Whine a Little Whine For Me

So, I don’t generally whine. Mostly because I don’t feel that it often does anything. Other than annoy people, I guess. Sometimes, however, I think that a good whine-fest can be helpful. Wholesome. Cathartic. Certainly for the whiner – if not for the whine-ee. And since my concept of this blog has often been like a bottle cast into the brine (or maybe a magic diary that talks back every once in a while) I feel very comfortable pulling up a chair and unloading a whole great torrent of whine onto the ever-sympathetic ears of the internets. (Yes, I’d love some cheese with my whine. Lately I’m really into chevre with figs – if anyone’s asking.)

But, some preamble before the whining commences. I’ve often felt a little inadequate when compared to my co-guild leader, Adi. She’s more patient, much calmer, nicer, friendlier, harder working, more dedicated to the guild and (from my observations) much better liked than I am. I’m mostly (mostly) okay with that. I know how I come across to people and I know I’m abrasive and bitchy and demanding and cold and I’m mostly okay with that. Most of the time I’m just fine with who I am and how I contribute to the guild.

But, every now and then …

I wish I could be more like Adi. I wish I was calmer. Nicer. I certainly wish I was better liked some days. I wish that I didn’t feel so inadequate compared to her. I wish I had the motivation to work as hard for the guild as she does. I wish I had the patience that she shows towards people. (God, I wish I had that kind of patience). There are days that I wish I could be the carrot like her, instead of the stick.

I keep a little Imaginary Adi in the back of my head. (Kind of like this. Only not really.) And not just in game, either. I’ve found that the advice my Imaginary Adi gives me is pretty damn applicable to my work and family lives as well. When I feel the urge to reach out and slap someone till their eyeballs switch places, I (usually!) stop and ask my Imaginary Adi what she would do instead. One of her best pieces of advice has been to “kill people with kindness” and I’ve found more than my share of situations to apply that advice to.

And now, the whine.

I just finished leveling my dorfadin. I’ve specced her tank, which means that I’m able to fill three out of four raid roles now! (Heals? Check! Ranged dps? Check! Meat shield? Check! Melee dps? Errr … I’ll get back to you.) I was really thrilled to be working on her, and the excitement of leveling and gearing a new 80 has been a large part of what has drawn me back into Warcraft wholeheartedly. I spent a load of money on craftable gear and maxed out her Engineering to get myself a Jeeves. I even cajoled a few of my guildies into letting me tank easy heroics like UK and VH and – on the whole – those runs weren’t unmitigated disasters. Tanking is a huge panic-y, button mash-tastic flail for me right now, but I do sort of enjoy it. I was really looking forward to tanking more.

I was.

I had my alt guilded so that I could keep one eye and one ear on what was going on in the guild. I could respond to questions, keep a weather eye on the drift of gchat and switch to my main if anyone needed me for anything. I like to have alts that are hidden if I need some space, but if I’m going to be dedicating a large part of my time to one alt, then I usually guild it so I’m not gone too much. Unbeknownst to me, my co-guild leader was leveling an alt as well. She’s been suffering much the same burnout, so she kept her alt unguilded so that she could get some respite from guild demands and just enjoy the game. I have absolutely no quibble with that. What does make me want to have a pouty fit (or at least write down a pouty fit) is that she leveled a paladin. And specced it prot. And she dinged 80 the same day I did.

*pout*

I’m seriously bummed about this, you guys. I’m really feeling like my thunder was not only stolen but that I’m being taunted by the thunder-nappers. I know she didn’t do it on purpose, but I kind of feel blindsided by the fact that she knew what I was doing (class, spec) and I had no idea what she was doing. And then adding insult to injury is that I feel like because the guild likes her so much better, that she is the one who is going to receive the bulk of the indulgence that the guild has for new alts. She’s going to be the one everyone will take to heroics and help her gear. She’s going to get the alt Naxx runs and she’s going to get all the patience and tolerance and good will of the guild. And I feel like there will be nothing left for me.

I was so, so enthused to level this little dwarf and so, so excited to try my hand at tanking. And now I feel like the wind has been taken out of my sails. I’m really dejected about the whole thing. I haven’t logged on my little dwarf since. What the hell is the point?

I know she didn’t do it on purpose to be malicious. I know that it’s just some alts (both of us have three other toons we play regularily). I know that it doesn’t mean squat in the grand scheme of things – in game or in my life all told. But I am really quite sad about it. I feel like this is just another way that I will come second to Adi, and I know that there isn’t really a lot that I can do about it. I can keep on accepting that Adi and I are different people, with different strengths and weaknesses, and I will. I can work on some other alt and maybe that will take my mind off things. I don’t want to mention it to her, because I don’t want to make her feel bad and I can’t think of any way to tell her that wouldn’t make me sound like a petulant child. And I definitely don’t want her to give up her alt. But I don’t really know what to do.

