Written by | Posted November 13, 2014 – 12:30 pm A Girl and her Dog

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 took the long way around Old Town, south through Tanner Circle and down Bulwarks, across […]

A Last Hurrah
comment 5 Written by on July 30, 2010 – 8:03 am

Tonight is TRI’s last official raid for the expansion.

Even as one of the officers who was part of making that decision, I’m a little bittersweet about it.

Yeah, I’m pretty tired of Icecrown – we’ve been in that place for 8 months now. And yeah, I’m kind of tired of making rosters out of duct tape and sheer force of will, and having to cancel half the raids in the last month due to lack of people doesn’t help much either. And I don’t really like bringing in undergeared, inexperienced subs and having to re-teach bosses we’ve had on farm for 6+ months every week, nor do I like not being able to work on our progression because we have so many new folks (who don’t know the fights, and end up dead or have low numbers due to concentrating on fight mechanics) that we don’t have the DPS numbers to beat an enrage timer. Wrynn’s Buff of Chin doesn’t make up for having to learn a fight, you know?

But at the same time, I really like the people I raid with. They’re fun and funny. Quite literally any member of the raid would, if they were magically in town for the weekend, get invited for coffee/beer/barbecue, and we’d probably have a good time. I’ve spent 7 hours a week (if not more, for officer stuff and 10 mans) with them for all of Wrath of the Lich King. Some of them, for all of Burning Crusade too.

So I’ll miss that.

But in the end, I think this was a good decision for a number of reasons.

Recently, TRI’s become kind of split.

We’ve started having roster issues, in ways that we never have when we’re fighting new bosses, because people are tired of the content. They’re burned out. We’ve been raiding consistently for more than 18 months with no more than a week or two off until recently – which is a long time, especially for people who have lives and kids and jobs and etc.

Within the regular roster, there’s a group of people who are so unbelievably done with raiding that they’re only showing up because people expect them to and depend on them as part of the group. (Which, by the way, is very cool. Having been there, sometimes that SUCKS, and so this is me saying “If that’s you, we know, and we appreciate that you’re still showing up.”) They’re silent in ventrilo and chat channels, and some of the usual exuberant banter has been lost to just “getting it over and done with”.

The other group within the raid is still gung-ho about raiding and is really interested in doing hardmodes in ICC. But, when asked, they generally said they didn’t want to push too hard for it, because they know other people in the raid don’t want to do hardmodes, are burned out, and aren’t having fun, and that puts a damper on their enthusiasm. They really want to keep raiding, but they don’t like “forcing” people they like and care about to do things they hate. (Which is also very cool, and says a lot about the caliber of people in TRI.)

So between that, the next two weeks having huge numbers of known absences that would probably cause both weeks to get called off entirely, the officers being kind of burned out too, and “real life” busily getting started for the fall again, we decided to call it off now.

To end on a high note, rather than running the raid into the ground and dragging people through farm content while we re-train new folks, and canceling every other raid, until everyone was thoroughly sick of it and each other.

I don’t think this is the “end” of TRI raiding, either.

It’s the end of official 25 mans, but I expect to see a few 10 man achievement runs pop up, and to see the occasional 25 man run for alts or achievements as well. Plus whatever happens with Operation Gnomeregan. And once Cataclysm rolls around, we’ll see TRI version 4.0 – newer, stronger, and in whatever form it ends up taking for the next round of raids.

We’ve killed Kel’thuzad and Sarth+3 (back when Sarth+3 was hard, and Ulduar hadn’t released yet). We’ve killed Yogg’saron and many Ulduar hardmodes, Anub’arak and half of hardmode Trial of the Crusader. And we’ve killed Arthas and Halion, we’ve pushed through a number of hardmodes in ICC too. We’ve run two, sometimes three, successful 10 mans, as well as achievement and drake runs as well.

