Written by | Posted November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm Deconstruction

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 …

Brutal Honesty
comment 25 Written by on July 9, 2010 – 9:51 am

(Please read the Edit at the bottom :) )

I don’t know any other way to write this, so bear with me guys. I imagine it won’t be any easier to read than it is to write.

I canceled my account last night.

It will expire on August 13, unless I re-up. Fortunately, or unfortunately, that’s the day before I head out of town, so at least I’ll be distracted for a bit.

The more I hear about RealID, Facebook, Activision, the “new social gaming experience” and Activizzard’s willingness to let go of their community, their players here in the US, and the people who have in some cases played this game for 5 years, the less I like it, and the angrier I get. Go ahead and read Dechion’s post on the subject. I’m pretty sure he’s got the right of things, which makes me even angrier, because it’s not just about smoke-blowing, it’s flat out lying. And then couching it in sunshiny, meaningless, corporate bullshit terms like “positive and constructive new direction” that people only use when they know they’re saying something that’s going to upset someone else.

I don’t have any problem choosing not to pay money to a company whose practices I dislike and do not trust. They’re a business, and their job is to make money. They think this is the best way to make lots more money, and so that’s been their decision. It’s my decision whether to like it or not like it, and to choose what to do from there. And so I chose to write a letter and then do the only other thing I could that might actually mean something. Walk away.

Anyway.

That wasn’t the hard part.

The hard part was turning around and saying “well, now what?”

What do I do with the blog?

What do I do with the stories?

What happens to Aely? To Arrens? Their wedding isn’t supposed to be until after Cataclysm. Can I leave that story unfinished? What about the Aftermath story, which was supposed to start publishing here this week?

What happens to Annie Mae and Duugvilder? Do they make it through Operation Gnomeregan together?

Will I really have to decide what to do with the last month in game, and where my characters will log out, and what they’ll be wearing?

What happens to the friendships? I know some will continue. The relationship I have with people like Bricu, Yva, Arrens, and Linedan have gone well beyond a video game – we talk about other things, and hang out online outside of game and do non-game things. But I’m not naive enough to think that the other friendships I’ve made will continue, or to think that none will lose a level of closeness without a commonality to keep the conversation going when it stalls.

Sadly, the answer to every one of those questions is quite simply “I have no idea.” I don’t know yet. I don’t know what the end result will be. I don’t know where the blog is going, or even (at this point) if it’s going anywhere at all. None of those questions is easy to answer.

Nothing is set in stone right now, and we’re all kind of waiting in the infinite feedback loop, trying to figure out what Activizzard will do in response to people’s leaving the game. (My guess is nothing, but I could be wrong. I kinda hope I’m wrong.) If things change, I might re-up my account. I don’t know on that front either.

This is not a goodbye post. (Trust me, a goodbye post would be a lot longer, and I’d be crying.) But I didn’t feel that it was worth leaving you all out of this completely. I like you guys. A lot. I could probably quote Bilbo Baggins here, but part of the original would be untrue – I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, but I think most of you deserve the affection and goodwill I have towards you.

So here’s to figuring out what’s going on.

Sadly, I’m afraid it doesn’t look so good.

annas

EDIT: Blizzard has, in fact, and to everyone’s great surprise, actually backed down off this one.

I’m not sure what it means for my account in the long term (I still don’t want Facebook in my WoW, and I still abjectly dislike the direction that Activision is taking their games, especially with regards to DiabloIII), but for now, I think we’ll call this a successful bit of communication on a mass scale.  Thank you to everyone who went at this with a clear head and logical discussion.

…Can I say they backed down ’cause I told them I was quitting?  /impish grin

/flex

Dissension in the Ranks
comment 3 Written by on July 7, 2010 – 10:54 am

I figured we could all use a little silly today.

A lanky, dark haired elf sat in front of a lovely fire in a little cabin in Grizzly Hills, a grey wolf asleep at her feet. Russ was off fishing, but Arsaelan lay stretched out in front of the hearth on his back, paws splayed wide and snoring in a delightfully lion-ish manner that made the hunter stifle a giggle every time he started up. Taleh hooted softly, preening the last of her rabbit dinner off of her talons, and Angoleth returned to cleaning her gun.

She wasn’t quite used to this whole “gun” business. While it caused less pain than the longbows she had been using, the noise it made was quite offputting. Still, she didn’t doubt its effectiveness, and so far only the owl had protested hunting with it.

A petulant, whiny roar burst through the cabin window.

“Oh for Elune’s frigging toenails, would you SHUT UP?”

WHIIIIINE ROAR

“I told you already, you can’t come in the house. You don’t fit through the door.”

WHIMPER

Angoleth walked over to the window, where the enormous red devilsaur had pressed her nose up against it, fogging it up with a combination of hot lizard breath and snot.

“Ugh.  You know I just cleaned that…”

WHIIIIIINE

Shan’re growled under his breath. Arsaelan grunted and rolled over, facing away from the window, tail twitching. She opened the window and was greeted with an overly exuberant dinosaur head to the chest.

“Hi Pebbles.”

rrrrgraor!

“I know. I’m sorry the house is too small for you.”

