Warning – this post contains reference to sensitive content involving abuse and situations involving children. Please proceed with caution.

I’m a bit quieter than usual this month as I am spending the vast majority of it interstate for work. I was hoping that I would have some time to finish off some posts before I left, but as is usually the case, I didn’t really get enough time before hand to do this. Right now I’m writing this post as I fly form Hobart back to Melbourne (home) for a few days before heading off again. (edit: well, I started writing this post on the plane! Finished the last of it off at home.)

It’s interesting being out on the road for extended periods of time like this. It’s a lot harder to keep up to date on what is happening in the community. I’d pick up bits and pieces here and there about game patches and hot fixes, and little things every now and then about the races to world first for mythic Dazar’alor. (I saw Method won the race this morning while I was sleeping – huge congrats to them!)

Yesterday, though, was something else. We had been driving from Launceston to Hobart (for those who don’t know Australia – you know that little island that’s kinda tacked on to the bottom of Australia? That’s Tasmania. Launceston is at the top and Hobart is at the bottom). I had been looking every now and then at twitter and saw a few posts that seemed a bit sad, but I couldn’t really see why. It was only when we arrived and I was checked in to my hotel room that I learned the horrible news about Elvine (***WARNING* this link here takes you to a media release explaining what happened but it contains graphic information about despicable acts involving children. Please proceed with caution***).


There’s something strange about hearing horrible things about a person that you “kind of know”. For some people, they genuinely knew him in person, but for a lot of us it was more distant. Elvine was a part of the Warcraft community for a long time, streaming and writing guides etc, so he was a familiar face to a lot of people. And that has had a really strong impact on the way the news has been taken.

The shock in the community has been palpable, and brutal to say the least. I want to say upfront, I am genuinely sorry for people who are affected by this news. It’s hard not to be. The cause for arrest is nothing less than despicable. But the ripples it has caused throughout the Warcraft community has also been extraordinary. Those close to him seem to be feeling almost a sense of responsibility for the situation. That perhaps they should have picked up on some signs along the way that might hint at what was lurking beneath the surface.

But, for as many messages I’m seeing from people who were in complete shock, I’m seeing almost as many messages from people saying they felt something wasn’t quite right. Others still, terribly, had personal experience of his behaviour.

It goes without saying that not a single other person is responsible for what has happened here – no matter how close you may be to another person, you will never know what it in their mind and heart. People who do these awful things are also extremely good at hiding them, of only showing the world what they want to see. Please know none of this is anyone else’s fault but his.

And that is the reason I wanted to write this post. This awful situation has made people take pause and planted a seed of doubt about those around us, questioning their actions and wondering if there’s something they’ve missed along the way that could suggest something terrible beneath the surface. But I think instead of this, we need to come together.

What has happened here are the acts of a (sick) minority – not the majority. This is a time that we should be remembering what the Warcraft community is best at- being there for each other in the rough times. Supporting those who are struggling and upset, offering an ear or a laugh or a virtual hug to those who need it. Just being there for each other. It’s something that we are actually very darn good at.

This article by Vicky Schaubert on the BBC website had the most uncannily perfect timing. It tells a beautiful and moving story that is familiar to so many of us. It explains what World of Warcraft (and other online games) mean to us, and just how real our friendships with each other are, no matter how far we may physically be from each other.

This is the story that I want us to focus on and remember. Keep this in your hearts. Know that at the end of all of this, there is more good and more beauty in the people around us than not.

Be good to each other.
xo

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It is New Year’s Eve. 2019 is on the other side of this day, and as is customary, people are making resolutions in the hopes of making the most of the year to come. I am one of those people.

2018 was a pretty ok year for me. It was tough, but I won’t complain. Resolutions-wise, I did quite well (check it out). Outside of myself, though, I noticed a trend that just got worse and worse as the year wore on. 2018 seemed to be the year of negativity. The year that it became “cool” to be a dick. The year of entitlement. Of focusing on the negatives, abusing people because of them and arguing “accountability” to justify their actions. Honestly, it’s been sad.

It has been a really hard year to be a Blizzard fan. Even more so in the last 2-3 months, where it seems that if you don’t hate everything Blizzard does, you’re wrong, and either an idiot or a shill. Which is such a sad mentality to have, and one that has honestly been getting me really down lately. I’m seeing it in popular personalities who have been long-time fans, I’m seeing/hearing it in other podcasts, and I’m seeing it all over twitter from random followers to friends. It has honestly been making me really, really sad. (And personally, I think they are wrong.)

What does this have to do with my 2019 resolutions?

This time, I’m not making an arbitrary list of things to do in game and calling it ‘resolutions’. I want to do something more than that. I want to do something that can help other people who may be in the same situation as me – who are bogged down by the constant negativity; who may not feel brave enough to be a small voice of positivity in a crowd of hostility. And that starts with me.

So, my only resolution for 2019 is this:

Be the positivity you want to see in the community.

I know it sounds wanky. I’m not actually very good at motivational speaking/typing 😉 But what it means is this – if I want to see more positivity in the world (both in gaming communities and the world in general) then that needs to start with me being more positive, more often, and loudly.

How am I going to do this? Well this is where a list comes in:

1 – Celebrating successes – loudly and often
This is about giving credit where credit is due. Pointing out the positives and celebrating them. I need to be doing this every day.

2 – Take “problems” for what they are
I think the most important thing about what I’m wanting to do is really reiterating that this is not about just rolling over and ignoring things that are “not right”. It’s not about turning a blind eye and pretending everything is ok. This is about looking at problems for what they are, and weighing them up against everything else.
Game lagged for a sec? Not really a huge drama.
Someone wants to bomb a country and kill everyone in it? Yeah that’s definitely a problem.

3 – Being constructive with criticism
Linked to number 2 above, this is about recognising when something isn’t right, and finding the best way to express our issues. It’s about gauging an appropriate response- the proportional response– to a problem. It’s speaking in a way that is respectful to the people the problem involves to help find a solution, not to embarrass, humiliate, bully or threaten. Avoiding escalation – trying to solve the problem, not make it worse.

4 – Be patient, be kind
Sounds like a no-brainer, but this one is going to be the hardest. Because this isn’t just about being nice about the things you like- it’s about being patient and kind to the people you disagree with. Seeing a message telling someone to “go kill themselves” over a bug in a game is enough to rile anyone up. But me telling that person to “fuck off” (as much as I would like to) isn’t going to help. Maybe reporting them on twitter and telling that person their behaviour is unacceptable is a better response.


I know it sounds fluffy and silly, but I really need this. There are so many things in the world now days that are worthy of our anger and frustration. And that alone is exhausting. But it seems like that’s all we know how to do now. We know how to complain. We know how to be mad. We know how to fight. What we’re losing sight of is how to be thankful for what we do have – how to appreciate the good things with the bad and expressing that gratitude.

So that’s my goal. I know it’s hard to measure, but that’s ok. I’m going to try, and I hope others do, too. I hope that I can help other people feel confident about talking about the things we love, and I hope that infects everyone. I want to be drowning in positive vibes! I will be doing my part on twitter and in my streaming and gaming in general. 🙂

I wish everyone a 2019 full of happiness and love.

xo

Blog header photo by Roven Images on Unsplash

I’ve been working hard since my last post to set everything up for me to get a bit braver and be more serious about my streaming.

Like I mentioned in that post, I’m going to start streaming some non-WoW content. Because of this, I’ve made the decision to move away from having my pandaren shaman be my “face”. It was a tough decision, because my pandaren has really been the embodiment of my personality for almost as long as I’ve played WoW. But that right there was the problem. So much of what I do creatively at the moment has been so focussed on WoW that trying to do something outside of it has been extremely difficult. WoW has been my clutch, and despite it opening so many doors for me in terms of friendships and content creation, it has also been holding me back. So my pandaren had to go.

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I thought a while about what I wanted to be outside of my pandaren. I am not even a little bit attractive, so showing my real face and body is out of the question (I do not have the self esteem to deal with that at all). The answer was obvious in the end – a unicorn! Well, a chubby unicorn anyway hehe. While looking for inspiration for what she might look like, I came across the perfect depiction of me. She’s chubby, sassy, and she games. 😀 There’s actually a whole series that I’ve purchased that depict her in so many different ways. (I can’t wait for Christmas!!!)

I have been madly making graphics and updating everything to have my new unicorn persona. My name won’t change – I’m Cinder now until the day I stop gaming. Despite having only recently revamped by twitch stream, it really didn’t suit the new persona. Thankfully Streamlabs have some really great set ups built in and free to use. I’ve gone all out on this. It has sparkles!!! It might be girly and silly, but I truly don’t care. I’m really having fun with this. I even made new emotes and badges (though I will say this was the hardest part – I really love the totems Sirius made for me).

Here’s a little peek at my twitch page…

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Cute, huh?!

I have a friend helping me get a capture card for my PC so that I can hook up our Nintendo Switch and stream some games from there. I also had a look at some games on Steam (and was promptly disgusted at some of the games suggested to me there.) I’m even considering getting Discord Nitro to try out some of the games they have on offer. In the meantime, I’m focusing on getting a proper schedule going, starting tomorrow night. I’ll probably stream some WoW first… might even brave LFR (oh my!). Onward and upward! In the meantime, if  you’re interested in coming to hang out with me while I stream, you can find me here – https://twitch.tv/cinder_streams

Anyways, I wanted to share the new Cinder with you all. Hope you like her!

xo

 

It’s been hard to start this post. Or any other blog post for that matter, if I’m being completely honest. But this one, I don’t really know how to start. I know the things I have to say, but putting them in order is proving difficult. So how about we make a deal and pretend this is the middle of the blog post and flow on from there. Let’s give it a go.

The past few weeks (or months, really), haven’t been the greatest for me.

The guild crash

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Unrelated to the below (but in a way still very connected) my guild fell apart for good. We tried to keep it together but it was too much to try and push through. The gap between strong players and weaker players was becoming bigger and bigger. The in-game workload for officers and the GM was far too much, and the payoff wasn’t there. It was a really tough call, but it was the right decision in the end. So as of last week we stopped raiding mythic, and the guild officially went casual, with a social heroic run planned for every Saturday night so we could all still spend time together.

This week was the first week without raid, and it felt weird. Tonight was the first casual Saturday raid… and we only had a handful of people come along. So I really don’t know how that’s going to go in the future. Suffice it to say that I’m pretty sad at the moment.

For me, I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do. Raiding has always been a favourite thing for me in game, so to not do it feels weird. But trying to find another raid team… well I dunno how I’m going to go about it. I’ve never had much confidence in my skills as a raider. I do know that I’m not terrible. I do mechanics, I heal while I do them, and I try my damn hardest. It’s the same as when I try to apply for jobs – I know that I can contribute well, but I’m shit at selling myself. Especially with raiding. Logs are a thing, but my numbers always look shit because I hate overhealing, and I make sure I’m focusing on doing mechanics first and foremost.

And this shitty lack of confidence in myself doesn’t help when (now) ex-guildies are getting offers left and right from other teams wanting them to join. I haven’t had anything. Which is petty, I know, but it just reinforces that shitty feeling about myself not being good enough.

I’ve been looking on the forums to see what guilds are after, and I’m not finding any at the level I want to be at who are looking for restoration shamans. (Well, Alliance guilds, anyway). There’s a high chance I’m going to have to go Horde if I want to keep raiding, and that on its own is not at all appealing. I’ll need to give it some more time and thought, and hope something comes along.

Then there’s…

The anxiety

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There are a handful of things that I am good at in life, but the thing that I am the very best at is pretending that my anxiety isn’t as bad as it is, and that it doesn’t affect me as strongly as it does. I’m very good at putting on the face that the world needs to see on me, and pretending that everything is fine. I can laugh and joke and make others feel great, and I do it in an attempt to hide the panic that grumbles inside me on a constant basis. I’ve become very good at it. So good at it that people don’t believe I have anxiety at all, and when I bring it up with doctors, they laugh it off thinking I’m just being melodramatic or joking around.

And yet.

I struggle to sleep, laying there as my body tingles with terror, restless and exhausted all at once. If I am lucky to sleep, I wake up in the middle of the night with panic attacks so intense they make me gag. At work, I go to the bathroom for a short moment of solace, squeezing my legs in an attempt to calm the roaring in my ears, to breathe, to focus. It’s exhausting. And over the past few months, it has gotten worse, to the point where it’s crippled me. I’ve not been functioning properly. It’s affecting my health, my relationship, my friendships, my streaming and gaming; everything that is important to me.

I bring this up, because firstly, I wanted to explain my absence (noted or not). I wanted others who may be feeling the same way to know they aren’t alone. And I wanted to be accountable for trying to get better. It has taken awhile to build the courage, but I went to the doctor again this week (a different one) and insisted they help me do something so I can stop feeling like this. I have referrals for a psychologist, and some anti-anxiety meds to help me get out of this funk. I’m not going to let anxiety get the best of me.

What’s next

So then what’s next. Well, I’m starting to feel better, which is why I’ve written this post. And I’m taking steps to keep getting better. I don’t know what the future is going to hold for me and WoW. I know I will continue playing, but I don’t know to what extent. I had a great chat with Neuro after our Battletagged show on Tuesday, and he was telling me about how much more he’s been enjoying WoW since he stepped down from raiding. So maybe there is hope for me outside of raiding.

One of the things I’m saddest about though, with everything that has been going on, is my streaming. It turns out that I really, really enjoy streaming. I’m terrible at it, and I don’t think I’m interesting at all, but I just enjoy playing games with other people. Thor (who I just don’t deserve- he’s so freaking amazing) has been incredibly patient and wise, and we’ve been talking about what I might do. And it became obvious – I just stream something other than WoW. We looked in to what I might stream, and there a whole bunch of games on the Nintendo Switch I’d enjoy playing, and of course Steam and even Discord has a bunch of games now. So I’m looking at getting a capture card and expanding my gaming options.

I’m still ironing out the finer details, but some changes are on their way. I want to get back in to a regular streaming schedule. I will (of course!) still play and stream WoW, especially if I manage to find a new team, but between that, I’m going to try some other games. This also means that I’m going to do a bit of a “re-branding” of myself. Whilst I love my pandaren Shaman, I need to move away from the strictly WoW focus. So keep an eye out for some fun new things in the very near future.

Look, if you’ve made it this far through my post, thank you. Thank you for sticking it out with me when I disappear for lengths at a time. Thank you for reading this post and helping me feel like I’m not alone. You’re amazing, and I’m grateful for you.

xo

 

Those of you who follow my twitter account will have seen that this past week was quite the rollercoaster. I’m personally still reeling a little bit from everything that happened (though I am overly dramatic, I know).

On Wednesday, Realm as a guild ended. And then on Thursday, it didn’t. Confused? Well, it will make sense. But to explain properly, I need to go backwards.

At the end of Legion

Realm as a guild technically formed at the end of the Tomb of Sargeras raid in Legion, though was made up of people who had been raiding together already for at least a year, some even longer. We went in to Antorus as a new team, determined to get Cutting Edge Argus. Which we achieved. We also managed to be the top ranking Alliance guild on our little server, which we were pretty proud of. We ended Legion as Titanslayers- strong and ready for Battle for Azeroth.

A few weeks before BfA came out we held a guild meeting to start making plans for raiding in the new expansion. We were having troubles trying to figure out our roster as it had suddenly grown to almost 40 players – waaaay too many. We needed to make some decisions about what type of team we wanted to be so that we could build the right team. So we asked everyone what they wanted from BfA; did we want to work on mythics, but bring through lower performing players (effectively being a “friends and family” mythic raiding guild) or did we want to push harder, be tougher about who came to raid and try for faster progression. The agreement from everyone was that we wanted to push harder. We were in a good spot- we had loads of players to choose from, and we all wanted to be better.

Going in to BfA

Going in to BfA everyone (including officers and GM) were dropped to trial rank. Our GM was re-chosen to lead us all, and new Officers were voted in (myself included). We had requirements about what level people needed to be at for raid, and agreed for the first few weeks of Uldir, we’d add in an extra night of raiding to help get us ahead.

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Our first week of Uldir was great with us getting Heroic G’huun down, giving us Ahead of the Curve in the first week. We were pretty stoked. The following week mythic opened, and we managed to get TWO mythic bosses down in addition to a heroic re-clear, giving us a bit of time to work on mythic Zek’voz.

And then last week happened. We cleared through heroic relatively quickly, as well as re-killing the first two mythic bosses, giving us days of attempts on Zek’voz. But we struggled. We didn’t get the kill. And worse than that, we felt like we were going backwards. On Monday, we had a really bad night, with many people under-performing and even more people getting extremely frustrated at both performance and lack of progression.

Here’s the thing about mythic raiding. It’s really stressful. There’s a lot of pressure to be performing to a super high standard. If you don’t meet that standard, you make mistakes, and mistakes mean wipes. For some people (like me) I like the pressure. I like the stress of it, I like wiping and failing, because we we do win, when we nail that delicate balance and we all figure out the dance together, the victory is so worth it. I love that feeling of accomplishment when it all just falls in to place and we win as a team. I love the nerd screams. I love our failed kill screenshots. I love it all. But it is really stressful. And you have to feel like you’re getting the payoff for it to be worth it.

Monday

After our rubbish night on Monday, the Officer team had a meeting, and our GM confessed he was done. He’d had enough. For him, as GM and raid lead, the stress and pressure is multitudes higher than for anyone else, and after that night it just got too much. The payoff wasn’t worth it, and he needed to step down. At that time he wasn’t 100% decided on what to do, and our meeting was to try and figure out what we could do. Could someone else take on lead? What would be the consequences of him stepping down? Who would step up? What could we do? I went to bed that night in tears – I could see the writing on the wall, and I was devastated. I could only imagine how our GM was feeling, too 😦

Tuesday

At the end of our meeting, one of our officers (and top dps) decided it was time for him to move on to a higher progressing guild (which he has found, and I’m super happy for him). We had suggested our GM think on his decision a little more and get back to us, but on the Tuesday, we also lost a tank. Then the Wednesday morning, another dps.

I spent a lot of Tuesday talking with the GM and other officers about the whole situation. It’s always a hard decision. I won’t go in to any specifics of our conversations, but a lot of what was making the decision so difficult came down to just how much the GM loved the guild and the people in it, but also just how stressed and worn out he was with it all. Being GM and raid lead has got to be one of the most thankless tasks out there. It’s so much work and effort to keep things running. And even with officers helping with bits and pieces here and there, and with talking to the team and asking them to take issues and concerns out of raid, it doesn’t stop those things from happening. It drives me up the wall, and I only experience it a little. It’s nothing compared to what a GM has to put up with.

Wednesday – the break-up

A team meeting was held on the Wednesday night (instead of raid) and our GM announced he was stepping down as raid lead, and that the future of the raid team depended on what everyone else wanted to do. People were asked to think on it for a bit, and let us all know what their plans were – did they want to stay and try and fill in the gaps, or did they want to move on to another team. No grudges would be held, we just needed to know so a decision could be made. In the end, too many people said they would be moving on without our GM in the leadership role.

So we came back together for one last team meeting with everyone… and our GM announced there were too many people looking to move on, so this was it…. and I bawled my eyes out (as did he, the poor thing). It was a horrible, emotional moment. I was genuinely heartbroken. I’ve been in guild break-ups before (far too many, actually) and they have always been hard. But this one felt different. This one really cut deep. It really felt like a relationship breaking up. I couldn’t imagine not spending each week with these people, laughing and yelling and struggling with these people. We all had good and bad times together… I didn’t want that to end. And yet here we were.

The fallout was… interesting. Once the meeting was done, people kinda just took a breath, and then decided to go run heroic Uldir together. I was a mess and sat out, but stayed in game because I just didn’t really know what else to do. But no-one gquit or raged or ranted. Everyone was just… sad. Overnight a couple of people faction swapped to join other friends in other guilds, but it wasn’t in anger. It was quiet and kind.

