Tag Archives: stories

I play on an RP-PvP Server and I like it

My first tentative forays into World of Warcraft were on RP servers.  It started out that way simply because that’s where my friends were playing, but as I continued to play and began to explore and branch out to other servers, I quickly realized that, no, there really was something different and special about RP servers.  Even if people weren’t actually roleplaying, you were more likely to run into people who had put at least a little bit of thought into their character, and since that’s how I usually play the game as well, it was nice to be among like-minded folks.

Have I mentioned that I'm kind of a lore nerd?
Have I mentioned that I’m kind of a lore nerd?

Then, one day, one particular friend invited me to make a character on his server.  It was a PvP server, and I tell you what, I was not a fan.  I tried to play on it, I really did, but I was being ganked by max level characters left and right and most of them had terrible borderline offensive names and it just all felt pointless.  So I decided to transfer my character away.

Originally I was going to head to a normal RP server.  But then something made me stop and think.  What if it wasn’t actually the PvP that was bothering me?   Afterall, I was that person who would happily spend hours and hours in Warsong Gulch and Arathi Basin. What if it was actually just the lack of those two little letters “RP”?

So I decided I would give PvP servers one more chance, but this time, I’d throw an RP-based community into the mix as well.  So I did a little bit of research, browsed around on the official forums, found a server that sounded good called The Venture Co., and off I went.

Thunder_Bluff_in_the_distanceTo this day I remember logging into my new server– I was in Thunder Bluff– and immediately feeling that things were different.  Trade chat was different.  The people around me were different.  It was as though the virtual air itself was different.

That was eight years ago.  And I’m still here.

veco

It’s difficult to explain what is special about RP-PvP servers.  To be sure, the ganking is still there, but it feels different.  It’s less pointless.  Why?  Because a lot of these people are, in fact, roleplaying.  It was very common, back in the day, to have a guild “claim” a section of land and guard it.  Usually there were all sorts of in-character motivations for this as well.  Actually I can confirm that this still happens because my baby Paladin was killed yesterday for getting too close to Alliance lands (not until she had actually begun to cause trouble, mind.)  For some people this won’t matter — they will either love or hate the world PvP.  As for me, I like it.  Sure, I may be dead, but it’s immersive, damnit!  It adds an extra layer of depth to roleplay and character backstory.

Pic of Cayrel being cute and shiny about ten minutes before her untimely death.
Pic of Cayrel being cute and shiny about ten minutes before her untimely death.

Another thing I’ve found about these servers is that, I think more than any other server type, we kind of stick together.  There are so many PvE and PvP servers that most people probably couldn’t name even a fraction of them off the top of their heads.  RP servers are more rare, but there are still enough of them that you have certain divides (largely revolving around whether someone is on Moon Guard, Wyrmrest Accord, or one of those others that most people fail to remember.)

But there are a grand total of six RP-PvP servers in the US.  And thanks to realm zoning, all six servers now interact with each other on what’s kind of one big happy (and gank-happy) RP-PvP server.  VeCo long ago got merged with Lightninghoof and Maelstrom, so those are the people I mostly interact with in Draenor, but when I’m out in Azeroth I’ve certainly seen people from the other three servers– especially people from that most infamous of servers, Emerald Dream, which is the current World PvP hotspot.

It feels neat to me, somehow, that there aren’t many of us.  Those of us weird enough to want RP in our PvP, and vice versa, had to be corralled into our own handful of special servers and now we’re all merged together.  Being weird together.  I guess I just think it’s neat.

WoWScrnShot_070815_160413
I just happened to be in the area yesterday farming tin ore and Tarren Mill was under attack. So I saved it! Just like old times.

So yeah.  That’s my (long and rambling) story and I’m stickin’ to it.  To paraphrase a blue cartoon alien: this is my server.  I found it all on my own.  It’s little, but good.  Yeah… still good!

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[Story] Monster

Storytime! Today’s story stars my hunter Althalor and features a cameo by Mr. Pike’s mage, Cadyna!  Whoo!

Althalor was drunk.

He couldn’t remember how he had gotten himself this drunk in the first place, or why he was in Orgrimmar, or how he’d even wound up in the Brawl’gar Arena to begin with.  None of it mattered, though, as he riddled the colossal silithid in front of him with arrow after arrow while his cat Hobbes raked deep claws into the enormous insect’s back.  The silithid reared up and lunged, and Althalor ran to one side and skillfully planted an arrow between the creature’s eyes.  And with that, it finally stumbled and fell, the blood from its many now grievous wounds pooling onto the floor.

