October 26, 2010

Not dead, just busy

Posted in Guild things, News, PvP, Tattered Legends, The Player Behind the Toon at 6:24 am by Aduial of WrA

As far as the lack of posting goes, things got insanely busy all of a sudden. Sadly one of the downsides of working from home, such as it is, in my case at least, seems that everything’s either really slow or super-super busy. Just when I was getting back on track, too.

Anywho, most of my online time lately has been spent trying to get Ruvi to 80 in a hurry so I can get the latest achievement, the Hallow’s End’s one, on him… I don’t know why I seem to want titles on him I never wanted even on Adu, but I do. There has been a bit of time spent farming old world stuff on Adu and Mani, for mounts and enchant formulas respectively, but beyond that, yeah, all Ruvi.

Speaking of which, Ruvi will officially be my raiding main in Cataclysm by the looks of things, while I will be giving a PvP guild another go on Adu. Well… that’s the plan, at least. The guild I’ve got her in (apparently going to be trying to BG with the group ahead of time on her to prepare for rated BGs) is the guild of a good friend who I’m sure I’ve mentioned here at least once… He was pretty much the only reliable raider that wasn’t an officer in Tattered Legends when we were raiding before. He left and started up and “old world” raiding guild, which had strict rules and capped themselves at 60 to raid then progress together to 70, and then branched off, some still raiding, while the others went to a newly formed guild (himself included) to be an 80 raiding guild (85 in Cata). He and I actually have, or at least had, tentative plans to sort of alliance our guilds together so we didn’t suffer from number issues again, and we’ve proven we work well together before, but recently they decided they were going to “branch out” in Cataclysm and have both separate PvE and PvP aspects, though people are allowed to do either or both.

As of yet we don’t know if our schedules will mesh or if either of us will actually have numbers issues, so the alliance plans are still very tentative, however I’ve put Aduial into his guild for the PvP aspect. I’d had her in a PvP guild already for a short time before it broke up, and it had its pros and cons, and while there was talk of that guild reforming in Cata I’m honestly not as sure that’s the sort of PvPing I’d want to be doing again, while the one I’ve got her in now I’m almost 100% certain is exactly what I was looking for in a PvP guild. So here’s hoping.

As for the guide! I’m really sorry I haven’t worked on it (at least not visibly) further. Honestly, I’m rather stuck on the rotation part, though I keep thinking on it a lot (and practicing and trying to figure it out on Ruvi). One of the big hangups for me is that now, well, he doesn’t really have a rotation, honestly. I can press a random number of buttons a lot of the time and do good DPS, which… well, rather saddens me. I also want it to be a good leveling guide, in a way, so I can’t just assume everyone reading it for assistance will have all the tools that Ruvi has at 69… Er, well, 70 now (he just hit a bit before I started writing this post up). So I’m having to go back and see what levels are what spells and try to figure it all out and… It’s taking longer than it should, really, but I am still rolling it around in my head and trying to figure it out, and once I have it won’t take near as long to write the rest up, then polish it up, add in links, all that jazz, and actually have it finally finished!

Beyond all that I do have some other goodies I’m working on, and hopefully will be able to post at least some of them as soon as things start calming down again and I can get my head above water around here.

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October 15, 2010

I should know by now…

Posted in News, The Player Behind the Toon at 6:40 am by Aduial of WrA

Ith’s always right. Or at least, better at being right on WoW-related things than I am.

I didn’t think the patch would hit this week, but it turned out, yep, it did. I honestly didn’t think Blizzard would make us play through an unbalanced patch for about two whole months, and I know they won’t be balancing it around level 80 when they’re concerned about it being balanced for level 85… But alas, I was wrong.

So the fire maging post I was working on pre-patch is kind of useless now. I won’t be taking it down, but I won’t be finishing it like I’d hoped, either. However, I am hoping to get a headstart on an updated version of it for 4.0.1. Probably tonight (this morning?) actually, since I’ve finally got a bit of free time and I’m looking over the talent spec I’m planning to use on him and debating it, and if nothing else trying to explain why I’m taking what talent can help to solidify in my mind if it’s a good talent or not… I know I ended up editing his spec a bit last time I did it, because when I was explaining why I took certain spells it was just like, “Actually, this is stupid to have. That’s better.” so I tweaked his spec a wee bit while writing.

I’ll admit right now I’m not the keenest on doing it just yet… I’m not sure how many changes will be coming soon if any, if anything’s going to be hot-fixed, etc. I also haven’t actually had a chance to play… I haven’t logged in since right before the patch dropped, between not having time, the time I had ate up by actually downloading the patch, and, okay, I’m a little bit scared of how much has changed across so many toons. I want to play Ruvi, I know, and I want to make him my main in Cata if I still enjoy him after the patch as much as I did before the patch, but to play on one toon and one toon only isn’t really my playstyle. If nothing else I’d want to get on Mani and do some auctioning, but if I don’t put a spec on her (both specs, actually, since she’s got dual-spec) and update her bars and glyphs and everything, well, that would bug me. A lot. I’d also need to get on Adu and get her sorted out since I’ve been trying to get the tiger mount to drop in Zul’Gurub before Cata hits and ZG’s removed.

I also did something I probably shouldn’t have during the downtime for the patch, and pruned my addons (which I usually do every major patch), and pruning them in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, but I downloaded some as well. Well, not a whole lot, really, but the idea of having to set up new addons on top of everything else just adds more intimidation to the act of logging in. Skada perhaps won’t be so much to set up (I’m looking at it to possibly replace Recount), but I know DoTimer, if I can make it work how I’m wanting it to, will be quite a bit to set up.

Anyway, nothing ever gets done by procrastinating, and if I spend all my current free time here writing I’ll never get anything done, so I’m off to start drafting up the updated Fire Maging post and hopefully get my butt in the game.

September 3, 2010

From Gamer to Art Enthusiast

Posted in Musings, The Player Behind the Toon at 1:59 pm by Aduial of WrA

I have a bit of a confession to make, though some astute readers may have already guessed it.¬† I am, honestly, really not much of a gamer. It’s a realization that’s only came in fairly recent years which, looking back at my childhood, both makes sense and baffles me to no end.

