plonq: (WOW Worgen Mood)
It was hot and muggy in the house this evening, so we both agreed that dining out seemed the thing to do. We tossed out ideas before deciding on a burger place up in the west end of town that we have been meaning to try. It has been around for years, and it has garnered pretty good ratings, and decent word-of-mouth.

The best thing about the place was its 50s diner atmosphere. Sadly the food was greasy and forgettable. We need to remind ourselves that when Winnipeggers wax poetic about how good a restaurant is, what they usually mean is that it has large portions for the price. This was not the worst burger place at which I have ever dined, but it was far from the best. Neither of us are in a hurry to return.

I have been grinding out the demon invasion events in the lead up to the next expansion to try and catch up the gear on a couple of my alts. I am probably going to trim the number of active alts I have going forward - my current batch were mostly levelled up to sit in their garrisons and generate money. Now that they have cut that revenue stream, I will likely just leave them parked where they are and dip into their savings now and then when I run short on my main characters.

I think I will likely funnel most of my effort into my priest, my two rogues, and my druid (in that order - unless they have made druids more fun in the next expansion). Three of them are Horde, and one is my token Alliance character. I have played almost exclusively Horde since the game came out, in part because most of my friends are Horde, and in part because I find the Alliance to be a bit too prissy and self-righteous for my liking. Still, I like to sneak over there once in awhile to stir things up.

I finally got around to transmogrifying my Worgen's gear. All but the helmet are from the same set which I meticulously farmed. Initially I farmed the gear because I thought it would make a fugly set, but once it was complete, it wasn't bad at all. The helmet from this set is not terrible, but I wanted to show off her features, so I gave her an eye patch to make her look more roguish. I'm not entirely sold on the shoulders either, but I'm torn between keeping the integrity of the set, or replacing them with something a bit more low-key.
Sexy Beast


Jan. 10th, 2016 01:03 am
plonq: (Cynical Mood)
I had a remarkably unproductive day today. [ profile] atara had made up a list of chores that we planned to work through today, but other than tackling a few token things, I spent much of the day parked in front of my computer working on my Alliance alt in WoW.

Normally I would just write it off to an attack of lazy, but I felt really mediocre today. I woke up with a headache and things gradually went downhill from there. I felt a little better by mid-afternoon after I took another pain killer, and chased it with a slice of the interesting bread that [ profile] atara whipped up in the bread machine today.

I attribute much of today's woes to stress and too little sleep all of last week, combined with oversleeping badly this morning.

They have gone with some interesting, Atomic Age retro décor in our new office lunch room. I approve.
Office Lunch Room
plonq: (Dubious Mood)
Before I get to the weekend, I need to bitch about this current expansion in WoW. Once I got past the questing, my interest in this expansion has really plummeted. If they had some kind of cataclysmic event that caused all orcs and their stupid, spiky mud huts to vanish into the twisting nether next expansion, I don't think there would be a lot of people complaining. Enough with the orcs.

Crap like this is also one of the reasons why my interest is waning:
I sent these two ships out to knock out a blockade. They had a 96% chance of success, and both ships were levelled up to their maximum, which is supposed to make them harder to sink if they fail. Well, in spite of the odds, they failed, and they both sunk. This means I need to spend a lot of resources, and go through the whole process of levelling up replacement ships.

This is not the first time this has happened to me either. I had two ships sunk in a mission with a 97% chance of success not too long ago. You can buy improvements to make them unsinkable, but that is only good for a single mission, and equipping that skill replaces ones that are critical to actually succeeding at the missions. In short, I could make my ships unsinkable, but only have a 40% chance of actually succeeding at any given time. At least they have shortened up the sortie times though. Before, you might have to wait a couple of days to fail. Now you can fail within 11-12 hours.

In other news, I got shipped off to Thunder Bay this past weekend to help repair rail cars.

The call actually came on Thursday evening, but they left a message on my company cell phone that I do not check when I am not on call. When I played the message, I considered that they might have called the wrong [ profile] plonq because I have the same first and last name as another person in the company, and we tend to get a lot of each others' calls and email. I checked my voice mail and email at work the next morning, but there was nothing. I was just getting ready to call them back and suggested they had called the wrong guy when two of the people who had been in my car inspection training class last January wandered by and asked if I had been called to report for duty.

I called them back, and I was told that I was to report to Thunder Bay first thing Saturday morning to assist with car repairs because they were very backlogged. I learned the reason for that on the weekend, and I might write up a missive about that at some point. The short of it was that I was told this was an executive order, and not a call for volunteers.

When I brought it up with my director, he was understandably upset since I am working on a project that is already behind schedule. He promised to take it up with his director and give me direction. Then his status, and the status of his director both switched to "in a meeting" for the next couple of hours.

