Strong Enough for a Member of Humanity
I feel that in my rantiness of my original post, there were some things I didn't make particularly clear. I do appreciate the outcry of support that followed, mind you, but I wanted to clarify some of the things I said to make sure that it was understood and not misinterpreted.

A lot of times, those of us who point out sexism or talk about feminism don't always point out why feminism is important for more than just women. Often people will say it's important to men because of how it affects the women close to them whom they care about, but it's more than even just that. The term "feminism" is misleading in modern times. It leads many to believe that it's all about bringing power to women, and bringing men down. The thing is, it's really not, though I know that it can come off that way.

Feminism, as a movement, certainly did begin in an effort to bring more equality to women. But the movement was so huge that it expanded to look at all forms of inequality between peoples - not just for women. It was a new way of thinking about things - based on the apparently novel concept of actually thinking about things. About not accepting things simply because that's how it's always been done. Challenging the very primal beliefs that we have about ourselves and others; about superiority and power dynamics.

Even if you disagree with someone about what they consider sexist, even if you think people take it to the extreme, even if you don't see something as offensive that another might, even if you feel that deep down there are fundamental differences between genders, and even if you don't believe that - the point is that by joining in on the discussion, you were required to actually think about it in the first place. And even if you come to the conclusion that everything is okay, you have wedged your mind open just a little bit more to at least consider the notion that there is a reason to reconsider things we've always taken as truth. Part of why mentalshaman's deconstruction of sexism in WoW is so important is not because we're all chomping at the bit to say "Yeah, sexist bastards!" and poise for attack - it's to make us look at things and actually think about them. Maybe some of the details are unfair, and maybe some aren't. But it's definitely worth at least considering. It's not about angrily ripping the world we love apart, but more about looking at it more carefully so that we don't get lost in a fantasy within a fantasy world. If you never challenge your own assumptions about the world around you, you will always be in the mindset of a five year old who simply takes everything presented as undeniable fact.

What feminism has truly brought to us, whether you like it or not, is the ability to challenge those long-held beliefs. And it is continually evolving and expanding as we look at new things we never thought about. Before I began studying feminism, it never occurred to me how internalized these concepts are of what makes a man a man, and what makes a woman a woman. You don't have to have children to be a woman. And you don't have to be the breadwinner to be a man.

So you see, the reason it is important is not just because women should be treated equally. It goes beyond that - if women are treated equally to men, then by default at the very least, men should be treated equally to women. If a woman steps up and says that it doesn't make her less feminine to work in the coal mines, then that means a man can stand up and say he's always wanted to be a nurse, and that doesn't make him less masculine. What it's NOT about is saying "well men have to put up with it too, so it all evens out and everything is fine!" No. The fact that men have to deal with it too is what makes it LESS FINE. Not because they are men and therefore it should be more important, but because it means that even MORE people are being subjected to the discrimination and judgment that comes from the same source. And the more people who take the time to deconstruct these long-held beliefs, the more people who will treat others as human beings who have a right to live their lives how they choose without the very tenents of their identity being questioned or ridiculed. Everyone is affected by sexism to some degree, whether they are male or female: and therefore everyone has a justification for standing up in opposition to it.

I don't think it's fair that when I was a delivery driver my boss didn't want me to take deliveries to certain neighborhoods - and I sure as hell don't think it's fair that because of that, he made one of the cooks (who was about half my size, had half as much knowledge of the area, and was twice as terrified) go do it instead - just because he was male. It wasn't just an insult to me as a female - in fact I think it was even more hurtful to him as a male. I just got pissed off. He was put into a dangerous situation he was much less equipped to handle.

There are studies all over the place that suggest men are less likely to get medical treatment for physical or mental disorders, and therefore die earlier on average than women... because they are raised to believe that a "real man" will simply "power through it". You shouldn't feel like less of a man for taking care of your health. No one has a right to make you feel that way - not your wife, not your parents, but most of all, not the whole of society at large.

Perhaps you like the traditional chivalrous customs, such as holding the door open for your date, or buying her dinner. But you should have a choice to be that way - not feel as though you are forced into it by what society tells you you ought to do in order to be a proper man. I don't like assumptions, and when I was dating, I brought money to pay for dinner. I at least offered to pay and presented the man in question with the choice. That wasn't just for my benefit. If someone wants to buy me dinner, I want them to do it because of me as a person - not just because I'm a chick.

