Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Heavy Clefthoof and Heroic Underbog

More druid related stuff! I'm OBSESSED!

Actually, it's more that I've hit a ceiling with Kiki right now. My current guild had a setback (see previous blog!) and I don't think I'm going to get further with her right now. So rather than talk more about how awesome I am with my warlock, I've switched tracks.

I'm an awesome druid.

I completed the heavy clefthoof set yesterday. I ran BM twice and didn't get the shoulders from the Chrono Lord. I did get the cloak though and took it as an upgrade over the devilshark cape. Not ideal but...

Then we did heroic UB. No salvation on the insane warlock in the group (love you, Abs!), or on the epic'd out hunter (you too, Werenal!) or on the piddly little rogue (Boon's alt, Dhark, hate him) and I held aggro rather well.

I lost it on the banish's more easily than on the others, because I can't start on them while everyone else is still on the last one. I have to wait until the banish is up, but by that time, everyone is ready to unleash! But with rare exceptions, the banish's didn't get to hit anyone other than me, still. (I didn't play the lacerate game, I went ahead and taunted when they tried to eat someone else.)

Our first wipe was on the four-pull after Hungarfen. The X and the hunter trap decided to ignore everything that I or the hunter was doing to them and decided that the healer, an awesome shaman named Shougeki, looked far more tasty. We did get one down, so it turned into a three pull after that. My method of tab-lacerate-tab-lacerate worked decently even on heroic. I tried to get a mangle in on each, too.

We had a partial wipe on Ghaz'an. The rogue, though he wasn't by the tail, still got tail-whipped into the water, so we were down a DPS most of the fight. We still killed him because 1: he's slow and 2: we had a warlock and hunter kiting him after I died. The method I like to use is pulling him down the path to the wall. I ran up there, barkskinned, moonfired, cat formed, sprinted then turned into a bear when I hit the wall.

Ever notice how FREAING BIG your ass is in bear form? I mean, I always knew it was big (hence 'Big Bear Butt' blogger), but dear lord, it's impossible to SEE when you're in a corner. I had to ask the group to tell me if I was straight because I couldn't see anything but my own ass.

By the way... a warlock can SOLO that boss just by kiting him. (Because warlocks are teh aw3s0m3!)

We had a partial wipe on the first Underbog Lord, who after I died, immediately ate the healer then the hunter, and then was successfully evasion tanked by the rogue and killed by the warlock from 10% down. Apparently, my 23% dodge isn't better than a rogue tank. Why do you need me? Just have a rogue. ><

A wipe while we figured out how to handle Mussleman and Claw (I know, his name isn't really Mussleman, but can you recall how to spell it without having it in front of you? That's what I thought. You know who I mean.). We tried to down Mussleman first then Claw, but I couldn't keep Claw on me that way. He was all over the place. The second time, I had the hunter MD Mussleman on me and we focused on Claw until he went friendly. That worked.

(Kiting no longer works well because according to WoWWiki, Claw ignores the kiter and returns when Mussleman commands him to 'obey', and Claw is not hibernatable in heroic. The 'hug' method worked somewhat well, limited his charges a little bit, but was still on people. 8 yards is too small for most people!)

We had two wipes on Black Stalker until we figured out how to handle the adds. First try, we tried to ignore them and they wound up eating the healer. Well, not eating him, but electrocuting him to death. Though I don't know what the difference is... he still wound up dead. The second time we tried to have the rogue DPS them down and that didn't work either. The last time, I had all yellow gear and one red belt, and we ignored the adds again and this time we did it.

What was the difference between the first and last, other than I was down in armor and hit points due to a red item? No idea. The moon was aligned just right? Who knows.

(Or it may have to do with the hunter not being levitated out of the room and out of LOS, as he was in the first fight. The Stalker isn't very fair.)

And... two days after I get my heavy clefthoof boots... the epic boots drop off of the Stalker. :P

I also completed two quests! 'Oh, it's on!' to get the root from Hungarfen and 'Brain of the Black Stalker'. And I'm now 5900/21000 until Earthwarden!

To my way of thinking, this is a LOT of wipes. But Shougeki pointed something pertinent out. This wasn't a group of overgeared individuals (Owaru/Kikidas/Boon) going into heroic Underbog, this was a group of people in mostly blues, some greens and only one overgeared person (Werenal) going into heroic Underbog. And for that group, we did great.

I was awesome. As a group, we were great. :)

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Be Imba!

Oh wow. This is kind of neat.

Be Imba! is a character auditor. I'm playing around with it right now. It .. well, audits you.

Tells you what it thinks about your gear. I did Kikidas. It says there's room for improvement! (It's obviously deeply flawed)

It points out that I have things incorrectly socketed so I miss out on stats. But it also tells you things like -- over defense, over hit rating, UNDER hit rating. It lists your gear that you have. It tells you how many things are unenchanted. It recommends instances/raids for you. It tells you if you're geared for grinding or pvp or pve.

I like it.

The other one is a reputation calculator -- ever sit there on someone and say 'how much rep do I have? Damnit, I don't want to log out.' -- this is your answer! It tells you what you have. Not as much fun as Be Imba! but still nifty. It can theorhetically tell you what you need to up your rep. I haven't been able to play with it, it's giving me JavaScript errors, which is probably entirely my computer and nothing to do with them! :)

Both of these links are courtesy of BBB.

