Log in

No account? Create an account

The Ent Has Marched.

I've found a new home. The comforts of the forest at Wordpress. You can now find my burblings here:


All welcome!

The March of the Ent

I have decided.

I will be moving this blog. I'm looking at new homes for it, Blogger and Wordpress seem to be the most popular, and relatively user friendly. (See, I did take note!)

So, if anyone would like to sway me in this decision, sway away!

Drama llamas, tea, cake and love.

I had an email every GM dreads seeing today.

"***has been hacked. Just had a lazy look at the guild bank and .. well .. two of her characters emptied it 15 hours ago"

I shot straight into game, figuring that my dearly beloved would forgive me for not having his dinner ready when he got in from work, and was instantly grabbed by Rem, who'd sent me the mail. I texted the member in question, and left a phone message too, as they're now very much a real life friend too, and none of us wanted them to come home to a nasty surprise.

And then I opened a ticket to the Blizzard GMs, explaining that one of our members had been hacked and that the guild bank had been emptied. I gave them the name of the characters that had done it, and figured it would take a long time. I didn't expect to see that member online this evening.

I get a whisper by a potential new recruit, who's been in touch with me before, and wanted another chat....and suddenly, ping. One GM asking me if I could talk. I made my excuses, left the recruit in the capable hands of Rem, and opened the GM window. It wasn't a long chat, they said they'd make sure the items would be sent back to the bank via me in the next few days and they'd look into what had happened. Then they asked me if there was anythiing more they could do.

"Unless it's tea and chocolate cake, no, I don't think so."

A pause.

Suddenly the GM appears in front of me, opens a trade window and passes me 3 Garden Green Teas and 3 slices of chocolate cake.

Utter win!

The GMs in WoW really do have a wonderful sense of humour.

So...back to the game and a little later, the member came on line. Eeek, thought I, and gave her a quick phone call. It was fine, it was her. And she'd gotten all her items back. In the space of time that it had taken us to report it and her to return home.  A little later I noticed a mail from customer support. Technically it wasn't one. It was a whole stack of mail, returning all the items.

The GMs in WoW were certainly on the ball tonight. I cannot say enough good things about them.

I'm also very glad that it happened now rather than a lot later in game. We're still learning, we're still setting up. We're still somewhat Idealistic Fools in many ways, but we're Idealistic Fools who are working together and forging something good! And it taught me a lot about being a GM. I was terrified for a long time about something like this happening, but yet, when it did, I accepted it, with little panic, and everything fell into place, and worked out. Should it - heavens forbid - happen again, I'll be prepared to deal with it. I've already set up a section on the forum concerning account security.

The other drama is that we appear to have lost one of our members. I'm sad about this, because their time with us has taught us a lot, and they are very much a part of our little family - yes, I consider the guild a home, a family, and while that caring may be my weakness, I hope to Elune it will prove a strength to the guild. No Gevlon here. I love the guild, I love the members, every one of them. And I'm sorry to see one of them go. I can understand their reasoning, and I appreciate it. And if we're not right for them, then we're not. But I've also left them with an open door and hopes that they'll keep in touch. I think it's the least we can do.

And now I shall sign off, and sleep like a log....except..no...I logged out in Boomkin form....Ah well, I'll just have to sleep like a big fat butted feathery thing instead!

The Ineffable Law of Sod

We all know this one. You know, the one with the toast, the butter and the carpet? If you're really unlucky, it'll be marmalade, and the cat, and you're already late for work? Yeah, that one.

I normally like the Law of Sod. I've even utilised it, by buying an upgrade to tempt a bigger upgrade to drop. It works. As a healer, I'm an avid believer in both LoS (line of sight) and LoS (Law of Sod). As a boomchicken however, I don't believe in it, because, as Mr Pratchett would say, that'd be like believing in the postman. I don't need to believe in something that comes up to my nose, bites it and then repeatedly rubs salt, mud and excrement in it.

Yes. You've guessed it. I am referring to Eclipse. It's a great talent, and an absolute must as far as I'm concerned when it comes to DPS.....I love the mechanics of the lunar/solar eclipse. I love having to be on the ball and switch as soon as it procs. I don't run an addon for it, because I'm pretty well attuned to it. But....like anything that I love deeply, it has the potential to irritate the crap out of  me. How? It's simple. It's a spawn of the God of the Law of Sod. It sits at his right hand and points and laughs whenever it sees me swap my talent tree to dps.

We go into a trash mob fight. Normal rotation....yadahyadah. I'm spamming the wrath, then bang....my eclipse procs....I tab to the next target (except in the snake room, NEVER tab in the snake room...) to find there isn't one.....Yes. It's the end of the fight. Poo, say I. We carry on. This pattern repeats itself, delighting in proc after proc after proc, always at the end of the fight....