As an added complication, Friday was also the day when I had to power everything down and pack up my desk and computer for our move to the new office. As the morning wore on, and none of my leaders got back to me, I finally made a decision and booked the flight and hotel. There was only one suitable flight to get out there, and with the added crunch of packing up my work station and still having time to get home and pack, I was caught in a squeeze. I booked everything, touched base with the contact I would be working with in Thunder Bay, and then sent an update to my director and managing director.

And my managing director hit the roof. She and my director got together in a meeting room, called me and gave me what could only charitably be called a dressing down. It was brutal to the point that if I had recorded the call, I think a lawyer could have had a case for workplace abuse. She had not communicated it to me, but she had been talking with our department's VP to try and get me out of deployment since IT needed my services more. She let me know that I had put her in a very bad position, and that I had just screwed myself over.
Birds of a feather

She called me back about an hour later to apologize, and said that she understood that I had only been doing what I felt was right for the company, even if it wasn't right for my department. She admitted that she had been advised about the situation right away by my director, but she decided to finish with her long series of meetings rather than stepping away to deal with it right away. She had not understood the pressure and short time-line I had been put under to make a decision and act on it.

Then on the weekend I got an even more contrite note from her. The Chief Operating Officer (#2 guy in the company) went to her and the VP and read them the riot act for trying to get the people in their department out of deployment. He was the one who had ordered us deployed, and it was not their place to contradict his orders under the assumption that the people in their department were more important than the ones in other groups. The spiteful part of me hopes that he seared them as badly as they laid into me on Friday. She told me that I did exactly the right thing in booking my trip on Friday when I had.

The trip was interesting. They did not seem to know what to do with us once we got there. We were not trained in repairs, and barely qualified to do inspections. We spent most of our time hanging around the break room drinking coffee, and awkwardly avoiding the regular staff who, in spite of being friendly and polite, were not happy to have us there. Most of our duties involved driving into town to bring back lunch for the crew, and doing odd errands that came up now and again. Over the course of the three days we were there, we inspected one train, and walked three others to close gates and hook up air hoses.

The highlight of the trip was networking with some of the folks whose names I only knew in passing. All I have to show for the trip today is a big bruise on my left arm where I managed to bang it pretty good while working on one of the cars.

In other news, they managed to destroy one of my monitors during the move. I guess I'll have to see about a replacement for it when I am back in the office on Friday.
Dropped in Transit
plonq: (Cutting through the pooh)
After months of sending out my garrison followers on missions, they finally brought me the last piece I needed for my fugly rogue transmogrification set.

This was all gear that came out of the salvage crates that my followers brought back from their missions. I had been vendoring the gear, assuming it was just random stuff like Ball-Crushing Codpiece of The Monkey and the like. As it continued to show up, I came to realize that it was actually a wearable set - even an upgrade for starting players.

And when I tried a couple of pieces of it on, they were remarkably ugly when seen in juxtaposition with my existing gear. At that moment I decided that I had to collect the whole for both of my main characters and create an eye-jarringly hideous outfit for each.

I avoided looking at any more of it until had finally completed at least one of the sets. Since my priest has more followers, she got the full set first. I chortled all the way to Ashram to transform the look of my otherwise attractive gear, and when I copped a look at the final product, I was surprised to find out that the completed set actually looks pretty good.

It does not have the aggressive, big-shouldered, spiky appearance of raid or pvp gear, rather it has a somewhat serene, priest-like look to it.

The full helm on the rogue set looks a little silly, but replacing it with something more aesthetic would defeat the whole point in transmogrifying to this set.

I don't think a lot of people bothered collecting either of these sets - I know a few have, based on forum posts, but not many. In a small way, this is my chance to look somewhat unique. Not pretty, perhaps, but distinct.
New Rogue ArmourErui
plonq: (OK...)
You let us down, Frankie. You said nothing about the snow.

Iin Frankie's defence, he was dead on with Sunday's forecast. It has been raining all day, and the wind has been howling since this morning. He missed the part about it turning to snow overnight though.

I sneaked outside with my camera earlier this afternoon to get a shot of how wet and drippy it is outside.

Belladonna knows that she's not allowed on the table, but that does not stop her from sneaking up there when she thinks we are not paying attention. This afternoon I caught her up on the table, trying to crawl into our good bread basket.

There is a cat butt in our good bread basket.

Naturally I scolded her and chased her down again, but not before I ran to get my camera first.
Bread Basket

I don't talk much about our current WoW guild here because there is not a lot to talk about. They are a good group of people who are all in this to have fun. We poke good hearted fun at one another, generally keeping it clean unless we know that we are in a group with no kids present. Even then, we can get a little lowbrow, but usually keep it respectful.