As a raid, TRI progressed farther and faster in Wrath of the Lich King than any other incarnation of TRI previously. Sure we’ve had our struggles, but we’ve gotten the hatchmarks on the fence, and we’ve done it while remaining a “casual” raid and having a good time.

I’m proud of what we’ve done, and proud of the people I raid with. This was my first set of raids as an officer, and I can’t think of a better group of people to be part of leading (or a better group of officers to lead raids with).

And I’m really, REALLY glad we have chat channels, ’cause otherwise I’d miss them terribly.

annas

It seems to me rather fitting that the only thing on the hit-list tonight is Arthas.

Doldrums
comment 9 Written by on July 29, 2010 – 10:01 am

“It looks as though I’m getting nowehere,” yawned Milo, becoming very drowsy and dull. “I hope I haven’t taken a wrong turn.”

Mile after
mile after
mile after
mile, and everything became grayer and more monotonous.

Finally the car just stopped altogether, and, hard as he tried, it wouldn’t budge another inch.

“I wonder where I am,” said Milo in a very worried tone.

“You’re . . . in . . . the . . . Dol . . . drums,” wailed a voice that sounded very far away.

He looked around quickly to see who had spoken. No one was there, and it was as quiet and still as one could imagine.

“Yes . . . the . . . Dol . . drums,” yawned another voice, but still he saw no one.

“WHAT ARE THE DOLDRUMS?” he cried loudly, and tried very hard to see who would answer this time.

“The Doldrums, my young friend, are where nothing ever happens and nothing ever changes.”

- Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Attitude is a funny thing.

I’ve got three active RP characters, plus three that I’m still developing. A freshly 80 Hunter, who’s now finally reaching her gear threshold to be able to hold her own in a 10 man raid. A fully geared ICC25 paladin, with two fantastic sets of gear. A level 70 druid, a level 22 rogue.

By all accounts, I have /lots/ to do in game.

I also have a Cataclysm Beta account. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to know that I’m not doing any of the actual quests, just exploring zones (and submitting terrain bug reports and such). My screenshot folder is fat and happy, but I haven’t really felt inclined to log in that often.

Even with all of that, I am, as it were, stuck in the doldrums.

Usually, with WoW, I have an abundance of things to write about. There’s always RP going on and stories to take care of. I’ve got Aftermath going here already – but I can’t seem to force myself to work on it. It’s a bit like pulling teeth really. The whole Arthas thing was, for a number of reasons (and not all of them game related) hugely anti-climactic for me, so even though I know it’s a major issue for the /character/ I have trouble getting the writer invested enough to actually do anything about it.

Yes, that story has a lot of awesomeness potential. I love the idea of the story. I love where it’s going, and how it’s going to end. I just… don’t love writing it.

I guess that’s the story of WoW for me right now – I love the idea of my Rogue, and her personality. I love the potential she has for RP… I just don’t love leveling her, and there’s other stuff going on that keeps me from bringing her to RP night. Not least of which is that just about everyone seems to be hanging out in the Doldrums with me, so RP nights have been thinly attended and forced.

Maybe the Doldrums are contagious. I hear a lot about them lately, and though I usually don’t have trouble keeping myself interested in game (see: lots of alts!), it’s been harder for me with this go around.

Maybe the Doldrums are raid related. TRI is winding down for this expansion, having killed Arthas, gotten a handful of hardmodes, and killed Halion. We’ve “won”, as it were.

Maybe the Doldrums are a symptom of real life stuff. I’ve got lots of other hobbies, and some of them are kicking into full swing (or will be soon, and I’m getting ready for that).

Maybe it’s all three, or some other reason.

Either way, I’m there.

Are you?

annas

Ask Anna – Hungry Hungry Gamer
comment 10 Written by on July 27, 2010 – 8:02 am

Dear Anna,

My wife has left me (for the week) and I’m a bachelor once more. (Technically, I have been for the better part of 2 months, what with travel and all. But we’ll avoid that fact for the purposes of comic relief.) She’s taken my son and left me with two needy dachshunds. Needy in that they need to be fed daily. How’s a man supposed to handle the stress?!

