Sunday, December 28, 2008


A few days away from the game can be a dangerous thing; Leaving me to my thoughts about the game and as a result, I can come up with all kinds of crazy ideas. Here are a few of the assorted ideas I've come up with during this holiday break....

- New zone/instance ideas
- People are going to laugh when I tell them the origin of this first idea, but what the heck? I had WoW dream the other night where Avouz was trying to battle his way up a mountain. Occurred to me that might make for an interesting outdoor zone, one whose geography was not based on the horizontal, but the vertical. We've already seen this in instances (Kara, UK, DTK, etc) but not outdoors. With flying mounts and phasing, the idea could have a lot of potential.

A great mountain, held against by the forces of light by whatever villain you want to put in it. Quests would allow your faction to advance up the mountain, unlocking new quest hubs and even flight points. Those with flying mounts could do bombing runs on caves higher up to help the advance. Eventually, you'd have to face off with the boss at the very top.

Obviously, it would need fleshed out a bit, but I still think it's an intriguing concept.

I've also been thinking about a truly underwater instance. BFD was cool, but only small portions of it are actually underwater. I'm thinking one where only a very small portion of it is above, probably as little rest spots to allow casters to eat/drink. Put Naga or Murlocs as the villain. You'd have to find a way to give parties water-breathing for it to work (outside of having specific classes to cast those spells, which Blizz now wants to avoid.)

- Legacy items - One of the coolest ideas Blizz has implemented in Wrath are the legacy items, items that are bound-to-account and scale with level. It occurs to me that this might be the way to go to reward those players who have gone the distance in the past to get one of those rare and near impossible items in Classic Wow.

I'm talking Thunderfury, Quel'Serrar, Chromie's quests for armor, the lvl 60 hunter bow, Anathema/Benediction, and others . Remember all those? Obtaining any one of these items put you in the elite. They were not easy to get, even if you got the necessary drops. There was either a huge and difficult quest chain that followed after, or you were forced to farm incredibly rare items like Elementium, Blood of Heroes, or Abomination stitching, or both.

The release of TBC made all these items nearly obsolete, which I'm sure was frustrating for folks who actually put forth the effort to obtain them. The solution: make them scalable like the new legacy items. Given that the legacy items are roughly equal to a blue of their level, it's not likely they'll trump epic drops from the later Wrath dungeons, but you'd still get to see the fruits of your efforts for a time. Might even give folks a reason to go back and do those quests again, keeping some of the old content still valid.

What do folks think? Is Nord off his rocker or are these actually some pretty good ideas? Comments/criticism welcome.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas...

..Happy Holidays, Festive Feast of Winter Veil, all that from us of Ordo Serpentis to all of you.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Searching for Pawn Scales

Recently, I was introduced to an awesome mod called Pawn. Pawn makes gear selection easier by giving you a quantifiable item value right on your tooltip. Each character can have multiple pawn values so that you can judge an item across roles from PvP to PvE, from Tank to DPS, etc. Thus, it allows a player to determine a need roll or a quest reward based on a straight value comparison instead of having to take time to weigh each stat separately. That's great when an unexpected item drops.

Here's what it can't do. It can't simply be loaded and run. Values must be customized to get real use out of the mod. Values must also be tracked and updated when game mechanics are changed in patches. Thus, it's not for the truly casual player. It's also not for the truly hardcore player because calculator spreadsheets like Rawr still (based on my reading) provide better itemization. It also doesn't take into account the "intangibles" of an item like survivability stats for a DPSer. Finally it can't calculate the value of flavor text, use activation or set bonuses. You still have to consider these things for yourself.

That sounds like a lot of things it can't do. Trust me, it's still awesome. If your math (or someone elses math) is valid then it will protect you from the "oh that looks cool" need roll that everyone hates. It will also keep you from piecing together the wrong gear, crafting downgrades or buying junk on the Auction House. (We've all done it.)

Now, there are two ways to put together Pawn values. Option one is to do your own math and then manually enter each stat. That's great if you're a mathematician or a stat-junky. I've actually been accused of being both, but I'm too lazy. Enter option two: Find someone else to do the work for you. The great thing about option 2 is that people are nice enough to put the values in an easy cut-n-paste format. Here's some that I've found.