A disgruntled hoot from the corner and Taleh had turned away as well, fluttering down to sit just near enough to Arsaelan’s twitching tail to attempt to catch it. The hunter ignored them both.

“There’s plenty of room once we get back to Feathermoon. Or Ironforge. You’ll just have to sleep outside here.”

WHIIIIINE

“You lived outside in Un’goro! How the hell did you manage to stay alive?”

Rumble.

“Oh right. Bigger than everything else. Still. There’s a big overhang, and it’s summer. You won’t die. I promise.”

The devilsaur stomped off in the direction of the porch, grumbling under her breath. Arsaelan loudly chuffed with feline indignation.

“Oh don’t even start with me.”

angoleth

Real ID – Epic Fail
comment 20 Written by on July 7, 2010 – 8:48 am

The short version:

Starting with Starcraft II and proceeding into WoW just before Cataclysm, all posts made on the WoW Official Forums will be done using your RealID, which is to say, your real first and last name.

Obviously, this is… not so good.

The posts I’ve liked best so far:

  1. Saresa, from Destructive Reach – RealID – A Forum Compilation
  2. Chas, from Righteous Orbs – Seriously Not Okay
  3. Yva, from WTT:RP – Obligatory RealID Post as well as Falconesse’s comment (#3)
  4. Blue Ink Alchemy – The Rise and Fall of Blizzard – Battle net and Facebook

So here’s the thing, cats and kittens. Lots of people are OK with this change. And that’s fine. Their “okayness” doesn’t change, diminish, or otherwise in any way change my (and other people’s) “not-okayness”. Particularly since my issue is as much one of safety as it is one of comfort. (I’ve found mostly people either don’t care – “whatever, it doesn’t bother me” – or don’t like it. Haven’t seen a lot of people overjoyed by the change.)

If you feel safe using the new “my real name is on the forum with all my posts” thing, that’s fine. I’m glad you’re that secure in trusting either your name’s popularity, or the internet’s ability to overlook you.

I don’t feel safe, both for reasons of hacking and for reasons of stalking/harassment. I’m fortunate that I don’t have any creepy stalker exes that are out to get me online. I’m also not transgendered, and I have a relatively common, US/European sounding first name. But I have dealt with people online who took harassment out of game and into the greater internet – and that was pretty unnerving. I’m very thankful that, in both cases, neither person had my real name or my location.

Could someone find that out about me? Probably. But that doesn’t mean I’m OK with broadcasting it to every gold-seller and creepy window-licking asshat out there. (As Corise said, that’s like saying there’s no reason to lock my door when I leave the house because a burglar could just break a window and get in.)

I’m also not OK with broadcasting that I play a video game to every potential employer that knows how to use a search engine. In many fields, video games (especially MMO’s, and DOUBLE especially Warcraft) are not viewed well. In fact, they’re viewed as proof that you’re lazy, unproductive and immature. Whether that stereotype is correct or not, it exists, and ignoring it doesn’t make it go away or not affect you.

Sure, I could just never use the forums. But when the WoW customer service people regularly send you to the forums because “they can help you there”? I’ll be pretty stuck. That’s no longer a choice – other than a choice not to be able to fix your game so it’s playable if you want to control who does and doesn’t have your name. (And before someone brings up Facebook, my Facebook account is on a pretty short leash. I untag pictures of myself, it’s only visible to people I trust, and I pretty ruthlessly delete things there. Could you find me if you tried? Probably, but you’d have to try pretty hard, and you couldn’t see much of anything about me – not even a profile picture – unless I accepted you as a friend.)

The #1 rule of the internet is “Don’t give your real life information to strangers.” Unfortunately, Blizzard doesn’t seem to understand this. In fact, it’s against the Blizzard ToS to give out someone else’s personal information – including their name.

I think I’ll take a cue from Aely on this one.

[5.OOC] Beltar: Aely’s Hammer of What The Fuck Were You Thinking

So, what can we do about it?

Two things:

  1. Post on the original forum thread. The Devs are reading that thread. Don’t make a new thread, it’ll get deleted. And you may have to try more than once. That thread is already over 1000 pages long, so the forums are pretty busy.
  2. Send Blizzard a customer service email via this page: https://us.blizzard.com/support/webform.xml?rhtml=y&locale=en_US

And remember – being a rational, cool headed human being will get you a lot farther than ranting. Be firm, be polite, be clear, and be concise (I usually fail on that last one). Ranting and raving gets you pegged as a looney and the type of troll they’re trying to stop from posting anonymously.

It’s possible Blizzard will still go through with this, and it’s entirely possible we’ve only just now seen “Step 2″ in the RealID slippery slope.

In fact, given that Blizzard has already announced that Battle.net 2.0 is going to be integrated with Facebook, I seriously doubt anything will change at this point.

Regardless, we don’t know any of that yet, and until we do, let’s wait and see what happens. This change hasn’t happened yet, and there are a lot of people expressing their discontent (and in some cases, canceling recurring accounts. If this is to that level for you, it’s DOUBLY important that you send a message via either the forum or the customer support page).

annas

PS – I’ve seriously considered closing comments on this post. I have no desire to hash and rehash this, but enough of you have sent me links to it (apparently to make sure I know what’s going on) that I felt a post was necessary. I’ll hopefully be posting some fic later, so we can all move on with things. The only way to change this is to contact Blizzard about it, so please, do so (I have) and we’ll get back to RP and the more fun parts of the game.

