Astute readers will have noticed a distinct lack of activity here in the past few weeks. The answer is simple: network access is minimal at best. Grimmtooth Actual is in the process of moving to new digs … network’s on at the new place, but our FIOS contract at the current apartment is up, so what access there is, is via the cell phone hotspot, which is not all that useful for WoW-ing. Four to six weeks, we’ll be back in the groove again.
Life marches on. Eff the Ineffable has been stalled on the first tier of raiding; a solid block of people don’t have the patience to let us get execution down on, say, Elegon and thus have simply stopped showing up. I Joined Eff the Ineffable because a bunch of my friends where there. They moved on, and I stayed for the raiding. Now that that’s not happening, I’ve decided to move on to a new server somewhere to hang with some friends again2. We might raid, too, but maybe that’s not so important to me anymore. More on that when it happens.
Jasra’s guild, the Vorpal Bunnies, managed to down their first boss shortly after I went offline. This seems to be a trend; I don’t show, and good things happen Given that they seem to have a decent healing team going now, I’ve asked if I need to dust off Flora or keep Jas geared. Hard to say where that’s going to go. I’m flexible, at any rate.
Prior to the enforced downtime, I was asking myself if I was ready to leave the game; the 5.2 content is frankly a downer, with the focus of dailies in place of new content, and the probability that we’ll see the same in future. However, this extended hiatus has not in any way diminished my desire to play, "World of Dailycraft" or not. Truth is, jaded, cynical, or not, I still find plenty of reasons to enjoy the game, and hundreds of things still to do. So, we’ll be back.
See you then.
I can’t explain it; OK Go just makes me happy. [↩]
GM has been notified, via Twitter, or at least I hope she got the DM, otherwise this is a rude surprise for which I apologize in advance. [↩]
WoWderata is pretty much my favorite of the bunch, because beneath the silliness is a Zen that really applies to life in WoW, and elsewhere. But the overwhelming (for this blog) response to Walking on Eggshells highlights it as the one that resonated the most with others.
March was a dry month for me, as my system died the death of hard drives, so what I blogged most about was how sad WoW raiding was at 2fps, and so forth. The only real content published was a piece about my support and appreciation for a fellow blogger, though in retrospect it seems to be a group of words having an uncomfortable alliance rather than a finished piece of prose.
So, no best-of for this month, even though my sentiments for Apple Cider remain unchanged – just poorly expressed.
June was a quiet month, with only three posts in it. I did manage to get a good rant off, this time against the stupidity of robotic “hacker” signature recognition processes and the ridiculous cloak of secrecy that MMO companies place over how they recognize same.
Best of June, however, I give to my Diablo III Post-mortem, simply because it seems to have captured a lot of people’s attention, most which never commented, but which show up in search hits and page landings3. SOMEBODY was interested enough to look, at least.
Another relatively dry month, and mostly fluff. The exception was Illume’s Dead Glyph post, listing all those glyphs that would have no future. What we didn’t realize at the time was discontinued glyphs were mostly getting recycled by Blizz as new glyphs. What I’m saying is that the most significant post of the month was also very, very wrong.
I’m disappointed that the serious pieces didn’t get more play. Either I’ve got some issues in the writing, or got it wrong, or people just didn’t feel like adding anything to it. Still, even if they had gone off like gangbusters, my sentimental favorite is Jasra’s story, for many reasons. It moves her story forward. It fleshes her out a bit. I’m probably the only person on the planet that appreciates it, so, essentially, I am my own audience. Voices in the head, remember?
In second place, my sentimental favorite, Out of Retirement, in which Jasra steps out into the raiding world once again.
But my favorite by far is Our Dearest Blood, my tribute to Ratshag, one of the first bloggers I read, an inspiration to me, an inspiration for a lot of what exists on this blog, and a really great fellow. He still blogs, but now as a battle pet aficionado at press ‘5’ to capture.
Aaaand that’s a wrap for 2012. Here’s hoping for a great 2013.
Again; I’m a sucker for anyone that actually notices me! [↩]
Illume’s been busy updating some projects we’ve had in the works for a while, and finalizing them now that we’re just a couple of weeks away from the expansion’s release. To keep all that organized, I’ve added a "Projects" page to that there main menu up top. I’ve made the "Hammer of Grammar" page a sub-menu off of that, so despair not if you missed it.