When I was really young, quite a few of my mother’s friends had game systems for their children, and did their best to get a lot of the new and hot games for their kids, and so I was lucky enough to play these. Especially when a lot of these friends my mother ended up going back to college with; she’d go over to study and the kids (including me) would just play games for however many hours we were there. On some of the ones that were for one player only, several of the kids were nice enough to let me play while I was there, since they could play at other times, and it usually didn’t take long for me to top their best scores. Back then I did sort of consider myself a gamer.

However, by the age of ten, these trips over to my mother’s friends’ houses had long since stopped, and the only video game I had access to was an old Mario game that ran on the old computer we had at the time, and even then I wasn’t allowed much time to play it. At that age I never realized how fast the gaming world moved, so while I didn’t have access to games as readily anymore, I still considered myself a gamer.

I got my first little gaming system of my own, as much as it was one, for Christmas one year a bit after that, though I can’t remember the date of it to save my life. It was a purple, somewhat transparent Gameboy Color, and I was given an old Atari game to play on it (though it was obviously remade for the Gameboy). A couple months after that I bought a Pokemon Gold game from one of the used game shops in town, and that’s what I played most, though I only ever ended up with maybe half a dozen games for it (A solitaire suite, Monopoly, Pinball, and 101 Dalmatians being the only other ones I ever remember having for it). I also ended up hiding the fact that I had these sort of things at all about this point, at least around most other people, because at that time where I live “girls just didn’t play games,” it “wasn’t right.”

Later on I ended up getting a Gameboy Advance and a Nintendo DS, only a few months after the former came out and actually during the hype on the latter, though I had less games for the GBA and even less (only 2) for the DS. I still mostly hid the fact I was a GBA owner/player, and only a couple people knew of the second game I had for the DS since it was an RPG, though many more knew I had Nintendogs since that was apparently ‘okay’ for a girl to play. Despite all that my view of myself as a gamer was never really shaken, though I suppose it probably should’ve been.

The closest I’ve gotten to owning any system like the Playstation or Xbox or such myself was maybe about 5 years back, when my mother’s live-in boyfriend let his sons bring theirs over, and I’d occasionally get to play on it. I found I actually had a fondness for the Halo game they had, though of course when they left the picture, so did their games. And so I went back to just my DS and the newer computer we had acquired, and the internet games I played on it (mostly things like Collapse, Zuma, and Bejeweled). At that point I was fairly oblivious to most computer games existing beyond the ones on the internet; I’d only vaguely heard of things like World of Warcraft and other MMOs, and even if they’d caught my eye my mother had already pre-banned most things fantasy (as she had Dungeons and Dragons when it first appealed to me) because she was Christian and believed they “opened doors” as she said.

About three years ago I met Esgal through a forum RP we were both participating in, based on a web novel. Our characters developed a fondness for each other, and because of that he and I ended up talking more, at first about our characters and the RP, but before long we ended up getting to know each other aside from all that, and hit it off. When the RP died, we ended up looking for other things we could do together, and ended up looking at computer games. At that time I was running on a computer that had excruciatingly little RAM, so pretty much all the games we looked at, I wouldn’t be able to play. For a while the idea ended up getting basically put on hold, though he was fond of the idea, and kept trying to push me towards World of Warcraft. I remembered my mother expressing distaste for it whenever commercials for it or such came up, so I was hesitant; beyond that, it honestly didn’t much appeal to me. He’d link me to the website and try to get me to read and get into it, but all the details just ended up confusing me more, which of course put me off further.

He ended up coming into a bit of a windfall after a few months and decided to get me a computer, so we found a very good bargain, and he bought it for me. Once it arrived we started looking into games again, though I was still rather against World of Warcraft. I can’t even remember what all we looked at, but we ended up settling on Dream of Mirror Online, which was a F2P game (since I was also of the mindset that games should be free, or at least one-time costs, not one-time costs plus a large monthly fee). It ended up not working so well on his computer and I ended up playing alone much more often than not, so after a while we were looking again. I can’t even remember how long it was before he made the comment, but he was talking about WoW again and commented about how well it looked, even for how old it was… Said something about how every blade of grass was painstakingly put in, about climbing the highest mountain just for the view.

And so, he sold me. I agreed to play. I still wasn’t fond of the idea of paying a monthly fee, however, much less considering how little money I had at the time, so he said he’d pay, and he did for almost a year. I loved the game, and there’s still a lot of times I’ll just randomly stop to look at the beauty that is Azeroth, remembering the comment that got me into it to begin with, and within a few months we already knew I’d be wanting the upcoming expansion (which was Wrath of the Lich King), too, which seemed to just tickle him pink. He ended up pre-ordering the Collector’s Edition for me as a birthday present, since it was released on my birthday, rather than just the regular edition; mostly for the pet, since pets were one of the aspects I enjoyed most about the game. December of that year, though, both of our time had run out, I was broke, and he was moving so he was broke, too, and we stopped playing. We also had a rather large fallout and didn’t talk to each other for months.

After about a month I managed to save and scrape up enough to pay for a gametime card, put it on the account, logged in, and… Found out my guild no longer existed. I’d received an email a few days before saying someone in the guild requested to be made guild leader, since I’d been absent, so that they could recruit and further the guild in my place, though it didn’t say who, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it since at that time I didn’t have enough. But when I logged in, the guild was gone, and no one knew what had happened–Esgal didn’t even know, still had no time on his account, and the two other people who were closest to officer without being one didn’t know. Neither did the two other members, though since one hadn’t played in longer than I had that didn’t surprise me. To this day we don’t know what happened, best we can tell someone we’d recruited saw it as an opportunity and took it, along with the several thousands of gold worth of items I’d collected and put into the guild bank to help us, or to be sold when the guild needed cash. This made me ill, and I logged off and didn’t come back. After something like that, even the thought of playing again brought back queasiness, and I didn’t expect I’d ever return to WoW.

But then just shy of a couple months later my sister of sorts decided to roll up a death knight with a mutual friend on a new server to spend the rest of her game time, and I went ‘what the heck’ and rolled up one, too, since I had about 2 days left on the time I’d bought before. And so, we played, and I fell in love with the new server and WoW all over again, so detached from the other realm and what had happened on it. I ended up buying more game time, rolling an actual character, and starting out on my own. After a while Esgal and I started talking again, only to find out that somehow he’d managed to roll a toon on that very same realm, and so we played again.

