Monday, December 26, 2011

The end of a year... and an expansion.

My guild hasn't been doing anywhere near as well in Dragon Soul as we did in Firelands. After we reached the
DPShealidiot check that is Ultraxion and learned that a third of our team can't click a button that saves their lives, we lost a bunch of core members to a mass server transfer and had to fill spots with our
benchnew recruitsincompetent casuals for a week. We only just downed Deathwing on Thursday and it was... anticlimactic. I'd already seen the grand finale cut scene thanks to easy-mode LFR in which I "won the game" with thirty minutes of minimal effort. Even the comforting and encouraging words from Thrall didn't uplift my warrior spirit since I knew I didn't deserve them. Usually, it takes at least a couple weeks of dedicated teamwork to get some cool RP that makes the player feel like her efforts contributed to the safety of Azeroth. Yet, I got to celebrate the end of the Cataclysm with... random fucks from Whisperwind server. I couldn't even jump up and down and hug anyone without feeling like a creeper.

In real life news, I'm on winter break, so I have four weeks to
apply to internshipslearn a foreign languagecamp rare spawns in Outlands. I've also been trying to gear up my druid alt, but I've had little success due to the following well-known rules of RNG:

1. Your main will never roll higher than a 35 on important loot.
2. Your alt will roll better than your main...
3. But your second alt will get all rare pets and mounts and win gear upgrades that boost ilvl by 10 points at a time.

My fourth 85, a god-awful ret pally that forgets to use its cooldowns, is now better geared than my precious druid healer that I actually leveled to play rather than be my disenchanting slave. Every time my druid loses a roll, I sigh in knowing resignation, and every time I win a roll on my pally, I want to quit WoW and start buying winning lottery tickets for people I don't care about.

Anyway, in a few days, it's going to be my favorite holiday! I'll be doing my usual New Year's Eve thang of going out to
danceget fucked up and danceget REALLY fucked up and dance. Then the next day, I'm going to to bow to my elders and get cash.

Being Korean is awesome.


P.S. Aggra is pregnant. Thrall better watch his back.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Suddenly the future seems more promising. And fun.

Reader, I'm happy you've joined me as I journey into a gradual yet inevitable loss of my grip on reality, for today I have reached an important milestone in my descent: I saw myself of the future.

Obviously not me since my hair doesn't do that. And it's daytime.
Not in the future. We're not doing some time-travel-y crap. She was a customer at the restaurant where I am a hostess, a middle-aged Japanese woman eating dinner with her husband. But seated on the bench next to her was a stuffed teddy bear, and every once in a while, the woman would take the food in her chopsticks and hold it up to her bear's mouth for a second or two before she ate the bite herself.

Oh. my. god. That is something I personally should have grown out by now but have not, and I am so glad that this woman 10+ years my senior hasn't either. It was encouraging to see someone with my strange reality-bending idiosyncrasies as a functional member of society rather than a psychiatric hospital patient. Sure, she might get some weird looks, but she is living her inner life permanently. Perhaps I too can be free to act out my desire to throw paper leaves at the injured to crit heal them. Or walk around draped in fake tentacles to symbolize Cthulhu's grip on human consciousness. And be married too!

Besides, I'm sure there are people out there who appreciate and find joy in experiencing this woman's presence. Like the family that once caught me walking my stuffed dalmatian plushie Snarf in Central Park and asked me while laughing jovially if he "went."

I said, "Yes, he did," and then waved to the actual dog that they were walking.

Snarf waved too.


Sunday, December 4, 2011


How does this match?
Patch 4.3 is finally live, and many players (including myself T_T) are finding out that what they had thought were amazing outfits for mogging are actually hideous to others. On Tuesday's raid, I got to see what my teammates considered high Azerothian fashion, and it led me to believe that much more than 8% of the human population is colorblind. Of course, fashion is subjective, and one can say that currently the whole WoW community is pushing the boundaries of avant-garde wearable art. Then again, some individuals are just in dire need of some womanly/metro assistance, like the "female" human mage who was trying desperately to wear Robes of the Guardian Saint in his main set but ended up the eyesore of Dragon Soul (see right). A member of Team Tits later helped him match his outfit appropriately, and now he looks pretty cute... or as cute as one can look in teal.

Unfortunately, I was not immune to the derision of such critics or, as I like to call them, "haters." A common comment that many moggers hear is that we look like low-level n00bs, but personally, I think my pally looks pretty "classic" in her recolored Valor. Besides, I would imagine this has high utility in a battleground since the enemy is unaware that the player coming at him/her in full Tier 1 is actually hiding full Vicious gear. That is... until s/he gets mysteriously roflpwn'd with what looks like an Arcanite Reaper.

For my druid's outfits, which I spent the last four months farming BC raids and 2-manning Ulduar to assemble, I received mixed reviews. My friend saw my "family-friendly" set and called me "Sailor Moon," which I took as a compliment. But then I showed him my "free-spirited/liberation of the female form" set, and he said I looked like a night elf hussy! I had to run BT every single week since news of transmog came out for that damn blindfold to even drop once, goddamnit!

So far, the only outfit that has gotten popular approval is my lock's "yup. that's a lock." set, complete with an actual Headmaster's Charge, the original "warlock" weapon! As my main, she has multiple outfits, which I'm a little hesitant to show off now that people have universally complimented the first one. I mean... my fragile ego might not be able to take a 25-man raid team making fun of the way I dress. I already get enough of that in real life...

For the record, I think I dress fine. >: (


Saturday, November 19, 2011

As busy as I've been, I still managed to raid.

After what seemed like two straight months of midterms, during which my schedule looked something like raid/paper/raid/exam/raid/paper/descent into insanity, I finally have some free time to relax and catch up on sleep. That is, until Thanksgiving weekend since one of my professors decided our syllabus was a little "sparse" and added an additional essay due the Monday after the holiday. T_T Is that even legal?