The latest addition is a list of enchanting mats by skill level, to help organize your bag space a bit. No need to hang on to Vision Dust any longer than you need to, amirite?
Illume will be adding more for all the other crafting professions as well; gotta make sure they’re up to date with MoP, after all. Won’t be much fuss, so check back as needed.
In life, I elect not to toot my own horn, to not make claims of adequacy or excellence, but to leave it to the readers and other people I have contact with to draw their own conclusions. In the ad world, I would be a complete and utter failure, and, in fact, I prefer not having the pressure of competency hanging over me with its incessant demand to meet the day’s quota of awesome. Obscure, but blissfully unaware of the demands of success, that’s me in a nutshell.
Having said that, I’m happy to let the readers speak for themselves.
I help readers do their homework.
The blog is both informative and stimulating.
It looks wonderful.
My information is trustworthy.
The blog is useful and interesting for relevant information1
For close to a week now I’ve been limping along on a backup laptop, for my main system has died. Looks like the SSD1 which served as my system drive has failed after seven hard months of service2.
The backup laptop is nice enough, but it really can’t run WoW reliably enough to raid, so I haven’t bothered installing it. Instead, I’ve been enjoying watching Civ V crash the system3 and replaying Railroad Tycoon 34.
I finally got around to installing WoW last night so I can get about the business of installing my addons and cloning that over to a USB dongle when my replacement SSD arrives.
The good news is that OCZ is replacing the SSD like a boss. I’m awaiting an RMA number which they assure me is in the works. The bad news is that they have to to so in the first place.
So I’m taking a raiding vacation for a few weeks until we get this all sorted. We still plan to work the AH and get that million golds done, cause, damn, y’all.
Regards to the Effers and Bunnies.
Oh, and Orv – you can totally drop me from the schedule for at least the next three weekends. That’ll probably do it.
A solid-state hard drive, no moving parts, TOTES RELIABLE, YO! [↩]
As opposed to most hard drives that become obsolete in seven YEARS and still work reliably. [↩]
What a ride 2011 was for the clan! It was an unusual year to say the least! In many ways, the story of 2011 is the story of WoW 4.0, a.k.a. Cataclysm.
The Jasra Project truly came to a close just before Cata came out when there was a (according to some) giant blow-up between myself and a guildy and I just stopped wanting to raid or anything else around him. The Vorpal Bunnies’ final charge on Icecrown came to a sullen halt; Jasra took up hanging out in bars in Ironforge and Dalaran, mostly in Shadowform.
To get her out of her funk, she was given the responsibility of maintaining the clan’s money laundering Glyph emporium. That’s worked out pretty well, about which will be written at another time.
Not willing to give up raiding completely, we cast about for a place to raid that did NOT include said unliked guildy. At this point some really neat people were getting together a raiding guild called Eff the Ineffable. Long story short, Grimm transferred over to raid with some blogging friends and it was good. I’ve never been entirely happy with my performance in that group, but I was never really out of challenges to overcome. It was fun.
Unfortunately, that lightsaber game (and panda angst, let it be said) pretty much drew off our core raiders. Zel and ATT, Rhii, Morehai, and even our (former) GM, Alas, left to entertain midichlorians or whatever. A new GM has stepped up, and we’re trying to get together five or six more raiders of like mind in order to hopefully take down Deathwing. Time will tell. But, hey – Eff the Ineffable is recruiting, if that sort of thing interests you.
At any rate, Grimm’s now at a crossroads. Our core raiders just happened to be the friends that drew me in in the first place. Yes, I came for the raiding, but I also came for the camaraderie. This does kinda take the wind out of one’s sails when one’s friends bail out like that. Sure, I’ve been invited to come along and sure, I want my friends to be happy. Nevertheless, there is woe. I kind of FRPG-based case of Empty Nest Syndrome. The big personal challenge then is not the raiding itself, but forming new connections within my changed guild, or, if that doesn’t work out, deciding what’s next for the hapless huntard.