Here is a wonderful little video that [ profile] pfcottontail recorded last week that really captures the feel of raiding with this group. He's the one who told the joke that ended up playing through the whole video. It's worth watching to the end to catch Headstone's little rant.

Lest one think that it's all happiness and paradise, there is one member who does not seem to have noticed the unspoken memo about not discussing religion and politics, and he takes great glee in voicing his thoughts in a loud, opinionated and moreover ignorant manner. I don't know if he is actively trolling, or if he actually believes the things that he yells out in Vent.

He's a really special case. He's our own My Little Limbaugh doll with no off-switch. It's like he has a button on his nose, and every time somebody pushes1 it his mouth opens and starts regurgitating stale right-wing talking points.

There are many ways to get him started - if he does not start himself - but one of the fastest ways is to invoke the name of Obama. For instance, after we wipe on a boss at 1%, a guild mate might ironically say, "Thanks, Obama." Then you can almost hear the sound of his nose depressing, because he begins spewing his loud litany of ignorance into our voice chat. [ profile] atara and I have both had to manually turn his volume down just to make him less obnoxious.





I wish I was making these up, but these are all talking points that he has shat out in voice chat at one time or another. Like I said, I don't know if he is trolling, or if he is just one of those people who takes everything Rush Limbaugh squeezes out as gospel without doing even a modicum of research or critical thinking on his own. Maybe he was raised by wolves, and when they brought him back to the human world, they taught him English by letting him watch an endless steam of FOX News op-ed pieces.

In any event, I am very close to just outright muting him in game and in the voice chat. The loud, intellectually-insulting stream of nonsense that pours out of his brain just make it an unpleasant experience sometimes when he is around.

1 Sometimes guild-mates will push his button to get him wound up, but usually he just presses it himself, over and over, belching out stupid right-wing schlock-radio echo chamber points.
plonq: (WoW Mood)
I read an interesting post in the WoW Reddit today from somebody who got banned for his character's name. He was playing a healer named Therapist.

They banned him until he agreed to a name change. He appealed the ban, and got a response from one one of the GMs that amounted to little more than, "Sorry. Sucks to be you."

The GM explained that while, yes, the word has a perfectly harmless dictionary definition, they had to appeal to people reading it in a more common and unfortunate way.

I think he got banned because the GMs got tired of fielding tickets and reports by Tumblr crowd. "OMG TRIGGER. HIS NAME IS A TRIGGER! NOW I NEED TO GO SEE MY THERA... AHHH! TRIGGERED AGAIN!"

I find it interesting that the GM drew a parallel with the word "Bitch" - though he carefully danced around the actual word in his letter.

While "it" means "female dog" and in the dictionary sense is perfectly harmless, because of its common view, we have to take it as a negative word.

I can totally see their point here - there is a question of proper decorum in a game. Could you imagine the fainting and scandal, for instance, if the War Chief was to turn to the leader of the Foresaken and say, "Watch your clever mouth, bitch!" I mean, imagine him saying it, and carefully enunciating the final word as if he did not want anyone to miss it. It would be awful if something like that sneaked into the game.

So I guess the name "Therapy" would be banned to for being too, uh, apy.


Nov. 18th, 2014 11:30 pm
plonq: (Dramatic Mood)
On-line has been full of drama lately. If it is not the operators of FA going down another ill-advised path of self-destruction, then it is the moderator of the the /r/wow subreddit having a meltdown because of queue times.

I really don't know what to say about FA. They operate as if they have not learned a single thing over the years, and constantly work under the principle of "nothing in this plan can possibly go wrong." Ah well, it is their site to run as they wish. I have very little invested in it - emotional or otherwise.

Meanwhile on Reddit, the top moderator in the /r/wow sub reverted to an emotional 3-year-old when Blizzard had to throttle logins on their servers while they dealt with some issues. He announced that he was closing the sub to the public until he could get into the game, and he switched it to private for the next few hours. The sub has ~200K subscribers, and Blizzard uses it as one of their official communication outlets. As such, even they weighed in, asking him via Twitter if he could please reconsider his actions.

Eventually he turned the sub back on for public access, but he was caught off-guard by the animosity directed his way by many of the subscribers. Apparently, he had been expecting sympathy and support from other people whose lives had been shattered by having to wait an hour or two to log into an on-line video game. When that did not happen, he removed all of the other moderators and closed the sub again, ostensibly on a permanent basis.

In a rather rare move, the administrators on Reddit stepped in and took control of the sub from him, handing it over to one of the other moderators. Oddly, I heard more butt-hurt over that than I did over the moderator's actions. I had no problem with it, really. I am not sure what logic would dictate that the administrators of a site are required to stand back while somebody damages the user experience of a couple hundred thousand subscribers. It is true that the administrators can be very selective and self-serving in when they decide to intervene, or stand back and watch things burn, but in this case I support their actions.