I went shopping during midterms and
felt connected with this phone accessory.
I think it looks like me: sad and yellow.
Anyway, a lot has happened since my last post. PETA thoroughly embarrassed vegans (as usual) by claiming Tanuki Mario promotes wearing fur when Mario obviously turns into a raccoon rather than wears the skin of one. My fellow vegans and I promptly /facepalm'd when we got the Facebook status update from PETA, complete with mini-game involving blood dripping from Tanuki Mario's fur. In my real life dealings with people, not only do I have to elucidate my stance on animal rights to anyone who asks, but for some reason I also have to explain why the world's largest organization for people like me is full of such attention-seeking misguided asshats. Cooking Mama is one thing, but I guess someone from their youth research department forgot to tell them that you don't. mess. with Mario. like wtf?

On a side note, The Sims 3 always got major props from me for their "Vegetarian" character trait. I appreciate being able to live out my vegan sensibility in game. You know... when the game is supposed to mimic real life and not a fantasy land where mushrooms make me bigger and flowers give me the power to shoot fire.

In the World of Warcraft, patch 4.3 needs to come out soon, and it has to be good. Lately, it seems that half my raid team would rather be playing Modern Warfare 3 or Skyrim. Hell, even I would rather be playing Skyrim, but if I add another RPG to my schedule, I might as well tell my professors to stop expecting me.

See? I do have self-control.


Sunday, October 30, 2011

Remember all that bitching I did? Scratch that.

Guess what I'm doing?
While I sustain that Blizzard gets way too into talent tree changes, I can't say that I'm as ambivalent as I was in my last post because I am so fucking excited to get new demons.

I was kind of hoping that this Grimoire of Supremacy was actually evolving our current minions and making our long-time friends more powerful. However, from looking at the talent, it seems that these demons are completely new and unrelated to our existing minions since there is no counterpart for the felhunter. Nevertheless, I am super excited to see what kinds of abilities they have, and the first thing I do when Mists of Pandaria goes live is pulling out my new voidlord and establishing a trustful and loving relationship.

My Picks for Talent Highlights:

Bear Hug - Instant, 1 min CD, Melee attack that stuns the target and deal 10% of the Druid's health in damage every 1 sec for 3 sec. Effect cancelled if the Druid moves away, attacks, or takes any other action. Using this ability activates Bear form.

Divine Star - Instant, 30 sec CD, Fire a divine star in front of you, travelling 20 yds doing damage to all enemies and healing all friendly targets in its path. After reaching its destination, it will return to you also dealing damage and healing all targets in its path.
Like a shoooooting star! Effective or not, it's going to look badass.

Sacrificial Pact - Instant, 5 min CD, Your demon sacrifices itself to prevent all damage you would take for 10 sec.
I get a pally bubble! Yea, my minion has to die for it, but I assure you, he does it willingly. All of my minions and I are committed through a pact of blood, and their sacrifice is for the benefit of our dark contract. It's also reminiscent of the old voidwalker Sacrifice spell, of which I was such a fan that I got the icon tattooed on the back of my neck as a symbol of our deep connection that persists through death.

If you haven't guessed that I'm crazy by now, you're probably just as nuts as I am.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Mists of Pandaria confirmed. I is sad... panda.

BlizzCon is happening right now, and Mists of Pandaria is officially going to be the next expansion. There has been talk of Pandaren for months since the discovery of Blizz's trademark for the "Mists..." name, but I'm actually surprised and disappointed that what I had thought was a red herring is actually the premise of our next expansion and undoubtedly 1-2 years of my life. Pandas? T_T Half the community is seizing with joy, and the other half has the same face as I do.

Already some of the changes they are revealing are irking me, like their renewed obsession with talent trees and how they had made it too streamlined for Cataclysm. Now they want to reintroduce player choice and hybridization even though they're really just wasting their time. All the theorycrafters at Elitist Jerks and mmo-champion are going to break out their slide rules and in a matter of days, post the specs that players are supposed to use if they raid, just like they do every time there is a talent tree change. It doesn't even intrigue me anymore, but of course they haven't released any lock trees yet...

So far, the monk's food buff racial seems a little OP (double all stats from well-fed), but what actually disturbs me is the fact that they wear leather and are tank/healer/DPS. This means that while druids will now have to compete for gear and priests already share loot with mages and locks, shamans and especially paladins have no competition. If you play a priest, you know how God-awful (har dee har har) it is to gear up when you're rolling/bidding against the ranged DPS, and Firelands made it even worse by taking spirit off of almost everything. Now druids are joining them in their pitiful situation. I always felt bad for priests, but now I cry for my(alt)self.

I'll post more news (hopefully in a less whaaambulance tone) when they announce lock changes. So far, they've only mentioned that they're revamping the soul shard system. Again. Good.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Plight of the ERPer

I'd fit in perfectly!
Despite how trendy it is nowadays to roll a level 1 on Moon Guard and laugh at the batshit crazy RPers in Goldshire, my friend was so bored the other night that he convinced me to go on an excursion with him. Now, I can attest that all the horror stories that people tell about this server's ERP epicenter are true.

First off, it was 4am and it was as crowded as my server's Stormwind is on a Tuesday night. It was obviously prime time for WoWers looking to "camp an instance portal," if you know what I mean. Also, the anonymity was prompting some of these guys (and you know they're guys) to say some of the most off-color/offensive/nowhere near subtle sexual utterances that I never imagined I would encounter, much less be exposed to in a public space. It makes me wonder what percentage of the Goldshire crowd is seriously looking to cyber and how much of it is just trolls from other servers doing as the Romans do.

