Bel Folks Stuff 5 – Evening with Qelric

We are going to put on our timey wimey stuff hats and pretend that this show is being released during the month of February, as it was originally intended.  When I record a Bel Folks Stuff I tend to give the victim as much time as possible.  So I approached Qelric back in January to talk about this show… and she every so graciously accepted.  The problem is that life happened in the time between, with her getting an absolutely horrible case of chicken pox towards the beginning of the month, and me dealing this this insane bronchitis mess towards the end.  The result is we recorded the “February” episode in March…  and that I supposed is just fine so long as it came out in any form.

Qelric is quite literally one of the only youtubers I watch with any regularity because she brings to her craft a style that you don’t generally see on youtube any more.  She presents extremely content dense videos in a news like format, making them far easier for me to digest without the rambling exposition.  If you are not familiar with your videos, I highly suggest you check them out.  On top of this however Q is just a downright interesting person, and we have interacted for what feels like years.  I had a delightful afternoon/evening sitting down to record this episode.  Before we knew it a couple of hours had passed and we had a mammoth hour and a half long show.  The awesome thing is… even after the mic stopped recording we wound up talking for another thirty or forty minutes.  I love it when the conversation is natural and flowing.  Hopefully you will all enjoy this as much as I did recording it.

[download the podcast]


Wow-64 2015-03-02 06-25-36-19 Yesterday was a surprisingly busy day, with dealing with the publishing of two different podcasts and a normal blog post.  As a result especially while waiting for Qelric to get online, I wanted to play something but did not want to get too terribly engaging.  With the introduction of the Heirloom system and the 6.1 patch, it has greatly increased my desire to alt.  My number one frustration while trying to level a character is trying to make sure I have level equivalent gear.  I realize that gear is never as important as I seem to make it, but I like to have at least as good of a weapon as possible while  pushing through the levels.  Now previously I had some heirlooms, but I had to choose which character would get to use them.  Even with the ability to send them cross realm, it became a mess trying to track who had what and I was constantly afraid I would end up losing heirlooms in the mail…  because I have done this before.  The new system however is pretty much ideal for me, since I can generate copies of heirlooms on any and all characters.

When The Scryers server merged with Argent Dawn I set about creating eleven place holder horde characters, since I did not know how the actual merger would work.  It makes me extremely happy that I can have 11 Alliance characters on Argent Dawn and 11 Horde characters on The Scryers…  and use them to play with my AD Horde friends.  I have always been one of those players that tried to span the faction divide whenever I could and through various community efforts I developed just as many bonds on the red side as the blue.  I always feel like a louse however for never really spending much time leveling a character on the “other” side.  As a result I started working on Belgrace my Moocowadin yesterday while waiting for Qelric and while recording the podcast.  As of this morning I am now level 18 and starting the Ratchet area.  It is insane just how fast the levels come when you are completely kitted out in heirlooms.  The only slot that I do not have is the ring, and I am simply not a good enough fisherman to get that.

A Confidence Boost

Wow-64 2015-03-01 11-55-03-53 Over the last few weeks since the launch of the Final Fantasy XIV 2.5 patch I have greatly tapered off the amount of time I am spending in World of Warcraft.  It has become a Tuesday/Thursday experience for me largely which means simply showing up in time to raid.  Now granted I am logging in periodically throughout the week to run garrison missions but in the grand scheme of things that takes ten minutes or so at a time, and I am really not online that long.  I’ve felt kinda horrible because one of my long time friends has been slowing improving her ilevel gear wise on her priest.  Every so often she would give me an update and yesterday she told me she had hit ilvl 626.  I knew the answer before I asked it, but I asked her if she had managed to do any LFR yet?  As I suspected she said no, that she was wary of raiding… and didn’t think she was ready for it.  I hopped on Lodin my hunter, that could still use gear from Highmaul LFR and offered to queue with her for moral support.

Finni had raided before during the early days of World of Warcraft, and as such the bulk of her experience dated from the 40 man era.  So when she thinks “raid” she equates it to super serious business.  Fortunately and unfortunately at times…  Looking for Raid is anything but serious business.  Within what felt like fifteen minutes of queuing we were through the first section, and she got a much needed confidence boost… and thankfully a little bit of gear.  I remember the first time I queued for Looking for Raid upon coming back during Pandaria.  I was scared as hell because the concept of a raid for me too was “serious business” time.  Thankfully we have this wonderful system that allows players without the time to dedicate to at least be able to get in and see the fights in one form or another.  She ended up walking with a few upgrades, and I did as well…  and can now queue Blackrock Foundry on my hunter.  I think we both benefited from yesterday equally, because it seems like she won’t be quite so frightened of the LFR queue.

