Monday, May 31, 2010

You're Welcome Alts

The last post from Alts confirmed something for me. It's something that has been plaguing my thoughts for a long time. It is the simple idea that knowledge, in the hands of the wrong person, can be a very dangerous thing. In this case it is not the knowledge and wisdom possessed by my fellow geek Alts that is the proverbial shotgun wielding monkey. Rather it is the perceived expertise of this and other websites that can be the digital equivalent of running with scissors. These websites designed to rate or offer advice on gear are ruining my enjoyment of this game.

For me, life was much simpler when I was younger. My universe did not extend past the schoolyard. I woke up went to school, played hockey (I AM CANADIAN) and waited for the weekend. I lived in blissful ignorance for many, many years. One Saturday afternoon my mother returned home with a new pair of shoes for me. They were the coolest pair of sneakers I had ever seen, blue leather with white stitching and, the coup de grace, a lightning bolt on either side. I almost wet myself from the excitement. With these sneakers I would be the fastest boy in the world! I put them on my trembling feet and sheepishly, as to not release all of the awesome at once, took a single step. BAM! The power of the shoes surged within me. I took another step and BAM! The power was too great for my little eight year old being. But I knew I would have to press on, I yelled for my brother to come into the backyard.

He came running down the stairs and into the backyard where he stopped dead in his tracks. "Nice shoes!" he squealed, and without anymore words being uttered we both knew what had to happen next.

We lined up at the cedar bushes, side by side. Me looking down the final acre of our yard and my brother still staring at the lightning bolt emblazoned on my shoes. 1, 2, 3 GO! We took off running. I was sure that the sonic boom could be heard from across Canada. The trees that lined our yard were a mere blur and everything else around me was shut out. It was tunnel vision and all I could see was the end of the yard, blurry trees and the back of my brother. The back of my brother, what the hell? How could he beat me, how could he beat the shoes?

After that race I never wore the shoes again. I couldn't believe that those shoes could allow me to lose to anybody. The truth of the matter is had I not raced my brother that day I would have went to school the next Monday still believing that I was the fastest boy in the world. Maybe as long as I only raced the fat kids at school I would have still believed that I was the fastest boy in the world. The problem, however, was that I did race my brother and that loss could never be erased from my memory.  

I draw the same parallel to other WOW websites. As long as I don't allow myself to be measured, be it by gear score, recount or websites offering gear analysis, I am still the fastest boy in the world. I can get into an instance and things will die, I can complete quests and I still receive experience points. So why the hell would I care if some geek sitting in his mother's basement tells me that I can squeeze out another 200 dps if I switch my red gem of sweetness for an orange gem of slightly sweeterness (it's a word). Who am I hurting by using a piece of gear that I like?     

Saturday, May 29, 2010

You're Kidding Me - Right?

I have been playing this game for quite a while. My first toon was a rogue and I was looking in her bank the other day and I still have items in there from years ago. I have made many more toons since then and with respect to me thinking I have Alzheimer's etc. I rely on websites to assist me at a glance as to what I need to focus on for a specific toon.

Ever since I found the site, I have been a fan of the Be Imba! character auditor. As mentioned, having so many toons I rely on this site to provide me a way of knowing what piece I need to upgrade, what enchant I am missing an upgrade for and to know if I should even bother /Waving at a toon at the Dalaran fountain for the subsequent gear check when my Gear-o-Meter says there is no way on earth I should be going there.

I was pretty comfortable with the site. Then Nebz goes and gives me the URL for the Elitist Amory site. What a jerk. I go to that site and enter my various toon names. OK, not bad, this toon is pretty good, this one needs work and I know where I need to focus. Then I enter my Warlock jewelcrafter's name. Ugh!

Items Passed - 88%

(Ok I understand, I have a few PvP pieces purchased with honor in order to satiate my GearScore to the clowns at the Dalaran fountain)

Enchants Passed - 100%


Gems Passed - 88%

WHAT! I am a jewelcrafter, how could this be? I am anal when it comes to my gems and enchants. What am I doing wrong? I get on all the theorycrafter sites. Read up on all the warlock information I could get. OK, more Runed Cardinal Rubies. Hit capped, need haste? Maybe some Quick King's Ambers?