Yes, there are definitely people looking to find someone of supposedly the opposite sex with which they can type one-handed. I even found some guy wanting to Skype-sex a daddy/daughter scenario, which IMO was a pretty smart way of guaranteeing the gender of the person with which he's touching himself. I said no thanks, by the way.

And then there are people like my friend, who was getting way into the spirit of the festivities and walking up to any and all naked players, propositioning them by walking into them repeatedly from behind. How is an honest sexual deviant supposed to find a good time with assholes like that floating around his hangout?

Poor Moon Guard. I feel your pain.


Sunday, October 9, 2011

RNG never fails to displease.

A couple weeks ago (yea, I've been a bit truant lately), I played my first ever game of D&D, and it was even geekier than I had imagined it! As a creative writer, I always wondered why I never got into tabletop RPGs. I'm not even sure if people still RP in WoW though I sure as hell try to as much as I can on a PvP server. You'd be surprised how many people in Stormwind are willing to join in on a costume party and (jokingly?) erotic scenarios, but it's usually by the time someone says something disturbingly inappropriate about women/children/orifices that the crowd disperses in a trail of nervous laughter and I fear for the future of our species.

Anyway, during my aforementioned adventures in Hypergeek Land, I found that the things people like the most about tabletop RPGs, i.e. the face-to-face interaction and regular convening of friends in real life, are pretty big turnoffs for someone who has trouble conversing with people outside of a typed environment, i.e. me. I can't even remember the last time I was in a group setting, but I'm certain alcohol was involved. However, my guildies and I got over even the hurdle of having to meet up in person to D&D: we play over vent. Apparently, I'm a druid who shoots things with a bow and can tame animals. Obviously, the graphical interface isn't as sophisticated as WoW, but that's what my imagination is for, right?

Guess which one I am!
After engaging in a few battles, I noticed an important flaw in our setup. All the dice rolls are automated by d20pro's AI, and as anyone who plays WoW knows, all /rolls by a player will suck balls EXCEPT when they're not yours. After the fifth miss on a mob, one of which actually whiffed so badly that I hit my teammate for full damage, I was starting to think that playing a game based on lucky rolls wasn't such an encouraging prospect. Some people might say that it's not luck; it's probability. But after five years of playing WoW, I know that the probability of whiffing a roll and losing your item to a "teammate" is so close to 100% that it defies the laws of statistics.

I'm expecting Morgan Freeman to show up any day now to do a special on the numerical wormhole that was ICC. Stupid Rotface trinket.

-Avia of throttled inequalities.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

NPCs have feelings too.

Lowbie gear farming in Scholo:

me: Wow! My gloves dropped! First try!
lock buddy: Lucky you. It's because Ras knew not to mess with you.
me: It's probably because of transmogrifying. These bosses are being overrun by high-levels, and they're getting their asses kicked all day.
locky lock: Yea, they're just giving up by now. They just want to be left alone.
me: Haha. "Take my loot! Just take it! Don't come back!"

I guess I'll leave BC bosses alone too. Because... you know... I GOT MY SWORD!!!


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Guild motto: Awesome on accident.

Yesterday, my raid group and I got the Not an Ambi-Turner achievement. ON PURPOSE!

Why the distinction? For my guild, one has to specify whether we meant to do something or we just fucked up so badly that we made a fight hard-mode unwittingly. Last week, we got Ragnar-O's, not because we're super badass and spit in the face of the hardest boss in the game, but because so many DPS had died by the last phase that we ended up with EIGHT meteors at the end of the fight. Even I think that's retarded, and I was there.

When BWD was current, we got Aberrant Behavior without planning on it because the melee didn't bother kicking any of the add casts. It was three minutes of "kick the fucking aberrations! The off-tank is going to diiie!" followed by "oh cool we got an achievement." It makes the ulcers worthwhile, I suppose.

If only more achievements were based on negligence rather than strategy or attentiveness. We've already given up on Do a Barrel Roll! without ever seriously considering it, because there is no serious consideration of that achieve for a group of 25 tunnel-visioning space cases like us. We've even managed to fail Only the Penitent every single week since the release of Firelands despite our pleading that the (virtually) uncoordinated stay behind just STAY BEHIND THE LINE FOR THE LOVE OF CENARIUS!

But alas.

Maybe next week.


Monday, August 29, 2011

All I have is PvP achieves left now. :(

Dancing all day every day.
Some achievements are tough, and some of them take a long ass time, but last week I finally got an achievement that was practically a year in the making.

Gurubashi Arena Grand Master.

Yea, I know. It takes no skill and two days to accomplish. In theory. But if you're the kind of person who gets easily distracted jumping around Stormwind and then looks at the clock to realize that you missed the chest by thirty minutes AGAIN, two days potentially turns into months of cursing at yourself every three hours.

Eventually, I had to start recruiting people, not only to come with me to do the PvP nonsense, but also just to remind me that it was almost time to head to STV, to which I always responded, "OH YEA!!!" Because god forbid I ever remember on my own.

Aside from being an unforgivably (lol) inconvenient achievement, it got worse the closer I came to being done, because by the end, I had 11 of those non-stacking quest items taking up precious space in my bank. This is during all the hype about transmogrification when I'm scrambling to find empty bank slots for lowbie belts in five colors and trying to keep my inventory clear so I can do more BRD coffer runs without stopping at the vendor. I didn't get in-game rich by leaving trash items to rot!

But it's finally done. I swooped down on the Gurubashi Arena for the last time with a whole posse to protect me as I looted my final chest. Wearing my PvP gear from last season with a whole 2k resilience, I started the channel that would open the chest and lead me to 10 glorious achievement points...

And then I got backstabbed by a level 84 rogue.

We owned him.


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Patch 4.3 is going to be so fab.

