Things that don’t matter…

…but they do.

There are things in Azeroth that have no other value than simply being a point of pride for me. Things that will be swept out to sea once the Orcs arrive. My most monumental challenge or ‘stupid goal’ is to get Drunken Fish to level 25 before Warlords comes out. (Did you ever hear of S.M.A.R.T. goals? Well I have S.T.U.P.I.D. goals: Slow, Tedious, Unimportant, Petulant, Insipid, and Dumb.) Fortunately, Breige came to my rescue (trust me, Señor does not care: he is smart), and brought along some of her friends from her other server. Misty created a human paladin, and has, for weeks, been leveling this faithful, consistent paladin from Level 1 to…crud, what level is she now? Eighty-five? More? And her mate, who has gone from Level 1 to well into the Level 30s. They were on when the guild hit Level 24 last night. I can’t think of enough ways to thank them–love doesn’t seem like enough. Know where I was? Drinking tequila and watching Neighbors. Some help I am.

Hammer that nail! Lift that 2x4!
Hammer that nail! Lift that 2×4!

So — my very creative Azerothian friends — what ways would you celebrate and show gratitude to virtual strangers who do kind things? I feel like I’ve fallen in with a group of Amish farmers who helped me raise my barn, even though I am a heathen. Elune be praised!

I am also interested in things in Azeroth that are important to you, but don’t really help your game play, or your future in WoD.

PS My Dragon’s Blood is on its way. I think they had to go out and kill real dragons.

PPS: All this? Señor, all the way:

Mr. Killy McKiller Kill
Mr. Killy McKiller Kill

OLRG: Winners!

Nursing-Home-Beauty-Pagent-6
We’re all winners!

So OLRG: I have a plan. Not sure what it is, but I have a plan. Firelands, ICC, Dragon Soul. Yup. Ponies. Oh and Throne of Four…till tomorrow!

Tycertank created a September WoWScreenShotADay September series for us, and sure – why not? I’m in! I’ve inserted her badge on this blog, (who doesn’t love badges? We need stink in’ badges!) and I’ll do my best to keep up. Fortunately there are a few more days before September 1, so I’ll try to get ahead of the curve.

september2014

In other news, well, I don’t really have any other news. I have enjoyed going with Hawtpocket, and Breige (who’s become Hawt’s ipso facto majordomo of sorts as Loot Master and inviter of friends. Now I realize there is somewhat a negative connotation with the term ‘majordomo’ because of you know, that whole “Executus”  thing, zazubut don’t think about him, think about Zazu. He did a pretty good job, didn’t he? Except for that unfortunate stampede…okay never mind. Breige is NOT a majordomo. But she is a pretty good loot master. It’s been a blast having PlaidElf on her NightElf male and our friend Helke too – both solid players and Azeroth is always better with friends. I’ve switched from Momokawa, to Kellda, and then now Mataoka. There is another enhancement shaman in the group, with better gear, but is usually one of the top performers. I tell myself just give it time, and then once in awhile I see a success. I did pretty well on Siegecraft (in fact was top damage), but to be fair that’s one fight that for melee is pretty awesome, one of the few. I got a new (and much needed) ring on a bonus roll, and I’ll keep honing her blade skills. Young leet druid has been making mountains of gold taking people through arenas on his enhancement shaman (an orc in the family! NOOOOoooooOOOOO) and said he’d take a look. I’m holding him to it. Mataoka may struggle, but she sure is pretty:

Cause that is what matters...
Cause that is what matters…
Fee like I'm being watched...
Feel like I’m being watched…

So till tomorrow – can’t believe the weekend is here already!

 

 

 

Awesome on ice…*

Always some new old magic...
Always some new old magic…I had NO IDEA these whelpings existed!

Today’s word of the day from Visual Thesaurus is “theurgy.”