Hunter DPS direct from the Hunter DPS Spreadsheet v80 on Elitist Jerks.
( Pawn: v1: "Hunter": ArmorPenetration=0.323, RedSocket=9.204, CritRating=0.373, Intellect=0.937, MetaSocket=12.08, Agility=0.575, HasteRating=0.258, BlueSocket=4.045, YellowSocket=8.648, Rap=0.369, HitRating=0.506, Ap=0.369, Mp5=0.432 )

Feral Druid values compiled by Flyv.

( Pawn: v1: "Cat (Toskk)": ArmorPenetration=1.0161, RedSocket=37.312, FeralAp=1, ColorlessSocket=37.312, Strength=2.332, MetaSocket=103.21, HasteRating=0.7236, Agility=1.6992, ExpertiseRating=1.0362, BlueSocket=18.66, YellowSocket=26.92, CritRating=0.83, HitRating=1.0334, Ap=1 )

( Pawn: v1: "Bear (Toskk)": RedSocket=113.7, ExpertiseRating=1.306, DodgeRating=2.685, ColorlessSocket=172.4, MetaSocket=329, Agility=3.429, Health=0.411, BlueSocket=172.4, YellowSocket=101.3, DefenseRating=1.885, Armor=1.066, Stamina=7.185 )

Now keep in mind that Flyv & the folks over at Elitist Jerks will all say that gear ranking is an ongoing process. These numbers may not always be the best ones. Theorycraft changes. Patches get released.

I plan to keep searching for good sources for not just my characters but toons played by all my friends and post them here.

Now that the newness has worn off

In which I rant about everything I don't like about Wrath of the Lich King.

I'm concerned that Wrath is quickly losing it's new-car smell. It's such a shiny, creative place with all those poop quests but where are we? Looking for more poop quests? Lovely!

Getting my druid to 80 was not hard. Heck, the only real challenge has been finding enough time to play with all the holiday & end of the year madness.

I've pushed through to 435 leatherworking and replaced most of her gear already (the value of only having T4-equivalent gear.) I'm so over-geared for some of the stuff we're doing that I'm tempted to stop skilling to 440 because I just don't need those sweet looking epics.

I've done enough quests in Borean Tundra, the Dragonblight, Howling Fjord, & Grizzly Hills to earn each zone's questing achievements. That's half the continent done. Sure, there's a ton of content to go. I've been alternating between Sholazar Basin & Zul'Drak while searching for prime leather-grinding spots. I've been to all the regular instances. The only real challenge has been the last boss in the Oculus. It's a complete gimmick fight using the dragon instead of our own abilities. Our group just wasn't getting the hang of it. More on this later...

There's been some cool stuff along the way like the quest chains in Dragonblight and the Culling of Stratholme instance. Beyond that, it's in danger of becoming monotony.

What's worse is the reports from my friends. Typhia's guild, Edge is "farm clearing" Naxx. QSS is doing very well there as well. Some fellow Bears are reporting being bored and unchallenged by what they are seeing. In other words, the hardcore players are not being challenged. The middle-ground players (like myself) aren't being challenged. Worse yet, it's making us all sloppy players. Why learn to do things the right way when you can just muscle through everything?

The other day, I had a long discussion with Cainam where he pointed out that the place feels like it's a "gamma" release. He's right on the money. Ferals are still being heavily adjusted. DPS warriors are way too powerful with titan grip. Hunters are so OP that I've not been playing mine. I think hunters are in for a rude awakening when the 3.0.8 nerf gets pushed. Content is fun and colorful, but easy. Instead of balancing the game, they rushed it out the door for the holidays. Sure it's "fun." Sure it works. Sure they can fix it on the fly. It's one of the beauties of the ever-changing content of MMO's. But is this really the game they wanted?

Then there's vehicles...

