Monday, December 30, 2013

A Plea on Behalf of My Raid Team

Lately, my guild has been under a lot of strain. It definitely started around our 150th wipe on H Thok and is compounding with our near 200 on Siegecrafter right now along with a general complacency from a few key members of the team. Long story short, our progression has come to a halt and everyone has retreated to other, less stressful activities to cope.

We might still be hanging out together in Mumble, but the in-game guild roster is empty since almost all of us have suddenly renewed interest in D3. Our priest has been playing random games on Steam while our raid leader is out on a quest for tail. And where am I? Making friends with 12-year-olds and soccer moms on the Sims 3 website.

At this point, when we have lost any chance of ending the tier with a competitive rank and are  struggling just to hold ourselves together, there's no other alternative but to abandon any vestiges of credibility and beg for the one thing that most respectable raiders cry against.


Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Half-Ass the Holidays

Suit it up!
It's the week before Christmas, which means I should probably get to work on all of that holiday crap everyone else has been doing for the past month. Though I might not have any family living in the same state or made any friends since I moved hundreds of miles, I still have plenty of things on my seasonal to-do list, believe you me.

1. Buy gifts... for my in-game friends.

Sure, I only talk to that friend once a month when s/he happens to broadcast something witty that I can say "lol" to, but when I touch base by sending him/her a battle pet or ilvl 476 craftable wrapped in virtual paper, s/he'll know that I'm worth keeping on Battletag.

2. Make a big deal about the one RL gift that I have to buy.

My hairdresser/boss' wife/downstairs neighbor whose name I don't know is going to LOVE this spice rack I found in Bed, Bath, & Beyond. We totally talked about how to add depth to our cooking without adding too many calories when we last saw each other at the 4th of July barbecue.

3. Sign up for an inordinate amount of OpenRaid events.

For many people, Christmas is a multiple-day ordeal involving travel, family meals, and going out for Chinese food. The rest of us, i.e. I, are free to fill up our cancelled progression days by running old content with other raiders who have the same dearth of plans or just ran out of their parents house right after the everyone unwrapped gifts and before getting dragged to the ice skating rink.

4. Put up one decoration.

If I go all out now with strings of lights and window stickers and fake snow, it's only going to be festive for a week and then a constant reminder that I have to clean up for six months. Best to keep it simple.


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

What I Am Thankful For

As much as we all bitch that WoW is full of bugs and that GMs never know what they're talking about, I have never been more grateful that I am a WoW player and have to deal with Blizzard's customer service on a regular basis rather than another company's. Call it cliche, but I was not aware of how good I truly have it until I had to spend time with a certain company's "Help Center" over the Black Friday weekend. Let's take a look at a typical conversation with a WoW GM.

GM Fluffernutter: A feather catches the wind and flutters down to the leaf-strewn ground, landing next to an inquisitive squirrel. Suddenly, it transforms into Fluffernutter, who approaches you and says...
GM Fluffernutter: Hi, Ayaliss. How can I help you today?
Ayaliss: Well, the trash in our raid instance was bugged and wouldn't let us get to the boss, but in the day that it took you to answer the ticket, we reset it and fixed it ourselves.
GM Fluffernutter: Excellent. Is there anything else I can do for you?
Ayaliss: Not really.
GM Fluffernutter: Great! Have a nice day!
GM Fluffernutter: A giant hawk swoops down from the sky, grabs Fluffernutter in its talons, and flies away into the sun. You can see Fluffernutter wave as his majestic form gradually shrinks into a spot of light against the wispy clouds.
"You have been chosen to fill out a GM survey!"


GM Fancypants: Hi there, Ayaliss. How can I help you today?
Ayaliss: I was supposed to get an item, but I didn't receive it.
GM Fancypants: I just mailed it you.
Ayaliss: You're awesome.

Compare those to a conversation I had with a "Game Advisor."