Outfits aren't just for ERP anymore.

Deathwing is coming, but nobody cares because everyone is busy pulling out the RP clothes they denied having all this time. The news of transmogrification has turned everyone in WoW metro, and it is highly amusing, at least for me. The typical vent chatter for my guild has veered away from vulgar yet clever threats on the integrity of people's sphincters to what instances someone has to run to get a matching belt and hat for his maroon robe. If only this was permanent. My GM is way too fond of assholes and vomit.

As for me, I of course already owned several sets of town clothes before the news hit though I do have to go back to BWL for all the Nemesis I vendored in Wrath. Also, since the items need to have some kind of stat to work, I'm on the lookout for a replacement for my Knitted Sandals that don't look like a fashion faux pas.

With my infinitely wise delegation of my free time, I composed a little wishlist of loot with the instances I need. Together with my guildies, I've run every BC raid for the week with moderate success. I'm growing slightly obsessed with the sword that drops off of M'uru because it'd be the perfect weapon for my priestly/Light-wielding, worgen persecutor set, and I want it sooo badly. My friend asked why I don't just buy the Season 4 rogue weapon with the same model for 200 honor, but the colors are all wrong. The COLORS!

I've never felt so in tune with well-groomed twenty-something heterosexual men before.


Sunday, August 14, 2011

Self-loathing geeks are the worst.

Remember when I talked about that WoW New York City Meetup group I wanted to join? I did actually join it for a month though I didn't participate much apart from rolling a DK on their server. The only event they organized during that time was a Central Park picnic, but they made it at 11AM on a Saturday like wtf? Yea yea, kosher daytime activities are cute, but only in theory. Theoretically, I can wake up before noon, but real-life conditions are prone to systematic error, i.e. oversleeping, every time. It's science, y0.

Anyway, when the group posted the next Meetup event, at first I was excited that it would be at 7PM. Hooray! Bowling sucks, but whatevs I'll be awake! Then I saw it's on a Thursday, and I :('d again, because that's my raid night. Wanting to let them know that I wouldn't be able to make it, I posted a comment with my disappointing news.

Notice it says "former member."

What the fuck? Did I just get laughed at for playing WoW by someone who plays WoW? That's like a person with Down's Syndrome laughing at an autistic kid.

I don't know why this girl thinks there's some kind of geek hierarchy in which her degree of dedication or the manner in which she plays determines how much better she is than other geeks. News flash for you, bitch: if you play WoW, you're a loser like the rest of us. You can rationalize all you want that you're not a lifeless gamer because you have a job or because you've never worked around a raid schedule, but at the end of the day, you use a pixelated character to fight dragons, and that makes you a fucking loser. You could at least be proud of it and not take out your insecurity on fellow gamers.

This asshat needs to get off her high mount before she says something stupid in trade chat like "I'm not 12. I'm 14!" and everyone laughs at her.

Because that's pretty much what she said.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reentering the IRL dating scene.

On Friday, I had a first date with a friend from (the first time I tried) college. I was looking forward to it all week, because after three years of paying for unemployed boyfriends to eat, I was fairly excited about having someone else buy me dinner for once. Yea, it's pretty traditional, but take this hit for me, girls. From past relationships, I've had enough equality and shared responsibility to last me the rest of my life.

Then the date happened and... it was unspectacular. It wasn't bad; I just didn't feel any chemistry between the two of us. There was no especially poignant conversation that revealed to me that we had some deeper connection. And it didn't help that, as hard as we tried to fight it, every few minutes we ended up talking about WoW again and again.

Don't get me wrong. I enjoy a good "intellectual" discussion about class mechanics as much as the next person, but I knew this kid before we even started playing WoW, and now it's the topic our minds grab onto when we are grappling for things to have in common.

Damn me and my gravitation towards awkward gamer guys. Since WoW is the major source of my social interaction, all of the wo/men I meet and subsequent romantic relationships are doomed to revolve around the latest content patch. Reminiscing will consist of recollecting how that one time, s/he saved me from getting ganked in the Molten Front.

My other choice is branching out and only dating people from other gaming genres. Are there any eligible StarCraft players out there?

... who will buy dinner?


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Call me a geek scholar.

I want to make a cake like this.
For my internship at a small publisher for students, I've been doing research for an eBook on the gaming community as a social group. Basically, I go into work every day and read WoW blogs for four hours. I'm a creative writer, and reporting the facts as I find them is totally not my M.O. I always want to change things as I see fit in order to support my grand Idea. I actually got into a discussion with my coworker about it, because she basically saw fiction-writing as "lying." I had to explain that while journalism consists of telling the facts, creative writing doesn't mind fudging the facts in order to convey a greater Truth. With a capital T. She didn't get it.

But anyway, when I finally stopped perusing to do some real research for my project, I found that there is actual academic literature out there on trolling.

I am incredibly interested in reading said material.

Google Books let me preview a few pages of Communities in Cyberspace, and in their chapter "Identity and deception in the virtual community," the writers broke down the conveyed meanings in Usenet posts. They analyzed Geek Code used in signatures, interpreted different domain names as users would perceive them, and concluded that reputation incentives drive people to pretend to be knowledgeable on forums. They basically did close readings of message boards, like the posts were poems, and they reverse-interpreted the inner workings of their poets/users.

Sociologists get all the fun. I chose the wrong major.


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

:*( for realz.

I almost ragequit WoW last week. My guild has been working on Alysrazor, and even though we’ve already downed it 10 man, everything is always more difficult with 15 more asshats in play. Apparently, I’m one of those asshats, because for the life of me, I cannot do the fucking Starfox rings without falling to my death.

