Thursday, May 28, 2015

IRL update amidst sparse WoW happenings.

I like pigs. They are cheering. So here are some.

I've been set up at my "sweet" New Jersey pad for a few days now, but as the tier has been winding down, my life has become even more demanding than my garrison. While my places both in and out of game can be described as intermissions, the usual post-progression lull and its lazy farm raids, lack of urgency, and general boredom as one searches for little things to fill in time greatly contrasts with this interim period full of job-hunting, rejection, and self-loathing. Trust me when I say that self-loathing takes up a lot of time.

With patch 6.2 coming up sooner than I expected, it doesn't look like I'm going to have as long of a break to work on my unemployment and neglected local personal relationships before the push happens again. Obviously, it's a busy time even though progression is over, but while I work to rebuild in a new/old location, I can at least take comfort in the fact that I'm closer to a place of happiness. I'm not just referring to proximity to my favorite city either though that's definitely a huge perquisite. This weekend, I'll be heading to Union Square to watch the Manhattanhenge sunset, take stock of my life, possibly shed a tear, and then comfort myself afterwards with a vegan cupcake.

Yes, I have a date with myself.


Saturday, May 16, 2015

The birthday girl reports Blackhand progression.

Since I had to raid Thursday night and then catch an early Friday morning flight to LGA, I tried to save time by writing up a blog entry about our Blackhand progression while we were working it. Unfortunately, our performance varied so much over the course of the night, I was having trouble deciding on an angle.

Today is my birthday, and I couldn't have asked for a better present that my guild's Mythic Blackhand kill.

It would have been nice if we could have gotten a M Blackhand kill for my birthday, but sadly our progress has been riddled with attendance issues and constant relearning.

After expecting us to kill Blackhand every raid day for the past two weeks, the boss went down surprisingly easily. I'm now convinced that pep talks are what a guild needs to be successful. Oh wait. Just kidding, because we wiped again.

Thanks to Blizzard's massive wave of bans in the middle of our M Blackhand progression, we've had to completely reorganize our core team. Oddly enough, we're still failing at the same point we always are in phase 2 even with new people and losing all of our former god comp boomkins and hunters. Is "bring the class, not the player" a myth at a certain level of skill?

While early kills are all about min/maxing and class comp, relatively later kills like today's is all about not being terrible at this game.

Omg my flight leaves in a few hours, and we're going over time. I need to pack!!!


See you soon, NYC!


Wednesday, May 6, 2015

There's really no pleasing raiders.

Traditionally, the last bosses of WoW raids have always been epically long, multiple-phase, battles for survival. Progression ultimately requires players to suffer through 10+ minutes of Garrosh or Imperator only to get f'd in the a in the last phase and have to go through the entire encounter again. When raid time is limited, it can be fatiguing to repeatedly execute the monotonous yet still punishing beginning parts just to see and learn the all-important and usually most difficult final push. One begins to wish for a shorter fight that compacts our skill and strategy into less time or moves the phase that matters earlier instead of tacked on at the end. With Mythic Blackhand, we get exactly that.

I put on Glyph of Metamorphosis so all the locks look different in demon form.

Yet, M Blackhand only demonstrates what Blizzard already knows of its customers, which is that we can find anything to complain about, because here I am bitching about eight-minute pulls and how equally fatiguing they are. There are no lulls or semi-relaxing intervals of mindless DPS between important mechanics. Downtime between attempts is minimal, and it's a constant res, buff, pull timer cycle. The fight is all about phase 2, and if we could consistently get out of it without any missed balconies, this boss that probably should have already died yesterday would be down. As opposed to perfecting execution of early phases to see the last phase, the encounter is a series of short DPS pushes while trying to mitigate RNG, and the deaths of any of a number of key players leads to a call for a quick wipe and regroup. Four hours and fifty attempts a night of this can be quite taxing.