A few weeks ago in Wintergrasp, while farming for eternals, there was an argument going on in general chat. One individual was antagonizing another about their PvP gear. I was already getting riled up in my indignant and self-righteous anger, but then, the antagonizer in question called the subject of his harassment a dude - to which the "dude" replied that she was female.

Suddenly his entire tone changed. Immediately after she replied that she was female, he apologized, and started using proper grammar and spelling, and being very polite and friendly. She was obviously confused about his change in behavior, but I was utterly enraged. Maybe it was silly of me too, because I had just been about to give him hell for being a jerk... but now that he decided he was going to be all nicey nice because she was female, I was even ANGRIER.

"Why exactly are you apologizing?!"
"I'm sorry, I didn't realize she was female."
"What does that have to do with anything?"
"Well, I wouldn't have been so rude."
"Screw you! Go forth and be rude freely! She can take it just as well as if she were male. You weren't willing to stop being a dick for the sake of, you know, not being a dick, but now that you realize she's a girl, you're suddenly willing to be a decent human being?"
"What? Do you think the corsets we're wearing make us more fragile and susceptible to your asshattery? Did she bat her eyelashes at you in such a way that you suddenly felt shame for your poor behavior? Oh sir, ahm just so sahrry for steppin' into your big manly brain, ah jes' can't keep up with your phallic wit and chahrms!"

At this point every female in the zone started chiming in.

I actually did feel kinda bad about that. In his defense, he was obviously very embarassed, but he took it like a champ, especially since he'd been such a dick before. Truth is, I don't think it occurred to him that a bunch of girls might not appreciate the fact that he was suddenly nicer just because of their gender. It was like he suddenly was embarassed for his behavior now that he realized his audience was made up of a bunch of people with whom he might at some point want to flirt.

You should be a courteous person to both men and women because it's the right thing to do as a human being. If you say you're going to be nicer to girls, then effectively you're saying you're going to be meaner to men. While I'd prefer you just be nicer, period, I'd at least like to know that you aren't treating the men any shittier than you're treating me. It may immediately benefit me more that you are being nicer to me, but I don't think it's right that you are meaner to someone else, just because they are male. Be nice to me because I deserve it, not because rumor has it there are breasts underneath my clothes.

See, I'm not an angry bitter female. I'm just a pissed off member of humanity.
The Summer of Sindragosa
I'm a bit late to announce this, seeing as how we accomplished the feat on Monday night, but the Summer of Sindragosa has officially come to an end for my raiding team.

Summer is tough on all raid teams really, and we struggled as much as, if not moreso, than any other typical raiding team. As a reminder, we only raid one night a week, and only for two hours. Monday night the stars aligned so that all three of our healers were there, and everyone in the raid was now familiar with the fight. We normally two heal content, and only use our Third Healer to help us learn new fights, or when the mechanics of the fight specifically call for a third healer (i.e. Dreamwalker). Our successful strategy included our ever-flexible Shaman of Awesomeness in his healing spec, DPSing during the first phase, and healing during the second (with every innervate and Power Infusion reserved for him for his mana reserves).

The Summer and the Roster

To give you some context on how brutal summer issues can be to a raid, let's look at some numbers. When you only raid 2 hours a week, attendance issues are severely magnified, however, due to the fact that we only raid 2 hours a week, it is generally less common that we even have issues in the first place. But even we struggled with the summer blues.

  • June 7th: Our first attempt on Sindragosa.
  • Total number of attempts before first kill: 31
  • Total number of nights we attempted Sindragosa: 5 (total amount of time spent on her is probably around 8-9 hours)
  • 7 Attempts at 20% buff.
  • 8 Attempts at 25% buff.
  • 16 Attempts at 30% buff.
I wanted to differentiate between levels of the buff, because other guilds might have needed 40 hours or 100 attempts to take down Sindy, but made all those attempts with a much smaller buff or none at all, and I feel it would be wrong of me not to recognize that difference.