As If By Magic Word of the Day: theurgy

If you’re wearing your Greek etymology hat you might suspect a god lurking here, and you’re right: theurgy is magic performed with the help of one (or more). Bonus points today for two other more common English words ending in -urgy that denote a kind of skill or craft (in both cases, a slightly more mundane skill than magic).

Considering Harry Potter needed Ron and Hermione as much as he needed his wand, (if not more so), they practiced theurgy on many occasions: a fancy Greek word for ‘magical teamwork.’ We can’t do everything alone, and we can’t do everything together. We bounce around like atoms, paradoxically touching/not touching. Shifting from summer to autumn is one of my most hopeful times of the year. Please remind me of this in the deepest depths of northern darkness, around the winter solstice, when I suppress the urge to set the house on fire just to remind the sun to come back. I love this time of year–I leave Azeroth a bit more, remind myself of other forms of stories and ideas, and harvest new ideas. I had planned on doing a lot of writing this summer, but instead I did none. I don’t have a reason or explanation, no rationalization or justification. I just didn’t. I don’t want to label it, analyze it, or deal with it. I just didn’t. I appreciate that others continue to harness the power of the ‘Azerothian Writers‘ and keep us moving forward. Thanks also to Erinys for this post with careful circumnavigation of spoilers. I think the thing is — (and here I said I wasn’t going to analyze) –I often don’t write simply because I feel it’s all been said before by far more interesting people. And then…and then I will listen to a This American Life episode, hear a story about a “normal” person, and be completely in awe.

I HUGELY annoyed CD Rogue last night when after raiding, and by and large ignoring him, I asked him that he should ask me about my day once in awhile. Why do I start these conversations at 10:30 at night? /swears We can’t fit it all in, I suppose. He just doesn’t want to hear my stories, presented on my metaphorical stage when I interrupt his important routine. I get it. PlaidElf and I were chatting, and talking about paladin tanking – she said “So much of our awesome has cool downs.” * Ain’t that the truth, sister? We all need cool down time.

So join me, fellow Azerothians – listen to something different, read something new, think about something other than Azeroth for a little while.

Here are some I highly recommend:

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/492/dr-gilmer-and-mr-hyde

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/532/magic-words

RTMT: Monsters We Created

Sprites my fanny.
Sprites my fanny.

We interrupt this regularly scheduled Random Tuesday Morning Thought to bring you little monsters. Specifically, little troll hacking monsters.

Helke alerted me to this news story. Usually when I’m in Azeroth, I’m IN Azeroth – in spite of the chaos, mice, unpaid bills, and Cruel Taskmaster’s BACK TO WORK’s–I’ll get whispers late at night, when I’m snuggled in bed, playing Hearthstone, and it’s hard for me to respond. I wish I had an “Open Sign” that went dark between the hours of 9PM and 7AM.

Oh, and Mr. Snerguls: remember, data are plural: One thing to keep in mind; your data in Blizzard’s servers was were never in any jeopardy.

And claiming national security is not an overreaction, but I do believe it’s misunderstood. It is not that people couldn’t play games, and our responses to national security are –let me just say complex at best. Frisking eight-year-olds does not security create. However, when young civilians have the brains and psychopathic tendencies combined with a steady stream of disassociated reality, we create a potential for even more than disruptive shenanigans.

On a tangential note, Mr. and Mrs. WoW ask about our feelings about Big Blizzard itself. This incident, and many others, remind me that Blizzard is a business, first and foremost; they are allowed and encouraged to employ, pay taxes, and return on investment to the infrastructure and customers that in return, help them make the profits they do. So when I, as paying customer, have an issue, they have been great in resolving it, and for the most part, have turned from arrogance to being more responsive.

As they should.

PS: Dude, those hands.

For the LOVE OF ELUNE THOSE F*CKING HANDS.

big hands

Character assassination…

This is a great topic: What do your characters think about you? Um, well, yes, not sure I want to wake them up and ask them.

