Love and Death(s) in Northrend

Rökkr, with the grand help of two very dear friends, got carried to level 68 today: that is an especially sweet milestone in a character’s progress. Let me be straight: I have no idea what the hell I am doing as a rogue. Stabby-stab-stealth-stealth. A young elite rogue reviewed my action bar and spells and shook his head in disgust, grumbling something about the uselessness of sinister strike. Fortunately, I have a few things going for me: I am kind of smart, and I have very good friends who have rogues of renown.

Rökkr stays at the same lodging as the others…clean sheets, chocolates on the pillow and turn-down service.

Now the real work begins, and choices to be made. The quest line in Northrend is rumored to have been reduced 30% with Patch 4.3, so I hope this is true. Just leaving Outlands and seeing all of the bright yellow “!” everywhere made me feel a bit guilty. But I paid my game dues with leveling Mataoka, and a little reduction in effort until I get to level 80 and that boring grind from 80-85 begins, I’m going to enjoy my time in the great Northrend. Got a little overexcited and the second I stole borrowed gold from the guild bank and purchased Cold Weather flying, I fly to dangerous zones and tried to pick the daisies. Made a few trolls very grumpy, but it was fun trying (dying, but fun). Snuck past some of them, and plucked a few.

So, a rogue for Christmas – thank you my friends. Now just try to find her!

Where I was directed for help: Shadow Panther

Theme song: TMBG/Spy
Other Spy Songs (click)

Naughty, nice, and all in between…

Haanta considers a race change…nah…

Matty emptied out her bags, banks, and bagatelles: she found an old, spent totem, (she had made that in summer camp when she was very young, its clay mortally flaking), some torn netherweb spidersilk, a few jaggal pearls tumbled out, rolling into the cracks in the floor (lost forever now), and some Scarlet Crusader gear she kept in case she felt righteous. “This will never do,” she thought, “They all deserve so much more than this.” Chiding herself for thinking and knowing, oh, ever knowing, that Winter Veil’s big festivities were right around the corner, and now less than a clock tower dance around the dial, why didn’t she save more gold to buy her friends gifts? They had all been so generous to her all year long, and yet, once again, she was a day late and gold coin short, as always, and was having a difficult time reciprocating. “Ever thus to deadbeats,” she sighed to herself. She was even weary of her mooching ways.

If she could, she would give gifts that her friends truly wanted and would cherish:

To Kaylyne and her kin, though, there was not much that they didn’t already have: bravery, steadfast loyalty, and humor. Maybe continued belief in themselves, and courage. Perhaps at the new year festival, they could sit for an ale or two at their favorite pub.

To Isabeaux, she would give an elixir of Trueheart Aim Potion*. She never seemed to need anything, no matter what Matty offered. Isa had gems, fish, enchants, the best weapons, the finest gear, and most intelligent hunting pets. Isabeaux was too aloof, in Matty’s opinion, so perhaps the potion would soften her up a bit.

To Guarf, she would surprise him and clean up his little house. He had given her an enchanted broom, which she had been longing for for some time now. Perhaps this was one of those gifts with not-too-subtle-hints: a little magic to mix with the elbow grease. She would get right on the task. Maybe if she cleared a path to his door, the Widow Shannon would venture inside.

To guildmasters, former and current: For former, a trip to the goblin realm for rare whiskeys and rums, and a note, expressing just the right words of gratitude. To current, just a basket of treats from Dalaran. The current guildmaster and officers were very kind, but she wasn’t quite ready to completely invest her heart and friendship. Matty noticed something, and wondered if this was true in most guilds, that there is one flirtatious paladin in every guild (what is it with paladins? Humans, dwarfs, and draenei: put a uniform on them and their amorous confidence increases). Well, Matty didn’t blame them. Taking the world on one’s shoulders deserved a mild joke now and then, of course. The paladins whom she considered her friends, near and far, were truly gentlemen of honor and valor. One who was far away, she knew he was doing well, and always thought the best of him. If she could give him a gift, it would be to continue his journey with success, always. She offered up a prayer to the gods, and felt that it was heard.