Now, to look at roster changes. We had two nights of working on Sindy before we began having roster problems, and had a role switch, most specifically of one of our tanks. While this did not have a negative impact on the fight itself, as the new tank is incredibly good, it did cause a lot of slowdown, as we felt that our new tank, who was normally a DPS, had never tanked in ICC, should get a chance to tank through the entire raid up to and including Sindragosa, so we reset. And then we had two weeks of having to sub some people, and getting new people up to speed on the fight and everything that goes along with that.

The Power of the Versatile Third Healer

So let's talk about the healing makeup. Of the five separate nights we worked on Sindragosa, 2 of those nights were with only two healers (however, on one of those nights we had a shadow priest, and that helped). This was not intentional, and certainly not what we wanted, but our SuperShaman went away for a couple of weeks to do summer things and he is completely irreplacable as it turns out.

  • night 1 (7 attempts): 3 healers. Shaman, Druid, Priest.
  • night 2 (8 attempts): 2 healers. Druid & Priest. (Shaman on DPS)
  • night 3 (2 attempts): 2 healers. Druid & Priest. (Shaman out of town)
  • night 4 (7 attempts): 2 healers. Druid & Priest, but Shadow Priest present (Shaman out of town)
  • night 5 (7 attempts): alternating attempts with both 2 healers and 3, Druid, Priest, and Shaman. Our final kill had our shaman DPSing during the first phase, and healing during the second.
That means that out of 31 attempts, 19 were with only 2 healers, 8 were with 3 healers, and the 4 most successful (and finally leading to our kill) attempts had our third healer DPSing during the first phase, and healing during the second. You know what this calls for? PIE.

Okay well, I think I've gotten carried away with my entire meta-analysis of our Sindy attempts. There were a lot of factors contributing to our final kill that Fulguralis discussed in more detail. He's great at talking strats, and I'm much better at talking stats, if you will, so I tip my hat (which is the same one he wears) to his discussion of it.

I hate it when our Third Healer is gone, but I hope we are never guilty of taking his flexibility for granted. It's one thing to be willing to switch specs for different fights, but quite another thing to ask someone to switch roles so drastically during the fight itself. "Stay in your healing spec, but do damage that will be inefficient and kill your mana and is completely out of your comfort zone!" I mean, really, who asks for that kind of thing?

Me, actually. And it totally worked. Damn that kid is awesome.

I leave you with the required screenshot of a situation in which I hope to spend much less time indulging now that Sindy has died.

Masculinism Is Not A Word
Well, I do realize I’ve been a bit flighty recently, but each time I go to put together a post I keep getting distracted by some stupid King demanding that I kiss his ring, and then 10 hours later, I realize I’ve just spent all that time playing Civilization IV: Revolution. Anyway.

Blah blah blah, there’ve been quite a few posts about feminism going around lately, as I’m sure you know. Since it’s actually something of one of my favorite topics, I’m surprised myself that I haven’t commented on it earlier, but I’ve had some pretty bad backlash from doing so before, so I decided discretion is the better part of valor. Also, since gender issues are sorta “my thing” if you will, then maybe it can be explained by my own admission that there is no way I can address the topic of sexism in WoW, and keep it focused on WoW, and not go on a full-fledged rant.

And then this morning Chas posted what I think is quite possibly his all-time best post at Righteous Orbs, and it really touched me. And then I decided “Valor” and “Discretion” can both go have a cup of tea with Stalin for all I care, because RANT INCOMING. Consider yourself warned.

I’ve mentioned previously that I was once in a PhD program at a nice school in the Eastern US and that certain events led to me withdrawing after one semester, and therefore giving up all my little hopes of being a professor, and all that jazz. Well, here’s one of the other major components of that story.

My first semester, I focused most of my attention on Feminist Geography. Every time I tell people that, I get scoffed at by people who have no idea what that means, and as much as it irritates me that instead of asking what it entails, people merely laugh at it, it’s not particularly important for this story. Suffice to say I spent my time essentially in Women’s Studies, and exploring how gender issues are affected by where people live, work, etc. My professor and advisor, someone I’d admired for years, was a product of the old school bra-burner generation, and I had a lot of respect for her for that, mind you. So when I presented my research at the end of the semester, it was heartbreaking to me that she was absolutely NOT impressed.

