Bad Concierge

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Yesterday I failed miserably at making any sort of a post.  In truth by the time I had realized I had not logged in and created a blog post it was mid afternoon…  and figured I might as well just call it a day off.  First off this morning I feel like I probably need to update considering my Monday post.  I saw a Doctor Monday afternoon but good or bad the pain had subsided by that point.  The pain in whole lasted roughly 3 1/2 to 4 hours and without it being “acute” the only way they really had to diagnose things was some scans.  Their advice to me is that if the pain comes back at all…  go to the Emergency Room immediately.  Based on my description they thought it might have been either a kidney stone or my appendix…  since I still have one of those so in both cases something dangerous if I allow it to go unchecked.  While I was there however they also told me I had a pretty significant sinus infection and prescribed a round of antibiotics to help clear that up.  I had been coughing up a storm the last few weeks and apparently I actually had an infection to back that up.  The doctor suggested that I not return to work until Wednesday, to keep down the odds of me infecting someone else…  which I guess makes sense given this is a sort of work based free clinic thing that I went to.  So for the bulk of yesterday I chilled out while something cooked in the crockpot and piddled around in World of Warcraft while consuming Netflix/Amazon shows.

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One of my favorite things about ElvUi is the AFK screen thing.  Not sure why it makes me happy to see it pop up and I have a directory littered with screenshots of my character sitting down while dancing on the side.  At this point I am level 52 on my newish Tauren Hunter and spending time in the greater Gadgetzan area.  In truth last night before logging for the evening I got the precursor quest to take me to Ungoro crater, so I will likely be heading there shortly.  Being fully decked out in Heirlooms makes the leveling experience really odd given that things rarely last long enough for my pet to even reach the target, let alone need any form of “tanking”.  This means that I am largely running a pet for the flavor of it rather than for the functionality.  Traditionally when I need a pet to be a barrier between me and the target I tend to favor bears…  however for the moment I am running around with a golden brown Owl I picked up somewhere in Feralas that I named Bubo.  The hunter is ridiculously relaxing which has been exactly the sort of thing I have been looking for lately.  One of the things I enjoy about hanging out in Facepull on the Horde side is that I can be a fly on the wall mostly, that interacts every so often but also has the room to simply not interact at all if the spirit doesn’t move me to communication.

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I ended up going off on a twitter tear yesterday talking about guild leadership and being the person in the background that makes sure things are happening.  When I first started leading guilds…  I was very young and lacked any sort of responsibility apart from just showing up at work and making sure I was getting my tasks accomplished.  In fact when House Stalwart hit its stride about a year into the release of the game…  I was in quite possibly the worst job I have ever been in.  I had a horrible boss and felt like I had no control over my work environment, and as a result having a smooth running community to come home to and spend my evenings with was almost refreshing.  During this time my home life was in a bit of a disarray due to the large number of deaths that were occurring in the family, and Stalwart wound up being my stability that I so desperately needed.  As we entered Wrath of the Lich King I changed jobs and wound up in a much better place where I had a support structure and actually started taking on more responsibilities.  As such I found myself starting to back away from the same sort of things that I did during Vanilla and Burning Crusade and begin placing myself in more of a distant advisory role.  By the time Cataclysm launched I had moved up to being a Team Lead, and was responsible with juggling planning and task assignment, and similarly I found myself completely checking out of the guild leadership role and even going so far as to quit World of Warcraft when Rift released.  During that time I have shifted from Team Lead, to assumed supervisor, to actual supervisor… to now interim manager of three groups.  While I have kept trying to be the social glue for guilds…  by the time I get home I just have no social capital left to make things happen.

The truth is that every guild you have ever been in that felt active…  had one or more people behind the scenes making sure that things were going smoothly.  I used to have a motto among our officers that I wanted our actions felt but not necessarily seen, and so long as I had the focus it worked smoothly.  From Cataclysm on Stalwart has changed hands numerous times and as a result has kept going forward without me.  While now it takes a more raiding focus, it is still functional and still doing things.  However if you take away the people who are actively moving the ball forward… you end up with 30 people sitting in guild chat and nothing happening.  That has been the problem with so many of these guilds that I have formed as new games come out..  I don’t have the drive to be the cruise director anymore…  and while I gather up the people I don’t have the strength to actually do things with other people.  This was extremely noticed in the recent foray into Destiny 2 where I spent 99.9% of my time soloing, all the while people around me were trying to make things happen.  Guilds work when they have a concierge making sure needs are being met and I just cannot fill that position anymore.  I have transitioned to being one of the players that just wants to log in and have a good evening escaping whatever stresses piled up during the day.  The key difference for me at least is that I do most of this through solo play and am completely happy to piddle along with alts.  There are times that I miss big group activities…  like I wish we had beat Calus in Destiny 2, or I wish we had made a bigger push into Final Fantasy XIV Stormblood.  Then I sit back and think about the frustrations of having to remember to log in on time with all of the materials needed for raiding on a specific night of the week… and I question if I could ever go back to that.  So yes…  I play tons of MMOs as single player games and am mostly okay with that, and yes I realize I am doing it wrong.  I do like knowing people are out there in spite of me not being capable of actually interacting some evenings, so I will always seek out potential communities because someday…  maybe…  I might shift back out of whatever turtle mode I have been in for the last year.

