Donner, Party of 11 Million
Every now and then, something exciting (read: dramatic) occurs within the Blogosphere. I'm sure this happens in every topical blogging universe, but it gets especially heated in the WoW world in the summer.

Between slow downs in the game from the pre-expansion pack lull, and people going in and out due to summer plans, WoW can just get boring.

For instance, I could post all kinds of things about the upcoming Cataclysm Priest changes. It might actually even be notable that I haven't. The reasoning behind it is that I do not have a beta key - and therefore, since I cannot test things out and try them for myself, I'm hesitant to attempt explanations and criticisms or support for something I haven't actually seen.

I did not always have this policy, but over the past year or so of blogging, I've learned a lot of hard lessons. I thought RealID was great, and then thought it was awful, and then great again, and then there was the forum debacle, and I hated it again.

Had I waited one day more to post about Real ID when it was first released in game, so that I could experience it for myself, I think my take on it would have been very different. I rather like RealID in-game. I wouldn't like it if I didn't have a choice. Granted, it leads to a lot of awkward social circumstances, such as when someone wants to be my RealID friend, and I really don't want to, eek!

So - unless I get a beta key, it is unlikely I will talk much about specific priest changes until much closer to release.

I know I'm not alone in my wow-boredom. And when boredom strikes, people jump at the chance for something interesting. And no matter how much we might like to tell ourselves it's not true, heated disagreements amongst ourselves do spark interest. Especially when there's not a lot else going on.

We end up participating in cannibalistic activities. Dammit, Blizz, we're starving over here in the blogosphere! You're leaving us to devour one another in our hunger. If I don't get a beta key soon, I'm going to start chewing on Fuubaar's leg.

It's rather like being so bored with heroics that you go in pantsless in order to try and make it a bit more interesting.

On that note, please participate in the Very Important Survey on my sidebar. Yes, I'm asking you to click through if you are viewing this in a reader (and I never ask people to do that!)- because the future of our society depends very much on your selection of which type of elitist you are.
Random and Only Vaguely Topical
I quit my job at the Census (it was only going to last another week anyway). I got sick of being reminded on a daily basis how easily replaceable I was, and constant threats that everyone would be fired. Bah - so replace me then. ::shrug::

Then I started obsessing over It has now become like a new game for me. I must fill out every box on that pedigree chart. It's like my professions... I must know EVERY RECIPE. I called my mom to get some information about relatives, and she wanted to tell me stories. I had to resist the insane urge to tell her that I don't give a damn about the stories! Just give me birth dates and death dates so that i can COMPLETE EVERY TICKIE BOX. There better be an achievement at the end. Wait... this is ancestry pedigree... there IS no end. My obsessive-compulsive completionist tendencies will be the death of me.

After my Real ID/Real Names post a week or so ago, I finally decided to come clean to my advisor. She's more than just my advisor, she's something of a mother figure. So I told her that I blog about WoW. There was utter silence for a moment, and then her response was something along the lines of "Well... at least you're writing and keeping your writing skills up... but don't you think you ought to direct some of that towards, you know, your thesis?"

Remember how the worst thing your mother could ever do to you was to sound disappointed? "I'm not angry, I'm disappointed." After that conversation I felt horribly guilty, and decided to start working on my thesis again.

My thesis is about sex offenders. The past few days I have been assembling all my data... which means mapping where sex offenders live, looking at all these pictures of sex offenders, reading about their crimes, state laws, etc. I'm sure all my friends on twitter think I'm insane, since it's pretty much all I've been talking about, and sex crimes aren't generally considered polite conversation, even for twitter.

The thing is, when you're writing something like your thesis or your dissertation, you have to completely dive in and focus and invest yourself. Normally that would be fine - but I confess that spending so much time thinking about and looking at and researching people who have committed such horrible crimes has really worn me down. I honestly thought it wouldn't be a problem for me - I don't have kids, for one. But man. You live and breathe your thesis. It's not particularly pleasant to live and breathe sex offenders.