I make some changes to my gems and refresh the Elitist Armory site - Gems Passed 89%. WHAT!!! One stinking percent! 600G spent on the uncut gems I didn't have in stock. WTF. Nebz did I mention I hate you.

I realized at that time, I have no idea what I am doing. I even chuckled when I actually read the Elitist Armory site notes saying, "Next up, gem and enchant suggestions". Ugh! I give up. Trying to figure out how to upgrade this toon is like fixing that truck in the photo using a board as a jack. I think, I need a drink. I will come back to this when they upgrade their site with the gem and enchant suggests.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Seniors Moments

This article is for the more mature WOW players out there. I have noticed in the last few months that I have been experiencing more frequent “Senior Moments” both in and out of game. By far, the out of game ones are more humorous. Those are the ones I am going to let you in on.

Fall 2009

The company that I work for operates a medical surveillance program for its employees due to the plethora of chemicals that we deal with on a daily bases. As I sit on the side of the gurney, he is asking me questions, giving prognoses and telling me the usual - You are fat. (I am 6’1” and have been 250 lbs for ages. I did drop 36 lbs one year for a hernia operation but gained it back.) Every year he tells me to loose 50 lbs and no matter how much I control the food intake, I remain 250 lbs. This year he asked me to loose 25lbs, "meet me half way", he says.

Near the end of the appointment he asks me the question, "Is there anything else you want to talk about?" I thought about it and there was. My wife and I have been noticing that I am becoming more and more forgetful. Walking into rooms and forgetting why I entered, forgetting to pick up my daughter at band etc. Things like that. Not sure why my daughter was mad at me, I was only a 1/2 hour late. So I mention to my doctor that I was concerned that I was getting Alzheimer's.

My doctor replies that there are a number of tests that are used to diagnose the disease and he would try a few on me. Three to be exact. He does the tests and then asks about my job and the amount of stress I am under. He concludes that I do not have Alzheimer's, it is stress related and I suck at math. I leave his office. In the car I call my wife. "How was your appointment.", she says."Good", I say, "no Alzheimer's he did three tests on me. The first was to subtract 7 from 100. 93. Then subtract 7 again, and again, and again.I got to 63 when I stopped the doctor to say that you can't get to 63 by continually subtracting 7 from the result of 100 - 7." He congratulates my by saying, "You don't have Alzheimer's, a person with Alzheimer's would never know they couldn't get to 63 that way, you just SUCK at math."

My wife asks, "What were the other 2 tests?" "Can't remember", I replied. I swear, for the life of me I could not remember and I did the tests not more than 15 minutes earlier.

Earlier this Week

I was sitting at my desk and had to go to the bathroom. Walked into the bathroom, lifted the lid and the seat, pulled down my fly and thrust my hand into the opening in my pants and began to flail my hand around looking for lil'Alt. I couldn't find him. I started to panic. My eyes were looking at the water in the toilet bowl. My bladder must have been paying attention and decided, "here we go". I began to panic. "WHERE THE HELL IS IT." "WHEW" I got him out just in time. I finished up, washed my hands and stuff and went back to my desk. I sat there for a while. Thinking. How does one size themselves for Depends (for those in different areas of the planet - that is a tradename for adult diapers)?

Am I really that close? I am 46. It is a pretty slippery slope once you hit 40.

So a couple of RL seniors moments. But what about WOW?


It was a fishing quest in Dalaran, I went up to Marcia and got the daily fishing quest. Sweet, "Jewel of the Sewers", this will be a quick 200 gold (that is if all my alts do the daily). I get into the sewers and CTRL+C (switching to my fishing outfit). I look, where is my jeweled fishing pole? I begin to freak out, "did I sell it?", "WTF?". I realize after about 20 minutes of panic that this toon doesn't have the pole, an alt on a different realm has the pole. A wave of relief washes over my body. A slippery slope I say.

Well I can't remember what else I wanted to say. Time to Farmville.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Hillbillies Make Terrible Neighbors

How is that saying written again?

I think it's something along the lines of "Don't start nothin', won't be nothin'." I was looking for drama and I found it in the form of the now nerve inducing DUNGEON FINDER.