Bear Tank Basics, By K the Warlock

I have altisms disease. I freely admit it. But it isn't a problem. I can do my job well no matter what alt I'm currently afflicted with. Admittedly, some alts I do better with than others, but I still do a good job.

Lately, I've been afflicted with druidism. It's a nasty smelly disease that sometimes turns me into a cat, bear, bird or some odd sea mammal that I think is supposed to be a sea cow.

What? You've never read The White Seal by Rudyard Kipling? Either read the short story (which is good) or look up sea cow in a dictionary.


With my variety of disease, I sometimes become afflicted for short periods of time, during which I'll instance or farm or just have fun. This time, I've become afflicted with the desire to tank. Kathe, my druid, has been a tank since the early 60's. Before that, she was some resto/balance hybrid I think for solo-leveling. Don't ask me, I'm weird.

Without using any of Big Bear Butt's Druid Tank List gear (at least, not knowingly!) I was tanking Shadow Labs, Steamvaults, Shattered Halls. And doing it well. I wasn't uncrittable (defense in the mid 300's). I had somewhat lowish hit points (for a dire bear, that's in the neighborhood of 11k) and somewhat lowish armor points (13k). I had a good healer and good party members, which as in all things, can make up for my lack in gear.

But K, I hear someone ask in the background, you already have a tank, a warrior. Why a second tank?

Because it's different. Because druid is fun. Because I want to. Question answered.

It's true, I do have a warrior. She's all in blues. She's uncrittable. Not sure about uncrushable. She has good armor for a non-raiding-heroicing-Karaing-warrior, she has good hit points as well given the same caveat. But aggro management is so different.

With a warrior, it's all about the devastate and revenge and shield bash and stance-dancing and intervene and intercept and this shout and that shout. Which is hugely enjoyable, don't get me wrong. But so very very different from bear tanking.

With a bear, it's all about the lacerate. Oh, there are a few other things too, but lacerate lacerate lacerate... and omen of clarity. <3 Omen of Clarity. Oh, what's that? 100% reduction in rage cost? MUAHAHAHAHA! Warlocks need a skill like that. Instant cast shadow-bolt with 100% mana reduction and 100% increased damage. That's not asking much, is it?

(By the way, <3 is a sideways heart. Short for love.)

I play a game with my druid tank. If I lose aggro or don't have aggro on something, I don't taunt it. I know, I should. But I see how many lacerates it takes to pull it off of something (with the caveat that I'm in the neighborhood of their threat. If I was tanking against my own warlock, I wouldn't be trying the lacerate-game. I'm assuming an 'on par with me' group.). My average is 2 lacerates and I have aggro back. Without taunt. It's much fun. Of course, you do need to have a decent healer for this lacerate-game, because depending on what is hitting said poor-punching bag, they may not last two lacerates. But usually they do regardless of healing, otherwise they probably don't have any business being in a regular instance. (Mind you, I am not talking heroics).

So... the basics. I'm 0/47/14. The 14 in restoration include the 5 points in furor, 5 points in naturalist, 3 points in intensity and 1 point in the above-mentioned omen of clarity.

With intensity, I have the ability to instantly generate 10 rage with enrage. So, if for some reason I'm in bear form and I don't want to switch out and in again (because I have the nifty ability to generate 10 rage instantly when I transform into bear), I tap enrage and boom, instant 10 rage. Sure I take a hit in armor when I do that, but when it's needed, it's there. With omen of clarity, I build threat faster because I don't need as much rage to lacerate the hell out of something.

(It's also useful in cat form for those times I'm killing something solo. You pounce to stun, mangle to increase your damage from the cat-backstab ability, and then hopefully at some point in time, Omen's popped, which means you can usually backstab immediately, before the stun effect of the pounce wears off.)

The other 47 are in, naturally, feral combat. Obviously, anything that pertains only to cat-form, I have 0 points in. I'm not a DPS-feral. I'm a tank-feral. I won't go down the list of what points I put where, since those are probably pretty self-explanatory.

So, the average fight starts. If I have adequate crowd control and I have only one mob to worry about at a time, I charge. Charge has the bonus of getting me there faster and stunning the mob in place for a few seconds. So even if I have DPS that opens up before I have a chance to hit it, the mob isn't going to be running all over the place just yet. (Caveat is that it's in safe range TO charge, if it's too near other mobs, I don't charge, I faerie fire, back up, THEN charge.)

Since the mob is hitting me (as I'm right there), and I'm hitting it (because I'm there too!), I almost immediately have enough rage to lacerate twice. Then I usually mangle. Everytime the cooldown for mangle is up, I mangle. I lacerate until I have stacked 5 lacerates on the mob. If the CC isn't up by me, I then add swipe and maul into the mix. Swipe, though not as much threat/damage as maul, has the benefit of being instant. I lacerate when it's up. I mangle when it's up. Even though I have 5 lacerates stacked on the mob, I continue to lacerate. It doesn't continue to stack, but it does continue to generate threat.

Usually BEFORE the first mob is dead, I turn, find the next mob I'm killing, and feral charge it. Chances are, unless the first mob is a healer, it will be dead shortly. (I do this when the first mob is about 5% alive). If it's a healer, I stay on it to make sure.