Eventually I started noticing a lot more talk about other games. I’m not sure if it was a bit of a new thing, or if I’d just had my head buried in the sand before, or what… But questions of “what other games do you play?” or “have you ever played X?” were growing common. And for the first time, it hit me–whatever kind of gamer I may have been growing up, I wasn’t that anymore. I’d played a grand total of two MMOs, and one of them wasn’t even well known. The others didn’t (and still, for the most part, don’t) interest me. In all that time I’d been without many games, the gaming world had moved on. While I was still playing Mario, others were playing things like Everquest.

Several months back, I’d gone in and set my account up to be eligible for beta invitations, though I’d selected only Warcraft games. Somehow, I ended up with an invitation to Starcraft II. I’d only vaguely heard of Starcraft, and only knew (at least, that I knew of) one person who liked/played it. I asked him what it was about, what it was like, etc, and his answers didn’t really appeal to me, so I decided not to play. He’d begged me to give him the key, and I explained it wasn’t actually a key but was tied to my battle.net account and that I couldn’t, and so the invitation sat unused. Of course, after it was pretty much out of beta I found out Esgal and Silveran both were into it (and really looking forward to playing it when it released) and when it was mentioned I was griped at for not just giving one of them the info so they could download/play, but at that point there was little I could do even if I would’ve.

But after the SCII hype, and my complete and total lack of interest in it, Esgal’s made several comments, at least to Silv, in a presumably joking manner, about “how are we friends with her again?” This is, of course, an even more noticeable slap of realization of how I’m really, really not a gamer anymore. In fact, after all this time there’s only really one other game that’s caught my attention, being Final Fantasy XIV. Even then, I haven’t looked terribly much into the gameplay. I know there’s an open beta, since Silv and Esgal have talked to me about it, but I don’t plan to bother getting in. I’ll get the game when it comes out, but not for the gameplay… If I enjoy the gameplay, that’ll be an awesome bonus, but that’s not why it appeals to me. Why does it appeal to me? Much the same reason WoW did. The art.

I’m not trying or even intending to start up one of those arguments about games as art, or anything, but it’s definitely something to think about, I think. I love a lot of things about WoW, and it can be truly engaging, but the reason I started playing, one of the huge reasons I still play, is because of how absolutely beautiful it can be. When I don’t care about the art, or about talking to people, more often than not I don’t bother signing in; I’ve got a Funpass on Gamehouse so I just load up one of the games from there to pass the time. The RPG I had on my DS, while I enjoyed the gameplay, had gorgeous art, which is a large reason why I got it. I’m sure there’ll be more good things about FFXIV than the art, but all of those will be supplemental for me.

Are any of you like that? Do you ever pick up a game just because of the art, the way it looks? How important is a game’s looks to you, or does that not even matter? Would you ever play a game that has gorgeous art, but average or below average gameplay? Do you think anyone who plays games just for the art is wrong, and that they should play for other reasons instead, or is it fairly normal? How detailed does the game’s appearance have to be for you to call it art?

August 23, 2010

“If you want to make an easy job seem mighty hard, just keep putting off doing it.”

Posted in Musings, Tales from PUGland, The Player Behind the Toon at 8:33 pm by Aduial of WrA

Gah, okay, one day I really will learn to stop making drafts and just post. Eventually. This is the culmination of around two days’ kicking my own rear into gear, so hopefully this will be the last time I go off the radar for a while (at least unexpectedly).

Since my last post I have been playing solely on US servers again, and my baby warrior and her priesty partner are now in their forties, which is good… except that we’re in Maraudon’s Pristine Waters range so the dungeon finder tool keeps dropping us in there, and for whatever reason it just seems like the levels wouldn’t come anymore. So after a bit of a, err, masochistic trial on my part we decided to give those two a break to let them get some rested XP stacked up while we play new toons. Well, sort of new.

I’ve had a low level mage for a while now, and despite normally wanting to fill either a tanking or healing role I actually, so far… enjoy him. He’d originally been part of a group of four: Esgal had rerolled a paladin, Ithraen rerolled rogue, as did Kyrem, and I’d rerolled the mage, and we’d planned to get through the starting areas on our own then level the four together. Well… that didn’t work, and I was pretty much the only one to continue leveling (I also seemed to be the faster leveler of the group, for whatever reason). He was level fourteen when I shelfed him, originally to let the others catch up, though they all stayed around level 10 at most.

So a few nights ago, after some complications, I ended up wanting to play by myself and just sort of… let off steam, I guess. I actually don’t really enjoy my eighties anymore, so I didn’t consider them options, so I looked down my character list. I’d completely forgotten about the little cowgirl I’d rolled on another realm for this purpose… and ended up choosing Uruvion, my mage. His professions are herbalism and inscription, and is actually the only toon I have on WrA (at least on this account) that has those, so I was leveling them a bit, ended up going out to a spot in Eversong and farming Bloodthistle for a couple hours while killing any of the mobs I aggro’d. Before long I ended up hitting level 15, and decided, what the heck, I want to dungeon on this guy.

So I went to Silvermoon, made sure my bags were empty of any excess, got myself all buffed up, made sure I had enough food and water conjured, sat beside the trainer, and dropped myself into LFD.

And there I sat. For over two hours. Needing only a tank.

This of course came as a bit of a shock to me. I’d heard DPS queues were bad, sure… but I was used to chaining instances on a tank/healer combo, and actually any of my pairs with Ithraen usually have a tank, or at least a healer, so I can’t remember the last time (if ever) that I had to wait this long. Well, except that one time on my alli-pally where we waited just shy of three hours for a DPS, but I’d been lucky to get a talkative group and we had fun nonetheless.

I also couldn’t help but remember all the times on Cele that we’d get an instant queue, only for it to time out because one of the DPS didn’t respond. It had aggravated me a touch so I didn’t want to do that on Ruvi, much less did I want to have to sit through a long queue again because I missed it popping… So I didn’t even dare get too far from my computer.

During this time, as I think most people would end up, my perspective changed. A lot. And it continued changing throughout the night.

A little after two hours (rebuffing every thirty minutes on the dot, too), it finally popped, and in I went. Trying my best to be a good little mage, I offered food or water, which no one wanted, and off we went. And I’m casting, and then the mob’s dead. And I notice the tank is… a 21 paladin. Which, I guess, makes sense, since paladins don’t even get consecrate until level 20, so I didn’t think much of it all things considered. At least we had a tank. I also didn’t get much practice on how to play a mage.