So, I took a break from thesising to try a battleground. I'm notoriously horrible at BGs, but I figured everyone is happy to see a healer, right? You expect the healer to get killed off pretty quickly, so maybe no one would notice how horrible I was if they were getting their bubbles. So I put on my lolpvp gear (200 resilience baby! YEAH!) and dove in to a Warsong Gulch. And then, for some completely unknown reason, and purely on a panicked whim (I'm always panicked in BGs) I picked up the flag. I had no idea what the hell I was doing. In my complete panic, I mounted up. Dropped the flag. Picked it back up. Ran around in a circle for a minute. Saw 6 red hordies come running at me... so I freaked out and deserted the battleground, and logged off.

I would have been a truly horrible soldier.

Also, this week I was looking at wedding rings, and found this particular gem. It's ribbed for her comfort. It's the perfect wedding ring for those who want a reminder of that item they should have used in order to prevent the situation requiring their marriage in the first place.
Fence Sitting is Rather Uncomfortable
There was a great hullabaloo about add-ons amongst the healing circle. As a big fan of both moarhps (Codi) and RighteousOrbs (Tam & Chas), I found the exchange particularly interesting, and instead of leaving the ginormous comment over at RighteousOrbs that I started, I figured I would turn it into a post.

The Problem With Add-Ons

I should preface this by stating that I use add-ons. I try to use as few as is necessary. Is it because I think it makes me a better player or person if I don’t use add-ons? Not at all. It is due almost entirely to the fact that add-ons have a tendency to go all wonky after a patch. And I get error messages. And thingies light up and go dingdingding and I get very bewildered. I’m not very good at customizing UIs, and I’m entirely too impatient to fix things that break on the technical end. I just click red x boxes in hopes that whatever the problem is will simply go away. I utilize this exact same methodology with my car, by the way.

I very much enjoyed Codi’s no add-on project for the very reason that she started it in the first place. Her computer broke, she had to use another computer on which she was not able to use add-ons, and she needed to heal a raid. Most of us have found ourselves in a similar situation many times. Codi’s writing on the topic helped me figure out how to fix things so that I could heal and raid well in the event that my add-ons went kablooey.

She also pointed out a lot of things that made me pay more attention – and in effect, made me a better healer, and an overall better player.

By making healing a simple matter of point and click, it removes the finesse of doing things like making macros or learning each of the unique debuffs so that you can spot them.

Now, I don’t think you have to stop using add-ons in order to learn the Great Art of Macro-Creation – Clique taught me how to use and create macros. I’m still not very good at it, and I’m certainly no expert, but through Clique I learned how to use different types of macros, and enabled myself to create macros outside of the add-on environment as well. Conceptually, I confess that I just could not grasp how to use and write macros before Clique.

In regards to the debuffs, I found her to be quite right. Before she pointed this out, I rarely bothered to actually read the name or effect of a debuff. I would just cleanse/dispel my way on through. The problem with that, is that you don’t really need to cleanse everything. In many cases, it is simply a waste of a global cooldown and mana to do so, especially when the tradeoff of a GCD and the effect of the debuff are too expensive. In addition to this, I have started noticing a lot more debuffs that need to be removed at a certain time (i.e. not immediately), and I have watched people cleanse them immediately and cause a lot of damage to the group.

Since Codi pointed out this particular issue, I started paying more attention to curses, debuffs, etc. Yes, I still use my add-ons. But I use them with more thought now – I pay more attention. And the game has become more interesting to me when I pay more attention to the specific details of debuffs.

Before Codi started her Zero Add-On Project, I was in the camp of someone who felt completely incapable of healing without my precious add-ons. But now, due to her efforts, I know what to do if I find myself raiding on my laptop (which can’t handle all my normal raiding add-ons) or on a patch day if everything explodes. I feel confident that I can still be a solid player.

I do not think that add-ons necessarily make the game easier. I find that they often add a layer of complexity that I absolutely hate – fiddling with a UI when I have about as much patience for such endeavors as I do for people who are rude and demanding. However, I find just as much, if not more, problems in trying to configure the default UI to work in a way that makes sense to me. Thankfully, Codi made the effort to explain to me how to do it properly.