After close to a year of not really doing anything with OCV, I did get back into raiding there, first with Illume, then Flora. Having seen all the T11 and T12 encounters at this point, I got to play tour guide. With a new attitude (namely, I will put said unlikable guildy on mute if he so much as tweaks my blood pressure), I’ve found a new dimension in the game to explore. I’ve seen how it goes if I just walk into a room and start babbling things about the boss. It ain’t pretty. So I’m learning to organize myself better so as to put a better presentation forward when explaining a fight. It’s almost like being a raid leader, without the responsibility.
We got up to Chim in Blackwing Descent before moving on to some more lucrative T12 raiding in Firelands. We’ve gotten up to Shannox but haven’t downed him yet. We’re close, though. Makes me feel pretty proud of our ragtag bunch. We’ve never been first, but we’ve always been persistent.
Looking forward to 2012, the future’s pretty muddy. Grimm may or may not continue to raid, Jasra may get back into healing, Flora may have returned to Destro. Every time renewal comes up, I now pause and consider my options because at times, dear readers, I consider other games I have not been playing. Hell, reading the manual for Hearts of Iron 2 is likely to freeze up my cortex all on its own.
Oh, I’ll most likely not end up in SWTOR; that game’s made for people that watched all the TV shows and read all the graphic novels. The only SW novel I ever read was "Splinter of the Mind’s Eye" by Alan Dean Foster, and I view all the new animated characters in the same way I view Ewoks and Jar Jar. No, definitely not, but I might give Eve another try, or STO, if I’m inclined towards an SF-themed game.
If I do wander off, this blog will not record the annals of any exploits in other universes. I’ve had to weed too many newly SWTOR-centric blogs from my blogroll lately to contribute to that problem myself. I will have a nice and tidy good-bye here, probably migrate it all over to Blogspot or WP-free, and if I blog again it’ll be on a new blog.
But enough of that. Right now, today, I’m looking at a renewal notice and getting ready to commit to another three months. And there’s an expansion in the works; I predict delivery this year, last quarter, but I’m probably wrong. Still – monks!
As you may or may not have noticed, the header image on this blog rotates among a collection of images.1 While most of these are screen shots from my own dalliance in the world of Azeroth, others are not.
It is these others that I wish to discuss.
As you may or may not be aware, Blizzard has an extensive art collection, which it posts on the community website. Some of it comes from Blizzard itself, such as concept art, drawings, and paintings. Others come from other Blizzard publications, such as the Trading Card Game. And a large number of them come from contributions to Blizzard by fans, which, as far as I can tell, are also claimed as copywritten by Blizzard.
Now, the Blizzard artwork seems to be generally seen as available under fair use for fan sites and sundry, which most WoW blogs could be classified as if one wished to classify such things. So I don’t have much in the way of qualms about using an especially striking concept landscape as part of the rotation.
Fan art, however, is actually created by someone other than Blizzard. Regardless of whether they claim copyright or not, I’m not sure fan artists realize that greedy dwarves such as myself will often come a-pillaging, and thus the works may propagate outside of that venue.
So, in the interest of fairness; if you are a fan artist that has contributed to Blizzard’s site and you see your work in my image headers, you have the option to ask me to take it down, or require me to provide a link back to your site in exchange. I will of course comply should an artist not wish his or her works be part of the header image rotation of a fairly obscure WoW blog.
I don’t usually do this sort of post but this year I’m making an exception since I actually have something to say on the topic.
Today marks the 4th anniversary of the first post (that I know of) to this blog. It seems like longer (in a good way), but four years is what it’s been.
Four years ago I was working on getting my DS3 together in Outland. Flora was 52 and already crafting netherweave – she had to; I had been mailing to her to the point it had clogged her mailbox.
I was reading BRK, Hydra and Ratshag on Vox, and Megan on Blogspot. I had been reading them a bit before that, of course. They are to blame were influential as far as what I thought I should blog, how I should do it, and why I should do it.
Megan’s righteous diatribes informed Flora’s personality. BRK’s infectious ebullience taught me to find the fun factor in what I was doing. Hydra seemed to infuse a little bit of herself in her gaming and blogging. Ratters … well, he reminds us all by example that we shouldn’t be taking any of this too seriously. Is game, after all. Of all the orcish souls I have known, his is the most … human.
With this cobbled-together framework and multicultural influences, I’ve been hanging words out there ever since, trying to live up to the examples before me, and yet trying to bring something unique to the party. It’s hard to say how that’s gone.
