Archive for August, 2011

Do You Game The Way You Live?

I got frustrated with myself last night after realizing that I spent all day on an alt and forgot to login to Elfi and use my transmute cool-down to transmute living elements. Then I realized I was online Saturday for several hours and didn’t do it then either. What a waste. I never have been someone who logs in daily, so it’s imperative that I remember to do these types of important things when I have the chance. Come to think of it, by not logging into my main, not only did I waste my transmute cool-down, but I should totally be doing my Firelands and Hyjal dailies. I still have several pieces of green gear, I should be trying to help myself out every chance I get.

So it got me to thinking… I need to try and establish a routine with my WoW so that I don’t just walk around aimlessly, picking pretty flowers and missing out on opportunities. And then I got to thinking… I’ve always been a casual player but I swear I used to have a routine. Oh right, back at my old job when I worked a normal Monday – Friday day shift. My days had a set routine, so my gaming had a set routine. Get off work at x, do chores until y, log in at z and do dailies first, then run randoms second. Then off to bed to get ready to go to work the next day.

Now my days don’t have that type of routine. I work the graveyard shift and while most people are constantly telling me they’d love to be single and working overnights, it really does not thrill me. I don’t want to be single and lonely, I like to be social. And since I live alone, there’s no one around to adapt to my schedule. I still have to fit in with the rest of the world during their normal hours. So I have no routine. I get off work at 8:00am and I stay up several hours running errands in town, going to appointments, etc. Then I get home and try to wind down and be in bed no later than noon. Why no later than noon? Because most of the world is going to be off work and becoming active around 5:00pm so that’s when I need to get up and interact with everyone. Call my parents before they go to bed, visit with friends, etc. Sometimes I develop insomnia because of all the bright, pretty sunlight in the mornings and I don’t go to bed until 2:00 in the afternoon. This means I don’t get up at 5 and when I finally roll out of bed at around 9:00pm, everyone else in the world is winding down and getting ready to go to bed. Then I watch the nightly news and some Jay Leno and I go to work. Fun, right? NO. There’s no routine, every day is different. I don’t go to bed at the same time, I don’t get up at the same time. I don’t eat any meals at the same time. If I don’t get up until 9:00pm then I don’t eat breakfast until 10 o’clock at night. Which means I’m not hungry for lunch at my normal time, so I eat lunch later. Which means I’m not hungry when I get off work, but I get hungry right before bed. If I get out of bed around 5 then I eat around 6 and again around midnight and again around 6:00am. See, not even my stomach gets a routine. If a friend invites me for dinner and wants to eat at 5, I have to get up at 3:30 to shower and drive over there. OMG, I’M RAMBLING.

Point is, I’ve realized I am gaming the way I live. Randomly. Sporadically. Exhausted and unfocused. Things are being left undone. Time is being wasted. My gear is getting dusty. I need a routine. I need to develop a habit of doing my transmutes first thing and doing dailies before logging into an alt. I need to make a schedule of what days I want to spend logged in and dedicate those days to following my routine and then running heroics or questing or whatever. Then the other days can be spent cleaning house and doing errands and it will just make everything so much easier. Most importantly, I need to establish a bedtime and a wake-up time and try to normalize that a bit. Routines really are very helpful.

All of this realization came crashing down on me last night because I forgot to log in and use my transmute. It made me curious, in how many different ways does real life sneak into our games? I mean, this is supposed to be a fantasy game where we can go to escape our real world troubles. Yet our reality won’t leave us alone. Extremely shy people, who SHOULD be able to go into a world of make-believe and anonymity and just let themselves shout from the rooftops, are still extremely shy. People who have had a rough day/week/month at work and are pissy and cranky, who SHOULD be able to login to a world of cartoony landscapes and creatures and relax by laughing at gnomes and huntards, are the cranky and pissy dps in every pug I ever run. People who are disorganized and never know where anything is, who SHOULD be able to use the equipment manager for a one-click solution to lost bracers, are the people who are tanking with their fishing pole. Here’s our chance to reinvent ourselves, to become whatever character we want to and re-write our own history; yet, how many of us live our virtual lives the same way we live our real lives?

/raises hand

I do. Hello. My name is Elfi and I’m an unfocused insomniac.

Screenshot Saturday

Let’s go turtle-kickin’, everybody’s turtle-kickin’, come and kick a turtle with me.