I haven't tried pvp vehicles yet. I'm hoping that I enjoy that more than my other vehicle experiences. Sure, it's different and adds a new dimension to the game. But, really? I worked 80 levels and countless hours to learn my "craft" and now, I'm forced to abandon it to finish a quest or a boss fight? Who here didn't hate Gorefiend? It's the fight where one person can wipe the raid because they simply can't get the hang of a gimmick. I'm not talking about fight intricacy. Shade of Aran was a proper "idiot check." I don't mind facing off against a hard boss or a difficult process. I don't mind the concept of everyone having to pull their own weight. I don't mind wiping. I do mind when the game tosses out a player's effort to learn their class and their role. Places like Oculus are cool looking and add flavor to the game, but bleh, I don't like it.

I'm not saying that vehicles are hard to use. No, once you figure them out & adjusted your UI properly, they are rather easy. But, vehicles tend to be mindless process having little to do with actual skill. I either succeed on a vehicle with ease or I fail on a vehicle without having a clue why. How's that fun?

I get that there's some Heroic content that should be inviting and challenging. I get that there's more content to come. I love what they've done with the look & feel of the game. I even like the changes to tank threat-gen. I like the new swipe! I mostly like AE pulls. I don't like everything being an AE pull. I don't like getting to a boss, just to have it roll over and die. I don't want things to suddenly get harder. I wanted things to progressively get more challenging. When I was level 72 and slept through Ahn'kahet as the tank, there's a problem with the game.

Blizz swung the pendulum to the hard end when they released Burning Crusade and now it's swung to the easy end. Find me a happy middle and soon.

At this point, I'm almost looking forward to the 2 weeks away from home for Christmas vacation. It should make me miss the game and come back with a renewed desire to grind my professions.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not to be outdone...

What They Don't Teach you in Mage School

So as I look at the toons in Ordo Serp I notice that there are a number of people with Mages as alts in the Ranks. So I figured I'd put together a little list of tips that folks may or may not have thought of.

1.) Have a Sheep Macro. I use a focus macro to set my target as the focus and then sheep it. This is a macro that can be found pretty easily just do a google search. In a group it's important to be able to keep something sheeped and not have it be a large effect on your DPS. This macro helps tons.

2.) Have a counterspell macro, or 2. The basic counterspell macro is simply:

/cast counterspell

Typically when you need to counterspell you need it now and when you finish casting your current spell it will be too late. You can also build a focus macro like the sheep macro, although it's only situationally useful.

3.) Know your Nukes. Mages have a number of spells that could be classified as nukes. However, for each build there are usually only one or two that are truly effective. Know what spells you are casting and when. Whenever you cast a spell you should know why you are casting that particular spell. Have a reason. (Even if the reason is wrong it is still a reason and now you can learn from it.) If you don't have a reason to cast a spell that is different from your primary nuke, you should proably still be casting your primary nuke.

4.) Know your Gear. For the most part, Spell Damage is greater than anything else. If given the choice between spelldamage and something else, usually, you take the spell damage. Hit is Key vs bosses. It only take a little hit to hit a level 82, it takes a lot more to hit a level 83. Haste is a good DPS increase, but it also increases the rate you burn through mana. Crit is an increase in DPS with no increase in MPS. However, Crit does not scale very well, even in the crit heavy builds, like Frostfire. It's still worth aquiring, but don't sacrifice too much to get it.

5.) Know your builds. THere are 5 Builds that seem to work pretty well right now. (Well or will as of 3.0.8)
Deep Arcane w/frost: 53/0/18 (or similar) Should be viable come patch 3.0.8. Very Mobile spec. Good damage. Has +6% hit. Complex rotation and mana management. Does not bring the 10% crit forthe party/raid. Primary Nuke: AB - > ABAR

Deep Arcane w/fire: 53/18/0 (or similar) Very similar to the Arc/Frost build. POM Pyro is satisfying, but not worth basing a build around. Has improved scorch to bring the 10% crit buff. The loss of persoanl DPS makes this a hard pill to swallow, but if no one else can bright the 10% crit may still be worth it. Primary Nuke: AB - > ABAR

Deep Fire: 18/53/0 Not the king of DPS it once was but very powerful. At the end of the day it's still a fireball spam build. Primary Nuke: Fireball

