Monday, December 29, 2014

Progression Raiding and the Holidays

Apparently, my guild hasn't been following my amazing advice on how to get Mythic kills, because we've been stuck on M Tectus for a week and a half. With the holidays forcing less than ideal comps and a lot of off days, our ranking has fallen precipitously from how well we were faring at first. It's come to a point where we're becoming disheartened, faced with the harsh reality that after all the work we've put into beta testing every boss and splitting main/alt raids for the first time, our place is still firmly situated in the semi-hardcore bracket.

While there is yet an adequate amount of time to turn this around, we're still left with the post-Brackenspore depression from our pace of progression not meeting the high expectations we held at the start of the tier. By the time everyone is back from celebrating New Year's, we need to have learned to cope with this potentially crippling disappointment like many guilds experienced at the end of Firelands or on H Siegecrafter. Surely, a night of transformative revelry full of new hope and resolutions for a better year will be enough to inspire our raiders to come into Highmaul once again with a strong determination to perform like world-class players. Or it could just end up the same kind of situation in which we don't quite meet the level of success we anticipate and fall into despondence again.

Thus is the inherent danger of New Year's and all its hype of fresh beginnings only for people to succumb to the human failings of lack of discipline and perpetually procrastinating change, but I don't give a crap, because I LOVE NEW YEAR'S!!!


Friday, December 19, 2014

RP Your Life! Guide to Mythic Raiding for the Semi-Quasi-Antepenultimate-Hardcore

I let my resources pile up! >_<

The past couple of weeks have been a crazy mess of packing, moving, and frantically trying to find an apartment, but don't worry, guys! I have my priorities in order, and I have been raiding Mythic Highmaul all the while. Sitting at 3/7M so far, I have analyzed what exactly it takes to get those coveted Mythic kills.


Obviously, gearing out of those ilvl 630 pieces will make any raid encounter easier, but it's not enough to just raid normals and heroics. Merely raiding is not a guarantee that one will get drops, and the rule of Highmaul seems to be that any gear that does drop will be horribly itemized. What will make those prized trinkets and weapons finally coin-roll is if one spends all the gold s/he has an hour before raid on crafted items that will immediately be replaced and thus turn into a complete waste of money. Not doing this will ensure that the only drops in raid will be hunter gear and healing plate, so don't even try to save up for that Alliance chopper.

The Pull

Since it's vital for a DPS to execute a perfect pull in order to end the fight with decent numbers, it is important for one person to maximize his/her own DPS by casting way too early and screwing over everyone else's pre-pot. If the entire raid isn't yelling "goddamnit!," then they might as well start over.

Execution vs. RNG

When it comes to killing bosses, there are two tactics a raid can follow. The first is execution, which my current guild employs rather adeptly, i.e. not standing in bad, planning for upcoming mechanics, reacting to the ones that force people to adjust on the fly, and pushing throughput. Or a raid can go the RNG route and just try again and again until the stars above Draenor align and any mechanics that can kill people end up not bothering anyone at all. Sure, it's annoying when someone is standing where they're not supposed to be and Tectus puts a pillar right underneath him/her, but it's awesome when everyone is running around like an idiot and the mountains happen to get perfectly placed anyway. If every attempt was that ideal, then it'd be a Mythic kill for sure!

A Banging Soundtrack

While voice chat and boss mods should be the primary focus of one's auditory attention during raid, there's no denying that having music playing in the background is a great way to keep up energy and stay hyped during what can arguably be described as a somewhat monotonous activity. It's easy to get drained when going through pull after pull of unforgiving yet predictable mechanics, and having that appropriately soothing raiding soundtrack will help offset the boredom and/or frustration of spending four straight hours watching people take inordinate amounts of fire line stacks. Occasionally, listening to music a little too loudly might cause a particular warlock to miss important instructions and then end up blindly following a mage that blinked into a corner to iceblock through something that she definitely cannot survive. But hey. Beats.

Fuck All

And then, sometimes, all of the planning, execution, and perfect play of one's class becomes completely irrelevant, and all it takes to get a kill is for a single person to die to something incredibly stupid and sacrifice his/her DPS to make everyone else look great.



Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Week in Highmaul


After the frenzied rush of leveling for two days followed by an unnerving raid-less calm for two weeks, I am once again entrenched in the middle of almost nightly group content. Currently, I am hanging out alone at the Darkmoon Faire, finally taking the time to relax with a mug of what is probably disgusting tasting alcohol and reflect on my week running two alt/main split raids in Highmaul. With 6/7H bosses down and Imperator still to go tomorrow, my guild has been performing... as expected. No need to hype it up, people. It's only "heroic" after all. Come Tuesday, we're going to start getting our asses handed to us by OP class stacking, bench drama, and oh yea Mythic mechanics. But for now, it's just a lot of hours and the feeling of accomplishment when we finish encounters for the first time. After all, regardless of how satisfying the actual fight was, in the end, a nerdgasm is a nerdgasm.

Check out our kill videos below for what we've cleared so far, and stay tuned to see if we have as much trouble with Imperator as other guilds did!


Sunday, November 30, 2014

IRL News Day: Avia rhymes with Moldavia is moving to Cali!

Guess what, everyone? I'm moving! In a few weeks, I will be leaving Myrtle Beach and relocating to the Los Angeles area. Not quite the NYC that I miss every day, but at least it's not the middle of nowhere in South Carolina. I'm sure many people would argue that Myrtle Beach, as a major city, is not quite the "middle of nowhere." However, as someone who has spent most of her adult life in a metropolis, any place that requires a driver's license to navigate it might as well be the tiniest island in an archipelago where all of the stores, cultural centers, and people are only accessible by a boat that I'm not allowed to operate. Everyone with a boat gets to go places and have fun, and I could get a boat, but I'm smart enough to know that if I learned to ride one and then moved off the archipelago like I am now, I would just end up with a useless boating license. Look who wins at life now. The answer is me.