In what world is "walla" a word? I have seen it used (not ironically) more than once, and it was only the context of its use that led me to realize that the poster meant "voilà". More recently, I am seeing the phrase "low and behold" falling into common use. It is mostly from younger posters, which leads me to wonder if they are relaxing the reading requirements in schools these days, and just encouraging students to spell words like they sound.

What is even more depressing is reading posts from people claiming to be in university, but who have barely mastered the ability to string letters together.

im working in a gas station 2 help pay my way thru 2nd yr of college anyway some1 comes in and says they left there phone behind on accident at the pump and have i seen it and i say is it a modorola and they say yes and low and behold some1 left 1 just like it this morning and i reach under the counter and walla their's the phone and there all mad and say give me my phone people are so rude!

In fairness, I exaggerated this post a bit. Usually they are much longer - often dozens of lines unfettered by white space or punctuation. The worst of it is that the people who write like that don't know that they are awful writers, or if they do, then they take a weird sort of pride in their awfulness. I cannot remember a time when being ignorant, or underachieving was worn so openly like a badge of honour. It is not like horrible writing is a recent development, but this sense of people feeling so good about being so awful has an air of newness to it.
plonq: (Gnar Gnar)
After weeks of grinding, I am two Celestial battles away from getting my legendary cloak. Bull and chicken are going down tonight.

At this point, those who have read the above line will be divided into two camps: 1) "I have no idea what I just read." and 2) "About time."

For those in the latter camp, all I can say in my defence is that the RNG gods frowned upon me and I had a terrible drop rate for the things that I needed. To give you an idea of how the drops have been going for me, I finished last week with 11/12. Last night I cleared wing 3 of ToT without success, and then cleared wing 1 of SoO, only getting my 12th shard on the Sha, and only because he has a 100% drop rate. This process has been so frustrating that I am tempted to make a big show of vendoring the damn thing as soon as I get it tonight. =/

Work has been a bit of a nightmare the past couple of weeks - though [ profile] atara will vouch for that, as she's had to listen to me grouse endlessly about it, and been witness to the frantic 22:00 calls that have kept me working late into the night. I won't go into a lot of detail except to say that we (and by "we" I mean the meatheads who head up my department) did a major platform move without adequately testing the new environment, or running things in parallel until we knew it would work on the new platform.

It didn't work. A week and a half later it still is not working. Our managing director "resigned" rather suddenly yesterday. This was his project, but even so the resignation has a very scapegoat feel to it - though based on the wording of the letter from the VP, I think it is possible that he quit out of frustration. Word on the street is that some of the more boneheaded decisions made in this project were forced onto him from higher up. It sounds like there may have been a bit of management dick wagging going on, with lots of boastful claims like, "We don't need no fucking safety net!"

It turns out that a safety net might have been nice after all. I would not be surprised to see a few more heads roll before this is done.


Jul. 10th, 2012 11:06 pm
plonq: (Hipster Mood)
First, and slightly unrelated, I ran a full clear of Dragon Soul in Looking For Raid with a few guild mates last night, and amused then when I tossed out the term "paint lickers" to describe some of the players from the Mal'Ganis server. They had heard of window lickers, but the thought of these pimply PVP kids licking lead paint tickled them greatly.

Anyway, on to the main point of my post.

We had technology failure, and then success over the past couple of days. [ profile] atara commented on the weekend that it would be nice to sit out back in the afternoon with her notebook computer so that she could browse sites like Reddit, Boing Boing and Videosift without having to endure the oven-like heat of our computer room. The problem is that due to the layout of our house, the thickness of the walls, and many layers of lead-based paint on various surfaces in the house, the signal from our wireless router does not reach to the back yard.

To me this sounded like an invitation to buy one of the ranger extenders I have been thinking about buying for some time. I wandered up to Staples yesterday and grabbed one from D-Link; that is the brand of our router, so it seemed like a good fit. They were selling it for the same price as everyone else, and it had been getting middling to decent reviews. I hooked it up to my notebook last night, configured it to connect to our router, and then [ profile] atara found a space for it in the back change room where it could do some good.

Unfortunate, even though our mobile devices could see it, none of them would connect. I finally decided that I must have configured it wrong, and I brought it back to the front of the house to redo its settings. Somewhere between the back room and the front room, it quit working entirely. It went from being a wireless range extender to being a paper weight. My hunch is that the power brick was defective, but regardless of the cause, the device was stone dead.

