Oh, Not This Again

So, the lure of the wild has called. The call of the wild has lured. I am heading back into the frontiers and wilderness to experience this physical, natural science we call geology in all it’s glory. Oh, and there will be potash.

I won’t be gone long, (Field Season 3.5 The Search for OH GOD THIS CAMP IS DRY OH SWEET JESUS WHYYYY????) but I don’t know exactly what kind of time and internets connectivity I’m going to have. There is likely to be some blogular whining about how I can’t play Warcraft and how much I miss my guild and how my attempts to reach the gold cap are falling behind.

I will miss the Good Ship Imposs. I will try and stay connected via out forums, and hopefully someone will take the time to say “hey” every now and then. I will miss the blog communities that I have become a tangential part of. I will miss my my home and my cats and my better half.

On the plus side, I now have both coveralls and a winter coat with my name stitched on them. 8 years of University have finally paid off!!


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:


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!

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.

Throw Your Hands Up and … SHOUT!

So, I like these type of shout-out posts. I know the one that the very sweet Larisa of the Pink Pigtail Inn did one for me and some others a month or so ago not only did that make me feel incredibly warm and appreciated, but increased my readership, which is nice for the writer’s ego. For the most part I write for myself, but it feels so very, very good to be recognized and applauded.

I know that I do not have the readership that Larisa does, and I certainly don’t have the clout in the WoW blogsphere that she and some other writers do, but I think it’s worthwhile talking about some of my favourite blogs. For no other reason than just saying that I bloody well love them and tossing some virtual warm fuzzies around. I hope that it increases their readership, too, because I feel that they have important things to say, and I want more of the WoW community to hear these things. Remember, I firmly believe we blog because we’re good players! And part of being a great player is to seek out new opinions and new points of view. (I refrained from taking this oblique Star Trek reference too far. You may thank me now.)

RPness is HUGE.

Thous art most welcome, brethernI am not a very good role player. Part of it is because my character development skills are just this side of abysmal and most of my attempts come out as pathetic Mary Sue-isms. Partially because raiding and guild leading take so much of my time and attention as it is, that I don’t have a lot of energy for role play. And, because despite being nominally a role-playing server, Thorium Brotherhood is anything but friendly to those who want to make actualy attempts at immersion. However, one thing I admire is someone who takes what they do very seriously, and makes every attempt to do it well. And when that honest, earnest attempt is candy-coated in some of the most delicious prose out there, well, the end result is the marvelous Blogatelle. The writing is superb, the writers have presented themselves as human beings worth listening to, and the name of the blog itself is superbly punny. It’s a fantastic blog, and if you care at all about RP (or even if you don’t!) you really should check them out.

Hello Kitty Orange Adventures

duhn da dunna dunna, duhn da dunna dunnaI do not have a druid fetish! I mean, not in any sort of sexual way. I just love druids. They’re the reason I started playing WoW and they are bar none my favourite class. I love bear tanks! I love kitty cats! I love cuddly oomkins! And boy do I love sleepy trees. Druids are just plain fantastic in every way that counts. And tauren are pretty cute, too. And I like to read druid blogs. For some reason there seems to be more druid blogs out there than anything else. Perhaps because they are so versatile? Perhaps because they are so much fun to play? I don’t know why there are so many, but one of the best of the bunch is Secret Agent Cat. Again, a marvellous name and a very pretty blog too. (I’m into the visual aesthetic of WoW in many ways, and I’m of the opinion if you’re going to make your writing worth reading, make it worth looking at too!) Topics here are kitty-oriented, with lots of raid leading, tanking, pwning Alliance and a nice smattering of theorycrafting. I love the author’s enthusiasm for their class and their guild and the exuberant style with which they write. Everyone knows the Big Bear Butt, but do you know that there’s a cat who lives a life of danger? To everyone he meets, he stays a stranger. With every move he makes, another chance he takes. Odds are he won’t live to see tomorrow.

Anger Management

You would love me when I'm angryI love my guild. Mostly. Sometimes, however, they drive me to the point where I want to start stabbing people in the throat with broken bottles. I am a volatile person, I have a short temper and I tend to anger easily, and asplode when I do lose it. When I want to reach through the interwebs and strangle someone who has wiped us on the same boss, in the same way for the fifth time that night, I ask myself, “what would the Angry Raid Leader do?” And then I don’t do that. Not because I think he’s wrong, but because I know that his style would never ever fly with my guild. He is the voice of my inner, unchained, unplugged and unhinged raid leader. He says the things I am thinking, and he does it with a style that is uncannily like my favourite (unofficial) raid adviser. I know that things have been hectic for Mr. Angry lately, with moving and all, but go back and read some of his posts from the end of TBC and you’ll learn to love him like I do. I offered to make angry babies with him, but I havn’t heard back yet!