A while back I finally hit level 60 with Shammy Davis, to help "celebrate" this momentous occasion I decided to invest in a dual spec. I knew that by having Enhancement (dps) as my primary spec I would be sentencing myself to hour long queues to get into dungeons. So I trained my secondary spec as Restoration (healing), I was sure that this would almost eliminate my wait time for dungeon runs. Well I was right and to help speed things up I queued up with my buddy Alts who just happens to be a tank. I think we were in a dungeon before we even queued up, it was awesome! Now the fate of this newly formed group of ragtag warriors rested on the shoulders of ole' Shammy Davis. Live or die, it's all up to me… the healer!

As the group of us sat at the mouth of the dungeon I surveyed the lucky few that were fortunate enough to be grouped with the mighty Shammy Davis. We had a Death Knight, a Hunter accompanied by his pet raptor and a Warlock, oh and Alts was on his Druid. As I looked at each of their shinny faces just beaming with hope, a small, tiny, insignificant amount of concern entered my being.

            "Hey dummy', I said to myself. "You've never played a healer before!"

Let's call a spade a spade here, I was F'n SCARED! I've never played a damn healer before. I've only been a damage dealer, period, end of sentence. What the hell was I doing, these guys were all going to die and it's going to be due to my ineptitude. Now I feel like I can tell you this in total confidence, my hands were shaking and my heart was racing.

So the six of us (including pet) began the instance and I started clicking wildly. Their health bars were dropping faster than my wife's inhibitions after two martinis.




I couldn't click them fast enough. I could hear their tiny nerd screams;

            "Save me Shammy Davis."

It was like a scene out of Saving Private Ryan, but something was different, they weren't dying. Hmm, pull after pull, they were still alive. Cool, we ended up finishing the run with only one fatality. On one occasion my buddy Alts decided to ignore my need for mana and pulled a mob while I was less than prepared. He died, but the group lived on. I resurrected him and asked if he didn't see the wall of text that was me pleading for a break so I could drink my greatly needed water. His response?

            "I did, I just didn't care."

Fun Alts!


Anyways the instance ended and I was feeling better about my abilities as a healer. That was until we queued up for a second run.

For the second instance we were placed right back into the same dungeon. Only this time I couldn't tell you who the hell was grouped with us because I never got a chance to see their names. Alts (the tank) pulls the first mob and I throw my first heal and that was my first and last mistake. Here's a tip for anyone that would like to be a healer, THE TANK NEEDS TO BUILD AGRO! My heal went out and I pissed off two or three of the attacking mobs. They turned and started to run at me. Now here's where I make mistake number two, I see the mobs running towards me and I convert back to my noob form and I RUN AWAY FROM THE TANK! What the hell was I thinking? I know better than that. I've been a squishy Mage long enough to know that (if I can't use Ice Block to help defer the agro) I'm supposed to run towards the tank not away from the tank.

Needless to say the entire group wipes on the first damn pull and to make matters worse I have Alts in vent yelling at me;

            "RUN TO THE TANK!"

After running around looking for the entrance to an instance that I can't find, I finally get back in and gather my thoughts. So Alts proceeds to pull the mob again and then…. MY POWER GOES OUT! Thanks hick ville Canada, apparently some hillbilly drove their Jon Deere tractor into a pole and knocked out the electricity to my entire street. By the time the power came back on I had been kicked from the group and the instance had finished, crap!

So here's what I learned from my time as a healer;

  1. Never get cocky, you always suck!
  2. Heals pull threat just like damage does so let the tank build agro
  3. If you do pull agro, always run towards the tank
  4. Healbot is the greatest addon ever
  5. I need to move to a city that doesn't have drunk hillbillies driving lawn tractors on the streets

Monday, May 10, 2010

Stupid Stuff or What's Wrong With RL?

It has been a week or so since my last article. I have been traveling for work the last couple of weeks so my WOW time has been limited. Similarly, I have not had much time to think of something to write about. While I was driving today I was reflecting on my last week or so and found myself chuckling about the stupid stuff that has happened to me. I am going to recall a few of these situations. Are they WOW related? Probably not. But I am sure you can think of a few stupid things that have happened to you in WOW.