I returned it this morning, informing them that it was DOA (much to the mirth of the girl at the return counter who had never heard that term used to describe a piece of electronics) and I asked to swap it for one that worked. They did a bit of searching in the front and back of the store before concluding that I had completely cleaned out their stock of D-Link range extenders. Hmph. They offered two alternatives; a Linksys for about the same price (if the answer "no" does not work for you, I can offer up a hearty "fuck off") and a Netgear one for a few dollars more.

I hesitated over the Netgear extender because I was not sure how much I wanted to spend on this little project, but after reading a few ragingly tepid on-line reviews ("It works. After a fashion. I suppose.") I decided to pay the difference and brought home a new extender today. The main external difference between the D-Link and the Netgear extenders was that the Netgear device lacked external antennas, and had way more blinky lights.

In terms of configuring though, it was much easier than the D-Link. Both our router and the extender support WPS, so it was just a matter of powering up the extender and pressing a button on each device. While there is a puerile little part of me that wants to remote into the extender and change its SSID to something like "Free Porn", I have decided to leave it be because I don't want to mess with something that is working - and it is working pretty well. We now have a nice, strong signal through the entire house.

There were a couple of minor snags, mind you. When I first set up WPS, the extender connected to the router, but the globe light on the router (which indicates that it is connected to the Internet) began flashing different colours in a manner that I assume would probably be more meaningful if I had a copy of my router's manual kicking around somewhere. We had Internet connection on our wired computers, but not on the wireless ones. I finally power cycled the router and that seemed to fix its issues. Alas, we still could not connect to the Internet via the extender on our laptops - that is, until [ profile] atara suggested rebooting them.

Is there anything a reboot can't fix? Look at what it did for Star Trek and My Little Pony. What's good for stale franchises should also work for computers too, right? Apparently so. Everything works now, and it works further than ever before.
plonq: (Dashing  mood)
Bridge of Sighs popped to mind the other day, and has been stuck playing in the fringes of my awareness ever since. It occurred to me that I have not listened to this song in a few years. I own Robin Trower's greatest hits CD, but I don't think I have pulled it out since I some time before I was married.

I love this song on many levels, from its ethereal quality to its slightly haunting lyrics, to the Hendrixesque guitar work. It has always been one of those "Oh, THIS song" tunes that would make me leap for the volume control when i was in my late teens.

But enough about music. Now to gaming.

I ran Dragon Soul with the new guild on Sunday. They were short a couple of bodies and grabbed me to fill a DPS spot. We did not clear the place because we hit the arbitrary stop time, but we one-shotted our way past the boat before calling it a night. [ profile] atara joined us for the first few bosses before she stepped aside to make room for a second tank. They did not say anything to me, but they whispered to her that they were impressed by both our our dps outputs.

I think they are also impressed by our situational awareness, and ability to pick up on fight mechanics after a quick explanation. In fairness, we are both fairly seasoned raiders, and the Dragon Soul mechanics are not the most complicated ones in the game. Still, it was fun to get into a 10-man run again. Every time I run something in a 25-man environment, I realize how much more fun it is in 10-man, and I am reminded anew about how much I do not miss 40-man raiding.

In other news the GM in Solace pulled 35,000 gold out of the guild bank the other day and then transferred the GM title to one of his alts. I expect he did so in anticipation of transferring his main character to Alliance side to play with our Raid Leader (who did a faction transfer a few weeks ago -- which itself was a big part of what inspired [ profile] atara and I to quit the guild and move our main characters elsewhere.

I would like to say that I am appalled, but I am not. I had pretty low expectations for these guys when they took over the guild, so bailing to play Alliance and cleaning out the guild bank do not come as a surprise. I have left my druid over in the old guild in case it rebounds at some point, and because there are still people there who I enjoy chatting with when they come on-line. If the GM does a server/faction transfer in the night then I am probably just going to move my druid over to the new guild and give up on the old one for dead.
plonq: (WoW Tauren Mood)
I had a lockbox drop off a mob while I was grinding out the TB dailies on my druid yesterday, so one of the last things I did in the evening was mail it to my rogue to open. She picked the lock, cracked open the lid and inside she found 30g and another locked box.

Yo dawg, I heard you like lockboxes so I put a lockbox inside your lockbox.

I wondered how many nested lockboxes I would find. Were they like those stacked Russian dolls, with each lockbox smaller than the one before? Alas, the were some cloth bracers inside the next one, so it ended after a single iteration. I'd have loved this when one actually had to level up lock picking as a skill.

I am curious to know if this is a bug, or if somebody at Blizzard development slipped it in as a joke. Anyone who plays this game knows that the developers have a sense of humour, so you never know.

The End

Jan. 5th, 2011 02:19 pm
plonq: (Christmas Mood)
I am using my Christmas icon as a final act of defiance against the fact that my vacation officially ended today. Fortunately I logged into my work computer remotely a few times while I was away, so I did not walk into the nightmare I might otherwise have encountered for my first day back. A couple hours of time on my vacation saved me a couple days of headache - I think it was a fair trade.