*sighs and kicks at the dirt with her toe*

Maintenance

So, fall is slowly creeping up on us here in Cowtown, which means firstly mah birthday (!!!) and secondly the anniversary of my first date with my (much) better half.

We’ve been together for almost nine years now, and I usually spend some time about this time of year reflecting on our relationship – where it’s been and where it’s going. Filing away all the smiles and the laughter so that I can access them at any time and discarding the tears and the fighting. And I readily admit that there have been some bad times. I’ve never bought into the White Knight mythos. I don’t believe in love at first sight and I don’t believe in Happily Ever After. I do believe, however, that like anything worth having at all, a good relationship requires quite a lot of work.

The love we have for each other is always there, underlaying everything we do like a deep aquifer that slowly nourishes the forest above it. But sometimes we don’t much like each other. Sometimes we have to comprimise for each other. Sometimes we have to sacrafice for each other. Sometimes we fight and sometimes things grow very strained between us indeed.

But we work at it every day. We work at loving each other more. We work at being more tolerant. We work at being easier to live with. We work at meeting together in the middle. We try harder – harder every day – to be each others’ ally. To be true and equal partners. It’s not easy. Not by a long shot – but it’s very, very worth it.

My relationship with Warcraft has been under a great deal of strain this summer. There have been more than a few times that I’ve looked back at the interactions of this game and my life and thought seriously that it may not have been worth it. Or, if it was worth it – it may not be any longer. I strongly doubt I will still be playing WoW ten years from now, and I wonder sometimes whether I will even still be in touch with my guildies in that time. And there have been a few times this summer when I honestly believed that that time had come. It was time to bid farewell to the game, the guild, and the amazing people that populate it. I wasn’t getting enough out of my relationship with WoW to make the maintenance worth it.

I stopped caring about WoW. I stopped caring about making my toons better. I stopped caring about doing all the work that needs to be done to keep the guild growing. The pruning and watering and fertilizing were just so much more work than the pleasure of watching it bloom and flower were even worth. I stopped caring about leveling my alts. I stopped caring about making money on the AH. I really stopped caring about raiding. And I stopped caring about blogging.

What could I say? I was done with WoW, ready to pack my bags, leave the sofa and the patio furniture, take the TV and the good china and walk out. Make a new start. What could I say about WoW that wasn’t whiny or spiteful or banal. When you stop having any good things at all to say about your partner then you know that the relationship is on the way out.

I took some time to reflect. I did the bare minimum in game to keep me raiding, and didn’t really focus too hard on doing much beyond raids. I watched House. And Battlestar Galactica. I played some Plants vs. Zombies. I worked in my yard and I read and I spent time with my family. I didn’t think to hard about WoW. I didn’t care too hard about WoW.

I set a small goal for WoW and I. I wanted the Ulduar craftables for my hunter – boots and belt. They’re not cheap, so I needed to spend some time working the AH to get the money. I got the belt first. I had made enough money that I could start twinking my alt pretty good and made leveling very attractive. I found that I was enjoying the paladannery and enjoying the AH games. I made enough money for the boots. The big patch came out and suddenly there were so many interesting facets to WoW that over familiarity had stopped me from noticing. The interest was back. The spark had come back to my relationship with WoW.

I’m back blogging again, after several stuttering attempts to do so. It’s one of the things that I’m doing to maintain my relationship with Warcraft and with my guild. I think that this is relationship that still has something to offer me. Still has places to go. And perhaps still is worth talking about.

Hardcore or Not?

So, I think I may have found mah muse again. I just have been so apathetic about WoW and WoW blogging lately, mostly due to the eleventy bajillion RL asplosions I have had to deal with. The biggest one was my beloved chicken getting very ill. She had to spend the weekend in Birdie ICU and has to take meds twice a day (which is no fun for either of us, let me assure you) but she’s on the mend. She’s certainly feeling well enough to scream at the cats and to yell over the sound of me and the SSO trying to watch Apollo 13, so I think she’s going to be just fine.

Also: you can’t claim vet bills. Why?? My benefits policy needs to change!!

But I have been cogitating upon my two new projects, the Portrait of a Raider series and of course WoW!Geology! The hardest part has been making logos for both – I’m (obviously) a digital image editing n00b. But, I present to you the WoW!Geology! logo:

WoW!Geology!