.....and then we reach the boss fight. And guess what? Not a single bloody proc for the first 20 seconds.....And then...it procs. Just as I have to shift, and do the dance out of bad stuff on the floor, and that takes just long enough for it to wear off...so I try again. And yep, there it goes again, just as DBM is yelling at me to run away little girl.....

This wouldn't be quite as bad if the bloody thing then didn't proc right at the very end of the battle, just as the big bad is toppling over.

I swear it's an art form. I could predict that the boss would stun, breath fire, crap on the floor, incapacitate, do whatever it does to cause mayhem....simply by the timing of my eclipse. It's better than DBM. And get this? It's NOT JUST ME! I see it happening to my fellow guildy boomkins too....

Although, having said that, my distress regarding the LoS wasn't as great as one of my fellow guildies recently. The poor bugger had just bought an expensive enchant for their weapon.....then an upgrade to that weapon dropped......so he sorted out another enchant.....and then....yet another dropped, hence another. All in the same evening. Poor guy was broke by the end of his run of luck....

The God of the Law of Sod is harsh. But I do sometimes wonder whether he's got any openings for wannabe novitiates, and if they get special deals on their procs, if he does.....
Apologies to those friends who may have already read this first part, I searched back on my personal journal to use this piece. Lazy blogger, I know, slap me later.)

"When I was a very little girl, I suffered from having to sit at the front of the class, simply so I could see the blackboard. The teachers knew I wasn't stupid, and expected the level of work that I gave. Sometimes I struggled. In Welsh classes for example - it was enough to put me off learning it for life, although I'm now a little sad about this fact. Mostly, though, it wasn't a problem. In fact, aside from my grandmother insisting I shouldn't do this because of my eyes-and that didn't kick in until I was about 7-8, I didn't know any better. Ignorance really was bliss.

The house we lived in had a seemingly long garden, which backed onto a private hospital and nursing home, and was separated from such by a high wall and tall trees. I remember the sycamore trees very well, We used to have to uproot the numerous sycamore saplings each year. Sometimes they were replanted elsewhere. I remember the garden clearly too. It had a path, a lawn, roses that smelt as roses should, and their petals were burgandy velvet. It had a crumbling dry stone wall to the one side, a haven for spiders and woodlice, and snails, minute cave systems for the imagination. There was a bird table too, I think my father had made it, always adorned with strings of peanuts and breadcrumbs and water, and we used to watch it in winter. A siskin landed there once, and my mother was quite delighted. A blackbird would perch on one of the tall trees at the end of the garden and sing to its heart's content. The quince tree housed spider webs and the concrete edges to the path were the boundaries of ant kingdoms. It was an imaginative child's paradise.

When I was eight, I was prescribed my first ever pair of glasses. Plastic pink NHS glasses, vile ones when I think back to it. I remember how strange my eyes felt when I tried them on. The clearest memory I have of them, and one that will always stay with me, was that of putting them on, and looking out of the kitchen window and down the garden. I could see, quite clearly, the leaves on the trees. For the first time. I knew they were there, obviously, but to actually look at the trees from the house and see the leaves clearly....that was something else again.

I lost my ignorance. A whole new world opened up to me, and I saw things in ways I'd not seen them before. For a while I wandered around my little world, lost, oblivious to all except the new experiences, the new messages that my optic nerves were sending to my brain. It was good."

I was inspired to write that entry in my personal blog after some serious pc and monitor upgrading. I was still playing LotRO at the time, on a 15 inch monitor, and was suffering the sort of stop start lag in 24 man raids that would have impressed Ray Harryhausen even in the lowest of the low resolutions with every single setting that could possibly be adjusted turned down. Rem apologised to me when he realised exactly what I'd been working with, he'd not realised I was limited by the hardware -  the fact that I'd done so much with that sort of handicap shocked him! And it tells me that it's still possible to play well, even when your equipment is naff....

So why did this inspire my recollection? Quite simply, LotRO is a beautiful game aesthetically. I mean, not just beautiful, but exquisite. I've spent evenings simply taking in the scenery, I bought a character house simply for the astoundingly beautiful view.

And that was on low res.

Then I got the upgrade. I played on the highest resolution - and bang. I was suddenly back to being eight, standing in the back garden, seeing the leaves properly for the first time. For the next few weeks, I rode around Middle Earth oohing and ahhing, and frothing at every little detail. We revisited the places we'd already visited, I saw the Balrog in its full fiery glory for the first time,  everything was new and shiny. Rem kept laughing at our reactions (Colt had also upgraded his, and was experiencing a similar effect).

It was the same game. But it was the same game refreshed and vibrant and I fell in love with it all over again.

So, you may ask, what inspired this post about an inspired post? Fair question....