Althalor’s vision was swimming but he managed to drag himself out of the arena, where the crowd– mostly orcs, although there were smatterings of other races here and there– had been whipped up into a frenzy.  They loved seeing fresh meat, especially when said fresh meat somehow managed to climb into the higher echelons of the Brawler’s Guild rankings where the enemies were even nastier.   They especially loved seeing an elf fight (and then, of course, die)– that was a truly exotic spectacle that the goblins loved to hype up.

Someone– Althalor didn’t see who– handed him a tankard full of ale, which he promptly downed, although much of it landed on the floor, on his person, and on Hobbes, much to the great cat’s patient chagrin.  The next match would be in a few moments when the floor was cleared, so while Althalor waited he stumbled over to a table in a remote corner and nearly fell into the chair.

He was, on some deep and still vaguely lucid level, aware of the irony of the entire situation.  He was dressed smartly in the mails of a Thalassian ranger, and he wielded a weapon emblazoned with the sin’dorei Icon of Blood.  These were things he had taken with him to Draenor to remind him from whence he came.  But here he was, drunk, caved up in a dirty orcish hovel in Kalimdor of all places, and surrounded by orcs and trolls and goblins.  It was all a far cry from the lush, eternal springtime and refinement of Quel’Thalas.

And yet this was where his people belonged now, wasn’t it?  They were monsters; Arthas had made sure of that when he’d poisoned the Sunwell and then Kael’thas had driven a final nail in that coffin.   He had killed thousands of people in battles across Azeroth and beyond, and his eyes glowed green with the light of hellspawned demons.  No, this is what he was now.  Some kind of demon; some monster.  Perhaps it wasn’t so ironic after all.

A huge, burly orc, who towered above even most other orcs in the city, seemingly materialized from the shadows in front of Althalor’s table.  “You’re going to have to stop winning, elf,” he spat.  “I’ve got a lot of gold riding on the next match.”

Althalor’s head buzzed and most of the orc’s words went through one ear and straight out the other.  “What?” he said at length, his speech slurred.

The orc slammed both of his large hands on the table and leaned down so he was almost at eye level with Althalor.  His breath smelled of booze and tooth decay.  “I’ve got more gold on this next match than your pathetic long-eared life is worth.  You are going to lose it, or you are going to answer to me.”

Despite his blurred vision, Althalor could now see that the gigantic orc was flanked by two others, both with their arms crossed against their chest.  Beside him, his sharp hearing picked out the familiar, deep rumble of Hobbes’ growl amidst all the noise and chaos in the building.

The head orc was talking again.  “I suggest you forfeit, to make things easier for both of us,” he said.  He looked down at Hobbes, who was now bearing his teeth.  “And take that cat with you, before I skin him.”

That did it.  Althalor pushed back his chair, stumbled to his feet and reached for his bow, dodging an immense swing from the huge orc as he did so, although he clumsily dropped the bow as he performed this dodge.  His head swimming with alcohol and terrible judgement, he raised his fists, but then he was aware of one of the orc’s buddies at his side and a second later everything was black.

****

“Dor shar’adore da shando.”*

The Thalassian phrase was the first thing Althalor heard upon waking up.  He had the headache of a lifetime and his ears both rang.  He was vaguely aware of the fact that he was lying down in a bed somewhere.  He tried to sit up, his eyes still shut tight, but something pushed him back down.  “Hey dere, you sit tight, mon.  Dere’s still a lotta healin’ to be done.”

“I’d like a word with him alone, if you don’t mind,” said the first voice.  Althalor recognized it now.  Sunwell save me.

“He still needs de doctah, but I tink I can give him a break,” said the second voice.  Althalor painfully opened his eyes now in time to see a tall, lanky troll witch doctor stand up and stretch his back.  He then exited what appeared to be a small, orc-styled burrow– they were probably still in Orgrimmar, then– and that’s when Cadyna approached.

The mage looked down at him, one long, elegant eybrow raised inquisitively.  “You idiot,” she said at length.  “What do you think you were doing trying to fight that orc?”

“Um… I don’t know,” Althalor said at length.  He knew his response sounded pathetic but his head was throbbing too much to put much thought into the real reason.

“Well, you’re lucky I showed up when I did,” Cadyna replied, crossing her arms.  “And you’re lucky Hobbes was willing to fight for you even when you were out cold like the fool you are.  By the Sunwell.”

It was then that Althalor noticed that Hobbes was curled up on the foot of the bed, and he smiled, despite himself.  “Good kitty,” he said quietly.