But more importantly, I'm going through consumables like they're mage water! Seriously, every early wipe is a painful stab at my miserly soul, and whoever is selling augment runes and buff food right now is making bank when I'm popping them just to lose them to bad Demolitions in the first phase or having to call a wipe because a siege tank decided to make love to a healer. Every random disconnect makes me groan when I think of the 70g I just spent to buff myself for two minutes when I could have spent it on two hours of game time instead or just held onto it forever like I do with all my gold anyway. Botched attempts hurt me physically, and when our res is down, I stare at the dead tank on my raid frames with the same despondence associated with watching a beautiful stranger on the street walk away and out of one's life forever.

We are so close to a kill now, and my in-game wallet wants it as much as my guild and I do. All I can say is thank Draenor for my treasure hunters carrying back loads of gold from who knows where.

By the way, after a mere five months in Los Angeles, I'm moving back to the East Coast. Sorry, California. You had good vegan food and a much cleaner beach than NYC's, but I must return to the concrete jungle and surrounding suburbs whence I came. No hard feelings, and see you at Blizzcon, maybe?


Friday, April 24, 2015

RIP and GL with reroll, buddy.


Things on Which You Can Blame a Hardcore Death in D3:


1. Disconnects/Game lag

2. Public game trolls that purposely try to kill other players

3. Stonesinger reflecting a party member's projectile at you

4. Waller/Arcane Enchanted

5. Your roommate walking near you at the exact time your character dies

That's right, OG Priest.

There's no way you can make it my fault that you died in a high-level GRift just because I happened to karate chop my way to your side of the apartment when you were fighting an elite pack. Blame the maze of arcane lasers that sliced your wizard in half, not the gentle footfalls of a tiny Korean kunoichi leaping with measured grace into your area. How could a sneaky cat like me even have been a distraction? I was practically invisible. Even though I was definitely performing some super sick moves all up in it, there was no way any of that could have contributed to your character exploding when I was the stealthiest ninja the world has ever not seen.


Totally not my fault.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

They must be better at cleaning up than succeeding at 95% missions.

Twenty-one mine work orders go through the roof of this lean-to.

This past weekend, my boyfriend came to visit for six days, and I pretty much took a mini-vacation from logging into WoW since I was busy shopping in Hollywood, going to the beach, and watching him eat his weight in gourmet hamburgers and vanilla fudge while wondering by how many years exactly I'm going to outlive him. When I finally logged in for raid on Tuesday night, my garrison was in an eerie state of decency. My work orders were neatly piled up and waiting for me to retrieve them, and my followers were doing their usual rounds of the property and waving hello as I discretely scanned their necks for hickies and tried to discern any hints of alcohol wafting from their seemingly sober persons. The barracks were free of any toilet paper strewn around their towers, none of the gold gathered from missions was missing, and the outhouse wasn't knocked over. After six days without their commander constantly coming and going with super serial concerns about war and ambiguous but necessary resources, I half-expected to find the center fountain playing host to a clothing-optional pool party/bubble bath with Ziri'ak stuck holding a tray of champagne. Yet, as I leaned over my missions table with Lieutenant Thorn greeting my return with a smile, it looked like my charges had kept everything in complete order.

What a bunch of squares.


Thursday, April 9, 2015

Consider this an experiment in karma.


Mythic Blackhand is upon my guild, and as we're talking strategy and how to down him in a reasonable amount of time, the discussion reaches the issue of class comp and how certain people have to make sacrifices to ensure we don't make the fight any harder than it has to be. Be it certain melee making room for rogues or melee making room for any ranged class at all, the core roster is working itself to conform to proven effective compositions, and we're pulling all the undergeared alts from the bench. In this final push for a decent rank, a select few players who care about the good of the raid over personal attachment to their classes or characters they've played for years are putting on a stoic face and honorably stepping up to a new challenge...






Friday, March 27, 2015

The Stages of Progression Raiding


1. Wipes in under a minute

What the hell is this unmanageable clusterfuck of damage? How does anyone live through this? Is this boss even possible?

