Monday, December 31, 2007

Out of It

So... I've been out of it lately. That is, I haven't been writing new blog posts or reading blogs for awhile. See the unread count on my Google Reader widget?

Silly me forgot to take Monday off from work. Meh. Slow day and an empty office... perfect for catching up on my reading.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Dirty Tricks

Playing a low level character in World of Warcraft can be annoying at times. I'm talking about the random party invites from level 1 characters, usually on the wrong continent. Don't bother accepting them because they're just ploys to pitch you gold buying or character leveling.

Ahhh, but thanks to Blizzard's recent changes the party invites have disappeared. I don't have the link with me but the kids at Blizzavision removed the ability for free trial memberships to do party invites (I may have read it on a blog... sorry for not remembering who said it). So nice not having to Decline a party invite every 30 minutes.

Last night I was messing around on my level 27 shaman, and the same level 1 character kept spamming the Ashenvale general chat with things like: "Where can I find iron ore? PST" and "Free 16 slot bags. PST"

Odd that someone with 16 slot bags to spare wouldn't know how to find iron ore nodes... or know enough to sell the bag in the auction house and buy the iron ore. Hehe. I got to try the new report spam feature. Daddy likes.

My guess? The next dirty trick the gold sellers are trying. Good luck.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I mentioned my family gave me season 1 of Heroes on DVD for my birthday. I watch an episode every few nights. Last night I felt inspired.
O Muse! Speak through me, you winged dove.
Sing your bawdy tale of lust and love.

No, not inspired like that. (That was my lame Pope imitation, btw). I was looking at the kittens on for um... my daughter... because she likes cats... right. I never tried the LOLCAT BUILDER feature. Very easy and somewhat amusing. Here is one of my creations.

funny pictures

P.S. Thanks for all the support from everyone in comments, emails, and guild forums. I can't tell you how much it means to me during this difficult holiday season. Much love.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ghost Wolf FTW

I rolled a shaman to join my guild's Monday night team. My target is level 35, and I'm at level 24 now. The shaman class is fun to play with its mix of ranged and hand-to-hand combat plus heals. The ghost wolf travel form is crazy. It's like having a mount at level 20. Fun, fun.

The Game Dame posted a couple articles with tips on playing shamans. Good stuff for a newbie shaman like me. Check it out:
Last weekend I was tapped to fill in for a Team Manaka (the guild's Saturday team) member who couldn't make it because she had to work. The all guild team consisted of a warrior, priest, mage, hunter, and shaman (me). I was nervous because I was a substitute for a regular team member, but no worries once we got rolling. Friendly, fun, and mature. That's how I describe the team. Everything clicked and we had a great run.

I've played the healer and DPS in many small group dungeons from Ragefire Chasm through Underbog (tanked a few times too). But this was the first time I was playing back up to all three of the primary roles. This was a challenge, but a fun challenge. When the priest went out of mana, I backed him up. When the mage pulled aggro, I frost shocked the mob over to me and kept it occupied. But I spent most of my time dropping totems, interrupting enemy spellcasters, and smacking things in the noggin.

I picked up a couple pieces of armor and a rolling pin. No, that wasn't a typo. A better one-handed mace dropped and I won the roll for it. Cookie's Tenderizer (I think). It looks like my toon is swinging a rolling pin though. Increased my DPS by about 15%. I'd post a screen capture... but I'm at work. Hehe.

Fun Fact Friday: In real life I worked at a small bakery for about a year. The specialty breads and pastries type of bakery. While I never had to whack a murlock over the head with a rolling pin, I made some killer sweet rolls.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Waking Up

Just skip reading this blog post. I'm all full of sad today and spilling it here.


Six months ago I told Avril about Second Life, thinking it was a Sims-like MMO. My wife played the Sims and Sims 2, but lost interest in them over time. I think the games were too static and lacked the human spark that makes online games so much fun. She really jumped into Second Life. I'm impressed with the quality of the objects she builds and sells in her online store, which she says gets about 25K in daily traffic.

Three months ago I bought a second computer at her urging. My thought was that we would play games on the same nights and NOT play games on the same nights. I saw it as a win-win... more time with Avril and more time playing games. That was my hope... but that hasn't happened. She plays every day. I miss my wife. I love her. I told her I miss her. But she ignores me. For example, I gave her one of those Missing You cards and wrote a sweet note inside. She didn't say anything.