Re-Learning Tankadin

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Pretty Cow

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One of the frustrations of playing Horde side is that as a boosted level 100 character, I am lacking a backlog of awesome gear to use for transmogging purposes.  I mean afterall the true “end game” of World of Warcraft is looking fabulous.  As a result my down time has been spent running a bunch of older raids so that I can have something in my void storage worth transmogging.  Yesterday I finally completed my set of Tier 10 heroic armor from Icecrown, and while I don’t really have a belt that matches it perfectly yet… I am thinking it works pretty well.  I am not sure why but I have always loved the “plate dress” look that a few of the sets have, and Judgement is probably my favorite set period.  The thing is…  a paladin running around in full judgement at this point is somewhat cliche’d so instead I started chasing either the tier 8 set from Ulduar or tier 10 from Icecrown.  The problem with Ulduar is that I have run it numerous times and have yet to get the correct arm piece to drop, leaving me with a glaring hole in my armor.  Similarly frustrating is that the Tier 8 set does not seem to have a belt that matches it terribly well.  The positive about playing a Cow/Worgen/Draenei is that the boot slot doesn’t matter quite so much since there are hooves/paws in the way.

As far as the weapon I really like this spear I picked up in Ulduar, the only problem there is that I just don’t care for the polearm animation.  I need to sort out a better two handed sword that matches this set… and honestly I think they are going to similarly come from Ulduar as well.  I remember there being some pretty cool blades from there as well.  There were cool swords in Alliance Crusader’s Coliseum, but unfortunately all of the horde variants are big axes.  I have this very specific style that I am going for with the MooCowAdin… which is polished and civilized.  Essentially I am going for the traditional Paladin vibe, not a tribal version of a Paladin.  The only thing I wish I had is a better pair of goggles, but alas this character is not an Engineer but instead a Blacksmith.  I figured Blacksmith would simply be more useful in the long run, since creating your own gear is pretty great.  It is my hope that by Legion I have managed to catch up his tradeskills to the point where I can actually create useful stuff.

The Deep End

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Yesterday did not go exactly as planned, and we wound up going out shopping again in the afternoon.  The positive however is that I got Indian food…  which is always a good thing.  The negative is that I once again missed the Star Wars pen and paper game, and most of the Horde side raid in World of Warcraft.  I had been working on gearing to be a viable tank, and when we decided more healing was needed…  I said I was able.  The problem being… that not only have I not tanked in a really long time…  I have not tanked as a Paladin in an even longer time.  Part of me questions my  pushing the Paladin up, when I could have gone with a tank I was much more familiar with like the Deathknight or the Warrior.  But in part the Paladin was so that I would have access to dps, tanking and healing in one character… and I figured it might be cool to get some more tanking as one of the other classes under my belt.  Druid was also a possibility but honestly… I suck at healing with HoTs and after being so damned used to the Warrior…  playing a druid tank feels like a really trimmed down version of it.  Similarly… cat dps feels like a really confusing version of a rogue…  so honestly I think I made the right call as far as multi-function classes goes.

The challenge is that I did not join the raid until Kilrogg which seems to be one of the more complicated fights.  The person I was replacing… was the person who normally tanked the main boss so it was very much a sink or swim situation.  I had two big problems…  firstly holding aggro off our feral druid was a challenge… and one that I was largely failing.  Druids have always had the highest aggro, so holding off of them is a challenge in the best of situations.  The complicating factor here is the fact that in order to survive I had to keep from getting stacks of this debuff, and the ability that allows me to do that…  is essentially my highest threat attack.  So I would have to hold it in reserve just to make sure I had it available at all possible times and then hit it when the attack was incoming because the immunity only lasted three seconds.  This ability was essentially both a shield slam and an avoidance buff, and normally when I am tanking something I am spamming it every time it is available.  We survived only because Obi is overpowered and managed to solo tank the boss down after I died.  On Gorefiend however I was feeling much more in my element, and I think did a far more palatable job of tanking.  Nothing like being thrown into the lions den to sort out how to play a class!