I posted about it on twitter, and had so many beautiful and amazing responses of support back from people. I was genuinely overwhelmed. But still heartbroken. I went to bed that night wondering what on earth I was going to do. How was I going to find a new team? Who on earth would take a shaman to a raid right now? Did I still even want to raid? And even worse… did I still even want to play WoW anymore?

Thursday

I went to work on Thursday exhausted and mentally drained. No-one at work really understood it (one person even kind of scoffed at the situation) which didn’t really help. I felt sad, and tired, but added to that, I was also sick to my stomach. Our GM was feeling almost instant regret about the decision, and it made me feel awful. I felt I had given him bad advice about everything. (My focus was on making sure he was going to be ok with the decision he made, and to not feel guilted in to sticking around if he didn’t want to. You know my mantra – WoW is a game, and games are supposed to be fun. If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong.) Thursday morning SUCKED plain and simple. I had lost my guild, and felt like I had been a bad friend to someone who has been exceptionally kind to me. I was not having a good time.

But then Thursday afternoon happened.

Thursday afternoon, our GM logged in to game, expecting the guild to have emptied, and instead still found it full of people. They didn’t want to go. This was their home, and they wanted to stay. That coupled with our GM’s regret… and well, the guild un-broke-up. Our GM posted in our Discord a really heartwarming message saying the guild would be staying together… and then I cried again as people cheered and left sweet messages and were just everything we didn’t want to leave behind. The thing that makes this guild so special is the people in it. Sure, we all fight and bicker and give each other shit, but that’s what families do.

We went back in to finish off the heroic clear on Thursday night with a renewed sense of togetherness. We also managed to one-shot the last 3 bosses on heroic and the first mythic boss, which just goes to show how much better peoples’ performance is when they’re in a good mood! 😀

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The aftermath

Things seem to be calm, now. The people who had faction changed managed to have them reverted (thanks Blizzard!!!) and came back to the guild as soon as they could. We ran our usual normal run on Saturday night, which went surprisingly well. And tonight’s mythic run, though thwarted by the attendance boss (thanks NRL grand final!), was smooth and successful.

Most people understand why things got they way they did – we pushed too hard. Raiding 4 nights a week was taking it out of people. The constant feeling of pressure was overwhelming for a lot of people, and it was wearing everyone down – not just the GM, but everyone. So we’re taking a step back. We will continue to raid mythic level, with the goal of getting Cutting Edge each tier. But not at the expense of the team.

The whole thing feels like a really sappy daytime romantic comedy in a way. But whatever it was, we’ve come out the other side of it, and I feel like in a way, we’re almost a bit better for it. Those who wanted more have moved to a place they can get that progression, and everyone else back here is on the same page. I’m grateful for this crazy bunch of beautiful people. Here’s to many more raids together as a the silly, dysfunctional WoW-family we are. realm_logo_on_dark_grey

xo

~*~*~ Warning: this post contains spoilers about early Legion storyline, and end of expansion story line. If you have not defeated Argus yet and don’t want to be spoiled, please do not read any further.~*~*~ 

I have to preface this post by saying that prior to Legion, I hadn’t really given Malfurion and Tyrande much thought other than Tyrande’s dress is super pretty, and Malfurion sleeps an awful lot. I always found their relationship a little odd (possessive? super co-dependant?), but that was about it. Come Legion though… well, I think they’re just some of the most selfish characters in Warcraft and really don’t want to be helping them with anything else in future.

I know, unpopular opinion much?

Here’s the thing- I find both of them immensely hypocritical, self-involved twits. The pair are so far up themselves that they don’t see there’s a whole world of existence outside of their tree and the Emerald Dream. I pretty much blame Malfurion for what happened to Ysera in Val’Sharah, Tyrande spends most of her time pining for, or trying to find, Malfurion, and both of them have done catastrophic things that have changed the fate of hundreds of thousands of beings.

Which is what it is (which is in the past), but you’re probably asking me what tipped me over the edge. Well, I’ll tell you- it was their complete and utter disinterest in Illidan’s departure that really got to me. Oh and boy did it get to me.

~*~*~*~

We spend a fair bit of time with these two in early Legion. Malfurion continues to marvel at how amazing the world around him is (oh and did you know Cenarius is a demigod and his mentor? I mean he’s just so freakin’ humble about it /sarcasm). Well it turns out Cenarius has gross corruption coming out of him, and Malfurion doesn’t know what to do (how does he not recognise this, btw?!), so let’s get Ysera here to sort stuff out. And that’s ok,  things aren’t looking good, we should probably get some help.

So we do a bunch of stuff to then summon Ysera who tells us we need to get the Tears of Elune (which is what we were here for anyway). Anyway we go get the Tears but surprise surprise, Xavius beat us to it.

And then Cenarius disappears. And this is the point where Malfurion is an epic hypocrite, and I get mad. Instead of turning to the grove that is literally full of some of the most powerful people available to him in the moment, including the being responsible for the Emerald Dream itself, he runs off. He literally gets up, and runs in a random direction where he thinks he can find Xavius. Good one, mate. Don’t bother to consult with anyone about what might need to be done. No, off he goes, testosterone flailing all over the place. It is this action, right here, that sealed Ysera’s fate. I mean, Malfurion and Tyrande have been in this exact situation before and they did the same damn thing. And this time, Ysera paid the price.

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Perfect summary of how stupid Malfurion is

This is but one (more recent) example of their self-important behaviour. But what does that have to do with Illidan?

Everything.

Illidan spent his entire life finding a way to defeat the Burning Legion. Every. damn. second. And some (many) of his actions were questionable (at best). But his motivation and goal never, ever wavered. Defeat the Burning Legion.

Malfurion was a terrible brother to Illidan. His high and mighty attitude belittled Illidan to no end. And instead of telling Malfurion to shove it, Illidan just wanted to impress him (and Tyrande, of course) even more. It’s for this reason that I hold Malfurion and Tyrande a little responsible for everything Illidan did. You don’t have to be blind to see that all Illidan wanted was to be accepted and loved by them. Well, maybe not blind… maybe just too far up themselves to see.

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Don’t get me wrong, Illidan really made it difficult for those around him. In many ways he was just as stubborn and pig-headed as Malfurion in his bid to rid the world of the Burning Legion. It required absolute blind faith and trust in Illidan to see his actions being for the greater good. And I don’t blame people for questioning Illidan’s actions- they were not always what one would consider “good”. But for Malrfurion and Tyrande to say they are not as culpable is outrageous.

Apparently it’s ok for Malfurion to take it upon himself to render night elves mortal by destroying the Well of Eternity. Guys, it’s like, totally ok for him to literally rip the world to shreds in the great sundering because he, like, did it for the good of all Azerothian kind, ok? Sometimes we have to think outside of the box.
Oh but wait, no Illidan- well Illidan he apparently went about things the wrong way. He said he was gaining power to defeat the Legion, but you know, we don’t like how he’s going about it. See, Malfurion screwed the world over the “right” way. Illidan is a danger to us all and should be locked away forever.

COME ON.

Even Tyrande, for one shining moment, takes a tiny peek outside of her own little bubble to release Illidan from his prison because, believe it or not, maybe there’s more than one way to annihilate a universe-destroying horde of demons. But then Malfurion got mad at her, so she took it all back. (Thank goodness someone else figured out he was needed to get this done.)

Despite all this; despite everything that happened between these three characters, one truth remains: Illidan is the only one of them to follow through on his actions.

At the end of the Antorus raid, after Argus is defeated, Sargeras is finally revealed, and captured. And Illidan was there every step of the way. He did everything he promised he would do- he fought with us and stopped the Burning Legion. But no only that, oh no- Illidan went one step further. He knowingly sacrificed the rest of his life to watch over Sargeras to make sure he never comes to power again. He gave his damn life, and any remaining shred of possibility that Illidan did everything he did purely for selfish power was obliterated in that moment.

For all his faults, Illidan did it. It was touching, and a worthy ending (and yes, I cried my damn eyes out).

It felt like everything Illidan had done had been worth it. It made me feel, as a person (not my character) that even if I’m trying to do what is right, I may not always get it right, but that doesn’t mean it’s not possible. Illidan’s actions gave me hope for the underdogs, that we can do it.

So you can imagine my utter disgust at what followed next.

The first time we defeat Argus, a short quest line is started – Moments of Reflection. Here we have a crystal with parting messages from Illidan to Malfurion and Tyrande. (You can read/listen to all of the messages on wowhead here.)

To Malfurion first. And here Illidan speaks of the different choices they made in their lives, but for the common goal they shared- to keep the world safe. Illidan acknowledges he wasn’t easy to trust, but hopes his actions show the truth of his words. It’s very moving.

And you know what Malfurion says?

My brother made selfish choices, brought pain to so many. His transgressions are difficult to forgive.

This coming from the guy who literally tore Azeroth a new one?!?!!?!? Holy hell dude. Illidan hurt people, yes! He made mistakes, yes! But you know what he did? He kept on fighting to defeat the Burning Legion, because that’s what he said he’d do. What did you do? You went and had a bloody nap!

*deep breaths*

Alright, there’s still another message to go. Tyrande once saw the potential in Illidan. Surely she will understand.

NUP!

Contrite words, yet I must wonder whether he truly meant them….

Seems he has a duty to fulfill…

ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?! Illidan is literally not on this planet anymore after having saved it (and the rest of the universe). And instead of coming home to revel in the celebration he deserves for saving us all, he stays in who-knows-where for the rest of eternity to make sure that Sargeras never comes back. And she thinks he’s lying? That says a lot about who she is and what she thinks of people. Where was she while we were fighting the Legion? NOWHERE. (To be fair, she did come to Suramar, which is a darn lot more than Malfurion did. Probably too busy licking his wounds. But for the rest of it, where were they?) Illidan was there every step of the way, and they abandoned us.

Even in his final moments, this very last goodbye, Illidan wanted nothing more to love and be loved by Malfurion and Tyrande. And they shrugged him off. Absolutely jerks.

I am glad there was a third message in the crystal for us champions. I will gladly defend Azeroth in Illidan’s place. Malfurion and Tyrande can go take a nap, because it’s quite clear they truly don’t care about anyone else. And I certainly do not care about them.

 

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Part two of Topic 29: the 2017 wrap-up double challenge bonanza! 

The second challenge topic we had for December, to help wrap up the year, was to show one favourite screenshot for each month. I like this challenge, because I love taking screenshots (I have almost 3000 just from this year alone!!!) but boy is it a tough challenge choosing only one picture for each month. (ok so I may have cheated a little with the collage up top….). There’s so much exciting stuff that happens! BUT, a challenge is a challenge, so here we go.

January

There were a lot of beginnings in January (aside from it being the beginning of a new year). Firstly, this is when Pit Crew was born. It was supposed to be a new start for our raid team. And whilst things didn’t quite turn out that way, I do have fond memories of our first night in Nighthold, which also opened in January. My screenshots folder is PACKED full of pictures of the raid. It really was beautiful. January was also my first time in Karazhan, and also when we got our Arcanist’s Manasaber, for helping out the Nightbourne.

The screenshot I’ve chosen to share, though, is from my order hall. I chose this pic because it shows one of the things that I love most about WoW- the little things. These two NPCs are actually part of ~*~*SPOILER ALERT~*~*~ the restoration shaman artifact quest line. They’re not here all the time, they just stop by from time to time. And they are just adorable. Adelee is trying to teach Grash how to dance. It’s absolutely adorable. And like I said, is the little things that I love about this game. 🙂WoWScrnShot_011817_180459.jpeg

February

February gave me Experiment 12-B, completed Brawler’s Guild, a ghost moose, and a bunch of raiding achievements. It was also the month I wrote about being harassed online, and was also the month someone in game randomly saw me and whispered me to tell me they enjoyed my blog.

The pic I’ve chosen to share is from when I get my Arcane mage hidden artifact appearance. This whole quest chain was hilarious. And I just adore farmer Cinderlily with her sheep followers!

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March

We went back to the Broken Shore in March, I “discovered” places in Dalaran that have always existed (I’d just never seen them!), I got extremely lucky with loot drops (hidden appearances, legendaries and mounts, oh my!), and bought myself Yu’lei. I also spent a bit of time levelling my priest, got all my hidden appearances for my mage, and took a whole bunch of screenshots of the Cathedral of Eternal Night. I also wrote a few posts in March, my favourite being where I designed my own zone in WoW.

This pic for March, though, is of myself with 4 other lovely ladies I’m so fortunate enough to call friends. Each month (or as often as we can!) myself, Leeta, Natanie, Miggi & MrsO all get together just just hang out in chat and play some games together. Sometimes we run dungeons together, other times we’ll do invasions or old raid runs or even try our hands at Overwatch or Heroes of the Storm. But no matter what we do, we always have a great time, and I’m so glad to know them. ❤

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April

April was “quieter” because I got a new job, so had less time to play. But I still managed to squeeze in an awful lot! It was the month of mounts: I got my fox mount, the Valajar Stormwing, the Leywoven Flying Carpet and I found the Long-Forgotten Hippogryph. We also got to solve some riddles to get a new (to be honest, pretty ugly) mount!

Other than all the mounts, we killed a whole bunch of mythic bosses in Nighthold, and I spent a looooong time bashing my head against the Mage Tower challenge (and not getting it at that time!).

The most fun thing that happened in April was the Inky Black Potion. Everyone went bananas for it, and it’s not hard to see why. I flew all around Azeroth and took a LOT of screenshots with that potion.

We also got to play with baby murlocs, in what was one of the most adorable micro-holidays of the year.

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May

I spent a fair bit of time with my paladin in May, getting her levelled up and finishing her class hall story. We had two micro-holidays that I attended- the Spring Balloon Festival, and the Glowcap Festival. It was also the month I got my Ratstallion mount, and when we started working on mythic Gul’dan.

During this month, we also learned of a little murloc pet, Squirky, who could be captured off the coast of Azsuna, on a very small island full of very strong murlocs. I was extremely lucky when I went to get a Squirky of my own- the lighting was absolutely spectacular, leading to the picture below. I think it looks like a painting. Those cotton candy clouds are just divine!

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June

Class mounts became available in June. I really enjoyed the quest line to get my shaman mount. Oh and what a mount it is! I also headed off to get my mage her class mount, too. I took part in the Running of the Trolls for the first time this year, and it was a lot of fun. Our raid team killed mythic Gul’dan AND mythic Helya – and all of this is just in the first 2 weeks of the month!

I spent some more time levelling a priest, brought Dog to Dalaran, and helped save Chromie. I also followed the clues to get my own Sun Darter Hatchling (which I wrote about here). Tomb of Sargeras took up the bulk of June, though. I took SO many screenshots of that raid. I really enjoyed everything about it. It felt like it had a proper story that contributed to the overall narrative of the expansion. I loved that completing the raid changed the physical world around us. The picture I’ve chosen, for me, represents everything we’re fighting for this expansion- our home (for me, Stormwind) and to stop the Burning Legion.

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July

In July I got to raid with my lovely friends Zee & Neuro again for awhile (though the poor things really did not have a good time with us… things were not great at the time 😦 ) I got myself a Wild Dreamrunner mount and the Paladin and druid class mounts. I even went to visit Faeb, just to say hi. It’s also the month I got my beautiful new PC, Alice!

The highlight for July, though, was hands down *finally* completing the Mage Tower challenge on my resto shaman. I had given up for quite some time as I had gotten so, so frustrated with it. But I stuck to it, and finally got the darn thing. And I felt very accomplished indeed.

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August

We had the Trial of Style in August, and it was a LOT of fun, and I managed to get the Remember to Share achievement, which gave me yet another mount.

However, without a doubt, the biggest thing to happen in August was going to Argus. Not only did we get to explore this world we have heard so much about… but we got to see a whole other side to Azeroth. It hit me right in the feels, this pic.

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September

Another month of mounts, artifact challenge and hidden appearances, and of course, raiding. But easily the most defining moment in September was, after hours of running and and searching a seemingly endless maze, finally seeing this treasure box at the end of it all (and of course getting the Lucid Nightmare mount). I had intended to write about my experience getting this mount, but it was also around this time that my blog went down for extended maintenance, so I didn’t get to. For what it is worth- I absolutely LOVED getting this mount 😀

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October

I ran with gnomes, got more hidden artifact appearances, and got my little priest her class mount. It was a lot of “alts” time that month, just ticking off the achievements.

We also had Hallow’s End, where I got to fly around like a sexy maniacal pumpkin! WoWScrnShot_102017_221050.jpg

November

It’s always all about Blizzcon in November, with everyone flying around in their Blizzcon class mounts. It was also WoW’s birthday, so of course there was lots of alt-levelling here, too, including getting my Monk her class mount.

November was also the month that the guild fell apart. Again. It was particularly sad and painful this time around, because we wanted it to work so much. But some personalities just don’t mesh well, and we split up and went our separate ways.

But on a happier note, November had the Moonkin Festival, which was ADORABLE. I loved having my very own moonkin squad! 😀WoWScrnShot_111217_225231.jpg

December

And here we are at the end of the year. December has given us yet another stunningly beautiful raid, Antorus. Again, a fabulous raid that really brings the story together. It’s also the first raid with our rebuilt team, Realm. So far, things are going really well, I think. It’s not perfect, but the imperfections aren’t as sour as they were previously. The people are great. Just so great. I’m so fortunate to have such a wonderful group of people in my life. And it’s for that reason that, even though history shows otherwise, I think we’ll work as a team. I have to have hope that it will.

So I end this series with a hopeful picture for you all. WoWScrnShot_121017_134442.jpg

 

Like I said, this was hard. There are far too many picture to choose from each month. But if I chose them all, we’d be here forever. I hope you liked the images I chose, though!

So that’s it for December, and 2017! Thank you to every person who has ever stumbled across my little blog, and an extra special thanks to anyone who has liked or commented. It means the world to me that you read my silly words.

May 2018 be full of love and hope and laughter, and all the things that make you happy.

xo

PS: Ok one last one because I can’t help myself! I just really love this pic!!

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Hey guys just a quick heads up. I’m making some changes to my website over the coming days/weeks, so things might look a bit weird around here… hopefully I shouldn’t break anything!! But don’t freak out if I do, or if things look strange or broken or whatever. I’ll get it right at some point!

I’ll let you know when I’m back up and running properly. In the meantime, if you’re looking for other WoW blogs to read, go check out Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge (#ShamelessSelf-Plug)

See you laters!

xo

 

Hey, what a surprise, I’m behind on posting responses to our blog challenges! That is so unlike me! 😉 Clearly I have a lot of catching up to do, and rather than starting at where I last left off, I’m just going to go in any darn order that pleases me.

So, Topic 23 asked why I blog about WoW.

I’ve been writing in blogs/journals since I was 11 years old. I got given a diary from a friend of mine at the time, and sporadically wrote in it when I felt I had something “important” to say. When we got our first computer, one of the first websites I came across was Open Diary, and over the years maintained at least, sometimes multiple, journals on there. I made some really wonderful online friends there, some of whom I’m still friends with today. Eventually I got a LiveJournal account, but it didn’t really gel with me at all. It was “too cool” for me, and so I found myself moving back to good old pen and book.

When I moved to England, funnily enough, I didn’t write a lot, even though I was having a lot of adventures at the time. Instead, I took a lot of photographs, which in some ways replaced my words for awhile. One thing that did happen while I was over there, was that I found myself doing more creative writing, working on a story idea that has been floating around in my head since my last year of uni.

Coming back to Australia, I had a whirlwind of study and moving interstate and finding work in Melbourne and settling in here, and I didn’t write much. And then I met Thor, and, because we were on opposite side of the country, all of time was spent talking with him, and I didn’t need a journal. And then he moved in with me, and introduced me to World of Warcraft. And well, we all know how that turned out!

It doesn’t matter how long I stop writing for, I always come back to it. I love it. It’s what I studied at uni, and it’s what I always seem to fall back on. So when you ask why I write about WoW, it’s because I can’t help but write for starters. And secondly, it’s because so much of my life is about WoW. I spend a lot of time playing the game, and interacting with the people I have met through and because of it. I write about WoW because there is so much to write about, because there are so many stories to share, because I still just need to get words out of me.