P.S. I changed Elfi’s hair to green, but I think I like the white better. Opinions?

The One With The Not-So-Sneaky Horde Rogue

Thursday night, at roughly 7:00pm server time, I was in Ironforge to grab the fishing daily when I was surprised to see the above scene layed out before me. Yep, that’s a Goblin rogue all kicked back in the middle of an Alliance city, doing some fishing. We know they do it, just like we Alliance members go fishing in Orgrimmar. But the difference is, when I go fishing in Orgrimmar I generally do it at like 5:00am server time and I go in naked and hide behind one of the huts in the Valley of the Spirits. And even with those types of precautions, I’ve still been noticed and killed several times.

I think the image of the rogue above is a testament to the core difference between people who play a Horde character as their main and people who play an Alliance character as their main (i know most of us actually have a toon from both sides); the Alliance are just basically nicer people. When I rounded the corner and saw this guy my first reaction was to laugh and take a screenshot. Then I targeted him, which must have made him just a hair nervous (although I don’t know why because Horde rogues can kill a resto druid with their eyes closed and one hand tied behind their backs) because when he noticed me he stood up. And then I applauded him. Way to have some major balls buddy! Lol. And I wasn’t the only person there either, there was another druid and a pally both standing there watching him. Well, actually, the druid was dancing with the disco ball the rogue had out. But my point is, we didn’t attack him, we left him alone. Now I can’t say for sure that he managed to survive his entire adventure because I do know there are many Alliance players who would immediately attack. I just think that the Alliance, as a whole, is more friendly and passive than the Horde. If I had been in Orgrimmar at 7:00pm server time, I would have been dead before I even got my beach chair out of my backpack.

Funny Photo Time

This has nothing at all to do with anything related to Azeroth, but I had to share. I stopped at a Subway this morning on my way home from work and was confronted with this atrocity at the register. I had left my cell phone out in the car but I had to get a picture so I actually pulled a camera out of my purse and shamelessly snapped a pic of this sign. The 2 employees behind the counter were just staring at me like I was a weirdo. I really don’t think they had any clue what I thought was so funny.

The One With All Of The Leveling

I have been playing WoW since January, 2008. Over 3 years. Don’t believe me? It says so right in the header image of this blog, so it must be true. In that 3 1/2 years I have accomplished … well, I’ve had a lot of fun. I can’t really say I’ve accomplished much though because I only have 1 level 85 character. And while she does have the Loremaster Title and earned the Violet-Proto drake from the holiday meta-achievement over 2 years ago, she hasn’t done much else. She’s not even a Kingslayer. I really don’t have any one good excuse for my lack of multiple high-level characters. It’s been everything from summer slump to crazy busy social life to needing a break from the game to working hours a bit off from everyone else in my guild and finally to having internet issues. But something weird seems to be happening lately. I am actually getting close to having another level 85 toon.

My worgen, Morena, went from 68 to 71 this weekend and it really was sorta fun. She’s in Northrend so the random dungeons can be ran quickly and without too much trouble. Since I’m just pugging with strangers the whole time, I queue up as dps and if I lag then I type it into party chat. If I disconnect I just reconnect and tell them I’m sorry. I’m not stressing about being a burden to my friends or causing a wipe with a disconnect. These aren’t troll heroics, they’re the 20 minute dungeon runs that are solely responsible for the creation of the term “wrath baby”. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. And holy shit at the experience I am gaining. I was excited to be logged in all weekend instead of feeling sorry for myself that I am not doing all the big boy runs with the rest of the guild. Morena has brought some joy back into my life. She actually has some decent gear now thanks to running Utgarde Keep and the Nexxus dozens of times each and a generous soul even donated some JP BOE sandals for me to throw in the bank until I can use them. The current plan is to keep leveling her until it’s no longer any fun and then when I reach that point, start leveling someone else. I may not be able to raid right now, but I can at least work on getting several different characters established so I have more choices later.

Screenshot Saturday

Spiders? Why does it always have to be spiders?

The One Where I Share Cool Things

Things have been kind of quiet around here AND I TOTALLY HATE THAT so I thought I’d make myself feel a tiny bit useful by sharing some recently discovered links to some really cool things.

Let’s just start right off with an absolutely perfect new WoW parody video Rolling With Mad Deeps (Adele Cover). Seriously very funny. It’s brand new, it needs the exposure, share this shit with your friends.