Often I have argued that no matter how distanced one is from their digital doppelgänger(s), if one is involved with ‘RP’ in its acronym, there is a connection. It’s inescapable. Our characters do things, think things, and accomplish things we can only imagine–therefore we do. Imagine, that is. So let’s see, ladies: what do you think of the human behind the keyboard?

mataokaMataoka: I should have been your ‘main’ all along, K. Don’t you think? Well maybe not. But I have never let you down, not once. You think of me as an afterthought now, and sometimes, I confess, I feel taken for granted. I’ve always been kind and loyal, and quite fierce and protective. When you lose your way, you find your way home to me, so like wandering spirit wolves, I trust you. Don’t let Blizzard artists change my beautiful soul, please. If you need me I’ll be in Azuremyst.

zepZeptepi: You will never completely understand me, and I forgive you. Go in peace, K.

Go.

Go now.

 

CenizaCeniza: K: you keep trying to control me as if I am merely your puppet, yet you are naive, dear lady. Mages go where they will, and do what they wish. You would be better if you tried to measure butterfly wing speed. You are dismissed.

haantaHaanta: Since you’re not a bear or wolf, I tolerate you.

 

 

 

 

momokawaMomokawa: Ah, the moon and stars! I’ll heal your wounded soul, dear human! You do need a lot of healing, don’t you? Oh my…think my mana is running low. Did you remember to make a macro for innervate? No? Is it on your to-do list? Sweet human, these leaves don’t grow on trees you know. Well, they do, but you know what I mean. Thank Starre for the beautiful mantle, by the way, next time you see her? Please don’t forget, human.

kelldaKellda: My minions bring all the mobs to the yard, and they’re like, it’s better than yours, Damn right, I’m better than you, I could teach you but I’d have to charge…

Luperci

 

Luperci: Did you say something?

 

 

Dear Matty: Tune-Up Time

Trouble under the hood?
Trouble under the hood? What polymer undercoating is keeping…never mind.

Dear Matty:

I am so very fortunate to be in a raid group comprised of amazing players and players found through Open Raid – it’s been a regular thing, and many of us still need heirlooms and of course, the Ahead of the Curve wolf pony. Unfortunately, my ranged character, who normally does an amazing job when flying solo, gets so bogged down in a 25-man, and does shamefully. I would say that I was distracted by the Eastern-block accent player who sounded like he was eating his microphone and crackers at the same time, he was so difficult to understand. But I can’t be shaken so easily that I reach to turn down his mic every time he comes on Vent that I miss the Desecrated Weapon or the Wolf Rider takes my cookies, can I? I think I just get so nervous when something is important to everyone that I choke. I can hear it subtly in the leaders’ voices (including Mr. Moscow Muncher) that they are frustrated that some of us less experienced players are not pulling the damage we need to, not moving fast enough, and making stupid errors. I don’t want to be “that guy,” so what should I do?

Signed,

Damaged Driveshaft Deeps…

Dear DDD:

Oh, I completely understand. The other evening I brought in my warlock who’s got the gear, the tier, and the ‘tude, and all “she” brought was…nada. I reviewed one small fight, and she was way down the list:

Not acceptable.
Not acceptable.

Here is one clear truth I’ve learned ‘academically’ over the years of playing: you need to at least understand the mechanics–whether or not you ignore them, can ignore them, or not, is very much affected by the group dynamics, gear, and other attributable factors. But it’s been said so many times: know your class. Know the fights. I heard this story yesterday about a teenage boy from another country who came to buy a car–he was trading in his year-old BMW (full of trash) for a Shelby GT500. (His father was buying it for him.) He traded in his luxury car for this super fast muscle car, and he asked if he could drive it around the parking lot for awhile. You know why? It had a manual transmission, and he didn’t know how to drive it. I feel that way about Kellda sometimes: very powerful, but I don’t know how to fill up the gas tank.