She came to the bottom of her bags, and pursed her lips. She would have to call in her sisters for help, because for a mage, rogue, death knight, and priest: these gentlemen had been her friends since she stepped hoof in Dalaran for the first time. The mage had taken up cooking, and there was a set of gourmet pots and pans in a little blacksmith shop in Burning Steppes of all places. (She guessed that if one had to live in that godforsaken dustbowl, at least they wanted delicious food to eat.) For the rogue–new daggers, if he wanted them. He seemed to be in a bit of a slump lately, which was doubly sad, considering he was a gnome. Slumping gnomes are extra tiny, and she wanted to make sure he was all right.

The death knight had armored himself well, so he didn’t need anything in that regard. She didn’t know, but the tiny cub she had given him he kept in his pocket (he loved that little cub), so he didn’t really want anything else from her.  However, he liked this special rum–perhaps a few jugs of that?

Why is the rum always gone? 

For the priest–he was definitely a challenge. Robes, staffs, spell power — all great things. But he deserved something special.

Suddenly, she knew just the thing, and went on her way to find it. Keeper of secrets and agent of surprise, she smiled, satisfied, to herself. She hoped he liked it.

*I made this up. Don’t look it up on wowhead.

Conspiracy Theory.

More than a handful?

“I HAD IT IN MY HAND!” my hunter friend shouts–I laugh so much my shoulders shake. Yes, another adventure in LFR. He was reaching and rolling for the Vinshanka, Jaws of the Earth bow.

“Let me guess…lowest dps won it?

“Nope, actually…”

“…fourth lowest. To be fair, it will help him.”

Of course.

Now – discussing the derping psychology of Blizz, here is where the conspiracy theory-crafting happens: is there something more than Murphy’s Loot Law at work here? Did Blizz somehow stack the decks so that low level performers in LFR would get the loot? Are they truly behaving like crack dealers, breaking bad, and giving the noobs a taste, so they’re successful and keep paying their monthly dues? Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me (nods at Woody Allen).

Now, I was thinking (I do that sometimes) last night that one thing that would really be, interesting (?) is to only allow those who are top activity performers in their class during LFR roll on loot. Talk about a true competition. No kicking allowed – just focus on performance only. If players heal at the same output, then all may roll on healer gear, for example, or if there are more than one hunter, but all the dps is within a margin in order to be allowed to even roll on a bow, or warriors and hunters on guns. Since we’re already in competition for loot anyway, why not make it more interesting? Every one has off days, are trying to do better, etc. I’m not suggesting this happen in every LFR, but a “King of the Mountain” sort of option would give this an edge that has been lacking in the past.

Just a thought.

Dark side of the test tube.

Okay, at the risk of Guarf in his “man voice” telling me I am obsessing, I need to share this story. (One shaman’s obsession is another dwarf’s shrug.)

First of all – moral to the story: listen to instincts. I had come home after a long day, trying to explain that Fantasia the Disney movie was NOT Fantasia the wayward American Idol singer, and that naked animated fairies showing innocent butt-cheeks do not demand giggles (especially since most of the audience watches Family Guy and Tosh.O regularly, and laughed over fairy fannies?)

Exhibit A: Fantasia the movie:

 Exhibit B: Fantasia the singer:



I  just wanted to have my own fanny meet couch, laptop, and a pick ax and farm some ore.

That did not happen.

Went to LFR with about five other guildmates. All was fine. No loot, of course. Got to Wrymrest, with the globby things. Tank does or doesn’t do something, I don’t know. We wipe. Next globby group – we wipe again, someone pulled something (pull my finger is more like it), I get accused of pulling it, even though I was hitting marked target, and promptly kicked. No trial, no Miranda rights, nothing. Guildmates are indignant on my behalf, and try to kick tank, but no luck. And to add insult to injury, was kicked while dead, so got an empathic pat on the back by the angel, took the rez sickness, repaired, and cried. (Was it my mood? The 169 repair bill? The injustice of it all? Or, being out of Grey Goose vodka?)