One of the questions that seems to pop-up alongside why you write about WoW, is who you think reads about WoW. Who is your audience? And this is probably the part that will be a bit weird, but my audience is me. If you look at my past and see how I have written, it’s always been for me. For my blog, it has to be for me. Because if it’s not, I stop being truthful. I start censoring myself, worrying I’ll offend someone who might be reading. And I don’t like that. I don’t like the dishonesty.

So as rude as it sounds, I’m not bothered if people don’t like my blog, or if they don’t like what I write about or how I write it or what I have to say. This is my little corner of the internet to use my words how I want to. And if people like that, if people enjoy what I have to say and want to come back to read more, that is so immensely flattering and kind, and such a wonderful bonus to this whole thing. I appreciate each and every person who comes to my blog and reads it or likes it or comments on it- it’s a beautiful feeling! But it’s not the driver for this blog. The driver is me, and will continue to be me, and my adventures with WoW.

🙂

PS: For anyone who is looking for new/more WoW blogs to read, check out our Bloggers page on the Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge website. It’s a list of anyone who has ever participated in the challenge. You might find someone new to enjoy reading!

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Well, I find myself here once again where the team I’m raiding with has crumbled. We had been losing a few people here and there over the past couple of months for a whole bunch of different reasons. I’m not sure what happened, but this last week something snapped, and we were done. Through a combination of real life issues and people wanting a change, we dropped enough to not have enough people on the team to raid anymore.

It’s not a new story, and it’s not a story that we’ll never hear again. This is what happens. And even though I’ve been here so many times before, it doesn’t get any easier. Before raid on Wednesday we all logged on and had a chat about what everyone’s plans were. There was talk of server transfers to try and rebuild the team on a more populated server (and then further discussion about what the server might be); there were talks of staying put and pushing through it; there were talks of finding other teams, of going our separate ways… and of disbanding entirely. In the end, some people decided to move on, which in turn made other people also decide to move on to other teams rather than waiting for the numbers to come back up again.

There were no hard feelings towards the people who decided to leave for other teams. I totally understand it. Things weren’t perfect, and some people had really good reasons to go, but it still makes me sad. *shrug* It is what it is, and I truly hope everyone is happy wherever they end up.

In the meantime, there are 10-13 of us who have decided to stay and try and rebuild, rather than moving the guild to another server. Our team is 5/9 mythic… past the halfway mark of Tomb of Sargeras… so hopefully we will be able to attract some good players in time to get mythic Kil’Jaeden down. (Shameless plug! Here’s our recruit thread on the forums.)

For now, I’m just feeling sad. I know it’s (hopefully?) not my fault, but it doesn’t stop me from feeling like rubbish. Being in a guild and raid team like this always feels like a second family. We all spend so much time together, and we argue and celebrate wins… so it just feels weird everyone not being together any more. But like I said, it is what it is, and it will probably happen again. In the meantime, I’m holding out hope we find some more awesome players so we can get back to killing internet pixels. 🙂

 

 

My lovely friend Zeirah and I have turned our weekly blog challenge into a public blog challenge for anyone to participate in. Each week there is a new topic for everyone to write about and share. This topic was put up to help get some great positive posts out there, to remind people why the love WoW. You can read everyone’s thoughts about this on our website here.

It’s funny, I’ve put off writing this post for awhile. Not because I don’t have anything to love about WoW, but because there is so much to love and I’m finding it difficult to pin down only a few things to talk about. Like Ann, I just love it all and could go on for days. But I won’t! I’ve chosen a few things to talk about, but this by no means is everything I love. Hands down one of the biggest things is obviously the people I have had a chance to meet through WoW. And the characters and the story will keep me coming back for years to come. But I want to talk about some of a couple of other reasons. 🙂

The music

The music in WoW constantly breaks my heart with its beauty. I went looking for a favourite piece to share with you guys for this post, and here I am crying my eyes out just listening to it already! (I know, I’m a sap!)

Some of my favourite memories from WoW are because of the music. I loved all of the music in Mists of Pandaria, but the moment that stood out for me randomly happened the day after the Vale of Eternal Blossoms had been destroyed (good one Garrosh!!). I was kinda just afk-ing in the zone, just looking around at all the beauty we had had a part in destroying and feeling really awful about it. And then the music came in… the music had changed. When the Vale was pure and alive, the music was sweeping and beautiful and generally what you expect from such a stunning zone. When it got destroyed, the music changed. It still had similar themes, but they were sad and quiet, like a wounded song bird. I cried, I truly did. It was just a small thing, but it was the final straw for me. I felt so terrible about what had been done there – it was destroyed in so many ways.

More recently… well, we’ve had quite a lot of heartache already in Legion, haven’t we? So of course the music is just going to rub salt in the wounds of our already breaking hearts. The first time I knew the music was going to kill me in Legion was in the Broken Shore was of course during the Legion cinematic trailer.  But the real clincher for me came in the Broken Shore cinematic…

It just… oh man, it just gets right in there. It starts out well enough, all dramatic and action-y while everyone is fighting, but it starts to change as everything goes downhill, getting more and more tense. That moment when Varian realises he’s not going to get on that ship to freedom, and music softens as Varian asks Genn to give his son the letter… and then it sweeps up into this huge damn heroic moment as Varian lets go, and falls to battle to the death. It’s heroic as fuck, there’s no other way to describe it. But then, he defeats the demon, and the music stops, and in that tiny breath of silence we have hope, a tiny feather of hope that maybe, just maybe, he might survive, even as we hear the motors of the ship flying away. And then the demons come, and he’s a hero again, fighting until his very last breath until we’re at the feet of Gul’dan, and he’s saying that Varian has died for nothing, but we know otherwise, and Varian shouts “For the Alliance!” and the music confirms it – he’s a hero until his dying breath. And god that music, the way it works at that moment… my heart feels like Varian does as he shatters into a million pieces. #cries

We get to hear bits and pieces of those themes throughout Legion as we run around the world and to the raids and experience the important quests and what not, and every time my heart twinges.

I mentioned the original Legion cinematic earlier – re-watching that again to write about this music I realised that the other music I wanted to write about was actually featured very briefly in that! The other big music moment I had in Legion happened quite by accident again, and it made me cry as well (I’m sensing a theme here…) Obviously the death of Varian has hit me pretty hard, so I have a soft spot for this.

It happened shortly before Legion launched, and I was flying in Stormwind from the Keep to the Mage area where the Demon Hunters were hanging around at the time. Those who know Stormwind well will realise that in doing so, I flew right over the memorial to Varian, Lion’s Rest. I stopped to look and pay my respects. And then this happened:

I don’t know what it is about this piece, but it pulls on all the heartstrings. (And those darn lyrics don’t help, either!) It seems a beautiful farewell for a fallen warrior. ❤

Anyway, as you can tell, I have a thing for the music. It’s always so fitting, and really helps me feel so immersed in the game. One of my favourite parts of any new expansion or zone is hearing the new music that comes along with it. If you haven’t done so, I recommend turning the music on in game while you’re running around doing your World Quests and what not.

It’s beautiful

I mean, come on…

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Shadowmoon valley.

Shadowmoon valley.

Being a hero

This is a big one for me. One of the questions that Leeta asks her guests on Behind the Avatar is whether or not they play male or female characters, and why that is. When I first read that question it got me thinking about why I always play female characters. Of course part of it is that I’m female, so I want to play someone like me (hence a chubby pandaren suits me just nicely!) But it’s become more than that.

For me, in my real life, I feel like a lot of it is out of my control. I feel like I’m not good enough, and I feel like I’m not talented or useful in any way (hello anxiety and self doubt!). But in WoW I am so much more than that. I am strong. I’m (somewhat) intelligent (why did I have to set Gul’dan free again at the start of WoD?!?!). I am a hero. A hero! I get to wield strong weapons and use the elements to hurt or heal, and I love that. And despite it not being real (I promise I’m not throwing buckets of water on people in real life in an attempt to heal them!!!) I have found that as a result of me being a hero in WoW, I have more confidence to try things in real life. I feel empowered, and sometimes I even feel strong. And that to me will always bring me back. That and to me, there is no better sound in the world than the quest completed sound!!

 

So those are some of the slightly different reasons why I keep coming back to WoW. To be honest, I’ll probably end up doing posts about my thoughts on the other reasons as well, but for now, this is it. 🙂

What are your reasons for coming back to WoW time and time again? Why do you love it? Leave a comment below, or join the blog challenge!

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This week has been absolutely jam packed with stuff to do in WoW. It’s been an absolute blast! But since patch 7.2 Tomb of Sargeras dropped live earlier this week, I’ve been disappointed to see my timeline so full of negativity. There have been waves of anger and complaining coming in at every direction, and it has been making me really cross. It was starting to bring me down. And I could write up a post to whinge about player behaviour (again!) that no-one will read or will think applies to them, but I’m not doing that this time. This time, I’m going to fill your timelines with positivity and all the brilliant things that are in the game at the moment.

But I will say this. For those of you who say the patch is a waste of time, or that there’s nothing to it or that “this, that and the other” is stupid, please remember:

  • You are responsible for how you play the game
  • You are responsible for your own enjoyment of the game
  • Please stop blaming Blizzard for things that you actually have control over.

Get out there and have some fun! And if for any reason you can’t find it please have some consideration for those of us who absolutely love this, and who you are bringing down with constant negativity.

Now, on to the good stuff – a bucket load of screen shots and adventures!

Deliverance Point

Patch 7.2 started for us Aussies on Wednesday morning, and when I logged in Khadgar was there, ready to start the charge to take back the Broken Shore. So off we all went, flying to our doom on the most stunning mount I’ve ever seen!! (I am holding out hope that this mount will be a drop from the Tomb of Sargeras raid. Please, please!!)

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Pretty sweet ride to the Broken Shore if you ask me!

It was eerie going back to the Broken Shore. This was the place that so many of our allies fell. This is the place where the leader of the Horde was mortally wounded. This was where we lost our King. When we landed, and the demons were running around without a care, I hated them all over again. I took far too much delight in cutting them down, as we made our way through the shore.

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We met our fair share of cocky demons who think they’re tough cookies – I quickly put them in their place. At once point we even got to go up on one of the ships, which was brilliant. The floating fel-green image of Dalaran in the navigation panel made me sick to my stomach, though.

We managed to get ourselves a little settled in Deliverance Point. I actually really love this space. It is exactly what I imagined an impromptu battle station would look like – tents posted in a common area for food, shelter and healing. Guards everywhere to keep the area safe, flight paths to get us around, and the vendors with all the goodies!

But what I absolutely loved best of all about Deliverance Point, is that it was tailored to me as a shaman. (And to you and whatever class you may play). The guards protecting the area are shamans and elementals – the barriers are made with totems. There’s even a healing triage in a healing rain circle that is monitored by Morgl the Oracle (who is very sassy indeed!)

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Totemic power ftw!

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Elementals to help keep us safe

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I absolutely LOVE this banner!! I want it as a toy

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Dagg the Ogre is in that pond in the middle!

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There he is! Hiding out in the silliest of ways as always 😀 

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I really love how busy and purposeful this space feels

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Morgl the Oracle and other resto shamans healing people up….

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… while the druids over there have a snooze!!

I’m looking forward to seeing the buildings as they are completed. At the moment their are construction sites that in a really nice touch, are as complete as their progress shows on the architecture table! (i.e. the table says the mage tower is 40% complete, and the building itself looks to be about 40% complete)

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40% of a mage tower

Stronger Artifact weapons

I spent quite a lot of time exploring the rest of the Broken Shore, but I’ll write about all that in another post. Because one of the other big things that needed to be done before raid that night was to unlock the new artifact weapon traits. I ended up doing both the restoration and elemental quest lines to unlock both of those weapons (my enhance weapon isn’t ready for them yet!)

The restoration quest line sent me off to Bradensbrook where things are going bad. The Legion have been riling up the poor ghosts in the area, and they are hell bent on “protecting” everyone from the “demons” that we are. It was a little tough only because there were quite a lot of mobs around and I had to do it in resto spec for the healing, so my damage was quite low. But I got through it, and watched as the poo head organising it all ran away like a coward. (Though I understand now that these quests are the precursor to the new solo challenges for the artifact skin, so I am PUMPED about that!)

I went back to Khadgar and his crew and they were super grateful. So much so that they made my artifact even stronger, and gave me a whole bunch of new traits to go and get.

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It’s a fact that you have to glow when you get more powerful #ItsTheRules

Because my artifact power was previously maxed out, I was able to get my weapon up to 39 traits straight away. Then between all the AP you get from questing and the fact that the questing itself also opens up Artifact Knowledge to give you SO MUCH ARTIFACT POWER I was able to get to trait 40 before raid on Wednesday. It was a good feeling! My goal is to work pretty hard to get all of the brand new traits as soon as I can (which if I’m really lucky and work hard I can maybe get done before raid on Sunday?)

I wasn’t overly thrilled with my new traits initially. The one that has 4 ranks just makes my Spiritwalker’s Grace (which allows me to cast on the move) last 2 seconds longer for each point (making it 8 seconds longer overall). But last night when we were back on mythic Krosus I took the Graceful Spirit talent, which makes the cool down of SWG 60 seconds. With those 4 points going in, it meant I was able to cast on the move for more than half of the fight, which was actually really, really nice (though I do miss my fart talent!!)

I also went off and got going on my elemental artifact empowered. The quest for this one was quite different, and involved a lot more puzzles and mind games than hitting things. One part of the quest line has you trying to figure out which combination of 3 runes you need to activate to “do a thing” (I don’t want to give anything away!). There are books laying around with clues in them, and you have to piece it all together to get the right 3 (and only the right 3!) activated. I will give this tip, though, for anyone who hasn’t done this yet – you need to speak to the guy when you have activated the 3 runes. I got it right the first time, but didn’t speak to the guy because I was expecting something to happen straight away, so I thought I’d done it wrong and started over again. So save yourself some time and talk to him!

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See? Glowy and powerful! 

So far I’m really enjoying the patch, and I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds each week! There are already some really awesome world quests, there’s loads of treasures to find and rares to kill, and the new dungeon is really cool! And eventually we’ll open up the Tomb!! Oh my gosh I can’t wait.

Have fun everyone!

 

It sure has been quiet around here, hasn’t it? To say things have been chaotic in my life right now is a bit of an understatement, and it has obviously been affecting all the “extra-curricular” things I do in my life – this blog included. I have finished up at my last job and am working hard to find myself another in its place, which is incredibly draining, at times depressing, and incredibly time consuming. And in addition to that, my Nan is incredibly unwell at the moment. So much so that I flew up to see her in case things got worse and I was too late. It’s very much a “wait and see” situation at the moment – she could go either way.

Anyway, all of those things combined with still trying to maintain a raiding schedule has just thrown me for a loop, and my poor little blog has suffered. But I am getting things back on track today, so expect some catch up Z and Cinder’s Blog Challenge posts to head your way very soon, and hopefully some more regular updates.

Thanks for being patient with me!

xo

*** I’m heading this post with a trigger warning. If you are sensitive to discussion about online harassment and rape, please do not read on. ***

I’ve ummed and ahhed about writing this post for quite some time now for a number of reasons. The main one has been that I just didn’t want to talk about it. The second one has been that this has, until recently, involved a minor. But last night something changed, and I stopped being angered and upset by the situation and instead felt an immense amount of pity and, well… schadenfreude.

So here I am to tell you the tale of my internet harasser. Not because I want to publicly shame him (there will be no name and shame here) but to talk about this experience that I’ve had; to add another number to the data of women who are harassed online simply for existing; to let others who may be affected by this know that they aren’t alone. And to laugh. Oh how we’ll laugh.

Let me start at the start.

This is a story about a fellow we’re going to call Blah (no, that’s not his real or gamer name, I just can’t be bothered dignifying him with anything other than boredom).

When I first joined my now ex-guild about a year ago now, I was keen to make some new friends and make a good impression. I was excited about joining a mythic raiding team, after all! I liked to help out when people needed help or answer questions if they needed them, let people know of rare spawns etc. and just generally have a bit of a chat in game. You know, what most humans who play WoW do.

I got along fine with most people and made some friends pretty quickly – all was going well. I hadn’t raided with anyone yet so this limited time in guild chat was the extent of the contact with anyone. A couple of weeks after I had joined I saw Blah had made a comment about something or other in guild chat. I asked a question about it – no response. Someone else asked a question and Blah responded, so I asked another question. I received a rude response back , and then he just stopped talking to me. At the time I thought it was incredibly rude (especially given he was happily chatting away to others at the time) but I ignored it and went on with my day. If he didn’t want to talk, fine. I wasn’t going to go out of my way to engage with someone who didn’t want to talk, so I just didn’t bother.

Not long after, I was brought in to the raid team, as a healer had left and they needed me in. Huzzah! I was so excited about it all. During raiding Blah was just a generally gross human being. Aside from the usual rubbish of someone who doesn’t care about a team, (like showing up whenever he wanted, not doing mechanics or anything or listening when he was there, and talking shit to/at everyone) it became apparent very quickly that he was in a level of his own filth. It was the way he would “speak”. He would “joke” about rape pretty openly and harshly about girls that he knew in real life. He would laugh about it, and make derogatory comments about other girls in the team. It was disgusting and disturbing.

Legion came along, and his behaviour didn’t change. The guild jumped on the Discord band wagon, which quickly turned into a cesspool. Most of it I could ignore. This, I could not ignore:

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Yeah…

The first time

The raid team progressed through Emerald Nightmare pretty quickly when it first came out, clearing heroic in the first week. We were all pretty pumped. But it was early in October when we hit a slight bump when it came to mythic Ursoc. We had a tense night of wipes on that fight, having to call it before we got the kill. We were all running back in after the last wipe and the raid lead was talking about how to improve for the next night, when in chat I see

Blah spits on you.

I was grossed out, and angry, but waited to see how many others he would decide to /spit on (such a team player!) The answer was none. No-one else was going to be spat on, just me. He sat there, went through the raid frames, found my name, and spat on me. I was livid. I got up to calm myself, then sat down again and said to my heal lead, “Is it ok if I don’t heal certain people in the raid anymore?” I was half joking, but frustrated – this was really shitty behaviour! My heal lead said “Blah?” to which I said “yes”. He replied “We saw. We’re talking about it in officer chat now.”

I felt immediately better. This act hadn’t gone unnoticed. And more than that, the fact that the officers were talking about it indicated that I wasn’t overreacting and it was a shit thing to happen.

This is the part where guild leadership is an important part of determining whether or not a guild is going to be right for you. It doesn’t matter how many officers or fellow guildies might feel about a situation, if the guild master doesn’t agree, nothing much happens. Which was the case here. Blah was given a warning by one of the officers, but that was as much as they were able to do given (from what I understand) the guild master didn’t see this, or anything else Blah had done/said as a problem. (I don’t fault the officers for this at all. They have been brilliant throughout all of this.)

The next time

The warning seemed to have at least a small impact on Blah, and he was quiet for almost an entire month. I (stupidly) thought this meant everyone had moved on and we were done with it. Remember, I don’t engage with this person at all. I don’t speak to him, I just go about my business healing people and doing my thing. Which is what makes it all worse, I think. So many times I’ve sat here asking myself “what did I do?? What was it that I did that made him hate me??” And I come up empty. It always seems to come down to the fact that I just exist, and that I am a female.

I’m getting off track, but in some ways, I’m not. Because what happened next quite literally came out of nowhere at all.

I’ll preface this part by saying that I don’t talk about my blog or podcasts in guild. Mostly because I don’t think anyone would be interested in them, but also because sometimes it just feels like showing off. So they don’t come up.

