Written by | Posted September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm Descent and Ascent

It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – was Gromnor dead? Was he really in the northern part of the Eastern Kingdoms, somewhere […]

The People of RaidFinder
comment 3 Written by on January 27, 2012 – 9:09 am

Having done a few RaidFinder groups, I’m starting to notice patterns. Sadly, they’re not really GOOD patterns. For whatever reason, the players who show up, do their jobs, get loot and go on their merry way don’t seem to stick out in LFR. On the other hand, the ones that DO stick out tend to be… memorable.

And so I present to you, the people of Raid Finder:

  • Guys I’m SO baked – drunk, high, stoned, exhausted, or otherwise generally mentally incapacitated. Probably still trying to main tank too.
  • Walking Taunt Button – taunts everything off the tank. Even if they’re not the main tank. Sometimes even if they’re just DPS. Probably has “taunt” macro’d to every other button.
  • Hypercompetitive DPS – often meter spamming. Sometimes abrasive to other DPS. Possibly Tarquin.
  • DPS Farmers (whatever that means)
  • Bad Directions – no matter how you do it, it’s wrong. His way is better. Shouts directions repeatedly in /yell or /RA, but isn’t the raid leader. Annoying if ignored, wipe-creating if only half the raid is paying attention.
  • Not Paying Attention – Wait, we got loot? Which boss are we at now? Where are you guys going?
  • I Have An Interrupt Macro, would you like to see it? – I use it every time I interrupt this trash mob! And the boss!
  • Get Loot + Go – rolls on something, wins, drops group. Sometimes doesn’t even win loot.
  • Worst Name Contest – so far the list includes Tittenkits, ElusiveTacos, ShavedTaters and SpasticColon

I’m SURE you guys can come up with some more…

There’s No Place Like Home
comment 6 Written by on January 27, 2012 – 7:25 am

I was reading a post the other day from Ask a Jedi, about how his characters in other games had places that felt like “home”, where in Star Wars they kind of didn’t.

It’s a good post, and an interesting one in terms of game design.

In WoW, each race has its own “flavor” for the first 10 levels (especially now that Gnomeregan and the Echo Isles are complete). You really have a very specific feel and lore that helps set up who your character is. You’re level 1, and you feel like it. There’s even a quest that welcomes your character into the “fold” of your class, sent as a note from the trainer. This adds a lot to the feeling of “home”, as does the fact that each race has a city (or a chunk of a city) as their main base and political capitol.

Star Wars has chosen to have the entry points be synchronized by class, and have two classes share each starting zone. I’ve only played through Tython at this point (twice…), but the lore and the quest text are set up so that you’re already an accomplished force user when you begin. It’s not so much a feeling of learning something new as it is furthering a profession you’re already an accepted part of. The smuggler intro text also fits this mold.

Plus, since Star Wars isn’t about the various races, but simply about being part of the Republic or part of the Empire, there’s only one major “city hub” per faction. It’s not seen as critical in the progress of the game whether your character is a Mirialan or a Zabrak or a Human. You’re part of the Empire/Republic, and that’s where your major story-based allegiances lie.

Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t do your own thing. I ended up creating a backstory for Aely that tells me about who she was before she began Jedi training, and well before she ended up on Tython. I needed her to feel like she had a “home” – and to some extent not being able to have that home be in the game is a little sad. Even though “loss of homeland” is a big part of her core character in both games, it was easier when she can still go to the ruins of Lordaeron than it is when she’s just from some now-wrecked outer-planet moon somewhere.

I’m inherently looking for that feeling of “belonging” on Ana’leth and Annata as well, especially since Annata is a very neutral minded smuggler type, who isn’t extremely pro-Republic. Having her be part of the Coruscant Trade Company will hopefully help. Maybe that’s one of the benefits of RP guilds in Star Wars – they offer a place to call “home”, even if it’s just a cantina somewhere or a particular ship. For me, there’s always places in the game that feel like they’re “mine” or part of my characters after awhile, and I’ve not yet felt that in Star Wars.

I’ve also seen some arguments (in a similar vein) that Warcraft has the feeling that the whole planet, the whole world is -thisclose- to falling apart. Everywhere you turn, there’s wars and disaster and marauding giant bugs and zombies and who knows what else. Usually the comparison is that the Star Wars Galaxy is HUGE, and you only fight on very small portions of it, which implies that the other parts of the galaxy are relatively stable, and that average people live average lives doing whatever it is they do.

I don’t think this is entirely a fair comparison, because a farmer wanting you to get rid of the wolves that are stealing his sheep is not the same level of conflict as is, say, a zombie invasion, and having the farmer there in the first place is world-expanding. Presumably the farmer is there being a farmer, and just picks up the outside help dealing with wolves when he needs it.

Plus, in Star Wars, you don’t get to SEE the other places in the world. The peaceful areas are only implied. Aside from cantinas, there’s not a lot of open world that’s available for RP. Admittedly some of that may be because I’ve just dug myself out of Coruscant, which was NOT my favorite place, but the zones so far in Star Wars feel very focused – there’s not a lot of sprawl with pretty vistas to admire. Not much stopping to smell the roses, if you will.

The two comparisons seem, in my mind, related.

They’re both about the level at which the game sucks you in on a character level – not by creating a pressing and demanding storyline, but by making your character truly feel like they’re an inherent part of the world. That they belong – not that they’re important (those are different things).

Having your character feel like they have a place in the game to call home adds to that feeling of belonging. So does experiencing both the big conflicts and the small ones that create depth in a world.

What sorts of worldbuilding helps your character feel like he or she belongs or has a home? Does it matter to you at all?

Brain Heals
comment Comments Off on Brain Heals Written by on January 24, 2012 – 8:11 am

I redid my gems. I re-reforged. I redid my keybinds. I set up clique and totem timers.