The benefit of charging the 2nd mob in the line before the first is dead is that my aggro-whoring DPS group members have to finish killing the first mob BEFORE they can switch to the second mob. This gives me adequate time to be able to land a few lacerates and at least one mangle before they start in on this mob. This allows me to hold aggro better. This strategy works with my warrior too (sans lacerate and mangle, she has to do things with a weapon and shield, not just teeth and claws). I don't worry about losing aggro on mob #1 in the last few pathetic moments of it's life. If my DPS is adequate, (by that, I mean group DPS, not MINE in particular), it will die before it 1: switches off of me and onto someone else or 2: before it reaches said someone else.

(On the flip side, I do this with DPS as well. If I'm DPSing, in the last few (10 and lower) percentage points of it's life, I tend to up my DPS as much as I can. If I pull aggro off of the tank, no big deal. It's dead before it hits me anyway.)

So, feral charge #2 and lacerate-lacerate. I should have more than enough rage that this is immediately doable. The feral charge locks it in place so it can't go after whomever CC'd it, and since no one else was hitting it (or should have been hitting it), I gain immediate aggro control.

#3, #4, etc. on down the line!

Now, there will be times when I have to multi-tank targets. No problem. A little dicier, but that just adds to the fun!

So, I have X and Y. (I picked Y because Y is easier to type than Skull.). X is second, Y is my skull so it dies first.

I'm in caster form. I make sure everyone else is ready to pick up their charges. I then starfire the X. While I'm casting starfire, I change target to the Y. As soon as starfire casts, I moonfire the Y. Then I go furry. This is when tapping the improved enrage can come in handy.

So, my party members, because they are wonderful people, have control over their CC mobs. The X and Y are by me. Depending on whom gets to me first, I lacerate them at LEAST once. I then switch targets to the second mob and lacerate it, too. While I'm doing this, I'm looking around at where I am and where my CC'd mobs are. I back away from the CC to a place where I can swipe without breaking anything. By this time, I'm back on the Y who is the main target. I've tossed a few more lacerates and mangle's on it. With 1 (or 2) lacerates on the X, swipe should keep it on me and off the healer. As soon as (or slightly before) Y dies, I've switched to X and I've started to up my threat on it, the same way I've done on anything else. Then feral charge #3, etc.

Occasionally, you'll have multiple-multiple mobs to tank, such as the large pulls in SH. Provided I don't have a rogue to worry about (or even if I do), I use hurricane. This gets everyone pissed off at me IMMEDIATELY. If I have a rogue sap, I try to position the sap to the edge of the group, so I can position my hurricane such that it WON'T hit the rogue sap but will hit everything else. (Depending on how close you are to said mobs, barkskin helps with this maneuver.)

I tell people to wait on DPS for a minute while I sink aggro on 3 mobs. I do this in roughly reverse order. The second or third (whomever) I lacerate, then the second or third, whichever I didn't get first, I lacerate. Then I switch to the main target and go to town. This shouldn't be an issue with rage, because I should be getting hit by three mobs. At the SAME TIME as I'm doing the above, I'm backing away from any CC and swiping, otherwise the healer is going to be getting a visit soon. Other than initial sinking of aggro on the second and third mob, it isn't much different than two-mob tanking.

If I have to tank 4 mobs, that one... is a bit tougher. Namely because swipe only hits 3 mobs. However, lacerate the main target that everyone is hitting 3 times, then toss a lacerate or two on everything else. I try to go -- main target-maintarget- offtarget1-offtarget2-offtarget3--main target a few times to maintain -- off1-off2-off3-main if it's still alive.

If you discover that your healer is pulling too much initial aggro on those big pulls because they have to heal your non-dodging-sorry-ass, rejuvinate and refresh yourself immediately before starting your pull. This should 1: lessen initial healing aggro since they don't have to heal you massively at the beginning 2: sink more aggro on you since you're healing and fighting! Look at you, you can multi-task! and 3: cause the shaman in the group to complain that they never get to heal because of earth-shield, rejuvination and refresh .. by the time all three are out, everything is dead. It's great fun!

For mobs that are being CC'd. Always make sure your group knows if they're having trouble, they CAN TELL YOU! And they should. You're a BIG FREAKING BEAR! If you can't handle one more mob hitting on you, then you suck. They're a clothy or a leathery or a something else that isn't a BIG FREAKING BEAR! Go ahead and feral charge their target -- don't worry, your main target will follow you. Unless it's a 'I can't CC this anymore for some reason -- ie: warlock succubus is down' do NOT mangle or lacerate this target if you can avoid it. Otherwise the ticking damage will not allow it to be CC'd again. This is mainly an issue with hunter's traps being resisted or accidentally used on something else. You just need to keep it off the hunter long enough for them to lay another trap.

(sometimes the fastest way to get to a loose running around crazy mob is to BACK UP, so you can charge it. Benefit #1 you aren't chasing it like a loon with it always just out of reach as the person it's hitting runs away from you because they're a frantic dummy (RUN TO THE TANK! PLEASE!), #2 if you charge it, it stops running around due to the effect of feral charge, #3 uh... hi? But seriously, if it's too close or you're chasing it, either back up or stay still so it gets into range to charge at it.)

Unless I've still got two (or three) loose mobs to control, I tend to just ignore the no-DoTing rule and add it to the things that I'm currently tanking. You should be on ventrilo with your group or some other way of talking to them, so you can tell them that the new CC-now-tanked mob is next on the list before any other order you may have previously been doing.