“What are you doing in the Brawler’s Guild to begin with?  It may be news to you, but we’re kind of, oh I don’t know, fighting a war on another world?  Sound familiar?”

Althalor painfully propped himself up in bed.  “They wanted a good fight,” he said.  “I was giving them one.”

“They wanted you dead,” Cadyna said.  “It’s all well and good to be blood buddies with Vol’jin but down here, do you think they care about one fewer sin’dorei in the world?”  Her eyes glowed a harsh green as she spoke, but now she sighed.  “Anyhow.  That troll is doing some… voodoo or something, so I’ll let him get back in here.  We can portal out later.  Don’t make me babysit you anymore, okay?  I’ve already got enough idiots wandering around my garrison.  Can’t even clean the latrine properly.” She was still muttering to herself as she exited, and the witch doctor came back in.

Althalor lay himself back down as he approached.  The troll struck up a conversation as he mixed some herbs together in a poultice.  “Bruddah, I hearin’ what dey be sayin’ at the arena.  Dey say some stupid elf fought like a monster late last night.  Dat be you?”

Stupid elf monster.

“Sounds about right,” said Althalor.

****

*Thalassian, “I’m surrounded by idiots”

 

Let me tell you a story, a story of a madcap Alterac Valley…

…which happened just yesterday.

Mr. Pike and I had finished up our Apexis daily and queued up for some random battlegrounds to work on our PvP gear, as we are wont to do.  We did a couple of IoCs, we did some Gilneas thing which was basically a mini-Arathi-Basin, nothing special.

Then, finally, we got into that king of all battlegrounds, Alterac Valley.

Alterac_Valley_loading_screenAlterac Valley is not really ever the Horde’s shining moment, as I have previously discussed.  We always go in expecting a loss, but it’s fine because I’m a huge nostalgia nerd and love AV and always will.

We went into this one and were promptly greeted by an adorable little blood elf mage in quest greens who had decided to take charge of this battleground and told us all to defend Galv.

And for some reason – maybe because we were battle-weary and never win this thing anyway – a ton of us decided to go with his plan.

So the battle started and probably a good 12 or 15 of us, instead of continuing northward with everyone else, ran into Galv’s hut by Tower Point to defend him.

The first Alliance to show up trickled in and promptly got destroyed.

More of them showed up soon after – there were some forty of them, after all – and eventually we all went down but not without a fight and not without thoroughly confusing the Alliance, who were now busy “making strange gestures” at us in response to our unusual tactics.

WoWScrnShot_042115_171222We all respawned at the nearby graveyard but instead of heading up north, we followed the Alliance south.  We bothered them, hounded them like a thorn in their side.  They had no idea what was going on – and frankly, neither did I, upon realizing that the Horde was taking bunkers and we were preventing the Alliance from doing likewise.  Not right away, at least.

Our intrepid quest-green-clad leader kept offering support and direction in battleground chat.  Much of it was unconventional, but as many of us replied in rather bewildered fashion – it was working.

Due to the nature of the entire plan and how odd it was, we did eventually run into some snags.  For example, we eventually were all cornered back down at our home base.  But once again, another miracle happened – the people who had headed north snagged Stormpike Aid Station, and suddenly we were all respawning up north.

At this point it was just a race to down the boss.  I honest to god thought we had it but the Alliance beat us to it.  Another loss – and yet it didn’t matter because it was the best AV I’d played in years.  It was tense, it was close, it was weird.

All thanks to you, Mr. Mage in Quest Greens.  May we meet again in the near future!

For We Shall Make Them Fight For Every Last Inch

Recently I’ve been focusing on setting up two sets of gear: a decent PvE set and a decent PvP set.  As such, my usual WoW days involve doing my garrison stuff, doing my apexis daily, doing a quick LFR, and then doing some battlegrounds.

So.  Alterac Valley.

800px-Alterac_Valley_loading_screen

I don’t know how it is on other battlegroups – or if battlegroups are even a thing anymore (probably not) – but here on Shadowburn the Horde is truly abysmal at Alterac Valley.  Just utterly awful.  My usual Alterac Valley experience, as Horde, involves starting out okay, thinking “hey, we’re not doing too badly this time around,” pulling up the map, and seeing a line of blue towers and graveyards all the way down the length of the entire battleground.

Then we lose soon after.

Sad-Cat-1

I refuse to remove AV from my list like everyone else does because I still love AV; something about it is deliciously old-school and I usually enjoy it anyway.  But let’s just say I don’t ever go into it expecting a win, because we never get one.