#WoW #Paladin #BelFolkStuff

Gadgetzan Bound

Obligatory Update

Yesterday while I was in training I got a text from my mother.  It seems as though the lasix is doing what it is supposed to do and my grandmothers kidney function is improved.  At this point they are talking about maybe taking her off the ventilator today, and trying to wake her up completely.  For the last several days they have kept her sedated with propofol aka “the Michael Jackson drug”.  This has been allowing her to rest and hopefully heal.  As always I want to thank you all for the support.  I am not sure if I want to hope that things are turning around yet or not, because I really don’t want to jinx things.  If they can take her off the ventilator that means she moves out of ICU and up to something called a telemetrics floor.  Which I believe means all the monitoring of ICU, just without the critical nature.  I of course will report in with what has happened one way or the other tomorrow.

Gadgetzan Bound

Wow-64 2014-03-20 06-27-59-97 Last night I did not get a ton of playtime but the time I did get I continued working on my Night Elf Mage.  At this point I am 45 and sitting in Gadgetzan, having more or less completed Thousand Needles.  Tanaris feels much the same, even though it has changed massively since when I was first out here leveling my Hunter back in 2005.  The flavor of the zone is still there… namely the conflict between the goblins of Gadgetzan and the south seas pirates.  While not as hard hit as thousand needles, the zone has lost a significant amount of dry land during the Cataclysm.  In many ways this has made some of the places more enjoyable.  I especially liked the shallow lake full of sea giants.

Back in Everquest, the iconic “dangerous” mob was the Sand Giant, and Sea Giants have that same sort of feeling.  I remember the first time I encountered one, and I also remember it completely kicking my ass.  So while it feels odd that I am openly hunting them during a kill quest, it also feels cool to know that I can now take them down.  Additionally you might notice that I finally got off my duff and made some glyphs.  I have to say the “unbound” elemental is so much cooler than the stock frost elemental.  On top of that it has a much more soothing sound as opposed to the default “water boiling” noise.

I only managed to put on a few levels last night, but mostly because I was not feeling up to pugging.  There are days I can deal with the frustration and stress and there are other days I cannot.  Last night I just wanted to wrap up in my cocoon on the sofa and vege out for a bit.  I ended up going to bed fairly early, which I am sure is something my body needed.  I still feel like I am half coming down with something, half allergies going haywire.  According to fitbit I managed to get over six hours of sleep last night, which is pretty damned good for me.  Traditionally I barely get five hours on the best night.

Out of Touch

The oddest thing about being in a serious training class, or at least one with the word “bootcamp” in the title means that I really am disconnected from the world while doing it.  This has been odd, I am so used to knowing about everything happening within minutes thanks to twitter and google plus.  Being disconnected has created this sense that I am missing something important.  Yet instead of trying to catch up last night, I mostly just kept ignoring it.  I guess my mind is going into weekend mode when I really don’t check into stuff much at all.  Training has been good, but it was one of those situations where I did not realize quite how much I already knew about the software.  Day one was pretty much just a review of concepts we already knew.

Hopefully today we will get into the hardcore nuts and bolts of tearing stuff apart and reassembling it in a fashion we want.  The instructor is pretty hardcore, in that I guess at one point he was over the hardware division at Microsoft, as well as other things.  Nice guy, seems to know what he is talking about.  The time has gone extremely quickly, and I think it helps that I am taking it with two other co-workers.  I guess right now it just feels like I am in this bubble that is not entirely “the real world”, but instead some odd “training world”.  Oh well just today and tomorrow and then we are back to normality.

The Gospel of Faff

The importance of pee

I just thought the sub heading would be humorous, but really it heralds some good news.  Yesterday my Grandmothers kidneys started working again.  Apparently when the body is dehydrated they completely shut off.  The body is all “nope!” no one can have any moisture at all.  This apparently was the last crucial step before she was mostly out of the woods.  She is still in pretty bad shape, but they have been waking her up periodically to make sure she is responsive.  They are keeping her mostly sedated however so she will sleep and rest.  All of the hospital staff have been impressed with just how much of a fighter she is.