And the very first post in this series! I’m doing this post actually as a prelude to the Portrait of a Raider posts, because I will need to be able to refer back to it while I’m describing guilds and guildies and types of raiders and all that fun stuff. And so, without any (more) rambling preamble, here is Ori’s Guild Hardcore-edness Scale!

In geology, we use an ordinal scale known as the Mohs Hardness Scale to determine the hardness of a mineral. Hardness is an important method of identifying minerals (and those mineral assemblages also known as “rocks”) in the field and in the lab. It’s possible to quantitatively determine hardness in the lab using machinery, but it’s typically done as a rough-and-ready field test, generally by scratching and/or banging rocks together. Most geologists will carry a few items like a pen knife and perhaps a large quartz crystal with them into the field so that they can quickly do these comparisons and determine just what in the heck it is they are looking at.

The exact same principle applies to guilds.

(It should be noted that this is an entirely made-up and subjective scale. If you want to go for some sort of pre-Galileo sort of thing where your guild is exactly at the center of the hardcore-edness scale and everyone else is either a slacker or a loser with no life, you go on with your bad self- I won’t judge. But it doesn’t give us much of a common ground to talk about things like guilds and raider types, sadly.)

How to Use This Stupid Thing Scale: I’ve put a question at each item on the scale. Answer each question in order (sort of like a flow chart) and move along the scale if you answer yes. Each stage on the scale is inclusive of all of the ones below it.

Are you a guild?
Hardcore-edness 1. Congrats! Being a guild is awesome! There are other people! You have a witty/punny/intimidating/obscure fantasy novel reference above your head. You can have a tabbard and some vault tabs! Welcome to the ‘MM’ part of the Warcraft MMORPG.

Does the guild raid?
Hardcore-edness 2. Yay for raids! Raids are a fun and exciting thing that you can do with your guild. There are lots of other things guilds can do together, but if you’re doing endgame raiding, then you’re working your way up the Hardcore-edness Scale.

Do the raids progress?
Hardcore-edness 3. Yes, this question is very low on the scale, but if your raids aren’t progressing, then you can’t really be very high up on the scale anyhow, can you? If you’re raids don’t progress, that’s cool and can be a load of fun for you and your guildies, I’m not here to tell you you’re bad raiders or bad players, just that there are guilds out there that are more hardcore than you!

Is there a set raid schedule?
Hardcore-edness 4. Raiding on a whim can be loads of fun, but if you’re really going to be hardcore about raiding, you need to have a set schedule. Maybe this is something like “any three days a week” or “every Mon/Wed/Fri at 7pm ST” but whatever it is, you’re serious enough about raiding to make a set date and/or time for your raids.

Are there raid performance expectations?
Hardcore-edness 5. This generally means that there is someone in the raid watching dps and healing meters or just generally keeping and eye on things to make sure that everyone is doing a good job and no one is slacking.

Are there other explicit raid expectations?
Hardcore-edness 6. This can range from anything like “you must have food buffs” to attendance expectations to all of the other things that guilds explicitly demand of their raiders. The more expectations there are, the closer you are to the next level!

Are these expectations punitively enforced by guild leadership?
Hardcore-edness 7. It might seem like a very fine point to make, but having expectations and having a leadership that is capable of and willing to do something when those expectations are not met are to me two very different things. And of course, two different stages on the Hardcore-edness Scale.

Are raid achievements a major part of the goals and successes of your guild’s raids and raid progression?
Hardcore-edness 8. It may seem verbose but I worded it this way for a reason. Doing raid achievements willy nilly or by accident or just on some night that the raid seems to feel like it or even where you try really hard to do raid achievements but can’t are different things from deliberately setting out to do raid achievements and doing them. And of course there are raid achievements and there are raid achievements. But there are a universe of decimal places between 8 and 9.

Are Hard Mode boss kills a major part of the goals and successes of your guild’s raids and raid progression?
Hardcore-edness 9. Similar story here. Wanting and trying to do hard modes are not the same things as actually downing those bosses on hard modes. And which bosses and which precise modes you down them on can be even finer distinguishing levels within Hardcre-edness Level 9.

Are server firsts a major part of the goals and successes of your guild’s raids?
Hardcore-edness 10. Pretty self explanitory. Guilds that aim for and achieve server-first boss kills are pretty much at the top of the scale. They also have all of the requirements to meet every other stage on this scale – cause the scale is inclusive, remeber!?

Are you Ensidia?
Hardcore-edness 76. What more can I say about this? Really?