So myself and Mister Pike were in AV yesterday, and it was going about as well as can be expected for us – Alliance had, oh, about 400 reinforcements left and us Horde had like 120.  Just another average day on Horde, to be honest.

So there we were, all of us Hordies spawning back at Drek’thar (not spawning in the cave was a plus, at least), and the Alliance was getting ready to rush in and finish the job.  Then Mr. Pike said something in chat that struck a nerve.  He said “I don’t care if we lose, I’m going to make the Alliance fight for every last inch.”

And for whatever weird reason, everyone in the battleground chat started to agree.  Person after person piped up about how “oldschool” that mentality was, how “Horde” it was… and how we should definitely do that.

And so the Alliance never got to Drek’thar.  Not once.  It was all forty of us at our choke point vs. all forty of them, and it was glorious.  An absolute bloodbath.  We were under no delusions that we would win this battle of attrition, of course.  We were realists.  It was already a loss.

But you better believe that we were gonna make it take like twenty minutes.

B_RctT9U4AAYck5

For those twenty minutes we gave the Alliance hell.  We refused to give them the satisfaction of a quick, easy victory, because screw that.  It was oldschool AV at its finest, and battleground chat was full of people talking how awesome this was and how it was taking all of us back.  There were even GGs going around when it was all over and our reinforcements finally, inevitably, dwindled down to zero.

And that, my friends, is why I still love AV.  It’s why I’m gonna keep queuing for it even if we’re terrible at it.  I’m looking forward to a few matches later today.

Because win or lose, it’s Alterac Feckin’ Valley, and if there was ever a truly legendary battleground, then this one is it.

Hey guys, did I ever tell you this one?

This is something that happened to me a while back so the details are pretty foggy, but for some reason I never blogged this and it deserves to be blogged, so:

I was playing my delightful Tauren Tree, the second resto druid in my arsenal (because I luff them), and I was… 62, 63?… at the time so I was in Slave Pens. Pretty standard run, things were going just fine and we were at that point between the second and final boss… you know what I’m talking about, right? All those billions of packs of Naga adds right as you get to that tunnel-ramp-thing that gets you to the druid who gives you the buff and all of that.

So anyway we get there and this segment was always a little tough, especially back in the day on heroic. Who remembers that?

*cane-waving*

Anywho, our pally tank picks up one too many packs and I get feared or something or other and the tank dies. We still manage to survive, but apparently said pally tank was too impatient to wait the ten seconds to get a rez in what had otherwise been a flawless run and wordlessly leaves the group.

This is followed by one of the DPS leaving the group as well.

So there we are, Me the Tree, an arms warrior DPS, and some other DPS whose class I can’t remember. He was a blood elf and I wanna say some sort of caster, but it’s not really all that important.

We re-queue and we wait.

And wait.

And wait.

And wait.

…it’s been thirty minutes. No joke, cause I moused over the little icon and it said we’d been waiting for thirty minutes.

I was expecting the group to dissolve in a pile of “Well thanks anyway”s any minute now when the arms warrior, a lovely female orc, strapped on a shield and a one-handed sword. “Let’s clear trash while we wait,” she said.

So we did. Cleared trash. It was slow going and pretty healing intensive but we survived.

We got up to that final room with the druid and the last boss. We successfully freed the druid from his cage, killed the mobs that spawn when you do that, and got his buff.

We waited around for a few more minutes. Still no bites from the queue. The last boss in Slave Pens, who throws poisons and crap around and has always been a toughie, was looming in front of us.

I’m not sure how we came to the decision that we would give it a shot anyway, but we did. Arms warrior in Defensive Stance rushes in…

The first minute or so of the fight, I spent Tree-Tanking. Seriously. The boss was on me. I was Barkskin’d and spamming heals every cooldown.

Finally the warrior snags aggro. I couldn’t let down my guard; the warrior was squishy and this boss hits HARD and he hits EVERYONE with his AoE. I was out of mana so I popped Innervate. At this point the boss was maybe down to, oh, about 66% of his health or so. Yeah, this was gonna be a long fight.

Still we continue. I’m still healing on every single cooldown. It’s not long before I’m out of mana again (Tree druid mana efficiency sucks at this level) so I use a potion. I know, though, that Innervate isn’t gonna be ready next time I run out of mana, and the fight is still just as tough…

The boss is down to about 33%. I’m almost out of mana again. In fact, I’m down to my last two or three spells before I go OOM. I quickly plotted out in my head who best to use my final heals on and executed them… one last Regrowth on our pseudo-tank…

…I wince cause I know we’re gonna wipe now…

And suddenly something weird happens with the party frames and I blink, not really comprehending what happened, and suddenly the boss is down.