Anyways, I was writing for some advice. See, I have these chicken filets that have been sitting in my freezer for God knows how long (3 days). I know I should probably eat them at some point, but I’m culinarily-challenged. I was told eating it straight out of the freezer probably isn’t the wisest choice, but I can burn water putting it on the stove. Any suggestions for a kitchen neophyte?

Sincerely yours,
Utterly Lost Without A Female Around To Keep Him Fed And Showered

Dear Utterly Lost –

As a gamer, you’re more than capable of reading up and doing a bit of research on your class. Cooking is not that much different, it’s all about following a basic rotation! Granted, you’re probably not wanting a really fancy recipe that involves deboning a whole chicken, stuffing, and roasting it, but chicken breast fillets are easy to cook and quite delicious.

Also, I emailed you back, and you mentioned that you’re comfortable with a grill, but unsure about this whole “oven” thing. As such, we’ll cover both the vanilla recipe and a heroic version.

The Basics:

1. Defrost the chicken - either in the fridge (for probably 24 hours if they’re in a package from the grocery) or sealed in plastic under cool running water. The latter is faster, but requires more babysitting. If you choose the fridge, place the chicken package ON A PLATE, and keep it at the bottom shelf of your fridge. Chicken Juice + Anything Else = BAD. You want to avoid cross contamination, if you will.

2. Turn on the oven to 400F, and let it heat until the little “I’m heating up” light turns off, or it beeps and says OVEN READY or whatever your oven does.

3. Get out salt, pepper, and spices that you find tasty. For this recipe, look for a bottle of Italian Seasoning (usually a mixture of spices like Basil and Oregano) and a bottle of Garlic Powder. If all you can find is Garlic SALT, do not add other salt to the chicken.

4. Get out a large baking pan (I like a 9×13” glass pyrex dish, but anything with sides will work) and line it with aluminum foil. Put a little bit of olive oil in the bottom and spread it around, or spray with nonstick spray. Spray carefully, so that you do not accidentally get non-stick spray onto your floor. Trust me.

5. Carefully arrange the chicken breast fillets in the pan so that they are in one layer, and not too smushed up against each other.

6. WASH YOUR CHICKENY FINGERS. Warm water. Soap. Salmonella is full of fail, and you don’t want it (nor do you want to give it to your family, or have it growing on your spice containers).

7. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and the seasonings. If you’re worried, go easy – you want to lightly dust them, not dump so much garlic powder on them that your coworkers will smell you coming tomorrow.

8. Put the pan in the hot oven for about 30 minutes. Use a timer. Use a NOISY timer.

9. After 30 minutes, check the chicken to see if it is done. If you have an instant read thermometer (See – cooking is appropriately geeky, you get to use cool gizmos), you want it to read 165F. If you don’t have such a device, carefully remove one of the chicken fillets and cut it in half through the thickest part. If the juices are clear, you’re good to go. If they’re still pink, back in the cooker they go, for another 5-10 minutes at a time.

You can, at this point, enjoy your chicken just like this. I suggest eating it with a vegetable or a delicious salad and some vinaigrette… or Ranch Dressing, if that’s how you roll. Also, once you remove the chicken from the pan, the aluminum foil can be tossed in the trash, and you don’t have a pan to soak and wash.

You can also vary this recipe by using different spices – cumin and chili powder will get you a “southwestern style” chicken, for example. Basically any spices will work here!

If you’re looking to try a HEROIC version, you can do the following:

Take some tomato sauce and spread it over the chicken, right there in the pan where it already is. (The plain tomato sauce in a can is fine, add a little bit of that Italian Seasoning and give it a stir before you add it to the chicken) On top of each chicken fillet (that is now covered with a spoonful or two of tomato sauce) add a slice of mozzarella cheese – or a handful of the pre-shredded stuff in a bag. At this point, you can add a few pieces of pepperoni to each chicken breast if you like.

