IRL Prep for WoW Classic

World of Warcraft originally launched in 2004 back when I was in my early 20s and life was a lot less busy. I worked at Best Buy on a varying schedule, I lived in a one bedroom apartment and didn’t have anyone to care for other than myself. I first got into World of Warcraft when all my gamer friends seemed to be playing it. I was becoming increasingly frustrated with the performance issues with the MMO that I was playing at the time (SWG) so I figured it was time for a change. Of course, I didn’t have any idea what World of Warcraft was prior to its release. I had played Warcraft II and III, but didn’t follow the up coming titles since I was very much engrossed in the current game that I was playing. Since that time, I have become infatuated with new games and truly believe that the best time to play a MMO is when its new and the vast majority of players are experiencing it for the first time.

World of Warcraft Classic was announced back in 2017 when I was about 2 years into a private server obsession. I had fallen back in love with the prior expansions and was super excited to play the authentic version of Vanilla that all of the private servers had a hard time living up to. While I enjoyed several new MMOs this year I have had my sights set on WoW Classic as my new obsession. The game comes out tomorrow and between a spouse, kid and a house to maintain I have a lot more on my plate than I did 15 years ago. In order to make the most of this launch week I’m working hard to prepare!

Here are my quests for today:

1 Day before WoW Classic Launch here is my Quest list to be completed:

  • Snacks of Stormwind – Grocery Shopping enough food for 10 days
  • Prepare the Royal Kitchen – Clean up the Kitchen
  • The Soiled Garments – Laundry
  • Pies for the Boy King – Cook the following things – Meatballs, Lasagna, Roast Chicken, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Asparagus, Mini Cheese Cakes!
  • The Dwarves be Thirsty – Prepare Lemonade and Iced Tea for the week
  • Muck out the Stables – Clean the Bathrooms

Already Completed Quests:

  • Make Ready for Battle – Clean and organize the computer
  • Sharpen the Swords – Install addons, ensure PC is at top performance
  • Make it sparkle, make it shine! – clean the living room, bedrooms including dusting and floors
  • Update the Official Records – Reserve my character’s names on our server

Ready your battle stations. The day is nearly here!

Should I play Mage in WoW Classic?

With August 27th just around the corner you may be asking: What class should I play when the game comes out? Mage is a great choice for many since they bring respectable damage, utility and the ability to teleport everyone to your major cities! Mage has been one of my favorite classes since I created my undead mage back when World of Warcraft first came out. Here are some pros and cons too keep in mind when considering mage.

As a leveling player:

  • Pro: You can conjure your own food and water. In WoW Classic you routinely had to sit and regenerate your health and mana bars before you were able to carrying on fighting creatures. Having the ability to create ‘free’ food and water are huge money and time savers as you level up.
  • Pro: Early leveling slows are great for fighting tough mobs. This enables you to keep some distance between yourself and everything else that is angry with you in the game.
  • Pro: Slow Fall is a great spell to have in your arsenal since some areas in the world of Azeroth have steep falls.
  • Con: you will be moving a lot while fighting. Mages are considered glass cannons and therefore will do high damage but will also take high damage if hit. I’ve found that of all the classes you are the least durable as a mage in general but make up for it with cooldowns like Iceblock and Ice Barrier.

As a solo player:

  • Pro: Great at killing stuff. As a frost mage you have the ability to group up several enemies at once and kill them slowly with your blizzard and cone of cold abilities. You can also spend talent points to increase your slow effects on your enemies and make it even easier to kite (run away from) mobs as you kill them. Here’s a deep frost build that can help you with some solo farming: https://classic.wowhead.com/talent-calc/mage/230001–05350233132351351
  • Pro: Portals are an easy way to make money. If you are available in a major city, you can almost always pick up some easy gold selling portals to other locations. That and you can quickly teleport yourself to difference cities.
  • Pro: great solo utility in spells and can play highly diverse play styles depending on how you spend your talent points.
  • Con: Mana management can sometimes become an issue, but if you run out you can always use your wand to auto-attack mobs.