So I want to thank all of you for your thoughts during the last few days.  This is the woman who at least gets half of the credit for raising me to be the person I am today.  I didn’t go to daycare, I went to Grandmas house, because she was local and available… and more importantly willing.  We’ve always known she is strong, but this whole episode just proved that to any shadow of a doubt.  So while we are not in the “all clear” yet, we are probably up to a 70% chance of her making it out of this little episode unscathed.  I am sure she will need some therapy after laying in bed for several days immobile.

The Gospel of Faff

This word has been in my vocabulary since I believe high school but I don’t really know how exactly I picked it up.  So when I encountered the Godmother of Faff, I latched onto it with both arms to represent a certain game play style.  However the more I use it, the more it seems to draw confusion among my friends.  Sometimes it gets misread with a certain “self flagellating” connotation, or if you are Scary you apparently read it as some kind of shorthand for flatulence.  So I thought I would spend a bit of time this morning clearing the air about all things faff.  Since this is essentially British slang, I felt we had to go to the official source…  the Oxford dictionary.

image So there is the definition, copied and pasted via greenshot from the oxford dictionary website.  The thing is…  this leads one to believe that it is a bad thing.  I tend to take a much more zen approach.  “Faffing about” is just another in a long line of words used to describe enjoyable but often purposeless activity.  I’ve used many versions of this over the years.  I’ve “piddled” and I’ve “dinked around” and occasionally “goofed off”.  I had a bit of an odd childhood, in that my mother to some extent lived vicariously through me.  She wanted me to do all the things she always wanted to do… but never could afford.  So as a small child I was drug through a series of activities like piano practice that I had no real interest in, but felt no less obligated to do.

As a result I felt like I never got to just be a kid, without purpose or direction.  When I was allowed that time I savored it.  Now as an adult, I am really cautious about anything that places undue burden on my “free” time.  While I feel like Godmother and I probably use the term “Faff” in different ways, our viewpoints are very complimentary.  For me “Faff” represents a play style of allowing myself to get lost in the minutiae of little things that happen along the way.  It is a freedom of not having to have a goal or a focal point for the evening.  That I have permission to log into a game and “mess around” for awhile without necessarily having a tangible reward at the end.

HDPlacard_BelFaffsAbout_720 So as I have begun to stream my game play when possible, I have brought this same idea there as well.  I am not doing something important or grand, but instead just doing what I always do.  I log into mumble, into a special channel called “Bel is Streaming” and then proceed about my normal business and what happens… happens.  Sometimes I do something really interesting, other times I just piddle around leveling.  Last night for example I recorded one of my normal Onyxia and Tempest Keep clear nights, where I run through characters through Onyxia and the two that can solo Tempest Keep all in search of mounts.  Sure there is purpose there, but it is not the kind of big overarching and soul crushing purpose that you feel forced to do it.  Before last night it had probably been three weeks since my last mount farm night… and I am perfectly okay with that.

As is the way with Faff

eso 2014-02-15 11-33-23-02 I had every intent last night to play some more Heroes of the Storm, however that simply did not happen.  Sometimes you get caught up in doing the things you are doing and next thing you know… it is bedtime.  Part of the “Gospel of Faff” is accepting that this is going to happen and being somewhat okay with it.  Some people thrive on goals, and lord knows I have a bunch of little ones.  But for me it is the journey that is so much more important than the destination.  I think in part that is why I have enjoyed The Elder Scrolls online so much.  The game presents before me a whole bunch of rabbit trails that I can get hopelessly lost following.  It is arranged in a way that keeps me from being able to “quest efficiently”.  WoW has made me really good at gathering a bunch of quests, and doing them all before returning to the hub to get more.

The freedom to wander around and get lost in the process of leveling is a really awesome thing.  While World of Warcraft is a really on-rails experience most of the time, I am trying to embrace ways to play it where the objectives don’t matter nearly as much as the journey.  This is far more about my mental state while playing, than what I am actually doing.  However I am trying really hard to always endulge the rabbit trails.  If my addon alerts me to a rare mob in the vicinity…  even if I am on my way to some important objective I try and pull myself from the path to try and track the foe down.  As a result I end up seeing things I may have never seen before in the process.  I had spent most of my time playing WoW trying to avoid the quagmire that is Kalimdor, and now I feel like I am trying to embrace it.