Housing and Horde

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Worth It

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One of the major stresses this year has been our house, and it has been several phases.  First there was the stress when we realized that the leak in the bedroom and the kitchen were due to the garbaged out wood siding.  Then there was the stress of trying to pick the right company and the right product.  Then of course the stress of waiting for them to finally get started…  we signed a contract in July and they didn’t actually start on anything until October.  Which lead to here was the stress of having strangers at our house over the course of three weeks, and quite literally just showing up to do the work with little notice.  Finally there is the stress looming over our heads of just how much it cost us, and trying to sort out how we are going to go about paying it all off.  However this weekend… I can finally say that it was probably worth it.  Once again we had a torrent of rain and even though we are still gun shy and kept checking the former leaks…  everything continued to perform like a champ.

Where the real “worth it” bit comes in though is the fact that we had a cold front blow in yesterday and as the day went on the house continued to hold its temperature to the point that even at 11pm it had not dropped enough to actually trigger the heater coming on.  The house is so much more insulated now and it is funny just how much of a difference that makes.  Previously our upstairs was painfully oppressive to be in during the winter months because the heater would be nearly constantly going, just to make it so that the downstairs was somewhere close to livable.  Now there are still variations between the two floors, but they are pretty minor.  The place it is most noticeable is in the Bedroom where it has always been the coldest room in the house.  While it is still not the warmest, it is largely comfortable in the mornings when I wake up… instead of having to make a mad dash to the shower to get some heat in me again.  So I have to say all in all… while it was stressful and involved a bit of financial pain… in the long run it is going to be well worth it.

Maybe I Should Heal

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One of the things I am thankful for is the fact that my Sunday night raid… is pretty chill.  Sure Drewie loses his shit when he doesn’t get a token drop, which is absolutely hilarious…  but overall people are more than happy to just show up… do the things that need to be done and walk away with loot.  My opinion right now is pretty high of the population horde side in general.  People seem really nice… like almost scary nice for being World of Warcraft.  I mean I would expect Nubzy and Facepull to be nice… or she would beat them into submission, but what I am talking about is horde players on our battle group in general.  The amount of random help that I have gotten out in the world, be it a buff or a heal… or simply a friendly wave has been pretty great.  Contrast this with my experience lately on Alliance which consists mostly of entitled ranting in dungeons, or the battleground that is tradechat.  I guess I can just see why folks can favor this side of the fence.

My problem in general with horde however is that other than the Tauren… I just don’t really like the racial options.  I’ve never been a “monstrous humanoid” type player to borrow the Dungeons and Dragons term.  I will say had the Horde gotten the Dark Iron Dwarves as a racial option… I would have converted years ago.  I think in order to play Horde for long I am going to have to get used to playing female characters… because while I really like Female Trolls and Undead…  I hate the male counter parts because of the hunch.  Similarly I think Female Orcs look way cooler than their male equivalents….  though I have to admit in the above photo Khariss looks badass in his Tier 5 set.  Mostly I am happy that Sunday nights is more than willing to let me pew pew pew or eventually move into a tanking role, because those are the things I care about.  However apparently I should have been a healer.  Since moving to the horde side I have been invited to no less than four different Heroic Hellfire Citadel groups…  pending I had a healing spec.  Everquest scarred me for life when it comes to healing… and from that point on… I have never really considered it a viable option for me to enjoy playing a game.  I wasn’t horrible at it… I just get insanely bored not hitting things in the face with a weapon.

More Stuff Than Time

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We’ve talked about this on the podcast some, but I think a large chunk of the magic of Final Fantasy XIV was simply the fact that we had so much content left to do.  As we whittled our way through it over the past year and a half, we eventually caught up to the point where we are now current with each additional patch.  That means once again we are waiting for content to get delivered, rather than having a huge backlog that we could be working through.  I think the reason why World of Warcraft is so compelling to me once again is that… right now I have this huge backlog of content to work through.  I am absolutely the “master of my domain” when it comes to the Alliance side of the house.  I have one of every crafter, and I can push up any character I choose… it is just the matter of dedicating the time to it.  Instead on the Horde side I have nothing…  well apart from a super supportive guild.  I am once again behind the curve and this has put the game in entirely new perspective for me.  I want to build my legacy on this side of the fence, and eventually reach a point of self sufficiency just like I have with my army of Alliance alts.