Home is where your mission table is.

Speaking of relocation, while Lunarfall is essentially a bachelor pad of a fortress with a single hero in charge of his/her own interior design, its location within Draenor and role as a central base has made it a zone that has the feeling of home for players. Compared to Sunsong Ranch, the sheer expanse of the garrison is so immersive that it feels like a true living space where I can relax, hang out with my followers, invite people over to selfishly take advantage of my property, and return at the end of the day without feeling like I'm a vagrant putting up for the night in the Stormwind City inn. And yet, it's not entirely cozy because, while it is my own personal house, it's also located in a heavily-populated area, and Trade chat keeps butting itself into my goddamn living room.

With the decentralization of players away from major cities and a shift towards sitting alone in our garrisons, it only makes sense to link Lunarfall/Frostwall with Trade chat access, but I sure as hell already unlinked mine. With my history of strategically hanging out in spots just outside of the range of trolls and closed-minded morons, I don't need to see the constant stream of people arguing about politics, accusing each other of being either children or middle-aged basement dwellers, and the occasional person actually selling something while I'm just trying to have coffee with Ziri'ak in my inn. At the same time, I'm preparing to leave my barren but admittedly quiet island in Myrtle Beach to move back to civilization once more. As thrilled as I am to have access to a metropolitan area again, there are people out there, and over the past year, I had become rather adept at avoiding them. It seems Blizzcon was a proving ground for my social skills, and I'll have to start employing them more liberally soon enough in an environment where /ignore doesn't always provide the perfect solution.

I kind of insulted Myrtle Beach multiple times in this post, and to any South Carolinians reading this, I'm kind of sorry. <3


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I'm not actually going to stream.

This week, I had the chance to participate in a webshow's panel about the influence of virtual worlds on the real world. That is... until they actually spoke to me and realized that I interview horribly and wouldn't work in a broadcasted discussion, but hey, that's why I'm a writer. >_< However, in the preparation process that turned out to be futile, I actually set up a webcam that had previously been spending a year gathering dust in a corner of my bedroom. This opens up the possibility of facecam streaming for your favorite female azn warlock with a voidwalker tattoo. Sure, that's a lot of qualifiers, but I wanted to be accurate for everyone, and it'd be pretty sad if I was someone's second favorite female azn warlock with a voidwalker tattoo who eats only plants and buys her clothes from the kids section of Old Navy.

The Avia Show?

Of course, a live feed of someone's raidingbitchface isn't required to stream, but it seems to be an unspoken given nowadays to show the audience who it's watching regardless of the actual relevance to gameplay. Perhaps it's so I can see who exactly is asking me to send money to their PayPal in exchange for jumping jacks or gratuitous taco eating (no offense to any of those hustles), but I definitely only enjoy facecams occasionally. It's nice if they talk to their viewers rather than just sitting silently while they play. It's also enjoyable if they explain what going on in a Let's Play style. Then again, if the streamer is attractive, I don't really care if s/he is even playing a game.

Which raises the question of what kind of streamer I would be if I actually chose to employ my newly dusted off camera. As a recently rejected webcaster, I highly doubt that I would excel in any of the social aspects that popular streamers employ to engage with their audience. If I'm just going to type back in chat instead of talking, there would be no point in a webcam. If I'm not going to put on a scripted show like my guildie at FinalBossTV, there would be no point in a webcam. If I'm not going to show my boobs, there would be no point in a webcam. Most likely, I'd end up being like one of the many streamers that I see and then wonder what the point even is of having them sit there and distract me from watching the informational part of the screen where the game is actually being played.

Maybe I'll just throw this thing back into its corner for another year or forever.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

RP Your Life! was live on the floor of Blizzcon 2014 and reported nothing.

In previous years, I have covered Blizzcon and reported its breaking WoW news with the same fervent zeal associated with KPop fansites and quasi-celebrities of Twitter. Unfortunately, this year's Blizzcon was all about Overwatch, and the news for WoW was sparse, bordering on nonexistent. However, that doesn't mean I didn't learn anything, for the two convention days and the week of guild "bonding activities" surrounding them were quite eye-opening. Let me chronicle here the important life lessons I gleaned from my vacation, from which I spent the past two days recovering.

Traveling as a group in matching T-shirts is both awesome and embarrassing. I admit I couldn't help but feel like a total badass rolling into Blizzcon in a crew of thirty proud nerds representing our guild. It made me feel like I finally understood the meaning of camaraderie. There was a sense that we all belonged to something that transcended a mere collection of individual relationships. We were a team, and I loved being a part of it. That is... until we started yelling things like "FIREBALL!" and "BE QUIET, PIZZA!" in the middle of the convention center, and I realized there was no way to pretend I didn't know them when I was wearing the exact same shirt.

If you give people an option to "collect them all," then they will stand on line for two hours to do exactly that. Even I ended up getting suckered into waiting in that line full of people with way too much expendable income just so I could buy a limited edition pin for a friend who I haven't seen in years. Apparently a gold-colored Blizzcon exclusive Murky pin is serious enough business to call in a favor from a random Facebook acquaintance. Write that down for the next edition of Emily Post's Etiquette.

The following things and alcohol do not mix: cinnamon flavor, hot tubs, hunters who try to eat throw pillows when they're drunk, tiny Asian girls named Avia who suck at both of the tasks involved in Flip Cup, and cinnamon flavor. Yes, I wrote that last one twice on purpose because I want to know who decided that shit was a good idea. It tasted like a Christmas tree on fire.

If you put an LED candle into a drunkenly passed out man's hand, he'll eventually wake up and try to take a sip from it.

See you guys on the other side of the expansion.


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

This post kind of makes me seem like an asshole, but I'm really just awkward.