Call me a noob if you want. Go ahead! It turns out I am too stupid to go through rings in 3D while casting spells. By the time I epic failed for the fifth time, I was on the verge of tears, having flashbacks of Twin Emps tanking and asking my raid to kick me. I’m not used to failing so badly at PvE (PvP is another story), and I obviously wasn’t handling the news very well that I might actually be bad at this game. It was enough to make me want to /gquit and spend the rest of my WoW life RPing in Dustwallow Marsh as Tabetha’s BFF.

On Thursday, I spent the rest of the night killing adds on the ground, but typical gamer and raider, I feel like I have to prove to the raid and to myself that I’m a competent player who doesn’t have to be relegated to the simple jobs for fear of fucking up the important stuff. As a dedicated constituent of the gaming subculture, my self-worth depends on the confidence that I am a skilled player and a valued member of my raid team. If I can’t do this, I’m going to end up one of those DPS that can do great damage but that no one can rely on to do anything complicated. I’m going to be a mage!

I am so angry with Blizzard for creating this fight. It’s bad enough that I have to play a platform game to do my dailies, but I also have to barrel roll to raid? Call me a noob. If I stop posting, it means I threw myself in lava thinking about the good old days of Burning Adrenaline and class calls. Remember this shiz?!!!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Magma is super effective!

July 12 Patch 4.2 hotfixes
July 12

Dungeons & Raids
    • Majordomo Fandral Staghelm
      • Flame Scythe now properly hits pets.

Woe is me. Blizzard hotfixed Firelands in such a way that pets have an opportunity to take even more damage than they already do. There isn’t really much to complain about for this particular example, but I’ve spent the past two weeks summoning and resummoning my damn felhunter every pull because he gets exploded by scorpions, burned by magma when he’s sitting in it, and even when he’s not. I figured the massive amounts of environmental/AOE damage that pets were taking was a mistake with Avoidance that Blizz would almost immediately hotfix because it was so super important. I guess it’s just super important to me?

Hopefully, they fix it soon since right now it takes a lot of micromanaging just to keep Traathun alive, which isn’t normal. Until then, I will shed a tear every time his lifeless body flops over and his little demon soul flies back to the Twisting Nether only to get pulled back again into harsh Azeroth by a selfish warlock.



Monday, July 11, 2011

IRL Friend Recruitment

I'm thinking of joining a WoW Meetup group to add a little diversity to my dwindled stock of RL friends. It might not seem like diversifying since I have plenty of WoW-playing friends already, but
they're all online. I need people that I can hang out with in Manhattan, eat dinner together and be that obnoxious group getting more and more garrulous with every pitcher of beer. I need something spontaneous instead of typed out. Something tactile (as long as they're not too gross to hug).

Basically, I'm trying to form culturally acceptable social bonds, which makes me annoyed with myself. Since when do I care that mainstream culture values internet relationships less than face-to-face interaction? In high school, my graduating class voted me Most Non-Conformist, and I got voted Most Unique in middle school. Now, I'm trying to meet a quota for friends who know what I look like in 3D? The years have not been kind to my character, and I'm not talking toons.

On the other hand, I always wondered what it'd be like to dungeon with people I know IRL. We could have LAN parties, strategize without Vent lag, and when someone is standing in fire, the person next to him can just smack him into attention. And then again, I might be the only girl there, and it could be super awkward.

Well, it wouldn't be too awkward if there are cute WoW players who go to Meetup groups to socialize with other gamers.

But really.

There won't be.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Affirmative Action for Ranged Tanks NOW!

Mars and Venus? Or... Argus?
My first melee character was my resto druid with a feral OS for questing, and it was as I was DPSing a heroic for the first time ever as a cat that I reaffirmed my belief that melee is dumb.

Honestly, in a tactical sense, how wise is it to just run up to things and smack them? Of course, that's classically how "real" people have conducted battle over many centuries, the bulk of an army being infantry among which I would never include myself. The enemy could turn right around and cleave me in the face, and then I'd be left bleeding on the battlefield thinking, "I should have rolled a sniper."

For some reason, many people who aren't me like to brute force their way through WoW, and luckily for them, melee will always have special spots reserved in raids with well-worn cardboard signs reading "kicker" on them. Meanwhile, the ranged are stuck switching targets all the time to kill some stupid adds that explode and making cookies and cake. Class discrimination and role schema. How unglamorous and disappointingly akin to reality.

People groan when Blizzard releases a fight that calls for ranged tanks. One reason may be because those fights are always council fights, which generally suck. It's bad enough to memorize the mechanics of one mob, but pugging BWD means spending half an hour explaining every robot in Omnotron Defense System. Every time someone remembers one mechanic, it means another one was already pushed out of his/her brain and forgotten before the pull. And don't even remind me of what a nightmare Twin Emps were when it was new content. When I think back on AQ40, I can't even imagine myself ever having as much patience now as I did then when raiding five days a week was considered normal.

But anyway, I have another theory about why the playerbase in general hates range-tanked fights. It could be because they break away from a model that has become normal, i.e. the stratified raid structure in which players are organized into a hierarchy with tanks at the top. By default, that makes melee sit at the top because when we think "tank," we automatically think "plate-wearing melee class," but this is due to a popular opinion shaped over years of MMORPGs reinforcing the idea of the warrior hero running headlong into battle to lead his allies. While DPS work is devalued, tanking is glorified.

Thus, it is instinctual for melee classes to be averse to any new encounter that suggests that melee and ranged, despite their outward differences, can both be tanks and therefore may be equals. After all, it threatens their place at the top of the raiding and social hierarchy. In order to change the role-ist ways that players view ranged DPS, not only must Blizzard introduce more range-tanked encounters in order to close the disproportionate gap, each player must actively try to change their thought patterns and embrace role equality. There is much work to be done to ensure that discriminatory raging against casters is reduced and respect is conjured.