As far as I’m concerned, this is a game, and therefore people should do what it takes to make the game as fun as possible for themselves, as long as it does not make the game less enjoyable for other players. Codi enjoys playing without add-ons, and she is a living testament against the people who insist that people who raid without add-ons should just be kicked from a raid by default. Along that same line, I’ve certainly never seen her championing a cause that stated that people who do like to use add-ons should also be kicked from a raid. Perhaps I was completely incorrect in my interpretation, but I read her words as championing the cause that people should learn how to heal without add-ons in order to better understand the game mechanics that add-ons may encourage people to gloss over, and to prepare oneself in the event that you are unable to use add-ons. I think it's a pretty good point.

Why should I learn to spell when I have a spellchecker built into every word-processing program? Because I might find myself in a situation where the word processor doesn’t work. Why should I learn my multiplication tables when I can just use a calculator? Because I lose things like calculators, and people get really irritated when you ask them, for the 19th time, what 6 times 7 is (screw you, multiplication tables). Why should I scrub the floor on my hands and knees instead of with a mop? Because with a mop, I don’t notice the clear sticky substance glued to the floor.

The Inherent Virtue of Suffering

I very much enjoyed reading all the relevant posts from all three authors (Codi, Tam, and Chas), but I think this section by Tam is quite possibly my favorite. As someone who does actually find some personal inherent value in suffering (I blame my mother), I felt very attached to Tam’s words on the topic. Specifically, this portion:

The thing is, I’m all for individual freedom. If you want to write, you can write, if you want to use the default UI you can use the default UI, if you want to eat your rice with a fork you can.

(well that’s good, actually, because I do eat rice with a fork, and I never understood why my mother thought that was strange – is it easier with a spoon? Maybe it is… /ponder)

But then I guess this section rather stung:

Unfortunately, the problem is that people who do choose to do things in a less-than-optimal manner can never seem to let it go. It’s not enough that we approach things differently: their way has to be the better way, the way that makes reflects their inherent inner virtues, like strength and determination and not expecting things to be easy all the time.

And it left me wondering… after my “I like it Hard” post, did my readers think I was insisting they ought to do things the hard way? I hope I did not alienate my readers and friends by leaving them with the thought that I considered myself superior simply because I found some personal value in increased and arguably unnecessary challenges. I absolutely do not. I also confess that I take some offense to the description of a less-traveled path as less-than-optimal. I recognize that my entire philosophy on life is annoyingly post-modern, but it does sting a bit to hear that the personal choices I make are, due to the very thing about them that makes them valuable to me, “less than optimal”. Mind you, I'm not suggesting Tam's words were directed at me. My favorite thing about Tam is his ability to take a potentially esoteric concept that applies to the real world and frame it in a gaming context, and vice versa.

So to each of you, I encourage you to find your own optimal path, and refrain from judging or casting condemnation down on others who choose a different path. Maybe that path will be the difficult, rocky, and less traveled path. Maybe it will be the cleaner, tidier, more established one. There are inherent virtues in both, depending on what you, as an individual, value most.

My path, though arguably more arduous and tedious and perhaps even filled with lots of giant pits and squiggly red lines, may not be the path for you. I only wished to share with you the joy I had experiencing it. I hope you got a kick out of it, and I am not offended if you tease me about it, as long as you don’t attempt to tell me my path is wrong, or that your path would be a superior choice for me.

Seriously, if having your night elf jump up and down naked on a mailbox all day brings you the most joy in this game, then go for it. It’s your money. What right does anyone else have to tell you that your way is not fun, and you’re “doing it wrong”? If, on the other hand, you like to spend your gametime attempting to solo every raid boss naked with the default UI on a holy priest with one hand tied behind your back… more power to you. It’s your money, and if that is fun for you, then that is what you ought to do.

Just because someone likes doing something in a way you perceive as more difficult does not mean they find it more difficult, nor does it make them (that ever-controversial adjective) elitist. My perception of an elitist is someone who insists their way is the only proper way, and then continues on to insist that anyone who does not do it their way is inferior. In contrast, just because someone chooses to do something in a way that seems far too simplistic to you does not mean they are lazy.

On a more personal note, I really do hope that none of the authors to whom I referred in this post are upset with me for writing this. I adore all of them, both as writers and as individuals. I hope that posting my thoughts on this whole subject does not lose me their friendships, because I have been blessed with the opportunity to get to know them on a personal level, and I'd really hate to lose that.
The Newest Sensation in Gaming: Real Life
After Tobold's review of Real Life (tm), I decided I had to check out this game that is apparently so popular. A glowing review from Tobold is a pretty solid recommendation in my book, so I've been attempting to log a lot of hours in this massive multiplayer game.