Remember there is a wealth of information out there, and much of it is entertaining and engaging. I love when I’m in my car running errands and the Tappet Brothers on Car Talk. I heard they’re retiring this fall, and I’m going to really miss them. They are car geniuses, and I don’t use that word lightly. When I read Navimie might do live streaming to help out her guilds, I thought what a great idea!

But know too, there is nothing that replaces consistency and practice. And consistent practice. Just get in there, have fun, and do your best. Even the superstars lose sometime.

And a while back I told people to take this gamer quiz — it’s not the one that’s been going around. It really tells use who we are as PEOPLE – and it’s damn accurate.

That is why I think we friends in the OLRG get along so well — we have the right mix of personalities to make it work. The Socializer (me), Explorer, Achiever, and Killer/Conqueror. We all have something positive to contribute, and it takes the mix to make it run well. When you get a chance, post your results – I’d love to know!

PS: There are many players who also “cheese” the meters. Before you get discouraged, look at their targets: if they are only on boss when they should be on adds, etc. they’re cheating cheeser-eaters.

 

OLRG: Message to Fandral

Give Momokawa her staff!
Give Momokawa her staff!

 

All right, Old Ladies – Kamalia has a request! Start doing the leg work, in a manner of speaking, on an achievement that will be available in WoD: The Drake Collector. Personally, I still need the Blazing Drake, Azure Drake, and Blue Drake. I also want to finish up Bastion of Twilight on Heroic, and anything else heroic, as well as ICC 25 man for those who still need that mount. Oh, and of course, the Holy Grail of All Mounts Of Awesomesauce: Invincible. 

 

Cause you know–ponies.

 

Remember, we can drive on the left or right side of the road – we all have both Alliance and Horde characters, so whatever needs to be done, can. Drink holders are in the same spot no matter the rules of the road.

How do you solve a problem like Ceniza?

But baby, you always look hot...
But baby, you always look hot…

Ceniza, my dear, keep trying. I talked Hawtpocket into letting me take Ceniza into the first two wings of SoO normal, and with her mixed bag of gear and her human’s many struggles trying to make Fire Mage viable, she hobbled along. She managed to get some upgrades, but until it’s tier, it’s toast.

toast
Ceniza’s spells…with jelly

Oh , and that Black Prince buff? Lies. All lies. She needs six seven more Titan Runestones, the heart of Lei, exact change for bus fare, soliloquies with dragons, four Celestial beat-downs, lint from a bumblebee’s bellybutton, and a stern talking-to before she gets that cloak. Why do I even want it? It doesn’t really matter. She’s always been the afterthought-mage, but still tugs at my heart. She lights match after match to get that pyroblast to proc, and then slips on ice and misses the target. She has a lot of pride, though, and is meaner than a warlock, so watch out. She’ll get that cloak, and in due time. Just you wait.

 

Three.

Mr. and Mrs. WoW provided the most epic, elite, toughest challenge for us all: come up with the three best things without one iota of moaning, complaining or bitching. Though admittedly I like a little spicy sausage along with my syrupy waffles, and never do anything all sugar sans spice, ever, I’ll try. It might hurt. It may sting. But like a bandage, best to just rip it off and deal with it. Man up, Matty!

1. Other WoW Bloggers.

Friendships know no boundaries or political allegiances...
Friendships know no boundaries or political allegiances…

This is my true community – without friends like Tome and Navimie, Erinys, Dahahka, Plaid, and many more: all encouraging and inspiring me, not sure where I’d be. Well, I do know. Very sad.

Me. Without. You.
Me. Without. You.

2. Information.

I vote "Best Pun In Azeroth." Charles Dickens would approve.
I vote “Best Pun In Azeroth.” Charles Dickens would approve.

