My short sojourn into the PTR

So I spent a little time in the PTR last night, not to get a head start in planning the rush to 100 or scope things out.  I went in there to get a feel for what changes will mean to me.  The stat squish is very unsettling.  Even on Marathal who in his 572 gear had less than 97,000 health compared to his normal 712,000. But I know that everything got a squish.  So off to TImeless Isle I went.  I have a very good feel for how powerful I am there, what creatures give me difficulty, which require small pulls.  And I destroyed them.  The big rock guys that seem to know exactly where to throw a boulder?  Yawn. Solo killed with several Tigers wanting a piece of me keeping me stunned.  Frogs? more like Frog legs they dropped fast.  My numbers seemed reduced but I know in comparison to health pools I was performing much better than currently.

So back to town to give a look at fighting the Iron Horde.  Now this was interesting, while they still we level 90 creatures I was hitting them a lot softer, damage was lower than on Timeless, noticeably so, single target kills were still not all that hard, but 2 or more was challenging. Coming out of a building into a large group that had respawned was almost the death of me, normally using Divine Star as a DPS/Healing rotation tripped me up with the healing being removed, not having renew, yeah we Shadowpriests still have Prayer of Mending but not much help by yourself.  Fortunately we do have a new big heal, 20% but with a 2 minute cool down I may have to pay closer attention to how fast I proceed alone in the world.

All in all, I felt more powerful.

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Live 4 Love, Love 2 Live

Taking a second to give credit for the title of this post to @Ghemithunts.  While he may not have suggested the exact name, the blog title is attributable to him.

What is love.

1.  an intense feeling of deep affection.
2.  a person or thing that one loves.

There is so much hatred in the world.  It surrounds us every day, and it permeates our lives.  So why do we give it more life by allowing it to cloud our interactions with people every day.  Just like frowning requires more muscles than a smile, Allowing hate to cloud what we say to people requires more of us emotionally than to be kind.  I am sure there are things in all of our lives that have been traumatic and hurt us all to the core of our being.  And because of these things that have happened to us in our lives, we at times allow that pain to ignite into a roaring flame of anger and hatred directed to another person, persons, or thing.  What we may not realize is that there are others that have experienced similar things, or perhaps have had much worse perpetrated on to them or someone close to them.  People use phrases everyday that they feel no remorse about using, Saying things like I hope you get Cancer.  Maybe they have, maybe they have lost family members to the disease, Saying things like that is so Aide’s, I am certain there are many that have lost friends and family.  The words we use can cut as deep as any knife to a person, whether they are directed at them or not.  People may read what you say everyday.

One thing I have noticed, because I to chose to not just react to people and what they say, I try to listen, is that we are everything in our little community of gamers. We are all walks of life.  If you singled out any one group of people in the world I am fairly sure you would be able to find a person or 20 that has a story to tell.  Many feel a need to champion a cause, to brush all others opinions and feelings aside because their cause of the week is important to them.  It is wonderful that people can feel so strongly about something, but when you lash out at others and allow your hatred of those that do not fully agree, you do more damage to your cause than any opposing group.

Respect that others may have a different opinion than you.  Discuss things with them rationally, be respectful, show compassion, as bad as some thing in your life may have been, perhaps they have had something similar or were a victim in another manner.  If they choose to take a defensive stance maybe there is a reason, maybe they are currently experiencing that which you are demanding others take notice of and it is painful for them to read everyday.  How we communicate with people using the written word is often subject to interpretation.  How many times has someone made a nervous joke about something to have many jump on the joke as them stating a fact, and dragged them through the mud for it.  Unless you are a close personal friend or family member to a person, you do not know their life, what they may deal with on a daily basis, depression, anxiety, abuse, the list is endless.

Taking a stand that what you say is right and everyone else is wrong is not a way to live.  Being respectful of others, talking about what it is that has shaped who you are as a person, explaining with compassion about why something is important to acknowledge and having a healthy discussion will shed more light on a subject than any shouting match.

We need to live with more love in our hearts, we need to live for love.  Without it we are left with hate and anger.  When we learn to Love things more, be it a person, a job, a game we play, a special memory that gives us joy, then we will learn that in showing compassion and love, we will learn to live.
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Welcome to the World of Warcraft

Hello there and welcome to the World of Warcraft.  If you are reading this then perhaps you have tried to find out what is this all about.  Well I am not going to try to fill your head with dozens of you need to do this or that, how to key bind abilities, what is the quickest way to get to max level.  There are plenty of in game tool tips and guides on the internet.  What I am going to try to explain to you is what do the very first things you do once you have installed the game mean to you and your gaming experience.  So without further ado.