On Tuesday evenings we live stream our recording of Reins of Azeroth on Twitch. It’s fun! We get a couple of people come along in the chat, and it feels more like we’re actually talking to other people rather than just each other. On this particular evening in mid-November we were in the process of setting up when Spazz comments that someone is already in our twitch chat room. Then he went a bit quiet. I asked what the comments were (I wasn’t logged on yet) and he said something about “Blah says you’re a shit healer”. It took a bit to register, because like I said, I don’t have anything to do with this guy. And what’s more, I’ve never spoken to him or anyone else in guild about that podcast, so it took a bit to put two and two together.

I asked Spazz to send me a screenshot of what was said.

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The text is small, but it reads
“blah says you’re *** healer”

I then looked at who was in the chat at the time and saw Blah with 2 of his mates. This was an attack perpetrated by Blah, and they were all sitting in twitch chat waiting for me.

I’m going to interject here with a note: I don’t care what people have to say about my healing. I really don’t. I’m not the best healer in the world – I certainly don’t proclaim to be! – but I’m not the worst and I do the best that I can. I’m not offended by someone saying I’m shit – sometimes I am!

So believe me when I tell you that it wasn’t the comment that upset me and freaked me out.

Here’s what did freak me out. Firstly, this is a person who thinks rape is funny. Secondly, the amount of work involved to find where I was going to be at that specific point in time is too much for this to not be premeditated. As I said, there’s no previous discussion of my blog or podcasts anywhere. So for him to find me he had to:

  1. google my toon name
  2. find my blog
  3. find the podcasts I worked on
  4. see that Reins was recorded live on twitch
  5. set a reminder to go to our twitch page at the time we start recording
  6. and then have someone harass me on there while he watched.

That’s a lot of effort. That’s also a lot of evidence that it was a targeted attack designed to publicly shame me. He could have just tweeted abuse at me if he wanted to, but he chose to do this in a public space, to publicly humiliate me.

The users were banned from the channel, and they were reported for harassment to twitch. Which is about all you can do in these situations.

The kick & the aftermath

I still had a show to do, so after taking a breath to calm down and talking with Thor, we got on with recording. That was fun! /s But while we were recording Thor logged in game and immediately talked to one of the officers that he gets along well with. Thor explained what had happened, and showed him the screenshots of what was said and who was there. I understand that a quick discussion was held with officers who were logged on at the time, and shortly after Blah and all of his alts were removed from the guild, regardless of what the GM thought.

After recording, I warily logged into WoW and immediately received a whisper from the officer Thor had spoken to – he was checking up on me to make sure that I was ok. We had a bit of a chat. It was greatly appreciated. (Like I said, the officers have been great).

The aftermath was unexpected, though. I went to bed that night feeling hot with shame. Why is that? I hear this a lot from women who have been harassed, and one of the first emotions they feel is shame. Where does that come from? What on earth did I have to be shameful of? I racked my brains to figure out what I had done or said to Blah that made him hate me. What did I do?  I would replay the raid nights over and over in my head trying to pinpoint the moment that made me a target, and I couldn’t find it.

Then the anxiety and the fear joined in with the shame. It was a lovely cocktail that kept me from sleeping properly for quite some time. In the middle of the night I panicked about ways Blah might find my personal information, and had Thor calm me down by setting a few things differently to help me feel better. (What would I do without Thor? He has been my rock).

It wasn’t a good time.

I worked really hard to push that cocktail of emotions aside. I had to go to work and function as a human being. And I sure as hell was not going to let a useless turd stop me from playing WoW (which I guessed is was goal?!). So I went into raid, and it was great. Not having the constant negativity from Blah made it a really great time for everyone. And so I tweeted as such afterwards.

Blah decided to reply:

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Again, I can’t stress enough that I don’t give a hoot about what a person like Blah thinks of my healing. It’s not his words that are the problem here – it’s the targeted harassment that is the problem.

Except this time, he messed up. He tweeted from an account that uses his real name. So not only is he a disgusting, rapey asshole, but he’s a stupid one at that. This was the first time that I actually laughed about the whole situation. How could someone be that stupid. It took literally 5 seconds to google his name and find his facebook page which showed where he lived, what school he went to, and who his family were. I had a face to the name. It was also apparent from this publicly facing information that he was underage (17), which immediately stopped me from naming a shaming or progressing with anything publicly any further.

What I did do is start writing a letter to his mother to let her know about his behaviour. It was therapeutic for me to write it, and so by the time I finished it, I had calmed down and I didn’t send it. Also by then, time had passed and I thought things would end because Blah was no longer in the guild and would find something else to occupy his time.

This was not the case.

Again and again…

Since being removed from the guild over 3 months ago, Blah came been back time and time again to harass me in new and interesting ways.

He came back to another live recording on twitch:

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You know there are other words, right?

This one was interesting – he logged on to our team speak server during raid one night (so in front of the entire raid team). He kept logging on and off and on again, making a sound in the channel each time it happened. So we checked the log to see what was going on, and he’d done this:

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Hi-larious! He was banned from the server.

Up until this point, the worst thing that he’d said was that I was a bad healer. But then he started to bring in more profanities. And in this case below, other people.

This was posted on the guild’s Discord server at around 11:30pm one evening:

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In this instance, white male = Blah

 

Delightful. And not only was he attacking me, he lashed out one of the people who had stood up for him in the past. Again, he’s not the brightest crayon. This was quietly deleted from the discord server by the GM in the middle of the night. Part of me is glad to have seen it when it happened – it just adds to my body of evidence.

During all of this there were comments made in guild and raid chat from his friends who were still in the guild, saying things like “Let Blah out!” etc. It made it easy to know who to avoid. (A side note – I did find it incredibly amusing that his “friends” didn’t jump ship with him. Rather than sticking with their friend, they stayed in the guild and just bitched for awhile before giving up. I can only assume they weren’t all really good friends after all, or didn’t care enough to follow him.)

Then the guild fallout happened and we all split up. When the new guild was formed, it was very easy to know who would not be invited to join the team. People who wanted to be immature and harass other people could go their own way, and the rest of us who weren’t like that could go the other way. I truly thought that would have been the end of all of it. The guild fell apart, his mates were free to play with him if they wanted to – it should have been over.

But we wouldn’t be here if it were, would we? 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This Tuesday just gone, Valentine’s Day, was a recording night for Reins of Azeroth again on Twitch. We were having a nice time talking about WoW reputations and things like that, when this appeared in chat:

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For those who can’t read the name, it’s posted from “Cindersllut”.

This was a new one – I’m a slut now?

The comment was deleted from twitch very quickly by speedy Spazz, and the user banned from the channel. Sure enough, a few minutes later in the list of viewers, Blah’s twitch handle appears, confirming that he was the perpetrator.

This time, though, it didn’t bother me. I actually laughed. As lame as it may sound, I was in a nice guild! That’s apparently something to be ashamed of? That’s something to try an embarrass someone about? I mean, you’re really reaching with that one.

I spoke to Thor about the latest Blah episode after we had finished recording and he said:
“So you’re telling me, on Valentine’s Day – a day that you spend with people you love and who love you – Blah had nothing else better to do than go on twitch and harass you? He had no-one to be with?”

It really doesn’t get any more pathetic than that, does it?

This was the big turning point for me. I had always known Blah was a waste of space and oxygen, but the image of him being completely and utterly alone on Valentine’s Day, and choosing to harass someone as a way of dealing with that was just plain and simply sad and pathetic. It’s where the schadenfreude comes in. Every single time he has harassed me, he has done so in a public way, with the goal of trying to make me look stupid in front of other people. Which means he was tracking my movements, know where I would be and when I’d be there. It’s creepy, yes, but it also means other people are seeing him behave this way, seeing how pathetic he is.

This whole thing isn’t about me. It never has been. Blah is not a happy person, and I am. I work hard, I have fun, I laugh with friends – I have a good time, and a good life that I am immensely grateful for, and I think that shows. He does not have that. I didn’t do anything to make him treat me this way other than live my life and be happy. He sees that and can’t stand it, and tries to shoot me down. Well, I’m the personification of this song 🙂

It.won’t.work.

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What next?

I’m bored of this, I really am. I don’t have time for someone who gets their jollies by bringing others down. It’s gone on long enough. I have kept a record of every time Blah harasses me, and I’ve already built up quite a collection of evidence. 4 months, 5 different platforms and multiple instances of tracking down my location at a specific time are all enough for police action to be taken. And thanks to Blah’s non-existent facebook privacy settings, they will have no troubles finding him.

As for me, I’m not going to stop playing WoW, or stop being a nice person or enjoying my life. I will continue to block and report any attempts Blah makes to humiliate and harass me – and I will watch him self-destruct as fewer and fewer people want to be around him as a result. Because at the end of all of this, he’s not making me look bad, he’s just showing the world what a pitiful human he is.

 

Thank you to Thor, Spazz, Sirius, my guild officers, Z, and Spanky for their (sometimes unknowing!) support in all of this. If you are being harassed online, please talk to someone. If you are in Australia, visit the SmartSafe website for more information on where to go and what to do.

 

My lovely friend Zeirah and I have turned our weekly blog challenge into a public blog challenge for anyone to participate in. Each week there is a new topic for everyone to write about and share. This week’s topic is “How do you explain gaming/raiding to your non-gamer friends and family?”, and you can read everyone’s thoughts about this on our website here. Z’s post about this topic can be found right here.

This is such an interesting topic for me, especially at the moment with all the personal changes I have going on. One of the questions I have in my head at the moment is whether not to mention all of the extra-curricular stuff I do that’s based around gaming (podcasts, blogging etc) when applying for jobs. Despite gaming being immensely popular in Australia (check out this report) there is still a stigma associated with being a gamer. So when I meet new people and they ask what I do in my spare time or what my hobbies are, I find myself doing a mental scan to judge just how much I reveal.

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This stereotype is hard to shake

I feel as though there are multiple layers of explanation when it comes to my gaming habits. How well I know the person, how likely I am to speak with them about this, or how “tolerant” this person is are all factors that determine how much I open up about my gaming experience. Because I game a lot. Like, a lot. If it were sports or even church, people wouldn’t bat an eye, but because it’s computer games, all sorts of assumptions are made and stereotypes drawn upon.

So I have a tiered approach to how I discuss gaming with other people. I should say upfront that I don’t lie about my gaming. I am quite open and honest about it to anyone who asks. What does change, though, is how I talk about my gaming, and how much/how often.

Level 1 – Noob

This level is for multiple categories, and probably has the largest audience. I use this level for meeting people for the first time to give an indicator of what level I’ll talk about gaming with them in the future. It’s also the level that is for people who are critical of gamers. Like I said, I don’t (and won’t) lie about my gaming, and I suppose in some ways I deliberately talk about it (even if just a little bit!) to be defiant of these people. Many work colleagues fall into this category, and a lot of family as well.

At this level, when people ask what I do for fun, or what I did on the weekend, I’ll say “oh you know – the usual hanging out, chores, a few computer games, the usual”. Sometimes people will ask for more information, like what games I like to play. This may bump people into Level 2 and into further conversation.

But there are times when you can see by the way they ask “what games do you play” that they thoroughly approve, and so I’ll just respond with a very casual “oh you know, a bit of this and that. I like games with stories that are fun.” and leave it at that. Most conversations will stop there. Some will progress to level 2. Some, on the other hand, will jump all the way up to level 5. And that’s where the fun is 🙂

Level 2 – Casual

This is for the people who don’t cringe when I say I play computer games. On Mondays they’ll ask “did you play any games over the weekend?” and we can have a casual conversation about how much fun I may have had doing something, or how excited I am about a new expansion or patch. This is where I like most work colleagues to sit, as it’s the level of politeness that I would give to any other person who had an interest that I might not be knowledgeable about, or that I might not care about. It’s recognition that two people have different interests, and that’s ok! We can all still chat together just fine.

Level 3 – Experienced

These are the people I will admit to taking a week off work for a new expansion. They are the people who ask questions about why I like playing games, and what it is that makes me keep going back. I try to find ways of making things related to them. Sport, of course, can be a good analogy, especially when it comes to talking about Blizzcon. (“You watch the Olympics? Same deal, but with computer games!”) It’s also a good way to explain guilds and raiding especially.

But there’s the other side of gaming that I prefer talking about, and that’s the levelling and exploring. And people in this category do ask about it. The best analogy that I’ve been able to come up with is to say that playing WoW is like getting to live your favourite book or movie. You get to create a character just the way you want them to be, then take them on adventures in this wonderfully creative, interesting world. You will battle enemies, you will explore magnificent landscapes – you can even fish or pick flowers! This analogy works really well with a lot of people who are on the creative side, because they can picture it so easily. It’s also a good seller, with a lot of people wanting to try it themselves.

Level 4 – Hardcore

This is reserved for people who actually play games as well. These are your fellow gamers, your bretheren – the people who understand you. They don’t have to play WoW or even a game that I play myself, they just play something as often as I do. These are the people you can openly say “check out this mount I just got!” or “we finished the raid tier last night!” and they’ll not only get it, but they’ll celebrate with you.

I will admit, sometimes I drag people from Level 3 into here because I just get so excited about something, and the poor dears have been kind and asked how things are in game and well… you all know I can talk a lot! So I’ll explain the raid nights and how awesome it has been to kill a mythic boss and get awesome loot to make me stronger, and they’ll smile and nod and cheer, which is great. And then I’ll let them settle back into level 3 and I’ll calm down and stop bombarding them. 😀

I love knowing people in this level. I love being able to talk about gaming with other people and getting their perspective. It can be a lot of fun, and very rewarding.

Level 5 – I have a point to prove

This is a special level, dedicated to people who go out of their way to be dismissive and rude about gaming. I don’t get to this level very often, because for the most part if people don’t care about gaming, they’ll just move on, and that’s great. But sometimes there will be people who will just be plain rude, talking about how gaming is a waste of time and money etc. And I won’t let that lie. I find myself speaking up, and honestly, being a bit of a bitch. I don’t have a lot of patience for intolerance.

A lot of the time it’s as simple as speaking up when someone starts dismissing gamers. I’ve overheard conversations between colleagues about how playing computer games is “stupid and such a waste of time”, and I’ve popped my head up and said “you think I’m stupid?”. Sometimes it changes people’s minds. When people think gamers they tend to (incorrectly) assume they’re all teenage boys or the South Park stereotype. So when I stick my head up and admit to being a gamer, it challenges their perspective.

When people talk about the anti-social nature of gaming, I respond with “I played and talked with more than 30 people on the weekend, by text and voice chat. And that’s just the people I know – there were hundreds of other people playing in the world around me as well. How is that anti-social?” I have a group of friends and community of like-minded people who number in the hundreds, if not thousands. I’ve even had something I worked hard on appear on the front page of the website of a multi-billion dollar company. I talk to people from all walks of life, from all over the world. And best of all, it makes me damn happy.

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Look at all the people!!

When people talk about gaming being a waste of money, I like to say “How much do you spend on going out to the pub each weekend again?” Pretty sure I spend a lot less money than you do for a lot more enjoyment.

I also like to challenge the perception that gaming is just hitting things, with facts like “I coordinated 30 people from all around the country/world via voice chat to make them achieve a common goal.”

In the end…

When it comes down to it, we’re all just people in this crazy world, and we all like different things. I would rather be as honest as I can about what I enjoy in the hopes of connecting with another person. We don’t all have to like the same thing, but it’s easy to get along and find a common ground somewhere.

It’s been quiet around here lately – I apologise for that. Initially it was due to my partner ending up in emergency and needing surgery that kept me away from my blog for awhile. Then, when I sat down to write yesterday, the election was happening, and I watched a country unravel, and I watched my friends get more and more terrified. We could feel it from here in Australia. Our hearts wrenched with yours.

Now, it seems awkward to talk about anything that’s not related to the election. It feels like there’s a grieving process happening right now, and talking about anything else would be disrespectful. People are hurting. People are afraid. This election result has seen the darkest anxieties come to life – the fear of being persecuted, of being made to feel “less than”, of being hunted, seems like a reality. And it’s hard not to feel completely weighed down by the feeling.

But you need to get up. Breathe. Take a step. Then another. Keep going. Keep breathing.

Because you know what the best part of this situation is? You are not alone. Everyone is in this together. You can see plain as day that you are not alone – there are millions of people who voted with you. There are hundreds of millions more people around the world supporting you. My twitter feed has been bombarded with messages of love and support for those who are afraid and upset and who feel alone. You’re not alone. Find each other. Stand together. Keep going. Keep breathing. The world needs you. The world wants you here. People around the globe are watching, and we’ve got your backs, America.

Keep going. Keep breathing.

Please be good and kind to each other. If this outcome was what you wanted, accept your win graciously, and recognise that many people are afraid of what may happen to them because of this result. If this outcome was not what you wanted, please remember we are all human beings, and recognise that people wanted change and saw this as the way to achieve it. There are ways that everyone can work together. But that can’t happen if you’re laying down.

Get up. Breathe. Keep going.

You are not alone. You can do this.

 

Tomorrow I will be returning to my regular gaming posts because, I too, need to keep going. My heart is aching for my friends, and I could fall down the ditch. But I don’t want to. So I will be here, putting my little drop into the Blizzard gaming community so that people have somewhere to go if they need it.

Much love to you all.

xo

My lovely friend Zeirah and I are challenging each other with a weekly blog post. We choose a topic and both write about it. This week’s topic is a bit different – this week we’re talking about ingame persona vs. real life persona. You can read Z’s post this right here.

There’s something about being in your own safe home with nothing but the glow of a screen to keep you company that offers a sense of security and confidence that is not otherwise afforded. In some ways it’s like when a surgeon puts on his mask or a police officer puts on her uniform or the actor puts on their costume – the “real” you is hidden away, and you start playing the role the mask gives you.

We see it all the time online, where the freedom of appearing to speak into a void with unseen consequences causes people to put on the mask of online vigilante. Some people say things they wouldn’t say to people if they were standing right in front of them, but when they’re mere pixels on a screen and the online mask is on, the new persona comes out and the behaviour changes, and suddenly making inappropriate and threatening comments are the norm.

This is obviously an extreme example of what happens when we live a life online, and not everyone behaves the same way. But the point is that, for a lot of people, the person they are online is not the same as the person they are in real life. In some cases it can be seen as a negative difference, in others it can be positive. I feel I fall into the positive changes.

Under the mask – the “real life” Cinder

The real life me is difficult to explain, especially to those who have not had similar experiences. But we’ll try anyway!

The short version is that during my final year of high school I suffered severe anxiety and became agoraphobic. Which basically meant for me I had a lot of difficulty leaving the house and being around people. My school was great and found ways to work with me to help me graduate, and I in turn found ways of coping with my anxiety so that I didn’t fall back in to being fully agoraphobic, and found ways to leave the house to go work, even live overseas for awhile.

My anxiety is a struggle to deal with every single day. The easiest way I have of explaining it is actually with a WoW quest. Remember in Mists of Pandaria there was a quest with a fellow named Mudmug who  was in Valley of the Four Winds? He had you run around the water areas to fill up a vial that kept leaking. (It’s this quest here for those who don’t remember). That broken vial is me, and the liquid inside it is the energy I have to interact with people (or be out in the world). It is constantly depleting. Some things make me deplete more than others. I am (probably unsurprisingly) massively introverted. (My personality type is INTJ-T which you can read about here. I’m around 90% introverted). Being around people exhausts me. Crowds are the equivalent of tipping that vial over and pouring the contents out. I don’t cope well. Getting on the tram each day to go work, speaking to anyone, talking on the phone (oh god phone calls), sending emails, buying my morning coffee, going out to dinner with friends – all of it depletes that vial. And some days I don’t even start with a full bottle. Being with Thor helps (it is nothing short of a miracle that I found someone who understands my anxiety and helps me deal with it. Thor is my rock, as corny as it sounds.) He understands when I don’t have it in me to go to the movies or the shops or even outside the front door. But he also helps to keep the vial from getting empty when we are our in the world. It really helps.

Things that help me energise essentially involve me being alone. Things like reading or playing WoW or watching movies or just sitting staring into space – they all help me keep calm and able to leave the house again the next day.