We are the World …. of Warcraft.

gnomes have it so easyI blog about guild leading and trying to have a life and a relationship at the same time. I love to stumble on other people who blog about the same thing and in a similar style to myself. There are a few very good Guild Leadership oriented blogs out there, but I just stumbled upon this one the other day and was intrigued not only by it’s unique title and description, but by the smiliarity between myself and the author. I will be checking back here to see what other Items of Some Consequence may crop up that I will be interested in.

And Now for Something Completely Different

the sky is falling!Because I am to a large extent incredibly bored by the work I am doing lately, I havn’t bothered really talking much about it. It’s hard to make an interesting post about the fact that I’m having an ongoing arguement with the lab about the fact that they’re prepping the core too damn fast and destroying features I need to analyze or that one of my co-workers may or may not be trying to sabotage my project. But I am as much a scientist as a WoW player, so I thought I’d give two last shouts to two very nice science-oriented blogs. If you’re blogging with WordPress you’ve likely seen Watts Up With That on the dashboard. He gets a lot of comment love and was the Best Science Blog at the 2008 Weblog Awards. I’ve posted this link here because it’s not only a blog I love to read, but it illustrates an important point that a good many of my guildies already know. The only thing that gets me screaming and ranting and foaming at the mouth faster than saying “whups …facepull” or “hey, that Sidney Crosby is a great hockey player” is the dreaded “global warming.” I do not buy one single iota of the media-hyped, slap dash science-backed, fear mongering nonsense that is accepted as common wisdom about this so called “global warming.” If you want to talk to me more about it, I’d be very happy to. I’d suggest you start by looking at this blog first, though.

it's not my fault!If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve likely noticed my delight in puns. I don’t know what it is about geology, but I think there are more bad puns in geological science than any other. Although chemistry has it’s fair share. To wit: “What’s (H20)4? Drinking!” So I was intrigued by All My Faults Are Stress Related the first time I saw it on someone’s blog roll. Topics cover teaching (which I’m terrible at, and glad that part of my own education is over and done with), women in science, geology, the Rocky Mountains and other science topics of interest. Well written, and by someone close to home as well!

If you like what I write, I hope you’ll like what I read. These WoW blogs are worth looking at, even if you don’t become a regular reader. These science blogs are worthwhile because they ask people to think in a manner that is sadly not as prevalent as it should be. I’m working on a science blogroll, so keep an eye out for that coming soon. In the meantime, keep writing and keep reading and thanks so very much for dropping by here every now and then!

OOoOOooo shiny!

So, Blog Azeroth always gets me thinking with their shared topics. This week Pixelated Executioner gave an open invitation to talk about how your profession could be improved. So, here’s is my kick at the crafting cat.

My hunter is a herbalist/miner, so other than having herbs and ore leap out of the ground and snuggle themselves down in her bags (neatly stacked, of course) while her and Sinner hang out in Shattrath looking awesome, or playing fetch with the whelpling, there is not a lot of improvements I could suggest.

My priest became a tailor to craft the Mooncloth set, but beyond that she’s never developed it. What’s she’s really into is Jewelcrafting. Making shiny things and making her shiny friends even shinier!

Jewelcrafting would be better if:

  • Socketing items gave it a sparkle or a glow like enchanting. How come enchants get all the glitz? I’d like to see my socketed shoulders sparkle and flash. Also, socketed items should get a ‘tinkle’ sound to them. Like how plate and mail jingles, but different, to show that the item is really dripping in jewels.
  • you could create a mount. I’m thinking a gilded carriage sort of thing. A giant Faberge egg on wheels.
  • you could gem your existing mount. Purely cosmetic, of course. Unless there was a sort of gemmed reins speed enhancement item. I’m wanting to let people make their mounts look more sparkly and unique.
  • there was a passive ability called ‘Diamond in the Rough’ that would give jewelcrafters an added chance to loot gems from kills. Like the heroic boss gems, just from any boss with the type/cut of gem dependant on the type of creature slain.
  • there was something – anything – more interesting to do with all that leftover dust from prospecting. It annoys me that one type of dust is useful and the rest are just vendor junk. It smacks to me of unfinished business on Blizzard’s part
  • All is fair in love and Warcraft, but what about the ‘real world’? I know my profession (Geology) could use some enhancing!

    Geology would be better if:

  • it were more entertaining. Other than a song by Corb Lund and a one-line gag from Family Guy, there’s not a lot in pop culture about geology. When I had to come up with a theme song for a site I was working on, the best I could come up with was “Elevation” by U2, because they rhymed the title with ‘excavation’ a few times.
  • it were more impressive. Doctors can discover cures for nasty diseases by running impressive looking experiments in sleek, futuristic looking labs. Physicists can discover new particles by charging their particle colliders and smashing atoms together at incredible speeds. Geologists can discover exactly how much silt is in a rock by licking it.
  • it were sexier. Think George Clooney in ER. Think Marg Helgenberger in CSI:Vegas. Think Indiana Jones in my pants … err…. well, you get my drift. Find me a sexy geologist! (other than me, natch.)

    Though my initial thought about having resources leap out of the ground of their own voilition would apply to geology too …