Sneaky McSneakybits

Persistent Stuff

Trove 2014-01-29 06-10-34-60 It has been quite a while since I last talked about Trove on my blog.  For a bit I had been recording regular segments of me exploring the world, then after roughly six of them I just stopped.  Namely this coincides with me getting super into World of Warcraft raiding for a bit.  I however have continued to explore the game each time they add a new build.  At this point it is hard to remember exactly what the state of the game was when I last talked about it.  Currently we have fully persistent cornerstones, and you can see mine on the right-hand side of the image above.  It is still very much a work in progress, but essentially I was trying to maximize the space available and still look like something I could pick out at a distance as “mine”.

Currently there are four levels above ground and two below ground, the first of which below has my workbench and block transmuter thingy.  One of the cool things that they added in within the last few patches is the ability for your crafting inventory to survive between server resets.  This means I finally have a real reason to mass harvest materials for use later, since I am not constantly losing everything each time a patch goes in.  My biggest wish however is that we could craft some weapons to replace the starter crap.  Each time the server resets I rush around trying to get decent enough weapons to leave the first tier zones.  In this present patch it feels like maybe they nerfed the drop rates a bit, as I slaughter a few dozen ladybugs and bees this morning and have gotten nothing at all but cubits… the crafting currency.

Another cool thing they are doing is replacing the in game weapon drops with ones created by players.  When you get an item, it now says who the weapon was created by.  It was pretty cool the other night when I got a nifty rapier drop and noticed it was created by a friend of mine CaptainCursor.  Since the community is relatively small at present, this adds a whole new level to the game since you are constantly running into things created by names you recognize.  You can check out the latest patch notes over on the Trove reddit.

Sneaky McSneakybits

rift 2014-01-29 06-31-43-93 Yeah I have no clue why I named this subsection and the blog post this…  brain does things sometimes.  Last night my most important mission was to finish leveling my rogue to 60, and consume all of the various loot boxes I had gathered up along the way.  At some point they made it so that you are guaranteed a lockbox of some sort from your weekly patron gift.  Since my warrior Belghast is already fairly well geared, or at least well enough to begin raiding…  I figured I would stockpile them to give my rogue a quick gear boost upon dinging.  Turns out it worked pretty well at doing just that.  Between the lockboxes and about 50 plat in select purchases I was able to get well past the 300 hit requirement for expert dungeons.  I did not however get to run one as we spent a good chunk of the evening out and about last night.

In theory the queue should go pretty fast since I am equally comfortable Barding it up as support or going dps as either my Marksman spec or my Nightblade primary dps one.  Going back and playing rift has made me realize just how much I love the Rift Rogue and truly dislike playing a WoW Rogue.  While I got Gloam to 90, and I am extremely happy I did so that I could do the living steel transmutes I needed to craft my Sky Golem…  I really don’t think he is going to get much play.  Quite simply put…  Belgarou my feral druid is a better rogue than my rogue is…  or is at least a more interesting one.   I have just come to realize I don’t really like the way rogues in wow play.  Not sure what it is about the play style but it just isn’t for me anymore, especially now that I feel other classes like Retribution Paladin do the rogue combo point thing better.

Ultimately my key frustration with WoW rogues is that combo points are built in the target instead of a buff that stacks on the rogue itself.  Warhammer Online got this right initially with the Witchhunter class, which was by all purposes a “better” rogue.  I realize at this point the combo points on target thing is tradition, but it simply does not work that well.  While saying the Rift rogue is better, is a bit disingenuous since it is essentially a wow rogue, hunter, druid, and a few other classes that don’t exist in wow rolled into one.  I think the main reason why it “works” better is that the combo point mechanism is on the rogue, not the mob.  This adds a bunch of interesting gameplay elements like building your combo points on the boss, and then using your combo dump to execute weaker encounters.  It is just at this point that the WoW rogue seems so much less interesting than the other “Rogue like” combo point classes.