Playing with groups:

  • Pro: You will probably find it easy to find groups since mages bring good ranged damage and the ability to Polymorph humanoid mobs.
  • Pro: As a mage you can create food and water for your group at no cost to you.
  • Pro: You can buff party members with Arcane Brilliance which will increase mana users intellect and mana pool.
  • Con: If you are the only mage in a large group, creating water for everyone can take up a ton of your time.

You should play mage if you enjoy playing ranged classes with a large variety of abilities. If you enjoy people needing you for things like portals/water/sheeps this will be a great way to fill that people pleasing need. Mages are strong in both PVP and PVE content. If you enjoy having just one main character and spending time in all aspects of game play in WoW Classic, mages are a great choice.

Revisiting WOW Cataclysm

I have many fond memories of the 2010 World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm. It was my last two year of college and the last time that I was able to spend a good amount of time gaming. I was in a great guild that I will play with on and off over the next 9 years. I was part of their raid team for 2 raid releases and had a blast. In 2011 I got to attend Blizzcon and meet up with several of my guildmates as well as dozens of players on our server, Illidan. It may be the rose colored glasses but Cataclysm will always be one of my favorite expansions because of the relationships that I built and those memories of kicking butt.

For the past several months, I’ve been playing on the WOW private server Apollo. Instead of playing one of my tried and true class, I dove into something new to me. I created a Night Elf Druid which is something that I have never done before (I know! It’s a shock to most people when they find out that I’m a girl). I spent my time exploring the zone that had been completely changed due to the wrath of Deathwing and to my delight. I realized that this was my first time leveling in these zones, even though I’ve been playing World of Warcraft intermittently since the game was initially launched. I had the pleasure of floating around a flooded Thousand Needles and got to explore a wonderfully revamped Ungoro Crater along with many more new and improved areas. Experiencing these zones for the first time made WOW seem like a brand new game.

Of course by the time I got to the end of my leveling experience I discovered that I wasn’t really interested in the gear grind and the scheduled raiding that typically goes into endgame raiding on private servers. I spent most of my time farming and leveling up professions and trying to make a bit of money. One of the ways that I measure success in an MMO is how well I can make money in the game. If nothing else, this experience on the private server drove me back to play retail WoW so that I could further explore the early zones and have my progress saved forever on my 15 year old account. If I’m going to be leveling up characters for fun, I might as well be unlocking heritage armor on my allied race characters!

As a final gesture, I split my remaining gold between those folks in my guild that were kind enough to answer my dumb questions and make me feel included. Enjoy the gold! I know that you all will get more use out of it that I will.

New BFA raid Siege of Zuldazar! Method vs Limit REMATCH!

The latest World of Warcraft expansion has received a fair amount of criticism, Blizzard has made a lot of design choices that fell flat with their audience. One thing that Blizzard is doing well in the Battle for Azeroth expansion is showing unique story differences between the Alliance and Horde factions. If you like playing the game on both factions you are able to experience a completely different story and zones. In the second raid for the BFA expansion they have carried forward this theme by having unique horde and alliance perspective encounters. This doesn’t mean that you are limited to the bosses that you are able to experience but rather you are changed to the opposing faction depending on the fight.

On Tuesday the Mythic version of the raid will be available for play which will no doubt be an event to rival the popularity of the Uldir race to world first. What I’m most looking forward to is the rematch between the guilds Method and Limit. Both were neck in neck for the World First title with Method pulling the win in the end. For the first time ever, several of the top raiding guilds were streaming their boss kill attempts gaining a huge audience on Twitch.tv. Historically guilds would not publish videos with their attempts or strategies until well after several guilds have figured out the fight for themselves. With the growing popularity of streaming games on twitch, there is a lot to gain by showing your attempts. I know that I was watching Method’s attempts, sometimes on the edge of my seat as they had those super close attempts and 1% wipes.