Characteristic phrases:
"What the shit?"

2. The learning process

Now that we have some kind of understanding of mechanics, it turns out this boss is indeed possible. Time to make incremental progress and adjust our strategy whenever we encounter something new while patting ourselves on the back every time we get the boss down lower than we have before.

Characteristic phrases:
"Ok, so we know what to do now."
"This isn't how Method does it."

3. Hitting hurdles

Our strategy is solid, but we will spend the bulk of our wipes banging our heads against two or three specific places in the fight where people make stupid mistakes/RNG screws us over and everything falls apart.

Characteristic phrases:
"Guys, we've seen this a million times already."
"That was a shitty pull anyway."

4. Single-digit wipes

It takes everyone a full thirty seconds to release because we're all staring in disbelief at the spot where the boss despawned at 2% when the rogue's Evasion ran out. If people weren't dying and we weren't going into the last phase with half the raid down, we could kill this.

Characteristic phrases:
"We got this, guys!"
"Just LIVE!"

5. Lucky alignment of stars/Perfect play

Great work, everyone! You all finally stopped playing Hearthstone or Skyping with your significant others and got your shit together for one perfectly executed pull. Nevermind that Beastlord breathed fire in the best possible direction or that Iron Maidens picked a pally for Penetrating Shot almost every time. We nailed it!

Characteristic phrases:
"I knew it was a kill when I missed my pre-pot/my trinkets didn't proc/the shaman died."
"No conq token."


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

My spellcheck is telling me "clusterfuck" isn't a word. Like hell it isn't.

After years of raids and dozens of boss fights, there's a reason the tired phrase "Don't stand in fire" is still the single best piece of advice any player could attempt to follow, forget while tunneling a boss, and then die stupidly while ignoring. Once one learns the timing of mechanics, any boss encounter is easy enough to maneuver, but during progression and especially if someone messes up an aspect of the fight that imposes punishment, such space-encompassing effects can just look like unmanageable clusterfucks where standing anywhere is impossible. While it may not be so fun to work those bosses and die to their puddles of bad, it's definitely amusing to reflect on how ridiculously excessive their mechanics look while tanking the floor.

Imperator Mar'gok's infamous runes

Previously featured in my post about how pretty this encounter's mechanics are, beauty doesn't make up for how helpless one can feel when surrounded by a bunch of runes with no gap and the boss is across the room.

Mythic Operator Thogar's track fire

Look at that perfect positioning.

I don't think he's supposed to set train tracks on fire when there are trains still coming through them, but hey. He's the boss.

The Iron Maidens' Omega Pattern bombs

Aw. It's so sweet of the Maidens to give us safe spots in which we can stand. As long as other mechanics like Penetrating Shot or Rapid Fire don't fuck us over, we can do this dance forever!

Mythic Iron Maidens' Convulsive Shadow debuff

To be fair, it's not supposed to look like this, but part of progression is seeing all the possible iterations of how badly we can handle a mechanic and how comical it looks when we completely botch it. While this is what happens when everyone gets the debuff and nothing is dispelled, we also managed to dispel people too quickly and instantly kill them. However, it looks nowhere near as glorious as this.

Blackhand's Siegemaker fire

It's not supposed to look like this either.

Phase 3 Tectus

This is exactly what it's supposed to look like.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

There's a special place in hell for monsters like me.

I think I just had the saddest experience in all of WoW.

Though my hunter has been level 100 for a few weeks already, I've pretty much just been winging it in LFR, never changing from the talents I used to level and definitely never brushing up on which pets give what new buffs. This weekend, I finally decided to update my stable with all the necessary raid buffs and the most attractive skins, and I headed over to the Jade Forest to get myself a pretty chocolate-colored stag.