Onyxia Mount Patrol

Wow-64 2014-01-29 06-49-55-23 After the time in Trove and Rift, I settled in for a little bit of Tuesday raid reset madness over in World of Warcraft.  For better or worse, there are several raids that I solo each week on multiple characters for an attempt at the various pets, tansmoggy bits, and every elusive mounts.  The start of each week tends to be me making the trek out to Dustwallow Marsh to beat up on Onyxia.  First off I have to bitch a little bit, because post Cataclysm they have made it a royal pain in the ass to get to Onyxia for Alliance players.  The fastest route I have figured out is fly straight south out of Stormwind, hop the boat at Booty Bay, and then fly to Dustwallow from there.  All of that involves flying across several zones and hoping that you happen to arrive at Booty Bay just in time to land on the boat.

Of course like normal she didn’t drop me a mount, or anything else of interest for that matter but at this point I can easily solo her as Retribution Paladin and Frost Deathknight, so I do this little interchange twice a week.  I need to cycle through some of my other characters and see if I can build a spec for them that can bring her out of the air in phase two.  I might be able to gather up enough timeless isle gear to make a passable Boomkin spec on my druid, and I think in theory I could probably do it on as Enhancement Shaman.  I do not think however that my Rogue or Warrior will be of much use in my quest for her mount.  I need to check with my friend Rylacus and see if he has any master tips for dropping her out of the air.  The one time I tried to do the fight as a Blood DK it literally took 30 minutes for my diseases/icy touch/deathcoil to do enough damage to get her back on the ground.

The highlight of the evening in WoW however was me flying over to Ahn’Qiraj on a whim.  Turns out that I now have enough physical damage to solo the Twin Emperors fight.  This had long been a stumbling block for me when it came to soloing AQ40.  The other big hurdle was viscidious, however since I dual wield frost… I simply switched my razorice enchanted one-hander to my main hand and that seemed to do the trick for shattering him.  Past that howling blast was more than enough frost damage to freeze the big blob.  I am still missing two pets from this place, so I can see adding it to the weekly faff farming rotation.  I did not really have time to do my BWL run on my paladin, I am still missing a few pieces of judgement… so I am sure over the next few days I will be getting that in.  Since the eggs are a pain in the ass on anyone other than my Deathknight, I generally grab a random person from the guild who needs transmoggy bits before venturing into the dungeon.  My hope is to find a time when Scarybooster can be online, and drag his butt through with them.

Veritech Pilots Unite!

Profundity is Gone

For those that followed me during the recent couple day bump of new readers…  I am rarely as cogent or pointed as those topics come off as.  Most of the time the Tales the Aggronaut spins are yarns of faffing about and doing scattered things in the games I play.  That is not to say that I won’t again be overcome with feels and post something dreadfully important, but most of the time I just ramble on about whatever is in my mind.  This is the side effect of my whole “blog every morning” crusade I embarked upon nearly a year ago.  So if you have a limited appetite for game ramblings, I apologize ahead of time.

My office right now is like a magma chamber, and I am not really sure how long I can keep up this mornings post before I wither and melt away.  The heating and air system in our house is pretty horrific, and for some reason there are two heat vents in my very small office.  As much as I have tried to block them off completely… the heat continues to radiate through the wall.  So the rushed feeling I am having is likely going to cause this to be one of my extra “special” mornings.  Right now all I can say is thank god it is the weekend… and even though I have to pull a wi-fi miracle out of my hat tomorrow…  I am ready to be done with work for the week.

Veritech Pilots Unite!

Wow-64 2014-01-23 16-27-11-42 One of the side projects that has been underway for roughly a month is the coordinating of my crafting cooldowns each day in order to eventually produce the amazing Sky Golem mount.  I realize I am way behind the times in getting it crafted, but hell it is news to me.  Last night I managed to make the last two components and then went on an absolutely giddy flight around the Vale.  I loves it so much in all of its mechanical glory.  I feel like a Veritech pilot from Macross/Robotech.  For the next few weeks every single character of mine will be zipping around on this goblin machination.  Then I am sure like always I will get bored and pick a new mount for a few weeks.

I have already set my sights on the next big crafting project.  I am a horrible engineer… or at least I have traditionally been a very poor one.  I never raised the bankroll to get my chopper back in Wrath, and during the expansions after I simply lost sight on it as a goal.  Now my intent is to farm up everything I can farm and then raise the required monetary commitment to craft one of these puppies.  Not that I think I will ever actually use it… I have so many cool ground mounts like the Fiery Warhorse’s Reins or Rein’s of the Swift Spectral Tiger that I am always anxious to break out when I am in a flight limited area.  I feel like getting a chopper is just one of those things I want to do moreso than really have a reason to do.