When I was a raider in World of Warcraft, I had troubles keeping games balanced with life. I was playing too much and cutting into the time we'd normally spend together. I was putting a strain on our relationship. I woke up. I made changes to when and how I play games. When I returned to WOW, it was with a better understanding of how to keep things balanced.

I don't know what to do. I'm worried to be honest. I feel like a fool writing about it here.


P.S. Promise my next few posts will be about my recent UI changes or running Dead Mines with the 7S team or something, anything less emotional.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Blood Watch Is Under Attack

The other night I hearthed back to Blood Watch to turn in a few quests for my dranei shaman, fly to Exodar to train skills, and then log out. It was late and I was tired, but I like to leave my characters in a "ready to play" state.

After the loading screen disappears, I'm greeted with a ghost town. Some level 70 warlock sack o' shite has turned the sleepy village of Blood Watch into a killing field. I have to admit I was impressed with the thoroughness of his rampage. Bones everywhere. Not a NPC left, and he'd take them out soon after they respawned. Guess I missed all those "Blood Watch is under attack!" messages in my chat frame.

A dozen or so lowbie players were standing around. Some were laughing about it. Some where cussing about it. I'm more like ho hum. Time to make bandages or quickly sell junk to a respawning vendor before Mr. War Crime one shots him.

Eventually some high-level Alliance take pity and shoo the warlock away. Thankfully this scenario doesn't happen often. I can appreciate the thrill of taking out an entire town in a starter zone. Not my thing... smells like griefing to me. Why waste all that time just to deny other players access to vendors and quest givers?

I have an idea. To encourage that "here comes the cavalry" behavior, give these good samaritans a reward for swatting a pest. Bonus honor, gold, special two hour buff, experience, fluff trophies, whatever. Anyone doing damage to the griefer or healing someone doing damage receives a reward appropriate to their level.

Ah... the joys of playing a popular MMO.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Blogroll Update - December 07

Time to update my blog roll links. Adding the following bloggers to my list:
  • Girl Meets WoW
  • Lost In The Grind
  • Random Battle
  • The Game Dame
  • The Pensive Harpy
  • WorldIV
Also... despite the controversy I may cause with this bold, risk-prone action... I have reversed the reverse alphabetical sort of the blog roll. Gasp! Panic! The list is now alphabetical.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Happy Burrr-thday

Happy birthday to me. Avril and I went out with some friends, and tried to recapture my youth by drinking far too much beer. McMenamins FTW. Thankfully I have plenty of sick days left at work. Hehe.


The usual suspects for gifts. Money is always welcome. I was thinking either an iPod or a widescreen monitor. The kids gave me Heroes Season 1 on DVD. I missed the first half of the season. A garden hose (?) and cordless laser mouse rounded out the gifts.

Our gas furnace celebrated my birthday by breaking, which makes for a cold night here in the Northwest. Avril's too busy doing her online thing to keep me warm at night, but that's a different story. I hoped the overpriced Mr. Fixit that came out would just call me an idiot for doing something stooopid like not relighting the pilot light. If only... so much for that iPod.

An example of the cosmos balancing itself out. Hehe. No worries though.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Small Group Feel Inside a Guild

I know a few people in RL that play World of Warcraft. Unfortunately their work schedules are opposite of mine or they play so infrequently that I rarely see them online. The people I liked from my old raiding guild are still in that raid-or-die mentality. While they were polite when we chatted, I got the feeling I was little more than a failed raider and ex-guildie to them. Sigh.

What is a hardcore casual player to do? I enjoy the solo play, but the group content is what takes the game to another level. I tried being a raider, but that didn't fit my play style. Pickup groups are too risky and frustrating. I like reading Wilhelm's posts over at TAGN about his regular WOW gaming group as they tackle different instances week after week.


That's what I want... a group of players that keep their characters within a narrow level range and meet once or twice a week to have fun and run instances. But how? How to join a group when most of my friends and family are non-gamers. If they are gamers, they're the Halo type of gamers.

Does this sound familiar to you? Keep reading.

Earlier this summer I posted a short series on why I left WOW. Stormgaard from Se7en Samurai commented on it and suggested I check out his guild. After resubbing last month, I did. The guild I recently joined, The Seven Samurai on Alleria (Alliance), is genius in how they establish teams (small play groups) within the larger guild environment. Money quote shamelessly reposted here:

Our guild teams offer members the opportunity to group on a regular basis without having to worry about out-leveling each other. The secret to this is that team characters are only played on the nights specified for each team. Think of it like a weekly "Poker Night" - it's in the exact same spirit. We pick different classes that compliment each other and have a blast leveling through the game together.