End of the run, everyone drops, I plunk back in, and a half hour wait was so much more tolerable. Second group, different paladin ‘tank,’ this one level 15 (so didn’t even have a taunt), and a level 16 retadin who ended up tanking more often than not. Well, aside from the massive groups I’d end up tanking because I can’t stand to see healers be hit, and I seemed to be the only one capable of holding aggro on more than one mob. Even when I was just wanding.

I ended up getting that same ‘tank’ the rest of the night, for several runs, even when we didn’t queue together (though hey, at that point I was thinking any tank was better than none, so we did end up queuing as a group quite often). That night I also watched the morals I had as a tank slowly disappear. Towards the end we had a steady group, aside from revolving door healers.

There was the paladin tank who couldn’t, but darned if he didn’t try (and I do respect his trying). There was the shaman who was average, though didn’t seem to speak English as a first language, but took the time to get quests to share with us. Then there was the warrior, who would charge in before the tank, heck, often times before we were done with the last group, never bothered to thunderclap so he just ended up usually making things harder (but the poor tank did his best regardless to take aggro back, bless him), who needed on just about anything that dropped. Unfortunately even the tank ended up needing seemingly randomly after a while.

Had I been on my tank, I wouldn’t have stood for that, of course. As I said, as a tank I have morals. Ninjas are bad. DPS should wait for the tank to pull. People who purposefully pull just to be a dick gets to tank what they pull, usually without heals. But on my mage? Hey, we had a tank! Things are dieing, I’m getting experience, and I’m not needing any of the things dropping, so why worry? I ended up not caring. At first when I pulled aggro on accident, I’d apologize. By the end of the night when there was an AOE pull, I’d start it off just to make sure I had aggro and the healer didn’t. If I pulled from the tank, oh well.

The next time I played Cele, the morals were back… for the most part. I did find I was a lot more lenient than I usually was. I found myself not caring when others pulled for me, for example, unless it ended up almost wiping us (or actually wiping us), but then I’d just say something about it in a joking manner. I didn’t actually tell the DPS not to. The spine I’d worked long and hard to develop as a tank was suddenly very, very flexible, and I was more stressed than normal.

I wish I’d thought to ask then how the runs were going for the DPS. I couldn’t tell if there was any more or less stress on Veive, well, aside from a couple total asshats we ended up getting. I’d been tolerant to them, too–after all, who knows how long they’d been stuck in the queue? That kind of queue could make a lot of people feel like being jerks. The last run we did before temporarily shelving those two, though, we ended up with a particularly bad one who made me wonder if perhaps having a, er, flexible spine is a bad thing.

We were in Mara, purple crystals, which was on the low side for Veive and I, so it wasn’t terribly difficult. Things were going well for a while, perhaps about half the dungeon. The warlock was Rain of Fire’ing, and Veive made an off-hand comment, “Man.. Raid of Fire looks so lame now…” The warlock shoots something back that seemed to be joking, Veive jokes back, the warlock goes off. He apparently had not been joking. He’s saying Veive was dissing the class, he’s immature for doing so, that he’s… well, many expletives I shan’t repeat here. Now, knowing Veive, it hadn’t been meant as anything like that, and I say so. I also mention that I doubt he’s dissing a class that he has played all the way to 80 and loved. I’m thinking he either meant compared to some Shadow spells (since he’d recently dual-specced Shadow), or perhaps just because the novelty wore off from the first time he Rain of Fired.

But no, the warlock would have none of it, and kept berating Veive. And Veive, being who he is, delighted in such and kept, well, poking the warlock. Veive, well, he likes to poke idiots, to paraphrase him, it’s almost like picking at scabs for him, I suppose, and normally I would’ve let him without paying much attention, but this warlock reminded me a bit too much of someone I used to know, so it was getting to me, and a couple pulls later I halt the group and manage to talk them both into stopping. And so we continue, without further incident, until the last boss. We down him, and then… as if the warlock had typed it already in preparation… came one last, long paragraph of cursing Veive, berating him, generally being a prick, and he dropped. Veive apologizes that the other DPS (who had been mostly silent) had to put up with that, and they actually sort of cheered that the warlock was gone, and tell Veive he wasn’t a problem at all, just that the warlock was.

Silent runs aren’t uncommon, and I know I’m not the first to comment on that. Veive and I are used to being the only ones talking in party, with the others either ignoring us or just choosing not to talk themselves. Would those two DPS have stayed silent if not for the warlock? I don’t know, but I didn’t think much of their silence at the time until the end, when they, well, weren’t silent anymore. Before my experience with Ruvi, I probably would’ve kicked the warlock when things started getting out of hand instead of just trying to get them to chill out so we could finish the run. And it seemed the other DPS would’ve rather I had… So perhaps, for all the griping about tanks doing this or that… Perhaps, just perhaps, it is necessary for a better environment afterall.

As for dipping my toes into the solo-DPS gig, I’m done with that for a while. Uruvion will no longer be one of my solo toons; I’ll be leveling him while Cele gets some rested XP, and Ithraen’s rolled a little cow druid who’ll be my pocket tank while Veive gets some rested XP. Well, he’ll be my pocket tank after he gets himself to 20, at least, since he doesn’t want to tank before then (and I went ahead and got Ruvi to 20 to be even with him when we start).

Now, to just stop procrastinating where my EU account is concerned and stop worrying about how long I’ve been offline and just get my butt back on…

Edit: Of course, in my dallying, I’ve ended up running out of time on my EU account. /facepalm.

July 19, 2010

Why, euro-blizz, why do you hate me so

Posted in Guild things, Musings, Tattered Legends, The Player Behind the Toon at 5:02 pm by Aduial of WrA

As a bit of a, er, preamble I suppose, I’ve been tempted about having two WoW accounts for a good couple of years now; and I don’t just mean two US ones, since I do have that already though one’s frozen since I didn’t play it much at the time, but a US one and an EU one. I’ve had many friends over on the EU servers, one of which especially who tried to get me to play over there so that I could play with him, but at the time we didn’t figure my computer/internet could handle the latency (since I am located in the US), so instead he ended up getting a US client and US copies of the game. I’ve been tempted several times since, especially because of the SAN over there since several of my favorite bloggers are in the EU, and because I finally had a bit of downtime today (yay insomnia?) and have a computer/internet connection that should be capable of it… I somehow ended up over on the EU site, creating an account, and downloading the trial.