Blackwing Descent

Wow-64 2014-01-23 19-41-34-38Finally on the silly activities front, several of us were hanging out on mumble last night.  The question was posed… how many people would it take to clear the old raids, namely Blackwing Descent.  I surmised that we could probably limp by on three, 1 tank, 1 healer, 1 dps.  Next thing I know we are on our way to blackrock mountain and giving it a try.  Thing is… I remember nothing about this raid at all really.  Granted while we were doing it several things came back, but I had literally not see any content past the first two bosses.  I left WoW shortly after the launch of Cataclysm and at that point we had only managed to down Magmaw and Omnomitron (yes I know that isn’t the name).  So for the most part it was a completely new place for me.

We of course entered for the purest of faffing reasons…  the druid in our party wanted these shoulders for transmog.  I myself would not have minded getting an Ashkandi 2.0 to drop, simply because the fidelity of the weapon is so much higher than the one I keep in my bank for transmoggy goodness.  All in all the run went pretty smoothly.  We struggled a few times, including several attempts at Chimaeron just trying to figure out how to work the fight mechanics.  For whatever reason my purgatory talent seemed to be glitching out the key fight mechanic, so I popped outside real quick and summoned my vendor mount  and changed that talent. 

The trippy fight honestly was Nefarian because I was the only one to survive the initial flood everything in lava phase.  So for the most part I solo’d a good chunk of that fight, namely the swimming around the room in lava killing the guys on the platforms phase.  Then the monk healer and I duo’d the final kite him around the room phase.  Since it was a 10 man fight, we only had one battle rez, and as such it seemed like a better idea to rez the healer than the druid dps.  It was a fun night and I could see myself doing it again.  I am really hoping that we can mostly trio the rest of the content.  Funny enough we managed to get an achievement during the process without really intending to.  I really want to go off and do firelands so I can hopefully get my druid friend his fire kitty.

Comfort Gaming

Tamiflu Chasers

Over the last several days I have talked about my own respiratory misery.  My focus over this time had been on somehow surviving through to Friday and not making a complete and total ass of myself during my presentation.  It seems that I was at least somewhat successful in that mission, however during all of this time I seem to have neglected the fact that my wife had been getting progressively worse.  It reached a head last night when at bedtime she was running a 101* temperature.  This morning she teetered back and forth on whether or not we should go to urgent care.

For those not familiar with the absolutely fucked up medical system here in the United States… Urgent Care is this weird beast that sits somewhere between your doctors office and the actual emergency room.  The idea is to create a construct that allows you to get after hours emergency style treatment for non-life-threatening ailments.  In the master plan the insurance providers tend to treat these like doctors office visits, and as such you only have to pay one neat co-pay.  The problem is… they are insanely deluged with patients.  Our local Urgent Care place opens at 9 am on Saturday, and we were there mere moments after opening… and the waiting room was already completely filled.

I dropped my wife off at her suggestion, and ran around running errands in the meantime.  We are both a bit concerned that I will catch something since firstly… I was born with a naturally weakened immune system, and secondly… that my lungs are already in a pretty severely compromised state.  I felt like an ass for her waiting alone, but she and I texted back and forth throughout the morning.  At roughly 10:30 I picked her up and she was brandishing a prescription for tamiflu.  She was in fact diagnosed with the real life full blown Flu, and unfortunately despite my yearly flu shot this puts me in a pretty bad place for likely catching it from her.

As a result I am in the process this morning of trying to get ahold of my own primary care physician to attempt to procure a preventative prescription for tamiflu as well.  Needless to say my morning did not go anywhere near planned and as a result I am finally sitting down to write a blog post.  With all the excitement I don’t really have a whole lot to say.  Or at least nothing more exciting than what has already transpired.

Comfort Gaming


One of the best things I have discovered in the past year is the Alternative Chat podcast.  If you are not in fact already an avid listener you should make steps to rectify that.  In the latest episode the Godmother of Faff mentions a term that is so uniquely perfect, that I am shocked I had never heard it used before now.  “Comfort Gaming” is a concept that is very near and dear to my heart, but I never really had an adequate term for it.  There are so many gaming experiences that I can return to time and time again when I am in the need of some solace.  Here in Oklahoma we are big on “comfort food” with our heaping piles of mashed potatoes and white gravy and our chicken fried steak.  This same concept applied to gaming also makes sense.