 

Essentially the real me, if it were up to me, would live in the mountains by a stream with some books and pen and paper (and good internet access!). And I’d be totally ok with that.

It’s hard to explain this to people who have not had anxiety or who do not understand introverted behaviour. People don’t understand that if I’m upset or frustrated or angry, I’d rather be alone. People will say things like “go spend time with your friends” or “just smile anyway” or “just be positive” or “these things happen for a reason – it’s what you do next that matters most!”. It doesn’t work like that. Statements like that, while well meant, upset more than they help, because they say “you are broken and what you do to try and function in the world is not enough, and you are not right to feel the way you do”. Sometimes it upsets me; sometimes it offends. A lot.

The real me likes to have a laugh, (over)thinks a lot, tries to be creative and just generally tries to be a decent human being. I’m just better at doing those things on my own than with/around other people.

The Cinder that leaves the house

Obviously, I’m not a hermit. I still have to function in the world – I still have to go to work and pay bills. And I do like to venture out to the movies and things like that. I don’t like to miss out on everything. So I needed to find a way to do that. And it comes back to what I used to do in high school – I would act. I would put on a mask and pretend to be someone else to help me get through the day. All the while that vial underneath is getting emptier and emptier as the day wears on. Sometimes I do alright – I can do the pretending just fine, and deal with it all when I get home. Other days I’m not so great and don’t get too far (or out of bed).

The Cinder that leaves the house is not the real Cinder. Just a functioning one. 🙂 It’s the Cinder that people at work know. Sometimes it’s the Cinder that even my friends know (depending on how well I know the friend).

The online Cinder

Which leads me to who I am in WoW and online in general – the third Cinder, if you will. The online Cinder is who I would prefer to be in real life. Both my in game characters and who I am on my blog and in my podcasts – that’s who I would like to be in real life. Funnily enough, my online self is actually a lot closer to my real self than my day to day self is (i.e. the Cinder that leaves the house)

My characters in WoW are all representations of who I am, even with some of the negatives. My shaman in particular really embraces the split personality types that I have – the carer who wants to help and protect those around her, and the fighter who will stand in front of blades if it means doing the right thing. And already, every character I have played in the game is different to my real life self in that they talk to a LOT of people. They do everything they can to help, they stand up to fight when they’re afraid, they are good and they are kind. Mostly, they are strong.

The way I interact with people online is different as a result. My characters give me confidence that isn’t always naturally there. I have learned to channel my inner Cinderstorm and speak up when I want to say something and contribute to discussions and share things. Being in a raid team has really taught me how to work better with others and interact with them to achieve something. Because I’m doing that in game, I’m doing that in teamspeak as well. I’m also more confident in game to speak up for myself when I disagree, or even getting angry at people who are being dicks.

The other reason I’m more confident online is that people can’t see me. They’re judging me by my personality and my actions rather than how I physically look. Given that I am overweight and not an attractive person, I find that people interact with me very differently face to face in real life. There are automatic assumptions made about who I am as a person because of how I look. I’ve learned to ignore it, but it’s draining. In WoW and online I don’t have to worry about that because people can’t see me. It’s very freeing.

I think other things that also help with online confidence is that I’m talking to people who love what I love – they love this game. Sure it’s probably for different reasons, but having something in common with someone else is a big step towards making interaction a little easier. Doing the podcasts also really helps with this. No-one wants to listen to me be a robot. So I put on the “online Cinder” mask and do the best I can to be interesting and entertaining for people – I try to be the me I would like all the time. And yes it is exhausting – the energy is always dripping out of that vial – but it’s a different kind of exhausting. It’s draining but in a more satisfying way.

Changing

The overall point is that, yes, I am somewhat different online to what I am in real life. But I am trying my hardest every day to work towards being more like my online self. I will always be very introverted (that’s never, ever going to change) but I am trying more and more to be who I am online in real life as well. I’ve found at work I have more of a voice – I will stand up for myself if someone is being bossy or a bully, and I’ll make suggestions for alternative ways of doing things if I think they’ll be better. And it’s good.

When it comes down to it, I have a lot to be thankful for WoW. Not only because I’ve made some wonderful friends all over the world, but it’s helping me be better in the real world, too. And I like that. 🙂

 

This weekend I took a bit of a break from social media. I was (and to a degree still am) incredibly angry and disappointed with some in the WoW community on Friday. The frustration just got too much for me, and rather than blowing up at everyone, I shut it all down and stayed away for the weekend (minus one pop-in on twitter on Sunday to wish Leeta a Happy Birthday).

If it’s not one thing…

There were a few things that lead up to that moment. If I’m completely honest, I’ve been frustrated by some in the community for a long time. It’s the constant stream of negativity and complaining at every opportunity. First it was flying, then it was Legion beta not being available, then it was the striders, then it was the Legion release date being so far away, then it was who was allowed in to the Alpha, then it was flying some more, then it was vanilla servers, then it was beta coming out, then it was the transmog system changes not being what people want it to be, then it was UI changes being made in the beta, then it was the pre-patch coming out and then it was the camera changes, then it was people complaining the audio drama wasn’t animated, then it was blaming Blizzard for DDoS attacks, and then it was the camera changes some more. I know this has been going on for a long time, and continue on for a longer time still, but it was too much. Too, too much.

Earlier last week, WoW pvp developer, Holinka, retweeted some of the messages that he has received on twitter. They’ve all been taken down now (the user as gone in to protective tweets mode), but one of them said the following:

@holinka if i lived somewhere in usa, i would definitely will travel to find you and murder you without regret

The others were along similar veins. One said something about crossing the street to stab Holinka, and that he (the tweeter) would proudly sit in jail for doing so.

To say I was upset about this is putting it mildly. I know it’s not directed to me, but these messages upset me greatly. Holinka is a person, just like every other dev working at Blizzard. They are people who show up to their jobs every day to work on a product that some of us buy. That’s it. And yet they are dealt with messages like the above every single day, just for showing up to work.You wouldn’t want to receive messages like that for showing up at your job every day, so why do people think it’s ok to do this to Blizzard employees?

It makes me sad for the human race that this is how people are about pixels on a screen – the level of entitlement that exists because they bought a product. That feeling that Blizzard owes them something because people gave them money for a product.

We go back to that list above and we see it’s the same thing as those death tweets, just a weaker version of it. It’s bullying, no matter how you look at it.

What tipped me over the edge on Friday morning was the response to Blizzard’s attempt to address the issues people are having with the camera changes in WoW. I was happy to see them because I was hoping it would help address the issues people are genuinely having with camera changes in the game. (I know of some people who are directly affected by the camera changes. I also know some people who are just whinging.) So I was really disappointed that my twitter feed was full of messages of “it’s the least Blizzard could do”, or “this is not good enough”, or “this won’t fix the problem”. The changes weren’t even live in the game yet – people weren’t able to test them out – but Blizzard were faced with instant dismissal of the changes. And I just had enough.

I know everyone is not like this. There are so many wonderful things that the WoW community is capable of. There are beautiful support networks and organised group runs for mounts and charity events, the shared art, not to mention the love and good times everyone has during Blizzcon. This community is capable of so much good.

For some people, nothing Blizzard does will ever be good enough, but I don’t have to agree with it. I made a deal awhile back that I would try to make my positivity louder than the negativity, and I have been trying really hard at doing that. This weekend I just had to take a step back before it broke me. But I can, and I will, do better. I need to blog more, even if it’s just about random things I’m doing in game – anything that will help fill people’s timelines with good WoW news instead of the negativity a lot of us are seeing.

Check out…

In the meantime, while I get off my butt to write more, go visit some of my favourite things:

Z is for Zeirah’s blog. Z took a bit of a break from WoW and is back to it full time and has been posting wonderful blog entries about her latest adventures.

Natanie & Moogyver’s WoW Roadtrip is a brilliant new blog that collates Moogyver’s roadtrip adventures throughout Azeroth. Natanie also shares some of her latest adventures. (Also – check out the little hoofprints on the maps! ZOMG just the cutest!!!)

Adventures in Azeroth is a new podcast with Leeta and Stone, and is just delightful. Together they share what they get up to in WoW, and it’s loads of fun.

As for shameless plugs, you might be interested in the two podcasts I co-host on. Battletagged is all about what’s happening in game – we laugh a LOT during this show (we can be a bit silly sometimes). And Reins of Azeroth is all about achievements and mounts and collecting things – all the different things you can do and collect in game.

If you know of a blog or podcast or anything you think others might like to know about that promotes a good time in game, let me know and I’ll mention them in a future post.

As for now, go be loudly positive!

xo

 

I’ve been pretty quiet here on my blog recently, and for pretty good reason. I’m angry. Well, actually, that’s an understatement. I’m down right pissed off. And up until now I’ve figured it was better to just stay quiet so I don’t upset anyone or ruffle any feathers, because I don’t like arguments or being yelled at. But you know what? Fuck that.

The WoW community can be absolutely amazing at times, especially when it comes to fundraising (like the Gnome Run, or the pets in the Blizzard store that give to charity) or helping group people together, like for the moose mount. One of my favourite times has been on twitter with us all watching the Legion trailer at Blizzcon, and watching everyone lose their shit when the transmog announcements were made. It was amazing and so much fun. But it was short lived, and it seemed people fell back in to a toxic cycle of negativity that just gets worse and worse.

The mob mentality I’m seeing at the moment is awful. People are so quick to jump on the bandwagon of negativity. One of the recent “issues” was about the max draw distance changing in WoW. All it took was for a handful of people to (incorrectly) talk about this and everyone and their dog lost their shit, saying that it was crap and that they wouldn’t be able to play anymore. My voice was tiny in this mob of angry villagers and would not be heard, and I felt awful. I felt small and awful and eventually silenced. (For what it’s worth – the max draw distance was changed so that a console command couldn’t be used to zoom out by huge amounts. This was used by a very small number of people in the game (myself included). What they did do was actually increase the max draw distance available in the UI itself, which is what the very vast majority of people use. Which means if you didn’t use the console command, your zoom out has actually been increased.) This is just one small example.

This used to be funny to me. I used to be amazed at how quick people were to get angry about changes in a computer game. I used to laugh it off. But now… well now I’m just exhausted from trying to keep being positive. Now I feel like my voice doesn’t even matter (it probably never really has, but I liked to hope that I helped even just 1 or 2 people get excited about things in the game).

I’m tired of it. I am tired of constantly getting super excited about something in World of Warcraft, only to be surrounded by a sea of negativity, saying that it’s crap, that Blizzard are useless and don’t listen, that their lives are over and it’s all Blizzards fault. Really? I’m tired of this behaviour being labelled as “passionate” instead of what it really is – a rude, whingy, entitled & moronic behaviour.

And I am really fed up with being made to feel like I’m an idiot because I’m a fan of the game and don’t get up on my fucking high horse and preach hatred every time something changes. You know why I don’t do that? Because there’s no reason to! If Blizzard want to change something in the game, or bring in something new or remove something that doesn’t work, they can do that because it’s their product. I will continue to buy their product because I continue to enjoy it. If there comes a day where the changes don’t suit what I like and I’m no longer having fun, then I will stop buying it. It’s as simple as that. I shouldn’t be made to feel like I’m less of a person because I get excited about the game, and because I acknowledge this is a commercial product.

Do you know how lucky we are? We are so fortunate to play a game where the developers actually get us, the players, involved in the development of new expansions. How many other companies do that? How often are we given the opportunity to make a contribution like that, where our contributions can actually shape what happens in the game? And yet people sit here thinking that it’s the “least they could do”. Excuse me? Just because you purchased a product does not give you the right to dictate how future products are developed. When was the last time you got to have a say in how the bread you buy from your supermarket was baked? Or how your car was built? You are not entitled to anything more than what Blizzard choose to give you as part of their product. It’s how commerce works. To actually get a chance to contribute to WoW is a fucking privilege, and a lot of people would do well to remember that.

And I will continue to preach this until I am blue in the face:

World of Warcraft is supposed to be entertainment. This is supposed to be an escape. You are supposed to enjoy this, because it is a game and games are supposed to be fun. If you are not having fun stop playing the game. No-one is making you play it, and no-one is forcing you to stick around if you don’t want to. But if you are going to play the game, don’t ruin it for everyone else with your shitty attitude.

moving forward…

It’s all well and good to say “just ignore it – you keep being you”, but there’s only so many times you can be punched in the face before you start losing the ability to smile. And baby, my smile is wavering.

I’m tired of the default response being “if you don’t want to see it, then block them/don’t go on the internet/stay away”. NO. No, no, no. If people like me – people who want to see the best in this game and who want as many people to enjoy it as possible and want to talk about it positively – if we leave because of the shitty attitude of others, who will be left? What will be left? The attitude should not be “this is just how it is”. The attitude should be “this kind of behaviour is not ok – we need to do better.”

And why should I have to remove myself and change things about myself to allow others who are making a negative impact on the community have a louder voice? Why should I miss out on watching interviews with the game developers I have a great deal of respect for because of the awful comments section? Why should I have to turn off chat channels in game because of trash in these channels, potentially missing out on being able to actually help someone? Why should I have to change my behaviour?

The only behaviour I’m changing is keeping quiet, because I am so done. There are so many actual problems in the world that people are (very rightly!) upset about. Changes to a computer game are not the end of the world. They just aren’t. And I just can’t sit here and be quiet while so many people insist on bringing down everyone around them with their constant negativity and bullying attitudes. So I’m not going to. I’m going to be loud about my love for the game. I’m going to be loud about the things that make me happy. And maybe other voices will join mine and we can be loud together and just have fun.

 

Hi everyone!

A couple of weeks back I mentioned that I was going to be a guest on some podcasts coming up. The first of these was Realm Maintenance (Episode 192!) which was amazing and loads of fun. I’ll be on Girls Gone WoW again in a couple of weeks (which I am really looking forward to!), but right before that I’m going to be a guest on The Training Dummies!!!! Oh my gosh I’m so, so excited!

It’s just over a week from now and I’m getting myself all prepared. So I’m hoping that you can all help me for a minute. It won’t take long I promise!

What I want to ask you, is this:

What made you fall in love with the World of Warcraft game?

This isn’t necessarily what your favourite things are to do in game or anything; this is about what it was that made you come back to the game after the first day? What was that moment that made you say “I love this game”. Was there a zone you walked in to that took your breath away? Was the class you picked a perfect match for you and you wanted to get to know your character better? Did one of the quests resonate with you? What was the thing that made you love the game, and made you want to keep playing it?

I’ll be sharing my favourite things on the show, but I was really hoping that I could also share some stories from you guys. You can put it in a comment below, or tweet me at @cinder_tweets or send me an email to cinder@cindersays.net.

Thank you in advance!!

 

 

 

 

Today Watcher Dev made a post on the forums about removing the cost of changing specs (that is currently on the Legion beta) but instead implementing a cost for changing talents. I’ll post both of his comments below (these can be found on the forums here)

We’ve definitely heard much feedback to this effect, and this is something we’d been discussing quite a bit internally as well over the past couple of weeks. In an upcoming build (hopefully the next one; if not, then the one after), the respec cost is gone, and players can freely switch between all specializations with the normal restrictions of cast-time, needing to be out of combat, and so forth.

Ultimately, the intent behind the respec cost (which isn’t really a new concept, dating back to 2004 class trainers) was to help reinforce a bit of spec identity through declaring a “primary” spec to which you could always return for free, and to serve as a mild gold sink. But in practice, changing specialization is a pretty significant transformation in terms of action bars, optimal gear in some cases, artifacts, and so forth, and already not something that people were taking lightly. I suspect the cost will not be missed.

An area that has appeared to need a bit more friction, however, is actually talent changes. Especially with no reagent cost at all now, it can be all too easy to activate AoE talents before larger packs of enemies in a dungeon, and then switch back to single-target talents before a lieutenant or a boss. Or someone might switch to a passive movement-speed talent when traversing an area, and then back to something functional before entering combat. At that point, we’re often hardly talking about a meaningful choice at all, but rather a nuisance of extra button-presses or UI navigation before you can use your desired talents.

And so, alongside removing the respec cost, that same upcoming build will also restrict the ability to change talents when away from a safe area (defined as an area that provides the Rested state). We currently plan to give Scribes a recipe to craft a consumable Tome that can be dropped in order to allow all nearby players to retalent freely for a time – particularly useful for group play.

and

A couple of clarifications, one of which will probably be a relief and the other likely less so: The Inscription consumable as currently planned would be something that anyone could drop, not a profession-requiring item like a Jeeves. But, in terms of the materials required, we’re thinking of something that’s more aimed at groups, and probably not the sort of thing an individual is likely to carry a stack of and use freely.

This is clearly more restrictive than the way it works in Warlords. Why would we ever add restrictions to something like this? Do we just sit around and amuse ourselves by thinking of things to take away from players? (We don’t.)

Ultimately, for a choice to be meaningful there has to be some associated cost or trade-off in the process. Do you want to eat your cake, or do you want to save it for another time? If you could do both, that wouldn’t be much of a choice.

When it comes to talents, which serve the primary purpose of customization and differentiation, consider two extremes in terms of how they could be handled. Please, take a moment to think through the following scenarios:

First, what if you could switch talents freely, at any time, including while in combat? You’d effectively no longer have a talent system – you’d have a spellbook with another 21 active and passive abilities in it, with keybinds to swap between them as needed. Every player of a given spec would have identical capabilities, with some cumbersome interface management required to swap among them on the fly.

Second, what if you could literally never switch talents, short of making a brand new character? Choosing a talent would be a far, far weightier choice than any decision you currently make in the game (other than choosing your starting class, I suppose). Some favored cookie-cutter specs would emerge, but with 2187 different permutations of talents, there’d be significantly more variety among players. But some niche talents would likely go almost entirely unused (though players who did choose them would be invaluable when those situations arose). And feeling like you’d made a mistake, and were stuck with one or more talents that you didn’t like at all, might completely sour your enjoyment of a character.

Anyway, we are of course doing neither of those things, but there’s a full spectrum of choice that lies in between. We’ve generally moved away from the second scenario and closer to the first over time (years and years back, respecs were so expensive in relative terms that players often waited for class changes to automatically refund their talents rather than spend the gold to move a point around). Other than the combat restrictions, the live game is not terribly far off from the first scenario.

There’s still a fair bit of thought that goes into which talents to select for a raid encounter, where you’re in combat for several minutes in a row and facing a variety of threats, and you may have to weigh whether you want better AoE damage for minions in the first phase, or better single-target burst later in the fight; whether you want a passive movement-speed increase for higher overall uptime, or an on-demand active movement ability in case you get targeted by a specific troublesome ability; and so forth.

But most other content, whether it’s a single quest boss out in the world, or a dungeon that breaks down to a series of sub-1-minute combats, don’t offer nearly that much variety. And so you take the AoE talent for the AoE pack, and the single-target talent for the lone boss, to the point that you might as well just have both of them all the time, which might be powerful, but wouldn’t be a choice.

So where does this leave us?

simpsons_bees

Of course the world is ending. Of course this is worst change ever. Of course Blizzard are stupid. /end sarcasm

You are not the only person playing the game

I’ve said this many times in the past, and I’ll keep saying it until I’m blue in the face. To be fair, these posts have only been made in the last couple of hours, so a lot of responses are gut reactions, and I can totally understand that.But throwing around “this change personally affects me greatly, so go back to the other way so that I’m not screwed over” is not what this conversation needs, because pretty much everyone can say that.

Which is why I’m here. I want people to take a moment to stop, take a breath and a GREAT big step away from the situation at the moment and think outside of how these changes directly impact you alone. Let’s talk about how these changes impact different types of players and see if we can find a solution that suits everyone.

There are a few points to cover:

  • removal of spec change cost
  • change of how talents are changed
  • possible alternatives

Healers/Tanks rejoice! No more cost to switch specs.