And that's it. It's fun. :)

By the way, hunter trap targets you may have to do more than feral charge and lacerate. You may need to *gasp* taunt those, mainly due to the way that hunter's have to trap. The other CC types don't do any damage to their target (unless they're a warlock, then they may be searing pain'ing their target to keep it off of their succubus), so you can pull aggro easily. A hunter has to shoot it a few times (or more!) to get it into their trap. So you're working uphill on those fellows.

As for gear ... I'm less than 40 thick clefthoof leather from my chestpiece. I'm halfway along the quest lines that BBB lists in SMV. I have my stylin' hat. I have my deep necklace. I have one good defense ring and one mixed-stat ring (Ogre Slayer's Band). I'm at uncrittable (425 defense), I have, when fully buffed, between 14-15k life (depending on what constitutes fully buffed!), I have 17k armor, I'm at 20 or 22% dodge. I'm feeling furry and frisky!

Which, by the way, ever notice when you're out in the world and you're trying to play as your bear instead of catform for killing stuff, your rage generation is sucktacular? It's because you dodge too much in the world and they don't hit hard enough when they do land a punch. Isn't that funny? I find it amusing. You spend all this time going -- need more dodge, need more dodge! and then later on you go, 'Damnit! I'm dodging too much!'.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Jonah of Guilds

I think I'm bad luck. For guilds.

Tranquility. I join. A few weeks later, away it goes.

Innovation. I join. A few weeks later, away it goes.

No Drama. I join. A week or two later, the guild leaders, out of the blue, clean out the guild bank and quit the guild.

My theory -- they realize they aren't me, get depressed, and decide to end it all.

What do you think?

(Alternatively, I'm not a Jonah. It's just bad timing. Especially since in all guilds, I was just a 'probationary' member and only raiding 2 nights a week.)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

You DO kick ass!

I'm doomed, it seems, to never be able to finish a heroic daily. The last two times I've tried, I've gotten to the last boss that we have to kill, we wipe, then I have to go.

Shadow Labrynth. Murmur. It isn't a raid night (for me, at least). We breeze through -- Vorpil down in under 1 teleport. (Literally, he was at 3% when we had our first teleport - close enough for me to call it - under 1 teleport. With as many DoTs on him, he didn't live long enough to even start ticking down his Rain of Fire.)

We get to Murmur. Our tank and our healer don't quite have the concept of avoiding his sonic boom down very well. So we wipe. And then my new guild leader, Gaj, gives me a tell and says, "Kikidas, we NEEEEEEED you to come to help us kill Hydross the Unstable! We have no hope without you! Come save us!"

Well, I'm paraphrasing.

So I have to leave. I beg one more shot at Murmur, but then as we're heading back in, we have respawn. And I have my guild leader begging me to come save him from the savage horde that is the other 23 people of a SSC raid.

Today. It's 10am. I get in a group to do heroic slave pens, today's heroic daily. We have a few wipes, a few funnies (haha! I died AGAIN! This is hilarious!) and a few obligatory 'Whew, how did we live?' moments.

At one point in time, the rogue we were partying with (I do not know this rogue, to my knowledge.) gives me a tell, out of the blue, with 'You do kick ass'.

Now, to my defense, I did not subtly prompt that comment with any little 'oh, I hope I'm doing enough DPS. Am I doing okay?' or any other such coy attempts to get praise. Nor was there any commentary on the damage meters or anything like that.

It's nice to know I truly am universally loved.

Anyway, we get to Quag, for some odd reason Bite dies so we lack his buff, and we wind up wiping twice. The third time we're coming back in, I look and realize it's almost 2pm! And I have to go to the pharmacy to pick up medicine. The pharmacy is down by where I work. Which is 20 minutes away from my house. The pharmacy closes at 3pm. The weather is something described best in the last part of 'The Day After Tomorrow' where you can see the ice forming out of the moisture in the air!

So I have to leave before we finally down Quagmirron.


I do kick ass.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's all about the love...

If you go to and type in Kikidas. I'm the top hit. No seriously. My armory page apparently is the first thing that pops up on Google. Not so on Yahoo, but Google loves me.

Andy Kikidas, patent holder and avid golfer, sorry, you're just not as loved as I am. You have more things about you online, but Google says I'm #1. You're merely #2-10. :P

And Yahoo... what's wrong with you? Someone's web photo that has a young warlock Kikidas in Scarlet Monastery listed in one of the pictures is #4 or 5 on your list, but the rest is that Andy fellow! What's up with that?

On another note...

So, it's Valentine's Day. I hope people spent it with loved ones, doing something enjoyable. Now, this doesn't mean that on normal days I hope you spend those days with hated people doing something you detest. Every day you should say that you love your spouse, significant other, family, friends and Kikidas.

You never know what tomorrow will bring, so don't put off telling those you care about how you feel.

Richard... I love you. (Boon, I love you too. But you're no Richard, sorry.)

Now back to your regularly scheduled Kikidas.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Impressions given but not intended...

I have an issue with things. Shocking, I know. My issue today is something that happened last night. I HATE being made to feel bad. I hate being made to feel bad by making someone else feel bad. Hate hate hate.

So. Who did I make to feel bad? Why do I feel bad for making them feel bad?