Compared to IRL, my rules for socializing within my guild are quite different, especially when it comes to fellow raiders and especially in a 25-man guild. When I'm out at a club or a party or even just standing outside of a building having a cigarette, I'll interact. I'll talk to people and find out what they're about. If someone turns out to be a douchebag, I can give the polite smile and incrementally edge away. But if we have similar interests and a good rapport, we can totally be facebook friends.


However, when it comes to guildies, I've always kept a policy that I like to call the "office cleaning lady." That is, I'm my usual amount of friendly to anyone who wants to speak with me, and for anyone who does not, I'm just a person they see every day and that's it. It's not to be an anti-social jerk or because I particularly hate people. Rather, it's a strategy I utilize to minimize the situations in which I end up realizing that I spend almost twenty hours a week with someone I probably couldn't stand in real life. Sure, that happens outside of gaming too, and working anywhere inevitably involves being courteous to people one wouldn't necessarily invite to a birthday party. But in WoW, it's highly more likely that I could run into someone who thinks "God hates gays" or asks stupid questions like "If plants had feelings, would you still be vegetarian?" than I ever would in the protective bubble that I've created by living in NYC for years and then never leaving my apartment after moving away. Somehow, the raid environment feels more volatile than the real-life workplace, and every personal relationship or spat of drama has the potential to create toxic tension that makes raiding unbearably uncomfortable or to even dismantle the entire team.

That's not to say I don't develop and value friendships in game, because I definitely do. However, after years of semi-success as an office cleaning lady who manages to befriend one or two of the pencil pushers and trades a "good morning" and a "good night" with several others, I've somehow found myself willingly attending a convention at which almost thirty of my guildies from all over the continent are gathering and sharing the same house...

It's time to pull out my rusty social skills and polish them with some alcohol. I'll be back with some Blizzcon swag, embarrassing photos, and of course all the big convention news because RP Your Life! is heading to California this weekend.


Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Getting to know your new face or just getting a new one.

Human females look so cheeky. :3

With the implementation of the new character models, I really appreciate Blizzard giving us the option to change our chars' faces with the barber shop. However, as disturbing as it is to be getting plastic surgery at a barber, I'm rather annoyed at the inconsistency of being able to dye a worgen's fur and yet not being able to change my human's skin tone. It's perfectly feasible, logically and in an RP sense, for the fleshed races to re-customize their skin tone. I mean... they have the bleach and dye just sitting around, and I doubt that any goblin has ever listened to a warning label about avoiding contact with skin. Certainly, it's more plausible than modifying a draenei's horns or a night elf's ears, both of which sound like the poor patients would later die of infection from being operated on with a straight shaver previously used for dwarven manscaping.

In my opinion at least, I'm not a big complainer; when they announced and subsequently released the new models, I understood and accepted that my character would look different than it has for years. Better, even. But after reading that the only thing the barber seat would not change was skin tone and then logging in to find that the only thing with which I was unhappy was my suddenly ghost-like skin, I couldn't help but have one of those "Really?" moments when it seemed like the game was specifically targeting me to complain.

Melodramatic? Perhaps a bit. But after all their efforts to transition players to the new models as gingerly as possible and to keep them happy with the choice of free re-customization, it seems they still want to make a little money, but only off of a few select races. I see people on the forums futilely trying to justify the arbitrariness by saying dying hair is something easily done in a salon while one can never change his/her skin color, like self-tanning cream doesn't exist and skin lighteners aren't sold all over the world by merchants just as dubious as goblin barbers performing rhinoplasty.

For now, it seems I'll have to go the self-esteem route and accept my unnaturally pale skin color as a part of who my character is. Despite it not being what I originally planned for her appearance, I'll chalk it up to growing older, changing times and styles, and definitely a more cheeky outlook on life. Just look at that face and tell me she didn't come out of this Pandarian war with a brighter expression belying the years of bloody horrors she has endured and demonic blood tapping she has undergone.

... maybe that's just the smile of insanity.


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Guide to 6.0 Pre-Patch Shenanigans by RP Your Life!

Inevitably, patch day is always a hectic and busy affair. When the servers came up yesterday, I had to get in all of the new quests, prepare my gear for raid, and then fight bosses with new spell rotations and adjusted mechanics. Over the past few weeks, every WoW fan-site in existence has published a guide for surviving the WoD pre-patch. I might be a little late now, but I have a little 6.0 pre-patch guide of my own. However, forget all of the class changes, UI improvements, and new features that are baffling everyone, because my guide doesn't address any of that. In fact, there is only one major bullet point:

Iron Starlettes

Take a page from Neopets (if it would load) and hoard a bunch of a semi-retired item. It might take seven years, but they will eventually inflate in value enough for you to get sick of them taking up space in your guild bank, and then you can sell each of them off for a MASSIVE 20g profit. Go ahead and do the Iron Invasion quest chain on every single 90 that you have. Compared to Gahz'rooki's world tour of Azeroth, it takes about ten minutes to get one of these seemingly non-sentient balls of metal that somehow know how to Pok├ębattle, and it will be ten minutes spent investing in your (very distant) future.

Leave it to RP Your Life! to touch upon the important issues for YOU!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Every post-match interview was painfully awkward to watch.

It was just a big weekend in NYC where, unbeknownst to the hundreds of people living, working, and partying around the Hammerstein Ballroom, there was a congregation of geeks watching other geeks play video games for money. The North American regional finals for WoW 3s and Hearthstone finished up on Sunday, and since then, I have been PvPing and collecting conquest points like I've been inspired by the greats. However, the classes and team compositions represented during the WoW tournament were not very diverse. Thus, I decided to take it upon myself to come up with a few unique, strategic, and/or enemy-confusing arena comps for you to try in these last couple weeks of the season. Honestly, it's a little late to push 2200, so we might as well have fun with it now.

Next year, this could be you!!!