The problem is however that there are simply more things that I need/want to be doing than there are hours in the day.  Part of me keeps thinking… I will dedicated this day to working on alts, or this day to farming old content…. and instead I just end up working on content in Tanaan or trying to farm Valor to push up gear a little bit more.  All of it gives me this feeling that there is more to do than I could ever possibly do… and it is the same contented feeling that I had in Final Fantasy XIV.  When I have left World of Warcraft in the past, it is always because of the same thing.  I start poking holes in the game because I have quite literally run out of things I want to be doing.  Now I feel like I have this mission, and plenty of things that I want to be doing… and all it really took to reinvigorate me… was abandoning a decade worth of work.  I guess in a way this is like all of those times when I have stopped one Minecraft game, just to start a new one… because the old one had gotten stale.  The awesome thing about this is… that I still have every bit of work that I did over that decade…  just waiting on me anytime I want to visit it.  Which in truth I am regularly on my Alliance characters, I am just focused on catching up on the Horde side.

 

Kindle Arrives

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A New Toy

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Sunday I wrote a bit about my troubles with Amazon and shipping recently, and I guess maybe that complaining worked.  Not only did I get additional prime subscription time added to my account to appease me, but yesterday mid day my new Amazon Fire 7 inch tablet showed up.  As a result I spent a good deal of last night fiddling with it, and I figured I would write a little bit about it as a result.  The tablet I am talking about is the one that has been widely advertised as being sold in six packs…. and singles go for only $49.99 so that the marketing can say “under $50 dollars”.  Over the recent holiday consumer madness… they were selling the tablet for $34.99 which finally got me to jump on buying one just to see what it is like.  I already have owned several android tablets, and even got a used ipad 2 since my wife loved hers so much.  After all of that I had pretty much decided I simply was not a “tablet” person.  If I have time to use a tablet… I am probably at home and could just play on my PC, PS4, Vita, PS3…  you are getting the idea.  What I lacked though was a really good device to read on… because the iPad and Android tablets were just too bulk to use in bed comfortably without nodding off every so often and whacking myself in the face.

The first shocker is the size, because really when you think about it… 7 inches sounds like a large size.  The tablet as a whole feels more like a large phone… so something along the lines of a Samsung Note and less like a tablet.  The build quality is solid, and the device feels nice in your hand… but the plastic back makes it feel a little on the cheap side.  Then again this is a tablet that I just paid $34 for…  and in the past that would have gotten me some shanzhai reject and not a perfectly viable device.  There are some caveats to know going into it.  Firstly there is no Google Play store on the device by default, and in theory it is set up in a way to keep directing you at the Amazon ecosystem for music, movies and everything else related.  This is good in one aspect, especially if you are a Prime user… since well it has one of the better interfaces for actually watching the free streaming with Prime.  The whole lack of Google Play would have potentially been a deal breaker since, as someone already embedded in the Android world… I already own pretty much all of the apps I need to function there and have zero interest in repurchasing them from Amazon.  Thankfully I did a bit of research before jumping into this device and apparently it is a relatively trivial experience to load the Play store, it simply involves loading four different android apps on your device in a specific order.  Luckily however the above video shows you the appropriate order and provides what seems to be a clean link to the downloads.  I personally just downloaded them from my device to save having to try and swap them over through a computer.

It Plays Hearthstone

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The other thing that I would really like to do with a tablet is to be able to quickly get into Hearthstone and play it from bed.  Previously most of my Android devices simply performed like crap in Hearthstone, with the best possible version being on my Samsung Galaxy S5… and even then it was super sluggish.  This device however, took a bit of time initially to boot into Hearthstone and sign into Battle.net the first time, but from that point on I have been able to get in and doing stuff pretty quickly.  The interface ends up being a little small, so things like the settings gear can be a bit awkward to click on at first, but the base interface of the game performed smoothly.  I played a few games last night, and experienced real issues, and even as multiple effects were firing on screen I didn’t see any noticeable lag.  So for my purposes the device passes with flying colors when it comes to gaming.  At some point I will throw other games on it and test those out as well, but since I was mostly concerned about running what is normally a fairly intensive mobile game like Hearthstone…  that is what I went with first.  Please excuse the kinda crappy photo but I wanted to take a photo of me running hearthstone ON the device…  which meant taking a photo with my phone since I have not figured out how to do a screenshot on Kindle Fire OS yet and the normal methods from my phone did not work at all.