A friend wanted to do heroic Underbog. I say, sure. I need badges. I like heroic UB. It's fun. She needs one more DPS and a tank. I sign up for the DPS. Now the tank.

Another friend offers to tank it. He's a new 70 druid. He only just hit honored with CE. He's only tanked 3 or 4 other instances. I wasn't in charge of the group or I'd have said no... Unfortunately, the person in charge and the other people wanted to do a guild run.

We didn't even get up the ramp before Hungarfen before we called it. Someone died on every. single. pull. Usually the healer. Usually me and the other main DPS too.

Underbog gets a bad reputation and people think it's an easy heroic because UB is a low level instance. And it's short. And it's sweet. And with few exceptions, you don't have big massive pulls -- a four pull is the most you have to handle at once.

And people think they can tank it without any problems with gear that they could tank regular Slabs or SH with. You can't. The giants hit like trucks. If you're shy on CC, you have multiple car-hitting mobs on the tank or healer or wherever the hell they decide they want to be. Even with appropriate CC -- hunter, mage, warlock (my preferred grouping for CC in UB) -- there are pulls where you can't CC and you have to tank multiple truck-sized monsters. A newly keyed, newly 70 tank probably can't handle it.

Some of it was technique. He's a new tank. Some of it was over-geared-DPS in the form of an elemental shaman and myself. We unfortunately didn't take into account his newtankness and acted like he was an established firm tank and didn't let him establish good aggro before we started dotting and casting. Some of it was healer aggro. The tank gear wasn't the best, so he took a lot of damage, so the healer had to heal lots, so the healer got aggro, and the tank didn't have a good hold on aggro, and.. you probably see where this was going. So did we.

Now, I have a druid tank. Granted, she isn't the best druid tank out there, but I've tanked many times with her. I've tanked the HH, the CE, the TK... you initial it, I've tanked in it. (I don't think I've done Shattered Halls or one of the TK's, but I don't recall what ones.) So I was trying to give him tips on aggro, how to up his aggro, how to lower healer aggro, how to hold initial aggro on multiple mobs when the healer is getting lots of initial aggro.

Unfortunately, I think that made him feel bad. :( I didn't mean to have him feel bad.

I have a feeling. I think a lot of people think I'm a snob or mean when I give them /tells with suggestions. I'm not being an elitist. I'm honestly trying to help solve a problem that I see. And I try to do it without shouting it in ventrilo or party chat. I'd hope someone would do that for me if they see me doing something wrong. But I fear it gives the impression that I'm an elitist. It's an impression that is no doubt strengthened by the fact that I took my warlock out of my old guild to raid, even though my old guild is trying to become a raiding guild. This had little to do with a vast majority of the people in the guild and more to do with a few very particular not going to go away issues I had with the way the raids were run and organized.

But I think people think I'm ... an elitist. A mean bitchy snob.

I know I give that impression. I'm a good warlock. I'm a good player. I have alts in every walk of life so I can usually toss my three cents in on any situation that is going on. And it gives that impression.

I'm sure after I left the group (after it was called, and I had to go to bed) that those particular people were talking about how evil I was. :( Well, I'm not SURE, but my paranoid side (what warlock doesn't have a paranoid side? It's the left and right sides of our personalities) insists that they were just waiting for me to leave before they started to talk about me. :(

Things like this make me not want to party with my old guild. Not because of them, but because of me. I'd rather party with a PUG because if I make that tank feel bad by well intentioned advice, or any other person in that group, I don't feel bad if they feel bad!

Right now, I feel terrible. Like I kicked a puppy.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A story of Boon

Most of you who know me, know Boon. Boon is my husband's paladin. If you know my husband, you know why he's a paladin. Boon is also the name of his character on Star Wars, Minos Cluster. D'artagnan Boon (no one ever accused Boon of having an over abundance of imagination with names!), who father's name was Athos or one of the other musketeer's, started out as a lowly New Republic Special Forces agent, ie: the police. He started small, had a few escapades that should have killed him whilst he was a lowly 4D character but due to luck and other people being nice, didn't. Eventually, he worked his way up to being one of the hardest people on the game to kill, he could dodge like Neo, shoot like someone who shoots really well, fight like Jet Lee and Jackie Chan mixed together, and started everything he said with a pun. He also was one of the few 'really hard to kill' people who wasn't a jedi. He became the leader of the New Republic, General Boon.

Occasionally, the admin would throw a 'world tinyplot' out there, where the Empire and New Republic had to work together to save the entire cluster. The hard part was always opening up discussion between the two factions.

The last time this happened, we needed to open discussion with the Empire, but they were being assholes about it. They're the Empire, it's kind of what you expect. So Boon flew to one of the Imperial border planets and walked up to their garrison. He knocked on the door. This private or ensign or someone opened it and he waved at her. And introduced himself. And she, according to Boon, did amazingly good roleplay for the situation. She called him 'sir', saluted him and when he invited himself in, she gave him a tour of the facilities. You know, flustered newbie who suddenly gets a visit by ... General Boon. Holy shit. What do I do? "Uh, hello, General Boon, sir.. would you.. like to come in?" is how I imagine the story goes. This is the man who could single handedly take out a stormtrooper squad. And he's asking how the weather has been and is Commander Hawk around. Oh dear.

He also single handedly killed a dark jedi. Well, sort of. The dark jedi was on the NR's main planet. Walking around. In 'political discussion' with the ex-president of the area, who happened to be a light jedi. You'd think -- what discussion? Discussion with light sabers?