Welcome to.
2364671-world-of-warcraft-logo

When you first install the game you will go through the normal registering, setting up a Battlenet account, etc.  World of Warcraft is one of many games offered by Blizzard Entertainment, they also have very popular games such as Diablo 3, Hearthstone, Starcraft, and Heroes of the Storm.  Having a Battlenet account allows you to talk to friends playing all of these games.  I will not overload you with tons of details, I am sure you want to get right in there and start killing Internet Dragons.

OK lets do this.
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One thing I seriously want to address right now.  As much as Blizzard Entertainment does to protect your personal information, your credit cards, etc. There are people everyday trying to find new ways to get access to your account and use it to steal from others, sell gold to people with your account, many things.  They (Blizzard) are very well protected on their end, however, your home computer is not.  Blizzard does offer two different methods to add an additional layer of security to your account. With the Mobil Authenticator or the Smart phone app.

Here is a link to the Balltenet shop to purchase one. https://gear.blizzard.com/index.php/default/catalogsearch/result/?q=authenticator or you can search for the free app on your phone.  I will make note that you will be given a code if you install on your phone.  Please write this down, if you lose your phone or upgrade in the future, it is not a simple process to fix.  It can be done by calling account services, but it is far easier to just write the number down for future reference.

You can choose to forgo adding this extra protection, but there may come a day when you go to log in and find your characters have been stripped clean.  It is definitely worth the peace of mind.

So you have fired up the game and one of the first things you are prompted to do is choose a server.  This is not a set in stone, once you choose, you are stuck forever.  Personally I would recommend trying out a medium population server.  There are some with hundreds of thousands of players on them, just as conversely there are some that may seem like ghost towns.  You will have to decide for yourself what kind of balance best fits you.  You can go onto Blizzards web site http://us.battle.net/wow/en/forum/ and scroll all the way down to the bottom to see the entire list of servers available. There are a lot.  It is worth reading how people perceive their part of the world.  Keep in mind if you ask, what do you think of X server, you will hear good and bad.  This is true of any.  All will have a certain group type in common regardless of where you chose.  Also there are several types of server, PvE (Player vs Environment) PvP (Player vs Player) RP (Role Play) and variations of each.  For your initial choice you may wish to choose a PvE server, on a PvP server you will have players of higher level opposing factions that will not hesitate to take a quick shot to kill a lower level character.  It is not sporting certainly but it does happen.  Before I go further I should add this.  When you first get to where you are creating your first character you will be asked if you wish to boost this to level 90.  This is a one time free character boost.  So I personally would not recommend doing it right away.  If this is your first time playing World of Warcraft or an MMO (Massive Multiplayer Online) game then you may want to try out a few options.  Do you want to be a member of the Alliance, do you want to be a member of the Horde, do you prefer to get up close to your enemy and play a Warrior or Paladin, or perhaps you are interested in being a Hunter or a class that stands back a to do ranged attacks.  There are many classes and many races for you to choose from.

I will add in here some information that should be relayed.  All races have a unique starting area, where you first arrive you will watch a brief cinematic explaining the back story of your chosen race, and find yourself at your first quest.  There are many initial quests that will get you accustomed to how your class is played.  Too often I have heard people start a class and get it to level 20 only to decide that they don’t like it.  Which is fine.  You can pick something totally new to try out.  Eventually you will find yourself guided towards the capital city for your chose race.  From there you will venture out into the world advancing through more and more difficult zones as you work your way to max level.  At times you may find yourself with multiple options on where to go for the next area.  The World is huge with many continents and zones.  They have streamlined the questing experience so that you can move and progress fairly quickly.  Additionally the Goblin and Worgen races have a starting area separate from the rest of the game until you have completed a quest line that places you out in the rest of the world, it does not take a long time to complete but just so you know you will only be seeing a small portion of players if you choose these.  The Pandaran race starts on an Island and has no faction until you complete and you make your choice Alliance or Horde.  All other factions start out in the world and can interact with other players immediately.  All races are worth trying out just to experience the initial starting areas to get a glimpse of the back ground story.