I'm like a gamer Audre Lorde.


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

LF self-actualized life partner. PST.

So, I’m newly single. My boyfriend that I met on WoW didn’t work out. Surprise surprise. Plus, he was one of those jealous types that got angry when I talked to anyone with a penis, which was all of my friends IRL, so now I have no friends since I basically had to stop hanging out with everyone I could stand. Who knows why I thought that was logical even after I became aware that the relationship was doomed to fail since it turned out we had nothing in common besides WoW. Then he stopped playing WoW in favor of Battlefield: Vietnam, and I was like, “Where is the tankadin that I thought you were?”

All I have is gaming now, which I really felt depressed about when I realized that it was the Fourth of July and I was watching virtual fireworks with my best friend, Barkath. My voidwalker.

But it’s ok! It’s been a while since I’ve been single, and even though I no longer have someone who will log in for me when I’m running late for a raid, I can also stop pretending to be interested in things like shooting stuff with helicopters, “noob tubes,” and sex with a guy who thinks that because some people abuse the welfare system, no one should get it at all. What he saw in a bleeding-heart liberal like me, I have no idea. On top of that, my main is a lock, and he played a priest and a paladin. Defender of the light + corrupt magic user = a year of awkward domestic partnership followed by an unexpectedly drawn out and dramatic breakup.

I told my sob story to one of the few people with whom I can talk that I have left, i.e. my WoW friend from vanilla, and he told me to get in his boat.

leet dk: you can join my club! :D

me: lol. what is it called?


leet dk: club

me: … that’s amazing.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be drowning my sorrows. And by “drowning my sorrows,” I mean raiding.

Lootz before cootz, y0. Lootz before cootz.


Monday, July 4, 2011

My imagination ran away with my dreams.

Last night, I dreamt I was in Winterspring with a bunch of my guildies, and we were running up and down the snow-covered cliffs like we were 8-year-olds on a jungle gym. One of the paladins that I talk to sometimes was there, and I kept trying to run up close to him, so it'd be like we were hanging out together. But the others kept calling him over and he would turn and go to them every time, completely leaving me behind. It kept happening like that; whenever I managed to get a second alone with him, he would veer off to join our other guildmates. I was left alone, panting from the effort and watching him run away from me, as I stood on a frozen rock mountain in Frostwhisper Gorge. The snow was white trimmed with cerulean.

I think I'm lonely. O_o


Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Yesterday, my guild and I downed our first Firelands boss, and much to my surprise, it was the one I figured we would wipe on for weeks: Lord Rhyolith. As anyone in a raiding guild knows, Rhyolith is probably one of the easiest bosses in the instance, so it really shouldn’t be a problem for any group… except if the raid has trouble adapting to stupid gimmicks that Blizzard thinks will be awesome and unique fight mechanics.

Besides certain people always standing in fire, all the mages pulling aggro, and our raid leader being so “outspoken” that we have to keep replacing people who ragequit, I’d consider gimmicky fights major problems for us as a group. Personally, I hate them, not because they are particularly difficult, but because the Vent talk always sound sooo stupid.



“I told you guys to hit the LEFT foot!”

“But someone else said to hit the right foot.”

“Only I call out which foot to attack! If you had hit the LEFT foot instead of the RIGHT foot, he wouldn’t have run into the LAVA!”

This is usually the point at which I wonder what I’m doing with my life.

We also made the decision of who would be getting the legendary staff first, and… the guild is still intact and didn’t get ripped apart by drama YAAAY! The monarch and his aristocracy chose our boomkin. I’m just glad it wasn’t one of the mages since I like it when the tanks tank things, and that staff doesn’t do much when the wearer pulls aggro and dies.

Damn mages.

-A lock.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Bone to Pick with WoW's Greatest Villain

Out of all the characters in WoW I could have a vendetta against, the one who I think is the most evil, conniving, and deserving of being blown up by a raid team is…


Yup, the Life-Binder herself. While everyone else may consider her to be the quintessence of good and compassion for life in the Warcraft universe, I see her for what she really is: a warmonger.

Hey, hear me out! I wasn’t always so disenchanted with the Dragon Queen. In the Wrath expansion, I enthusiastically joined the army of heroes in the battle against Malygos at her call. After all, the logic was sound; Malygos’s twisted outlook on magic “abuse” was a danger to mortals on Azeroth, and killing him was for the greater good in order to save a larger number of lives. I felt the same satisfaction I always feel after defeating a major raid boss, like I played an integral part in the future safety of Azeroth. Completing the Eye of Eternity definitely provided better satisfaction than the bittersweet end to the Lich King, when all we did was kill an evil Arthas just to swap in a good guy in his place and trap Bolvar there forever. Goddamnit.

But then Cataclysm came, and Alexstrasza had turned right around, pointed at someone else, and told all of us our next target. Wtf? We just killed someone for you in the last expansion. Suddenly I felt like I was a pawn in her own personal vendettas against her old friends. Why are we, heroes of the Alliance and Horde, peons of the Dragon Queen in her violent yet well-reasoned grudges?

Despite the destruction that Deathwing wrought merely emerging out of the planet, Alexstrasza’s newly redirected battle plans made me suspicious of her motives, and it also made me rethink what I had done in the past under her command. I had so willingly fought against Malygos with no doubt whatsoever that I was doing the right thing, but now I wonder if Alexstrasza was just using me to get rid of someone with whom she had issues. I wonder if she’s using us now in the same way.