Online Banking

With all the traveling I have been doing, I have had to do a little bit of money transferring. I attempted to log into one of my accounts and found out that I never did set up the online banking. So I dialed the phone number that was listed on the site. We have all heard the queuing. Press 1 for English, press 2 for French (Well in the US it may be press 2 for Spanish). Anyway, why is it when you press 2 you get a French person speaking French, but if you press 1 you get a French person speaking English with a horrible French accent?

Hotel Pools

I was in a hotel pool in Toronto last week and while sitting in the luke warm hot tub I noticed the safety gear stationed around the pool. Life rings and rope, fair enough, I am sure it is a legislative necessity. However; the pool in question was only 15 feet wide by 30 feet in length. On each ring there was a good 50 feet of rope and there were 4 of these positioned around the pool. Funny thing - the pool was only 3 feet deep. Picture this, "Help me I am drowning". Crowd of onlookers, "STAND UP!"

Oil Changes

Last summer I stopped going to those quick lube places, maybe because they forgot to tighten the oil filter and all my oil sprayed out as I embarked on a 600km drive. So this time I took the car to the dealership. Their oil change takes apparently 60 minutes to complete. Well I guess 20 minutes for the oil change and 40 minutes to go over the car and make a list 3 pages long regarding what they think is wrong with my car. They only wanted another $1500 to make my car "right". I was in a hurry and didn't want to have to explain that money doesn't form in my warm, dark, moist areas and that I would have to budget and prioritize these fixes.

That's it, that's all the stupid stuff I can remember, I am sure there was more but at my advanced age I am lucky I can get my depends on with the tag at the back.

OH, on a WOW note - on my shadow priest I was able to get my cooking leveled from 25 to 400 in about an hour and a half without buying mats from the AH.

Yeah me.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Pigs are Cute

Well, that didn't last long. I smoked the Warcrack pipe last night, even after swearing that I wouldn't.

What the hell is wrong with me?

OK, starting tonight I will not log in again until Monday… er, maybe once to list some items in the AH…. Ok, twice…but that's it! Let's take baby steps here.

I do, however, want to address something before the weekend starts. The idea of potentially not logging in to WOW over the weekend has got me thinking. Should guilds have mandatory attendance records? How long is too long to be away from the guild before its ok for the guild leader to kick someone out? (Sorry, inside joke)

What I really wanted to discuss is the very evident leak of information coming from the Cataclysm Alpha. For the last couple of days, we the player, have been bombarded with screenshots about the upcoming expansion (WOW 2.0). Shinny pictures of old zones looking pristine and, quite honestly, somewhat graphically taxing. Blizzard has put a new coat of paint on the old girl and nerds around the world are drooling over what has been put in front of them. Well, MOST nerds are drooling, but not your ol'buddy Nebz. You see Jimmy, your Uncle Nebz here is more of a glass half empty type of guy. As a matter of fact, Uncle Nebz would like to know who the hell drank the other half.

OK Blizzard, so you took our 1984 Pinto, slapped a spoiler on the back, maybe some 80 mille an hour stickers on the side and expect us to forget the fact that it's still a damn PINTO! Or if you rather, just because the pig has a tuxedo on doesn't make the fact that it's a pig any different.

  1. I will never see the graphic upgrade because my card won't be able to handle it, and
  2. Graphically upgrades do not make for a better game. Prettier maybe, but not better. It just gives me something else to look at while I'm swearing a blue streak about the dumbass quest I'm on for my totems.

I am not going to boycott the information being leaked, as a geek, that goes against everything I stand for. I will, however, be taking the information with a grain of salt.

"Hey, did you hear that Thousand Needles has water in it now?"

Who gives a crap? I mean it's cool to a point but be on that all I can think of is the fact that I'm going to get lost in every zone now.  

The leak I want to read about is;

            "Hey, did you hear they fired the jackhole that wrote all the totems quests?"


So watch the parade of screenshots and don't forget to wave at the princess in the Pinto as she drives by. Just remember, the real enjoyment from this game comes from the people you play with and not your surroundings.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Shaman Loses Focus

I've been staring at my cursor flashing on this blank page now for almost 20 minutes. It just keeps blinking, on, off, on, off, on, off, on….