I guess in a way WoW is my comfort gaming.  I spent so much time trying to move past the game, but in fighting it I was denying the fact that I really did enjoy it and the people who play it.  Sure there are so many games out there that do one thing or another so much better than the World of Warcraft.  Games like Rift are pinnacles of technical brilliance with their deep systems within systems.  However something just gets lost in the translation at times, and in all of my years of wandering between games I have found another game that fullfilled so many of the little high points I have looked for in a single package.  Playing wow, questing, farming, exploring, collecting transmoggy bits, soloing old world content… all feels comfy.

Crawling back into the game this time was like breaking out that worn out pair of jeans that just feels amazing.  There is nothing new under the sun in wow, and it is not exactly a pinnacle of innovation…  but what you have here is a really great mix of fun ways to spend your time.  I created my WoW Bucket list as a way to have something to fall back on when I got bored.  Thing is with the great number of people I have assembled in my guild… I have yet to really get bored enough to search on the list for some purpose.  Purpose seems to find me constantly in either helping someone else out or getting a wild whim that I want to follow.

So as I embrace the year of faff, I am also embracing “comfort gaming”.  WoW is by no means the only comfort game I have.  I find myself able to crawl back into the Fallout or Elder Scrolls worlds and get lost for an entire afternoon at a time.  Similarly I am deeply looking forward to the release of Elder Scrolls Online… because that universe is one I supremely love.  However saying that, I have no real intent to abandon the World of Warcraft.  It scratches an itch for me, and in part is that way because of the amazing people that are playing it.  While I could never play a game only for the people… the mixture of absolute fun activities and amazing folks makes the game as sticky as ever for me.

Accidental Achiever

Outside is Evil

Yesterday we recuperated from the whirlwind shopping trip around Joplin Mo.  It was a pretty glorious day to be honest, because we were both in hibernation mode.  We talked for a bit about getting out, because it really was a lovely day.  But when it came to actually getting up and doing it… we both failed the willpower check.  Personally I am completely fine with this notion, that we both stayed in, ate three meals in, and overloaded on relaxation.  I hung out in my fuzzy blanket cocoon on the sofa and she upstairs in her loft of power (that you all will remember once it was my game loft). 

I have a feeling that once summer happens the roles will switch with me inhabiting my office and the loft and she the downstairs, but it is cool that we have our own places and are still within vocal range of each other.  I played a ton of World of Warcraft, attempted to play a closed beta I got into… but suffered from severe graphical issues that made it completely unplayable, and snuggled with my ferrets each and every time I passed their cage.

Accidental Achiever

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I rarely if ever set out to master a tradeskill in a game, but instead it is a thing I usually do out of an odd sense of commitment more than anything.  Lately I had been on a mission to level my rogue so I could get a transcriptionist up high enough to be able to start making living steel.  I want the 30 bars that it takes to craft my Sky Golem pretty badly.  So yesterday I was not paying much attention was I was pushing my way to 600 alchemist when immediately after getting it, I also got the Master of All Achievement.  Sure enough… now that I think of it… I do have a max crafter of every profession.  The only disappointment is you get exactly nothing for it… except for 75 achievement points.

This is a pretty massive undertaking if someone was to actually set out specifically to do this achievement.  I think it is worthy of a crafting tabard, mount, or at the very least a title.  I feel like this is a pretty massive oversight on the part of blizzard.  Then again crafting is kind of its own reward.  Being completely self sufficient feels amazing.  Additionally you end up needing to hit the auction house far less often because your army of crafters can make damned near everything you would ever want made.  It is a pretty great feeling knowing that you can make an entire set of gear for a friend, as I did for Scarybooster yesterday.  In a matter of moments I had a starter set of gear for level 85 ready for him, and I did the same thing for my rogue Gloam.

A Vicious Sneak Thief

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Speaking of my rogue, I am roughly halfway through Jade Forest and as of yesterday am about halfway into 87.  I should finish up and ding 88 before I finish the area, and will likely skip Valley of the Four Winds entirely and go straight to Kun Lai Summit.  When I am trying to power my way through to 90 the path I tend to take is to milk every last drop of experience from Jade Forest, transition to Kun Lai immediately after and then transition to Townlong as soon as you get the quest starter to go there.  Finally this ends up with you either dinging 90 in Townlong or doing so just inside of Dread Wastes.  Granted this is complete shit for your quest completion, but I figure it also gives you a lot of “questing to make gold” time if you so choose it at max level since xp gets converted up to gold.