Maneuvering through the canopy to touch down in the grassy lands of eastern Pandaria, I surveyed my surroundings to find my prospective animal companion. Almost immediately, I came upon a Shrine Elk standing amongst the trees that was taking its time to pick tiny bites at the grass in a glade void of any apparent danger. I took it as a sign that it was the first stag that I saw and had already decided not to look any further when I noticed a tinier yet identically-colored deer hanging around close by. Obviously, it was my target's child, and I hesitated setting up my trap for a second, but I had plenty more pets to tame that day, and my desire to get my task over with was most likely the driving force behind my ultimate determination that the fawn looked old enough to get by without its mother.

And so I proceeded to tame the elk, an act that would ultimately end in great sadness because I forgot a couple important elements of the situation. One, if I tried to tame a doe with its child nearby, the child would come and attempt to defend its mother despite having no chance of winning. But no matter. I didn't need to hurt the fawn; I would just feign death after I finished taming. Two, after I tamed a creature, I would have a fucking pet, so before I could even feign, my newly incorporated minion saw that I was being attacked, turned right around, and killed its own child.

There I was, standing in a clearing with a loyal new charge, sick with horror at the tragedy I had just facilitated. In my many years as a hero/errand runner of the Alliance, I may have slaughtered plenty of animals, accepted work as a strikebreaker, and accidentally assassinated undercover agents of my own team, but I have never felt more horrified at myself than when I forced a mother to kill its young, all for a 3% buff to versatility, a stat universally accepted as the least arousing. It was enough to make me question the benefit of a combat style in which I am the cause for sad events like this one. Is the life of a hunter worth such a high cost in misery?


Well yea, my main is a warlock, but that's a different kind of misery. The good kind. For serious.


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Relearning my class for the hundredth time.

Like every patch in WoW history, this week brought what else but warlock changes, and once again, the forum locks have to sift through the wreckage of our cluster bombed specs and figure out how to deal respectable damage without hating our play styles and our lives. During heroic farm on Tuesday, my fellow guildie lock and I compared our damage with each other's using a veritable flowchart of different specialization and talent combinations in an attempt to find the ideal choices for each encounter. Feel free to pick any of the following easy to understand spec guidelines, and enjoy leading the middle of the pack.


SB:H and pray for shards if no 4pc.

Cata padding douchenozzle


Doomguard talent with extra doomguard.

2-target Cata turning into 1-target because a mob moved

DS glyph 2DB + CW + SF
DS glyph 4DB
attempt 4DB but have to move for a mechanic, miss the end of DS glyph, and then flip a table


CB all day erry day

Good luck, friends!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

I got no love rocket this year, in game or out.

Look who's blogging!

So it was Valentine's Day today as I'm sure anyone that dared to venture out onto the streets had noticed when every restaurant was full and there was an unusually large amount of men carrying someone else's purse. Since I'm currently in a long-distance relationship, I got to celebrate the holiday with my best friend celibacy. For some reason, OG Priest went to spend the evening as the third wheel at his married brother's house, so with the apartment to myself, I decided what better way to devote my solo night than with a take-out container of Thai curry and a two-day free trial of the Sims 4.

Though I had claimed my 48-hours of free Sims 4 access a few weeks ago, with all the raiding and garrison dailies, I hadn't gotten around to playing it until today. I'm only a couple hours of playtime in so far, and despite all of the flaws that players have bitched about and that I also took into consideration when I decided not to buy the game at release, I'm still having a pretty fun time while its free. Just look at how beautiful my Simself turned out; she's an adequately-endowed and clearer-skinned version of me who can walk in heels and wouldn't stop working on her novel unless her house was on fire. The game even had my exact clothes and rather realistic Asian eyes as opposed to what they would look like if I were an anime character.

She even has the smirk I do in pictures because I think my smile looks weird.

This is literally my Mon-Wedn-Fri look.