But whatever.

The dark jedi is walking along the beach, where a lot of NR officers have homes. Boon's character and my character, the sluissi Kylariss, were married and lived on the beach. I know, I know.. a snake and a human? What? It's Star Wars. Live with it.

The dark jedi sees Boon and stops to talk to him. Boon calls in the rest of the active NR military people who are hanging around, not liking the dark jedi on the planet one little bitty bit. But they can't do anything. The dark jedi isn't threatening or whatever. He's just talking to Boon.

He smugly says, "How is your wife?" and points at Boon's house, which is past Boon. Boon, the paladin, suddenly grasps his head and staggers to the ground, moaning, as though he's in horrible hideous agony.

The rest of the troops watching make the conclusion that the dark jedi just mentally attacked Boon. They've seen it happen before, they're the New Republic!

Ten of the New Republic's best fighters open fire on the lone dark jedi. And he dies.

Boon, having faked the attack, single handedly killed a dark jedi. Of course, he never let on that it wasn't a real attack. And ICly, neither could the dark jedi, because he was dead. As far as everyone was concerned, the dark jedi let his true colors show and attacked the General. Case closed.

I love that. (The admin gave him a DSP for that, even though he didn't use a force point and he isn't force sensitive, so he shouldn't have gotten one for doing an 'evil act'. They justified it by saying as the General of the NR, he should have higher standards or something, and that by deliberately doing an evil act gets a DSP. No wonder most of the old characters retired from that game, stupid favoritist admin.)

What's in a name?

I was at a loss for what to post today, yet I felt htat with WoW down and this being my day off, I should post something. So I looked at Owaru's blog and that slacker hasn't updated in forever and a day. So I looked at Bremm's blog and he in turn mentioned... just what I mentioned. At a loss and wanting to post something.

Thank you Bremm, for showing me BlogAzeroth. Now I have something ELSE to waste my time with! :)

I didn't see what Bremm was talking about in regards of where exactly he got his post topic, but I like his post topic anyway. Names. What's in a name? What's in my names? My story is just a little bit longer than Bremm's.

You may have noticed a certain theme with my character names. Bremm has all Bremish things. I have K.

(No, my real life name doesn't start with a K. I wish it did.)

It all started a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. No seriously, it did. Well, almost.

Back when I was a teenager, I was a trifle antisocial. Not because I wasn't friendly and outgoing, but I lived far away from my school and I wasn't a 'cool' crowd kid. I was in the 'not true nerd/geek/but not goth oddball' group. My brother was on a BBS. I don't recall what BBS stands for now a days, but it was a big old chat room, text based only. There were games in there, like a dungeon crawler that you could play. All text based. He kept at me to join it and try it.

I finally caved in and then I had to pick a 'handle'. Egads. How do I do that? The answer is an odd one. Years before that day, I had this very strange dream. I was looking down at this ancient tome that was faintly glowing. It suddenly opened before me and the pages started to flip rapidly. It stopped. The only word I could make out on the page was Cristivaliani.

No joke. Cristivaliani.

So, that became my handle on the game. People thought my name was Cristi Valiani. It isn't. But it was a good try. We could also write descriptions for ourselves. So I became a silver-white dragon with gold eyes, horns and teeth.

Through that BBS, I met people who actually went to my high school! One of them became my first boyfriend. And then oddly enough, he was with me when I met (and bought) the real Cristivaliani. When I made my description up, I knew nothing about Windstone dragons (remember, geeky teenager, me + malls = never happened). But now that I had a boyfriend and went out more often, I ventured into this little gift shop in the mall with some report card money I had. And there she was. The white Windstone Edition dragon.

And that's how it started for me. But you say, ..... K? Where's the K?

The BBS also had a link to a text based RPG based on Star Wars. For those in the know, it was (and for all I know, still IS) SW1. I created a character on that game and made up a name. I just happened to call her Kaera. Because it looked pretty. I met one of the greatest friends I would ever have on SW1, named Skylar on the game, Mike in real life. We played a lot of games together. And from SW1, I tried the other Star Wars games. SW: Brak Sector, SW: Minos Cluster, SW: Clone Wars. And I honestly don't know why, but all the names started with a K. Keisha, Kiva, Kylariss, everything, K. It wasn't conscious at first, they just had K's.

I branched out into other games, some fantasy games, all text based at first. K, K, K.
(Interesting K trivia, I met my husband on SW: Minos Cluster.)

The first MMORPG I played was EQOA (PS). From there I played FFXI, CoH, LOTR (trial period), EQ (computer), SW: Galaxies and finally WoW.

By the time WoW came around I was consciously picking my K names. The only times I don't have K names was in FiranMUX, where you have pregenerated characters and when I'm trying something deliberate with a name ... like when I named my Tauren after an old Celtic mythic bull. Some of the names, I've posted about earlier where they came from, so I won't bore you with repeating that.

My K characters have been famous on some games (and this isn't my hubris speaking. I'm serious). Kaera, my first ever character, was known throughout half of SW1. All the independents and the mercenary group I was part of knew her. She was a gunner on a capital ship, yet knew more secrets than most of the diplomats because people kept... talking to her. She was 100% sweetheart. I don't think anyone ever tried to hurt her. In fact, the one bar fight she was 'in', happened around her, and half the people in the bar made sure she was safe before they went on to fighting.