It was watching people discover the delights of playing Alliance and their reactions to the details they'd not seen previously. Details they'd been unable to see due to playing Horde. Details others had missed out on by being hardcore. And that made me think about my own little baby Hordie, and how I'd been running around in Orgrimmar, oohing and wowing. It made me think....

I guess sometimes all it needs is someone to hand you a metaphorical pair of NHS glasses. And then you get to see an entirely new garden.

You remind me of the babe....

What babe? The babe with the power. What power? The power of Voodoo...Who do? Yes. Blatent Labyrinth quote. Do I care? Hell no, I loved that film. Still do.

I've been converted. Not to Voodoo, although if you ask me nicely, I could sing some songs in Kreyol at you - it's a long story, but it involved helping to raise funds for  Haiti earthquake relief, so all good, and no pins in dolls, honestly! 

No, it's VuhDo. I finally decided to get myself sorted with a decent addon - and it was the one that appealed. That and Rem had tried and tested it,and found it not too bulky. So...got it downloaded, set up (which took a little configuring, but it's relatively straightforward) and away I went. And I love it.

VuhDo seems to be slowly gaining a loyal base. I've noticed a lot of people talk about Healbot, or Grid+Clique, but when people have mentioned VuhDo, they're very positive about it. I've not tried the others. I'm still a noob when it comes to addons, even though they don't scare me as much these days.

But one very important thing occurred to me, something that made me feel satisfied at choosing it over the others. And it wasn't the performance that sold me initially....It was something else completely. I realised that as I was replying to a comment about in a community here, somewhat tersely. Someone who didn't use VuhDo had commented about it, something along the lines of wtf's up with the name. So I pointed out what was indeed up with the name, and finished with a "respect to the man".

In my book, someone who names a healing addon like this after their girlfriend's shaman deserves respect.

To be fair I had a reply to my terse comment, and they were quite "ah, yes, I'd be flattered". But it got me thinking. When I first read why VuhDo was named so, something got me. I appreciated the thought behind it, the care. Yes. I'm a soppy romantic at heart. But there's also a practical side telling me that if this addon's been named after someone they care about, then this addon will be cared about in turn.

Ah well. The big downside of VuhDo?  I now notice my need for more haste on my tree. My heals simply feel too slow......

Enthusiastic thoughts.

Last night, for the first time, our little guild (with the help of three others, a veteran, and husband of one of our guildies, and two rl friends) held an impromptu raid and finished Naxxramas 10. I was immensely proud of us all. Yes. It was "only" Naxx, yes we're all pretty much overgeared for it, and for many out there it won't signify a damned thing, I suspect they'd even laugh at us for the delight and pride we took in it.

I wonder if those same people can remember the very first raid they went on, while they're busy farming the same ICC content over and over again...because that's "what you do".

After the raid, we spent some time on a couple of heroics, and Rem and I chatted a while. When Enthusiasm was born, it was born with a number of ideals. And those ideals seem to be appealing to a number of people. Last night, for example, one of our new members commented that it was a lovely atmosphere, there was no raid rage, and we were laidback about it. That made me smile. You see, for me, this is what raiding should be about, it should be fun. Don't get me wrong - when it came to the fights, we were working well, everything was going into it. We took down the Four Horsemen on our very second attempt. We wiped our feet on Sapphiron's corpse first time, and likewise for Kel'Thuzad. We were a damned fine team, and I was proud to be part of it. And pleased that this little guild was able to give people that atmosphere and that fun.

And I'm constantly surprised at the reception to our recruitment posts, our ideals. Ideals that were born out of previous raiding experiences, fears of what the raiding could become for us if we'd let it. Rem, Colt and I are all very passionate about raiding, we love the challenge. We love going that little bit further each time, pushing ourselves, reaching out and taking on the challenges. And this is where my own personal fears crept in. I know I can be good. But I'm always a little worried that I might not be good enough for an elite hardcore guild, or that if I was then HAVING to attend 5 days raiding straight, being top of the game all the time, would burn me out. However, none of us wanted to be part of a guild with sloppy don't care attitudes to raids either. We wanted somewhere that could provide us some serious end game content, but with a relaxed and mature feel to it, that allowed us to learn as we go, to explore content, and to have fun.

Rem and I discussed the possibility of our setting up a guild. We were both a bit concerned about it, we've all three got raiding experience, but not in WoW. Why would people come to us? But we figured we'd give it a shot, that there was nothing to lose. We were both a bit tense about starting with content that most other people had seen, and that people wanted gear from ToC, ICC and that's what we SHOULD be doing.

So we posted in forums, and gently spammed channels. And people joined. People like us. We clicked instantly. And then Rem wrote a most empassioned and eloquent recruitment post.

The feedback from that post has been wonderful. People telling us that they love our ideas. People transferring faction and server because they like our outlook, our approach. And it's turning our WoW dream into reality.