Beyond Bloody Rare: A Guide To All Rares – this is a great guide and I actually learned about some NPC spawns I didn’t even know existed. It tells you what loot they drop, what spells they cast, etc. A word of advice in case you’re a dork like me – there are tabs to click on to view the list for other zones. For example, directly underneath where it says Cataclysm Rares you will need to click on the zone name to view the list. Includes information about the Northrend and Outlands achievements and also rare spawns from classic instances. Check it out!

The new Disciplinary Action comic Episode #28: One Of These Things Is Just Like The Other will really strike a chord with anyone who has ever ran a random pug. Absolutely brilliant.

And last but not least, it’s story time – World Of Warcraft GMs Have A Sense Of Humor. Funny stuff right there folks.

The One Where Our Guild Forums Are Making Me Lose My Mind

Back in January my guild was surprised by the sudden and unexpected news that someone needed to take over our guild forums because the current website administrator had just left the guild. I already had a Go Daddy account and there were only 2 or 3 of us around who even knew anything about running a website, so I picked up the ball and decided to run with it. The old admin didn’t just dump and run, he patiently maintained everything during the transition process, helped transfer the database over to my account and walked me through downloading and uploading the database. And it’s been mine ever since. Two of my guildies are Admins along with me, so I’m not trying to pretend I am “the man”. One of these is our GM because he obviously needs to be aware of and involved in everything related to the guild, but he is not an IT nerd like some of us, so he mostly just helps out by activating new user accounts and moderating the forums. The other one is an old, trusted friend who is extremely technical and 10x smarter than me about all things related to computers, networks, databases, etc. He’s there as my backup and emergency contact in case I really screw something up or can’t figure something out. But mostly, the day to day duties related to maintaining the site is my responsibility.

I love responsibility because I love to feel like I’m being useful and contributing. But, oh man, I’m really starting to lose my mind thanks to the dreaded spam bots. I knew these things existed and could wreak havoc on a website, so I had already required new users to enter a captcha and wait for their account to be approved before they could post. Yes, I know for a busy website that can discourage traffic from real people, but we are not a busy website and our new users should coincide with new guildies so it wasn’t a big deal. And it worked fine for the first 4 or 5 months, just as it should have. But then approx 2 months ago … shit went down. I repeat, shit went down. I started receiving tons of emails for new accounts being created and awaiting activation. TONS. I did some quick research on what would cause this and learned that the version of phpbb used on my site had finally been breached because spam bots had cracked the captcha. It’s version 3.0.8 btw, and yes, version 3.0.9 is available as an upgrade and from what I am reading the spam bots haven’t broken it yet. Unfortunately, Go Daddy does not yet support 3.0.9 so I can’t upgrade. Where does that leave me? It leaves me receiving an average of 50 emails a day related to new user registration. On my pc, on my smartphone. In my fucking sleep! They’re haunting me.

Obviously the other two administrators are getting these emails to, we’re all connected to the websites custom email alias. The difference is, even though I’m sure they are annoyed by them as I am, they can simply filter them out to a folder and ignore them or delete them. I have to look at every one of them. 50 times a day. I have to look at them for two reasons: we are actively recruiting and are gaining new members so some of these registrations are legit and need to be activated and because I just can’t stand letting that many usernames build up on the database. I know they’re technically not hurting anything because they’re never being activated, but they just don’t need to be there. So I go through every email (not as soon as they come in, usually at the end of each day I do them all at once) and look at the user and delete the ones that are not legit. As a way of weeding them out, I require all new registrants to enter their race, class and the name of their main character. It’s pretty easy to tell the spam bots because their race, class and character always look similar to ZZQEKF2934J. So I delete those users and just to make myself feel better, I ban that IP address. I know it’s highly unlikely that does any good, but it makes me feel like I’m trying to prevent duplicate hits.

So the purpose of this post is just to vent a little bit, confess that getting 50 emails a day for 8 weeks will actually drive you bat shit insane and beg and plead for someone out there to offer me a solution. The obvious solution is to get a real hosting service and quit using Go Daddy, but I just don’t wanna go through the process. Everything is there and I’m setup on auto payments, so the lazy side of me doesn’t want to go through all of the trouble of moving. Is there anything else that can be done?

Sidenote: During the time it took me to write this post, I received 3 emails regarding new user registrations. Yay!