Headupass: How can I help you today?
Avia: I'm trying to order some games, and it keeps declining my payment. I've tried two different cards.
Headupass: Can you call your bank and check if the card is working?
Avia: What? I just said I tried two different cards. It looks like a problem your website has all the time. It can't be something on my end. I just used this card today. In fact, I just used it on your website two days ago.
Headupass: If you can make sure there is nothing wrong with your card, I can forward you to our Specialist Team.
Avia: Uh... Ok. *tabs out for a minute and pretends to call the bank* The bank said everything is fine.
Headupass: *50 more asinine questions about my credit card* Alright then. I'll transfer your ticket to the Specialist Team. They will email you.
Avia: Do you think they'll get back to me before the sale is over?
Headupass: They'll email you soon.

A "Specialist" emailed me two days after the sale ended and said that they were glad my order went through and thanks for contacting them. The order never went through, by the way; I'm not sure whose account history they checked.

The whole ordeal made me realize, not how bitching about WoW is unwarranted, but how all that bitching could be better placed. This isn't a "Blizzard is awesome and we should kiss their asses" type of post. There are plenty of things to complain about in WoW, and the old adage about having no right to complain has never made sense to me. If I feel like complaining, I can complain, and other people can't stop me. But I now know that gaming companies feel no obligation to take care of their customers, and the level of service that I've experienced playing WoW is relatively not bad compared to other service representatives who spend all day not helping anyone.

Feeling those warm fuzzies? Happy holidays.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Don't judge me. You do this too.

For many, the lull between the last raid of an expansion and the start of a new one is a very special time. Some relish the freedom from hardcore raiding and pursue other activities like sunlight and dating. Others love getting caught up in the development news fever and become excited with every blue post or datamined tooltip. Then there's me, and for the super serial no-lifers, the next few months are all about PEPCHECK...

Pre-Expansion Preparation CHECKlist.

Be a loser. Check. Be a loser. Check. Be a loser...

One never knows what Blizzard will remove from the game or what activities will become more difficult or impossible with a higher level cap and new spells, but one can guess and prepare beforehand. Though the item squish undoubtedly fixes the increasingly unbalanced scaling between levels that has occurred over many expansions, their assurance that players will still be able to solo old content suggests that once we are level 100, we'll be killing things from MoP with ease. That makes redoubling my camping efforts on the Timeless Isle number one on my to-do list. With Siege ilvls, there isn't even a point in calling out rares anymore unless you want Gen Chat to berate you for either two-shotting it before anyone gets there or not waiting half an hour for the entire Isle to arrive before you start attacking it.

Also, since only three BoA weapons have thus far dropped from Garrosh and our Ele Shaman has gotten two of them, I'll need to focus on trying to get some LFR and Flex kills on him before the leveling process begins. It's been a few weeks, so people have to know what they're doing by now, right? Right?

Though it might to too early to be shopping now, it's never too early to start making a list of required food and sundries for that first week of leveling and heroic dungeons. One needs plenty of microwave burritos, toaster pastries, chips, and caffeinated soda all placed in easy access of one hand. It might be a good idea to put the numbers of local restaurants on speed dial as well. The delivery guy can wait at the door until the boss is dead.

And there was something else... Something about... family? Or the holidays?

It's probably not important.


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Blizzcon 2013 Round-up

I'm going to sound like a negative nancy, which is a bummer since last year I was so excited for all the MoP changes to the talent trees and specs and was really looking forward to their development. But Blizzcon 2013 is now over, and almost none of what they have announced has impressed me much at all. Let's do this as compliment sandwich.

Compliment: The new character models are pretty cool.

Criticism: I'm getting pretty sick of time travel and alternate dimensions. They are great concepts to wrap your brain around, and every time that they are introduced, it adds layers to Warcraft universe in a unique way. However, they seem to pop up constantly, and by now whenever patch notes mention the timeways, I can only think, "What got messed up this time by who?"

Yea yea, the devs said that it's not a "time travel expansion" and that we don't have to worry about affecting the past. Then why do it? When I heard the name "Warlords of Draenor," I actually though we were going with the draenei back to Argus to take their planet back. Going through some loophole to the old Draenor seems to me like a way to rehash old content without worrying about continuity.

Also, I'm not too pleased with the new Mythic difficulty. Though the four-tier gradation of difficulties will be exactly the same as it is now, a big difference is that raiding guilds will have to progress through Normal, then Heroic, then Mythic. So rather than keeping Flex, they're making it so that the content lasts for a longer period of time before they're pressured to release more by the speed at which top guilds progress. That's a cheap tactic to me. Mythic difficulty has to expand on the mechanics of Heroic in meaningful ways for it to be worth it, and that doesn't mean that Heroic can merely be a higher DPS requirement version of Normal either.