FrostFire: 0/53/18: Currently the spec to beat. Big Crits, Simple playstyle. Long range. No Focus magic. Primary Nuke: Frostfire Bolt

Deep Frost: 18/0/53: Simpler playstyle with Frostbolt spam. Water elemental. Can work in some survivability talents without cripling damage. Primary Nuke: Frostbolt

Find a style that works for you and run with it. Your playstyle and how well you play the spec will matter much more than which spec you choose. Once you choose a build look up how they value certain stats and gear appropriately. (For example Arcane benefits from Int more than other builds while Frostfire gains more benefit from crit than the other builds.)

OK so that's enough to get you started. I can post more if folks are interested.

Deciding #3

(Congratulations to LRNs and to all the Ordo folks who've hit 80 in the past few days.)

In the build-up to the release of any expansion, we players always make plans. Oh, I'm going to level toons A,B, and C in that order, and then work on a few other things. Most of the time, like battle plans in contact with the enemy, these ideas get thrown out the window once the expansion actually hits.

I am so there right now.

Admittedly, I did stick to some of my guns. I did keep to Stofnar as my "main" and he's now just a smidge short of level 80. My #2 was originally going to be my hunter, but then I rolled a DK and Avouz is now in Dalaran at level 74.

So, who becomes my #3?

The question hinges a lot on which 51-point talent I think is the coolest, least likely to be nerfed, and fits best my vision of the character. Here's the debate.

Hunter - Beast Mastery - Odds are good, Ellote's going to be seeing some revamp soon. I like the exotic pets, but the novelty has worn off for me. I'm actually eyeballing the Imperial Eagles in Grizzly Hills and thinking they might be a cool new pet once I get to 73-74. Will I keep a BM spec, even though the eagles aren't exotic, or go Marksman? Not sure yet.

Warrior - Titan Grip - The most broken ability in the game right now. Blizz clearly has no sense of how to balance this ability. Each 2-hander in the game is designed to be double a 1-hander in terms of DPS and stats, so each warrior with TG is getting the equivalent of 4 weapons worth of stats and damage. Nord is only going halfway with TG at the moment, keeping a Mt. Hyjal dagger in his off-hand for rage generation. But once I get a good second 2-hander, watch out.

Mage - Arcane Barrage - Jhera was often a frustrating character to play, since it seems mage has way too many options. Most other classes tend to spam a limited number of abilities. Mages have nearly a dozen spells to choose from to form that list and it can be overwhelming trying to figure out what combination works best. Arcane barrage changed all that for arcane mages. I spam barrage and missiles, repeat until mob is dead. Fire off a POM-arcane blast when clearcasting comes up. It's so simple now.

Warlock - Haunt - Khera's proving to be just as powerful as before. Haunt, curse of agony, siphon life, corruption, drain life or shadowbolt until mob dead. Haunt is nice in that it does good initial damage, a decent dot, and then a heal when it expires, all of which enhance the dot-o-matic nature of affliction locks. I've heard talk that the felhunter is the new affliction pet, but I find keeping to the old imp-as-mana-battery strategy still works fine.

So things are up in the air. One of the things I hope to do once Stof is 80 is start collecting badges to get some of the legacy shoulders for these toons. +10% XP will accelerate leveling all of them, but what order I go in is still up in the air. There are times I envy LRNs and those folks who only have 1 or 2 major toons. I'm an altaholic and I've got six toons level 70 or higher. This is a problem of my own making.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blizzard Announces Paid Sex Changes

There has been a lot of interesting stuff to post about recently. There's the feral druid gear/tanking debate. It's a hot-button topic right now as exemplified by Kalon's recent blog post. There's the upcoming Hunter nerf. That one has me torn. I love my OP Hunter, but damn I'm OP.

Then there's the issue of the evil quests of late. Nord's recent post here is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The other day, the wife and I were killing what looked like American Bald Eagles for their eyeballs. Then we were cutting down all the remaining trees in a Harpy zone. Anyone else wonder if the reason for Harpy harpy-ness is the way we treat them?