Maybe it’s simply because I am a female, and I prefer to study things that are foreign or novel to me (which is why I get such a kick out of British TV), but I was much more interested in the way sexism negatively affects men. Because it does, and to say it doesn’t is to be just as blind as someone who says that all women who complain about sexism are making mountains out of molehills.

How many single dads do you know? When I went to try and get demographic information on this, imagine my surprise when the published numbers from the 2000 US Census I found only documented single mothers, and not single fathers. When a friend of mine who is a single dad was unemployed, I told him he should try operating a daycare out of his home because he’s so great with kids. He laughed, and informed me that no one would give him the business, and that he would likely get in trouble for it – men aren’t supposed to spend that much time with children, or they are pervs, didn’t you know? This was brought even more to light by a long-standing policy by British Airlines which was finally brought down this week: Before a recent lawsuit, lone male travellers were not allowed to be seated next to unaccompanied children.

It’s hard enough for women when they are victims of rape… but what about men? I used to live in a pretty shoddy area, and during the three years I lived there, I know of four men who reported being raped, and I really felt for them. Chas’s tale of the comedian in Edinburgh made me think of those 4 young men in my old neighborhood who were victims. Did they go to the University Women’s Center for support and empathy after their attacks? For the men who are victims of domestic violence (and you would be shocked by how common it is, because of how rarely it is reported), do they go to the special women’s shelter for abuse victims? I’m all for having these support groups around, mind you, and I fully recognize that I’m getting caught up in semantics, but when a gay man decides to join a GLBT support group after being bullied for being “girly”, maybe it would be a little more supportive if he didn’t have to visit the Women’s Center in order to employ it.

I’ve got a pretty good sense of humor, and most of the time I can roll with the punches. In general, terminology that people use does not really offend me. I’ve got a bit of the sailor in me, if you catch my meaning, but one thing I absolutely cannot stand is jokes about men getting raped. The jokes that suggest that a man can’t be raped, or “you can’t rape the willing”, or something to that effect enfuriate me. Jokes about raping a boss don’t bother me, nor do people using the dreaded “c” word… but jokes about men getting raped? I will throttle you. The reason it bothers me is because it reflects a societal belief that genuinely exists and is not subject to nearly enough discussion and debate… a vast majority really do believe that a man can’t really be raped, and it sickens me.

I didn’t want to study Feminist Geography, I wanted to study Geography of Gender… and at the time, that was simply unacceptable. There is this idea that the dreaded Patriarchy is some group of old white men sitting around a table trying to think of ways to keep the woman down, but it’s not like that. The concept of patriarchy is just that – a concept. It’s a vast structure of societal and cultural beliefs that affect both men and women. There is an underlying cultural belief that women can’t be truck drivers and coal miners and still be heterosexual, just as much as men can’t be flight attendants or nurses and still be heterosexual. The whole Patriarchy is the enemy of not just women, but men as well. Maybe a lot of men do benefit from it, but most are victims just as much as women are.

I am a Feminist because I believe women should be treated with equality. I am a Masculinist because I believe men should be treated with equality. The fact that my spellchecker just alerted me that the word “Masculinist” does not exist is very telling in and of itself.

Err, and to bring this rant back to WoW, enter the invisible and incredibly awkward segue...

I hate that the choices I have for toons in WoW are generally so disgusting to me physically. I love my female dwarf, and everytime I log in in Dalaran, or join a pugged raid or a battleground, there are comments about how rare female dwarves are. Female dwarves are so butch, after all! But they aren’t… they are quite possibly the most realistic body image for women, and I wanted my toon to be a reflection of me (even though I’m 5’10). The closest thing Chas can find to what he looks like is a Blood Elf male, who are considered the “girliest” of male toons, much like the femdwarf and the femorc are “butch” toons.

There have been a lot of comments that suggest women in wow need to step up and play more tanks! Play more DPS! Step away from the female-as-a-healer stereotype! (I’m exaggerating, by the way) Well, as a dedicated and permanent female healer myself, I absolutely fit the stereotype, but that’s okay with me. Just play whatever role, whatever toon, whatever class, you love most: And damn what other people think about it. If you feel like you ought to play something you don’t enjoy as much merely to make a point, then I think you might, in fact, be missing the point. The idea behind what others were saying, is that if you have even an inkling or a notion that you might enjoy tanking or DPSing, then go for it, and I and many others encourage you to do so, ladies.