Post Scriptum: In the spirit of edumacating the readership of this blog about geology, each of the little pictures is of the corresponding mineral on the Mohs Hardness Scale. And as an added bonus, each picture links to something about that mineral! Look, learning!

Thirsty

So, this is my brain.

The one on the right, full of lemons? Yeah, that’s what I know about Shell Oilsands geology.

These are my co-workers.

Actually, more accurately, this is representative of the sum total of time and interest that my co-workers have to learn about Shell Oilsands geology. Putting what I know into what they have the ability to learn has been exhausting on all count. I’ve had to delicately distill and decant the lemony essence of oilsands geology into their shotglasses in the short time they had before they flew off up north to do their jobs – the jobs that I should be going to go do but I can’t because I’m at a course all next week to refill one of those pitchers. (Likely the one in the back, full of cucumbers. Cucumbers are good. It might be more apples, though, the course description wasn’t clear. Either way there will be even more stuff in my brain, and I’m actually pretty happy with that. My mind is a Crazy Cat Lady. Except my mind collects thoughts and facts not tabbies. And my thoughts won’t eat my corpse if I happen to keel over dead and no one notices for over a week. I hope.)

The point is that my brain feels like a dishrag that has been wrung and refolded and wrung again to get every last little drop of moisture out of it before laying it out on the clothesline to bake in the hot sun and dessicating wind. In the Gobi. I keep looking at my drafts folder and thinking maybe, maybe I should write something but I’m so tired from writing what is basically a summary of everything – everything – I’ve learned in the past two years so that my northward-bound colleagues have something to do on the plane instead of watch some crappy movie that I just don’t have the energy.

I’ll try harder, I really want to get some of these posts out there but the only thing I can think right now is how to tell an engineer that the defining feature of the MM1/LM2 contact is a scour feature that is sometimes pyritized and also to make room in my head for what he’s trying to tell me about slip circles and swamp muds but slip circle information is somehow completely immisicble with lemon-flavoured water and it just didn’t stick. I’m sorry Mike, it’s not that I wasn’t listening, it’s just that my brain was busy pouring at the time.

I think the pitcher on the front left is vodka, not water. So the weekend might be ok. I wish you all well and I hope all you Amurricans have a happy long weekend and don’t get into too much trouble!

Post Scriptum: The full shotglass I think is one of the students. Everytime I try to tell them something, all they have on their minds is beer. I miss those days.

Running Scared, Laying Low

So, I worry I might have to start seeking out the poorer quarters where the ragged people go, looking for the places only they would know.

Layoffs have begun at my company and while we got the expected Calm The Troubled Waters email from the company bigwigs, I’m not so foolish as to believe that there isn’t an element of uncertainty in my future. I’ll keep my head down and do my job and hope that the spotlight doesn’t shine on me.

I know what it’s like to be unemployed for long stretches of time, I know what happened to me and my home life last time and I know that I don’t want to have to go back to that dark place.

Though, if I do get laid off, I could always just move to New Zealand.

But, to keep my mind off things, I have been planning a whole slew of new and exciting blog topics. I find that my muse is a capricious creature and I have decided that if I can create a few regularily occurring topics to blog about when all else fails, I might be able to muster up the words to say something relevant and readable.

The first series of posts I want to work on will be called “Portrait of a Raider.” I will be looking at different ‘types’ or ‘styles’ of raiders, how to recognise them, what they bring to a raid, what type of guild they work well with and what sorts of situations they don’t work well with. I have a few raider archetypes already planned, but this post is also a call for ideas and suggestions. Talk to me about some of the recurring types of raiders you’ve seen and how they’ve worked (or not) with your guild and your raiding style.

The second series of posts will hopefully hark back to my theme of examining the intersections of WoW and my life. I intend to call them “WoW! Geology!” posts and I will be looking at occurrances of geology in Warcraft, or using geology (and perhaps a smattering of other sciences) to explain and illuminate facets of Warcraft lore, maps and items. I’m open to suggestions on this topic as well. Did you seem some bit of WoW topography and wonder if it has any basis in reality? Have you seen some geology-related terms used in Warcraft and wondered just what the heck that term really meant? Do you want to know why the Venture Co. Geologists in Stranglethorn Vale shoot balls of lightning from their hands? (An unholy combination of scotch, limestone and a book of engineering jokes – known only to a few select initiates of a shadowy cabal.)

Bottom line is, work is good (though precarious) for now, raiding and recruting are doing very well, and the weather sucks bilgewater. Only amazing blog posts can come of these conditions. I can feel it.