First off, you should be warned that it's not always easy to get a response from the developers. The forums are fool of trolls, and it can be very difficult to find people there who are genuinely kind and helpful. In fact, I think sometimes that the developers like to post as just normal players, instead of with an obvious descriptor next to their name. It can make it really confusing to get an honest answer, and it's not always easy to know whom to trust. I've been trying to just have faith that the developers know what they are doing with this game, and in general, I'm sure their plan for the big picture is a good one, there just seems to be a lot of tricky and difficult tasks before you get to the end-game. What is particularly fascinating about the end-game, is that no one knows exactly what it entails - but most of us assume, or at least hope, that it's a damn good reward.

A lot of people like to solo through this game, but I've found that the support of a good solid guild really makes everything a lot more pleasant, and certainly a hell of a lot more manageable, especially for raiding. The best strategy involves creating multiplayer networks for different tasks. For instance, I find that having one partner around can be helpful in managing day to day tasks and personal achievements. I utilize my guild for other, larger, tasks and achievements, and you need to have a full raid for some of the longer, bigger, tasks.

The quests have a lot of variation. Some are these epic chains that seem to never end, with lots of different quest givers along the way. Many of these chains differ based on the stats, abilities, and gear your character starts with from the beginning, but one thing I particularly like is that you can usually mold the chains to whatever rewards you prefer if you are willing to put in enough time and energy. Some chains reward more gold, others more personal achievments. Personally, I prefer the quests for achievements, but to be fair, I was pretty lucky with the random roll with which my toon started.

In addition to these quest chains, there is this really interesting feature based on the amount of gear you have. The more gear you have, the more daily quests you seem to accrue in order to keep that gear. However, unlike in WoW, these are not the same quest every day. In fact, if you skip one particular daily for multiple days, then when you finally get back to doing it, you have to do a lot more to complete the quest and get the same rewards as you would in one normal daily. This is particularly noticeable in quests that are related to player housing. Also, don't expect your guildmates to help you much with your dailies. Even if you team up with one player to go through the mid to end level content, you might find that somehow you get stuck doing their dailies as well as your own.

Your character functions on a limited resource capacity. The more resources you consume, the more you seem to steadily need. Over time, these resources that affect your stats (such as spirit, stamina, and strength in particular) really seem to wane, and you have to recharge. Intellect actually builds over time, unless you participate in some optional quest chains that provide short term buffs, and then give you a massive debuff that lowers all your stats for a significant amount of time. Agility, however, seems to steadily decrease throughout the game span.

Since I know how so many of you really adore raiding, I'll give you some of my perspective on this aspect of the game. I'm currently working on a short duration, but taxing raid. The end-game boss is a very strange internet dragon, who actually looks, strangely enough, like a short bald man who never smiles. We haven't yet managed to take down this boss, and I think it's because I've been in some pretty messy pugs. However, I also have this suspicion that this dragon isn't really the ultimate boss, and that there are others pulling the strings behind him. It's actually a pretty clever design, if you think about it. We keep throwing all our abilites at this boss, wearing ourselves thin, but he seems immune to damage. I'm beginning to wonder if he is simply Mind Controlled, and is being used as some kind of shield for other, weaker but nastier bosses behind him.

Anyway, I think I'd better get back to the game, as I have another raid attempt here shortly. I'll keep you guys posted when I finally defeat this boss, as I'm sure it will happen sometime in the next week or two. In the meantime, you should really check out this game. It has the potential to be especially rewarding, even though you may experience a lot of down time where you don't seem to be getting anywhere. There's a lot of serendipity in this game, and random things that other players do in the gaming universe can create lots of new questing and achievement opportunities for you, so even if you want to take a break from it sometimes, you really should check back in every day to see if any new opportunities arise.

Catch you in-game!
From my uber-boss:

"FYI: Whichever crew leader district turns in the least amount of work this week will be fired. Every last employee in that district. Have a nice weekend!"