Jaws Comp: Rogue/Feral - Rogue/Feral
They can't kill you if they can't find you. Spend the entire time stealthed and circling the enemy team. Eventually, they'll just get bored and leave. Sure, there are shadow sight orbs, but they'll expect you to expect them to use them, and since they think they expect what you expect, you can expect them to not do what they think you expect them to do! By the way, this comp loses its effectiveness with more players since five enemies can spread out and find you more quickly. Not like it's a very effective comp in the first place.

NPF (NamePlate Fuck):  Hunter - Hunter - Hunter
Similarly, they can't kill you if they can't click your nameplate. Burst them down in the 20 seconds in which they're frantically trying to differentiate between you and your stampede. Results after that are not guaranteed. Also, beware of professional players with targeting macros or functional UIs, but at that rating, you should probably switch to a less idiotic comp.

PvEasy: 1 tank - 1 healer - 1 DPS
If the enemies are spread out, focus the healer. If they are clumped, AoE! Don't forget to use taunts, and blame each other when you die.

(Class) Neopolitan - 3 of the same pure DPS class in 3 different specs.
If each of a class' three different specs has different strengths and weaknesses, the best way to ensure a well-rounded arena team is to contain every spec, right? Don't muddle it up by adding a different class with CCs on separate DRs. That's just making it too complicated. By combining three locks and all of the advantages of Aff, Destro, and Demo, one is essentially forcing the enemy team to fight one ultimate warlock. As for the disadvantages, whether you're compounding them additively or multiplicatively is up for debate.

Tree Cleave
My favorite 5s comp, this is the only one in this list that I've actually tried. Basically, it's five resto druids that go in with Glyph of the Treant, pop Heart of the Wild, and try to Wrath someone to death. We had very limited success with it, i.e. we never actually killed anyone. Nevertheless, it was super fun, and I'm sure the other team's reaction was priceless, first when they zoned in and saw the comp they were up against and again when they witnessed an army of trees coming at them. Feel free to combine with Force of Nature for even more trees or Incarnation for some arboreal variety.


Monday, September 29, 2014

State of Mind Status Report: NG

Over the past few years, I have worked to be actively involved in gamer culture through WoW raiding, frequenting forums, and, of course, writing this blog. While I haven't developed the same presence as successful streamers and respected community figures, I definitely feel like I am part of the in-group when people talk about gamers, and the struggles of the gaming industry and how they affect its customers automatically feel like my struggles. When YouTube was originally set to buy out Twitch, that was news that affected me and everyone around me. When the last of PopCap's founding members left the team, I stopped to consider to the ramifications for the company and for the fans of its games. Despite its recent land-grab-esque growth and inherent focus on the fictional, gaming is a business that revolves around people, and it's a large amount of them. Whether or not they consider themselves "gamers," over a billion people worldwide technically are.

Not actually me.

Yet, while I feel generally proud to include myself in the more "hardcore" demographic of online gamer, there are times when I just hate it. No, I am not a self-loathing gamer who is ashamed of what I do for fun, and no, I don't think gaming is an idiotic waste of time. The problem is the community, which can range from the dregs of the anonymous internet to the supportive and intelligent debaters of (some) forums. As much effort as companies put into making their social environments hate-free and promoting camaraderie, either it's not enough to keep the racist/sexist/oppressive attitudes from invading our virtual worlds or it just hits the all-destroying event horizon of the internet and the work becomes all for naught. When I see the "douchenozzle backlash," which is what I call the gamer version of "conservative backlash," to women branching out in the industry or hearing highly racist comments that are written off as jokes in voice chat, it makes me wonder over and over if this community is even capable of reform. It's enough to make me want to back away, not giving up gaming altogether, but rather focusing my creative efforts on another area like music or fiction, where the emphasis is on creation instead of competition.

Unfortunately, this isn't a qualm that I solely associate with the gaming subculture or the internet. In fact, I'm becoming rather disenchanted with the world at large: the constant struggle against conservative backlash, not just minorities but also the general public losing rights it thought it already had, and in the end, nothing progressive ever getting accomplished and everyone living oppressed and in fear. There's no way to back away from all of this, and more and more the fight seems futile. Someone please tell me that we've even achieved anything that hasn't been taken right back by the status quo, and maybe I can still have faith that the gaming community and this planet have chances at becoming decent places.


Friday, September 19, 2014

I went to my sister's wedding and came back with a new phone.

To my loyal fans who have been wondering where I've been, I apologize for the sudden M.I.A. Last week, my mother called to give me a week's notice for my sister's wedding back home, so I had to fly out to where there is no WoW or even a computer capable of running Neopets flash games without lagging. I was hoping to find some free time to blog while I was up there, but it turned out that weddings are quite a bit of work, and the only thing I managed to fit in between dress fittings and raiding crafts stores was letting my wrist recover from playing too much D3. I supposed I should thank my sister for being the reason there's no longer a radiating pain in my right wrist despite the fact that going to a doctor would have been a lot cheaper than plane tickets and a dress.

Dr. Know-It-All says, "You could just take a break from gaming."

In other good news, I managed to upgrade my phone over the weekend, and now that I've turned off all of its amazing new features that sound pretty cool but drain the battery mad hard, it's time to do some serious decision making about what games to put on it. After all, the games on my phone are going to be responsible for keeping me fully entertained whether I'm on an hour-long bus ride or waiting two minutes on a grocery store checkout line. It needs to keep me engaged and yet not distract me so much that I'm unaware of my surroundings. There can't be too much loading time or aimless RPG-style wandering, but if my non-existent boss calls on me, I must have the freedom to put it on pause or just set it down without ruining my score. Also, it needs to have enough content to be worth the three or so dollars that I've allocated for it in my yearly budget.