Sometimes I Feel the Weight of the World

So, let’s talk about gardening. (No, not that garden.*) Let’s talk about the Noblegarden!

I can generally deal with work stresses. I can generally deal with guild stresses. I can generally deal with home life stresses. It’s those rare days when all three facets of my life have their stresses intersect that I sometimes crumble under the weight. Last Thursday was one of those days. I was trying to do one of the Argent Tournament quests, and I just kept failing at it, and I was trying to do it fast so I could get some dinner before raid and I was stressed about our raid attendance and progression and I had a spectacularily shitty day at work and had come home to the house being a mess and failing at that fucking quest for the fourth time in a row was absolutely the very last shock my system could handle and I just lost it.

Complete. Nuclear. Meltdown.

I took some quiet time over the weekend, and spent some time having a very heartfelt and beneficial talk with my better half. I indulged myself, spoiled myself a little bit and generally shunned the outside world. I’m happy to say that while I did buy myself a bottle of my very favourite alcoholic beverage I did not pound it all back in an effort to numb myself and/or calm myself enough to sleep. Where I come from, that’s progress.

By Sunday mid-morning I was feeling brave enough to try to face the WoW world again. I wasn’t going to, I really didn’t want to come online and face my raid leader and have to explain to him why I had run away from two raids and generally not been around for almost four straight days. He was, however, remarkably understanding and supportive. I was timid about approaching the guild again, but instead of judgement and dismissal, I felt like I had been taken in, given a comfy blanket and a cup of tea and settled onto the couch with a kitten in my lap. It was exactly what I need, and so was Noblegarden.

I found a nice camping spot in Dolanaar.

There were lots and lots of spots, lots and lots of people camping and a remarkable absence of general asshattery. I turned into a bunny! And then I laid an egg!

And some more eggs!

My goodness it feels good to be an adorable, pink, fluffy, candy egg-laying bunny!

The moonwell is a singularily relaxing place to be.

Amazingly enough, there were a lot of egg hunters online, and we shared some guild luck.

I sat there at that moonwell all damn day – almost 8 hours of simple, quite, zen-like spawn camping. Except the spawn was brightly coloured eggs and I didn’t have to kill it. I just got chocolate. (My chocolate craving was so incredible by the end of it that my better half went out in search of Cadbury Creme Eggs for both of us. There were none to be had, but he did bring me back a delicious, delicious Mars bar!) I got two pretty new dresses, a pet for my hunter (67/75 for Lil’ Game Hunter) and Polymorph: Bunny Wabbit for my mage. I also got the title “the Noble” for Maegwen and another notch in her holiday meta achievement belt.

I spent some time on vent later on that night talking to my guild leader who also had a throughly craptacular weekend. As we commiserated and consoled each other, I realized that as much stress as WoW brings into my life, it can also be an antidote to all of the wearying things in my life. I’m soothed and contented by Noblegarden – its aims (chocolate!), it’s colours (pink, blue, yellow) and it’s mascots (fluffy bunnies!).

It was exactly what I needed. Thank you, Blizzard.

*Sorry I had to get a Sarah Haskins link into a post and now. I have the hugest girl-crush on her, she’s awesome!

The Rythym Method (Move!)

So, I had a very Catholic grade-school education. I went to a private school and there was a lot of emphasis on learning in an environment that fostered a life of dedication to Catholic values. Because of that and other facets of my upbringing, I have a very rich and developed spiritual life, and I’m happy with that. I’m also not ashamed of it.

When I started going to University, it was the first time I was really exposed to peers that had different faith systems than I did. It was an interesting time for me, and I appreciated the chance to talk to and interact with all these amazingly different types of people. One girl in particular stands out in my memory, though (and of course prompted this post.) She was also a Christian, and although we disagreed often, our friendship is one of the fondest memories I have of my first degree. (The worst, of course, is a tie between having the stomach flu in my embryology lab final and being elbow deep in the intestines of a shark. Oh zoology, you were never boring!)

The point of this philsophical journey into cladistsics and catholicism is that my friend constantly tried to convert me (and everyone who would listen to her) and that annoyed the everloving hell out of me. She made it her mission to make those around her believe as she did, often with very little respect for the beliefs they already held. Even now, thinking and writing about it, I find her behaviour intensely aggrivating but I cannot fault her intentions. She honestly believed that she was doing me a favour, and I can’t blame her for that. She saw something wrong with the world around her and she did everything she could to fix it. Her methods were faulty, but her motivation was good. And that stands true even if you can pave a road to a warmer clime with those good intentions of hers.