Anything I want to find out about Azeroth is only a Google search away: think of the legions of passionate theory crafters, moggers, bloggers, vloggers, and occasionally joggers who fill our bandwidths with whatever we want to know. And yet, its paradox haunts me: all these players sharing what they love, and yet still feel shame when telling a friend or family member, and feeling like a complete nerd, and not the good kind either. I was in a dungeon the other day and a young player confessed he doesn’t even tell his dad he plays, he has a ‘rep’ to maintain, and was from New Zealand and plays rugby, hates basketball, and is now living in Colorado. I learned all this in fifteen minutes while killing ghouls, zombies, and banshees. Not a bad way to spend time.

In any case, Azeroth is kind of like living in Washington State. We want people to know how beautiful it is, but we don’t want them to visit.

3. Bonds.

Little ones, big ones. Little ones that lead me on butterfly chases and I discover the most fascinating things, such as one friend’s addiction to scented soaps, even when I tried to steer her toward Black Phoenix Alchemy Labs. The other day I treated myself to three scents, all based on their descriptions:

Aeval-190x147 Anathema-190x147Dragons-Blood-500x390

 

 

 

 

And I wonder why I am always broke. But what woman doesn’t need a dabble of dragon’s blood? 

The Big Bonds: friendships that have lasted years, knowing that my surface-level conversations maybe carried out in someone’s head later, just as I think about them. It fascinates me, this digital narrative.

Did I pass the test? Pass the pepper, please.

RTMT: Regrowth.

Regrowth photo by Matty
Regrowth (Photo by Matty)

I don’t know about this Azeroth place anymore.

I am beginning to understand why players stick with maybe one to three solid classes/specializations: truly and deeply specializing takes hours of intense scrutiny and practice. I am feeling somewhat a restoration druid ‘failure’ these days: I have the gear, and yet I still can’t produce the healing potential Momokawa possesses. One HUGE issue I had the other night was I tried to use Clique, and it was an abysmal failure. Well, it wasn’t: I was. I didn’t take the time to try to understand it, and it disrupted my targeting. That’s an understatement.

Matty-Shack 2018
Matty-Shack 2018

Sitting here trying to decide what kind of player I want to be, after all these years: do I want to focus on one or two characters and dig into raiding? Do I want to go more solo, play with my Garrison?

Not this Garrison...
Not this Garrison…
...this one
…this one

I don’t know. Don’t judge me, please –it could happen to anyone–but in my own little Matty-shack a mouse family has moved in (I have called in professionals to help them move out), and the wisteria vines engulfed over the eastern facade, growing into the crevices of shingles, denying their shoots of sunlight, producing pale whitish-yellow chlorophyll-depleted tendrils. In other words: I better look after my own garrison, instead of a make-believe one. I envision a not-too-distant-future where I’m sitting at my keyboard adding a pet or lighting sconce to pixelized castle while around me are mouse parties and Sleeping Beauty style thorny vines.

The mice didn't seem to have any trouble...
The mice didn’t seem to have any trouble…

Warlords of Draenor is going to be huge. Garrisons will be awesome. The story will be fine, and Draenei will have a role to play. It’ll all work out, and is not worth any iota of stress or concern.

Then why am I starting to wake up again at 5:30AM with headaches? 

I see your Raid Leader and raise you a Ragnaros!
I see your Raid Leader and raise you a Ragnaros!

Here is what I do know: summer is drawing to a fast close, and this summer has been wonderful for me. I consciously did nothing. I read one book (and I loved it, every word). I watched Game of Thrones repeats on Netflix. I played Hearthstone like a old card shark. I sat like Margot Tenenbaum (without the cigarettes) and relaxed as if it was my job.

Not a bad way to spend summer...
Not a bad way to spend summer…

I had a great time yesterday goofing off with Starre in Blackwing Lair on various characters, and made a Red Knight ensemble for Luperci:

dragon shield

red lupeSo mice, take notice: pack your little cheesy bags and get the hell out of Dodge. I know you’re not like Cinderella mice and will not sew any dresses or make pearl necklaces for me, so scram. I’ve got other things to do than worry about you.

Like go get a kitten.

PS If you’r bored, take this gamer quiz.