Firstly, the removal of spec change costs. The cost of changing specs has been a concern for me since it was first revealed. (See this post about it!) The TL;DR overview of my thoughts on the cost of changing specs is below, and hopefully point out why this cost was an unbalanced one:

  • many (if not most) healers don’t like to level as healers, so have a dps spec they use on a regular basis to level or do dailies with
  • locking in, or making it difficult/expensive to change specs means healers/tanks may get sat from raids instead of being able to stay in and changing to a different spec because they can’t afford to change
  • small raid teams who are already struggling to find raid numbers may have more difficulty finding even more numbers because aren’t willing to pay to switch specs (so where you could get away with having “swing heals/dps” players, you might need a separate person for each spec)

Many of the arguments I’m seeing on the forums at the moment are from people complaining that spec changes happen less often than talent changes, so why punish people for the thing they do most often? That’s a fair enough call. However what it doesn’t take in to account is the size of the impact on the people are are affected. It may not impact everyone, but those it does impact have some big quality of life reductions. To put it bluntly, this cost to me always felt “unfair” to hybrid classes. So I am glad this cost is removed.

Oh, to change a talent

So the second announcement in the above post, and the topic I feel needs some thought and open discussion, is around the proposed change to how talents are swapped. The proposed change is essentially that if people want to be able to change their talents, they need to be in a a resting area, and they will need a tome crafted by inscriptionists that can be dropped by any player.

There are two key points that this change brings up…

Player disruption

This is the big one. The loudest argument against this change is that it is incredibly disruptive. Players have become used to changing their talents whenever they want to, and putting in this restriction is going to be time consuming, expensive, and overall and very negative experience for players.

The reasoning behind putting in this restriction comes back to that ever present notion of “class/spec identity”. Love it or hate it, this concept is going to be sticking around. And this way of changing talents definitely reiterates that, the notion being that you need to decide if you’re a restoration shaman who likes raining on people all the time or if you want to use your totems for healing boosts (for example). But is it the right thing to do here? Possibly not. Ion’s explanation behind the dev’s thinking is that there is no real “choice” in what you’re doing – you’re just going through the motions and swapping out one spell for another with little impact.

My feelings are that some disruption is necessary. Others have argued in the past that associating a cost with talent changes doesn’t play in to class fantasy or make them think about their choices – they see it as a burden. I can understand this, especially when in the past the new talent system was promoted as something that allowed you to swap in and out of talents as fights needed them.

I think what the developers have in mind for how this fantasy plays out is not necessarily about how this plays as class fantasy, but how this plays as overall game play fantasy. The scenario is this – we as a team walk in to a raid zone together, with the purpose of taking down the “big bads”. As a group we get a battle plan together – who will stand where and do play what role (not just who tanks and who heals, but what a warlock might do to quickly move the entire group etc.) Part of that planning and strategising is sorting out what tools people will need to defeat this boss. And it’s at this point that changing talents would come in to play.

This idea is further reiterated with Ion’s comments:

…in terms of the materials required, we’re thinking of something that’s more aimed at groups, and probably not the sort of thing an individual is likely to carry a stack of and use freely.

The whole idea is based on a group mentality. This is a viable option for organised teams and raid groups, but is less so for pugs (which are still heavily promoted), especially if the mats required to make these tomes come from various profession sources.

So to sum up. my thoughts are:

  • a cost for changing talents is understandble
  • what the cost is should be given more thought
  • a group cost might not be the best approach.

We’ll come back to these points in a sec.

Boost for scribes

This is the point that most people are kind of washing over, because it doesn’t affect a lot of people. But let’s face it, Inscriptionists have gotten a bit of a raw deal so far in Legion. One of their primary purposes – crafting of glyphs – has been removed, so they’ve been a bit useless. Having this tome as a raid-required material is actually a really great idea. It helps them craft a consumable that would be needed over and over again, like potions and flasks or food or enchants and gems. I think this this is a really great improvement to the profession to make it viable long term.

What are our options?

If we take the above in to account, we can try and find a “happy medium” here somewhere. Discussing this with my partner and throwing ideas around, we talked about options and he came up with the idea of the cost still being a crafted tome, but one that is for individuals that has charges on them. This way the items are still useful for inscriptionists to craft; there is a cost involved with changing specs that is meaningful but not burdensome, and; people still have a feeling of freedom when it comes to their personal choices during raids/world content. And even though I’m not a fan of there being a cost applied to changing specs, this tome could also be used to change specs, giving it multiple purposes.

What do you think? What happy medium can you see here that could be suitable for all player types?

I don’t think there is ever going to be a time that I’m not worried about being good enough in this world. When it comes to World of Warcraft, I’m always worried that I’m not a good enough healer, or that I’m not a good enough raider, or that I don’t contribute enough to the community etc. Sometimes it gets to me – last night was one of those nights.

During raid last night I was asked to be the swing healer who would dps unless needed to heal. Which is fine – I enjoy playing elemental, so it was no big deal, other than the fact that I hadn’t dps-ed in HFC for quite a few months, and never at mythic level. So I was a bit terrified. I wasn’t at the bottom of the dps, but I wasn’t doing as well as I would have liked, and as the evening wore on I just found myself feeling worse and worse, which meant I performed worse. Our last fight of the night was Gorefiend which I thankfully got to heal, but I still made a couple of mistakes (nothing wipe-worthy, but silly enough mistakes that I shouldn’t have made). At the end of the raid I was just feeling a pretty blah.

Then I’m dragged in to a different channel in Team Speak that our healing team is in, and I start to panic. I know that I’ve been approved for the team, but like I said, I’m still always worried I’m not good enough and they’ll change their mind (thank you anxiety). I thought this was going to be it. But it wasn’t. Instead, it was our healing team leader wanting to get us all together to say thank you to us for being a great healing team and for doing so well. That he was happy with everyone and felt that our healing team was strong going in to Legion and he wanted to say thanks. It felt really great to get that feedback, you know? Especially after feeling rubbish throughout the night.

I then took the opportunity to say thank you for having been accepted in to the team permanently, even though my heals had been low coming in late to the expansion. And then all 3 of the other healers all at once immediately jumped to my defense and said the most wonderful things about how no, actually I was doing a really great job, and I’d been especially awesome on Archimonde, and sure numbers may play a part in it, but more than that it’s about being able to follow mechanics and use cooldowns etc. when they’re called and I was doing all that really well. And it was just so lovely to hear that from all of them, and that they could see that I had been trying and working my bum off to do things right.

So that’s all this post is – to remind people that even if you’re not feeling great about how you’re doing, chances are someone is out there seeing the wonderful things that you do and they are glad for it. And I also just wanted to say that I am very grateful for my new raid team. I’m excited about raiding in Legion more than ever.

 

 

I know that I’ve spoken about the legacy server discussion a bit on Battletagged (episode 12 to be precise, if you want to hear it!) but I thought a post was in order as well because this topic won’t go away!!!

TL;DR version is this: A group of people hosted a legacy version of World of Warcraft on their own servers, which they named Nostalrius. Blizzard told them to take the servers down, which they did, but it has flared up the debate about whether or not legacy servers should exist.

Now this is a very dumbed down version of the overall conversation, because it’s not entirely just a case of whether or not legacy servers should exist. What gets dragged in to the conversation is whether or not this is worth Blizzard’s time and effort to build; what do people think they’re going to get from a legacy server; are there enough people who want this?; and the BIG one – whether or not people should have to pay for it.

What happened?

As of today, two big things have happened. Firstly, Blizzard addressed the “Nostalrius situation”, which you can read here. This is one of a handful of occasions that Blizzard has openly talked about legacy/vanilla servers in any sort of depth. Secondly, Blizzard have invited the Nostalrius team to the Blizzard offices to “have a discussion”. I will say, I am disappointed that Blizzard invited the Nost team to their offices at this time – not because I don’t want them to have the conversation, but because at this point in time it looks like caving in to the tantrum-throwing toddler. Whilst the Nost team leaders themselves may have been fine, many supporters of legacy servers (including users who have openly said they played on Nostalrius) have been less than mature about the topic, with offensive, abusive messages littered through the WoW community such as on offical forums, reddit threads, twitter, and through direct targeting of individuals (the abuse that Panser has received from these supporters is absolutely disgusting). I would like to have seen the Nost team either tell everyone to pull their heads in, or distance themselves from these types of people before Blizzard agreed to meet with them.

The survey

This post is about a survey that the Nostalrius team have asked World of Warcraft players of all types (legacy server supporters or not) to complete, the results of which will be taken with them to their meeting with Blizzard. Here’s how it’s being pitched:

We want this survey to be shared with the largest possible audience: former Nostalrius players, legacy players in general, but also anyone who played World of Warcraft at some point or signed the petition.
– from Nostalrius offical forums http://forum.nostalrius.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=44103

and

Goal of this survey is to provide feedback from the World of Warcraft community as a whole.
– from the survey itself

So essentially, they want as many World of Warcraft players to complete the survey. No worries – I am all for that!

Regardless of what my opinion on the topic of legacy servers is, I was keen to be able to contribute to what I was hoping was a balanced, open minded attempt at providing feedback. But it’s not. The survey is full of questions so leading that I had to stop filling out the survey because there was no way for me the accurately and honestly answer some of the questions. In addition to that, it’s so easy for this survey to “down vote” opposing opinions that it is very far removed from a balanced indication of player thoughts on the topic.

Let’s take a look:

First page is very straight forward – age, gender, location in the world, how long you’ve been playing WoW and how you rate each expansion. Sounds straight forward, but here we have the first example of being able to boost support for old content and downgrade support for current content. Whilst we are asked which expansions we have played, we are able to provide a ranking of all expansions. So if I were a person who wanted to push support for older content and downgrade newer content, I could give ratings of 10 to vanilla and BC and 1 to Cataclysm, MoP & Warlords of Draenor, regardless of whether or not I played them.

The next series of questions are for people who have played on Legacy servers and why they did so. I did not answer any of these questions as I have never played on a legacy server. However again, there was a question that made this section a bit leading. The section covers how long users have played on legacy servers for, which expansions they played on them and reasons why they did so. But then comes this question:

Did playing unofficial legacy server bring you (back) to official Blizzard Wow?

The response is Yes or No. The problem with this question is that it’s trying to give the result “people who played legacy servers were encouraged to play official WoW”. What it doesn’t capture is how many people left official WoW entirely to play legacy servers. The distinction is important, because if people left WoW to play free legacy servers, well that’s a different point altogether.

Moving on.

The next series of questions are about the World of Warcraft experience. Although there could have been better questions asked here, it’s not overly problematic, so we’ll move on to the next section which is where I was prompted to write this post. The section is titled “If Blizzard launches legacy servers”. It’s here that I’ll point out that all questions in this section are compulsory (most of the previous questions (except for those on the first page) have been optional). Here we are asked if we would play on Legacy servers if they were free? Would we play them if they were more expensive than WoW (no question about whether or not we’d pay the same as current WoW prices).

But it was this question that got me cross:

If needed, I would buy Legion to play on a Blizzard legacy servers *

If needed. The response to this question is True or False only. And this is where I stopped, because I can’t answer this question. I am an average World of Warcraft player and I am buying Legion because I enjoy the game and I want to know what happens next in the Azeroth story. I understand what they are trying to get at here – they are trying to show that if there were legacy servers, people would be willing to purchase current content to access them. It’s a nice statistic to throw out there. But how do I answer that question? As someone who is buying Legion because I enjoy WoW and isn’t invested in legacy servers, how do I answer this questions accurately? If I say “False” it boost numbers that support people don’t like current content. If I say “True” it lumps me in with a then falsified statement that loads of people would buy Legion “if only they had access to legacy servers”.

The following question (although broken) asks whether we would play on a legacy server if it required an active live subscription and if so, how long would you play on a legacy server for. (The question is broken because the second part is compulsory to answer, even if you said that no you would not play if it required an active live subscription, and there is no 0 option).

Up next we get asked:

Is it a good idea to have Blizzard legacy servers with players from multiple regions like Nostalrius? *

Having not played on a legacy server, I don’t know the answer to this. Yet it’s compulsory to answer. At least here you get the option to explain your answer.

Now we start getting in to the nitty gritty of what would be on these servers and how they would behave. We’re asked two questions that, as someone who has not been heavily involved in the ins and outs of legacy servers, I don’t understand, regarding timeframes of releasing content (I can only assume this is something that is referenced in legacy server groups? Doesn’t bode well for trying to get an honest and accurate response from all player types. And yes these questions are compulsory). Then we’re asked just how much we want legacy servers, or progressive legacy servers.

Up next we get to rate the importance of some aspects of WoW, all of which are compulsory. We’re asked to rank how important things like “Challenge” and “community/social aspect” are to us. But then we’re asked to rate how important “Realm-wide events and memories” are to us (as if that is something any game can just hand over to you with you putting any effort in to it). Next we rank the importance of “no pay-to-win”, which made me pause. Pay-to-win? Either that’s being thrown in for shits and giggles, or it has been included to imply that this is something that is currently in the game. The only thing I could think of as being “play-to-win” was the paid character boost…. that boosts you to 10 levels below maximum and gives you nothing other than that. That’s not winning. (And how do you “win” WoW anyway?!) Skipping a couple, the last ranking of importance is for “Abusers punished” which made me laugh like the cynical cow I am (oh the irony).

The last question on this page relates to server size, stating:

The original Blizzard legacy servers had around 1500 players cap. Nostalrius had often more than 13k online players. What should be the best cap for you? *

We are given a list of server sizes by number (e.g. 3000, 7500 etc.) as if people are sitting there counting how many people would be good to have on a server at a time. Surely a better response here would be to suggest a server size that is “Small country town – not a lot of people around / relatively busy -there are some people around / bustling busy city-like / holy crap is this a peak-hour train in Japan??!!

The last page of questions has a large focus on streaming (??); whether you will be going to Blizzcon (as a yes or no question – no acknowledgement of the multiple ways Blizzcon can be supported outside of attending the event itself); whether or not Legion and legacy servers can co-exist; a “pat yourself on the back” question about how you made your voice heard to support legacy servers (they missed the response of “I was an ass and went and harassed people”); and lastly, a free text section at the bottom if you have anything else to add.

Why do you care about a survey?

I know I am overly critical with this and that generally this post has been a boring ramble. But I really don’t like this kind of “research”. It’s misleading and is designed to tell only one side of the story, and I just get really frustrated by that. Whilst pro-legacy supporters have been given ample opportunity to promote their argument in this survey, those who are not in support of them or who are indifferent to them are given a 500 character limit free text box at the end of the survey. I think doing a survey to capture exactly what people would like from legacy servers is a really great idea – it’s a nice way to collate the information to present to Blizzard. But don’t present this as a “balanced opinion of WoW players”, because it’s not that. My voice is not captured here.

I don’t care one way or the other about legacy servers. If Blizzard are happy to have them and people want to play them, I am all for that – I want as many people as possible to love and play World of Warcraft! The reason this survey and the whole legacy server drama has frustrated me is how people have behaved – it’s toddler-like behaviour. And what I so very passionately don’t want to see is that behaviour validated. Which is why I don’t want there to be a survey out there claiming to have a open mind for everyone to complete when it is so very strongly biased to the one argument. I don’t want that to be the only answer that goes to Blizzard. I don’t want this survey to say that it “speaks for the WoW community” – my voice is not there, you do not speak for me. And I don’t want legacy servers to be implemented on the back of this behaviour and this attitude. I want proper discussions and grown up conversations about it, and decisions to be made from that. I know, Blizzard aren’t stupid and they’ll be able to see through crap. But also, Blizzard aren’t stupid and if there is potentially an opportunity for money to be made from here then they will probably go for that. Like I said, I would hate for a decision to be made without all sides of the discussion having been explored. There are people out there who are just as passionate about not having legacy servers as there are those supporting them.

What I would like to have seen is a survey written by someone who is not close to either side of the discussion so that all opinions could be captured. This survey doesn’t give people the opportunity to say why they may not want to see legacy servers brought out. This survey simply validates one opinion, and right now it’s the opinion of people who are throwing tantrums. And those are not my people. This survey is not my voice.

 

 

A few weeks back, for a period of 24 hours, WoW was all about the Water Striders. Namely a change that had come through datamining one of the latest Alpha patches that showed in Legion, Water Striders would only perform their trademark water walking ability in the zones of the expansion they were available in. (That meant Azure Water Striders would only work for Pandaria content, and Crimson Water Striders would only work in Draenor).

I had a couple of rants on both of my podcasts that week about these proposed changes, and I was disappointed. It wasn’t that I shouldn’t complain about changes, it’s that I need to realise that sometimes people are listening to what I have to say and perhaps I should look at setting a better example. Don’t get me wrong – this post isn’t an apology. My feelings were real and other peoples’ feelings are also real, and I can’t apologise for that. What has led to this post is the notion that my outburst has contributed to the toxic environment that is currently so loud, and I don’t want that to be the case. I want to encourage thoughtful, constructive, passionate, discussions.

The Rant

Unfortunately the suggested changes were still fresh in my mind when I sat down to record the 2 podcasts I co-host. And whilst I have been disappointed/concerned about other Legion changes proposed, this was the first one that I really felt instantly negative about. Too bad for me that I was recording 2 podcasts that night and the topic came up, and I let my initial feelings be the first thing that was publicly heard. I’m not happy about that. Because what it shows is me displaying the exact type of behaviour that frustrates me to no end from players. Even more frustrating – I didn’t get the opportunity to share my more calm thoughts because the proposed changes were reverted the next day. But that is no excuse.

My reaction was from my gut. It came from a place of having spent an exceptionally long period of time partaking in an activity I’m not a fan of (fishing) to get a mount that I wanted mostly for its utility, and partly for the completionist in me. The frustration was raw. And again, I’m not dismissing feelings here. What I’m annoyed about was that I didn’t take a breath. Instead, I became another instrument in the rant orchestra; something I don’t want to play in.

Think first

I try to avoid the WoW forums, MMO-champ comments, reddit etc. when there are things to discuss, because for the most part, there is no discussion. It’s mostly a cesspool of self important toddlers throwing tantrums and cussing out developers for not doing things “the right way”. It honestly makes me sick. There are ways to disagree with proposed changes without resorting to “you don’t know what you’re doing”, “do you even play Warcraft?”or “you’re useless, go die in a fire.” As I write this, there are threads on the WoW forums complaining relentlessly about class hall portals being available in Dalaran instead of being a personal spell. Now this is Alpha and things are of course likely to change (and often!) We never had those spells. They have not been “taken away” from you. And yet, the riots are happening.

It’s ok to be disappointed or angry about a change you see in the game. It’s understandable  – people don’t particularly like change, so it can be difficult to have an initial reaction other than “oh what now?”. Go ahead – feel that. It’s totally ok! But what I want people to do is to take a deep breath and move away from their computer and go somewhere else until that initial feeling has passed on. The angrier you are, the longer you stay away. And like a rational adult, process why it is you’re feeling that way. Is it really the end of the world that X spell now does Y? Really?!

Blizzard doesn’t change things just for the hell of it. There is always thinking and reasoning behind what they do. Sometimes these changes don’t align with what you have in mind. You know why? Because you’re not the only person playing this game, and that change was not for you. For every change that you feel “breaks the game” are a whole crew of people breathing a sigh of relief that the change was made.

The goal

For myself, I want to do better about broadcasting more considered thoughts rather than the guttural reactions that seem to be everywhere on the forums etc. I want to contribute to thoughtful discussion about the game we all love so much. It’s fine to have a gut reaction, but I don’t want to add to the cacophony of moaning and complaining about every little change Blizzard puts out. I want to present the reasons why I’m having that reaction, and explore options about whether this is something I can just get over, or if it’s something that I feel needs alternatives suggested.

And I would also like to challenge others to do the same. Because whilst you may not care about the Water Striders changes or class hall portal location, chances are that one day there will be something that strikes a nerve with you and you’ll want to react. Go for it, but think before you respond. Remember – there are real actual live people behind every twitter/forum avatar. Blizzard is made up of human beings, and they deserve to be treated with respect (the same way we all do).