As a guild leader I have a responsibility to the members of my guild. I am supposed to define and maintain the goals of the guild and to make sure that all members are working towards those goals. I watch dps meters, I watch buffs, I watch gear and gemming and enchants. I direct and I goad and I show and I tell and I generally herd everyone. Some days I feel like a babysitter. Some days I feel like a gardener. Anyone who leads any team of people working together towards a common goal understands these feelings – these roles that team leadership plays.

The thorny question I have been attempting to untangle lately is, “Where do my responsibilities to the members of my team – my guild – end?” And as a secondary question to that, where do the social responsibilities of each one of us as human beings begin and end?

I like to consider myself a social activist. I believe very strongly in ideals like gender equality, the importance of education, and environmentalism (sorta. But that’s another topic for another day.) And other than participating in a march and camp on the lawn to protest tuition rates way back in my University days, I’ve always striven to keep my activism low-key. As important as I feel the topics near and dear to me are, it’s been easier for me to get a favourable reception and a willingness to listen from people by presenting them with small and subtle doses of idealism rather than shouting and beating them over the head with it. For me, people like my friend who have no desire to listen to the viewpoints of others, but keep banging on about how right they are and how wrong everyone else is do more harm for their cause than good. I think there is an adage about flies and preferred fly-bait in there somewhere.

To borrow a phrase from a blog that I read often, it’s about teaspoons, not dumptrucks. I don’t march, I don’t demonstrate, I very rarely write angry letters. What I do do, however, is to perform small and subtle acts day by day. Because the larger problems of environmental abuse, homophobic murders, wage inequalities based on gender and/or orientation don’t happen in a vaccum, I do my small part every day to add one teaspoon full of tolerance to the world. I recycle my cardboard. I don’t let my sister call things “gay” because she doesn’t like them. I don’t let myself be ignored or silenced at work because of who I am.

How does that responsibility that I have, as a person in this world, to slowly, slowly work for a better life for all human beings translate into Azeroth?

How does my responsibility to lead and guide my guild to more and more boss kills and better and better loot intersect with my responsibility to them as one human being to another?

The world of gaming, and perhaps especially online gaming is not generally known as a bastion of tolerance and acceptance. Gamers are far too often seen as foaming at the mouth homophobes and misogynists and I don’t doubt for one moment that those caricatures are actualized somewhere out there. But I truly believe that the community of Warcrfat players is no different than another other community. We are a segement of society and I’d bet that to a large degree we are a reflection of society in general. There are old gamers, young gamers, fat gamers, skinny gamers, richer gamers, poorer gamers, gamers of all races and orientations.

Our guild is generally very inclusive. Myself and the rest of the leadership have put in place guidelines that clearly state that racist, homophobic, sexist or other objectionable comments will not be tolerated. But, inasmuch as we live in a racist, sexist, homophobic society, these permeating influences seep their way into our online lives despite our best intentions and efforts.

What is my role in all that?

I can’t even begin to tackle this issue. I know that I as a guild leader am not here to be some sort of crazy Though Police. I’m very emphatically not here to impose my political, ideological or religious views on anyone, for any reason. But I also know that I have a responsibility to each and every memeber of my guild to make Impossibilium as much fun for them as I can. And to a large extent that means not allowing discrimination. But where do I draw the line? I can tell people this is a discrimination-free guild. But what do I do when people decide to be racist, sexist or homophobic anyhow?

And, what do I do about the feelings that I, as myself, with my Magical Guild Leader Hat off, should say something to Joepaladin, not as a raider but as my friend that his words and actions could hurt someone? What do I do when they hurt me?

Blizzard has done the architectural work. They have given us this world – the foundations, the geography of Azeroth. How we design and create it’s culture is entirely up to us.

What do you think?

This … is … ULDUAR!!!

So, even though this is our off week from raiding, we managed to get over 30 signups for last night’s completely on-the-fly raid.It was just posted as “25 man raid”, no mention of exactly what we would be doing, but the interest was very high.

As expected, a few faces I hadn’t seen in a while came crawling out from the woodwork. I have to confess that I’m a little disappointed in these people. As happy as I am to see them back, and as absolutely thrilled as I am to have full raids and sky-high enthusiasm for them, I can’t help but look at a few of these raiders and say to myself, “but where were you for the last six weeks? Where were you when we were learning Maly? Where were you when we desperately wanted to try Sarth with a drake or two up? Where were you when we were just hanging out in vent, being the friends we are? Did it really take something new and shiny to bring you back to this guild?” I confess it makes me a bad person and a very bad leader on some levels, but I’m saddened by what I percieve to be a lack of work ethic and loyalty in some of these folks.