Oh and let's not forget the growing feeling by a lot of long-time WoW players that the game is becoming a bit too easy (unless Blizz doesn't want you to kill a specific mob, then it becomes uber-powerful no matter what level you are...stupid Ruined Stone Giants!) Let's face it: Has anyone really been truly challenged? Remember when you first got to Ramparts in HFP? Remember Karazhan? Northrend is cool and different, but challenging? Grab yourself a good tank, a decent healer and AoE instances 2-3 levels higher than you. Seriously, who hasn't?

But today's topic is about none of that. Instead, I want to talk about paid sex changes. Oh, I'm sorry. I mean "character re-customizations." How insensative of me. OK, I'm a gaming snob. I get all snotty about people with stupid names like Imaboomkin. Real name! Search the armory if you don't believe me. Heck, QSS is filled with names like that. Some are good players, and even great people, but completely lame names. I hate it. Maybe I should move to a Role Playing server. But I digress...

So, now you can get a quicky "recustomization" for only $15. And why not? Beroth & Rhus have switched roles (main vs alt.) Maybe Beroth should get a quick snip. And Rhus spends 99% of her time in cat or bear form. So would it really matter if she was male or female? Blizz makes no gender distinctions for shapeshifting. Heck the only real "wood" in the game is resto-druids.

I put perhaps too much emotion into the idea of identity into characters. My image of people I know, in game, is shaped largely by their mains. Karthis is a bear. Poortyr is a hunter. Their personalities are often reflected in their toons and the way they play them. Sure, a lot of my friends and guildies often play toons that do not share their gender. This leads to hilarious moments when you see a "sexy" female rogue and then hear a baritone voice for the first time over Vent. Intentionally or not, it shapes a reality just as much as the quests.

This isn't a social commentary on gender identity, but instead a question about the nature of identity in the MMO world. Is a person's character completely irrelevant? Is the game just a game? And if so, why not let me change everything? Screw it. I don't want to play a male night-elf hunter anymore. Instead, let me pay to be a female forsaken priest. Aside from the issues of faction and ease of leveling, why not? If the game is "balanced," *snicker* then it makes no difference.

And yes, I know the answer to that question. Gender is cosmetic in WoW. Everything else has real "rules" issues including factions, purchased skills, etc. So, is the cosmetic part of the game important? Even on a pure PvP or PvE server, isn't the game an RPG? And if so, do these "character re-customizations" mean something?

This isn't to knock folks who simply rolled up the wrong character and have been suffering with a crappy name and the wrong look for 2 or 3 years. It's about what drives us to the game. Doesn't our character shape the experience? If you don't like your character's gender, doesn't that have the potential of shaping your game-play? Sure, you may just abandon your toon. But who hasn't abandoned toons? Heck, I've leveled more toons to 30 and gone "meh" than I have toons over 70.

Remember when I said this wasn't a social commentary? Yeah, I lied. Art can reflect and inform life. Remember the scourge plague and the debate that caused? WoW is, in many ways, one massive social experiment. Questions of fairness, equity, morality, and even sexuality are all playing out in front of us. The game is just a game. And yet, opening ourselves up to the game within the game, makes things a lot more interesting.

The one really interesting take-away here is the possibility that the game reflects a growing understanding that race, gender & gender identity can also become less important in the game of life. Wouldn't that be a great take-away?

Still, I hope that this doesn't lead to a generation of gamer-parents who come up with crappy baby names.

"Have you seen the pictures of their new baby 'Imaphilliesphan'?" Ugly kid, but man...what a name!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Role-playing Torture

Ordo Serpentis plays on a non-role-playing server, Garona. Most of us however have a background in actual tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons and I, for one, will often put together a brief background that defines who my toons are.

For instance, Korathnord is an orphaned barbarian who was raised by high elves after the Scourge destroyed his people. This influences a few of my decisions in game. He chose Scryer as his Outland faction because of the blood elves, for example. He also now sports a "blood elf" hairstyle thanks to the new barber shop. But that's about as in-depth as this "role-playing" gets.