Limit has been pulling out the stops when it comes to preparing for this next race to World First. I’m hoping that Limit will join in with streaming their own content, which could generate a lot of fans and revenue for the players of the #1 US guild. Limit has reportedly transferred over to the Alliance faction in order to take advantage of the benefits that the faction will receive from warmode. Will they transfer back to Horde side which has been their home or will they capture the hearts of the newly adopted alliance brothers and sisters? It would be refreshing to see Limit represent the Alliance in the race and hopefully help balance the represented factions in high end raiding.

Method will be streaming their raid attempts once again will no doubt be flooded with support for their stream team. I’ve been watching many of their players maintain steady viewship since the release of Uldir back in September 2018. Prior to Method streaming their Uldir progression I would have told you “World of Warcraft raids are not that popular to watch on stream” but here I am eating my hat. The streaming of Uldir brought streaming of wow to a whole new level and some well deserved attention to all the players that work so hard to play at a high level. They once Method will be teaming up with Redbull to give their content a professional level of production value.

I’m hoping to see more high end raiders get into streaming. I know that I will be tuning in to twitch to watch those gracious enough to share their journey with us plebs. Tune into Twitch.tv for this epic event starting on Tuesday January 28th and get hyped!

IS THAT A GIRL GUILD LEADER?!?

I’ve been attacking this attendance problem that we’ve been having from multiple angles. The past several weeks we have been consistently short by about 3 or 4 people to do the super hard part of the game.  I even spent a couple hours compiling a list of other guilds that we could possibly merge with based on their schedule and their progress in game. And so tonight I started going down the list reaching out to see if anyone would talk to me about possibly teaming up. I talked to a couple different guilds, some didn’t seem to be a good fit due to a difference in schedules and some had different goals in the game.  Most felt that they couldn’t accommodate so many people and wanted to continue on their current path.

One guild that I talked to stuck out in my mind in a big way.  It was a great example of harassment that we women players encounter from time to time.  First impressions do matter and this one sucked.  I started the conversation in chat and they asked me to hop on their voice chat server.  I joined their channel which had 5 other guys and said “hello” with my distinctly female voice.  I was responded to by a some sort of joke about male genitalia, for which I will not repeat followed by snickers and my silence. My first thought was ‘they’re guy gamers, whatever. I’m familiar with this type of talk.‘ What I should have done was said “oh sorry I got to go” or made up some other excuse and left.  Instead, I talked logistics with this group, the guild leader who just tried to mess with me.  In the moment I felt like I was in control of the situation but after setting up a time to play together this week and left the chat I had some serious regret for even continuing the conversation.

It took me all of 10 minutes to come to my senses. The more that I thought about it the more sketched out I became. The first words out of this guild leader’s mouth after he heard me speak was something sexist and gross.  That stuff doesn’t usually bother me but I’m probably be putting myself in a bad position if I were to continue playing with the dirtbag.  I quickly messaged the scummy guild leader and canceled the plans for our guild to play together.  I knew in my heart that this wasn’t going to be a group that I would be happy playing with.  I felt stupid for putting myself in a position like that with guys who took pleasure in pushing my buttons.  I’ve dealt with people that don’t show me any sort of respect before and it’s not something I would want to willingly be a part of.

It’s taking time, but I’m adjusting my thinking about what types of behaviors are acceptable to me when I’m playing video games. I have, on occasion, used poor judgement and gotten myself into some uncomfortable situations.  And this all is part of life and part of growing up and learning.  I’m still educating myself and adjusting to a higher standard that I want for myself and those that I play with.  Life’s too short to play games with people that treat you poorly.

2 Steps Forward, 1 Step Back

Each week my guild has been getting just a little bit better and a little bit bigger.  We has a large amount of interest in our guild the first few weeks that we were raiding in the new expansion.  I was talking to several people per day about how we run our group and what we expect of our members.  Some players I turned away, if they had never raided before or if they seemed to have a “my shhht don’t stink” type of attitude.  I wasn’t putting a whole lot of effort into seeking out recruits, they were mostly coming to me.  Things seem to be going in the right direction until a couple weeks ago when our steady stream of recruits seemed to dry up.  I went from talking to several people per day to talking to maybe 1 or 2 per week.