/afk for nervous breakdown

Faith Restored
In the past couple of days, I kept trying to write a post, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

I had a case of the Blizzard Blues. I think Larisa was feeling similarly.

It came from a feeling of complete and utter betrayal and disenchantment. I felt stupid and ashamed for feeling so let down by a corporation. I've never been a fan of big businesses; how could I have been such a fool? How could I have let a corporate entity emotionally affect me to such a degree? How pathetic. Don't worry, I recognized it; And I felt the bigger fool due to it.

Now, don't get me wrong, I recognize that Blizzard is a business and that they not only need to keep making money, but that they have to continually try and find ways to make MORE money. That's capitalism baby.

But Real ID on the forums was one step too far. Over the past week the community came out in droves to protect themselves and maintain the fantasy in their fantasy game. And there were, I should note, a lot of people who thought Real ID on the forums was either a good idea, or at least okay and nothing to worry about. I don't begrudge you your opinion on the matter. I think the majority of the WoW community recognizes that something needs to be done about the forums.

However, the vast and most vocal of the community stepped up to the plate and told Blizz how they felt. From the forums themselves, to the blogger community, the the gaming community at large, all the way up to the Washington Post and major news channels, we made our opinion loud and clear.

And Blizzard listened.

Every time there's a nerf; Everytime people demand some change in the game, it is unlikely that Blizz will make the changes demanded just because the customers insist they should. But there's a big difference between the developers trying to make a game that will function well, and the corporate structure trying to push big changes that the customer does not want. Don't confuse the two.

Blizz is always listening, due mostly to the efforts of their Community Managers, who go out and stand, like a fly on the wall, and take note of what we are saying - of what we want, of what we hate. They do a hell of a lot more than click that lock button in the forums, and I think they should get credit for that. They don't just monitor the forums; they read the blogs, they are the lifeline to the community. If you bloggers check your stats often enough, you will catch them from time to time, stopping by to see what you have to say.

And they communicated our message loud and clear to the powers that be at Blizzard. And despite how much the original decision to implement Real ID on the forums sickened me, despite how much faith I lost in this company, and despite the fact that they may still try to do something similar in the future, I will always know that when it really counted, they were willing to listen to the community and reverse a massive business model decision. I'm sure there are lots of financial and PR reasons why the choice was made; But I don't care. By the time the announcement got to us, they had undoubtedly already invested a lot of time and resources into implementing it.

I'm proud of Blizzard. It's not always easy to admit when you're wrong. But I actually have a hell of a lot more respect for a company that is willing to reverse a mistake than a company that never even makes one.

(Also, to Nethaera... I hope you were pretty excited you got to be the one to post this letter!)

Hello everyone,

I'd like to take some time to speak with all of you regarding our desire to make the Blizzard forums a better place for players to discuss our games. We've been constantly monitoring the feedback you've given us, as well as internally discussing your concerns about the use of real names on our forums. As a result of those discussions, we've decided at this time that real names will not be required for posting on official Blizzard forums.

It's important to note that we still remain committed to improving our forums. Our efforts are driven 100% by the desire to find ways to make our community areas more welcoming for players and encourage more constructive conversations about our games. We will still move forward with new forum features such as the ability to rate posts up or down, post highlighting based on rating, improved search functionality, and more. However, when we launch the new StarCraft II forums that include these new features, you will be posting by your StarCraft II character name + character code, not your real name. The upgraded World of Warcraft forums with these new features will launch close to the release of Cataclysm, and also will not require your real name.

I want to make sure it's clear that our plans for the forums are completely separate from our plans for the optional in-game Real ID system now live with World of Warcraft and launching soon with StarCraft II. We believe that the powerful communications functionality enabled by Real ID, such as cross-game and cross-realm chat, make a great place for players to stay connected to real-life friends and family while playing Blizzard games. And of course, you'll still be able to keep your relationships at the anonymous, character level if you so choose when you communicate with other players in game. Over time, we will continue to evolve Real ID on to add new and exciting functionality within our games for players who decide to use the feature.

In closing, I want to point out that our connection with our community has always been and will always be extremely important to us. We strongly believe that Every Voice Matters, ( ) and we feel fortunate to have a community that cares so passionately about our games. We will always appreciate the feedback and support of our players, which has been a key to Blizzard's success from the beginning.