But, my inner goblin spoke up and said that I was being a little egotistical and perhaps these raiders didn’t actually ‘owe’ the guild anything. And besides, they were here, spirits were running high and everyone was in a party mood. So, we grabbed our dual specs, our glyphs and our buggy, buggy mods and headed into Ulduar.

Our raid leader: “First fight is a vehicle fight, how hard could it be?”

Me (To myself): “Yeah well, so was Malygos.”

The vehicle-based fight against Flame Leviathan is immensely fun. Indescribably so. By the time we got him down, my face ached from smiling so broadly. I am so desperately in love with that first fight I think I may have to quit my job and move across the country just so I can camp on it’s doorstep and serenade it’s bedroom window every night. I loved every blessed minute of it!

The Basics:
There is a Flame Leviathan. He is a big steam tonk sort of mechanical thing. He has four drakes towers. You can destroy one, two, three or all four of his drakes towers to unlock “hard” mode and better loots. With all four drakes towers (!) down, he’s really quite easy once you get your groove down.

There are three types of vehicles – motorbikes, battering rams and catapults (I forget what they’re actually called. That’s what WoW Wiki is for.) The motorbikes are equivalent to melee dps, the battering rams to tanks and the catapults to ranged and healers.

Motorbikes: Have a jackal-style fight tactic. They zip in around the boss/trash and drop an oil slick which slows them. They can also light the oil slick on fire which does an asstonne of damage.

Catapults: These take two riders, one to drive and one to act as a projectile (huge fun!) The driver is of course responsible for manouevering the thing, aiming its gun turret and chosing which attack to use. You have an ammo-less attack that basically chucks a giant rock at your target and an attack that tosses a flaming barrel of pyrite* at your target, but that takes ammo. While you are clearing trash and drakes towers (dammit!) the projectile person should be ranging down these little flying cylindrical blue jars. They can then chain grapple them back to the catapult to replenish the ammo. The ammo shows up as a blue bar on the right of the stock vehicle UI.

Battering Rams: These guys have a huge amount of healt and a charge and batter sort of attack. Pretty basic tanky type stuff. (Yes, that’s a lame explaination. Guess which vehicle I was using last night?)

Trash:
Roam around and take down all four coloured drakes towers (sorry, I’m done). There is one to the right and to the left, up (or down) a ramp, one in the centre area, and one off to the left down a small alley (omg I love you dungeon maps!) There are also smaller towers that continually spawn little iron dwarves. Take these out too. Helicopters will come zooming in part way through, catapults need to range these out of the air. The biggest problem are the spider-like mechanical flame walkers. They do an incredible amount of fire damage and need to be taken down quickly. There are teal glowy discs on the floor, usually around the outside, these heal the vehicle if you drive onto them and wait. They heal pretty quickly, and the vehicles have a pretty large amount of health to start with. Once all the trash is clear, everyone needs to heal up, the projectile passengers on the catapults need to chain grapple in any free pyrite laying around and then head down to the far end of the hall. There is a gate. Behind that gate is the mighty Flame Leviathan!! (duhn, duhn DUHHHHN!)

The Boss:
He has basically no aggro table, he just picks someone and chases them around, while they kite him all over the place. Every 20 seconds (or so) he will randomly decide to chase someone new. Supposedly, he should only be chasing the people in the (tank) battering rams, but occasionally he targetted one of the catapults for us. Catapults should always stay at max range from him, just in case. There should be a warning 5 seconds before he switches targets, so all battering rams should back up and get ready to run. Motorbikes should be tossing and lighting oil slicks everywhere they can. The best strat is to keep the slicks near to the person the boss is aggrod on, and for that person to make sure they are kiting him through as many burning slicks as possible.

Catapults need to have really good comminication during the boss. Periodically, the projectile player needs to laod themslves into the catapult bucket and get fired up onto the boss. This takes some aiming by the driving player. There are 5 catapults, and we had it set up so that three of the projectiles were healers and two were dps. That way we could send a healer and a dps up at the same time, with one healer in reserve. Once a healer and a dps are flung up onto the boss, there are four small turrets up there that need to be dpsd down. He will get a damage taken increase debuff for every turret taken down, and once all four are down, he will be stunned. This is when the catapults should spam their pyrite barrel toss. They also need to save the pyrite barrel toss to interrupt his flame charge attack, which he periodically does.