I would like to say that I did lots of constructive and useful things while I was off work, and while I managed to get away to the US to visit [ profile] atara's family over Christmas, the rest of my time can be largely summed up with the letters W, O and W. I also cleared several years worth of clutter off of my computer desk, which took the better part of a day. A lot of what was piled on the desk was junk, but I had a pretty strong sentimental attachment to some of it (like the last hand-written note I got from Dad before he died, etc.). I would include a photograph so that you could all marvel at the unclutteredness of my desk now, but without a before picture to compare against, it would lose much of its impact.

I did not make any resolutions for the new year. When the subject of resolutions came up in our guild chat the other day, I casually mentioned, "My sole resolution this year is to make no resolutions this year." I don't know if I can keep that resolution or not, but I figured that I may as well get failure out of the way early and then move on. Alas, the self-defeating nature of my resolution was lost on the others who were logged in at the time.

I was pretty good about tracking my nutrition over Christmas, but our eating routine got so screwed up around New Year's Eve that I gave up tracking until I got onto a more normal schedule. Today I am jumping back on the rails and returning to my regime of regular daily walks. In the end I don't think I back-slid too badly over the holiday, and I think I'm on a good pace to lose another belt size by spring.

I am both relieved, but a bit sad to be done with my "Picture a Day" project. I did not sign up for a new one this year, which means I'll have to start coming up with actual LJ entries again. I did really well with the picture project up until near the end.

The first day that I missed was actually in early December. After nailing it 100% for the year, I got distracted and forgot completely about my daily picture until the next day. Coming so close and then failing in the final stretch took all the wind out of my sails. I did a half-assed job of keeping it going through Christmas but sometime around the 27th or 28th of the month I just stopped. It wasn't a conscious effort to drop the project, but my enthusiasm was gone and I just let it slide; I forgot one day, and then never managed to catch up the next day until the year was over. I'll just mark this off as another of my unfinished projects and move forward.

I'm a little disappointed in myself is all.


Jan. 3rd, 2009 02:27 pm
plonq: (WoW Mood)
Our guild ran10-man Naxxramas last night for the first time since the expansion, and for my first time in there since [ profile] atara and I were running it as part of a 40-man raid back in our days in a hardcore raiding guild. To say that they have made it easier would be an understatement. After a couple of false starts, we downed the the first boss in the spider wing, then one-shotted the second. We hit a bit of a wall with Maexxna, in part because most of us were rusty from months of lay-off, and because this was the first time this particular group had raided together. Eventually we got our coordination down, and we managed to clear the spider wing in our first foray into Naxx.

This was also my first real test for raiding as a Discipline priest. I really like the healing mechanics, but the tree is still buggy as hell. They have promised to fix all of the bugs by the next patch (or at least declare them to be "features" if they are too hard to fix), but I think the Discipline Tree needs a bit more work if it is going to be viable for anything much more intense than we were doing last night. Discipline allows for some good bursts of emergency healing (Pennance is one of my favourite spells in the game), but by the end of the night my healing output was about 2/3 of the other (Holy spec) priest in the raid. She has similar gear to mine, and based on what I saw in Recount, a very similar healing style. I would (generously) estimate that mitigation mechanics in the Discipline tree might account for about half of that gap, which would make Holy about 25% more effective than Discipline for healing. That's a pretty big gap.

I have some ideas about how I would fix it, but that's a post for another day.

I have also been running more heroic instances lately to try and gear up for Naxx. [ profile] atara and I tagged along on a quick guild run of Heroic Utgarde Pinnace yesterday morning. When I say "quick", I mean that it turned into a 3-hour marathon grind. A couple of times it was because I dropped the ball (I didn't hit "Fade" at a couple of key points), but for the most part it was because our second warlock on the run is a damage-meter whore, who kept pulling aggro on himself by using AoE on virtually every pull. A couple of guild-mates talked me into a (mostly) guild run of Heroic Halls of Lightning this morning. I was reluctant to go because I had heard horror stories about this instance in heroic, but we breezed through it in about 35 minutes (and the healing was remarkably easy). In retrospect, all healing is going to feel trivial for awhile after yesterday's UP run.
plonq: (WoW Goth)
I fought the buggy login servers and crash-prone world servers in order to log into WoW last night and check out the new talent trees. I had to re-spec three times because the world server crashed and took my full spec with it, but eventually I managed to construct a half-decent shadow build. I will need to have some decent grinding time, uninterrupted by sporadic server crashes in order to build some good numbers, but once I am done I will post the results here.