Mike Morhaime
CEO & Cofounder
Blizzard Entertainment
And I Didn't Even Catch Her Name...
When I was younger, and much more naive about teh interwebz and my career, I made a massive mistake.

It was my first week in a very difficult PhD program. I had moved across the country. I was surrounded by big fish who all had their Masters' degrees - and there I was, a girl with a Texan accent, the first in my family to graduate college, having come to this prestigious east coast university PhD program with nothing but a Bachelor's degree to my name.

For my first seminar, my professor was my hero. This particular professor was the reason I came to this university and he/she was known all over in my field for their work. There were stars in my eyes, I swear.

And then I spent my first week trying to understand who the fuck this Foucault dude was, and what the hell he was saying. The night before my second meeting of that particular seminar class, all alone in my tiny shoebox apartment, I drank myself into a complete stupor out of pure frustration and fear that I had made a huge mistake, and was in over my head. I was supposed to have read this entire Foucault book, and though I had tried, I had no idea what this crazy French guy was talking about. I mean c'mon. Have you READ Foucault?

The next day in class, I was very hungover and sick. It took everything in me not to burst into tears. I thought I was smart; I'd been top of my class in my little podunk program at home. But these people were brilliant, and I had no idea what they were talking about.

Back in those days, I was a big fan of Livejournal. And I went to some random Livejournal community for new graduate students, and tried to make light of my situation by venting. I joked that I had shown up drunk for my very first seminar class of my PhD program (which, as I mentioned previously, wasn't actually true). It made me laugh to think I could be that careless, and when I want to share a funny story, I always use artistic license and exagerrate a bit, if you hadn't noticed. Making a joke out of the whole thing made Foucault look a little less terrifying to me. It helped me to downplay the severity of the situation in which I found myself by making it all into a big joke. And since I knew absolutely no one, and had no friends, I turned to this internet forum.

And for some stupid reason that I will never understand, I posted with my real name.

Within two hours, a 7th year PhD student had contacted me and asked who my professor was, and the specifics on the class. She recognized my name because she knew who the new students in the program were that year. This person did not find my story funny, and of course did not realize how much I exagerrated the situation, or that I was really quite frightened and lost. This student cared about the reputation of her program, and I had just made a complete fool out of myself in a community for graduate students on the internet. For some reason I will never know (maybe a divine blessing of luck and pity from the PhD gods), I do not think she personally contacted my professor (who, by the way, was supposed to be my advisor) and tell him/her about my alleged irresponsible behavior.

I promptly went back and deleted my post, set all my internet profiles to private, and tried to erase any scrap of my name. One semester later, I withdrew from this PhD program (not just because of this incident mind you), but I learned a very valuable lesson.

One day, if all the stars align properly, maybe I will have the opportunity to publish my thesis. Maybe I will get the chance to research with some of my role models. I learned to veil the Texan accent at conferences. I learned how to read Foucault. I learned how to behave properly in an Academic environment.

Here, at my blog, I don't have to worry about that - because I don't release my name. I'm sure someone could find it if they chose to do so. However, I do not want to make it easy for others to find out who I am, and associate the name under which I hope to publish really smart stuff with a blog in which I talked ad nauseam about bubbles and Devout Mantles. Being a WoW gamer is not exactly a mark of prestige in my field. It would not be a hobby that worked in my favor, but in fact, more than likely the opposite. Yes, it might be stupid that this perception exists, but it is what it is, and I have accepted that.

The people who work at Blizzard don't have to worry about their future employers knowing how much time they spent on the WoW forums. So while it may be a nice thought that Nethaera (whom I adore) and Bashiok and Zarhym and all the others are also willing to post their Real Names, my future career is not likely going to be in the gaming industry.

I really did want to be a Priestly version of Lissanna, who is very well known on the Druid forums for her contributions to the Druid community at large. I wanted to post guides and stickies and suggestions for Priests on our forum. For awhile there, I was doing just that, and just hadn't done it for awhile.