After the stun is over, the motorbikes need to pick up the people who were on his back and take them back to their catapults. We had each catapult marked with a raid icon, and it was (mostly!) easy enough for the motorbikes to return their passengers. Give the catapults a few moments to recharge their pyrite, then toss the next pair of dps/heals up onto his back. We managed to unload enough dps on him during the first stun phase that we didn’t actually have to take him to another one.

Dead boss. Phat lewts!

Pro Tips:
Communication is key! (As always.) Vent chatter needs to be kept way, way down so that the raid leader can call out who the boss is targeting and so that the catapult drivers and projectiles can talk to each other, and so that the projectiles can talk to the motorbike drivers. We had one issue where there was too much chatter and the motorbike driver just roamed around aimlessly which took his dps and the dps of his projectile passenger out of the equation.

There is no healing during the fight. Catapults and motorbikes need to stay out of the boss’ way and catapults need to make sure they are interrupting. Because the interrupts use up some of the pyrite you need for the stun phase, set up an interrupt order so that not everyone is spending all of their pyrite ammo at once.

If you wipe, you do not need to re-clear trash. All the vehicles will spawn right in front of him and there will be stacks of pyrite there. Once you enter the instance, there is a green portal pad that will take you to the boss. Chose the second option on the portal menu.

There is a repair guy in the instance! Hooray! As soon as you enter, there is a ogre on the right who is a reagent vendor and repair dood!

Catapults move uphill verrrrrryyyy sloooooooooowwwwwwwly.

*Pyrite is a sulphide mineral. It is not generally flammable. You can melt it, but that would take crazy high temperatures and I doubt you could contain it in a wooden barrel. Lrn2geology, Blizz.

This Wasn’t In My Contract

So, if you’ve surfed onto this blog from one of my forum posts, Welcome! Thank you for taking the time to indulge your interest in my wonderful guild, Impossibilium. I’m justifiably proud of both this blog and the guild that it’s about so please, make yourself at home. Have a little look around and become part of the extended Warcraft community!

Good grief this recruiting stuff is hard work!

I don’t usually do the recruitment dance. That’s the baliwick of my co-guild leader and partner in crime. It’s something she’s always tackled with her usual zest and effusive charm, and something that I’m a little … clumsy at. (For the record, the last time I tried I got a 24 hour forum ban. Doing it wrong, to be sure.)

But some days Real Life cannot be crowd controlled and poor Shanaria is being hit hard by the twin evils of illness and general economic troubles, so the task of beefing up or ranks has fallen to yours truly.

Post on the recruitment forums? Check!
Post on the realm forums? Check!
Obsessively checking, rechecking, bumping and generally fussing over said posts? Check!

Now, maybe when I get home from work tonight I can start the “flogging of the guild over various chat channels” routine as well as stalking searching for unguilded folks who might be willing to join us.

I’m exhausted already.

Our raid enthusiasm is really coming in fits and spurts lately, and I’m very optimistic about the possibilities of the new content that’s coming down the pipes today (today!!!) really lighting a fire under the guild members. However, I think to really be able to give the guild soup a good stir, we need to introduce some new ingredients. New guildies are always a cause for excitement. Who are they? What are they like? Do they sound sexy over vent? What is their playstyle like?

Yay for healthy competition too! I think a few of our raiders (not the least of which is me) have grown a little complacent in their spots in raids and on the meters. A little bit of threat from the Young Guns might shake up the Old Guard a bit and get them back on their toes. I know that there is a vast sea of players out there, and I can feel it in my bones that there are some future Imposs lifers (and officers???) out there, I just have to find them. I’ll be casting my net far and wide over the next few weeks, working diligently to swell our ranks, so any advice or words of encouragement would be most welcome.

Also, maybe the forum trolls are all asleep, but I’ve avoided them so far. Yay for me!

I Lost on Jeopardy

So, it looks like I was wrong.

When I got up this morning, I was able to log into my bank alt and play a little World of MakingMoneyCraft while I had my breakfast. While I’m a little relieved that the patch didn’t come today, I think I’m more disappointed.

I was really looking forward to Noblegarden!

I was also hoping that a new patch, and the new dungeon might be able to counter some of the apathy in the guild lately. It’s not exclusively my problem, it seems to be something going on in several guilds, but that doesn’t make it any more worrysome. We’re regularily running Naxx and OS with less than 25 people, and that number is shrinking every week. I was counting on the patch coming down the pipes today and injecting a little bit of freshness and excitement into raiding again.

I guess that gives me another week to farm up some more artic furs and also a bit of freedom to enjoy my Easter long weekend, but it also gives me another week to watch my guild slowly sag under the atmosphere of boredom.

Patch 3.1, you’d better be something pretty spectacular!

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