Compliment: The garrisons look pretty cool, too.


P.S. Since everything is based on what information has been released so far, all of this is subject to change. Thankfully.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

My guild is still stuck on H Thok.

How many ways are there to die to H Thok? Probably just as many as LFR, but as my guild hit over 100 wipes last night, it seemed we were out to find every interesting, unique, and completely idiotic way to die possible. Long past are the attempts where we simply wiped from lack of healing or dispels. I could reminisce about those days.

Let's do a quick overview of the fight for anyone who isn't familiar with Thok. If you are close to his mouth, he Chomps you and you die. If he is chasing you and anyone else is in the path of his mouth, they will get Chomped and die. It sounds simple, but he can get speedy, and then you are running for your life with a giant dinosaur's teeth nipping at your cloak like UNNNNNNNGGGGGHHH!

Our strategy calls for everyone to gather in a specific place until Thok fixates, and then the fixated player moves away from everyone else. It works great... unless s/he makes Thok path too widely and then you get this:

The easy solution of course would be to set up by gateway to help people escape, but aside from the annoying bug that makes it disappear if I'm not standing directly on top of it, its usefulness is also combatted by people who walk right past it instead of clicking on it and others who don't bother checking which end they're clicking and teleport directly into Thok's mouth. Chomp.

If Thok is fixated on a class with movement abilities like Blink, it can also be very helpful for escaping. That is... unless s/he blinks the wrong way directly into Thok's mouth. Chomp.

I know! We'll get a priest to lifegrip the fixated person when Thok is getting too close! That's brilliant! Except when the lifegripped person gets confused and turned around and lets Thok catch up to him/her anyway! Chomp!

And even when it's not the Chomp phase, the solo tank could forget to use a CD at high stacks, take a Deafening Screech hit for over 1 million, and have Thok turn around and cleave everyone to death. Or we could stay in the phase too long and all get one-shot. Or we could phase him too early and die to soft enrage. 2-heal? 3-heal? 4-heal? Everyone go tank? Cry for eternity?

If we don't get this boss tonight, I'm going fetal.


Edited on 11/10/13: We finally got it today. US 10m 89th.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Intermission For My Sanity

What an annoying week. My guild is stuck on H Thok; I replaced half the hardware in my computer because for some reason The Sims 3 requires as much system resources as the Large Hadron Collider; and my college thought it'd be cool to leave the important, time-sensitive documents that I sent them sitting around on a desk until I said WTF? There's only one thing to do when one wants to escape from such frustrating first-world problems...

Level an alt.

Pew Pew!

There's nothing like mindless questing through zones I've seen many times before to sedate my brain and shove away any sense of responsibility. Add heirlooms on top of that, and I get to experience the satisfying ding of gaining a level approximately every ten minutes! Some shammy roll on my cloth item in a dungeon? Who cares! I'll replace it with some quest green in the next zone. Or I could just sit in an inn for a while and watch the lowbies go by. There's no rush. There's no war out here in old world. No call to raid. Yes, the World of Warcraft is my oyster as I grow from a fledgling warlock into a mighty hero of the Alliance!

"Congratulations, you have reached level 90!"

...I don't want to play anymore.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sims 3 expansions were on sale.

An Overview of The Sims 3: Seasons


Make an angel in the snow!

 Warm up with a delicious hot beverage!

 Show off your half-pipe tricks at the festival!

 Decorate your house with holiday lights and never take them down!

 Build romance by taking a date ice skating at the local pond!

 Get lucky in an igloo!

 Plan world domination with a snowman army!

 Spring, Summer, and Fall:



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Camp camp camp camp.

Day 7

I have set up camp on a patch of grass on the banks of the Blood Pools. Already, it has been five days since I enticed an albatross to carry me up to this isolated lake, and I have spent every waking hour waiting for the red-stained water elements to coalesce into an angry spirit named Garnia. Plenty of other heroes have joined me, occasionally dropping down from the sky in a shared attempt to acquire a living droplet of the spirit. The constant sunset of the Timeless Isle makes the days run together, and I sometimes lose myself staring into the shallow water until the sound of battle rouses me. I have been living on grass and Imperial Silk sandwiches for two days.