I’d planned to see just what kind of latency I’d be looking at exactly before making any further plans, much less, you know, spending money on something I might not even be able to use. Well, apparently the trial version streams the data needed live, or something, so there’s a lot more, ah, stress on it than on a full client? I’m not entirely sure since those messages sort of, well, confused me a bit… but I ended up getting DC’d a few times and having general problems with logging in, but I finally managed that, then finally managed to make a character before it DC’d me, named her and whatnot, finally got into the game…

Level 1 went… fairly smoothly, actually. I’d made a warrior, pretty much a mini-Kas, fitting since she was my second character and the name of my first was taken (/cry). The lag was surprisingly minimal, I had good FPS, and my latency was actually lower than on WrA. Not sure how that happened, but eh, I wasn’t complaining. Was actually starting to think I might just use the EU account as a way to sort of wind down ¬†instead of Bejeweled or Chuzzle or Solitaire like I currently do, and that I might actually play it enough to make it worth paying for.

And… Ding, level 2!

Wait, disconnected? Bah.

I put in my information again and hit login, and… What? I’m banned? What the hell for?!

I couldn’t think of a single thing that could ban me that I could find, though maybe I’m just blind or so out of it that I just missed it, but I don’t know. I was on the EU client it gave me, my information was accurate, I didn’t even have any addons or the like, I’d not said a single word or done anything that would get me banned, unless just… playing from the US is a bannable offense, all of a sudden? Though I can’t imagine it would be since I know of many others that do it, did a few searches and couldn’t find anything aside from forum posts that were just ‘how to’s,’ and apparently some people had even called Billing Support to be able to pay but had no other problems, much less a ban for it.

I supposedly have an email in my inbox stating why I was banned. I did not, and I do not. I went to the link I was supposed to and to the form from there that I was directed to if I didn’t get such an email, but, of course!, it required a CD key to inquire properly. Now, why would I have a CD key when not an hour earlier I’d just created the account to try it?

I ended up selecting “other” and described the situation in the space provided, and, fingers-crossed, that will do the trick. Maybe it was just an accident or something and everything will be cleared up soon, maybe I did scan over something crucial, I don’t know but I’m hoping to find out soon (assuming the next email doesn’t get lost somewhere, too, at least…).

As for Tattered Legends, no I haven’t quit there, or anything. Though I’ll admit I’ve been slacking a bit due to real life issues not giving me much time at all to even login or touch the computer most days until yesterday. However I’m back on, spent a good chunk of time on there last night, likely will again tonight and (hopefully) start getting things going again. Though there’s still the problem of the missing raid leader/main tank, unfortunately, even though he seems to be home again, just… out of touch, or something. Heck if I know, hardly anyone’s heard from him in days, and we may end up needing to get a replacement at this rate, but for now we’re working on getting the group geared and one of my officers is pushing for us to progress starting through Naxx instead of Uld as planned, and he’ll be leading that, so we’ll cross that hurdle when we come to it seeing as we have a couple tanks capable of tanking Naxx at least.

I just hope we’re not still in Naxx come Cataclysm, since trying to “progress” through Naxx is one of the things that seemed to do us in last go around, but at this point it’s either give in or lose my last raid leader and one of our main raid healers/our only priest… And I’m not sure which would be the worst way to kill TL.

Edit: Still no email from Euro-Blizz (what, was I expecting them to be quick about it? silly me), so I found something to do in the mean time. Sort of. I hadn’t been aware that I can have both EU and US accounts on the same, well, account. At least, the same battle.net account. So I read through everything all over again more thoroughly this time before adding a EU trial to my current account, should be in the clear… And after fighting with the installer for around 30 minutes, got that going, I’ve now technically got both (full!) clients installed, though the first of the patches for EU is at, uh.. *looks* 11%. …That could take a while. Starting to think this could be a perfect time to get around to reading one of my new…ish… books I picked up but haven’t had a chance to read yet.

July 12, 2010

Rambling thoughts about writing in the meantime or the possibility thereof

Posted in The Player Behind the Toon at 12:53 am by Aduial of WrA

Warning: Rambliness that may not make much sense incoming.

So, right now I am WoW-less. I’ve actually been WoW-less since the day the RealID debacle occurred, though they are… mostly completely unrelated. It actually started a couple days or so before that went down; over a couple days my latency slowly started rising. It’d go up from what was, usually, 200-400, to over 500… Eventually on over 5,000… Then the day or so before I ended up WoW-less, it was around 50,000. Then the disconnects started happening… and at first I’d be able to login, play a for a little bit in slowly decreasing amounts, then get disconnected again. The night the RealID shit hit the fan, ironically also the day I’d gotten my authenticator attached to my account, the disconnects were almost unbearable. I’d get on for maybe 5 seconds then get disconnected. Before the night was over, I couldn’t get past the loading screen before disconnected. Within a day I wasn’t able to make it to the loading screen, and by now I can’t even make it to the character selection screen. The dialogs are basically, “Connecting… Success! You have been disconnected.”

Now, the part where it relates to RealID, is because thanks to all of that I have been sort of bummed out on WoW as a whole. I was able to deal with not having WoW fairly well, despite knowing I needed to be on for various reasons from dailies to my mail that’s about to expire to setting up raids to putting them on the calendar to attending the raids to finally getting the guild bank contents back (again) and needing to sort them into tabs to… just normal, every day guild master/player stuff. Though I’m starting to want back in now and… still can’t, which really sucks… and likely won’t be able to until tonight if I’m lucky after I call my internet provider, since it isn’t just WoW but my internet itself.

Unfortunately I’m left with overall little to do, not just WoW, but even all of my friends, I can’t really talk to right now. I was able to get on facebook for a few minutes earlier today before my connection dropped out, but my friends were all offline or asleep… And a lot of the conversations with the friends I talk to on MSN have been cut out, or all about WoW or such which… isn’t really what I want to discuss at those times much less be the equivalent of getting my arse chewed off because I can’t get on and do X,Y,Z or whatever. I know theoretically I could just call some of them or text or something, which texting I would normally resort to next (talking on the phone isn’t really my thing, you see), but right now that’s quite a pain in the arse considering my fingers aren’t the most, er, stable on a touchscreen phone due to some of the medication I’m on to get rid of the infection I’ve gotten, and even if I were to talk I’ve been told from the one person I’ve talked to that my voice is rather, ah… mumbly and mostly unintelligible.