But also… More men as healers, plz! (But, you know, only if you're into it)
GenCon 2010 - Pictures

Blogger is truly awful for uploading a lot of pictures, I find . This is actually fairly nightmarish to post. Things will inevitably end up looking funky, and so I apologize, but I did want to share some pictures from GenCon, like I promised a week ago. I've been struggling to do so ever since >.<

So... let's get to the pictures!

Does this t-shirt look familiar? Remind you a bit of my classic solo-dungeoning style? My fellow raiders (since everyone in our raiding team was able to attend GenCon) thought so, so I had to pick it up.

One of the best things from GenCon was True Dungeon. There was a lot of room for improvement, but the experience was amazing.

If you haven't heard of True Dungeon, you go in to a built labrynth style room with a group of your friends, after having decided which D&D class you will play, and equipping yourself with the proper "gear" via tokens (you don't actually change your clothes).

In each room you are presented with different prop puzzles that you attempt to solve in order to "clear" the room, including combat sequences, locked chests, etc. Every class has a different kind of "skill check". For instance, I played a cleric, and everytime I wanted to heal someone, I had to pass a memory check, identifying the proper shape of prayer bead for a specific virtue. The rogueish class in our group had to delicately move a small bead through a lighted track in order to open a locked chest, and the melee classes had to slide large tokens across a drawing of a creature in order to strike properly. This is all in addition to using your collective brainpower to solve puzzles and do some problem solving.

A lot of people ask if it's like LARPing, and it's not - there's no acting roleplay involved necessarily, and we were cracking up a lot of the DMs and characters in each room with our goofy antics.

I also picked up a lot of WoW TCG cards. We all got starter class decks (my fiance and I each bought two) as well as some booster packs. A lot of our crew are old school Magic players, and the overall opinion was that while it can't hold a candle to Magic TCG (and I doubt anything ever will) it was still pretty good, and there were some aspects of game play that were better.

Last weekend a bunch of us got together and actually played a WoW TCG raid, and that was very interesting. Pretty fun, but there are some definite weaknesses. I'm playing around with different deck builds, and fighting against different classes before I pass a final judgment. If nothing else, I got some nice loot cards from some promotions at GenCon. Cryptozoic is really doing a lot to promote the decks even in spite of all the problems caused by the changeover from Upper Deck (a lot of the cards still refer back to Upper Deck websites and promotions that no longer exist).

I'd been hearing about the awesomeness that is The Ram (a local pub/brewery type place near the convention center) for years, so I was excited to finally get to check the place out. Now I can be a cool kid too and have a t-shirt like all of my friends.

In order to get a hotel for GenCon, you basically have to buy a badge and get into the housing pool in February, and get lucky by reserving your room then. My fiance bought his badge, but was in such a rush to make sure we got a room, he didn't order mine. Therefore, I had the lovely experience of waiting in line at 7am on Thursday morning to get my badge... fortunately, as punishment, I forced him to get up and wait in line with me :)

A long time ago, when I first started D&D, I mentioned the troubles I had in finding a good female dwarf mini. My main goal for GenCon was to acquire a mini that would work well for my female dwarf cleric, which is essentially my staple class, no matter what (yay dorfchicks!). The folks at the Reaper booth at GenCon were able to locate the exact one I wanted in seconds. I was on cloud 9.

Later, I tried to paint minis. Suffice to say, I will be begging and pleading with others amongst my friends to paint my mini for me, because I do not have the patience to paint tiny things. After an hour of it, I pretty much wanted to rip my own hair out, as well as the hair of everyone else nearby.

Probably one of the things people most recognize about GenCon are the amazing geeky costumes. I took lots of pictures of fantastic costumes, most of which are homemade, but in my eyes, these two costumes are the winners. The two folks pictured here had actually never met before... they were just two random people who had awesome costumes that looked fantastic together, and everyone wanted pictures of them.