Now put the whole thing back in the oven for another 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is all melty and delicious. (Use your eyeballs. Look at the cheese. Is it melty and delicious after 10 minutes? No? Then set your timer for another 5 minutes and check back! If the cheese is getting toasty brown in spots, it’s /definitely/ done.)

Yes, I’ve just given you a recipe for Pizza Chicken. Enjoy, and try not to burn the roof of your mouth on the molten cheese.

Let me know how this turns out – hopefully you end up with a delicious and satisfying dinner! (If not, well, you’re home alone, and nobody ever has to know but you!) Just make sure to use a timer that you’ll hear, because while melty and delicious is good, blackened and smoking is not.

As with things in WoW, you don’t want your dinner standing in fire either.

Good luck!

annas

Pizza Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 slices mozzarella cheese (or 4 handfuls of pre-shredded)
1 cup tomato sauce
salt, pepper, garlic powder, Italian seasoning blend
pizza toppings (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a 9×13 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Arrange chicken so that it is not touching/smushed up. Season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, italian seasoning.  Bake for 30 minutes or until juices run clear.  Place 1/4c tomato sauce on each chicken breast, top with 1 slice mozzarella cheese, and a light sprinkling of other pizza toppings. Bake for another 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melty and delicious.

Makes 4 servings, and can be adjusted to serve more or fewer people relatively easily.

Ask Anna – Help for a “boring” character
comment 6 Written by on July 22, 2010 – 9:51 am

Siouxie writes:

Dear Anna,

I have decided to get back into role playing. It has been about two years since I last role played. I will admit I am a bit rusty, slower to respond then I was, but I have been having a blast. I decided to roll a blood elf hunter. I love the blood elf lore, and feel the most comfortable rping one. (I love rping trolls, but they always end up comedic relief.)

My problem is this: Siouxsie is a complete bore. I didn’t want to create a character that is some sort of super hero, super villain, the most beautiful, smartest, ect. I wanted a normal girl, with a normal background. I am afraid though I may have made her too plain.

She is about 5’8, 147 pounds. She is a little round, and a lithe hunter. She loves to change her hair color, just so she can gossip with the goblin hairdressers. Her hair is short and choppy. It looks more like it was cut with a dagger then shears. She has a dark golden complexion, fell green eyes and friendly gap tooth smile.

Her history is, well I think it is mostly normal… (but too long for me to post in its entirety). She spends a lot of her time just watching and listening.

Personality wise she is pretty kindhearted with her own race, naive, a little on the dumb side, though more for lack of education then anything else. She has a sarcastic sense of humor, prefers to be more in the crowd the the center of attention. She is not at all comfortable around the other horde races, she isn’t rude, but she isn’t friendly to them either. She also loves bubblegum, and has a weak spot for anything sweet. She is a hopeless romantic, but she has learned everything about romance from a few of her mothers old romance novels. She isn’t quick to anger, but she will hold a grudge until her last breath.

And that is Siouxsie. I have tried to involve her in some role play, but the most I have gotten with her is some DK wanting to marry her after they spoke for 5 minutes. And a bit of a romantic intrigue with another blood elf. It is very nice, and cute role play and has some nice story potential. I just want more, and want to really make her more dimensional. I guess I just do not know how to do it, I want to involve her with more rp without making her seem to over the top, mary sueish (if she isn’t already), or a demon girl who does odd things with her tail. Though I will admit when I watched that RP it did make me laugh.

Can you help me? Advice, criticism, eyerolls anything would be great! Thank you, and take care.

I’ve opted to post most of your letter, since I think it gives a pretty good idea of how much time and thought you’ve put into developing Siouxie.

Here’s the thing. She doesn’t sound boring at all to me. She sounds like a character with some little quirks and flaws, and a healthy start towards a defined personality. It’s entirely possible to have a “normal” character that’s successful in RP – but it does take a bit of work, and it usually takes having other people around to help her develop a voice.

