilty. How can I convince her that it’s fun and get her to play, too?

Torn Between Two Lovers

Dear Torn,
Oh, I hear this complaint or concern all the time. In fact, one of the most-read blog postings Sugar & Blood linked was an article to “It’s Love at First Kill.” I have counseled a few friends whose wives or girlfriends do not play, do not want to play, and will never play. This is a sticky area, for sure. I had a friend in TaeKwonDo whose husband and son became quite enamored with WoW, long before I started playing. The wife/friend and I could not fathom why anyone would spend so much time and energy in a virtual world with no tangible product. Playing WoW doesn’t get the dishes done, to be sure.

Be cautious: If your significant other (SO for short) does start to play, you will have to balance patience without being patronizing. Not an easy tightrope to walk. It can often become a noose. On many occasions, my own SO was very patient, but also steered me clear of things I should have been doing, such as dungeons. Dungeons intimidated me so much, that they were something to be greatly feared, that since a year as passed I still get dungeon anxiety, and don’t even get me started about raids. (Sometimes it’s to the point where I am not even sure I want to attempt the end-game content, but then I’ll listen in on Vent, if I’m not in the raid, and hear the same comments being thrown out to the more experienced players. Oh, wait. This isn’t about me. It’s about you.)

Women take criticism hard. This is a generality, and not gospel, but overall, it’s true. We are hard on ourselves, and hard on each other. Even just walking a friend out to her car the other day, she apologized for it being dusty, and not having time to wash it. Any conversation two women have will include some commentary about what hasn’t gotten done, and an apology, this preemptive mea culpa. I have avoided some conversations with my female friends and relatives because I don’t want to hear about what hasn’t gotten done, or that they can’t lose those last five pounds. It does get tiresome. But neither do they want to hear about my Tier 12 gear or new mount. But my WoW friends and SO do, because they understand. As I listen to other successful female players in Vent, one characteristic they share is their ability to hear criticism, and shrug it off, or give it right back. They do so with grace and charm, two qualities I lack.

There is another aspect: it sucks to be taught anything by someone we are close to. Years ago, when a boyfriend offered to teach me how to ski, it was disastrous. As soon as I signed up for lessons, piece of cake. Was right behind him on the challenging slopes. Some things are best left to the professionals.

A few nights ago, I was watching a Blizzcon documentary. I can’t locate it easily on the intertubes, but one married couples’ response resonated: where the hefty wife and husband couple are quoted: she basically laughs and says, (paraphrasing), if both the husband/wife or boyfriend/girlfriend don’t play, the relationship may not last. There is also a man who says WoW destroyed his marriage. He sounds so hurt. (“She knew I was a gamer when she met me!”) But like anything, until you’re actually in the life experience, you really can’t know how it’s going to be. Like a polygamist marriage, SOs of male gamers have to share their romances with the Princess of Persia, Lara Croft, and usually a draenei or two. You must balance your time with your other “girls” with your main, real-life girl. In other words, if you think by getting your own SO to play it’s going to let you off the hook with her, think again. Balance, people, balance. Strong, secure relationships are best. They allow room for friendships, hobbies, and creative thinking.

Now: I will make this offer: If you do have a girlfriend or wife who is considering playing WoW, I would be more than happy to help them. Having been through the pain of leveling a character virtually on my own and getting a whole lot of eye-rolling along the way has been painful. I have been yelled at to JUST READ IT when it comes to Tooltips (again, it’s one thing to read something and another to apply it, something I am still learning to do, especially with my tank and healer). I don’t judge, I don’t care if their car is dusty, and I certainly don’t give a damn if they can’t lose those last five pounds. If you really want to expose them to the nerd rage and dork-ness that is very much a part of Azeroth, if you really don’t care if she comes to you in tears when a warlock calls her a f*cktard, or when she gets kicked from a dungeon, well, all I can say is be prepared. Just as any time she comes to you with what you think may be silly or inconsequential (THERE’S NO CRYING IN BASEBALL!) she’s hurt. Just shut up and listen. That is how you can be her true hero.


*this is statistically a man.

Cosplay Shout-Out:
Now, this is just cool: Look what this woman made – breathtaking: I want to tell this young woman, please – go to Hollywood or New York and design costumes for stage and screen. Skip to 8:21 to see what I am talking about:

 I was considering have my own set of draenei horns crafted for me by an extremely talented make-up artist/mask-maker and sculptor, Casey Love. I may even commission a sculpture of Mataoka or Luperci.

Honeymint tea for two.

Lupe wears Matty’s hand-me-downs well…

Sometimes just a change of perspective can make all the difference in the world. Leveling a tank and a healer has been revealing, enlightening, and sometimes a little embarrassing.

Luperci did two dungeon runs in Gundrak today. The first held an extremely critical, albeit monosyllabic, DK who took every opportunity to criticize, including when I asked the healer if they were “good on mana.” He said, “ur not good tank ur no good.”

His needling criticisms about seals, taunts, and game play finally got to me, and I told him to go love himself in a vigorous, passionate fashion and left. Apparently, his ability to taunt me was superb. I wish I hadn’t lost my temper like that. As a young druid told me, that is probably what he wanted. I have no idea if the rest of the group felt that way. I needed to check his pulse for blood presence, and see if the hunter’s pet had growl on. He didn’t leave me any wiggle room to get my groove on. The second run was much more successful in terms of group cooperation and support. Same situations, such as the mage or rogue sometimes pulled aggro, but all in all, did what I needed to do to protect the group, take the most damage, and see it through. I love tanking. As my favorite cross-dressing rogue told me, or commented, how is it that everyone pays their game dues, and yet some people think they are entitled to perfection? No wonder why my friends who have been playing for awhile miss the days of pulling together groups to run dungeons with before dungeon finder. I don’t want to play with the South Park WoW player who is flicking chips off of his belly, singularly sitting in his pool of perfection.

There is another aspect as well: the majority of my best WoW friends originated from a one-to-one interaction. A help with a quest, a passing compliment, or some such interaction is how we met, and become friends. Rogue and I were thinking that Blizzard is missing the boat on that one: how cool would it be to have two-person quests? I know there are some, and there are arenas, but I mean, true buddy-journey quests? That are challenging but doable with two? From what I understand, Diablo has these, and according to trade chat, the buzz over Diablo III is getting pretty heated. Maybe these things exist in RP realms, but I think it would be cool to be able to craft a two or three person quest chain with fabulous achievements, titles, and gold. And ponies. Don’t forget the ponies.

Luperci received a beautiful black dress from her big sister. It was a gift from a priest. When she put this dress on this evening, not one but three elves danced with her, hugged her, and kissed her. She cleans up pretty good, doesn’t she? Just a reminder that she’s not all business, but loves to play, too.