A few seconds later I realize that the party frames had jumped from three to five. The queue had finally popped and thrown our new party members right into the fray of the boss fight.

*blink blink*

…easy Goodie Bag for those two, eh?

Arms warrior sends me a whisper. “Sorry about you having aggro, I didn’t realize that my one-handed sword skill was still 1.”

All’s well that ends well.

Every New Beginning…

…comes from some other beginning’s end. ( – Seneca. Or Semisonic. Whichever…)

The account has expired, and I’m done with World of Warcraft for the foreseeable future. Having done everything I needed to do on my “mains” last night, I was actually in the process of going around and double-checking my lesser-played alts today for any rogue items in their mailboxes when I was kicked off of the server.

So wait, you’re coming back, right? When?

I’ve hesitated to say for certain one way or another because I don’t want to make any guarantees. At best I want to give myself a few months to get things sorted out. If needs be I’ll wait until Cataclysm and see how things are looking then. Let’s just give it the ol’ Blizzard “Soon“™

What about the blog?

As I said, I will keep blogging. Probably in more than one place, because apparently I’m an addict like that (or a masochist, take your pick.)

I’ve thought about it for a bit and although I initially figured I’d just keep blogging here, I think I’d rather leave Aspect of the Hare “as is”. That way, people who want to continue linking to me for guides and the like can do so without worrying about people having to wade through non-WoW stuff. Plus, if/when I come back, I can just jump right back in to a ready-to-go WoW-themed blog.

What I’m probably going to do is set up a couple of subdomains here and then when they’re all set I’ll make another post linking you all to them. Gimme a couple days and I’ll get back to you!

Also, if you have a LiveJournal account and want to read my somewhat less-structured and more non-sequitor rambles I don’t mind if you friend me over there, either.

Commissions?

Will continue, send ’em my way! I’d like to think the fabled “Sitemeter Avatar Contest” will continue in some fashion also, though we’ll have to wait and see how things go once I get my “New Blog” all set up.

And now, roll credits:

Thank you…

…to BRK and Lassirra, without whom I would never have started blogging. Your blogs were inspirations that got me excited about the WoW-o-sphere and taught me how to play a hunter in the first place.

…to the WoW Twitterati for giving me one epic chatroom to rant, laugh, cry, and joke in, to bounce ideas off of, and inspire me to do crazy things like draw pictures or write books. I’ll still be around, don’t worry.

…to my guild, Order of the Rose, for being made of at least ten types of awesome. For dragging me around to their alt runs when I was an undergeared nub and then tossing me head first into their 25mans and hard modes, for passing gear and weapons to me, and for pulling together special raids just for me so I could get my Champion of the Frozen Wastes title– on not one, but two characters. For not just “letting” me raid as Beast Mastery, but for flat-out encouraging and challenging me to do so. Every outcast, non-flavor-of-the-month player should be so lucky.

…to my guild in Burning Crusade, the now-defunct but never-forgotten Entelechy. This is going to sound dorky and cheesy to the Nth Degree, but ya know what, I’m gonna say it anyway: you guys are some of the best friends I’ve ever had. I love that a good number of us have kept in touch outside of the game, via our forum or our nightly AIM chats, which is awesome because I know a lot of us have quit playing. I think back to the best memories I have of this game– Karazhan, countless Heroic Mech runs, opening all the graves in Zul’Farrak when we were all level 45, marching in on the Caelestis Templares’ cathedral twenty-strong– and I wasn’t doing it alone, but with you guys. May there always be Five Seconds to Evocate on Curator and may “Thundercats, Ho!” always ring through the hall before Shade of Aran.

…to Blizzard, for, well, making the game to begin with. I’ve been a BlizzHead since StarCraft stole my heart away in 1999, and it’s you guys and Nintendo more than anybody that have instilled a love of gaming in my soul. Being a citizen of Azeroth these past three years has been an honor and privilege. You guys are masters of making living, breathing worlds and characters. I was trying to emulate that solid real-ness when I was writing my book and inventing my own fictional world and characters, and if I was even half as successful as you with it, then I think I’m good. And if my book ever ends up published and with even a modicum of success then I’ll owe you a grateful hat tip.

…and finally, to my readers, for being the best readers that any blogger could ever hope for. It’s been almost three years of blogging and I can count the number of truly negative comments that I’ve received on one hand. And it’s because you guys are all amazing and mature and here to contribute to this little community. I have read every single comment ever posted here– every single one– and I wish I could go through and name names one by one and thank you all individually but it would take too long. Suffice to say if you have ever commented here I consider you a friend. Thank you for making me a part of your lives. I really didn’t deserve it.