As far as the other purpose of the device, it also passes with flying colors.  Any device can read a book, so that wasn’t really what I was concerned about… so instead I booted into my Marvel Unlimited account and attempted to read some comics.  I wanted to see if a full comic page was readable with the small screen size and my less than perfect eyes.  I have to say I was pretty happy with the end results, and the slightly strange format as you might expect fits a page size perfectly.  Laying in bed last night I read around a dozen or so comics and my eyes never felt like they were being strained.  The only time things got awkward is when I needed to read a double panel spread, at which point I had to mostly zoom in and move around the screen to read the panels.  These were still awkward as shit on my full sized iPad, so I am not really too shocked about this.  These are one of those things that only really works well in a physical book.  The next step will be to load the puppy up with books, since right now our Amazon account is loaded up with quite literally thousands of books that I have zero interest in… since my wife and her mother are the primary users of that account.  In the past I always preferred reading through Aldiko so I will have to install that and test it out as well.  All told though… I am really happy with my $34 purchase… which after using some built up Discover cash back bonus…  ended up covering the entire cost.

Best Laid Plans

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Last night I had every plan of running a bunch of LFR in the hopes of getting a main hand weapon.  However in the middle of piddling around in Tanaan jungle I got a Baleful Armament to drop for me.  Unfortunately… it turned into the lowest possible version I could get.  That said it is better than nothing and matches the 650 shield that I have as well.  I am at the very least “viable” as a tank, though I need to do some stuff to set up my bars.  It is my hope that at some point I will get a decent sword and shield to drop in normal that I will roll offspec on.  In the meantime I need to get used to tanking as a Paladin, and this at least gives me the ability to run the daily heroic relatively easily for Valor.  As to how much pug tanking I will be doing… that is an entirely different question.  The main problem with last night however… is that I did not really sleep well Sunday night.  So by the time I spent awhile fiddling with the Kindle, my wife suggested that it was bedtime… and for once I agreed.  Admittedly I went to bed and continued to play with the Kindle, but sitting on the couch was invoking the most furious of yawns.  At the very least tonight I want to run the Black Gate on both characters, in the hopes that Tuesday night LFR is still the best possible time to run it.  In theory I should probably do the entire LFR on Belghast in the hopes of getting an upgraded weapon before the Wednesday night normal raid with Jed and crew.

 

Tauren Flight Form

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Rose-colored Lenses

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Last night was the night when I finally realized that playing Horde was not some magical and happy place free from assholes.  Over the last several days it has been pretty great, and I have casually bumped into people that I have slantwise known on the server.  I was beginning to think that the Horde were simply more mature players than the Alliance folks that I had been so used to dealing with.  That apparently is not the case… I simply had a really lucky streak.  I have to say the Facepull guild has been amazing, and it is actually drawing me out of my own little world that I seem to get stuck in so many times.  Last night Laughingly that everyone calls “Gigs” convinced me to join her and Martoxis in a Supreme Lord Kazzak raid.  Now me and Kazzak have a long history, namely from the days when people would pull him to Stormwind and he would ultimately need to be despawned by a GM because it got too powerful.  So I guess in a way I knew what I was getting myself in for, but Gigs promised this version was no big deal.  She even went so far as to give us a Mammoth ride to the location, and everything seemed pretty awesome for a bit.

Then we started summoning people…  and I was simply doing my part and clicking the portals to get people here faster.  At some point during this rush a mage perfectly summoned a portal to Hillsbrad Foothills…  aka where Dalaran USED to be.  A handful of us mistakenly clicked it… including myself and Gigs… and we quickly fell to our deaths.  At which point someone pulls the boss, locking us out of the loot.  So while I was raging inside… I attempted calmly rez and get my way back to Tanaan Jungle.  I honestly didn’t even think of that being a thing that someone would do…  but I guess now I know to be cautious.  It feels like however fate rewarded me for my frustrations, because on the next attempt I managed to get a drop both from the boss and from the token…  which gave me not one but two different 705 trinkets:  Chipped Soul Prism and Mark of Supreme Doom.  Well worth a fall to my death…  that honestly I should have survived with a bubble, but I was simply too shocked to react in time.