So far, the lore gives no hint of malice in Alexstrasza’s character, so for the player, there shouldn’t be any doubt that Deathwing has to die just like Malygos’s death was necessary to save lives. But if there’s anyone in WoW that makes me doubt the sincerity of intentions, it’s her. It’s so easy to use “for the greater good” logic to rationalize murder, and she does it time and again, like so many of our foes have done before, including Malygos. This time around, I feel hesitant at the prospect of being a savior of Azeroth when I’m not quite sure that my enemy deserves the death everyone else says he does.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011


With Patch 4.2 coming, I’ve been so caught up lately in final preparations. Honestly, all the casters are caught up in final preparations: transmuting truegolds, collecting chaos orbs, and generally anticipating becoming the first player chosen by our guild leader to wield the new legendary staff, the first caster legendary since vanilla. We’re all overly optimistic for sure.

With all that going on, I had just managed to watch the Firelands trailer a few days ago and I was PISSED! I had heard rumors that Thrall had a new girlfriend, but when I saw him wrap his arm around Aggra’s waist, my eyes popped out of their sockets and tried to ocularly bitch slap her.

Obviously, I’m upset that my favorite character in WoW lore is now taken. For some reason, Thrall seemed the type to be an eligible bachelor forever, asexually placing the needs of others before himself, like an orc Yoda. Plus, once he and Aggra have a child, he’s at greater risk of being killed off by the Blizzard developers, because you know they looove orphans.

Hungry for more information on this new woman, I bought and read The Shattering, which I had been meaning to read, but raiding (and school, maybe) has been my main priority for a few months. I won’t be spoiling anything by mentioning that the story of how they meet is pretty unspectacular: the usual “don’t get along at first but then grow accustomed to each other’s complementary personalities and fall in love” type of deal. What I found really sad was that a shamanic advisor mentions Jaina as a perfect mate for Thrall if only she wasn’t human. Despite the whole mixed-race(lol) thing, Jaina and Thrall were supposed to be WoW’s couple, and their denial of each other because of their differences irritated the hell out of me. Now Jaina will forever be the Other Woman, and I’ll have to figure out in my rampant imagination who she will hook up with in the end.

The rest of the book was amazing, by the way, and I highly recommend reading it. My choice for star of the show: Anduin Wrynn. Who knew he would grow up to be such a compassionate little cupcake? I think I found my new crush.


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tits Team #1!

My old guild had "girls".

IRL, I’m one of those girls who has very few female friends, hanging out with and talking to mostly guys. It’s probably because I never had much experience spending time with women despite being one myself. Plus, there’s that one-sided sexual tension I feel when she’s really hot. Goddamn social awkwardness/bisexuality dual spec.

This week, I’ve started reaching out to reinforce my connection with other women in the easiest way I know how: in game. Somehow, my guild has managed to recruit a large percentage of the female gaming population on the server, formerly only rumored to exist. My fellow ladies and I in our raid group created a password-protected channel called TeamTits, a penis-free zone where we can talk freely about... the raid. So far, our conversations have been pretty limited to rolling our virtual eyes when Vent chatter becomes overly testosterone charged about MineCraft. But I’m sure we’ll eventually use the intimate and confidential space to discuss important issues about being women in a predominantly male arena and how to consistently overcome Recount’s glass ceilings to top DPS and healing charts.

Unfortunately, someone confessed to our raid leader that she didn’t want to be included in Team Tits, and she didn’t tell him why. The rest of us can only guess that she either thinks the name is offensive or she is just as uncomfortable with other women as I am. If it’s the latter, then there’s no way I can let her leave the team! After all, I’m sucking it up, seeking camaraderie with my fellow women, and grasping for common topics beyond the fact that we’re in a 25-man raid group full of one-up’ers. You know... when someone tells a story, they have to tell better one. We have twenty of them. All one-up’ing each other. For four hours.

Hopefully, it’s just contention about the word “tits,” which admittedly is a little crass. If that’s the case, I’ll propose that we change the name to OvaryOffensive. Or BoobBrigade. Or BraBattalion.

I’m full of these.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Everything I Learned in Life, I Learned From Gaming.

After all the years of schooling, careful parenting, and going to (and dozing off in) church, it turns out that all of my life lessons ended up coming from video games. Aside from the usual “don’t stand in fire” and “turtles are jerks,” there have been more than a few jarring epiphanies leading to advice that helped me immensely in academics, work, and social life. Plenty of other people have listed their lessons learned from raiding and gaming. My list is better. It has Magmaw on it.

1. If I want something done and done right, I have to do it myself.

I learned this while raiding. Sure, I had to trust my team and work as a cohesive group from week to week, but when it came to killing an add or fearing it away, I learned not to wait for someone else to do it while the raid lead yelled that we were going to die.

This advice has worked for me IRL too. At a job, all of the employees work together toward a common goal, whether it’s customer service, meeting a deadline, or building something. But if it’s a choice between focusing on my job and letting something important in the office not get done, and taking a few minutes out of my time to ensure the continued smooth operation of the workplace, I tend to choose to take initiative for the good of the team as long as I’m not neglecting my own duties.

2. If I don’t work towards fulfilling dreams and life goals, I will eventually go crazy.

The original The Sims games were great, but when The Sims 2 introduced the aspirations system, it became a work of microcosmic genius. Fulfilling minor wants like kissing a significant other or gaining skills improved one’s mood, which in turn gave the extra boost required to do jobs well. What really spoke to me was the “Lifetime Want,” a life goal that, once achieved, would put a character in a perpetual good mood state for the rest of its virtual life.

And when a Sim went through day after day not fulfilling any of its desires, the poor thing would actually get depressed, sob randomly, and eventually have to see a shrink. It’s like the Sim is me! I could spend the rest of my life getting by with achieving minor wants, or I could set a (realistic) life goal and work towards a more lasting happiness. Oh the choices in the life a Sim… er… human.

Another thing I learned from The Sims was that ordering Chinese takeout and pizza is expensive and fattening (link fat sim), but that was a little less poignant.