By personal preference, I've already eliminated any games like Angry Birds or Bejeweled where one can ignore the instructions in lieu of swiping angrily all over the screen. There's nothing wrong with playing these games; I just don't like my gaming to start off with a delusion of strategy that then quickly devolves into frustrated button mashing to get to the next level. I'm also not a fan of anything that I suck at and thus makes me feel stupid, so that gets rid of things like Sudoku and, oddly enough, Peggle. While I love Cut the Rope and similar physics games, it ends up embarrassing in public because I always find myself leaning to one side or the other like tilting my phone or even my entire body will help that little ball get to where it's supposed to go. Finally, even though word puzzles are my favorite type, waiting eight hours for someone to make a move in Words with Friends kind of ruins the point of why I personally play a phone game, which is to fill in a window of boredom. If I'm already at home and playing D3 by the time they get back to me, they're going to have to wait eight hours for my turn too. It's a vicious cycle.

After much thought and research, I've come to a final decision about what game to put on my precious new phone, to entertain and to engage, to educate and to uplift, to amuse and to soothe my world-weary soul.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Gold and Health Pickup Radius is my favorite stat.

While other people breeze through leveling, sweeping through groups of mobs and then quickly moving on, I have a slightly different playing style.

In WoW, I can't resist bending down to loot a sparkling body in case it has something awesomely rare on it even if it was a level 5 mob that happened to hit my shaman's Lightning Shield while I rode through Elwynn Forest. Tucked away in my warlock's robes (next to a slightly risque photo of Jaina Proudmoore) is an old fortune card that reads "You'll never know until you loot." And contrary to the number displayed in my character tab, my seasonal demon hunter's damage is actually 0 since, while my lovely wizard friend is slaughtering an army of rift mobs, I'm busy picking up every blue item and then heading back to town to empty my inventory full of highly treasured crap. Thus, I am simultaneously pleased and tremulous to announce that I have just acquired the worst D3 item in all of Sanctuary for me and my Compulsive Looting Disorder.

Boon of the Hoarder, a.k.a. the golden shower gem.

If it wasn't bad enough that I couldn't leave alone a pile of 20g even if it was already across the screen behind my character because of something my wolf picked off, I now have mobs exploding with thousands of gold all over the place. Needless to say, my paragon leveling has almost completely halted when for every four mobs I kill, I then spend a greater amount of time rounding up all the gold they dropped. OG Priest has the same gem, and he doesn't even bother picking any of it up anymore. However, even though I'll eventually have more currency than I'll ever need, that doesn't mean that every piece of gold isn't equally precious, and I could never leave a single glinting coin just sitting in the middle of the Desolate Sands... when it could be in my bag instead.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Chasing the Astral Dragon

After a mere month and a half, I lost my Darkmaster title. However, I really couldn't care less since, this week, what once seemed like an RNG-ridden impossible dream at the beginning of this expansion has finally become virtual reality in the form of a dragon-shaped constellation with a certain warlock getting motion sickness on top of it.

After 125 kills, I finally tamed the great mechanical dragon Elegon, and he has been reborn into a stellar vehicle for the astral apotheosis of Starcaller Ayaliss; rider of the heavens, a celestial body cutting across the sky on a serpent made of stars, the ascendent hero freed by an eternal cosmic deity from the war and petty desires of earth to take her place in the glittering and infinite universe.

Yes, all of that foofy imagery was quite necessary because I GOT ELEGON'S MOUNT!!! And contrary to what other people might say, Mists of Pandaria is OVER!

-Starcaller Avia.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

I'm getting ready to put some toys in my box.

Originally, I had planned to gripe about how yet another character that Blizzard told us was good is now turning into a villain, but then I got distracted by the collection-type organization of the Toy Box. Those sneaky bastards really know how to hijack my mind.

So I present to you, my cherished readers, the world's most basic spreadsheet: Avia's Toy Box.

Sample Usage. Keep track of what you have and where it is!

In this manually typed spreadsheet with no formulas whatsoever, I have listed all of the Toy Box items alphabetically and also by source for the purpose of making it easier to spend the next four months farming for them ahead of time. Get an early start while we're sitting around waiting for WoD and acquire all of the toys that drop from Pandaria rares before others realize they must also find meaning in their lives through filling in an online collection journal. Use this precious downtime to level a rogue on the opposite faction and pickpocket the entire world looking for a pair of dice for no other reason than making those sad, grayed-out space-holders light up in satisfying and gratifying completion. Stare longingly at the the few yet unreleased items and dream of the day when a follower returns to the garrison, bloodied and tired from from a soldier's mission, to place in one's hand the spoils of war... an autographed Hearthstone card.

One day...


P.S. Don't forget to tune into FinalBossTV one week from now for a chance to win a full heroic clear of Siege from my guild! Check this post for details.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

People who say they like this boss are LIARS!

It's been a seemingly nonstop few weeks of beta testing, and despite the inevitable bugs and a surprisingly large number of fights that feel exactly the same, it wasn't until yesterday that I ran into a boss that I actually think is awful.

a.k.a. Conveyor Assholes

So the entire raid has to move on a conveyor belt for half the fight? Well that's ok. If casters can't DPS, then the melee will take care of damage. OH WAIT! The boss jumps around like a wallaby on amphetamines, so they can't hit him either. I guess that's fine since the bosses don't have much health to make up for the fact that the entire raid is playing Frogger the whole time. That makes it ok.

Next tier, why not just make a boss that has 5 HP and have every player dodge fire for six minutes?


P.S. I love Frogger.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Crisp Presents... A Night You Will Never Forget...

Hey, everyone! I know you guys love hearing about my raiding antics, but wouldn't you rather be a part of the boss-killing and loot-whoring action? In celebration of our 7th anniversary, my often eccentric but always funzies guild, Crisp of Baelgun-US, is holding a community event and contest to give away a free full run of Heroic Siege of Orgrimmar to one lucky winner!

Click for full view

All you have to do is tune in to my guildie's show FinalBossTV on Tuesday, August 26th for a secret password. That will get you entered into a lottery drawing, and one person will win the grand prize of a full clear of H SoO, complete with priority on loot and a mount off Garrosh! People usually pay guilds hundreds of thousands of gold for runs just like this, but you can experience fourteen bosses of heroic-mode raiding with some of the most unique encounters ever made FOR FREE! Click here for full details.