If you’re going to follow me along to the rest of my blogging adventures, then I very much look forward to seeing you there. If not, it’s been a pleasure and I can only hope that something I said at some point made you smile or made you think. And I hope to see you again should I return.

Before I logged off of my characters last night, I tried to make sure I logged off appropriately. Tawbree, for example, is astride her new Epic Fiery Horse cause I did in fact manage to hit level 40. Tamaryn is in tree form, dancing away, with both trinkets activated and all of her HoTs ticking on herself.

And Tawyn pulled out Tux, her very first pet ever, and went on a little road trip. She went to Teldrassil, where it all began; she went to Azshara and explored the entire thing– including even more things I’d never seen before!– and then… then, she went home.

Bestial Wrath’d right before I logged out. That way she’ll be Bestial Wrath’d out there in Pixel-Land until I come back, and if I don’t come back, she’ll be Bestial Wrath’d until the servers go down.

I thought it was a nice touch.

Long past were the days when Medivh’s tower was much of a threat and adventurers flocked to the pass to donate their skills to the cause, but the few Violet Eye delegates that were holding out there did see the occasional visitor.

Archmage Alturus was on a first name basis with a few of these visitors, the night elf Tawyn being one of them.

“Back again, are you?” he asked, eyebrow raised.

“Ayep,” Tawyn replied tersely as she dismounted.

“What keeps drawing you here, really?” The Archmage was genuinely curious. “The time is past that we really needed you…”

Tawyn blinked. He may as well have asked her why fish swam and why birds flew. “Maybe it’s the ley lines under the place. I dunno. You don’t ask the gulls why they return to the sea.” She shrugged.

“Fair enough,” the mage replied. “And we could always use good scouts, I suppose. You never know if something new might pop up in there.”

“Good. I’m goin’ in.”

“Alone?”

“I’m never alone.”

It was then that Archmage Alturus saw the big gray owl with yellow eyes perched nearby in the shadows. As if in response, he took wing now and alighted on Tawyn’s shoulder as she opened the front gate. She stood there a moment, gazing inside, her eyes clouded a bit as if distracted. “We aren’t getting any younger I suppose, are we, Tux?” she murmured.

Tux hooted something in response and then the hunter and her owl went inside.

221B Westfall Street

“Ah, are these the villain’s tracks?”

“Indeed they are, Mr. Holmes.”

“Hoofprints? This rules out most races except draenei and tauren, but it’s most unlikely that a tauren would travel this far. Besides, here and here we see traces of moth dust found only in Azuremyst Isle. Now we can further deduce from his tracks that this villain moved around a lot, although it wasn’t to back up, rather, it was to get closer. This indicates that he is a melee class–”

“Or an uninformed hunter?”

“Unlikely, Watson. I see no animal prints or feathers.”

“A… fantastically uninformed hunter?”

“Very doubtful. As you can see, the surrounding ground is charred by holy fire…”

“A paladin?”

“Quite.”

“Brilliant, Murloc Holmes!”

“Elementary.”

Fun Times in LFG

So, I love the new LFG. I think it’s one of the greatest things ever to hit WoW and I’m sure most of us can agree.

It has, however, led to a few interesting situations. My favorites thus far:

* Wound up in a group where everyone was speaking French. I’m not exaggerating. I couldn’t understand a word these people were saying. Oh wait, I understood one phrase. “Le boss”.

They were all from different servers, too, so it wasn’t like they’d all queued up as a group. Apparently I just managed to stumble onto the super-secret Québécois contingent of the North American WoW servers. I blame my Men Without Hats obsession.

I think they wanted to do more heroics afterward but I wasn’t sure, because I had no idea what they were talking about. So I said “thank you” and hearthed. Everyone understands “thank you” right? … hey, don’t look at me, I took Spanish in high school and Japanese in college, I have no idea how to say “thank you” in French.

I actually sent a ticket in to Blizzard asking if I’d somehow messed up my settings and was queuing up in another language without meaning to but apparently it’s a “known issue”. So. Now you know!

* Died about five seconds into Anub’arak in Azjol-Nerub (was one-shotted by the guy) and still got Gotta Go! Making it more impressive (and embarrassing)? I was the healer.

* Actually had to leave a Blackfathom Deeps group that I entered mid-run because I had no idea how to navigate the place and the group wasn’t coming back for me.

“But Pike, I thought you liked big epic sprawling instances!”