What I'm really enjoying is the new emotions system, which affects the Sim's behavior and wants and also changes the Sim's character portrait into a caricatural display of how s/he's feeling. Check out my Simself in various emotional states below. "Energized" Avia looks like she's ready to grab a wrench and build a bridge just because she has the impetus, and believe it or not, "Flirty" Avia acquired that emotion by taking a steamy shower... She must have a really nice showerhead in that cheap starter-house. The third image is apparently what "Inspired" Sim Avia looks like though it's pretty much the face I have IRL when I'm trying to figure out what I'm ordering at a coffee shop. "Fine" is what the game calls a neutral emotion state, and I'd say it's pretty accurate since Sim Avia rolled out of bed looking rather attractive and non-murderous in the morning. Yet, I have never felt more connected to my Simself than when she woke up "Sad" on another morning and proceeded to "Cry It Out" under the covers. Seriously uncanny.

Well, now that I have my character set up and working an impossibly high-paying job to afford my laughably small bills and spend the balance on things like cupcake machines, I might as well try to make sure at least Sim Avia gets some Valentine's Day action.

Swiggity swooty!

Don't look so eager, bitch! /facepalm


Sunday, February 8, 2015

The thrill of a new relationship... I mean raid.

It took three weeks of attempts and raiding until past our usual time the night before the release of Blackrock Foundry, but we finally got M Imperator. Check out our kill video below.

Now that Highmaul is finished, everyone is excited to be learning and executing new fights in BRF. However, now that we're 9/10H and have completed almost all of the encounters in the new dungeon, comparing the two raids objectively and without either the negative memories of wiping or the sheen of brand new content makes it apparent how monotonous BRF mechanics can be. The defining characteristic of many of these encounters seems to be the "rinse and repeat" mantra of identical cycles whether it's the completely predictable sequence of events in Flamebender Ka'graz or the long, drawn-out tasks of Blast Furnace, a.k.a. Spine of Deathwing 2.0. Even the Iron Maidens, with their choice of strategy depending on which targets we whittle down first, have the least threatening and most easily managed pattern I have ever seen in the history of bomb mechanics.

It's just a jump to the left... then right... then left then right.
While I can't say I miss an end-boss that takes fifteen minutes, the un-fondness with which many in my guild look back upon Highmaul and the sense of relief associated with this week's content release are bound to be short-lived. As OG Priest referred to it, BRF is like rebound sex after breaking up with Highmaul. Our relationship with the old raid was full of struggle, and now that it's over, we're super thrilled to get any action that's different. Then after a couple of weeks, the excitement wears off, we look at the new raid and how boring and demanding it is, and we wonder, "What the hell did we just commit ourselves to?"

Bitches, right?


Saturday, January 31, 2015

We didn't kill it yet. Soon™ though.

Damn F&B WeakAura ruining my screenshot.

I was really hoping that I could round out January's posts with an Imperator kill and all the associated fanfare, but unfortunately, everyone in our raid team seems to be taking turns popping runes each pull so we spend all night doing to same three phases over and over. No matter, because the experience of raiding is the fun of raiding. Though killing bosses might be rewarding, it is only a small part of what can only be described as an entirely unique environment, because in progression raiding, one can be a part of a combination friendly get-together/disciplined and structured team. Of course, these two aspects are constantly affecting each other in the dynamic of the group, which leads to our venerable GM having to pull lines like...

"Do I have to beg you guys to not be retarded every time? I have to beg my kids to not be retarded. I have to beg you guys too?"

And conversations between the leadership and raid members like...

"We said don't burst AoE! I see what you hunters are doing."
"That was NOT hunters. Jesus fucking Christ. I don't know how many times we have to explain this to you."

Then there is always the end-of-the-night, super-hyped pep talk.

"Just one more pull, guys. Just one more pull, and then we have all weekend... either to celebrate or to think about what we did wrong."

The poor guy. I feel like I should send him a fruit basket with a very apologetic note and a coupon for a happy ending in Chinatown.


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Watch a Mythic Imperator video and just don't give a crap about what's happening in it.

While I recover from a hangover, I will review how our M Imperator progress is going.

Very very slowly.