Remember that the Kor'kron Juggernaut, like all other heroic-only mounts, will change from a guaranteed drop to a less than 1% drop chance when the content is no longer current. Taking advantage of this opportunity and making sure to acquire this mount now can save months or years of farming later. Plus, you get to hang out with us in Mumble while we ramble about weird fetishes during the eternity it takes for Galakras to land.

Over the past few months, we've carried quite a few guests through SoO, and they always have a great time with us. Enter for your chance at a fun-filled night of virtual shenanigans. Make sure to check the forum post for all of the fine print, and watch the show on the 26th for the password and how to join the lottery and possibly win!

See you in raid!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Garrison Mission: Gather all the foods!

One of my favorite aspects of any game is the variety of virtual food. Yet, disturbingly, the only forms of sustenance I've been able to find in the new Draenor so far are war rations of the Iron Horde. Since I'm not about to spend an entire expansion living off of tasteless biscuits scavenged from the bodies of dead orcs, I've decided to take some precautionary measures and stockpile my garrison with some of my favorite foods from the old/classic/currently-timelined world.

First and foremost, it's important to have an ample supply of hydrating liquids. I've always been a fan of Moonberry Juice seeing as how it's one of the few drinks available that isn't booze or possibly contaminated medieval puddle water, and I'll be filling packing crates with ginseng and Honeymint Tea since tea is required for living. As for food, I, of course, am partial to vegetarian options like Pine Nut Bread, Savory Snowplums, Carrot Cupcakes, and the oddly delicious Lyribread that the Ethereals of Outland claim are constituted from pure energy and somehow ended up like rye. Buying mass quantities of pantry goods and moving them across parallel universes may seem impractical, and yes, in my travels through Pandaria, I've learned how to make plenty of sophisticated and complex dishes like Sauteed Carrots and Seasoned Pomfruit Slices. However, I'm not my garrison's private chef, and I'd rather eat increasingly stale Pine Nut Bread every day than peel carrots for what is supposed to be my personal staff.

On the other hand, I could just forgo all of this work, make friends with a mage, and live off an endless supply of strudel and cinnamon buns. Good thing demonic spellwork burns so many calories.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Yea, I talk to my voidwalker. So what?

I finally got my beta invite this weekend, which means that I made a new friend.

He seems like a cool guy.

So far, I haven't gleaned much about his personality, but I hope that Demonic Servitude gains me a new companion, and I don't just mean in combat. Right now, my voidwalker is the only demon with whom I can have worthwhile conversation and isn't preoccupied with sadomasochistic bondage or stealing silverware from Black Temple. My felguard just wants to cleave things in half, felhunters can't really talk, and I'm pretty sure my observer thinks I'm a moron, which is rich for someone who runs into battle gurgling like a murloc.

As much as I love Barkath, it'll be nice to get to know a new demon with a different nature. I know doomguards can seem kind of cocky with all of their "Who dares summon me?!," but what can I learn about mine when, rather than merely calling him for one minute in the middle of a fight, I actually spend time with him just hanging out in town or working together to complete quests. We can explore new worlds, defeat powerful enemies, and then, as the sun sets in Shadowmoon Valley, discuss over tea how we each felt about our day in Draenor.

Because I don't think an infernal can hold a tea cup.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

If only getting a teaching job was this simple.

I guess it is true what people say; English majors end up teaching.

School is in session, bitch!
After a year and a half, I finally possess the perfect warlock title, Darkmaster Ayaliss. Unfortunately, since I did kill the previous schoolmaster of Scholomance, it's looking like I have some new responsibilities.

Teaching Classes

So... I'm not quite sure what I'm supposed to be teaching you guys. Gandling didn't exactly leave me a lesson plan before I Shadowburned his face. I'm assuming the curriculum had a lot to do with necromancy, but I'm not really into undead things, so we'll just start from the beginning of Demonology for Dummies and then move onto Practical Uses of Souls later in the semester. Advanced courses in Summoning Theory will also be available to gifted students interested in studying abroad in the Twisting Nether.

Hiring Staff

Now that I'm in charge of this institution, I need to make sure that the meat shields... I mean... the esteemed members of my staff are capable of defending the inner rooms where the innocent students, precious books, and, of course, I reside. Looking at your resume, you already seem more promising than the idiots who were protecting this area before and thought that differently dressed mirror images would fool people. Let me show you to the office that you'll now be guarding with your life.

Administrative Busywork

To-Do List: 1. File budget paperwork on annual tuition paid vs. student lifespan. 2. Attend board meeting to discuss possible creation of athletics department. (Tentative suggestions for team names: Fighting Felguards, Valiant Voidwalkers, Impotent Imps) 3. Organize fundraiser to finance renovation of school exterior and the conversion of Alexi Barov's room into a personal sauna. 4. Order more paper clips.

Getting Raided

It's like a damn PvP server in here. I'm not using my Soulstone until they leave.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

If real life were a video game, I'd still be broke.

While I'm not quite the 1% currency-wise in any of the games that I play, I'd say that compared to the Rockefellers bidding max on BMAH mounts and the few people I know who wouldn't be able to raid if their guilds weren't paying for repairs, I'm pretty middle-class. That's not to say "middle class" in a video game translates to "middle class" IRL, for it's so much easier to make money in WoW that not being ridiculously wealthy in it is actually a failure. Honestly, even with as much gold as I have, translated into the real world, I would be just as upper-middle-lower-class as I am in real life, and my in-game tactics for making money are just as inadequate as they are outside.