I want to take a second to point out an issue you may see.  Guild invites.  Choosing a guild is just like choosing a group of new friends.  You have no idea what they are like, are they helpful, are they focused only on end game raiding, are they role players, do they enjoy working on older content, or are they a guild just looking for bodies to occupy the guild.  Many people use automated programs that scan the game looking for people not in a guild and send automatic invites along with a brief message, Hey you should join us because we are super cool folks.  There is an option in the interface for you to turn off guild invites.  Eventually you will find one you want to join, perhaps you find friends while questing that you like and want to join their guild.  It is not a choice you are stuck with, you can always type in /gquit and you will leave the guild.  I would personally recommend at least leaving on good terms, just as if you were leaving a job.  You may find out later that they really were a decent bunch of people and want to come back some day.

So you have started on your first server, have chosen a few characters and found one you really like playing and the people you interact with everyday seem like a decent bunch.  Now you have a choice, do you boost to 90 or not.  There is no wrong choice.  The wonderful thing about this game is there is no set way it has to be played, you can go it alone, you can be very social, you can to battlegrounds, you can do pet battles, you can work your way up into raiding progression, you can use the dungeon finder to find random groups to do things with, even find people to group up to do questing.  There are a myriad of things to do.  If you find yourself with nothing to do then you are not looking at other options.  Even after 5 years of playing I can still find something to do or work on, I have hundreds of pets I still need to add to my collection, plenty of mounts, plenty of achievments for doing things.  I could be busy for years to come.

The game comes with many in game tools that initially you will see, so I will not go into all the details on that.  You will eventually find yourself wondering how do all these people know everything they do.  Well we look at the class forums on WoW’s site linked above, we go to other webs sites such as Icy-veins.com there are many class specific web sites out there you can look into and I am certain if you ask anyone in game they can tell you anything you need to know.

I hope that this was a little helpful to you.  I certainly wish I was more adept at video creation and editing to make a more comprehensive guide.  Perhaps you will end up on a server such as mine with many helpful people, or perhaps you may find yourself elsewhere, it is a big world, and there are many friends to be made and challenges ahead.  So enjoy.  And remember to always

Be A Fun Mum

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Borean Tundra, the server and Gear

We have a server Facebook group.  This was posted the other day.

Borean Tundra is tops when it comes to people. Even old school folks flock(ed) to BT, still do. I can not speak highly of everyone, but for most. Many of us have traveled, experienced other realms, but Always come back to BT. I would like to thank all for so much fun, and apologize for my drunken nights

And that is dead on the money.  We may not be the top for progression, we may not have hundreds of raiding guilds, or multiple teams competing for Gladiator titles.  We have great people.  People of all ages, all walks of life that love to play WoW in a manner they enjoy.  I do feel that quite a few of us do believe, Real Life before WoW.  We all have jobs, familiy, school.  We love the game, and for the most part the majority of us enjoy each others company, even have mutual respect for those of other factions.  We are a diamond in the rough. 

I can get defensive at time when I read comments from people that criticize how we may do things as a guild or even as a server.  We are all here to have fun playing a game.  We do our own thing.  It is difficult to explain some times to people that may be on more progression oriented servers where they have hundreds of guilds running heroic content that it is different for us.  We, Fates Call, are working on Garrosh normal now.  We do not have it on farm, we do not run pug groups or sell runs, we are working on getting our first Guild kill.  There are many guilds on our joint server with Shadowsong in the same boat.  We don’t burn ourselves out on bleeding edge content, sell a few runs then go take a break to play other games, we are here everyday doing all sorts of things in the game.  We are trying to have fun.  Many of us work very hard to acquire gear so that we can step into a raid and do well, we do not have the luxury of time to wipe hundreds of times to see a piece of gear drop for a class not even in the raid group.  We cannot afford to buy super high end BoE drops that we know will be replaced in less than 3 months.  We do want to get into the raiding scene and do well, but we also want to have fun doing it.  When it becomes a job, then it is not playing to have fun and relax with friends, it is becoming a second job.

So I am sorry if I want to champion being able to get gear through alternate means, even if it takes me twice as long as it would if I raided 9 hours a week.  I do not raid to get gear to raid to get gear to raid to get best in slot in every slot.  I acquire gear how ever I can, so that if I do step into a normal raid, that I can do well, and do not feel like I am being carried by the rest of the group.  Warlords is going to be a whole new experience for everyone.  Many changes, especially in how we can get those sought after upgrades to our Dungeon Blues.  We all work hard to get to max level, we all work hard to become powerful characters.  Please do not take offense because we do not want to play the game in the same manner as you, we have just learned how to do things differently and we like it.