We are currently at the point in progression where we spend nine minutes executing the fight near perfectly only to have everything fall apart immediately once we hit phase 3. Such is the nature of multiple-phase, battle-for-survival final bosses, but I always wish Blizz would just drop us into the fight when it mattered with the healers at half mana so we wouldn't have to do the same beginning part over and over. It's like doing 80% of a jigsaw puzzle, and every time I try to put two pieces together that don't fit, I have to take apart the entire puzzle and restart from scratch. Or an NES game with no save points, and it takes forever to get back to Bowser where I ran out of lives, and no one misses that about early video games.

However, after 170 pulls, I finally noticed something that I was previously too occupied with not popping runes, avoiding chaos orbs, and running through force novas to see: all of those runes, orbs, and novas are super pretty. Perhaps their instant deadliness was always distracting me from how graphically stunning the mechanics of this fight are. After all, the ultimate directive is to dodge, which makes me automatically treat those arrangements of pixels in an avoidant way and always recoil from them as dangerous and generally negative. I am predisposed to viewing them in an unflattering light.

This is a pretty funny video.
But when I'm already dead on the floor and not focusing on avoiding that one chaos orb that is making its way into my area, I can take a look at how all of the orbs look when they explode out of the marked tank, and it is a freaking beautiful divergence of glowing fluorescent balls of lightning spreading across the room. Force novas make shimmering waves over the entire fight space, but I'm too concentrated on my health level versus an oncoming horizon of potential death to appreciate the display. And those dreaded runes, the most important things to avoid in this encounter, spawn as intricately designed circles, change appearance as they activate, and shoot gleaming spirals of brilliant light as they replicate. And everything has different colors!

I wonder how many other visually outstanding encounters there have been in my raiding career during which I missed out on a sense of amazement because of being too focused on my job as DPS and mechanics responsibilities. I imagine it's similar to the how often I've failed to be amazed by the world around me while focusing too much on the generally negative mechanics of life.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

First World WoW Problems

There's suddenly an empty slot in my inventory. What used to be there?!

It's still driving me crazy.

 One of my specs got buffed. Now I have to change all my enchants.

There's no way in hell I'm re-gemming.

 I got a bunch of new gear, but I can't put it on until I transmog it.

Look at those leggings. What a hot mess.

My Mythic cache mission had a 97% chance of success. It failed.

How they constantly break math is beyond me.

Every time I think I'm done, it just pulls me back in.

There's another level of this crap?!


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Things like this make me realize I can measure how long I've played a game in years.

Despite spending the past few weeks bashing my head against Mythic bosses, I have just now officially lost it. My roommate better get out of the way, because I am going to start flipping tables over the most aggravating aspect of this game that I have ever encountered.

How convenient that the Flippable Table toy is so close.

This is some Neopets-level RNG frustration, because I did those Winter Veil dailies every day, eventually bumping up in desperation to ten different characters including my level 80s on PvP servers, and I never got the Foot Ball that comes from the Stolen Present. Now, I have to cope with that empty spot in my toy box reminding me that I missed a time-sensitive drop for an entire year. Considering I was playing in 2012 and received this item from under the tree and then destroyed it not knowing it would eventually become a toy, this is terrible news for my inventory, because from now on I am going to hoard absolutely everything. Spirit of Shinri? Hoarding it. Fractured Sunstone? Hoarding it. Transmog for armor types I can't even use? Hoarding it! Supreme Manual of Dance? Hoarding every single one. Maybe one day they'll release a feat of strength that requires me to create my own KPop ensemble with garrison followers two expansions after they are already obsolete. At this point, it wouldn't even surprise me if those bastards released a vanity item that only drops from Vanilla mobs and then destroyed the planet of Azeroth. Yes, I just called Blizzard a bunch of bastards, because nothing has made me want to trek over to their office building and flip over the desk of a dev more than this damn Foot Ball!

Oh wait. Blizzard headquarters is actually pretty close to me now.

See ya.


P.S. Please post bail.