Last Call LFR

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On the Alliance side of the house, there has been a long standing rule… that you do not under any circumstances do Looking For Raid content any night other than Tuesday and MAYBE Wednesday at the latest.  The closer you get to Monday the worse the groups get, and you only ever set foot in an LFR dungeon on a Monday night if you have a significant death wish.  Once again I thought maybe the rules of the universe simply didn’t function the same on the Horde side, because I did several LFR runs on Saturday and Sunday and had a pretty good time of it.  The groups were calm and reasoned, and we simply wrecked stuff and got loot as a result.  So even thought I had the shitty experience with the asshole mage in Kazzak, I decided to brave the unwashed masses and venture forth into Monday LFR.  My first sign that something was wrong, should have been that the DPS queue was roughly an hour.  I however had stuff I wanted to do out in Tanaan Jungle so I queued up and before I knew it… it was popping.  At first things seemed to go more or less pretty well.  We downed the first boss with ease…  then when we got to the second boss… it took two attempts.  Finally the third boss took three attempts… so things seemed to be going downhill.   However with the miracle of determination we were able to get through it.

Then I queued for Archimonde… aka the Black Gate.  Firstly I have to say how awesome I think it is that you are essentially fighting the demons that besieged Mount Hyjal.  I’ve been running quite a bit of Mount Hyjal attempting to get that really awesome two handed sword for my paladin.  The end game of World of Warcraft or any game… is really collecting outfits for transmogging.  Needless to say… Archimonde did not go well.  I was assured by my guildies that this fight was a little overtuned even for LFR, and that most groups struggle with it.  However after our fourth wipe, we lost literally half of the raid and I found myself exiting as well.  So in my first week of really being “back” I managed to raid Normal Hellfire Citadel through Gorefiend, all of Blackrock Foundry LFR, and all but Archimonde in the Hellfire Citadel LFR.  The only thing that I wish I had managed to squeeze in there was Highmaul LFR, simply because I am in desperate need of Abrogator Stones.  Playing catch up on the legendary ring quest is going to be a massive pain in the butt, because I remember just how many weeks it took me actively raiding Highmaul and Blackrock Foundry to get all the necessary bits to complete that thing.

A Reason for Facebook

Another interesting side note is that it seems Facepull hangs out pretty much exclusively on Facebook.  This is the one social media network I have actively shunned over the years, namely because of some bad first experiences with it.  I technically have a Facebook account because it is connected to this blog, and I namely use it to syndicate my posts to the Tales of the Aggronaut page.  What is going to be interesting is this may give me a reason to actually use it on a regular basis, seeing as they seem to use it in place of the traditional guild forum.  The other funny side note is that apparently yesterday they found my blog posts thanks to Nubzy linking it to said facebook group.  So hey folks if you are reading this!  Apparently Obi was a bit grumpy that I didn’t mention him in my blog post, so I am going out of my way to remedy that today.  I’ve known Nubzy and Obi since I believe Vanilla, or at the very least since early Burning Crusade.  They have followed me into many games and I have always considered them both to be part of my extended family.  I am just happy to finally make good on my threat of playing something on their side of the fence.  I still say however that World of Warcraft would be a better game if they just tore the fence down, letting battle.net friends play together regardless of what faction they happened to enjoy the most.  That said I really am starting to enjoy being a bull.

 

Hellfire and Horde

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Adulting Sucks

This morning I am sitting here trying to eat my oatmeal and drink my coffee… and this Monday guy keeps pestering me and trying to make me adult.  Really freaking annoying.  This weekend was a tale of my wife and I avoiding adulting..  so much so that finally yesterday we had to get out and do things in the world.  Essentially yesterday was the day of doing all of the things we put off the rest of the break.  In the grand scheme of things it wasn’t too bad, but the world was cold and rainy… and when I first set foot outside yesterday morning my first instinct was to rush back inside and swear off breakfast.  Then my tummy kicked in and told me that it was hungry, and it was also sick of the options we had available in the house.  So I ventured out and got breakfast, and realized that I could in fact survive outside of my house shaped bubble with its blanket cocoon.  You can tell the hibernation instinct is strong… because we bought the fixings for a bunch of various crock pot meals…  so we don’t have to leave the house at all once we make it in from work.

Unexpected Activity

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A good chunk of my weekend was spent doing things to get gear for Belgrace my newly 100 Tauren Paladin.  When you boost a character they end up giving you a full set of green 640 gear, which is a significant increase over the sort of gear you end up with by natively leveling.  Also apart from having to get silver in the proving grounds… you are level appropriate for heroics and the first two LFR raids.  I however had pretty crappy luck in Blackrock Foundry with getting upgrades, but I did have a fair amount of luck picking up Baleful drops in the Tanaan Jungle campaign area.  So last night I was sitting at 656 with a decent purple weapon… that was sadly as good if not better than Belghast’s alliance side.  I had settled down into my blanket cocoon on the sofa prepping to watch my Sunday evening television binge of Once Upon a Time > Walking Dead > Into the Badlands > Talking Dead when I got a random invite from my friend Nubzy.