No more LFR. No. More. Do not care if there are loot and valor points, or Deathwing himself invites me to tea. I am really done and over with witnessing and experiencing time and again some fat a**hole sitting on his nerd pole shepherding the sheep to do the whole pitchfork and torch gig. Enough. And, I want Blizzard to do something about it. What? Not sure. Maybe if one gets kicked by damage/dps was in the top ten, they pay for your repair bill. Or, you get a few valor points. Or they give you a new damn pony. I am not talking about the disconnect kick or the super low performer kick, just the kicks that are more like a roundhouse to the face for fun and spite than anything else.

Thinking of going to Aylied’s house in Stormrage and leaving a bag of flaming poo on his doorstep.

(The top warrior died too, and pulled the first goopy group, by the way. Just being a tattle-tell, I know.)
So, I was relating this anecdote to my cross-dressing rogue, and he related this to me, just how groups are known to behave, with substantial scientific data, in the face of authority. Morality and ethics are the first things to go. PLEASE: I am NOT comparing getting kicked from LFR to the Holocaust. The only psychological question that I am pondering is all levels of human mob mentality. And, it’s an interesting study to read up on, if you’re into that sort of thing, you know, human psychology and whatnot.

Milgram Experiment: The experiments began in July 1961. Milgram devised his psychological study to answer the question: “Was it that Eichmann and his accomplices in the Holocaust had mutual intent, in at least with regard to the goals of the Holocaust?” In other words, “Was there a mutual sense of morality among those involved?” 

So, if you are looking for the most beautiful enhancement shaman in all of Azeroth, she is probably hitting rocks with her mining ax, doing a quick dungeon, transmogging some outfits, or having a Grey Goose martini. Cheers!

Noobs need not apply.

A few stealthy souls I know have been working on this:

It’s a good thing they have the pocket-picking ability, because even just to start it I was told takes about 10K.

Poor Rökkr–she and my Death Knight Morphemia were the second and third characters I started, and by far the most neglected. Not sure even legendary weapons will inspire me to play my rogue more, and am seriously considering sending Morphemia to boarding school.

But, damn….batwings? /sigh.

LFR and the Single Shammy

Your fortune teller reads the lines, and your prospects look smelly.

With great power, comes great responsibility, or something like that. One thing I Like Bubbles, or any of you, will most likely never experience in LFR is what happened to me Friday night. I guess I have kind of a thing about capping out Valor Points before the Monday night ‘turn-into-a-pumpkin’ server deadline. I tend not to procrastinate, but usually it’s not a matter of procrastinating, but more I just have too much to do. (As you can see above, going to Archie McPhee’s in Seattle is top of the list. Who doesn’t need a set of tentacle finger-puppets?) Anyway, when I say great power, LFR is truly power to the people: went in with my buddy warlock who was playing his rogue. He is just as adept and awesomesauce on his rogue as his is on his warlock. His gentle good humor and kindness is always welcome. Friday night I was wiped out (no pun): I can’t even tell you in a way that you would believe me what happened at my job on Friday–it was a Greek comedy/tragedy from morning until evening, and I swear with my barnacled fingers I am not being hyperbolic. I mention this only to set the stage: wanted to get through some dungeons, be on my way, and have a glass of wine. He talks me into a LFR group. We go. We wipe. Tank doesn’t do something or someone doesn’t push the button, whatever. We wipe again. Most of the DPS is below 10K. I’m doing over 20K, and am sixth. Not great, but in the top ten. LFR is a FUBAR experience for me–like putting twenty-five prima ballerinas on a stripper stage and there’s one pole. It’s a mess visually. And without the benefit of mutual or shared Vent, not a lot of communication happens. People start to get kicked. And then….dun dun dun…I got kicked. WUT? My friend said that the message on the kick screen said, “She looked at me funny.” And this shows me how far I have come with WoW: I think it’s hilarious. Kind of an Amy Poehler/Seth Meyers REALLY?!?! moment. So, once again, the best of players, and the worst of players, only exacerbated by the great unwashed and ignorant, dysfunctionally trying to work together for a common goal.

Moral of the story? I don’t know. Will I try it again with a random group and not guildmates? Perhaps. When I peruse Mr. Robot for my main characters, Mataoka, Luperci, and Zeptepi, there is a lot of gear from Firelands and now Dragon Soul that those chicas ‘need.’ But then again, no one “needs” tentacle fingers. You just want them.