On the plus side, I think it may be impossible for me to run out of mana when soloing. VT/Replenishment is a slap-in-the-face joke when it comes to mana return, but the new mechanics of Spirit Tap had me ticking back to full mana between pulls. This won't help much in an instance since I seldom get the killing blow, but it will make levelling a breeze.

On the down side, in my limited experimentation, my DPS looks to be lower after the patch - and this is after I swapped out to better gear. My critical strikes are much larger (3700ish instead of 2400ish), but they coupled that with overall nerfs to most of our other damage spells. I am going to wait until I can run a set of daily quests to see what my numbers look like at the end, but for now it looks like Blizzard may have put one over on the priests. It's possible that my damage meter is borked, but it appears that they have compensated us for removing all of our utility (they are already promising a nerf to VE) by reducing our damage output as well.

Oh, and with the exception of my azure dragon whelp, all of my pets and mounts are gone. Blizzard's initial response was a somewhat cocky, "Don't sweat it - it's just a display issue. We'll have it fixed shortly." to something more akin to, "Um, we're hoping that we can somehow restore those for you..." I know that vanity pets are not a game-breaker, but I jumped through a lot of hoops to get some of those pets, and I am going to be sorely miffed if I don't get them all back.

I am also unimpressed that the game has not credited me with achievements for clearing old-world content. The only one that it has credited me with is Onyxia's Lair, and in fairness to the game, I'd have a good argument if it didn't credit me with that since I still have the Tier2 helm sitting in my bank. I am not going to go back and clear MC, and BWL, and AQ20 and the like just to get my deserved credit for those. I may strive for a couple more titles (I've gained 3 since the expansion: Jenkins, Diplomat and Guardian of Cenarius), but I don't think I'm going to sweat over the buggy achievements.
plonq: (Warcraftian Mood)
One of our guild officers had an amusing epiphany yesterday -- but I'll get to that in a second.

Last night was one of our regular Karazhan nights, and in spite of being a little off our game at times, we still managed to put on a decent performance. We carved through Curator, Shade of Aran, Netherspite and the Chess event in short enough time that our GM insisted that we had time for a shot or two at Illhoof. (Cue collective groan.) The problem with Illhoof is that it's a tough enough fight if you have proper group balance, and we were down a healer. If you get a little lucky you can do the fight with two healers, but ideally you should have three; one to concentrate on the MT, and two to spam-heal whoever gets chained (in between keeping up the warlock and the rest of the raid). We tried twice, and wiped twice with only two healers.


All dialogue heavily paraphrased.

Plonq is on the wind rider, flying to Swamp of Sorrows on his way to the instance. The talk in Vent turns to which bosses we will and won't be doing tonight. Somebody raises the question about whether we will be taking on Illhoof.

Officer: "No, we won't be doing Illhoof tonight. We're down a healer."
Me: "I could fly back and re-spec holy just for that fight if you like. Then run a couple of quick heroics to upgrade my gear a bit before we pull..."
Officer: "You spec holy? That would be a sight to behold. No, I think we'll be skipping Illhoof.

Fast-forward to Netherspite, as I snap up a healing neck that nobody else wants.

Me: I could use that for my healing set if we're just going to shard it. I always pack two sets of gear with me. That is why I am constantly out of bag space.

Jump ahead to Illhoof where we are running back after our second wipe. More paraphrasing to follow - and our officer has an epiphany. I like to think that the whole "Lisa needs braces -- dental plan!" thing was playing itself out in his head at the time.

There's just no way we can do this fight with just a paladin and a shaman for healing. We need a third healer. One of us has to concentrate on the MT, but we need two healers spamming heals on whoever is in the chains or they'll die too.

[We need a third healer. -- I could use that for my healing set. I always pack two sets of gear with me.]

We've got tons of DPS - way more than we need for this fight. We're just short on healing. We've got a druid, but we need him for our off-tank.

[We need a third healer. -- I could use that for my healing set. I always pack two sets of gear with me.]


[We need a third healer. -- I could use that for my healing set. I always pack two sets of gear with me.]


(Slowly) Wait a minute... you can heal. You're a priest - you have a heal button. Did you say that you'd brought your healing gear with you...?

Once they had me switch to healing, we downed him with ridiculous ease. I was the only one who died in the fight - twice, actually (battle rez ftw.). By the time I died in the chains again we had him down to 12% and the fight was effectively over. The officer admitted that he'd become so used to me functioning as a pure DPS class that he'd come to think of me as another warlock, and he'd forgotten that I am also a fairly effective healer. After tonight they're going to start treating me like a hybrid - which is fine with me. I don't mind getting tapped to heal in fights like this because for me, taking down a boss is more important than trying to top the healing meters, and getting the call to heal now and then helps me to keep that those skills sharpened.