Enter Northrend and some of the new quests. Some folks have been commented on the sheer number of "poop" quests in Northrend. I've noticed an almost disturbing number of torture quests.

"Here, hit this guy with this pain wand until he talks."

"Here, feed this stuff to the prisoner downstairs."

"Here, stand by and watch as I torment this undead with holy pain."

"Ok, worgen, talk or I shoot your wife."

I'm not quite sure what to think about this. In real life, I have some pretty strong opinions against torture. I know this is a game, but I find these quests unsettling. I've sort of resolved my ambivalence by asking myself, "Would my character mind this sort of thing?"

It's bringing the role-playing aspect of my toons back up. Some would, as I understand them. Some would not. Stofnar, my new main, is a paladin and I still think of paladins as "holy warriors of virtue" from D&D. He would oppose this sort of thing. Nord wouldn't care. He's a barbarian after all.

Most people probably don't think about this, but it does add a disturbing aspect to the storyline. It points out something folks who are big into lore have known for a long time. Just because the Alliance is made up of the "good" races and the Horde the "evil" ones, it doesn't mean that the Alliance is all virtue and light and the Horde all evil and darkness. The Alliance can be quite villainous and the Horde very noble.

And now Stofnar has some soul-searching to do.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


In response to my recent email to customer service, Blizzard has returned the remaining gold, over 3k of it, to my account. I'll good to go.

So, it pays to speak up. I still advocate dealing with customer service in a polite manner and letting them do their job. Just make yourself heard and make sure they know your frustration.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tis the season to be hacked...

Fortunately, I think I caught this one before I ended up like LRNs. Unfortunately, I think this one may have had some very ugly side effects.

Ok, now to confess my idiotic noob moment. I'm far too trusting and clicked on a message from an old high school classmate in Facebook, thinking it would be some cool nostalgic stuff from the old days. Nope, it was a loader for Infostealer.gamepass, a MMO password stealer. Dumb I know.

But I caught my mistake and immediately began running Norton to wipe the thing out. But here's my problem, a full system scan on Norton takes about 2-3 hours and it was 11pm when I caught the bug. So I let Norton run and went to bed, figuring I'd finish dealing with it in the morning.

Woke up this morning to a non-functioning computer.

I've changed my password to my WoW account and Armory seems to indicate that my account has not yet been breeched (I still have my stuff according to it.) I did all this on my wife's computer, since mine is dead...dead..dead.

The thing I can't figure out is how a password stealing keylogger could blow up my CPU. There's no mention on any internet articles about it having such a malicious side effect. It's just a password stealer. I suppose it could be that my computer was just ready to give up the ghost anyway, but that seems pretty unlikely also since it's less than 2 years old.

So Nord is out of action on WoW for the foreseeable future. No clue when I'll get my computer fixed or replaced.

Update: Good news. Turns it out, odds are good it wasn't the virus that fubar'd my machine. It was the virus checker itself, which scanned my active RAM and apparently stumbled onto a defective or loose memory chip while doing so. That's what caused the crash and the subsequent headaches.

I've reconfigured my hardware, shuffled the chips around, and everything seems to be working again. Virus has been eliminated and I'm running further scans to make sure it's gone for good (FYI, it was Koobface, not infostealer.)

Should be back up and running shortly. Sorry for the false alarm, but this was likely to be an issue in-game eventually anyway.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Restoration Conclusion

After 13 days of waiting, with minimal contact from Blizzard, I received 1850 gold today and an email saying that they were done. I'm still missing over 2,000 gold.

Note: My horde toons were also wiped clean, but I let that one go since I never play any of them.

In response, I sent them some "feedback."

To Whom It May Concern:

Thank you for your efforts in restoring most of my account possessions. After an excessive amount of time (13 days) I finally received the following email regarding the conclusion of my account restoration. I am still missing over well over 2,000 gold from my other characters. Am I to conclude from this message that I will not be receiving it?

We are both victims of a crime. Since, it's obvious to me on the front-end that I'm still missing gold, how difficult (after 13 days of looking) could it be for you to not see that it was taken during the hack?