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A reply where I write a whole lot of letters.

Was going to reply to @Alternative chats blog post  http://www.alternative-blog.net/2014/08/big-gun.html#sthash.EUr1Lmvf.dpbs but ran a bit too long

We both come from a similar era.  I have played games going on 40+ years since I was 10-12 years old. Interesting enough, while looking for things for a yard sale next week, I ran across the box with my Atari 2600 and some game cartridges. I recall growing up as a teenager going to the arcade and playing anything new as soon as they wheeled it in.  We never paid attention if it was another boy or a girl next to us, ok maybe we noticed if a girl was standing next to us playing.  We were all there to play video games. If there was a girl next to us that was pretty cool.  We shared a common love of playing games.  When I was near graduation in High school, we were given a test to see what kind of career we should pursue in life, boys ended up with responses like Engineering or Airline pilot, Girls were steered to Accounting and Business.  So maybe that is part of the fault, that our parents that grew up in the 40’s and 50’s were the ones steering us into careers that shaped a culture.  My cousin who is a few years older than I am went to college for computer programing, she graduated as one of 4 women in the school, granted there were only maybe a dozen in that particular field of study but still a small percentage.  She went on to work for NASA for many years and is at least in my eyes a pretty big thing in the computing world being one of the lead team for CERT at Carnegie Mellon.  I have never heard her say she felt like she was isolated because of her gender, or that she could not find work because of it.  I think she has the job she does because she has the respect of those in her field.  When I was to go off to college they did not have the cool computer programing classes like they do today, if I had gone to school 5-10 years later I may have been out in California working for Blizzard or Microsoft or Apple.  I was told by my school adviser that I was good in math so I should be an engineer.  I did not like it at all, I liked drawing and eventually became a draftsman.  I get to draw huge commercial buildings, and Parking Garages, and Stadiums. The coolest thing is going some place and seeing it in person.  It is a thing, I can touch it and take pride in what I drew.  When I was in college for engineering I would say about a third to half the people there were women, when I went to school for drafting many were women.  I have never looked at life as being a part of the boys club, or felt I was better than any woman.  Maybe it is just me or the way I was raised, or how I look at a glass being not just half full, but that the half missing is a part of me.

I guess somewhere along the way the joke, that girls don’t play video games became a mantra and a call for equality.  From my standpoint it never mattered.  I don’t care, your gender, your race, your sexual orientation.  What matters to me is if you are a good person at heart and how you treat others.  We all, regardless of how many years, started playing WoW or any of a hundred games, because that is what they were, Games. WoW is a bit unique in the social aspect of it being more community oriented, and many have taken that to mean it should be more than just a game, that the gaming industry needs to be more acknowledging of social issues in the world.  I wrote a blog post back in May http://marathalbt.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/some-times-a-game-should-just-be-a-game/ No matter what, as we get older our priorities in life change, and we try to hold on to things from our younger days like games we play and some want it to grow with their view of life as they have gotten older and the reality of the world around us.  I do not envy Blizzard or any game developer.  For every cause out there I am sure you will find many for, many against, and even more that honestly don’t care either way because for them it is just a game they like to play.

For a period of time I was a moderator for Shadowpriest.com  (Rest in Peace)  One of the interesting things with having the rank was being able to look through the archive of postings going back all the way to the earliest days of the site.  What I do sorely wish I could link to are discussions from the Burning Crusade beta, on how Blizzard was dumbing down the game, and catering to the casuals.  It is not some new argument or call to arms by the elite players, it has been a part of WoW since they announced a 2nd expansion.  The game is not being dumbed down, on the contrary it is becoming more and more complex and to reign in button bloat they are simplifying the complexity by reducing the amount of buttons you need to coordinate the maximum result.   You will still need to CC, still need to dispel, watch your threat, cleanse, beat enrage timers, track multiple buffs or debuffs.  If you put 40 players today with all of the fancy add on programs into original WoW content in original gear enchants food flasks etc they would destroy it without breaking a sweat.  Because we all have become more skilled at playing our classes, and because we have a bunch of programs that assist us to do so.  Ask any developer at Blizzard if they feel Heroic end game content can be played with the default UI and program and they will all most likely say no.

On the hate being talked about in the gaming community.

When I stepped up to lead the guild I currently run, we were in sad shape, on a Friday evening it would be myself, my wife, and one or two others in guild.  We may have had 135 members in guild, but that was realistically only 20 people and alts, and many had quit playing WoW.  So when I stepped up, I had read the Guild leaders handbook, had thoughts and ideas, but overall I had the core statement of the guilds original GM in my mind.