I knew that they raided on Sunday nights, but I had no clue they planned on dragging me into Hellfire Citadel.  I had told her that I was working on gearing and that I had managed to get to 656, but that did not necessarily mean I was expecting to raid.  They were resetting the instance apparently and were grabbing a ton of other people into what was their largest raid group to date of around sixteen people.  Brerhoof has always been awesome, and he set to making me some upgrades for my remaining 640 green slots.  So before I had even really set foot into the dungeon Brer handed me Gauntlets, Pants and Boots that were significant upgrades.  Then off the very first drop I managed to pick up Shell-Resistant Stompers and luckily I had not bound the boots yet so I equipped the drop and holding onto the BOEs for the time being.  Either I will get an upgrade for them, or pass them on to the next guildie that needs them.  The night as a whole saw me getting a bunch of really nice upgrades…  in addition to the boots I picked up a Helm of Precognition, an Warlord’s Unseeing Eye for offspec… and most importantly a 690 weapon upgrade Fel-Burning Blade.

Old School Feels

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While the gear upgrades were awesome… the real take away from the night was just how much fun I had.  The horde guild is named Facepull, and that should tell you something about the attitude and demeanor.  More than anything running with them… reminded me of the nights raiding with Duranub before Cataclysm.  It was an old school kind of fun, and even when we did something stupid… no one really got pissy about it.  We just kept pushing forward and making progress.  For having a bit of a strange balance we did really well making it up to Gorefiend before hitting a bit of a wall.  At that point we had a few members of the raid have to leave… one of which was a healer leaving us with a fairly unbalanced party.  The big surprise of the evening is I guess I did not realize that Nubzy was now one of the tanks.  I guess I knew her most as a Shadow Priest, so I guess in the back of my head I just assumed she was booming it up on her Druid.  Right now the plan is to gear out my offspec for tanking, but if we continue to need healing… I might change those plans at some point.

Paladin is the only class I have really successfully healed on… but that was back during  Burning Crusade/Wrath of the Lich King.  I know Paladin healing is far less whack-a-mole than it was… and for some people that is probably a good thing.  For me that really has no healing instincts left anymore from my Everquest days…  that is definitely a bad thing.  The only sort of healer I am is really the “mash button faster for more heals” kind.  Granted I did level as a healer in SWTOR on my Scoundrel, but good at healing companions is one thing…  good at healing people is a completely different one.  In Final Fantasy XIV I kinda fail at my Scholar and I am not exactly the sort of healer you really want on my White Mage either.  In any case I had a lot of fun, and the Sunday evening thing is something I could potentially get used to.  They don’t start until almost 8pm EST, which by that time I am always downstairs watching television anyways.  I managed to dps just fine while watching my shows last night, so in theory this is a decent fit.  I have to say I could get used to this raiding as a cow thing…  and the group of people seemed pretty damned cool as well.

 

We’ve Got Cows

Another Realm

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I have briefly talked about this in the past, but I’ve lived in this strange place when it comes to World of Warcraft.  Sure I played lots of Alliance because that was where most of my characters that I cared about existed…  but I’ve always been one to bridge the gap.  It was thanks to my involvement in the Argent Dawn server forums, and the later unofficial server forums that I created and hosted that I got to know tons of people on that side of the fence.  For years I said I would level something on Horde to play with my “other” set of friends, but that never really panned out.  During Wrath I ended up pushing a Deathknight to 80, but unfortunately the account it is on… is not the account I play most of the time.  When it was announced that Scryers would be merging into Argent Dawn… I went somewhat crazy and created a full account worth of Horde characters because quite honestly… I had no clue how the merger would work.  I did not know if all of the sudden there would just be this one amalgam server… and we would have 22 characters on it.  The end result however is that both Argent Dawn and Scryers exist as distinct worlds…  but everything from guilds to the zones themselves spans across the two realms allowing me to officially guild up with my old school Horde friends.