Her background is not the same as her personality and how she interacts with other people.

However – if the only RP you’ve found with her is someone wanting to marry her after 5 minutes and someone else wanting to be in a romance with her, you’re probably not seeing much of her personality! I think you need to give her a chance, and get her into situations that aren’t either awkward (“Why no, I don’t want to marry you, I’ve never seen you before and don’t even know your last name”) or floofy and sweet and sappy romantic (which is fun RP, but not exactly character illuminating).

As such, I think this is both a question of character and of finding solid RP experiences.

In all likelihood, you’ll run into lots of superficial stuff, which is totally fine – even the Riders have a good bit of “superficial” RP time each week, because everyone always being tied up in OMG DRAMA is exhausting.

As you’re just getting started, you’ll have a lot more “run ins” and a lot less consistent RP with the same people. Use those quick RP run ins to figure out who you might want to have extended RP with, of the not-romantic variety, again – romances are TONS of fun, but friendships, enemies, working relationships, and guilds/organizations are all much better ways to discover character development and personality, unless you’re willing to throw a lot of horrible obstacles into the romance, which can also be exhausting.  Also, if the only thing connecting two characters is a romance, when the romance fizzles or waxes and wanes and loses the high of “new RP”, things will go south pretty fast.

Consistent RP partners and friends will help Siouxie develop her own voice and her own mannerisms beyond what you’ve created, which is essentially her backstory.

Backstories are great, but they’re not what make characters interesting or fun. The interesting and fun part comes out of the interactions you have with others.

Another way to bring out her personality is to throw trouble at her on your own, if you’re of the fic-writing persuasion (not all RPers are).

The best way I know of to find out how a character reacts to difficult situations is to just put them in one and see what happens. It can take a bit of “heartless” sort of writing – putting horrible things in your character’s path can be hard, especially if you know it’s going to cause them some heartache or pain – but it’s definitely worth it in the end. You also have to be strong and not let them take the “easy way out” (summoning in a Magic Dragon to take all the trouble away doesn’t count as problem solving!).

Don’t give up on Siouxie yet. She’s got a strong foundation to become a character that you love. Remember that RP happens WITH you, not TO you, and seek out some more consistent opportunities, whether that’s in guilds, through your server’s “open RP gatherings” (like pub nights and such), or just through running into random people and figuring out who you do and don’t want to keep RPing with. You might get frustrated, and you might not find the best opportunities right off the bat, but you can find a good group for her, or just a few other unaffiliated people that can help her find her voice.

As always, if any of you (my readers) have other comments or suggestions for Siouxie, please leave them in comments – whether those are character specific suggestions or ways to find quality RP environments. I’m not particularly well versed in Blood Elf lore or RP, so my Horde readers will likely have better suggestions on that front!

Good luck, and may the Loot-Fu be with you!

annas

Note: I’m posting this because I think Siouxie has a common problem – lots of backstory but not a lot of interaction. Only she can actually “un-boring” the character, and her backstory isn’t really the way to do it. As such, these are hints that I think can help a lot of roleplayers. If you’ve got lore-specific or character specific questions, I can try to answer them, but this space isn’t generally for “PLZ FIX MY CHARACTER” advice (otherwise I’d totally bore all my readers!).

Very First Impressions

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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 …

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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 …

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Deconstruction

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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 …

Patrol

November 13, 2013 – 9:59 am

The cathedral bells stop ringing overnight, except for chiming the hours. Three bell strikes, and Angoleth padded softly around another corner of the Cathedral District, staying carefully in the shadows. Trained ears picked up Mogget’s soft breathing – nearly inaudible …

Riders in Lordaeron – Memory

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The highlands of Lordaeron were not for the faint of heart; be it the putrescence of the Scourge’s long-lingering remnant, or the rock-strewn hills and valleys that made farmers out of only the most …

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