I was taking all reasonable steps to secure my account. Cyber criminals are constantly taking advantage of new and creative exploits to steal from us. On the day of the hack, my system was free of viruses & trojans. My software was completely up-to-date. I don't share my password. I don't play other places. My only obvious failure was not changing my password for several weeks.

But, clearly the password rules put in place are not secure enough. So, since the hack, I've taken additional steps to buy an authenticator keychain.

And that's the bottom line here. Your loyal customers are being robbed but the nice little "Terms of Service" lay the blame on us, the victims. I understand the need for these legal protections. At the end of the day, however, you are a company selling a product to your consumer.

Customer care should be a higher priority than 13 days of minimal contact, "partial" restorations and hiding behind legal documents. I don't need to have "everything" returned. I don't need daily updates. But, more of both would have been better.

I am not oblivious to the chaos you are facing with the expansion. I am not insensitive to the impact of hackers on your business. I simply question the level of customer service I have received in this matter.

That done, I'm moving on. I have to. In the end, it doesn't matter. I got my gear back so I can play. I have friends who covered me for gold over the last 13 days. Those same friends will give me more if I run out (and not even ask for it back.) Heck, I will make more gold.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Friendship, Distance & Political Protests

I'm about to write in several paragraphs what I could easily write in one. Verbosity may or may not be my problem...shall we discuss?

OrdoSerp is more than a blog or a little alt-guild. It's a group of friends trying to remain close. Unfortunately, one of our friends is having a major disruption to his expansion excitement and it's like nothing you've encountered.

The amazing thing about the internet & MMORPG's is the way they shrink our world. Twelve years ago, Cal and I met Nord when he stumbled upon us playing Magic the Gathering in a common area at grad school.

Note: Cal swears that the ink on Magic cards have addictive properties. Also, Blue decks were Nord's kryptonite.

Over the years, we integrated into Nord's geek social group. It's that social group that serves as the backbone of the OrdoSerp guild. The years and countless miles have not been able to weaken the friendships we've made. In many ways, World of Warcraft has been one of the major reasons. Perhaps it's because WoW enables us to keep from going outside and meeting new people...

...which are two things that are very difficult for computer geeks and D&D nerds....But I digress...

Reminiscing and self-deprecating aside, WoW is important to us. Left to our own devices most of the individuals in our group might have long-abandoned Warcraft for other activities. As it stands, we struggle with real life time commitments, differences in play-style & leveling speed. Some of us are raiders, some are not (and none for the same raiding guild.) Needless to say, Wrath was highly anticipated not just because it represents new challenges & new content, but also because it's the closest thing we have to a "level-set" without rolling yet another group of alts.

Alas, none of us were prepared for the impact of political unrest in a foreign country.

Our dps warrior, Mardigilian lives in Thailand. For those of you who've been leveling all your toons non-stop and/or simply never look at international news, there are major political protests in Thailand right now which have shut down the airports.

Now, why does this matter? Well, Mard's dad pre-ordered and then express shipped Wrath (at great expense) here in the states so that our friend could play WoW with us ASAP. His game, for all we know, could be sitting at the airport waiting to be delivered to his home.

Now obviously the inconvenience of waiting for a video game is nowhere near as important as the thousands of travelers stuck, the protesters who were killed, or the political upheaval. But, it's also a lot worse than my 2-day lockout due to my account being hacked. In fact, it probably trumps all of our OMG, I can't get Wrath immediately stories due to store glitches, lines, hardware issues, & install problems combined.

Of course, hindsight being what it is, Mard could have gotten the game through other "slower" means except for the large quantities of money already poured into getting the game "quickly."

So, next time when see someone has leveled faster than you or gotten to see new content before you, think of Mard who's still doing dailies in Outland waiting for political stability so he can get his game.

As I prepare to post this, events in Thailand are rapidly improving. With any luck, Mard will have the game in time to celebrate the King's Birthday.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Something for the Gamer Who Has Everything

I saw a story about this on my favorite environmentalist blog, Treehugger. I thought this would make the ultimate WoW player desk and had to share it.

Anyway, the company website PCE is good for a laugh. Part of me thinks it's an elaborate hoax and part of me wants one.