Kylariss, my most famous character on Minos Cluster -- I've had a few, but Kylariss lasted the longest -- was known by the entire cluster. Literally. If I'm remembering correctly, she made the MUX news as an entry under local heroes or legends or whatever they were doing for some of the older characters that were retiring. Most established characters knew her, either in person or by reputation. 1: she was the only sluissi (snake like alien) in the cluster, 2: she was the best technician in the cluster (she was tied by a human who was an admin alt that sometimes fudged his stats.), 3: she eventually was a high ranking officer in the New Republic, though at one point in time she was an Imperial bounty that they released. I bet they kicked themselves over that ICly, but OOCly they released me because they were being nice, 4: she was a pacifist and the entire NR looked out for her. If she got hurt, watch out because the entire NR was up in arms. "They hurt Kylariss! Those BASTARDS! GET THEM!".

Keisha was my Brak Sector character. She ... uh ... has a long involved history. She was a medic/martial artist. Really. She was. She was freaking scary. I wouldn't want to meet her in a dark alley. She could kill you then bring you back to life. And with her attitude, she'd probably kill you again.

She started out independent, became a rebel, was captured by an independent organization, tried to kill the head of said organization (most famous man in the cluster) because he said he was going to kill her friends or her (I forget which).. (did I forget to mention she did this in full public, in a room full of people, and did this by deliberately throwing a knife at his groin. Which in most men, would kill them), wound up getting a dark side point by using a force point to try to kill someone (granted, said someone had held her prisoner for a brief period of time, but still) while escaping the planet that she was on while trying to kill said head of organization, then wound up keeping an entire group of people unconscious and in 'quarantine for a mysterious illness' because she didn't like the company that they were leaving (they were leaving the company owned by the fellow she tried to kill). (What can I say, she didn't trust them!) without anyone realizing she was actually drugging them. Then when her brother was in trouble on a planet with the Empire about to catch him, she hatched a scheme with a bounty hunter friend to take her in to provide distraction so her brother could escape the planet. In the course of her time as an Imperial prisoner, she got whitewashed, was made part of the ISP (Imperial Intelligence? I forget the initials), and released on the main planets as a 'good citizen/pet of the Imperial Admiral and Imperial Captain who liked her spunk/poster child for why rebels should turn themselves in so the good Imperials can show them the error of their ways/See, we made this evil terrorist murderer into an upstanding doctor! We're good Imperials. Nice Imperials.'.

She could single handedly kill a raging trandoshan bare handedly if she had to. She could also, as I said, bring someone back to life using a tongue depressor and tooth paste. She was... an interesting... psychotic (because of that pesky DSP)... character. No wonder the Imperials liked her. (I loved playing Keisha. She was great. She'd fly into a black rage and try to seriously hurt you, then the next minute be telling you what you should do to fix that nasty bruise you just obtained.) Oh... and... never fight her with knives.

In her tenure as a 'villain', she was #1 on the Bounty list for the cluster. #2 was her brother. #3 in the cluster was the head of the local rebellion. #4 was Luke Skywalker. :P

Anyway, I digress. (But God, I could talk about Keisha Vorr for hours.)

It's amazing how much you remember of such trivial things.

I had a squib named Kithan on some game that I don't recall the name of. She wasn't famous necessarily because the game wasn't large, but dear lord, people who knew her did not forget her. Have you ever heard a squib talk? Or a kender? The two are related even though one is Star Wars and the other is DragonLance. Heehee. I had someone tell me that if I didn't shut up, he'd kill himself. It was great. She walked into a bar once and there was this evil dark cloaked person sitting by himself, all gloomy and drinking his drink in utter silence while watching the room closely. You know the type. She walked over to the table, told him he reminded her of something, or something like that, and proceeded to talk to him. She got out a ball of yarn to show him, she's been collecting yarn for years and years and the ball was actually Aunt Clara's ball of yarn but Aunt Clara was dead and do you know how hard it is to actually collect yarn, I mean you can buy yarn anywhere but to collect it it has to be special yarn and...

And he grabbed the yarn and threw it on the floor and told her he didn't care. And she cried. And he picked the yarn back up and gave it to her and told her he was sorry he threw the yarn, would she please stop crying and leave him alone.

I miss roleplaying.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Living up to Expectations

The phrase "Living up to expectations"... that means that whatever I expect you to do, is what you do. If I expect you to single-heal BT, and you do, then that's living up to expectations. Godly expectations, but nevertheless, you did it.

The reverse is also true. If I expect that you can't even heal VC as a level 60+ healer and you do... that's also living up to expectations. Or maybe it should be termed 'living down to expectations'. Whatever.

This holds true to lots of avenues of life. And sometimes, we become what others expect. When it's expecting UP, making yourself better so you fit into what someone expects of you, that's a good thing. However, a lot of times, people don't expect much from us, and we take that as permission to ... not be our best. We go down. We do what they expect from us because we don't get credit or it isn't "worth it" somehow to do MORE. And then that becomes what we are.

To some extent, I can understand what WoW is doing. You have a very large player base. You want more people. You want smart people and dumb people, basically anyone who can spend 15 bucks a month, to play your game. So you have to make it so that all those people, smart, dumb and in between, can play your game.