I Got Moves
I started out on Blogspot. I actually considered Vox1, where I found Hydra and Ratters, but rejected Livejournal out of hand, having first hand experience with the nightmare that is customization on that site. After a tenure on Blogspot I swapped to this current site, self-hosted WP, and then back when moniez got tight. After that crisis, we have returned here and I must say I still like this setup best of all. Being able to give each of the toons his or her own login to help promote the "voices in my head" gimmick helps me a lot when trying to beat together a story. As long as I have a blog, I’ll still have that preference.
Do you hear voices?
In my fevered mind, the "voices in my head" thing has been a moderate success, in that I accomplished my own personal goal with that particular tool. That goal: make each toon an actual character, not a PC-In-Name-Only. Azeroth had personality; I felt the least I could do was infuse my participation in it with some as well.
The RP-ish nature of it has not blossomed into the centerpiece I thought it might become, but it is a sizable chunk of what goes on in my head when I’m thinking of things to blog about. I’ve managed to relegate certain things to certain toons. Flora’s the firebrand of the bunch, speaking angry truths when they need to be. Illume’s the geek of the crowd, with a command of things technical. Jasra’s become our financial wizard, in her lucid and sober moments. The others haven’t really found niches, more like personalities that float around and do things that nobody hears much about, but I’m taking notes.
WoW being an MMORPG, roleplaying is an aspect that I’ve always found interesting but nothing like the current custodians of all that is Holy and True about RP. As an old-school DM, I don’t "do" RP in the same sense that people mean when they say they "did" RP last night. But we have common ground. My sense of "RP" is that I have developed at least a skeleton of a personality around every character I roll up2. It’s part of the race, class, appearance, and name that I come up with when I create them; I also have at least a glimmering of a backstory for everyone. Some have come to pass on the blog itself, such as Faiella’s near-tragedy, Illume’s hopeful beginnings. Others have not yet been told, such as How Flora Met Grimmy, which is essentially the origin story for the whole operation.
Besides the obvious, one reason I avoid Horde toons so much is that I can’t draw the same connection with them as I do with Alliance. This is also why I have had a hard time rolling a Gnome – I don’t relate to the race well enough to do so, though I have been happy to write in my own NPCs from that race. It’s a requirement, more or less. Although, I have to admit, my new Orc Warlock, Hanunga, has a compelling aura about him.
I hate that I’m such a sappy writer at times, but I do what I can; I only regret that some of the stories have yet to be told, and may never be. Sometimes I can’t find the words. Sometimes I’m not brave enough. And sometimes I just don’t know where to start. A story, of course, needs a beginning, even if we already know the end.
It’s all connected somehow
I’ve made friends. I’ve made enemies! The latter have mostly floated by, face down, in the muck. Longevity in the blogging world, especially, requires something more than despite and anger to feed it.3 The friends, for the most part, have been what makes this game, and this blog, worth the time and effort.
We Fear Change
The tone of this blog has changed a lot. When I started, it was more of a journal-style narrative of the things we’ve seen and done. As my guild started to raid Kara, that worked its way into the conversation as well. Little did I realize how central it would become.
The greatest changes, though, took place over the last year. As Jasra flamed out and at least contributed to the end of raiding by her guild, I was desperate to find a way to not undraw the line we had drawn there, and still be able to raid. Eff the Ineffable came onto the scene at precisely the right time.
The problem: I was by no means raid-ready, and had zero experience with serious progression raiding. I am extremely grateful for Alas, Zel, Orv, Nymphy, Morenhai, and many others for tolerating the endless font of derp that is me, and encouraging me as I found ways to shed some of that (in other ways, derp is who I am, but we’re finding ways to work around that). Blog posts here have shifted in tone largely because of this.
As we reach the twilight of patch 4.2, the Effers are 6/7 T12 and stand a decent chance to make it 7/7 before the endgame. This is a position I have never been in before.
Especially That Change, Over There
The future is murky, and maybe that’s why I feel like acknowledging where we are this time around. I’ve had the same sense of uncertainty before, of course (see: Jasra, burnout thereof). But this time the sense of uncertainty has more visible "handles", and seems less inevitable.