Last but not least, I'm including a rather boring photo of the auction room at GenCon. I didn't spend as much time here as I would have liked, but there were some really superb things up for auction - of special importance were many personal effects of the illustrious late Gary Gygax, and the proceeds were donated to his wife I believe. Apparently, despite everything he'd done for the gamer culture, he wasn't able to leave much behind for his wife. I sure would have liked to bid on his beat up briefcase that he carried everywhere...

Okay, seriously. I'll try to stop gabbing about GenCon now. It's just that ever since the convention, my brain has been divided amongst multiple new games and things that I'm enjoying. My mind has expanded in pure delight! My pen & paper D&D group is going to try out OpenRPG so that we can game more frequently, since getting together has proven to be a bit difficult. If you have any experience or anecdotes from using OpenRPG, I'd love to hear them!
GenCon 2010 - The Experience!
I am fresh from my first venture into the wonderful world of GenCon, my friends, and I feel revitalized.

This may have been my fiance's 11th GenCon trip, but it was my first, and it was a lot more fun than even I expected!

As you wander the halls of the Indiana Convention Center, surrounded by people talking about Star Wars and Star Trek and Magic and trolls and hobbits and demons and swordplay and any manner of geeky activity, this is the only place where it's okay to stop someone and ask if that device they are carrying is a new game (no, it's just a fancy thermos), or which version of Settlers of Catan they are playing, or where they got that fantastic bright pink wig with the matching corset, or find people who actually *get* the jokes on your t-shirt.

It felt... like home. *sniff* Surrounded by people who are even geekier than myself. Inundated by social awkwardness that melts away as people find a common passion. Tip-toeing carefully around board games and card trades and minis spread everywhere, knowing just how valuable those items are to their owners and friends. For once feeling like the coolest person in a room because you can spout off the fundamental differences between a WoW priest and a D&D cleric, and which stats are most important for each type, and finally locating the one vendor who understands why it is so important to you to have a delightful female dwarf mini.

So... what did Miss Medicina do?

  • Drank way too much beer at The Ram. (And bought a t-shirt!)
  • Spent far too many hours wandering the exhibit hall (And bought a t-shirt!)
  • Picked up a fancy gencon badge holder (And bought a t-shirt!)
  • Restocked on card sleeves for my new-found delight in the WoW TCG and for my D&D spells
  • Paid far too much for far too many TCG booster packs (And got a Blazing Hippogryph!)
  • Remembered the prayer bead for every skill check for my cleric in True Dungeon (And almost fell through a mirror!)
  • Relived my childhood at Video Games Live as an orchestra rang out the midi files of my youth from Nintendo's Zelda to Mario Brothers to Lament of the Highbourne.
  • Bought dice. So... many.... dice....
  • Discovered Kill Doctor Lucky, and almost managed to do exactly that.
  • Ran into someone else from my hometown academic program, where we could reveal our secret geekygamergirl obsession for the first time.
I walked away with a few new collection hobbies that may come back to bite me in the ass, but I had a ridiculous amount of fun. I also have a new appreciation for the City of Indianapolis, which I confess pleasantly surprised me. I did not meet a single person who showed any sort of resentment towards the mass influx of geeks upon their fair city - in fact, we were welcomed with open arms. At the local mall where we stopped to get some food, we sat next to two well-blonded and tanned high school age girls whom I expected to be weirded out by us. Instead, one of them brightened up and pointed out a costume of someone walking by in great excitement as she recognized the Sailor Moon fans.

Everyone has a little bit of a geek somewhere inside it seems. GenCon is one of the few events at which you can completely let loose, and it's cool to be "uncool". We don't think your full suit of homemade chainmail is the mark of a loser here - we are all very impressed. Go ahead and rock out in that steampunk corset, lady, it's welcome here. See that dude over there? He writes the best Harry Potter fanfic.

I've been to several academic conferences in my life, but I probably met a greater number of truly brilliant, creative, and enthusiastic people at one GenCon than at all of my academic conferences combined. I was blown away by how welcoming everyone was. Ever since I met my fiance and was introduced into the deep geek world of gaming (I had been a closet gamer previously), I always felt a bit like an outsider. But not at GenCon! There's so much content, so much new stuff to see and learn, that everyone is new at something, and everyone is getting exposed to new things. Everyone is both a pro and a noob depending on the scenario, and it felt excellent. So much knowledge exchange...