That leaves me with mostly only things I can do by myself, so I’ve been playing a lot of games I’ve gotten through gamehouse, but those don’t really do the trick. Gives my mind too much time to wander around in thought which gets me daydreaming which either gets me sleeping or, as it is currently, gets me wanting to write. But I haven’t the faintest clue, really, what to write about.

I’ve got a couple stories floating about that I’ve ended up abandoning because I, well, basically lost all motivation to write on them and/or forgot the plot entirely… so those don’t seem the best option unless I want to completely rewrite them and hope I remember where I was going on them in the first place. I don’t have much of an idea to start a new story, just, well, an urge to write something, be creative somehow, if that makes sense to anyone else. I know writing something about/set in WoW could always be an option, and works for people such as Tam with his I, Gerald story, as well as several others, but I’ve never really seen the point there (despite regularly RPing in WoW, and I know that’s essentially the same thing just with multiple people writing, but for whatever reason there’s a distinction, some sort of wall, between RPing in WoW and actually writing WoW fanfiction, in my mind). So I seem to be fairly fresh out of ideas/options.

Does anyone else out there ever have these moments? Don’t know what to write about, but still want to write? What do you do when that hits? Anyone have any suggestions, or options or ideas of what to write about or something to do? Thanks for any feedback! ūüôā

/Crosses fingers, hits publish

July 8, 2010

RealID is a Real Threat

Posted in News, The Player Behind the Toon at 7:59 am by Aduial of WrA

I know I’m probably coming fairly late into this party, but I wasn’t going to torture anyone with trying to write up a post while I was half-zonked out, so eventually I managed to pull myself away from watching the train wreck that is Blizzard’s latest announcements to get some sleep.

Now, I know that there is already hundreds of posts about their RealID on the forums changes, and I’ll get to that, but first I’m going to talk about something that I’ve seen getting thrown under the wagon a bit by said change.

Apparently, there is a huge flaw with RealID in the game, in that if you have it enabled at all (just deleting your friends won’t deal with this, either, my friends have had to say we’re our own parents just to turn on parental controls to disable this feature), anyone smart enough to run a piece of code, or who uses any of a certain number of addons, you can have your full name shown to anyone who cares to look, without knowledge and without permission.

This is not a joke. This is real. And it’s a real problem.

For anyone who didn’t click that last link or doesn’t want to bother going through to find what he’s talking about, here’s a direct link to the quoted. And I’m going to quote it for good measure.

This isn’t the only interesting news to come out today.

http://www.wow.com/2010/06/security-flaw-allows-addons-to-expose-full-real-life-names-witho/

Apparently there are select of certain addons you can use to find out people’s names NOW, before the forum conversion.

Step 1: get a trial account, and addon that lets you use this exploit in aformentioned article.

Step 2: Go to google and get the person’s information that would normally need for billing support (ie, address, phone number, etc)

Step 3: Call blizzard billing and tell them you lost your login information

Step 4: Attempt to login, find out that they have an authenticator.

Step 5: call Billing again, give them the billing information again and ask them to take the authenticator off the account.

Step 6: login

Step 7: ??????????

Step 8: Profit!

Now, I can’t vouch for how easy it’d be to get an authenticator removed, but realistically how many people out there have one attached, still? Not a horribly large amount, I’m sure. I also know if you are polite enough and have all the information you need off the account, Blizz can and will bend over backwards at times, because I’ve witnessed it with my own eyes. That rule about not being able to transfer toons between accounts with different names? Doesn’t always stand, for example. Of course, there was a good reason for it to be done in the case I’d been witness to, but to the best of my knowledge they had no¬†corroboration¬†that the caller was telling the truth and couldn’t get such, and how many would-be hackers can come up with a decent, plausible lie in the spur of the moment? I’d imagine quite a large number likely could.

I know this method has also been done. I linked one above, who was our raid assist who got hacked not that long ago. Though we finally did get out stuff back in about a week. But he’d been fairly careful with his information and such, and while he didn’t have the authenticator yet, the most plausible way is the one above. The same goes for Ithraen.

And yes, Ithraen, our main tank and our raid leader, got hacked while he was on vacation. He hadn’t even been online in 5 days. He found out because he gets email notifications on his phone, and he apparently got banned out of nowhere for 72 hours for money trading. Again, he hadn’t been on, hadn’t had time to get on, and didn’t have a wifi connection to get on… He, too, had been careful. His screwup that allowed him to get hacked? He had RealID turned on.

So that’s two people out of what’s actually a relatively small number of people that I talk to regularly, that I know have been hacked, that this is the most likely way that they did get hacked; needless to say the rest of us have already turned off RealID via parental controls.

For anyone who doesn’t think this is really possible… Yes, yes, it is. You really can get all that information from just someone’s name. People have already done it. Bashiok, a blue, gave out his name in what I understand was a good faith measure, that it wouldn’t give away anything… Only to have his privacy severely violated. There’s a post floating around where someone just picked a random name from credits and found out a lot about him. My friend had me search to see how much and of what I could pull up about them from going on just their name, and while my googlefu skills are decent, they aren’t the best. I pulled up everything I needed to stalk them, just about everything I needed to impersonate them to Blizzard, and if I’d paid just a few dollars I could’ve had what was needed to steal their identity. I could do it with another friend–who has been careful to safeguard all of his information–just because his family is on the internet and not as safe as him about their information.

How many people have a friend or family member or old classmate or even a teacher through the years who knows something about them? How many of them have ever been on the internet, or have had photos posted, or have facebooks, or something? If that number is even one, then the chances are high that there is information online about you, whether you post it or not, that can usually be found for free. Even if it can’t be found for free, it all can be bought.

Now, if all of that can be done from only your name through a flaw in game, where there’s only a limited number of people who can see it, even with the addon… How much bigger is that window of risk, when it’s involving anyone who searches the new Blizzard forums (which are public)? And as those adds always say… Do you know who is searching for you?

This is not paranoia. This is real. This is a threat. All of those comments on the forums, from the few people I’ve seen supporting the RealID change, one of their biggest arguments is “you’re not that important.” Sure. Maybe you aren’t. To them.