Unsurprisingly, the money-making lessons one can glean from gaming are pretty analogous to what we see outside of it. Sure, there's meritocracy, working hard so one can save and eventually become rich, both feasible and tantalizing mythical in either environment, for then there are the real methods of making gold/Simoleans/Neopoints/money en masse: stealing, cheating, wage slavery, etc. As much gold as one has, it's nothing compared to what Chinese farmers make teleporting to mining nodes and paying teenagers a few dollars a day to spam in trade. Nothing makes more Neopoints than running an auto-buying program, nothing is as quick and easy to earn Simoleans as good old "motherlode," and there's nothing that makes more money in the real world than organized crime, drug trafficking, and sex slavery.

It's a rather negative but realistic sentiment. I'm not promoting the use of bots nor suggesting that everyone smuggle heroin. In fact, the consequences of subversive activity can be just as harsh in-game when one equates the potential real life losses (assets, freedom, life) to the punishments for cheating (inventory, characters, life-long ban), and many people do equate them. However, it doesn't stop tons of players every day from taking those risks to get ahead, accumulate wealth, or pull themselves out of destitute situations, because for better or worse, in-game societies are a reflection of the ones in which we actually live and are full of the same stratification, inflation, and artificial prestige-laden consumerism that we experience in real life.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Post-Traumatic Progression Disorder

Hello. This is Barkath, Avia's voidwalker. I wanted to inform her readers that, due to a five hour stretch of wiping in Veteran Skullcano in Wildstar, there is, what you would call, a "situation." Rather than reverting back to WoW like a good little casual, she has regressed back many more years to a far earlier, far worse state of gaming docility.

She is playing Neopets.


As we speak, she is dressing up sickenly "cute" animals in tiny hats and shoes and pampering them with spa treatments. She reads her pets books, feeds them puddings, and grooms their furry faces with pink powder puffs to make them "happy." Hours can go by, during which all she will do is watch with glazed eyes as a farm of insects obediently collects wood and pollen for her. And perhaps most horrifying of all, instead of fighting off the minions of the Sha in Pandaria with wanton bloodlust, she is playing a Neopets' turn-based mini-RPG. Turn-based!

As her enslaved yet moderately loyal servant, I urge anyone who can help to try to pull her out of this sad psychotic break and bring her gaming identity back to a more current, mature, and hardcore state. Or euthanize her in fel flames. Either is fine with me.


P.S. NEOPETS! -Avia.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Wildstar made it easier to be a "Pie Vendor."

A guildie informed me of an amazing feature in Wildstar with which I'm going to have as much fun as possible in case the devs decide that it's abuse and remove it. After all, video games aren't about fun. They're about spending hours trying to figure out arbitary Gold objectives in buggy adventures. They're about learning to craft an item and then relying on RNG every single time to craft it again. They're about trying to click on the Commodities Exchange vendor when peoples' hoverbikes are camped on top of it. WTB collision detection.

Anyway, inspired by the fact that the first person to shell out the five gold to start our Wildstar guild went ahead and named it "CRISPY DONKEYTACOS," I found out that I can switch my nameplate affiliation with the name of one of my "Circles." They cost nothing to make, and I can have it say almost anything I want. Let the antics begin!

<Queen of Ratchet>
I never stop being queen of the goblins.

Professor Ayaliss
<Dept of Sentient Botany>
It seems pretty important to study talking vegetables.

<and the Snowmen>
Performing at my home lot every Saturday night.

 Ayaliss, PhD
<Free Pelvic Exams>
Gloves optional.


Sunday, June 8, 2014

I only watched enough Azeroth Choppers to see the results.

Having ripped myself away from Wildstar for a minute, I'm just dropping by to say how disappointed I am that the Horde chopper won. This isn't Alliance bias, and it's not because I think the Alliance chopper looked better, because it didn't. It's that even with all the player complaints that Blizzard does nothing but re-skin old models and never gives us anything new and unique, we all went ahead and voted the bike that's more aesthetically pleasing but at the same time less refreshing in design.

Personally, I thought the Horde bike looked a lot better in color and sleekness of shape, but it is too similar to the ones that we already have. On the other hand, the Alliance bike, while it could pass for a tricked out snowmobile, was the opportunity to get a completely original model into our game. Even though I'll enjoy having the Horde chopper in all of its boring attractiveness, it still feels like we lost out.

inb4 we get both.


Saturday, May 31, 2014

I decided to get Wildstar.

Stormtalon is the new Stormrage! Hopefully, the queue times will die down after the first couple of weeks. Feel free to find me on the Exiled faction hopping around with my little Avia bunny ears. Yes, I chose Aurin, essentially the Wildstar equivalent of blood elves, the stereotypical pick of female WoW players, but it wasn't my first choice. I was all set to play a human like I always do until I heard the full-on American deep South accent that is characteristic of the humans of the Exile. No offense to anyone with Southern accents; it just isn't me. I'm not quite sure this is either. However, what is decidedly me and strange of this new game to already know is that I picked the Path that seemed the most interesting and it happened to be the one that has the ability to summon people.

Forever a(lock).


Saturday, May 24, 2014

I have many skills, none of them profitable IRL.

My guild is taking a little mini-vacation from main raiding, which means that for the week of the 27th, I am available for rent.

Need help downing some new heroics? For the right price, you can have a 581 ilvl warlock making berserk timers and mechanics less relevant for your raid! Can't solo a mount boss? Voidwalkers can solo everything! Hopefully, the hunters in my raid aren't selling themselves this week as well. Are you a PvPer instead? I'll carry you in 2s and shoot you up to 2200 500 rating no problem! Or did your usual roleplaying partner go M.I.A. and you need someone to cyber with in the Deeprun Tram? ... We'll negotiate.

Now taking offers!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Avia's Birthcon 2014!


Yes, it's that time of year when I celebrate my special day by spending an entire week excited about growing older, wiser, and slightly less taut only to be brought crashing back down by some concerned comment from my family about how I'm "already" almost thirty and still gaming.