Granted I have yet to actually do that one of of my 90s… since as soon as I hit maximum level I start going through the paces of trying to gear out the character and such.  I am such a sucker for getting my characters those purples and am willing to sit through all manner of horrible LFR experiences just to do so.  I should however have most of a set of timeless leather stocked away and ready for this guy when he needs it.  I will just have to figure out how best to get the weapons.  This time around I will likely just craft him a set of 463 agi swords and call it good until I can get something decent from LFR.  Once I finish his leveling the characters I really need to work on are Belghast, Exeter and Belgarou as they are woefully behind Tallow and Belgrave in gear levels.  Oh well… the faffing about with my characters never seems to end.

Caroling in Ulduar

Tis the Season

It is that time of the year when we naturally reflect upon what was good and not so good from the previous year.  I myself am planning a post like this in the not so distant future.  However this blurb is not about that at all.  Yesterday the amazing Queen of Faff, Alternative Chat posted her very on audible review of the previous year.  It is most definitely worth a listen, but then again everything she does is worth a listen.  I have to say that while I knew of her before this year, it was a few months ago that I first listened to her podcast.  I have to say I am truly thankful for discovering it, because now along with several other podcasts I look forward to hearing each episode.

She brings a deeply thought out quality to the air that reminds me in many ways of NPR.  I am very much an NPR junkie so I think this soft spoken and rehearsed manner suits me very well.  In the podcast she has declared that 2014 will be the “Year of Faff”, and I wholly support this notion.  Before her I tended to view “faffing about” as a generally negative thing.  Now I have embraced my inner faffitude and find myself doing odd little things on a regular basis.  I look forward to seeing what directionless madness comes form this new venture.

Caroling in Ulduar

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Early in the week my good friend Rylacus, and the warden of House Stalwart while I was away… asked me if I would be willing to do an Ulduar run.  He needed a single meta achievement to get his 25 man proto drake.  I told him initially that I was not sure if I would be around, but if I was most certainly I would help out.  I have had both the 10 and 25 man versions of the drake for quite some time, but as I know the achievements pretty well I am always willing to help out.  Since last night ushered in yet another icebound weekend here in Oklahoma, I was most definitely available for faffing about in Ulduar.

My only requirement was that we try and get EVERYONE that came along their drakes.  No one seemed to mind and as a result we filled the ranks with tons of folks hopefully seeking their own.  Additionally we managed to knock out Algalon, who’s room is pictured above.  Most of the achievements quite honestly were pretty easy at 90, or at least easy if you knew what you were needing to do.  Yog’Saron of course takes a few tries mainly to remember exactly what we need to do.  The three of us that went into the portal went insane because we could not remember how to exit.  We then proceeded to murder everyone else in the raid.

After that little set back we pushed forward and got him on the next try earning everyone on their drakes.  Currently the only really annoying meta achievement is the “kill 25 dwarves with razorscale” one.  Initially we had this idea of just gathering up all of the dwarves and letting Razorscale enrage…  theoretically killing them all.  This would in theory kill us all, but we should have also gotten the achievement at the same time.  Two things we found out… firstly the enraged flame breath is still not enough to kill a dwarf that is sitting at full health.  Secondly we can easily survive the enraged form and ended up going four rounds after that in order to get all the dwarves.

Desperately Seeking Weapon

While I managed to walk away with some really cool transmoggy bits and two pieces of the tier 8 set, I did not further my overarching mission of finding some weapons for my shaman.  Granted I didn’t really expect to do so in Ulduar, but the Heroic Scenario that we ran beforehand proved both painful and fruitless.  My hope is today that I can finish running Siege of Orgrimmar and that the loot gods will smile on me and let me win the axe that can drop in the final part.  If this continues to prove futile I may just run Throne of Thunder as well.  I need to farm up the magical happy luck coins so I can turn them into extra roll chances for Siege, but I do not have the stockpile on my Shaman that I have on my other characters.  Other than this… I am going to try my best to stay warm and hopefully continue having power since the entire world outside is coated in an inch of ice.