The problem is, I don't know what to write about. I know I should contribute something to this blog. It's been almost a full week sense my last post. Yet I can't find anything inside of me to write about.

Warcraft has kept me very entertained over the last week. Well, not entertained per say, but it has kept me busy. I've managed to accumulate almost 2,500 gold (that's a first for me) but it wasn't done in any grand fashion. I simply kept buying low and selling high or vendoring items that people have listed too low.

I was able to finally reach level 60 on Shammy Davis (yay), but even that accomplishment felt lack luster. All I did was quest and grind the whole way from level one to level 60.

Level 60 should be a big deal shouldn't it? I mean it's the end of the original content. My total time played so far is just over four days and I haven't used any heirloom items nor have I used the dungeon finder. It's been a solo grind all the way to 60 and maybe that's what's wrong. I'm feeling very melancholy about the process. I'm… dare I say it… I'm BORED!

Phew, that feels good to say. HOLY CRAP I'M BORED! YAY, shout it from the roof tops.

This is nobodies fault but my own. However, sometimes I feel like I'd rather rub my ass with a cheese grater and sit in a bowl of vinegar than grind another bitchy harpy. I think I need to mix things up a bit. Now that I am in the Outlands, maybe I need to start using the dungeon finder. Maybe, simply being in the Outlands will help change my attitude. Let's think about the changes that are happening in my young shamans' life.

Shammy is going to learn to fly… sweet!

The gear drop is incredible compared to what I had in vanilla… nice!

Experience gained comes is greater amounts… cool!

The gold drops are better… super!

So there's a lot of nerdrific things to look forward to, I just need to catch my breath for a minute before I muddle through the next 20 levels. So, here's the plan. I'm going to take a couple of days off from smoking Warcrack and enjoy real life. Then next week I will come back ready for more. This is after all just a game and in the great words of someone much smarter than I;

            "It's not the destination, but rather the journey."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My GearScore Rant

Well I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before I started my GearScore rant, it has always been in the back of mind. I said I would never do it because we already have a contributor on this blog the tends to rant a lot. I think they should make a WOW game title for it. It could be, "the Ranter", or something like that. Nebz, you wouldn't even have to do the prerequisite achievements. They would give it to you like they dish out honorary doctorates in RL.

I am not sure this will qualify as a rant, for I am not sure if I can do my hate for GearScore any justice when compared to the excellent article written by Fox Van Allen over on WOW Insider. His article entitled, "Spiritual Guidance: The GearScore is a lie", is a masterpiece for those of us that have been tainted by this mod.

His (no disrespect if female) focus obviously is his shadowpriest, but the article transcends all classes, I know it has impacted all of mine in some way, shape or form. I strongly suggest you read the article, his analogy regarding how GearScore works is outstanding. Shedding the much needed light on a mod that in my mind is absolutely useless.

Why is it useless?

I got sucked into the GearScore spiral of doom on a few of my alts with the very trinkets that Fox says are useless (especially to shadow priests). I did exactly what I shouldn't have done, I picked up the Talisman of Resurgence without a nary of thought, I was blinded by GearScore. So now on a few toons I have been trying to correct the issues but that is a long road to travel.

There are a few more reasons, most notable, the enchants and gems. Fox mentions, a good pug leader would take some time to actually assess your gems and enchants. I take oodles of time and if I didn't have all the professions covered, would spend tonnes of gold on the best (proper) enchants and gems. Maybe on my realms GearScore isn't the problem, hmm, maybe we do not have any god pug leaders on my realms. Well that is a different article.

It has gotten to a point where I don't even try to pug anymore (raids anyways) because every pug raid clown (err leader) is asking for a GS of over 5500/dps >7K/and the achievement for the likes of TOC10. Yeah, you read it right. This is what some pug leaders are asking for on my realm. I have played this game for about 5 years, when I choose a class for the evening or week I know how to play it, I have the best gear that I can get for my station in life and I know to stay out of the burning bits. But, I always get turned down for GearScore or I don't have the achievement on the particular toon I want to bring in.

Well I don't want to drag this out any longer. Maybe Fox should have titled his article, "Spiritual Guidance: Everything a Pug Raid Clown (err Leader) Should Know About GearScore", then take the time to actually realize GearScore isn't everything.