They must have not gotten the memo, but 50 is the new 40, 40 is the new 25, and your thirties are just your twenties with money, so I'm not sure why the "already" was necessary. They probably didn't get the other memo that everyone is a gamer now, and there's no reason for them to put such a stigmatizing stereotype on it that implies that anyone who plays a video game automatically has nothing else going on in his/her life. No one assumes that people who play golf do nothing but play golf, but a hobby like video gaming instantly evokes the image of a shut-in with no job.

Of course, one can attribute this to the fact that many people who game, or at least the most visible ones to the mainstream, are 20-something noobs at life with no jobs. Yet, when I was fresh out of my first attempt at college, I was a 20-something noob at life who was at parties twice a week, drinking and dancing until the lights came on at 4am, and there was no judgement for that kind of lifestyle; it was deemed normal for someone my age regardless of how unproductive it seemed when looked at in a shallow way. Sure, some gamers end up top-grossing streamers and subculture celebrities, but most don't. And sure, some people in underground EDM end up DJs and promoters, but for all the people who don't, who gives a shit if they spent a few years of their lives enjoying a hobby while they worked on other things?

Anyway, I'm still having a super fucking birthday, not just today but all. damn. week.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Meet me at Blizzcon 2014!

Guess who got her Blizzcon tickets?!

Anaheim better get ready, because the preparations have officially begun for my guild's 2014 invasion. Fill the bang bus with lube, dental dams, and that annoying glitter that you can't get off of your clothes without burning them, because it's going to be a PARTAY!!!

Not exactly the three-way I expected.

Still pending is an important decision: to cosplay or not to cosplay? I've been to plenty of anime conventions, and it's never fun personally unless I'm dressed up with everyone else. However, as a new member of a reasonably competitive guild, perhaps guild decorum is more important than running around the convention roleplaying as a slutty version of my favorite Old God. After all, we're serious raiders socializing with our peers at a national community event. One must behave in a professional manner.

I'll think about it.


Thursday, May 1, 2014

The tier is officially over.

I finally got my H Garrosh mount this week. :D Now I can go out into the World of Warcraft and flaunt my heroic achievements by chopping down trees and drilling tunnels to the Maelstrom.

Er... that doesn't sound very glorious. How about aerating soil for a vegetable garden? Or opening a very large can?

Iron Juggernaut made this seem a lot more intimidating.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Get the costumes ready for Blizzcon 2014.

Much to my dismay, Blizzard announced Blizzcon 2014, which I'm sure will be fun and games for all involved, but it also means that this expansion is probably not coming out until around Christmas. T_T I'm going to have to pace my QQ a bit better since there are many more months of class changes and reworking of those changes about which I must throw up my arms in incredulity every time someone datamines a grammar edit on a tooltip.

However, as my new guild schedules a major get-together every year that coincides with Blizzcon, I am actually planning on going this year. Stay tuned to see if I manage to get tickets with the new "Walmart on Black Friday" sale system and get to hang out with the crew that proudly brings you priceless content like this:


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Putting a little extra effort into your AFK

Parking one's main in the middle of a capital city with all of its raid gear on has been the traditional way to idle since Vanilla, but today I am going to divulge my very secret favorite spots to semi-AFK while waiting in a DPS queue or watching Netflix. I encourage everyone to explore Azeroth in a similar fashion so they can find their ideal home bases that satisfy various individual needs and make their guilds wonder why they are always sitting in the middle of nowhere. Plus, I don't need everyone cramping my spots.

1. Right outside of Shrine

Nothing beats Shrine for meeting all the necessary criteria like city portals, banking, and vendors. However, there's also that annoying trade chat, and I don't need to be lowering my IQ with idiotic arguments and anal chat all day. Thus, here is my favorite place to idle: the now sha-corrupted lake with the forlorn crab right outside of the two Shrines. All the convenience of a capital city is a short flight away whenever I need to find a group hire a crafter check on idiotic arguments, and in the meantime, I can enjoy the relative quiet of my perch like retreating to a suburb on the outskirts of a metropolis.

2. Sunsong Ranch

I did buy it from Farmer Yoon, after all, so it's technically my house. Where else in the world (of Warcraft) can one say that? As a hero of the Alliance, I spend most of my time raiding dangerous dungeons or setting up in inns and sleeping in beds that thousands of warriors have slept in before, and who knows how often they change the sheets? But Tina Mudclaw comes by the ranch house every once in a while to sweep the floor and feed the pigs, and I can relax on MY own personal bed and pet MY unnamed dog while watching the fireflies on MY table. It's enough to make me want to sell my imaginary RP house in South Desolace; that goblin caravan hates delivering supplies to my demon-infested part of the neighborhood.

3. Pride Rock

4. Moonglade

Especially confusing if I'm not on my druid, even the lowbies that randomly stumble upon this zone because they got lost on the way to Winterspring are surprised that I'm there moonbathing by the lake.

Level 45 rogue: What do I do here?
Me, meditating at Lake Elune'ara: Nothing.
Level 45 rogue: No, seriously. Is there a quest?
Me, the serene hermit: Continue on, my son. This is not the place you seek.

5. Guard duty in various low-level zones

If a full set of heroic raid gear is going to be good for anything, it's definitely world PVP, and as anyone who has leveled with CRZ knows, both the Alliance and Horde are rife with rogue soldiers going on killing sprees of quest-giving civilians in towns 70 levels beneath them. Do not fear, citizens, for if I'm going to idle in one place, it might as well be in the skies over Darkshire, ready to swoop down on any unsuspecting no-lifer with nothing to do while their arena partner is out getting laid. Sure, you still have to wait for your NPCs to respawn, but with any hope, my massive epeen will have shot demonic flames so violently that it burned their tiny giblets into fel dust that I can use to power my warlock rituals, and they will crawl away back to Orgrimmar whimpering and holding their singed groins.

As long as they're as terrible at PVP as I am.