You can bitch and moan about changes – everyone is entitled to how they feel about a change. But don’t let that be the only reaction you have. You are capable of many emotions – get past the initial anger/disappointment and do something constructive with it. Post a thought out reply on the forums, tweet a dev, write a blog post, choreograph an interpretive dance – whatever floats your boat!

At the end of the day, Blizzard can do whatever they want. But they cannot please everyone. If you don’t like what Blizzard do to the games you play, that is totally ok – maybe you’re best finding a new game to play that makes you happy.

 

 

P.S – this has been sitting mostly finished in my drafts folder for weeks!! Lazy Cinder!!

 

 

I started writing this when the topic of Epic Battle Stones was still being discussed. Today Blizzard has responded to the feedback and decided not to go ahead with the Epic stones. So my post is probably a little useless.But here I am anyway.

I felt that the discussion around the epic stones was relatively polite and considered. The posts that I had read about this were passionate, yes, but they didn’t attack the devs as being “stupid” or the idea being “a waste of time”which a lot of other posts/changes have generated. It was refreshing to see actual discussion. I have noticed, however, that since a decision was made, people who thought the stones were a good idea are angry.

With that in mind, I’m going to still publish this post about my thoughts on the Epic stones (which is below), but I want to do another one in the near future about the “bitch away the changes” mentality that people seem to have, or seem to think is there in places it may not be.

So without further ado, here’s my thoughts on the future of pet battling…

The Epic Battle Stones discussion

There are arguments for both sides regarding adding Epic stones.

The thing I think that is most important about this “debate” all parties (who are interested in pet battles) would like to see new content added for Pet Battles. I am yet to see a comment from someone saying “don’t change anything! Don’t bring in anything new! Leave it exactly how it is and don’t add new content!”. It’s not there. Everyone who has an interest in pet battling would like to see some additions. With this in mind, Blizzard looked at ways to do this for Legion. One suggestion was to bring in Epic Battle Stones.

Adding Epic Battles stones would bring in another level of quality for pets, giving 5 rarities in total. No word was given on how often or how these stones would drop (i.e. could we farm these a get at least 1 per day? Or would they be super rare?) so it can be a bit difficult to comment in some areas. However, here are my initial thoughts about the stones.

Arguments for the epic stones

Gives pet battlers something to do

Pet battling in general is suffering the same fate as the rest of the game at the moment – that is, people have done most (if not all) they can do with pet battles (or what they are willing to do) and are left with nothing/little else to do with their pets. Many people have collected all of the pets they can from the wild, and some people have even upgraded them all to rare and levelled them all to 25. Which leaves them with nothing to currently do with their pets other than to farm, raise and sell them, which not something everyone enjoys.

Adding in a new level of quality would give people something else to do, even if that is just to grind out a new quality. This has been the general argument for having the stones brought in to the game.

It’s the next natural step

This is true, and is an point Rho argues very well in his recent episode of Realm Maintenance – just like it’s natural for players to have a level increase or gear increase every expansion, it should/could be expected for pets to do the same. Progression is expected in an MMO, and pets should experience that progression too.

I can understand this, and I don’t disagree with the mentality in general. But for battle pets it’s a bit different. In the rest of the game when you get higher level gear for your character, it’s for a purpose – it makes raiding easier, or world PVE easier. Where previously you may have needed a group to kill a rare, you can do it with 1 other person, or even on your own. Also, it looks different, so you can show off your hard earned super leet gear for all to see. There is a payoff for spending the time and energy to get the upgrades.

With pet battles, I query what that benefit would be. It may make your daily tamer battles a little easier, but that’s about it. Unless there was a cosmetic change too, your pets would look the same. So there isn’t an immediate sense that there would be a payoff for the “higher level”. Quintessence made a great point in one of her posts about this:

“It’s not like epic pets will make upgrading to rare any faster; it’s not the same as upgrading your gear, which then makes previous content faster. Epic pets may make trainer battles go a little smoother, but actually upgrading your pets to rare? It’s still a slow process as you collect battlestones and charms and continue hunting for rare quality pets. So there goes our grind to rare, long and now obsolete once epic pets are implemented.” (from “Epic Pet Idea – Epic Pet Slot” by Quintessence)

There is no “end game” benefit to having an epic level pet. The only content that it will make “easier” is pvp pet battles (which not a lot of people do) and the pet trainer dailies (which I feel haven’t been a huge challenge anyway). So the only additional gameplay coming out of this is more grinding with no real benefit at the end of it other than a menagerie of purple pets.

I feel like the whole pet battle system is a bit backwards to MMO gameplay. Where in your MMO you level up by questing in different zones and having a story line then doing raids/dunegons to get your gear, pet battles don’t have that. With pet battles we kind of skip straight to that “boss kill for better gear” mentality by simply finding a pet in the wild, defeating it, and hoping for a better quality drop pet. To argue there should be progression in the pet battles isn’t wrong, but I would argue that perhaps, given pet battling is already a bit backwards, could we look at ways of bringing in “questing” in to pet battles?

Arguments against epic stones

Too much grinding to do/not interesting game play

This is an argument that has people divided – Completionists will feel they must get all their pets to epic, so would be looking at grinding out stones for over 700 pets – ouch! Others argue that you don’t need to do that – just make a few key pets epic and let that be that.

I tend to fall on the “completionist” side of the fence, mostly because I’d be worried that I would upgrade the “wrong” pet. I can avoid that by just upgrading them all!! My bigger concern with this approach is that, which pet battling in general is well suited to players who don’t mind the super long grind, it’s not interesting game play, and perhaps there are better alternatives here. Or perhaps a better reward for the work it would require.

 

Difference between casual and “hardcore” pet battlers will increase

This is actually my biggest concern with having epic stones. For epic stones to be worthwhile, there will need to be pet battles where they are needed for a player to defeat the fight. If someone decides they want to start getting in to pet battles, there is a huge gap there for them that would make it immensely difficult to get involved. It would also be terribly daunting. So I’m concerned that adding this new level of difficulty would be a hindrance to getting more people involved in pet battles.

The flip side to this argument is that this mentality already exists within WoW – there are different levels of raiding suited to the different play styles of players. Some players are casual and would prefer an LFR/Normal level difficulty. Others want to go all out in to Mythic difficulty. So why not a similar approach with pet battles? I don’t disagree, but there would need to be a way for players to play at the level suited to them. At the moment there’s no option to set a difficulty level on a pet battle or a pvp pet battle. I don’t know how difficult that would be to implement, but that could be one way to address this.

 

Alternatives to the epic stones

I don’t disagree that there is a lack of things for pet battlers to do, but I personally don’t feel adding a new level of quality for pets alone is the answer to that problem. If epic level pets are to be brought in to the game, I feel it needs to more than just “here’s a purple pet”. So what are some other options?

Unlock skins/spell effects etc. for the pet

This is purely cosmetic, but could be a lot of fun. I know some pets already have loads of skins available for the various types. So how about unlocking different spell effects? Or how about unlocking a “trick” that your pet could do? e.g. if you have a pet spider out, when you AFK it will start building a web on you. Silly fun things like that.

Unlock a 4th spell slot

This could be complicated, but interesting. The 4th slot could have new abilities, or better yet, lets you choose one of the existing abilities your pet already has. This may change the game a bit too much, but is an interesting idea anyway.

Have a quest line for collecting/battling pets

This is my favourite idea and I hope that it’s something that Blizzard will look at doing at some point down the line. I mentioned above that pet battles work a bit backwards to the normal MMO experience. What’s missing is a story line to go along with collecting pets or completing pet battles.

I’d really love to see an interesting story line where players need to work their way through a series of pet battles in different regions with some “hard bosses”. Hell, maybe we could have a Legendary Pet quest line that means we need to fight a whole bunch of pets and collect tokens and things from them and catch a certain pet to help you on your way so that it can save a legendary pet that you get to keep. It doesn’t even need to be a combat pet – just a super unique, completely awesome and amazing pet. Something that will take some time and creativity in pet choices to get through.

Gives a small buffs

This was a suggestion Rho made on the previously mentioned Realm Maintenance podcast, and it’d definitely my favourite idea that I’ve seen. It’s not to boost raids/dungeons etc, but to give buffs like a small XP boost for example.

Other people have also suggested that it could buff your pet battle team to give extra experience gains, or increase your chance of getting other levelling stones.

 

All in all…

… there are quite a few alternatives available to a simple stat increase for epic pets. Part of me thinks that Blizzard knew this, but made the suggestion on the forums to get people thinking about what they do want for pet battles in general. It’s a great strategy if that’s what they did, because I really think people have come up with some great thoughts.

Can’t wait to see what’s to come in Legion for pets!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regular readers will know that I am a huge fan of the Girls Gone WoW podcast. They have great discussion topics and are fantastic to listen to. For episode 211 EJ and Raven were joined by Leeta to discuss “How alt-friendly is WoW”? It’s a great episode – have a listen here.

There was great input from everyone about what would make WoW more alt-friendly, or what already is alt-friendly in the game, what’s almost there but not quite. But it really got me thinking – why do people create alts in the first place? Answering this question will probably make it easier to figure out how to make WoW more alt-friendly. So I undertook some “research” and asked twitter:

I was overwhelmed (and grateful!!) by all of the responses, and really loved hearing other people’s reasons for having multiple characters. I’ve broken down the general themes of everyone’s thoughts below. (I was going to link to everyone’s tweets, but there are SO many and you guys covered different thoughts in each tweet, so if you would like to see everyone’s tweets, check them out here.)

So let’s get started!

Provide services (i.e. materials/gold etc.) for main character or account as a whole/be self sufficient

This was a pretty common sentiment, and is also one that I share. I have a mentality where I feel that if I can make an item, I don’t want to pay extra for it on the Auction House, so I’ll make it myself. There’s also something very satisfying about making your own gear or enchants or glyphs etc. For me, it adds to the fantasy of the game. I imagine my characters all know and interact with each other in the world to give each other the products and materials each one needs. And this way, I don’t pay any extra to buy what I need. Sometimes I’ll even have extra mats that let me make extras to sell to make gold – win win!

To make gold

This can sometimes tie in with the point above (but often not). Having alts gives you great opportunities to make some extra gold – especially now with Garrisons and Shipyards. There’s a little work involved in getting yourself set up, but once you have everything built, you can sit back and watch the gold pile up. There’s also the gold generation from levelling your toons, as well as the mats they collect and the items they make.

I have one bank alt who has her own guild that I use to make gold. She posts (mostly) transmog pieces and extra pets/bits and pieces my characters pick up. I like having her as the one to look after all the gold – it makes it easier to keep track of what I have, rather than having to switch between a dozen toons trying to remember who sold what on the AH. Works well for me!

Able to play/raid with friends on other servers/in other factions

I think this one is pretty important. There are some limiting factors to WoW that make it impossible in some instances to play the game with your friends. If you play in a different faction to your friends, there is not a lot that you can do in game with them. Also, if you play on US servers, you’re never going to be able to play with those on EU servers. Even more than that – you have to have a completely separate account and subscription to have access to the other region’s servers. Which is how we end up with random alts scattered about – friends are in different places and we want to play with them.

Try out different classes/specs

This one resonates most with me. There is so much more of the game that can be experienced by playing a different class. The most obvious is Death Knights, and Demon Hunters will also have this in Legion. But more than that – if you play a hunter, there’s almost a mini-game in collecting all of the pets and capturing them in different ways, as a mage, getting portal around the world at your leisure, and druids shape shifting at will – taking off  to fly above the world or shifting in to a seal to swim. I makes for a different experience.

Also, just playing the game as a melee dps as opposed to a ranged dps – you see the world and interact with it differently, giving you quite a different experience.

To understand other raid roles/dungeon or raid as a different role

This one links nicely with the previous point, but I felt it deserved its own section because it goes a bit beyond just trying out different classes or specs. Raiding as a healer is a very different experience to raiding as a dps, and different yet again to raiding as a tank. Raiding as a different role can make a tired raid zone feel very new again!

“Leftovers” from previous mains

Ah, the result of changing your mains. I’m guilty of this (though can’t see myself doing it again). When I first started playing WoW I mained a holy paladin and a mage – at the same time. Which is why I switched to Shaman at the end of Mists of Pandaria – so that I could have 1 character who could play the 2 roles I wanted to play most – heals and ranged dps. It means, though, that I have 2 characters, with a decent amount of history and reputation, sitting on the sidelines. They do both tend to be the first “alts” that I level because I have a very soft spot for them!

To have all professions

For the completionists! Having alts lets you have the ability to get all of the professions, which can help with the crafting and the gold making etc. I personally need to do an analysis of which alts have which professions and look at streamlining them a bit. I have 3 toons with alchemy (from the days of specialisations), which I’m not sure is relevant any more. Anyway, the point is, the more alts, the more professions you can have!

To see more of the story in WoW – see the other faction’s story/other races’ stories

Another one I strongly relate to. I have enjoyed seeing Warlords of Draenor through the eyes of both Horde and Alliance – I didn’t really get to do that during Cataclysm or Mists of Pandaria. Especially in Mists, there was content that I will never get to experience because I played Alliance at the start of that. I’ll never see the Horde’s involvement in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms, or Theramore’s Fall (pre-MoP event). Now that I have max level toons in both factions, I’ll make sure I can see both sides of the story.

To farm old content/Multiple chances for mounts and rewards

For those who like to collect things, having alts is almost essential. Mount farmers especially appreciate being able to run [insert current raid/dungeon on farm] on multiple toons, though it’s not limited to mount farming.

Having alts makes it easier to farm old content without impacting on your main. For example, if your main has no bag space at all, it can be very difficult to farm old dungeons/raids/zones because you are constantly having to stop to sell what you pick up. Giant pain in the butt (can you tell I’m speaking from experience here?!) I’m now in the habit of gridning out achievements etc. on alts because they just have the bag space! That and some classes are better suited to farming – I’m glad I’m farming Tol Barad rep on my mage because she can run around casting scorch as she goes, making the process a whole lot faster!

For achievements

There are actually a few achievements in game, especially designed towards having alts, such as Double Agent (for reaching max level on both an Alliance and Horde character) and Master of all (for levelling all primary professions to max level – can only do this if you have alts!)

For something different to do/it’s fun

As you can see from above, there’s actually quite a lot to be gained from the game by having multiple characters. And it IS fun!

Addicted to the game 🙂

Well, aren’t we all?

 

So, there are a lot of reasons to make and play an alt (or 2 or 10!) I really enjoyed hearing other people’s reasons behind creating their alts. Some are more attached to them than others, and that’s ok. It does help shed some light on how Blizzard could make WoW more alt-friendly, too. A step forward is to support these activities here.

 

I do find it fascinating how worked up everyone gets about suggested changes to World of Warcraft. There are so many outraged voices making a lot of noise about how “stupid” the devs are and how this is the final straw and they’re quitting WoW.

Just another day in overreaction city.

So what’s all the drama about? Well, it’s this:

Essentially, on the Legion alpha at the moment, there is a charge being applied for switching specs. I will say upfront – the cost here is mostly irrelevant, which Celestalon has reiterated:

For me, I’d like to discuss whether or not assigning a cost (of some sort) to switching spec is a good change for the game, and what is the real issue Blizzard is trying to combat with this change?

You can skip right to the end for the tldr if you don’t want to read my justification for my opinion.

Disclaimer

As regular readers will know, I play a shaman. I consider my restoration spec my main spec, as this is the one I (usually!) raid with. However, more often than not I am in my dps elemental spec to “survive” being out in the world on a pvp server, to do my dailies, to run old raids/dungeons and to raid with when fights get easier and we need fewer healers. I constantly switch between these two specs. So I do have an initial bias about this topic that I am going to put aside for the moment to try and get to the bottom of what these changes are getting at.

Gold sink vs. stick to one spec

For me, this change points to two possible dilemmas that Blizzard is trying to combat:

  1. there’s too much gold in the game
  2. players are not committing to specs.

These are two very different issues, and right now I don’t feel it’s clear which Blizzard is aiming to combat here. But let’s explore these ideas a bit further.

The gold sink

It’s Rho’s fault I’m writing this, because he got me thinking with this post that he wrote about how this change could be considered a gold sink, and what that meant. This part really struck a point:

rho_goldsink

Read Rho’s whole post at http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1so7d6e

It’s very easy, as someone who’s greatest gold accomplishment was getting to 500k on all her toons just this week, to feel upset about the argument that there’s just “too much gold in the game” and that “players are too rich”. I, for one, don’t see it because I’m not “rich”. But that’s because I only see how much I have. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well aware that there are plenty of people out there who are rolling around in gold like Scrooge McDuck. I see it on the Black Market Auction House all the time, when items hit gold cap within minutes of being released, or players going out and buying whatever mounts they want, or not being affected by price hikes in enchants/gems etc. But I, like everyone else, don’t see the overall numbers and can’t fathom how much of a problem it is for the game. So I have to trust Blizzard on this one.

I don’t like gold sinks. I understand their purpose, but I don’t like it. I feel like there are too many rewards/items associated with the gold-making mini-game. And let’s face it – making gold in WoW is a whole other game in and of itself. If gold-making isn’t something you like to do, there is an awful lot of content in the game that you can miss out on – there are loads of cosmetic items in game that simply cost a bucket load of gold, and if you don’t have that gold, you’re going to have a hard time getting them.

The point is that Blizzard needs to find ways to get players to let go of some of their gold, and perhaps tying it to something many players do often is one way of going about it. But is assigning a gold cost to switching specs a fair gold sink?

Not all classes are created equally

My biggest concern with the proposal to charge to change specs is that it’s not an activity that is spread evenly across the specs. Hybrid classes are definitely getting the raw end of the deal here, as they are more likely to change their specs often (as I have explained for myself above). This isn’t an uncommon activity for hybrids at all, and in some cases it is expected of us to switch our specs based on the needs of the group we are raiding with.

DPS will definitely change their specs as well, but this is not as often as hybrids.

So for this argument, I say that no, this approach is not equally balanced across all classes.

New players

I think my biggest concern with specifically a gold sink being attached to a spec change is how that will impact new players. I’m talking about the shiny, brand new players who will come in to the game because of the movie. They come in to it with nothing – no gold, and also little to no knowledge of the classes/specs available in the game. Because of this they may end up switching specs to “try them out”, which they won’t be able to do if it costs a small fortune. There is the possibility of the cost scaling by level, or the cost only being implemented at a certain level to help alleviate this, but I think saving up for flying feels more satisfying for new players rather than paying to change their spec.

As a slight side note, if it was decided that the cost would be something other than gold, it’s important that this is available to non-max level players. So I don’t feel that it could be attained with valor, conquest etc.

Cost per healer

There is an argument for hybrids in that they could charge for their services. Much the same way mages would charge for others to use their teleports, healers and tanks could take a similar approach and sell their services (and their faster queue times!) on a cost recovery basis. Or at a profit if they so desire. Likely? I’m not sure. I do think this would depend on the cost of switching specs in the end. It could get out of hand, though, but it is an option if the gold cost ends up being a bit high.

So is it about the gold?

Personally, I don’t think this is about a gold sink. There are too many limitations for new players if it is. And honestly, there’s just something yucky about putting a gold cost against game functionality, and I don’t think Blizzard would do that. But I do understand that gold sinks need to exist – there should definitely be some more thought and discussion given to this.

Which leads me to believe it’s not about the gold at all.

All about that spec

I feel that class fantasy and sticking to one spec is what this change is about. “But why would Blizzard want players to stick to one spec?” I hear you say! I asked the same thing of my lovely twitter followers and they said the following:

specs

I think Marie really nails it on the head here with her comment about identifying with one spec. Artifact weapons really emphasise this. Players will need to choose which weapon they are going to focus their energies and time on. And whilst we can get artifacts for the other specs, it will be very time consuming and not quite as strong as your primary artifact.