While recent drama (both raid-related and not so much) can wear on a GM and the members thereof, I don’t think that EtI will suffer permanently from that. Zel has stated that she believes that the raiding aspect of the guild – which is our backbone, our raison d’être – ends with 4.34. I feel that’s a bit optimistic, considering the attitude of some of our core raiders recently and the approach of SWTOR on December 20.5 At the very best, I think, we lose them temporarily as they experiment and find out if it is or is not worth sticking with. At worst, we lose probably a half-dozen raiders to this game and the raiding aspect of our guild implodes without recruitment – and recruitment’s a mixed bag insofar as results thus far.
Look Into The Abyss
So, kind of bleak looking, and at this point I’m starting to wonder if it’s time to hang up my omg-thats-ugly hat as a blogger as well. Five years would be nice and neat, but, really, it may be hard to sustain posts that aren’t all gloom and woe after one of the two aforementioned events take place.
On the other hand, maybe that means I’ll have more time to focus on other things I would like to do on the blog. There are a number of activities, stories, projects, and other things that I have deferred for lack of time to do them. I have a frantic, almost conveyer-like process every day that I do to maintain the toons that could be dialed WAY back if I didn’t have certain pressures bearing down to always do this and that and the other thing. Heck, I might even write an addon or five.
This fifth year, then, marks a moment of great uncertainty for me. I have much yet to do, but since I’m not even sure I’ll be playing the game past 4.36 I don’t know if I’ll ever get to it. And without any major projects, this blog would go back to what it was in the beginning. I’m not sure that regression is what I want here. I go back and read those kinds of posts years later, and I feel kind of let down. Clearly, not standing up to the test of time.
Regardless of what I decide going forward, this post represents the perfect opportunity to acknowledge those that have made it all worth while. (In no particular order)
Mrs Grimm, who brings light to my life and joy to my heart. Her superpower is a high tolerance for real-life derp. She is my kryptonite, for surely I cannot resist her.
My long-suffering GM of Ordo Cunniculi Vorpali, who I have known far into early days of FidoNet7, something like two and a half (!) decades. Without a doubt one of the most intellectually formidable people I’ve known, and one of the few who can connect to my inner geek on a fundamental basis. You are a lovely and awesome person.
Alas, also-long-suffering GM of Eff the Ineffable, who is wise beyond her years and patient beyond measure, whether she admits it or not. Thanks for having me over. I’ll be in your posse any time.
Megan, who inspired me to rock out with my ‘lock out.
It’s always fun to read other blogs’ "lookee at our search terms" posts. People get to the oddest places with the most unexpected search terms. I’ve never looked at mine but I thought I’d take a gander. Unfortunately, the people visiting here via Google searches are relatively boring when compared to the freaks that land at, say, Zel’s place.
Let’s have a look.
Varian Wrynn – It’s pretty sad that Flora’s rant about people hating on their own faction is in the top 150-ish search results for our beloved yet oddly quiet (in this expansion) monarch. And, by the way, why is that? He was all over the place in Wrath, but he’s been hunkered down in his new playhouse for Cata.
(Hell’s) Angels Logo – The alt text of the logo for this silly story is in my top twenty results. Within the top 300 results, which buries it way down there, but still. What is this I don’t even.
Was it hackers? Was it a server farm incident? Was it wildlife-related?
None of the above!
No, this week’s blackout was due to me forgetting to pay my server fees and not having the reserves to pay the late fees after. The Management Regrets.
But, we’re back, and we’re happy that the blog is still here. I have many things to come.
Foremost is this.
This Saturday, the 23rd of July, I will be on the Twisted Nether Blogcast with Hydra and Fimlys, probably because somebody respectable had to cancel. But that’s all right! I’m sure I can class up the place after a couple of Tequila Sunrises. At 11 PM. What could POSSIBLY go wrong?
So come on over and join in the fun if you’re of a mind to. Ask those questions you’ve always wanted to ask, but would rather hear come out of Hydra’s mouth. From my notes I see that we have:
A "live page" where I suspect there will be chat windows and stuff during the show.
A "ustream" link, which for once, will not be used by someone showing how they art … stuff.
And of course, if you can’t stay up that late, have other commitments, or just can’t muster the strength to reach the mouse, the blogcast will be put in a pod and cast out to the interwibbles the following week, so you can hear us chat while on the treadmill – beats "sweating to the oldies!"