Last weekend I busted my butt to get our numbers up.  I had a goal of bring in 6 new people and ended up finding 8!  It was a lot of time and effort to get this many people but it would be worth it if we could just fill our raid group for both of our scheduled nights.  Tuesday started out well.  We got down the bosses that we killed in the previous weeks and moved on to start learning some new bosses.  We had exactly the number of people we needed to play but our group set up was far from ideal.  We were a healer short and melee heavy for 2 out of the 3 fights available for us to work on.  It was a rough 1 of progression but we got through it, which was more than can be said for the previous week.

Thursday was a different story.  Of the 8 people that I recruited the weekend before, only 2 showed up, 2 had work conflicts and the other 4 were just nowhere to be found.  We ended up running our heroic clear with less than clean execution.  We brought in a few friends of players that were just not great players and we were carrying them pretty hard.  I ended up sitting one of the friends due to poor performance and being dead the whole fight.  We also had one of our tanks leave in the middle of Thursday -_-  tanks should be the most reliable players in any raid group.  It’s such a coveted position, why risk it with absences?  I’m at a lose for which direction to go.

I’ve talked to a few different guilds about possible merger/collaboration but most seem to want to cherry pick our best players and leave the rest, and that’s not the direction that I want to move in.  If only I could get like 8 players that are here on our 2 nights that we have scheduled content…then we could move forward and work on some new bosses.

I keep telling myself baby steps will get us there, but it is super slow and I want to already be there.

Being a Woman in Gaming

Typically there would be at least one other female gamer in the guild that I was in.  I don’t know if this is because we tended to find each other due to the type of leadership that the guild had.  I had refused to play with certain guilds due to how I was treated, or if they had provocative pictures on their forum.  I am fine with pictures of beautiful women but I’ll be out the door if they is pornography in your player forums…just….no.

In my experience there is always a lot of flirting in games.  When your guild has a male to female ratio of 15:1 you tend to see the women getting a lot of attention.  I have benefited from lots of help over the years in the game, I will assume that it was due to being a female.  I always try to pay it back or pay it forward but I’m sure there is an imbalance in my favor.

Along with the attention, women can also be the target of unwanted harassment.  There have been more than a few times where I received inappropriate and unwanted private messages.  It was even worst if it came from people that I played with on a regular basis or members of my guild.  It was a difficult position to be put in.  If a woman deflects advances she gets called a bitch and I’ve seen this type of negative notions get spread throughout a guild because rather than nurse a bruised male ego quietly, it was done with rumors and trash talk.  For about 2 years I refused to play in the same guild as my husband (boyfriend at the time) because there was this ONE GUY that would call me a “little c**t” every time I joined up with them to do group content.  I told him to cut it out, but he saw that it irritated me so he kept doing it.  One of the benefits of being the guild leader is that people don’t test my boundaries like this.  If they were to call me any sort of derogatory term they would be out the door faster a speeding ticket.

I’ve been exploring the world of how female players are treated in gaming to gain a broader understanding beyond my own experiences.  I found the Not in the Kitchen Anymore where a Jenny Haniver publishes clips of negative interactions that she has with other gamers.  I will tell you that I’ve listened to these clips and was shocked to find that my initial thoughts were “yea I hear this all the time” and it didn’t seem out of the ordinary.  Have I grown complacent to the verbal abuse that we face in these games as women?

So why do these men berate women in these games?  Is it a power thing?  Are the motivations to cat call women on the street or call them whores in video games the same?  I’ve often heard that women would be better off if they confronted the abuser and to this I am conflicted.  A few weeks ago I was the target of unwanted advances while at a fair grounds.  I will tell you that I did not give him an ear full for a few reasons, first – he was operating a ride that my child was on and I didn’t want her to become a target for retaliation after I rejected this man.  Second – I didn’t know what this guy was capable of, was he prone to violence?  or stalking?  I don’t know and I’d rather not put myself in a position to find out.