Postscript: My friend went back in, and then left during the fight. 🙂

Drabble: La Reina del Gremio

“If you’re going to leave, don’t do it now, please. Wait until I’m gone.”
A simple, pragmatic choice, she owed an allegiance, a debt in a way, to a larger guild, and another comrade. But she had spent weeks making a home, and here she was queen.
But this was not like him, his reaching out. Her heart felt it, even if her mind did not. This was not hesitation from cowardice, but an alarm to stop, out of love and friendship. Her leaving was not right.
“You never ask anything of me,” she said, “So this is easily given.”

Tome! Look!

On a weird Internet service right now, but wanted to tell one and all about this, especially Tome of the Ancients: This is going to be released with Diablo III, however, but it seems like it will work for all Blizzard games. Good – now I can be my warrior girl in Diablo and still change and meet friends for cocktails in Stormwind by nine.

Theme song: Tone Loc/Funky Cold Medina


I have been formulating some kind of response for some time since I read Vidyala’s post on her blog. At the time of reading, there were no comments posted yet, and now there are thirty-three (soon to be thirty-four). I got something out of it that other commentators in her blog dialogue didn’t seem to touch on, so this is purely, squarely, my opinion: I believe what she was writing about is a bigger issue than recruitment or guild rankings, but like most things in life, how we view ourselves in terms of being successful, or failures, and how it affects us. My tendency is to start quoting Joan Didion’s essay On Self Respect, but for the love of Pete, will give it a rest.

Vid states:

It’s no secret to my friends and guildies that I am pretty hard on myself a lot of the time. Each time we slipped down a rank or failed to achieve a kill, it felt like a personal failure of mine. Why was I unable to keep those guildies from losing interest in the game? Why couldn’t I retain these members who’d been with us since ICC? Why didn’t we get that kill? Why didn’t we achieve this within a “reasonable time frame” (as measured by other guilds’ accomplishments?)
The big problem for me personally is a saturation of information. Twitter and blogs allow us to be connected to fellow players more than ever before. Heck, I have Twitter on all day long and when I’m not home I have it on my phone. Thus I’m in a position to see messages come rolling in like, “Just killed x boss,” or “Finished the entire raid!” and anything less than that feels like a personal failure. I actually think the raiding community is a lot smaller than we think it is. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of “coincidences” in the form of raiders joining our guild who used to raid together, or people leaving to join another guild that someone else is in who I am personally acquainted with. I think it’s more than just coincidence, it’s the fact that our pond is actually a lot smaller than we think it is. Which is part of the “too much information” syndrome.

It is absolutely true we are inundated with media and information: there is nothing to be done for it now, except for one thing, (one thing which has always been true), and that is to define our personal successes for ourselves. There is so much happiness and joy in her post about her memories of her time with her guildmates and playing, and that is truly, (not to be maudlin or cliche), what it’s about. The young druid I know may have accomplished all that Firelands Heroic mode had to offer, yet left the guild that was controlling, unfriendly, and anxious. Teasing out accomplishments versus personal satisfaction is not easy, and often the two are intertwined inextricably. Bands break up. (Say what you will, but John Lennon seemed pretty happy with Yoko.) Guild rosters change. People move,  friendships fade. We all have touchstones, crossroads, where we have to redefine who we are and what we want. Filtering out the overload of other’s choices, successes, and pathways is important.

It read to me that Vid was in the process of mourning those changes, and just needed time to do so. Vid–be gentle on yourself. Keep your standards and expectations, for sure. I know a woman in her 50s who keeps a list on her refridgerator with the most important qualities she wants in a mate. On this list are words like “kindness, responsible, and she wants to talk to them as much as they want to talk to her.” Big, vague concepts, but I know she’ll know it when she sees it. (I wish her luck, by the way.) But those moments do happen, and you will find and create a new way of play that suits you to a “T,” and I don’t even think you need luck. Keep us posted on your journey, because for me, that is what I like about you most of all–your ideas and insights. If there was a guild ranking for that, you’d be top of the list.