I will followup with a picture post. Blogger isn't particularly picture friendly, so I need to do some finagling.
Call to Arms
Guys, I would have posted earlier but I've been very busy.

You see, I've discovered PvP.

I know, I know - please try to control your shock. I've always been a devout non-PvPer. Fear of the unknown had repressed me for years. (Actually, it wasn't the unknown - it was the inevitable LOLNOOB OMG U SUCK battleground chat and complete lack of any resilience)

So, here's how it all began. I was at a lowly 87 mounts after finally reaching exalted with the Netherwing Faction and acquiring my new shiny dragons. 87! That's 13 less than my goal of 100! Math is hard! Where am I supposed to get the final 13?!?!?

And then I saw that you could purchase mounts with honor.

So, with great trepidation and determination, I donned my few pieces of lolpvp gear that had been thrust upon me from VoA pugs, and nervously clicked the "Queue for Random Battleground" button. AND HOLY COW. PVP IS AWESOME.

I can't stop. I've done nothing but queue for battlegrounds since. I'm not eating, sleeping, or posting. I'm pwning hordies and jumping into Wintergrasp every chance I get.

I changed my shadow spec to a PvP friendly one suggested by I rearranged my buttons. I have Silence! And Psychic Horror! And STONEFORM BITCHES.

So I would like to share with you some of the most important lessons I've learned in my recent Battleground Mania.

  1. Always Always Always hit CTRL-S in the preparation area for Alterac Valley (and most battlegrounds actually). In a 40 main PvP group, there will always be rogues, and at least one of those rogues will always be an annoying flying-dagger spamming kid. Or a Path of Frost spamming DK.
  2. You don't need to suck for everyone to know you're a noob when you go into a battleground. As soon as you get that achievement for An Honorable Kill! everyone will know.
  3. I officially feel very bad for the Hordies on Lothar. They haven't had Wintergrasp since Wednesday. It's all because of me, I'm certain.
  4. Arcane Torrent SUCKS. Jerks. As far as I'm concerned, the only Blood Elf I will ever like is Tamarind, and the rest of you emokids can keep your damn torrents to yourself!
  5. Stoneform is a racial ability I alway found completely useless until battlegrounds. Now I use it just about every cooldown. Between that and Psychic Horror, I fear no rogues or warriors. LOLSTONED
  6. Find something you're good at (or at least not terrified of), and just stick to it. If you're new to battlegrounds, just go stand at a tower and pretend you're defending it, when in reality you're looking at the map trying to figure out where the hell you are.
  7. I still have not mastered the ability of picking up bombs.
  8. I hate Warsong Gulch.
  9. Even if you're a shadow priest... don't be afraid to heal. That's part of what I think makes shadow priests great in PvP. If I know I'm going to die, I just throw a Prayer of Mending on myself... at least it will still bounce after I'm dead.
  10. When in doubt, just jump. A lot. It makes you look like you're actually good at this.

When I first decided to start jumping into PvP, I asked around: "How much resilience should I have before I start running battlegrounds?" The answer was usually a number around 1000. Since I only had about 100 resilience starting up, I felt incredibly timid joining in.

But thinking you need 1000 resilience to even start is ridiculous, as far as I'm concerned. In order to get enough PvP gear to have that kind of resilience, you're going to have to actually DO some PvP first. As long as you are prepared to die a lot, just jump in! Ignore people who are jerks in BG chat. I've found that lots of people are actually very encouraging, with compliments for successful defense tactics, gratitude for any healer around, and lots of cheers when there is a win.

And the game has come alive for me again. Though I've never really been gear or loot obsessed, there is a lot of fun involved in setting gear goals for yourself. And what's great about getting PvP gear is that you aren't directly competing with someone else for a specific item. There's no rolling against other priests, and the disappointment or arguments that come from someone losing the item. All the competition is focused on the battles themselves, really. Gearing yourself is a very independent endeavor - and I'm getting a kick out of it.

I bought two mounts in the beginning... and now I'm just buying more PvP gear with my honor. Oops.
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