It’s about the fantasy

It’s pretty clear that class fantasy is high on the priority list for Blizzard in Legion. It was the focus of the first blog posts that came out after Blizzcon, and is reiterated time and time again when talking about class changes. It is really hammered home with Artifacts – each spec has its own specially crafted quest chain to obtain the artifact. It’s allllll about the class fantasy.

It could be argued that if class fantasy is so important, why are there multiple stats available on gear? That allows us to use that gear for multiple specs. So why limit access to the other specs? I suppose the answer here is that they don’t want to take the option to change specs away (if they wanted to do that they would completely lock down classes so that you could only ever play the 1 spec), but by introducing the cost element they want to limit how often it happens.

Having a cost associated with changing spec can reiterate class fantasy. By changing spec you’re changing in to a different mindset, and to emphasise that, it should be acknowledged that this is happening. Having a cast time to switch specs helps with this, as does wiping our resources and having a spell effect like we already do. But perhaps there can be more to it. Adding some sort of cost to this is another step that could make players pause for a moment to actually think about what they’re doing before they do this. Or it might just annoy them.

But class fantasy can’t be ignored. It’s important, it’s a focus for Blizzard and we need to adapt to this.

Why am I being punished all the time?!

So this is where my bias is going to come back in. Like I said above, I switch specs all the time. I don’t want it to cost me *insert price here* every time I do it. It feels like a kick in the gut. It’s already going to be incredibly time consuming for me to get 2 artifact weapons – it’s further punishment to make me pay to change specs. Artifact weapons already limit a player’s ability to play multiple specs – why does there need to be a cost added to it, too?

Another personal gripe is the impact it would have overall on our raid team. As many of you know, I’m already cross about mythic raiding being limited to 20 players (read this and this). Our team is small and rarely has over 15 players. As such, we don’t get to do mythic raiding not because we’re not good enough, but because we just can’t get the numbers. Because of our small team, we also have to do things large teams don’t – we don’t have “benched players” in our team. Everyone who shows up raids because we need the numbers. That means that if a fight requires an additional healer, one of our hybrids switches spec. If we need more dps, generally I’ll switch to ele to fill the gap. We are not the only teams to do this. So who would pay for that? The player who is just trying to help out their team? Or the guild who is already forking out for guild repairs/pots/food and not getting income from leveling members? Again, big kick in the gut for some of us.

Side note – healers can now dps

This, for me, is one of the big things I’d like the opportunity to test in the Legion alpha/beta. A lot of the arguments made about the cost of changing specs could be redundant if healer and tank dps is viable in all aspects of the game. Hybrids won’t need to change spec, so the cost (whatever it may be) doesn’t matter.

It’s a very big ask to get this balance right. I will be honest though, if I can charge through ICC on my ele shaman in no time flat, but it takes half an hour to do on my healer, I don’t care that my healer can dps, I’ll be switching to ele for it. And I don’t think I’m alone in that mindset.

This is a really big topic that I have loads of opinions on, so I’ll save it for another post. But it is worth having in the back of the mind while we discuss this.

Get to the bloody point, Cinder! What is your solution?!

Ok ok this has gone long enough, and you’ve done really well to get here if you have (thank you!)

Based on what we’ve gone through above, here’s what I think:

The ability to switch specs should not be used as a gold sink, as it punishes some players more than others (hybrids will generally switch more often than pure dps classes). Given that artifact weapons will already make it difficult for players to maintain more than one spec, adding another layer of difficulty (by charging) feels like a kick in the gut for those players.

Having said that, I do feel that class fantasy is important, and that some form of acknowledgment when changing a spec could have an impact on a player and make them more “aware” of the fantasy of their class. I feel like this could be achieved by using a Tome of the Clear mind for 50 silver. This is a minimal cost that new players could afford, that can also help players get in to the mindset  and appreciate the class fantasy.

I think the most important part of this change is that players need to feel like they still have the choice to change their spec if they want to.

 

So that’s what I think. What do you think?

Seems like everyone is talking about the fact that players can now purchase Crystallized Fel with valor. Wowhead have done a write about up about this which you can read here: http://www.wowhead.com/news=250679/crystallized-fel-now-available-for-valor-points

Crystallized Fel are used to upgrade the Legendary Ring +3 items levels each time (up to a total ilvl of 795 for your ring). And interestingly, you are able to purchase multiple of these, allowing you to make significant upgrades to your ring each week. i.e. if you earn maximum valor each week, you will be able to purchase 7 upgrades every 2 weeks (the wowhead article shows you the maths!)

Initially, I was excited about this. I raided as healer so I always upgraded the healing ring, which meant that my dps ring has been neglected. This way, I now have the option of upgrading that ring, too. Excellent news for dual spec players! And I get get multiple rings

But then I got to thinking about it. Why are Blizzard doing this? What’s the motivation? And what are the consequences going to be?

Nerf?

My first thought has been whether or not this is a “nerf” of sorts by giving players stronger gear. Maybe some groups are still struggling to get the Heroic Archimonde kill for the moose, and these upgrades are an attempt to help people in that situation. (Especially given you can upgrade multiple times a week).

It’s an interesting thought. It’s not uncommon for there to be nerfs made to the raid content, especially towards the end of the expansion. This option will give a bit more of a nerf without having to change the difficulty of the fights themselves which isn’t so “insulting”. I’m just curious about whether or not this is needed? Are teams still struggling with Heroic Archimonde? (Genuine question – I’m not trying to be a smart ass.) I suppose outside of the moose, there are teams still raiding just for fun who may have hit a brick wall in their progression, so these upgrades may be that extra little push they need.

Get more people in to end game content

My next thought was perhaps this was a way to get people more involved in end game content. As wowhead points out, you can make 4875 valor per week by running all of the end game content – Hellfire raids (LFR included), Heroic dungeons, Mythic dungeons and completing the weekly bonus quest. Maybe this is a way to get more people involved in those activities.

But is an upgrade to your legendary ring enough of a motivation to run all of that content? Probably not. People who weren’t motivated by valor upgrades to gear are unlikely to be moved to upgrade their rings. I personally haven’t given 2 hoots about actively farming valor and upgrading my gear. And whilst upgrading my Legendary Ring would be nice, it’s not a priority for me. I’d much rather run the end game content for my alts who still need to get their rings and who need gear. Running all of that content (where no gear is an upgrade for me) just for +3 on one item honestly doesn’t appeal to me.

What does this mean for guild runs?

Crystallized Fel only drop from Archimonde on a Normal or higher difficulty level raid. i.e. anything but LFR. Which means that until now, an organised raid team has been required to get the Fel. In addition, we were limited to 1 per week. With the new system you can get at least 3 Fel per week without having to step foot in to a normal+ raid. If you and your raid team were at the point of just farming HFC for ring upgrades, will this system replace that and cause the team to stop raiding?

Or has the collapsing of guild teams contributed to this decision? There are a lot of guilds not raiding at the moment because of end of expasion burn out. At least this way, if your guild team has fallen apart/taken a break you can still get better gear without them, which is nice.  It makes me sad, though, if this is the case.

Why?

I can’t help but still come away from this asking ‘why’ it’s been done. I’m not saying it’s a good or bad move, I’m just curious about the motivation behind it. I know of some people who will be very happy at being able to get some better gear without having to focus on difficult raid content, and I am really happy for them! I also know some people who will be disappointed with the decision and see it as a bit of an insult to those who raid harder content for better gear.

Either way, the option is there. Will you be farming valor for ring upgrades? And why do you think Blizzard did this?

 

NOTE: THERE ARE NO LEGION SPOILERS IN THIS POST! 

It’s taken me a little while to write this post for a few reasons. The main one being that I’ve been quite cross. I wanted to write this post with a clear head, but it has definitely taken a little for it to clear.

So. Here we are.

Last week the Legion alpha started showing up, and a couple of days later that invitations were sent out to the usual suspects to try out the Demon Hunter starting area. As expected, the datamining started immediately. And so did the trolling.

The community seems to fall in to one of three categories:

  1. Those who do not want to hear or see anything at all about the new expansion until the day it is released.
  2. Those who don’t mind either way.
  3. Those who want to know what is going to happen and actively seek out spoilers.

I fall in to category 1. I don’t want spoilers. The whole point of an MMORPG for me is that is has an immersive story that you are a part of and that you play out (with story is the key word here). I like to learn about what’s happening in the world of Azeroth on my own. I want the gasping moment of realisation when something exciting happens; the tears when someone dies and the elation when an enemy is defeated.

Many other people do not feel this way. they fall in to category 3 and want to know what’s happening now. Which they are entitled to. What they are not entitled to is disrespecting those  who don’t want to know what’s going to happen until they’re actually playing it. What’s not ok is posting story spoilers on social sites or in trade chat in game where anyone can see them, regardless of whether or not they want to. What’s not ok is being a trolling dick.

This is not ok: (there are old school Star Wars spoilers in the below clip, so don’t watch it if you’ve never seen a Stars Wars movie and plan to one day)

Some people (like Homer) do it by accident out of ignorance. Other people do it on purpose. And it’s not cool.

What do I do?

So here’s the dilemma. Many of the people who deliberately post spoilers take on the argument “stay off social media and websites if you don’t want to be spoiled” to which I say “screw you, buddy”. I’m not the problem here – your shitty behaviour is. Wowhead and mmo-champion have big buttons for me to press if I want to see a spoiler. If I don’t want to see it, I don’t. But when you post these in public spaces, you are taking my choices away.

It’s just not realistic to expect someone to stay off twitter or facebook or out of trade chat for months at a time. And why should I live in an isolated bubble because of someone else’s poor behaviour? Sure, there’s the option of blocking/unfollowing people who do post spoilers, but you’ll need to see the spoilers to know to block them, so you’re getting screwed anyway.

I’ve been pretty lucky to have not seen any spoilers in my twitter feed. (Thank you lovely twitter followers!) But others aren’t so lucky.

So you now have a choice. You can bury your head in the sand and set yourself up in a cave in the hopes of avoiding any spoilers; you can shrug it off and say “what will be, will be”; you can get angry about being spoiled, or; you can get spoiled on your own terms.

Or you could do this:

For trolls, one of the biggest highs they get (and the reason they keep trolling) is because of the reaction they get. The bigger the reaction (the angrier/more upset you get) the more they do it. They feed off those reactions. So I made a conscious decision that I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction.

Getting spoiled on your own terms

I had to make a decision. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to stay off social media etc. until Legion came out (and to be quite frank, I’m offended by the notion – it’s blatant victim blaming “well you shouldn’t have been in that place at that time anyway”). I also knew that the chances of me staying spoiler free were slim to none (the server I’m on is terrible for that sort of behaviour). I came to the conclusion that if I was going to get spoiled by trolls, that I wouldn’t give them the satisfaction of them getting a reaction out of me. So earlier this week I told my boyfriend what I planned to do, and very quietly went in to our room with my iPad and read the spoilers. And that was that.

My boyfriend has not read all the spoilers. He unfortunately has had some part of the story spoiled for him thanks to some leaky tweets, but he’s still trying to avoid the rest as best as possible. I will not tell him what I know. And I will not tell you what I know. Which is why I’m doing this post. I wanted to give you some food for thought about spoilers to help you make your own decision about how you want to handle them. If you fall in to categories 2 and 3 above, you don’t really have a problem here. If, like me, you fall in to category 1, you’ve got some decisions to make the main decision being how you want to handle yourself if you do end up getting spoiled.

My spoiler policy

Alternative Chat (as usual) had some good advice and suggested everyone make a spoiler policy for their blogs. So you can read my spoiler policy right here. This will let you know what I will and won’t be posting on my blog over the coming months.

 

 

I’m angry. And probably not for the reasons you think.

There are less than 8 hours until the opening ceremony of Blizzcon, and there have been two pretty big leaks – one about Overwatch and one about World of Warcraft. And I am PISSED.

I’m not angry about the content of the leaks (though I do have reasons to be annoyed by both). No, I’m annoyed that the leaks happened. I am annoyed that people feel they have the right to spoil the hard work that Blizzard have put in to their games by taking away their shining moment. Particularly regarding the Overwatch leak, which included a release date/timeframe. It makes me livid. That was Blizzard’s news to tell. They are the ones who have been working their asses off for years on this. They are the ones who have put their hearts and souls in to this game, so it was them who should have been able to make the announcements. It’s like when you’re questing, and you have to collect an object, but there are 10 mobs around the object that you need to kill before you can get it. The people who leaked these announcements are those assholes who come along and click that object while you’re still killing the mobs that were protecting it. NO-ONE THINKS YOU’RE CLEVER! You’re just an asshole. Fuck you if you do that, and fuck the people who leaked that news. Real people worked their asses off and would have been really excited to make those announcements, and you took that away from them.

Yes, I’m really mad.

People are arguing that the WoW leak is their own fault – Blizzard uploaded an image making it publicly available. But I disagree – the image wasn’t actually published on any of their sites. You couldn’t go on to the Legion website and see the image – someone went out of their way to find information that wasn’t theirs to share, just so they could shout “first!”. I don’t care what the content says, it was a dick move.

The Overwatch news has apparently been confirmed (though at the time of posting this there wasn’t anything official on their sites). The WoW leak (I refuse to call it news) has not been confirmed, and the image has been taken down. It was up for quite a long time before it was removed. You know what I’m hoping? I’m hoping it was deliberate. I’m hoping that Blizzard put the WoW picture up on purpose so that tomorrow during the WoW Legion discussion panels, they can say “haha fooled you! It’s actually coming out *insert date here*. Don’t believe everything you see.” That’s what I’m hoping for.

There’s a longer discussion to be had about the value of datamining as a whole, but that’s a discussion for a time that I’m not livid.

If nothing else, I implore you to read my last post about keeping expectations in check, and I suggest you add “don’t believe it until Blizzard formally says it” to the last as well.

/gets off soapbox

Blizzcon is this weekend, and the hype train is speeding along. I, like most fellow WoW players, are hanging out for any news about Legion. I’m pretty sure the one question everyone wants to have answered is “when will Legion be released?”. It’s a fair question – people are excited about the game and they want to play it. But then we start getting in to people wanting to hear what is going to happen with their class or their spec or all manner of very specific information, which is all well and good, but this is where the problems begin. Expectations about what is going to be presented during Blizzcon tend to get out of hand. It was true for the Legion announcement, and any other presentation Blizzard has done in the past. People hype themselves up so much that it almost doesn’t matter what Blizzard says – expectations are so high that they are never going to be met. Blizzard make announcements about things coming up, and while a lot of people are excited with the news, others get angry that their specific question didn’t get answered or talked about. The way people get angry and the way people behave towards Blizzard and other players is far too negative and offensive, and it has to stop. One of the easiest ways to stop this behaviour is to keep it real – remember what Blizzcon is for and set your expectations accordingly.

Blizzard doesn’t owe you anything

I can’t stress this enough. There is a very toxic mentality that exists in the community that makes people believe that because they pay for a product, they “own” the people who make it, or have expectations of the people who develop the product that are outside of what the product is for. WRONG. Blizzard doesn’t work for us – they develop a product that we purchase and use. It’s the same as purchasing a pair of jeans – you purchase then, wear them, enjoy the, and potentially buy another pair when a new design comes out. Just because you bought the pair of jeans doesn’t mean you “own” the designers of the jeans or the machinists who sew them together or the store in which you purchased them from. The jeans are a product for you to purchase and use. You shouldn’t expect to be involved in every step of the jeans’ creation. You may get a behind the scenes look at how your jeans were produced, or you might even get a sneak peak at a new design coming out in the future, but you are lucky if you do.

It’s the same with Blizzard and their announcements. As consumers of Blizzard games, we are not entitled to anything more than what Blizzard chooses to share with us. It’s as simple as that. At the end of the day people need to remember that Blizzcon is a marketing exercise. It’s to promote their games, the things they’re developing and to sell some stuff. It isn’t actually about telling you everything you want to hear – that stuff will come later. Blizzcon is the fuel that keeps the hype train running. It’s designed to show off products.

What works best from a marketing perspective is to show the content that is going to be relevant to the most people. And that means hearing about new zones, levelling experiences, story, raids, dungeons, new classes, how the new pvp system is going to work etc. It doesn’t include things like going in to finite detail about how restoration shamans are going to change in the next expansion to be the most kick ass healers in game (*ahem*!) – or any other class for that matter (other than Demon Hunters, because they are new). If you expect to hear loads of specific information about how your class is going to change in Legion, then you’re probably going to be very disappointed.

Keep your expectations realistic

It’s hard because we’re all so excited and we want to know what’s coming. It’s like waiting for Christmas – you know you’re going to get some awesome presents, but having to wait to open them is a killer! Blizzard hypes us up, and we hype each other up, and all we’re doing is setting ourselves up for heartbreak.

So here are a couple of reminders about what to expect from Blizzcon:

There is a limited amount of time to speak- not everything will be covered

I’ve touched on this above, but it is worth reiterating. Because there is a limited amount of time to present, the most important content to the whole audience is going to be presented. This means that you might not hear anything about your class at all. Keep in mind, though, that your class is being worked on, and there will be information about it in other spaces, such as on the WoW forums or future interviews that are better suited to sharing this information. Blizzcon isn’t always the best place to talk about class changes, especially when they’re not set in stone. So please don’t expect to hear a lot about them (if anything).

Not everything shown will make it in to the final version of the game

This happens every year – things will be announced that don’t end up making it in to the final version of the game (e.g. ability to have your garrison wherever you want).

Having said this, the way Blizzard have been keeping Legion information close to their chest indicates to me that what they do share publicly is more likely to make it in to the live game. They have learned their lessons about showing content that doesn’t end up happening – they have seen the wrath, and they want to avoid it.

Still, for the sake of keeping expectations at realistic levels, don’t expect everything shown to make it in to the game.

Don’t make any rash decisions based on what’s presented.

This links in to the above point about not all content making it in to the game. I think it’s safe to say that there will be at least a bit of discussion about the new pvp system that’s due to come out with Legion. What would be very dangerous would be if, upon hearing the pvp changes and not liking them, a person decided to quit pvp entirely and delete their toons, only to have some of the pvp changes reverted. It might sound drastic, but I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility to think someone would delete a toon over game changes, given how many people made rash decisions because of the flying situation.

Wait to see what gets released, then make a decision.

Don’t expect a release date to be announced

This one makes me sad, too, but I think it’s safer for all of our hearts if we just acknowledge that it is highly unlikely that we will get a Legion announcement date this weekend. The game isn’t in public beta yet, so there is still a lot of testing that needs to be done before they can release. So don’t hold you breath for this one (as much as we would like it!)

Keep an open mind

Some announcements might have you scratching your head – others you might immediately think “well that’s going to be crap”. Stop. Take a breath and look again. Is what’s happening directed at you? Or is it for a different type of player to yourself? Some changes might sound drastic (e.g. bringing back valor upgrades) but in reality, may only end up impacting a handful of people that may not actually be you.

Even if the change is directed at you, it’s not all doom and gloom. Unless you’ve had a chance to play out the change – to see it in action – you’re making uneducated assumptions, and that doesn’t help anyone. Keep an open mind, give it a chance and if you’re still unhappy, explain why.

Be kind

If you don’t hear what you want to hear during Blizzcon, it’s ok to be disappointed, and it’s ok to express that disappointment. It’s not ok to take that as an opportunity to rant and rave that Blizzard are useless/ out of touch with players / don’t know what they’re doing / are assholes etc. If you walk away from Blizzcon saying “all of that was shit” then I would like to kindly ask you to leave the community.

There is a vast difference between commenting on announcements in a constructive manner (that may not always be positive) and standing on a soapbox announcing everything is shit because you say it is. Let’s make this a positive experience and try to see how what’s announced benefits the game as a whole.

The latest Extended Maintenance podcast touches on a lot of this, as well as other community based discussion that is definitely worth a listen.

Have fun!

I don’t want this post to be seen as negative – I just want people to keep their expectations at a reasonable level for Blizzcon to avoid disappointment. And I want people to be kinder to each other.

Those of you who are going to Blizzcon, have an AMAZING time!

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