Day 16

Though I have escaped the Blood Pools and rejoined the war against the Yaungol on the main isle, the great black serpent that circles the Blazing Way has been tempting me with the prospect of harnessing his power between my legs. I have seen many people try to subdue him, only to receive a breath of lightning to the face, forcefully sprayed from the mouth of the long sinewy beast. I must figure out how to coax the black dragon into letting me ride him. Hopefully, I can handle such a large and wild cloud serpent and do not end up bucked off or ripped in twain.

Day 27

I am on the hunt for a jade fire spirit. The Cave of Lost Spirits is damp, winding, and full of dangerous creatures. Everywhere I turn, there are mysterious magical fires, powerful living flames, and strange shambling lake creatures. The conditions in this cave are borderline unbearable, but I will not falter. I am ready to camp for weeks if that is what it takes to... OH CRAP THE DARKMOON FAIRE!

Day 27

There'sh a lot of wolvesh and a lot of boozezez.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Lament of the Hotfixed Raider

In all the realms of music, literature, and art, many have waxed on about the great human tragedies: lost love, mortality, our sense of purpose and how it drives us to success or a life ending in invalidating failure. Yet, there is one thing in this world that trumps every teenage heartbreak, every promised promotion that was snatched away. Nothing can compare to the soul-crushing fall from the top that is...

a massive and unjustified nerf to your spec.

Oh how the nerfbat beating down on my grief-stricken heart feels more like the sharp twist of a knife into the side of Demonology! Surely, such an OP trinket was bound to be readjusted, but why the unfair treatment of my poor imps? I cannot imagine it is deserved, for a two-fold punishment of my damage now makes me hit like a wet noodle indeed. Oh WOE is the fate of my spec, my broken spec! How will I ever continue? How will I find the will to raid on?

Nevermind. It's all good.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Spoiler Alert: Watch the cutscene after Garrosh's defeat before reading.

Yesterday, my guild cleared Normal Siege of Orgrimmar, and after watching that final cutscene (for Alliance), I feel this needs to be said...

Jaina is such a bitch lately.

I understand that she got friend-zoned by her "BFF" Thrall. Then Garrosh destroyed the entire city of Theramore, which was both her home and her charge as a ruler. Plus, I'm sure she's pretty tired of always being the level-headed one who reaches out to the Horde with peaceable ways of settling their problems only to see all of her work get manabombed into the ground. But seriously, manage your anger, Lady.

It's disappointing to see her descend into such pettiness after all of those years of admiring her diplomacy. This entire expansion has been about controlling one's emotions and not letting anger and hatred consume one's soul, something that King Wrynn has finally learned and now exemplifies. It is the truly redeeming aspect of this entire ordeal in Pandaria, and as much as I'm dreading further development of Jaina's new hardened personality, I'm looking forward to serving under a king who may have vanquished the wolf within at last.

By the way, it was sooo satisfying watching Wrathion's hissy fit. Finally, I am DONE doing that little twit's bidding, and I definitely stayed behind to help Tong fix up his shop. He's awesome.


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Patch 5.4: Every friend you've made, you must now kill.

Siege of Orgrimmar is turning out to be a huge bummer, not because I have a problem with its structure or any of its mechanics, but because it seems that Blizz worked extra hard this expansion to have us develop close relationships with NPCs only to have us assassinate them. And I don't mean just the Paragons. Let's walk the trail of tears together.

Please note that this is not angry bitching about how Blizz does everything wrong, which you can find in your local Timeless Isle general chat. Rather, it is a saddened RPer's lament at the fate of her friends.

The Fallen Protectors

This was the perfect opportunity for a Tsulong-type encounter where we "cleanse" them of corruption and they surprise us at the end by being alive, but no. They've already died during the destruction of the Vale and we get to kill them so they can die a second time. What the hell, Blizz? Wasn't once enough? It was only last week when my alt traveled to the Golden Pagoda and He Softfoot escorted me through the Crumbling Vaults to recover lost artifacts. The priest Sun Tenderheart always sent me on missions to heal injured Pandaren at the Golden Stair. And Rook Stonetoe, the quiet Brewmaster monk swinging a mace, cried like a BABY in the Bleeding Sun story when his friend's infant child was crushed to death.