But, I'm sorry, I cannot risk my future career on a hobby. It is, after all, supposed to be a Role Playing Game. I'm sorry that I will not be able to contribute to the official WoW community on the forums come Cataclysm. If Blizz wants to add more accountability to forum posters, then I would be perfectly happy to pick an alias under which every single forum post I made could be associated. I would be happy to have it be an alias under which people could contact me in-game. If I'm rude, you can confront me in game. But I will not let a game potentially ruin my real life.
The Completionist's Ramble
You know that enfuriating feeling when you are grinding away at a boss, crossing your fingers for that one drop that you want? Over and over and over... and still that damn item for which you've been farming this same stupid boss just Will Not Drop.

What item do I crave? Is it the Spark of Hope perhaps? Maybe the Mag'hari Chieftain's Staff? Not at all, I have both of those, and I've given up farming for Solace of the Defeated or Solace of the Fallen.

But there are two items I want that elude me. They just don't drop in ICC.

Why must you taunt me, Devout skirt? I have killed Baron Rivendare repeatedly over the last two weeks, and still no Devout Skirt. I am missing two items from my Devout set, and it's the skirt and the mantle. This has put a significant hold on all my completionist plans. I have no intention of starting the quest line An Earnest Proposition until I have the full Devout set so that I can capture the moment of the full set effect with a screenshot before turning it in, piece by piece, to acquire my Vestments of the Virtuous set. I know that's not really the process most people followed when originally doing the questline, but this is the way I'm doing it.

I'm 50 quests away from my Loremaster title. The questline that involves turning in the pieces for the Devout set and receiving the Virtuous set is approximately 25 quests. It runs you through just about every last damn dungeon in the Old World. I'm very much looking forward to this questline, as I'm sure it will be the icing on the "Goodbye Pre-Cataclysm Old World" cake.

All that stands in my way is Devout Mantle and Devout Skirt. CURSE YOU.



I had been suffering some pretty severe burnout earlier this summer, as I've mentioned before. Upon reflection, I began to realize that I wasn't necessarily burning out on the game - just raiding.

I know there are a lot of people who only really enjoy raiding. I can sympathize. Truth be told, raiding and dungeons are some of my least favorite aspects of this game. WoW was my first MMO, and I'm still very much an independent player. I prefer to solo my way around the world most of the time. I don't know why I enjoy playing a healer so much if I prefer soloing, but oh well.

So, I'm enjoying the pursuit of achievements. And, it's not just achievements. I am collecting old sets. I have 2/5 of The Postmaster, and 2/5 of the Necropile Raiment as well. I'm going through and collecting every PvE tier set, step by step.

I don't mind soloing dungeons. The vast majority of the old world dungeons are places in which I never set foot while leveling. I hated them. I hated spending hours with a group of people working on these areas. I'm making up for lost time now, and getting a lot of use out of my shadow spec.

In Vanilla WoW, most players never got to see much, if any, raiding. To compensate for that, Blizz developed these vast dungeons, rich with lore and quests, and items that would be used for reputation and crafting. Dungeons like Dire Maul and Blackrock Depths were not just big instanced areas - they were separate cities with their own factions that required large groups to access and enjoy. These were 5 man raids.

Halls of Reflection may be hard for the new 80, and it might even be a fun instance. But Halls of Reflection can't hold a candle to Blackrock Depths. As a Dwarf, Jessabelle sympathizes with Moira, and feels connected to the Dark Iron stronghold.

The Cataclysm is coming, and I don't really care about ICC. Loremaster has been a fantastic pursuit for me, and I can't think of a better way for me to say farewell to the Old World. I am so glad I'm doing this!
Independence Day!
I am going to say this very quietly, because I don't want my fiance to read it and hold it over my head, and I also don't like getting super political.

I'm something of a libertarian.

So, I consider Independence Day pretty important for us statesiders. It's not because we got away from the Brits, because I love British culture and Britishisms, and I am probably somewhat unhealthily fascinated by British everything (except the food... sorry). It's about revolutions and constitutions and all those things that I think are pretty precious.

I also celebrate Bastille Day for similar reasons.

My dad's birthday is July 4th, and this is the first year I haven't been with him on his birthday, by my own choice. But you know who else has a birthday on July 4th? My best friend, and pocket tank, Fuubaar over at Killing Em Slowly.

She's 42 today, and doesn't look a day over 24. Go wish her a happy birthday!
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