I do, when they meet at least one of the following criteria:

a.) are being led by somebody who knows where they are going
b.) are not being started in the middle with me stranded at the entrance portal
c.) are not a part of The Grand List of Instances Blizzard Designed Specifically to Annoy Pike.

The Grand List of Instances Blizzard Designed Specifically to Annoy Pike consist of the following:

Wailing Caverns
Sunken Temple
Blackfathom Deeps
Sunken Temple
Maraudon
Sunken Temple
Temple of Atal’Hakkar … oh wait.

(When BabyLock gets to the mid-40s, I think I’m just going to stop using LFG and quest until I hit BRD level.)

Ah, LFG. I do love thee, though.

In other news:

Tree Is For FIGHT

So while my main account is out-of-commission, I’ve been dinking around on my second account, which is home to only a few little alties. The highest-level of them is a 61 tauren tree druid because just as I have an 80 Alliance Hunter and an 80 Horde Hunter, I also want an 80 Alliance Tree and an 80 Horde Tree, because that’s Just How I Am.

Anyways, the LFG tool has been great: as heals I can get a group within about ten seconds (in the rare event that “YOUR DUNGEON IS READY” doesn’t pop up immediately upon queuing). I’ve been doing the Random Instance thing near-daily, and all in all it’s been fun times.

Sooo today I queued up and got into a Ramparts group with three Death Knights and a warrior. The pulls start.

The first thing I notice is that pretty much everyone in the group is consistently taking damage. The second thing I notice is that nobody is holding aggro so half of the mobs keep ending up on me. Constantly.

“So, who’s tanking?” I asked after a couple pulls of this.

Three responses of “IDK” and one response of “everyone kind of is.”

/blink

“Umm, it’d be nice if we had a tank so I don’t have to keep spreading my heals out and running out of mana and pulling aggro as I do so,” I ventured.

“Don’t worry, I don’t pull aggro, I’m fury,” said the warrior as his health mysteriously plummeted like a rock.

At this point I was sort of tempted to tell the group “gotta go, house is on fire” or something, but I decided to continue on. How bad can it be, right?

Four wipes later we were at the first boss.

Lemme say that again. Four wipes later we were at the first boss.

It was here that somebody decided to randomly designate one of the DKs as a tank, and said DK said “ok” and then charged in with Blood Presence up. Halfway through the boss I realized I was Treetanking and since my barkskin + spam heals only go so far at level 61 I ended up kicking the bucket. Somehow most of the rest of the group survived, though, so it wasn’t entirely a loss!

We doggedly made our way up the ramp and into that big room that branches off to the two final bosses. I think we wiped another two or three more times in here but I’d lost count long before. It was here that I decided to pull up Recount out of curiosity: not only had all five people in the group taken roughly the same amount of damage, but I was sitting at a solid third at 20%. Tree Tank is 4 fite.

We took out that dragon boss first; miraculously nobody died, although yes, I was effectively tanking for a good portion of the fight.

After the boss went down and Hellreaver was distributed, one of the DKs said “ok see ya” and dropped group. A second DK– one who had spent the entire instance talking about how all of his gear was red, and subsequently not doing anything about it– followed suit. Three of us were left with one boss to go.

At this point I was kind of desperate; we’d somehow managed to get this far and I wasn’t about to quit now. “We can three-man it!” I said, exasperated. So we attempted to three-man Omar the Unscarred and failed miserably.

There I sat at the Spirit Healer, feeling a bit dejected. “Well, thanks for the group anyway,” I typed out in party chat.

And then suddenly, out of nowhere, the warrior decided that we could do it and started doling out helpful tips for the DK. I was kind of shocked, wondering if this was the same guy who moments earlier had told me that he never pulls aggro, but hey, I wasn’t going to question it, and we all agreed to give it one more try. The three of us got ourselves up there, standing in front of the boss, and then pulled.

…so, I don’t care that it was a boss in normal Hellfire Ramparts, this was the most intense WoW fight I’ve been in since Hodir or medium-mode Iron Council or one of those crazy fights. Because we were taking so much longer than usual to down the guy, Omar was pulling trick after trick out of his little magic bag; tossing people into the air, flinging curses around, summoning felhunter adds– you name it, he was doing it. I was spamming heals like my life depended on it, which it quite literally did, and more than once my screen was flashing red and I was sure I would meet my doom when somehow a Swiftmend would pull me through. I frantically Tranquility’d at one part and popped Innervate not long after. That was right about when, as expected, I pulled aggro and tree-tanked the boss for at least ten seconds. The DK eventually regained aggro, fortunately.