All of that, and what the devs have to say about it is " may earn some epic items from the Golden Lotus one final time."[ref]

That is just morbid.

General Nazgrim

In order to be familiar with this NPC, you need to have leveled as Horde through multiple expansions. He's one of those characters who, like Chromie, tends to pop up often in storylines and always greets you as a friend. We've seen him fight against vrykul as a Sergeant in Grizzly Hills, survive near-death in the waters of Vash'jir as a Legionnaire, and reminisce with the player about their adventures together as a new General exploring the Jade Forest. Now we have to kill him because he is a loyal soldier of the Horde who follows the orders of his commander to whom he is honor-bound and dutiful.

One can say that it is his fault for blindly obeying a corrupt leader, but how many times has that happened already? This is the saddest story in all of Mists, and if it were up to me, I would have made him the hardest boss in Siege and placed him right in front of Garrosh instead of...

The Paragons of the Klaxxi

I've read Blizzard's explanation for why the Paragons have sided with Garrosh, and I understand that religious fanaticism is a popular go-to excuse for unwise alliances and murderous behavior. However, as loyal as the Klaxxi were to Y'shaarj... Garrosh only has one of its body parts. If anything, I'd expect the Klaxxi to be on our side and want to kill Garrosh for basically desecrating their god's resting place and holding a piece of it hostage. Their new allegiance makes me think that the Klaxxi are not as tactical and intelligent as I previously believed them to be when we fought together to bring down their corrupt Empress.

I guess all of that nursing back to health, feeding, and singing "Soft Kitty" didn't mean anything either.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Patch 5.4 Prep and Apprehensive Speculation Time

Look at this cute Sunsong Ranch GIF I made.

It won't be long now until Patch 5.4. Everyone has been stocking up on Valor, the married men in my guild have been cashing in their "good husband" chips to their wives so they can raid seven days, and I just spent two weeks making enough pots to fill the Great Sea.

As excited as I am for the new raid, the patch is also introducing the Connected Realm business, which might prove to be a success or end up just as buggy and zone-crowding as CRZ. Call me selfish, but I'm most curious about the exact way that it affects server first achievements. Can one person make a guild on a dead server and invite a bunch of people from a linked Proudmoore-US-esque server to get realm first H Garrosh? I want to say that I'm sure Blizz has thought this through and planned ahead for such manipulative practices, but I'm not entirely certain that they have since inquiries into server first logistics have been met with a dismissive remark about how achievements of that sort will probably be removed anyway. That doesn't seem like a very responsible response to a legitimate concern about an aspect of raiding that provides a huge sense of accomplishment.

I guess we'll have to wait and see how Blizz handles it. In the meantime, watch my animated GIF, and tune in next week for reports on the Siege of Orgrimmar!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Moby Elegon

I have to admit. Lately, I've been pretty lucky with mount drops. I got the Attumen mount while farming for Raiding with Leashes pets, some of which seemed to have even smaller drop rates than the mount. Plus, just from weekly runs of Tempest Keep, I got the Ashes of A'lar even though I know plenty of people who want it way more than I ever did. However, all of this is meaningless when the most elusive and most heavily prized mount of all is still out there...

The Quest for Elegon.

I've never been into mount farming before. Frankly, it seemed too sadly similar to the lottery: investing time or money into something with an abysmal chance at payoff while clinging to the mantra of "You gotta be in it to win it." Yes, the chance of getting a rare mount is zero if you never bother running the dungeon, but it's not much higher than that even running it. And though it might not cost two dollars to do MSV, the time it takes to complete the instance while dragging along a bunch of fresh 90s adds up even more quickly than a couple of bucks a week.

Yet, my obsession with this mount coupled with the inherent murderous intent involved in killing bosses is downright Captain Ahab-ian except that instead of a white whale, it's a flying serpent made of stars. Maybe my guild should be watching for signs of my sanity slowly degrading into a monomaniacal suicide mission into the Engine of Nalak'sha.