Anyone may join one of our established guild teams or create their own if they wish. If you join an existing guild team it's required that stay within a workable grouping level range of the other members. If you wish to create your own team you will need to name at least one team captain so that other guild members can contact you if they have any questions.

There is a one-to-one relationship between characters and teams. That is, once you have one of your toons join a team, you only play on that team and on the scheduled night. (Except, obviously, to do stuff like tradeskills or training, etc.) The key is once a character joins the team you keep your character near the same level as the rest of the team. You progress through the content together.

Also, perfect if you like playing multiple toons. For example, I could have one character on the level 20 team, another on the level 45 team, and a third at 70. Plus a couple of other alts I play on the off days. That's an example of course... my new toons are currently levels 3, 11, 14, and 20.

Joining an existing team or starting a new one is simple and informal. Filling in on a team if someone is absent is also a possibility. Just ask in game or post something in the forums. So much simpler than that raiding guild I was in. Daddy likes. Hehe.

I didn't okay this with the guild ahead of time, but if you've read this far down the post, then I assume you're interested in The Seven Samurai. We play on Alleria server on the Alliance side. Players are spread across all the US time zones, so chances are there's a team for you. Post a message in the forums if you're interested in joining or ping someone online.

Wush I Had A Edjukashun

Apparently my crazy blog writing skills are at the high school level. Intentional, of course. Hehe.

cash advance

Click the picture to try other blogs or web sites.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Auction House Made Easy

The Auctioneer addon is an important tool in the World of Warcraft, but has no part in the UI that I am slowly piecing together. Why? I use Auctioneer to streamline the whole buying and selling process. But the addon is a memory hog.

I want to spend as little time as necessary posting the raw materials my toons collect or the random equipment that drops. Plus Auctioneer lets me earn some money the old fashioned way... buying low and selling high. I earned about 5 gold with literally about 2 minutes of work. Not bad since I only have a couple under 20 toons on this server.

The first step in my system is to create a character that just hangs out in a capital city. This is the only character with the Auctioneer addon loaded. His only purpose is to move items from the mailbox to the auction house, and then send money back out. My other characters send him stuff in the mail instead of posting the stuff in the auction house themselves. This reduces time spent travelling and keeps my main characters' bags tidier.

The next step is to scan the auction house often, but not more than once a day. The key is patience. You can't download the addon, run it a few times and expect the magic to happen instantly. You want at least a week's worth of data to get a clear picture of an items real value. The more times it scanned the auction house, the more confident you can be in Auctioneer's suggested price. I click the Scan button and find something else to do. In fact, it's running as I write this blog post.

After the scan completes, I can mouse over the item in my bag and a new little tooltip tells me what Auctioneer thinks is the items real value. Also, in includes info if the competition is above or below price. No more having to search the auction house manually to figure out how much my stack of light leather is worth. That's not fun for me. Some people may enjoy it. Thank you, but I'll take the easy route.

Next up is searching the auction house for items priced well below market value, so I can scoop it up and repost it. Flipping under priced items is easy money... assuming you're willing to take the occasional loss. My rule of thumb is to not risk any more than I'm willing to lose. Right now it's about 50 silver. That's my threshold. I won't buy an item to resell for more than 50 silver. As my toons' wealth grows that threshold will increase.

I can't stress how important patience is to making money with Auctioneer. You need to wait for data to collect. You also need to wait to post items at the right times. I've had to sit on a good item for a few weeks, because some yahoos were underselling it.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Random Junk Dec 3

Odds and ends tonight. Busy in RL over the weekend... and leveling up Alliance toons to join teams in my new guild, Seven Samurai. But more on that in a future posting.

My boss actually followed through with her promise of comp time to pay me back for the 3 weekends I worked last month. Nice. I took Monday off of work... good thing too because I went out to a bar Sunday night and indulged in a little too much holiday cheer. Never mind Daddy, kids, his tummy feels icky.

I use Google Reader and it's sitting at 150+ articles to read. I glimpsed at the titles and looks like some good stuff. I'm saving that for tomorrow morning at work. Hehe.

My wireless network frustrated me. Past tense. I was getting bumped off the Internet too frequently, which makes battlegrounds or healing in a group a very bad thing. My solution was not elegant but quick and effective instead: get wired.

Shaman is a fun class.

If you've read this far, my thanks for sticking through my rambling. Adios.