Sometimes it's nice being the only person from your class along on a raid. For the second run in a row I made out like a bandit and got three upgrades (two for healing, one for DPS). I've been practising the phrase, "Well, if nobody else wants it..."
plonq: (Georgian Mood)
Bad: Your latest in a line of revolving-door Priest Class Leaders quits the guild and transfers off the server.
Worse: He cleans out the guild banks of epics and gold first.
Insult: He also steals all of the bags while he's at it.
Annoying: ... bags for which yours truly donated a good percent of the raw materials.
Douche Bag: He logs into the guild forums after the fact to gloat about it.

He'd seemed like a reasonable, level-headed individual (which is why he got an officer position in the first place).

Here is my guess: he had some RL friends starting up a guild on another server, and rather than just saying, "Hey guys, I'm going to /gquit and move over to this other server to join my friends." He decided to cash & dash on the way out. He figured that he would be a big hero in the new guild by showing up with his bags full of money and epics. Since we'd have no way of knowing which server he had transferred to, or what name he was using on the new server, he could be uncontested in claiming that they were "parting gifts" from his previous guild. "It wasss our birthday present, precioussss..."

It would be the perfect crime, with no repercussions. Sure, he might feel a little guilty at first, but he'd get over it.

His parting words before he transferred his characters off-server were, "well im sorry you're upset, but i guess everyone is going to have to get over it"


He couldn't just end it there, though. He logged back into our guild message boards under an alternate account to gloat about the perfectness of his crime. His reasoning was that by giving him the passwords to the bank alts, we had given him tacit permission to loot them of anything he saw fit at any time. He was sure that Blizzard would see it the same way.

Apparently they didn't.

They are restoring (what appears to be) all of the pilfered goods. It seems that he also felt a twinge of remorse when he found out that he was not going to get away with his stunt -- but I'll let him explain it in his own words from an email he sent to our GM after the fact.

"Im writting this to admit guilt. I did steal from the guild bank. I do not know why I did it, and i feel horrible for upsetting you and the rest of the guild. You are right the whole guild treated me very very nice and I went and pulled a stupid ass stunt like that. My account is under review for what I did and will most likly get banned."

You're right, punk, we did treat you really well. You sure had me fooled -- I'd have pegged you as one of the last people to pull this kind of crap. Sorry to hear that your characters are getting nuked after all that time you spent building them up. Oh wait, I'm not sorry to hear that at all. Good riddance.


Jan. 21st, 2007 11:16 pm
plonq: (WoW Goth)
Playing a low-level Blood Elf hunter has made me a little bit miffed on many levels. Firstly, I'm finally starting to get acquainted with some of those paladin buffs. No wonder the Alliance have always been so far ahead of us in raiding progression! Seriously, if these buffs scale then you'd have to be utter nubs to wipe on any end-game boss. People in my various guilds who have played both factions have always said that playing Alliance was like having the "Easy" button at your disposal, and now I'm starting to get an inkling of that first hand. I'm a little annoyed at Blizzard that they made the two factions so badly unbalanced.

Mind you, not all was rosy on the Alliance side. The same people who would play nothing but Night Elves have invaded the Horde side and created Blood Elves. I had thought that the inane chatter in The Barrens was bad, but spending any length of time in the Blood Elf start area is enough to make one pine for the witty discourse in the former. I'd venture to say that the average age (and IQ) of people jamming up the Blood Elf zone chat seems to be about 13.

"cn u tel me hw 2 mv fwd??????"
"LOL UR DUM!!!!"
"weres irnforj??"

Anyway, my priest dinged 63 today, and I'm loving the new spells and talents. [ profile] atara and I have combined forces to do the quests in the new zone, and we're carving through the area like a veritable wrecking crew. Since entering the expansion areas I have only died twice - and one of those was due to a bug in one of the quests.
plonq: (WoW Mood)
My original intent was to level my priest up to 70 before I started a new character, but in the end the first thing I did in the xpac was create a Blood Elf hunter.

I tamed my first pet last night. I call him _______ -- well, therein lies the problem. I have never been good with names, and I am drawing blanks. I'm tempted to name him after the dyspeptic dragon in Peregrine Secundus, but for the life of me I can't remember its name (Smasgaradas or something like that).
Picture of my new character behind a cut. )
If anybody out in LJ land has some good dragon names, I will gladly take suggestions.

Down time

Sep. 17th, 2006 12:20 pm
plonq: (WoW Mood)
Even fictional characters need some down time during a heavy raiding schedule.

How does Erui pass time? )
plonq: (Predatory Mood)
I'd tell her to rest in peace, but I have a feeling she'll be back.
She didn't drop a lot of loot. )
The top 3-4 Horde guilds on this server are pretty competitive, so being the first in our faction to taker her down on this server is good for some serious bragging rights.

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