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This has allowed me to do some utter madness… and ultimately have both a Horde and Alliance version of every single character.  The big problem came with the fact that I had one of each on the Alliance that I did not want to lose access to.  So now after some juggling Argent Dawn has become the server I play Alliance on and Scryers the server I play exclusively Horde.  The only challenge is the fact that I had nothing leveled on Scryers, whereas on Argent Dawn as you can see above all but two of my characters are over level 90, and even then the lowest is 53 which is still a significant amount of levels.  Prior to this week on Scryers I had managed to get an Orc Deathknight to 60, and a Tauren Paladin and Blood Elf Warrior to around 20.  With the announcement of Legion came the pre-order process, which I went ahead and did giving me a boost to level 100.  I was extremely torn on this one… do I take the boost and potentially get to do some stuff with my friends now… or do I level it the old fashioned way.  Having not seen much of the Horde content, I actually do want to level there eventually.

Moo-Cow-Adin

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Essentially I arrived at a thought process that is level the Blood Elf Warrior and Orc Deathknight legitimately…  but boost the Tauren Paladin giving me access to do “big kid things” right away.  I largely went with the Paladin because I really do enjoy both Protection and Retribution, but more importantly it gives me a character that I can in theory fill three different roles on.  While I don’t really like healing as a Paladin, I have done it in the past and in a pinch I could do it again.  I am however completely comfortable doing LFR and the likes as a Retribution Paladin allowing me to hopefully gear up both my Retribution set and eventually get a Protection set.  The problem is… I knew if I was ever going to play the character for real I had to look cool doing it.  This means I had to find something that I could enjoy to transmog into for the time being.  My go to set for Paladins is the Tier 6 Lightbringer set, because it is relatively easy to farm.  So last night I set off to go do Black Temple, Mount Hyjal, and finally Sunwell.

I am convinced that the game goes out of its way to screw with players trying to farm a full set of gear in a single attempt.  It seems like there is always a single piece of gear that refuses to drop… and generally speaking it has been the helm token for me off Archimonde.  This is extra insulting because as far as a raid goes… I HATE running Mount Hyjal.  This is namely because you are a slave to the timers… and it seems to take significantly longer than most any other raid due to this aspect.  Namely it is the Horde section of that raid that drives me insane… because I tend to play Melee focused characters, which makes knocking Gargoyles and Frost Wyrms out of the air a major pain in the ass.  All told I was pretty happy with the results, and the only piece I did not manage to get were the legs from the Illidari Council fight… because for some reason it glitched and only gave me two pieces of loot including a single leg token.  I have zero problem farming Black Temple to get the legs, and in the meantime I got a drop from Sunwell that will fill in well enough for the time being.  At some point I need to get a better weapon, but for the moment I am rocking the big damned glowy orange axe from Black Temple, which makes me happy enough.

Onwards to Tanaan

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My guild suggested that I spend some time digging into Tanaan Jungle to get some upgrades from the 640 set they start you out in after being boosted.  I also really want to start the Legendary Ring quest, which I just picked up last night.  From there I plan on throwing myself at the LFR and seeing if I can get some decent upgrades, and hoping to complete the ring quest along the way.  It is really my hope that they upped the drop chances of those items out of Highmaul that are needed for the ring, because otherwise… this is going to be a thoroughly frustrating experience.  I remember how long it took to get those on Belghast when we were actively raiding every week.  In any case I seem to have sorted out how to actually play a Paladin again, and gearing my Moocow is pretty much my side gig from this point onwards.  It is my hope to be able to get geared enough to actually join in some of the reindeer games happening on this side of the server.  The only footnote there is that I really need not to raid actively, and I am hoping that won’t be a problem.

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For a period of time I was really damned happy playing both Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft.  I enjoyed the mix of the two games because they both scratched a distinct itch.  World of Warcraft is this really enjoyable experience when played casually.  I enjoy doing older content for transmog bits, or casually leveling alts…  but when I was raiding both Warcraft and FFXIV…  the differences just started frustrating me.  Ultimately I prefer the FFXIV raid game better, because it feels like the boss encounters are simply messaged better.  Granted if they just added telegraphs with clearly identified edges of effects like they have in both Wildstar and FFXIV it would go a long way to my enjoyment.  Ultimately I think I simply got burnt out by trying to raid two different games at the same time… and ultimately ended up choosing the one that was causing me less frustration.  So now… I am hoping to go back to playing both games casually… and in theory maybe starting to raid once again in FFXIV.  We have started doing this Saturday thing again, where we do older content and it was a lot of fun this week.  My hope this will ease me into doing more content in that game as well, and in the mean time I am planning on diving into LFR on the Paladin in WoW.  Granted I won’t be doing any of it tonight… because this is the first of our Thanksgivings, and I also need to stage a proper Thanksgiving post for tomorrow.

 

MooCowadin

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]

Moocowadin

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