Our raid assist wasn’t important to many people but us. He wasn’t even the kind to make any enemies, even if Ithraen is. He’s been a victim. Ithraen’s been a victim. Hell, I’m a nobody and I’ve been stalked twice through my years playing WoW for reasons I don’t even know and probably couldn’t grasp.

You don’t have to be important. You just have to be there and you can be a target.

This is all aside from the fact that it is all too easily to be important to someone. You don’t have to be important to the world, even if you aren’t a target. You just have to be a target for one person. This would be a good time for a link to that Counterstrike story. The person who stabbed the other in a game wasn’t terribly important… But that one act, that one moment, made him important to someone. And that someone decided to track this person down and seek revenge, for that stabbing in a game, by stabbing them in real life.

For the other comments, no, it doesn’t have to be everyone. I don’t think much of anyone’s thinking that the whole of World of Warcraft will be slaughtered by one person who dislikes PvP, or something. But it doesn’t have to be. Just one person is more than enough… One single person is too much.

So, obviously, this is a threat. Even just the security flaw in game, while only now used for hackers, is a threat, and now Blizzard is trying to carry over this threat from the people on your server to everyone capable of using the internet. You can turn a blind eye all you want, bury your head in the sand… but it doesn’t make it go away. If an 18-wheeler is barreling down the road and you’re standing in the middle of said road, it doesn’t matter if you close your eyes and pretend you’re in the middle of a forest, that 18-wheeler is still there and still coming straight at you. You still need to get the heck out of its way whether you pretend it’s not there or not, because that doesn’t change reality. And if that 18-wheeler manages to stop before it hits you, that doesn’t mean you should advocate that everyone should stand in the middle of the road instead of getting out of the way, because while you may be lucky… That doesn’t mean everyone is.

And now it’s time for me to link, because there are so many aspects to all of this I don’t even know where I’d start on my own, and I’d probably just mangle their pretty wording.

Why would Blizzard do something like this? Perhaps Korean law is behind it.

Maybe it’s just another thing to add to the list of their history and another peg on BNet 2.0.

Well, here’s Hitler’s take on it all.

Here’s something on it from WoW Insider.

World of Matticus talks about it in a rational, is somewhat disagreeable at points, manner.

Here’s a post over at Big Bear Butt that I rather like on it.

Another post over at Empowered Fire that I liked and agree with.

Here’s a post at Broken Toys about it, and he does us the service of linking in said post to his previous post on RealID when it first came out, which a good though longer read this this 2-liner.

There was a rumor that while we would have our names shown, Blizzard in fact would not, and here WoW Insider gets some facts on that.

Here’s a Spinksville post on it all. Aaand here’s another, with a ton of links from things she’s found herself.

And finally here’s a post from good ol’ Chastity on it over at Righteous Orbs, and this is actually the first post I read about all of this going down.

July 4, 2010

A partial week in the life

Posted in Guild things, Musings, Tattered Legends, The Player Behind the Toon at 7:49 am by Aduial of WrA

So this week was supposed to be the big come-back week for TL and all, but things have… Deeefinitely not gone as planned. For many reasons. Here’s a glimpse of why:

Sunday – Find out Ithraen, who is our raid leader, will be taking a sudden trip to New York in about 3 days. For a week. May or may not have internet access, though it seemed likely that he would.

Monday – Our raid assist is hacked. Almost everything is now missing from Tattered Legend’s guild bank, though thankfully our secondary bank was spared. Unfortunately all our feasts, flasks, etc are now gone. Put on hold the heroics spamming we were doing to help gear people up to do damage control.

Tuesday – Our raid assist gets his account back though things are still missing, and he doesn’t have enough gear to go. We start an ‘action plan’ that would have him geared enough to raid with us by raid time, only for Ithraen to bail for personal reasons, which left us with little option for gearing him in time. Queue about two hours of personal freaking out because for that time his hunter was the only person with the key to Malygos (who was the weekly). Not long before raid time I find out our main healer also has a key–yay, the raid is saved. Except then everyone’s late. Aaand we can’t down the boss. Queue discussions, and canceling of this week’s Ulduar runs in favor of heroic runs instead.

Wednesday – I end up spending a good chunk of the day offline, but make a point before getting on to start making “to do” lists again so that I can (hopefully) be more organized. Things start getting checked off exceedingly slowly (for example, I had planned a post for like.. Thursday at most). Get on and… heroics don’t happen.

Thursday & Friday – Again, spend most of these two days offline dealing with things in real life. By the time I got home Friday I also took time out of my schedule to start clearing out some of my heavily backlogged emails (up to about 2,000 unread since I have a bad habit of reading just the most important ones and leaving the rest to deal with “later”… and of course, later never comes). I’d subscribed myself some time in the past, little more than a year ago, actually, to several WoW email lists, mainly pertaining to different ways to get gold. Most of these have stopped giving tips and started “Oh, you need this guide, or that one, hey there’s a sale on this one!” and I usually just ignore them, but… I ended up clicking the link on one that gave away a free sort of ‘mini-guide’, which I ended up downloading, and… it actually gave good tips, including one that I’d discovered for myself about a month into Wrath and had never seen posted anywhere, as well as a tip pertaining only to RP servers, which I also never see. And since this one was on “sale” (I never believe they’re really on sale or going to hack the prices up since I’ve seen these falsely so many other times, but it was still a good..ish… price), I went ahead and bit the bullet, and got it. Of course, the money-back guarantee if I don’t so much as like the font helps. Start redownloading a couple recommended addons that I’d fallen out of using but used to have, as well as a new one that I’d only skimmed over before and had missed the utility in it, and trying to configure them and start scanning as well as read more of the guide. This ends up taking up most of my night.

Saturday – I had many things scheduled in reality as well as there was supposed to be Naxx at 4pm server, and ended up getting an.. extremely.. late start. I’d had alarms set to alert me when I needed to be on to start getting ready for Naxx (starting at 1 hour and 15 minutes before the start time) and they all failed me. Miserably so. Again. And so I didn’t get on until 2 hours after Naxx was supposed to start, to find out… Our raid leader who is now in New York but had promised to be able to make Naxx at least if at all possible had not even shown up, and hadn’t bothered to sign in for 3 days. So, of course, Naxx never happened. We’d also planned to sort of ‘test’ everyone in Naxx to see if we were up to Uld or maybe take another stab at Maly on Sunday, however that… doesn’t look like it’s happening, given that we didn’t do Naxx.