Or they might just call me a noob for falling into it.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Top 4 crushes of all time or just the weirdest ones?

I'm going to go ahead and speak for everyone and say that we've all had our little crushes on game characters or comic book heroes or anthropomorphic cartoons. Today, I've decided to list a few of my own crushes that stand out in my mind.

4. Malygos (Warcraft universe)

It wasn't that I had a crush on a dragon per se. Rather, the antics of the aforementioned war-mongering bitch Alexstrasza led me to think about how hard things must have been for him: losing all of his children, all of those years alone with his madness, coming out of it only to see the short-lived races irresponsibly unleashing magic on the world like ants destroying a picnic. I guess I felt sorry enough for him to throw him a hypothetical pity lay. Besides, seeing as how he drove Keristrasza insane, he must be really kinky in bed.

3. Hershel Layton (Professor Layton series)

Ever since Curious Village, I've been in love with this English gentleman, and who could resist? He's super smart, willing to face danger in order to solve a mystery, polite and kind to everyone, and super smart! Plus, he has that type of tragic love story that people tend to romanticize. On top of all of that, he's just damn handsome. I mean just look at those beady little eyes and that thin-lined smile and his rectangular head with rounded corners... Wait... I'm just naming lines and shapes.

Sexy lines and shapes.

2. Mai Shiranui (Fatal Fury)

This crush is a little embarrassing since apart from her skimpy outfit barely covering her giant boobs, I'm now having a little trouble thinking of what else I could have been attracted to about her.


It was the boobs.

1. Fox McCloud (Star Fox)

With the best gaming OST ever made as the soundtrack for our love in space, this rebel fox and his polygonal ship melted my 8-year-old heart with his chaotic good opposition to greater evil and his loyalty to his friends. I remember finding out in the Nintendo Power comics that he was in a relationship with Fara Phoenix and feeling absolutely crushed. It was the first time I had ever experienced that kind of jealousy, and it was towards an animated anthropomorphic fox. My feelings for him have gradually subsided into a smoldering ember of what it used to be, but every now and then, it flares right back up again into a nerdy flame of RP desire even twenty years later.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Woes of the One Percent

Sorry about the long hiatus, everyone. I had a bunch of school obligations, and then I made a big move from NYC to Myrtle Beach, so life has been a bit hectic the past few months. But RP Your Life! is back and ready to provide a weekly dose of that delusional and escapist charm that you've always loved.

Through all of my raiding with casual and (subpar) guilds over the years, I've always wondered what it would feel like to actually finish content and be on that magical status that is "farm." Apart from joining a guild already farming Blackwing Lair, I've never actually progressed through and completed an instance before. Now that my 13/13H guild is clearing Throne of Thunder in three and a half hours, ...

I am soooooo bored.

It's not the extra free time that's boring since I'm pretty adept at wasting time in Azeroth. Rather, it's the fact that raid night, once so full of engaging problem-solving and difficult maneuvers through environmental traps while maximizing personal performance, has become a mindless walkthrough where the bosses have as much zone-out potential as the trash. Recently, the only time I turn my brain back on is to make sure I don't die on Dark Animus, and coincidentally, that is the about the only fight I actually enjoy nowadays. I've virtually become one of those adrenaline junkies that only feels alive when s/he's jumping out an airplane or off a cliff and risking death just to relish the pounding of my heart rushing blood through my veins! Except you know... it's in-game death.

My fellow raider assures me that this is a classic raider's plight: the necessity of finishing content as fast as possible to earn a good rank and spending the rest of the tier farming to ensure a decent rank next patch. But I can't believe that I was actually happy wiping over and over on Lei Shen and pulling out my hair every time a guildie fell of the edge. Now, I'm waiting not too patiently for the next patch, which seems might still be a month away, but when it finally does arrive, you'll probably find me in a fetal position on the floor after the ordeal of progressing through fourteen new encounters in one week and wishing we were on farm again.

Interested in my Tier 15 kills? Check out my guild's YouTube channel. Here are a few of my favorite videos from this tier, featuring our good luck charm, Death-Prone Ele Shaman: