The Kerfuffle

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Getting Out

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For the last few days we have more or less been stuck in the house.  We had quite literally three and a half days of nonstop rain, that then turned into ice, sleet and snow.  Yesterday however we were getting to the point of being stir crazy.  It is funny how much different you feel about your home when you feel like you can’t or at least shouldn’t leave it.  I can happily stay home for days on end without leaving… but the moment I feel like I am trapped there…  I start to go stir crazy.  So as a result my wife and I had decided that yesterday we would get out regardless of how cold it was.  Admittedly cold for me is sub freezing…  not necessarily the negative temperatures that the rest of my readers might consider cold.  We essentially had one task that needed to get done, and a bunch of other things that we sorted out somewhere in the middle.  My wife’s tribal tag was due, so we had to trek out to the small town that has a Cherokee nation tag office, and what I thought was going to take fifteen minutes ended up taking close to an hour because they were short workers due to the holiday break.  After that we grabbed a friend and went out looking for post holiday clearance bargains….  and the strange hair stuff my wife uses that no one seems to stock.

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At the first place we stopped we managed to find both the hair gunk, as well as clearance Legos.  At some point I had picked up The Phantom ship from Star Wars Rebels for cheap…. I want to say something in the range of $8-10.  Then I had seen The Ghost a handful of times marked down but always passed it up for this reason or that.  I had been kicking myself for not snapping it up when I saw the stores start to close it out, but apparently the target we went to somehow managed to still have one after the Christmas rush.  Better yet it was marked down by like $40 making it the best deal I had seen on it yet.  What I am really curious about is whether or not The Phantom will dock with The Ghost like it does in the television show.  Some googling makes it seem like that is the case, so I am really hoping.  My big problem with my Legos is finding a place to display them after I build them up.  This is one of the big solutions I need to figure out for my office.  I thought about some sort of shelving on the walls, but finding a way to make it somehow immune to cats jumping up there and knocking everything around is always going to be a problem.  When we went out to eat yesterday I snapped a photo of what was a broken “legal age of drinking” sign in the bar area.  Apparently we are super hardcore here in Oklahoma as we seem to allow newborns to drink.

The Kerfuffle

Something is going on in the WoW twitter community, and to be honest I am not entirely sure what is up.  I’ve tried to piece things together as best as I can, but the root seems to be that two different groups are fighting… and it somehow is over the #warcraftpositivity hashtag.  What has been so damned odd on the outside looking in is just how many people who are apparently not even involved in the initial kerfuffle are getting pulled into the fray.  I had things I was going to say, but honestly I am not even sure if it matters.  It just really sucks to be on the outskirts and watching two different groups of friends fighting over something that was supposed to be a good thing in the first place.  Essentially while the Internet is a huge place… when you are mostly hanging out in a small corner of it there are going to be times when you keep running into people that for whatever reason you do not get along with.  At this point you can do one of two things…  you can make a big deal of it and get upset or you can just accept that these people still exist in the world and there is nothing you can do about it.  Your friends can still be your good and true friends… and still like this other person.  Sure it is awkward as hell to be part of a sequence of messages that include this other person… that might have you blocked and as a result you are only seeing part of the conversation…  but at the end of the day no matter how much you huff and puff there isn’t much you can really do about it.

All of these things tend to start with a difference of opinion, and then it gets inflated to the point where it is a verbal war.  Well meaning people get in the middle of issues that don’t actually involve them, and as a result it becomes a “thing” that seems to leaving everyone scratching their heads as to what exactly happened.  I was not even really on social media that much over the holidays, yet I still seem to have gotten wrapped up in it as I got some random un-follows from folks loosely connected to the mess.  I’ve used twitter since 2009 and in that time I have found less than a half dozen folks that were not bots getting auto-blocked from reporting spam…  that I actually found vile enough to block.  There are some folks and hashtags that I have muted in Tweetdeck but that is an entirely different story.  Basically it takes a lot to get me to block someone, and I try my damnedest to never act based purely on third or fourth hand knowledge.  I am not big on the shunning of people for a reason  that are not deeply personal to me… and even then while I will never forgive some people, I can still functional and interact with them in a generally friendly manner.  I hold some serious grudges against a few individuals based on my interactions with them in WoW, but I also knew that at some point because of mutual friends I would have to keep interacting with them.

WoW Community

The problem is… that due to events like this happening with a frighteningly regular frequency, the WoW Community has developed this reputation of being like a middle school lunch room.  At times this is absolutely a fair assessment, but it is also a shallow one.  The players who are online and interacting on a regular basis do not represent the bulk of Warcraft players.  Most people just want to log in every night, and decompress while killing internet dragons… and don’t really reach out much past their own guild or immediate circle of real life friends.  I’ve heard the WoW Community referred to as Toxic, and this is also I think unfair.  Sure this particular community has some problems, but those problems are only really noticed…. because it is so insanely huge still.  When you are part of the largest MMO community, even single problem is going to be magnified through sheer numbers.  Sure there are more assholes in WoW, because there are far more players there to interact with… and the folks that hang out in trade chat and heckle other players…  seem more noticeable when you have a hundred on a server… instead of just having two or three in other games.  The same goes for the twitter presence, because the wow community as a whole out numbers pretty much every other MMO gaming community I am part of combined.

What gets lost in the noise is all of the positive things that are happening behind the scenes.  There are people who are doing a lot of good and putting a lot of actual positivity out in the world.  Just because a handful of miscreants takes offense to that, and decides to derail something….  doesn’t mean that it was a bad thing in the first place.  The truth is… were it not for the fact that I was on twitter and interacting with a handful of the folks connected to the events…  I probably wouldn’t have even known something was going on.  Both House Stalwart the guild I founded back in 2004, and Facepull the horde side guild I am finally getting to do awesome things with…  are both doing amazingly well and thanks to the holiday break have more smiling faces active and happy to be in game than I have seen in a long time.  That is what matters in Warcraft, not the bickering or the name calling that seems to be happening somewhere in the ether above the actual game.  I think those of us who are watching things seemingly burn down around us… need to remember that in a couple of weeks time no one will remember what the hell actually happened.  Things will keep moving forward the way they have always moved forward, and people will still keep being awesome all around the community.  So my hope is that if folks still cannot get along after all of this…  that they just quietly disagree in their own corner of the twitterverse, so that the rest of us can continue having a happy place to rest our heads.

Raiding Drama

Eleven Sads out of Ten

Ori 2015-03-12 11-52-32-79 Yesterday I ended up running home over lunch to fiddle with a server here at the house that was no longer responding.  While here I decided to boot up Ori and the Blind Forest and play for a bit while I scarfed down my lunch.  I had been prepared slightly for this intro by my friends and by watching the video from e3.  In truth I still was not quite prepared.  If you do not cry through this intro, or at least get really damned close to crying…  you likely have no soul.  We have joked a bit on the podcast that the video game industry seems to only really know how to do rage fueled revenge and soul crushing depressing sad as far as an available emotional range.  This game is most definitely in the crushing sads territory, and I would give it eleven sads out of ten as the title goes.  Quite honestly the best comparison I have is the introduction to the Disney film Up.  It manages to be so touching and adorable… and at the same time so unfortunately depressing.

The positive is however that once the game proper starts and you manage to get through the introduction… the tone does get quite a bit more hopeful.  The game itself is this wonderfully animation quality experience.  At its core the game is very much a metroidvania, and it is quite clear early on which obstacles you can pass and which you cannot.  Additionally the game has some interesting combat in that you have a light spark that follows you around and ends up flinging fireball like things that lock onto your target.  So this is vastly different from the traditional mechanism of slashing things with a weapon or firing directly at your enemies.  The game right now is $20 on steam, and as little as I have played of it… I am already hooked.  If you like beautiful games with excellent narration… of the metroidvania genre…  I highly suggest you check it out.  I will more than likely be streaming some of this over the weekend and playing a good deal more of it.

Raiding Drama

Wow-64 2015-03-05 21-06-19-69 We had a bit of an incident happen last night, and I have to say it was primly surreal to experience it.  Over the years I have been the guild leader of most of the guilds I have been part of, and even when I was not… I still was treated as such by most of the membership.  However for the past year in both World of Warcraft and Final Fantasy XIV..  I am not leading anything.  I have taken up the role of cruise director and recruitment…  but have not been doing any of the heavy lifting that comes with the crown.  Apparently over the last several months I have finally gotten used to that role.  One of our problems over the course of this expansion has been a lack of critical lack of available healers.  For the most part we have struggled through, but are starting to get to content where we need the intended balance of dps, tanks and healing.  As such our raid leader opted to bench a few people of our dps to try and get our ratios more in line with what they should be.  Unfortunately it seems that at least one of our players took offense to this.

During the middle of the raid one of the players chain logged in all of his characters and de-guilded them one after another.  I have to give him credit for saying a rather nice farewell message when he got to the last one…  but all of this felt a bit over dramatic.  Normally I would have been tracking that player down, and trying to talk them off the ledge.  Last night however… I was content to watch the events play out in front of me, as I realized…  this was no longer my problem.  World of Warcraft is a game that comes with more than its fair share of drama, especially when it comes to raiding.  However I am not the guild leader any longer, nor am I responsible for raid leading at all… and I can simply sit back and watch the events unfold in front of me without feeling any guilt in the situation.  I have to say that was a pretty awesome feeling when I finally realized that I was fine with someone else dealing with things.  It sucks when anyone leave the guild, but I have to accept  that people are going to ultimately do whatever the hell they want to do.  I have a feeling the person in question will cool off and come back, but if he doesn’t it is not really that big of a deal anyways.

Thogar Down

Wow-64 2015-03-12 20-26-53-85 On the positive side of things, pairing the raid down to a more reasonable ratio of healers to dps…  did manage to improve our performance.  Before last night we had really only spent a single night of attempts on Operator Thogar in Blackrock Foundry.  For those unfamiliar this is the “train” fight and it takes place on a series of four tracks.  During the fight a dance happens of moving back and forth between the different lanes to avoid the oncoming trains that buzz through.  If the player is hit by a train it seems to reduce their health by a specific percentage, leaving the player on the edge of death…  but not quite oneshotting them.  Previously our big issue was that in two places during the fight… the entire raid needs to split into two groups.  The problem here is there is a fairly hefty tank swap mechanic so that the tanks need to time this swap in such a way so that the fresh tank is taunting Thogar as they are moving to the new position.  The margin here is super slim, and both sides have to burn through their adds extremely quickly so that we can join back up and let the then free second tank taunt back the boss before the damage gets to great.

Last night we managed to do all these things right, and very quickly got to the second one of these swaps.  Within another try or so we managed to push through the fight and down Thogar.  One of the things that made last night extremely difficult was the fact that we essentially had no battle rez.  Our druid healer was out for the night, as was our Deathknight DPS… meaning our only option was to have the bear tank stance dance and someone get a rez off before dying to the boss.  Needless to say we largely did this without a rez, and I have to say I am pretty damned proud of how fast the progress happened.  We spent the rest of the night working on the Heart of the Mountain event, and I feel like we need to sift through the logs and see exactly what was going wrong there.  It is one of those events where there are dozens of mechanics happening at the same time… and while we could consistently push into phase two without issue… we struggled to get elementalists down.  I have a feeling that we are going to have to split into teams and each focus on a finite number of mechanics.  Drama aside it felt like a really good night of raiding.