I was still spamming buttons and using at least one heal at every global cooldown, and it was here that I realized that not only was I almost out of mana again and had no Innervate to use this time, but the boss was sitting at about 15% health.

So I did what I had to do.

Popped a mana potion, ran up to the boss, and started tree-punching him between heals. The boss was still going nuts; cursing people, throwing people in the air, and doing crazy AoEs and I was tree-punching him.

And then somehow he went down. My mana was shot. The warrior was still taking damage from something; I had enough mana left for one Rejuvenation on him which managed to save him from certain death as we all sat around afterward with less than 10% health each. The WoW gods were apparently pleased with me because Crystalfire Staff dropped. I rolled Need and won it.

Then I took my staff and hearthstoned and went as far, far away as I possibly could.

The moral of the story is: Don’t knock Tree Punch, it could save your life someday.

Oh, and for the love of all that is good and holy, if you are putting yourself in LFG as a tank (or healer), PLEASE BE PREPARED TO FILL THAT ROLE.

x_x

The Curious Incident of the Penguin in the Blog Post

This is a blog post that started out as a couple of rants and then turned into me negating one of my own rants.

See, it happened like this…

I was cooking up this whole blog post about how I rather dislike the fact that Blizzard really pushes the whole Horde vs. Alliance thing. Like, that Twitter “battlecry” contest or the current photo mosaic thing. I don’t like it, because I love both Horde and Alliance. Why do they want me to choose between my babies like that? And why won’t they just let me say “FOR THE EVERYONE” or hold up signs of both faction emblems? Why can’t we be friends?

Then, that rant segued into a sort of ponder about how I have a hard time understanding people who are really die-hard loyal to one faction. Both sides have such great storylines and great races and great locations, and both sides have good days and bad days and good people and not-so-good people. I mean, I can understand “well, all my friends are [insert faction here]”, I mean, I 100% understand that. But what about the people who won’t even roll an alt on the other side? They’re missing out! I simply didn’t understand.

So I was in the middle of this all and I felt something on my shoulder. I tapped at it, but it didn’t go away, and I turned and saw this:

zendams-coolangeltux

sitting on my shoulder and giving me “the look”.

“Bwah?” I said, rather surprised (as you might expect). “Wh… who are you?”

“I’m Tux,” he replied. “And I’m the global collective conscience of Linux geeks everywhere. And you are being silly.”

“Me? Silly? Nonsense!” I replied in a rather miffed tone as I spun around in my computer chair.

“Look,” said Conscience-Tux. “You’re sitting here writing this blog post about how you don’t understand faction loyalty in World of Warcraft. And yet you whine and gripe anytime you have to use your Windows partition and you just LOVE coming up with excuses to show off screenshots of your Linux desktop and you get all defensive and noble and “patriotic” when people bash it, oh, and did I mention that your whole NaNoWriMo book is a freakin’ allegory for the Open Source Software movement? Hrmmm?”

“But, but, Tux! People just don’t understand!” I babbled. “They don’t understand the chills that go up my spine when somebody says ‘Free as in freedom’. They don’t understand the thrill of breaking and rebuilding your own operating system when you have to. They don’t understand the deep satisfaction that comes from solving a crazy computer problem. They don’t understand what it’s like to be the underdogs, tearing and clawing your way into using something as simple as a driver, and they don’t understand what it’s like to be a part of this great community and group effort…”

Tux held up a flipper to silence me. “Oh, and yet you don’t understand why some people have chills go up their spine when they hear ‘For the Horde’? And you don’t understand why people are loyal to their little virtual community? No, I think you understand perfectly well. Your heart has just already been taken. By a sexy flightless bird, no less.”

I sighed and then grumbled “Fiiiiiine, you win.”

“I always do. Now if you’ll excuse me, I must be off. I’ve got an appointment with Richard Stallman in about five minutes.”

“Wait, you hang out with Richard Stallman too?”

“Oh, all the time. Why else do you think he’s so nuts?”

“Hrmm. Point taken.”

“Regardless, it’s been fun. And I hope you learned something from this little meeting of ours.” And with that, Conscience-Tux mounted up on his Gnu and disappeared into the air.

And so it came to pass that I was forced to adapt my blog post into saying, okay, die-hard Hordies (and Allies, though there aren’t as many of you running around), I getcha. It’s kind of a weird, roundabout way of getting you, but I do. …still wish I could say “FOR THE EVERYBODY!” though.

And that is how it went. True story. Even the part with the penguin conscience.

…what’s with the funny look…?