You begin by making a quest log that keeps track of everything. How many mobs you need to kill, what items you need to get, and even a summary of where to find said things so that if you're spam-quest-collecting, you can go back and read the quest afterwards to figure out where to go. Almost everything is soloable or duoable. That's how it used to be. They didn't even have the quest tracker for you. If you wanted to know how many more whatevers you needed, you had to open your quest log.

Yet still, you had people saying 'Where do I go for this?' or 'how do I get that?'. Sometimes, the best answer was 'Did you read your quest log?'. ... "No."... *bangs head on desk* The question is, do you help these people? Do you take them by the hand and lead them through their quests?

Other times, and admittedly there are a few quests still out there that takes some exploring and some deduction and isn't spelled out in a 'How to...' manner. And those questions, you ask and the answer is 'Yes.'. And it's one of THOSE quests and you know that this person did try their best, but need some help. And you help because that's the right thing to do.

The other person, the one who doesn't read their log or can't be bothered to... there are multiple thoughts on these people. Some people are of the 'I'm a nice helpful person! So I will help!', and take them by the hand and lead them down the road of their quests. These people, in their effort to help, are perpetuating the 'down' expectation. They can't be expected to read their quest log on their own! And look, they get REWARDED for not doing so! They have some nice person do the quest for them. Yippee!

Other people do the middle of the road method, which I do. I help to a certain point. I'll direct them to their quest log, or to one of the websites. I'll even ask leading questions like 'Doesn't your quest log tell you where the cave is?', and hopefully I'm rewarded with a 'Oh! It does! Thanks'.

Then there are some that are rude about it and get snarky and smarmy and offensive. Maybe these are people who, at one point in time, maybe started out nice and helpful, then moved to the middle of the road and finally are fed up enough that they've become angry.

Because WoW is altering the game to live down to the expectation of people who can't be bothered to read. Or look. Or try.

We now have sparklies over quest pick up items. And dots on the mini-map. And way points. Next they'll probably make a little path that appears in game for you. Or a spirit dude will appear to lead you by the nose to the next step.

I will admit, the quest giver exclamation points are nice, and let you discover where quests are more easily. But ... c'mon. How dumbed down is the game going to get before we tell people ... it's time for us to stop living DOWN to your expectation and time for you to start living up to ours.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Raids, Guilds and Ever Quest.

Sorry I haven't posted in the last ... oh gosh, almost a month. I know you missed me. You know you missed me. A month without K is like a month without amusing sunshine.

I have a lot on my plate and I don't mean just what's for dinner. Real Life is always a fun hurdle but nothing anyone here needs to know about! Not that I don't love you and not that you aren't just wanting and waiting to find out all sorts of neat RL things about me so you can stalk me, but I'm just not that public of a person. I'm rather private and shy, you know. And humble. Let's not forget humble.

Anyway, I've been raiding with my guild usually Monday evening and Friday evening. At least I was. Alleria has had a queue issue lately and I think a bunch of people in the guild changed servers. At least, I assume that's what they did, rather than simply delete their characters, because I don't know why I wouldn't be able to send them in-game mail otherwise.

So, what happened is this: My husband, Boon, got EQII because he's a sucker for punishment. He made me do the free-trial that comes with EQII. And every day, when I get home, it's EQII. Which, I will give it the credit it's due: it has it's moments. Character creation is more detailed. There are more classes. There are more races. There are skill-chain-like-things. There are shiny things on the ground you can pick up. Crafting is more intricate (is this a pro, or a con? I can't decide).

The downside is the amount of running around you have to do. The animation on my computer is a bit choppy. I lag in every town and city. Anytime something pops up in my background, my computer crashes because EQII doesn't like when things pop up in the background. And since when does an even match have a greater than 50% chance of killing me? (Okay, slight exaggeration, I don't die often, and when I do it's because I do something really stupid, rather than because I'm fighting a single mob that's yellow or white. That's pie. But still.)

So, I left WoW for less than five days. I stopped in last Friday and there was a mini-raid scheduled. There were people in the guild. Yay, all's well. I log back out since the mini-raid was Karazhan and I don't need Kara on my 'lock. On Monday, I log back in for my regularly scheduled raid evening and BAM. There are 26 people in the guild. Mass exodus. A guild message that says 'This is the end!'.

And I think... damn, I didn't know I was THAT popular. I go away for three days and look what happens!

But here's the clicker. The guild leader, a good paladin named Fragh, is away until the 16th. But we don't have a guild left. If people left for other guilds or just transferred servers. I don't know. I don't know if he's going to try to rebuild or just call it. Some of my favorite people in the guild are no longer on Alleria for one reason or another.

Word of what was happening to my guild must have spread, because 5 minutes later I get a headhunter tell. Before I realize that Fragh is on vacation and is away until the 16th, I say 'sure', and I fill out an application to another guild. Surprise surprise, they say 'Yes, you can join us!'. After that happens, someone logs on and says 'WTF!', erases the guild message and says 'That wasn't Fragh putting that up. Fragh is gone on vacation! We'll see what's going on with the guild when he gets back.'.

So my dilemma. Do I wait until the 16th to go to this new guild, to see if Fragh will rebuild again? Do I tell Fragh that my limited raid time makes me a liability to a guild that's going for end-game? Do I even bother to raid anymore?

What do I do? I'm in a quandry.

WWRD? (What would Richard do?) .... (other than kill everyone, that is.)