And then we went to Firelands.

My first foray as a healer wasn’t horrible though, once I remembered I had Healing Rain (which is probably the biggest change to how I’m used to playing a shaman healer). In fact, I even started to get the rhythm of the various fights once we were halfway through.

Of course, we were half overgeared for it, which didn’t hurt, but I didn’t wipe the raid. (/relief) Unfortunately the two people we were intending to gear up didn’t get a single upgrade. Also Rhyolith kept bugging on us, which  was frustrating. But I’ve officially healed a raid now.

This seems to have made me officially a “real healer” again, because as soon as I got to Stormwind, I got a whisper:

would u like 2 heal for bwd?


Thursday we’re going to do some LFR fun, since we’ve still got two characters that aren’t ready for Dragon Soul, but all in all I’m feeling more like I’ll at least be competent with the heal buttons again.

When the writing gets tough…
comment 1 Written by on January 23, 2012 – 7:59 am

I don’t have a witty ending to that statement. But it would probably be something like “… the writer gets a beer.”

Anyway, what happens when you want to be writing, but the ideas won’t come? When you have a character that needs attention but no ficlets to write?

Sometimes things just need to incubate a little longer. Wait a bit and see what happens. Sometimes, however, even with waiting, you have the desire to write and no concrete direction to take your writing.

I suffer from this a lot. It’s why I don’t write novels – I don’t really do well with big ideas. I get fragments and then can’t plot them into something coherent. To tell the truth, I can’t plot my way out of a brown paper sack. (This is a reason I often write fic with friends. I’m good at execution, but not always great with the ideas. This way I can pick their brains. I’m like a plot zombie.)

There are a few cures for assorted brain block that I like.

Brainstorming is good – and I like using something like Tami’s method of mind mapping. She explains it really well, but basically when you sit down and you think you have no ideas, just start writing things down. Tami does this in a notebook, I usually do it in a word document. I type faster than I write, and as pro-handwriting as I am, it just works better for me to be thinking in text instead of trying to scribble things out fast enough. In the end, I get something like a long list of items, many with bullet points.

Frequently when I do this, I sit down with no ideas and turn around and have five or ten. Poof! Like magic. Not all those ideas will turn into fic, but that doesn’t matter. The point is to get them written down.

If I’m feeling particularly stuck on how to start, I usually do something like freewriting (sometimes I do this after I brainstorm a bit, to give me a direction).

Freewriting is especially useful if I have a character who is being shy about showing up. I just start typing, regardless of where it might be in the overall story or whether it’s “good” or not, and see what happens. The two posts that are upcoming from Annata got started this way. I’m not the best writer when it comes to roguish things and close combat – I am inherently un-sneaky. Sneaky things intimidate me as a writer. Writing these ficlets, I decided that if I needed sneaky, I’d just let Annata do it. So I just started writing. Both times the initial trepidation wore off once the actual character got into her stride, and I’m pleased with the final turnout. *

More than anything else, I talk with other writers. Sometimes just getting ideas out in conversation is enough to spark a whole series of ficlets. (I try to make sure I’m available for idea-bouncing as well, since it’s only fair to return the favor.)

All of these methods work for blogging, or any kind of writing really. The idea is to get around your inner editor, who rejects ideas before you get a chance to explore them. Letting your brain wander through your fingers is therapeutic, in a way, since it bypasses the critical response that so frequently kills writerly motivation. For me, they get the most use in getting me started on writing ficlets.

What are your tricks for the “getting started” part of writing? How do you break through whatever brain blocks you have to get things written, be they blog post, ficlet, or novel?

*The Heads I Win ficlets will be posted here later this week. I’m still working on the last bit, and how it fits into the greater guild story.

Descent and Ascent

September 8, 2015 – 9:51 pm

It didn’t take long to get from Thunder Bluff to the Echo Isles – Ankona took advantage of a wyvern so she could think and plan before getting to her destination. She had information to confirm with the spirits – …

The Stink Eye, Part II: You remind me of the babe

August 4, 2015 – 12:22 pm

An old story, reposted here as I’m shaking the mothballs off Ankona and needed an easy way to show people a little bit about the (batshit) things she gets up to. Enjoy, and don’t be too creeped out!

It really …

Very First Impressions

November 14, 2014 – 7:32 am

So I haven’t finished the intro quests yet (the server queues from the reduced server capacity due to the DDOS attacks meant I only got about an hour to play yesterday), but I’m finding that Draenor is pretty cool so …

A Girl and her Dog

November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm

The morning of the all hands summon to the Blasted Lands, Aely went for a walk. The late fall air was clear and cool, and leaves crunched under their feet in the less-traveled parts of the streets. She and Roger …

Counting down to Warlords

November 11, 2014 – 3:09 pm

What a long strange trip it’s been. I’ll be the first to admit that, at the beginning, I wasn’t sure Pandaria was going to be for me. I’ve made clear my dislike of daily quests, and that seemed to be …


October 24, 2014 – 12:01 pm

Squire Benjamin William Sullivan stood in the middle of Light’s Hope Chapel in his underpants.

Actually, it was white linen pants and a shift, but the effect was approximately the same. The little chapel was warm, on the edge of …

Introducing the Newest Anna

June 29, 2014 – 4:39 pm

So I’m not really in a position where I should be creating alts. This, of course, does nothing to deter me from making alts when the inspiration strikes. I’ve been really enjoying my Alliance hunter, and she’s my raiding main …


November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm

Bad things are happening in Stormwind – and beyond.

The Hand of Lothar, they call themselves.

Yva Darrows was their first target.

Tirith and Aely were their second and third.

They have since… expanded their reach and escalated their methods …

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