The idea behind FC was one to create a place for “mature” World of Warcraft players. No, not just for old people, but a place for players who have kids and/or are married. Or people who are serious about school but still want to have people to enjoy the game with. In short, we created a guild for members who have real lives. We are a close knit group that enjoys all aspects of the game together with the understanding that families/real life comes first.

So I set out to recruit people that were good people.  Along the way we may have picked up a few that just did not fit in, and they would leave for a time, some came back, only to leave again.  I had hoped to maybe get a handful of decent people that liked to treat people like an actual person.  Having a server Facebook group helped some, seeing that this player was really a person, and that they had real life issues added a level of intimacy for lack of a better word that you just don’t get talking to a stranger in a random group.  As it is the guild has grown to almost the cap in a year.  We have so many great people, I believe it is something along the lines of 460+ accounts.  If you ever want to see, just type /guildinfo  But it seems like an ideal I had may be growing.  People are getting tired of being berated for the way they choose to play, the casual players are gaining a voice, and there are some listening to us.  Maybe the percentage of those at the top is shrinking along with every other level and now we represent more of the monthly income.  It is slowly changing to a more positive gaming enviroment.  Surround yourself with great fun people you “Like” and soon others will come and wonder why are you having such a great time not doing current cutting edge stuff?  Some day they may get it.

I think what we may be seeing is not so much more of a viciousness to the community but more a small vocal minority grasping at a lifestyle changing.  We use to put up with nasty, ignorant, mean people if they were a great player.  Now we are finding that it is just as much fun to play with people that laugh at our jokes, or share in our joys outside of the game.  The game is not our lives anymore, but more of an extension of it.

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Why act that way.

I did Tol Barad last night.  I occasionally jump in if I happen to see it is up. I always give it my best.  I don’t care if I die 100 times to one person, or if I am locked out and stunned by a well coordinated group.  I give it my best and keep trying until it’s over.  Last night we were the attackers, which can be a challenge if there is a decent defense, and last night there was.  Saw a few names I know that are decent PvP players, and when time ran out they had defended and were victorious.

What I did not expect was to be spit on, laughed at, and several other emotes directed specifically at me.  I’m an adult, I treat all other players as adults.  If you want to shut me down and kill me over and over because you are a more skilled player, I will /bow you when it is over.  If I defeat you many times during a fight I will /salute you for doing your best and trying.  If I wanted to be treated and mocked like that I would go learn to play League of Legends.

We all have choices in what we do in game.  If that is the way some people on our joint server want to play then I will go off and work on other things.  The reason I play on a PvE server is I can do all sorts of things and Not have to PvP unless I want to.  So I choose to just walk away.  You are the better player in PvP content, enjoy many empty victories because I choose to play with players I respect.

 

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Gaming Interuptions

We talked a bit last night in guild about these DDOS attacks against Blizzard and other companies.  It is a shame that a person or persons finds enjoyment in affecting the gaming time for millions of players just because they can.  I am sure if any of us knew the person(s) we would be giving them a smack upside the head for what they are doing.  They are not playing a minor prank any more.  Alluding to a bomb threat, whether they specifically mentioned it or worded it in a way to supposedly protect themselves from prosecution is irrelevant.  They either made it or know the person that did.  At the very least they are hinting that they did.

I was thinking of an analogy to describe what they are doing every night.  Basically they are the kid in the neighborhood sneaking into your driveway at night and letting air out of your tires.  Not completely, just enough that you have to take time everyday to hit a gas station to fill them up to get to work.  It is not a physical attack against you personally, however it doing damage to your personal property.  They may feel they are justified in what they are doing, may think that they are only targeting a few companies. What if what they are doing is bogging down a portal that is shared by a hospital and they cannot transmit data to other hospitals that could save lives.  Or what if inadvertently they cause a needed software update to a major network gets corrupted by their antics. 

They are seeking attention, and following them on Twitter, even to keep tabs on what they may be going to hit next, just feeds into them.  As far as I am concerned, Blizzard is doing an excellent job to keep us online.  So they have my support.  This person or persons will eventually be caught, they will probably get a small fine or a slap on the wrists and go back to doing it again to someone else.  Or as many are hoping, the federal government will make an example of them.  Regardless, in a short amount of time, someone will find out exactly the program they are using to do this, and come up with a means to block it.

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