So now it’s Sunday and it doesn’t look good for getting a raid in tonight or… possibly even much going next week, at this rate, beyond possibly heroics which I am hoping for at the least. Thankfully, we’re working with an extremely patient group who are seemingly just happy for the learning environment and the chance, so it doesn’t look like I’ll be getting the flak there like I’d expected, though that doesn’t stop me from beating myself up over failing them, or my guild. And regardless of whether anyone else views it as a failure, not being able to pull everything together seemingly perfectly (and, oh, I do know that will never happen, but I know it can look that way to people who don’t know what goes into it and such), not being able to at least get us raiding somehow, or get something organized going without falling through the floor… I view that as a failure on my part.

Maybe I’m just impatient and wanting things to go perfectly from the get-go, or something. I know we have a lot of potential here despite being completely displeased with how things are going and at what rate (though I was one of the first during Maly to point out we were making significant progress with each attempt, and to an extent that was good enough for me), and maybe I should just relax and not rush things. I don’t know. Maybe I just worry and stress too much, as a very good friend of mine who I’ve been sort of venting to and bouncing ideas off of is quick to say, and that very much may be true… and I very likely should start listening to him more rather than being bullheaded and stubborn and trying to do everything myself and make it perfect. I know I’ve got a lot of friends here who would do anything they could for the guild and I just write it off sometimes and try to do it myself, and I stress when I can’t be on like I want to, or think I need to, to do X or restock Y or talk to Z about N, even though real life should take priority and does over it. Or maybe this is all normal and I just need to ride it out.

Anyone else gone through any of this, or anything similar? Any thoughts, suggestions, comments… criticism, help? I know I’m not the best at this job, but I want to do right by my guild, and I know I don’t give the most details here, but… I think I could definitely use a bit of structuring to fit this role.

February 11, 2010

Plushies now, Blizz?

Posted in Musings, News, The Player Behind the Toon tagged , at 6:57 am by Aduial of WrA

As recently reported by Wowhead, Blizzard is apparently releasing new (real!) plush pets that come with an in-game version of the pets.

So far the only two available are going to be baby versions of the basic flying mounts–a baby Wind Rider bearing the Horde’s logo, and a baby Gryphon bearing the Alliance’s. Apparently they’re not going to be faction specific, so you could be accompanied by a baby Gryphon even if you’re an orc, or a dwarf with a Wind Rider.

Of course you can’t mount these… I’d think that a bit cruel, anyway, mounting a baby anything, pixels or no… but I think they’re neat regardless. Then again, I’m a bit of a pet collector, though it’s more spread out through my toons unfortunately so there’s no one with the big achievements (yet?).

Personally I think I like the Wind Rider best–maybe it’s because I play Horde, but even when I played Alliance I liked the Wind Riders… But I think the baby is absolutely adorable, even if the mount’s model in game could use some touch ups to bring it up to par with the current art. I also have to wonder, if these sell well, will Blizzard do more things like these? Perhaps every color of the mounts available, or different ones? If your faction’s ground mount were available as a plush, would you buy it? Would you buy it before or after you’d buy the ones available now?

I’d love to have real life versions of the mounts and pets I have in-game, myself. I’ve also heard people comment on the KT and Pandaren pets–why spend money on in-game items you don’t benefit from outside of the game–and I have to wonder, would they look differently upon these, or would they have the same attitude?

February 4, 2010

Fighting Burnout?

Posted in Musings, The Player Behind the Toon tagged , , , , , at 1:59 pm by Aduial of WrA

I don’t know how many people who read this have experienced burnout on WoW but I know unfortunately a lot of people have. Just the past week or so one of my friends was looking over his friends list only to observe that most of the people he’d ran with on that toon’s life were gone. My guy’s observed almost all the healers he leveled his tank with are gone as well, and so have I on mine.

The past couple weeks there’s been a lot of people leaving either the game or the server on both sides of the faction lines; I’m not sure if this is a consistent thing and I’m just now noticing or if it’s fairly new. But it makes me wonder, how long have these people been burnt out? Why did they get burnt out, did they prevent it, could they prevent it?

Anyone who knows me in game probably knows how much I hate tanking things at level on my tank anymore because I got burnt out on her. I leveled her 1 to 80 as a tank and by the time she was 40 had two personal pocket healers with opposite playing schedules, both of which had my phone number and would wake me up if they needed a tank. My sister still has a video somewhere she recorded of my tanking all of Blood Furnace in my sleep because I couldn’t get away to do such (I know, I know, “turn off my phone,” doesn’t work so well when that’s the only thing that wakes me up and my wakeup calls come from it).

So by the time she hit 80 and I was tanking close-to current content end-game raids, I was burnt out on her… and I still tanked for a couple months after that any time someone needed. I ended up faction-changing my 75 hunter who’d been my first character as soon as I could (same week it became available) and have rarely touched my warrior since, still can’t tank things at-level on her.

Thing is, now I’m all but burnt out on my hunter who I never thought I could possibly get burnt out on, and she’s not even past Ulduar in raiding. Honestly? She’s not likely to get there. One thing I’ve learned from all of this is I actually don’t like having 80s as much as getting them there. So one of the ways I’ve fought burnout on the game as a whole is by leveling new alts… Lots of them. Thankfully the guy has chronic altitis as well so I still usually have company and a complementing pocket-whatever no matter what class I roll.

I also ended up PvPing a lot and playing the auction house as well as levelling which are two things I also enjoy. But, is it enough? Logging into WoW every day or however often’s all but become a chore. A couple days ago I ended up redownloading the only MMO I played before WoW and the guy downloaded it to his comp as well so we’ve been playing that more than WoW and I’m enjoying it again. I remember what it’s like to play something for fun rather than because that’s the only option or I have responsibilities to fill or I need to check auctions, or whatever.

Will I be able to get back into WoW after a break and enjoy it again like I used to? I don’t know. Maybe I only delayed burnout for a few months and I’m going to end up quitting too, but maybe not.

So how do all of you prevent burnout? Do you have any tricks to delaying it or do you just let it take you? Have you even felt it yet? Do you quit for a while and then come back, or are you gone for good? Would love to hear responses!

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