It's both wonderful and scary. Wonderful because there are more than just three like minded people out there and we can group up with them and have great fun. And scary because it feels like we're offering something refreshing. We're standing up in our own little corner saying "We're going to do it OUR way" when everyone else is go-go-going to ToC and ICC as soon as they've got halfway decent gear.....

But I don't care. I'd sooner have a home in WoW with lots of space for friends and friends in potentia and wait that little bit longer for my gear than follow the current trend.

And for those that do, if you want to pull up a seat, and feel a little laid back, but still Enthusiastic? The door's always open!
I was inspired last night, I woke up at about 3am, with the name for a new character in my head. It had a purpose, it had a destination. I was going to rebirth my level 5 troll hunter on a different server, and indeed do a thing.....

Inspiration had come from a post a while ago, about the poor unfortunately named Kumquat - it still makes me laugh even now. My little 5th level happened to be called Twanga. Suddenly it became clear. Somewhere in the naming fashion of trolls, fruits were IN. Like we had a huge splurge of Kylies, and Chardonnays etc, I couldn't see why fruity names weren't a season's Big Thing. And thus Twangerine came into being.

Sadly no goblins are available yet, otherwise I'd have persuaded the husband to take Grape...

I spent the very latter part of tonight online with Single Abstract Noun. It was good. I felt shy earlier today, but by the end of this evening, I found it a comfortable place, a friendly place, and one to which I will return with pleasure. It's a place that - to steal from Larisa - I can kick off my shoes and stretch my trollish toes and be an orange haired troll lass who has already managed to run out of arrows mid fight.

Then there is Enthusiasm. It's growing. The ideas behind it are solid. People are appreciative of it, and I'm happy about that. I was terrified that folks wouldn't want to run the old stuff, or take things easy. But they do.

We've had people joining bit by bit over the last couple of weeks. Tonight we invited someone who'd changed faction and server for us - because they liked what we wanted to do. That almost made me cry. We're not there yet. We've still got a long way to go. But heavens, we're much, much closer to our vision than we were a couple of months ago.

It's wonderful watching both these guilds grow.

So.....*raises a glass to ideals and seeing them work*

Recently, the Times Online published an article about women gamers. Specifically women gamers in WoW. It contained some pretty impressive stats regarding the number of women players in the game:

Online role-playing might seem niche but the reality is that games like WoW are big business and female gamers matter. A Nielsen report published in 2009 found that women aged 25 and older make up the largest block of gamers in the United States, accounting for 54.6 per cent of all game play minutes in December 2008. For WoW, the male/female ratio is fairly balanced, with 428,621 women between 25 and 54 playing in December 2008 versus 675,713 men in the same age group.Another report suggests that in Britain women make up 48 per cent of total gamers who play online once a week.

What astounds me about these figures is that there is so little aimed at us women in the actual gamers' geeky world. I STILL feel like I'm part of a minority.

What astounds me even more is that NEVER can an article like this be written, without the inevitable dross of about how so and so found love and it's all hearts and roses blah blah blah....turning our hobby into something that sounds like clubbing mixed with the WI and Mills & Boon, and that it's sooooo.....different being a girl gamer. Bollocks it is. The figures speak for themselves. For me the tone of this piece is just far too saccharine and patronising. The journalist thinks they're taking a readable angle on it, while those that will happily read it no doubt think "Oh, geek girls meeting geek boys, how sweet." or "Wierdos, the lot of them." While those of us who play are thinking "FFS, can't you be more innovative or take a new angle on this, for crying out loud?"

Give us facts, give us fun tales, lose the "feminist" angles, lose the "we found true love" angles, concentrate instead on why people - and I mean PEOPLE - irrespective of whether we have a peg or a hole - play. But be inventive. Please, please don't come out with that whole "love" angle yet again...or Frenzied Druid will become even more frenzied......
Having packed the green haired gnome mage off to work with the bacon sandwich sort of sustenance that little green haired gnome mages need (thank heavens I maxxed out in cooking - but I really do wonder sometimes where he gets all this pork from), I'm not quite tired enough to go to back to bed.

So here I am cruising through blogs and forums, and am plucking up courage to install a couple of different addons - Vuhdo and oh gods, goodbye X-Perl, hellow Shadowed Unit Frames - when I come across Grey Matter Raiding 101. I've currently got the Icewalker enchant on my Boomchicken boots. I think I may be looking at my hit cap level and swapping to Tuskar's Vitality. I'm curious. I want to find out how it feels. I suspect I'll prefer it.....I certainly like the argument for it. I don't need it in Tree form, I've got several heals I can cast on the move, but with the Moonfire glyphed for more DoT capacity, my insta-spells on the bird aren't uber. And every little helps....

Right. Enough procrastination. Now to those pesky addons......