3. Some things are more important at certain times than other things.

Despite the confusing wording, this was a pretty harsh lesson for me. I used to WoW like it was my job. Honestly, I still play a lot. It's pretty difficult to be a raider and not play an amount that normal people would consider excessive. But during the last couple years at my first university, video games were trumping every priority I previously had, including class, homework, and hanging out with the friends I used to see every week. It wasn’t until I dropped out of school and had to get a full-time job to support myself that I finally cut out WoW, because I didn’t have the money for it.

Above everything, the big lesson here was to manage my time. Now, I’m back in school, working part-time, and still playing video games a good deal, because I know that at certain points in the week/semester, assignments and exams will have priority, and at other times when I have a little room to slack off, I can jump around Stormwind without guilt.

There are plenty of other things that I learned from raiding, mostly about fire. They'll have to wait for another time. Come back for more silliness!


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lunk: A New Hero for Azeroth’s Carebears

Every WoW player has experienced the moment of clarity at least once. It’s the one time out of a few thousand that you’re killing mobs for a quest when you finally stop and wonder... Why am I always being called on to commit mass murder on everything from wolves to fellow humanoids to ghosts just idly haunting an area no one cares about anyway? By the time the train of thought arrives at wondering what’s the point of all this bloodshed, it becomes apparent that almost every quest mob you’ve ever run into wants you to kill something or other, and if downing a raid boss is acceptable (which it is because they drop LOOT!), then it should be ok to kill everything else in the game. After all, no one wants to be a hypocrite, and there’s nothing more obnoxious than meeting a vegetarian who never eats meat ever except every once in a while, he eats bacon.

Now and always, the honor-hungry and battle-loving RPers have had plenty of leadership characters to support with militant fervor. Any of the faction leaders come to mind with their duties to protect their people with whatever armed force is necessary. Even little Mekkatorque took up arms in his attempt to wrest control of Gnomeregan. And of course, there is Alexstrasza, protector of life and warmonger extraordinaire for two expansions. Personally, I’m getting sick of her bossing around the heroes of the Alliance and Horde in her little vendettas against her former pals, but without her, Malygos might have killed us all way before the Cataclysm ever happened.

However, with the new questlines in the Old Kingdoms comes a brand new hero, one that I can get behind though hopefully not literally. As innocent as a child and probably with the same mental capacity, Lunk the ogre shows the player how to do all of the dirty work that various quest givers require without the usual brute force of slaying mobs. Need to steal some Dark Iron wares? Why kill them for it when you can just sit on them? Though the tactics have moved from dispatch to torture, it’s a small step in a world otherwise full of sheer brutality and “no questions asked” mercenaries.

There’s already popular support for Lunk in the WoW community. His alternative methods made Paddlefoot on Wowhead rethink our methods.

“The funny thing is, while he's obviously meant to be humorous and I was laughing out loud at his antics, I found that reading his text did give me pause for a moment. Why am I doing all this killing? Aren't there other ways of solving Azeroth's problems than non-stop, wholesale slaughter?” [1]

Unfortunately, as much as I’d like for Lunk to keep teaching me the ways of the pacifist ogre, Lunk can’t follow us around through all of Azeroth. Any hero who wants to quest and get phat loot in the World of Warcraft has to slay things unapologetically left and right. But I’ll never forget the short amount of time that I spent running around Searing Gorge with Lunk, exploring new ways to get the old things done, and a lot of other players will remember just as fondly how he showed us the power of good intentions.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Drain Life Hotfix Prompts RP Worthy Debates

In a recent hotfix, Blizzard decided to implement the nerf to Drain Life that was originally slated for Patch 4.2 a bit earlier than the player base expected it. The warlock community was already up in arms when it saw the proposed change and not because it was an unwarranted decrease in overall DPS that would be detrimental to raid performance. Rather, the issue was the replacement of Drain Life in our rotation by Shadow Bolt, a decidedly less “Affliction-y” spell.

This has led to criticism by players who find the complaining ridiculous as the warlocks in question are arguing about what is basically a cosmetic issue, much like the numerous threads of petitioners for green fire that existed before Fel Flame appeared. As a warlock, I have a vested interest in the debates, but even as a general player, I find the arguments valid even outside of an RP immersion-ist context. There are many reasons that players choose the specs that they do. The major one for damage classes is maximizing DPS, and every raider and/or Recount whore has this priority in mind. Another is utility, i.e. PVE vs. PVP or situational advantages for certain abilities like Priests’ Archangel.

But another important factor in choosing specs is play style. No matter how strongly someone believes that spec is irrelevant as long as s/he is pumping out as much DPS as s/he possibly can on a boss, as soon as the raid leader wants a player to try something different, everyone gets defensive at least a little bit about their choices. Whether they use ElitistJerks to justify their talent points or cite special fight mechanics that make a certain spec superior to another, we all want to play how we like.

In such a highly visual game like WoW, cosmetics can play a role in whether or not we enjoy playing by affecting what we have to stare at for hours at a time. If something is bothering us about how we play, it can nag at the psyche like there’s a huge hunter pet’s ass in our field of vision that we wish we could do something about. It isn’t always about being overly resistant to change, though it definitely can be. Sometimes, we just want our characters to fit in with our ideas of our virtual world.

Ultimately, what fits in with the lore and mechanics of WoW are up to Blizzard. If they decide that Affliction locks should use Shadow Bolt as filler instead of Drain Life, it’s a subtle difference we have to accept until they deem our arguments valid. But it doesn’t stop us from putting our arguments out there. Every class has had issues like this, from some druids wanting perma-tree back to the validity of dwarf mages. Despite what all the trolls may think is a ridiculous waste of time, these debates are as serious as the game that we’re arguing about, and that differs for everyone.

-Avia rhymes with Moldavia.