Ask Anna: Guild and Raiding Help
comment 2 Written by on July 6, 2010 – 10:05 am

Time for another edition of Ask Anna! This question is about how to find a new raid group (kinda).

As an aside, I am absolutely intentional aboud avoiding the terms “hardcore” and “casual” in this post, because I think they’re pretty useless.

To someone who logs in one or two nights a week and only plays by themself, a person who logs in most evenings and runs 5 mans and heroics is “hardcore”. To someone who logs in most evenings and runs 5 mans and heroics, a person who raids a few nights a week in a 25 man raid is “hardcore”. To someone who raids a few nights a week in a 25 man raid, a person who raids 5-6 nights a week on bleeding edge progression for many hours at a time is “hardcore”. To someone who has only one character, someone who has 12 alts may seem “hardcore”. It’s pretty arbitrary.

As such, I’m purely going to address people’s varying willingness to endure certain things, and different goals within raiding. Yes, it means this post is a bit wordier, but it avoids a lot of the ambiguous crap that goes along with trying to make predefined stereotypes fit.

ANYWAY!

Kharasa asks:

Hey Anna!

I have a quick question for you that is … honestly.. neither really easy nor, in the end, really quick.  In short, however:  how can I get started in the whole ‘raid’ thing?

I am a dedicated roleplayer, and firm member of a roleplay-centric guild.  We have raiders who are a part of this guild, but the guild as a whole is not dedicated to nor interested in the raiding ‘scene’. In fact, some of my guild’s roleplayers ultimately have problems with the basic “don’t stand in the fire.”  This is not universally true, but from a raw numbers and ability standpoint, most are not interested in actually learning the skills (or minmaxing to the potential) necessary for raiding.  Our guild is about half full of members of this sort – this isn’t bad, and is a perfectly fine playstyle, but our guild isn’t gonna be taking down the Lich King anytime in the next decade or two.

I have no interest in leaving this guild – and I know that already limits my raiding potential.  On the other hand, I’d really like to see this endgame content before the next expansion drops.  How can I make the leap?  How can I get into a raid group where people are asking for experience and gearscore that implies you’ve already cleared the darned thing, when I’m not there yet?

I’m full ilevel232 geared (or better), badged to the point my wazoo is out, sporting best-I-can-get in just about every slot  and putting out massive DPS and solid healing.  I don’t stand in the fire.  I make no pretensions of knowing all the fights, but I also don’t claim to be more than ‘new’.

How do I make the leap?  How do I get people to give me a shot?  How in the world am I supposed to get from here to there?

Ok, a few things.

First, you’ve correctly addressed that this is not at all about roleplay vs. not roleplay. Your guild, as it is, has two groups of people in it. A a group of people who are interested in raiding to the point that they’re willing to do the out-of-raid legwork to be “good” at it. And a group of people who want to go on a raid, but don’t wish to do a lot of “other stuff” outside of raids. They think raiding is fun – and that’s all they really care to invest.

And, as you also correctly addressed, this is absolutely fine as their choice of playing. Yeah, it probably means they won’t kill Arthas, but for some people, raiding isn’t about killing bosses as much as it is about having a good time. That’s totally fine. (Some of the things we do outside of raids are occasionally un-fun. I really am not that fond of farming, but I do it because I know my raid expects me to show up with flasks, for example.)

The problem shows up when not everyone in a guild or raid group feels the same way. When you have a group of people who are OK with the “un-fun” out-of-raid commitments because they want to beat more difficult content mixed in with people who just want to show up, clear what they can, and not worry about it… you get head butting and discontent.

All that aside, down to the actual meat of your question:

First, you might consider if it’s possible to continue RPing with your friends in your current guild without wearing the guild tag on your one main raiding character. Not every RP group is “guild only” either, and I don’t know enough about your group to say either way.

For now though, you’ve decided not to leave your guild, because you like them (and their RP).

That will, as you’ve mentioned, make finding a raid group more difficult, but not impossible. Not all raid groups are guild exclusive – and some servers are more friendly to this than others. (Feathermoon, the server I play on, has a number of non-guild raiding groups, as well as raids that are run by guilds but that have no “guild exclusive” requirement.)

All you can do is apply.

You can’t “make” people give you a shot.

Put together an application for guilds that interest you and are recruiting – if you’re not sure about guilds, check your server forums and the guild recruitment forum. Keep an eye out in trade chat (I know, I know, but you never can tell!) for groups looking for people of your class/spec and ask if this is a regular raid or a PUG. You say you’re regularly running heroics – if you see other people in a group that are from your server, ask them about your guild. Same goes for PUG ICC raids, especially 10 mans. I found TRI through Feathermoon’s IRC channel, where someone was bemoaning their lack of a healer for a Karazhan run.

Put your best foot forward. Obviously, by your email, you’re quite capable of complete sentences and clear statements – that’s a good start. At this point, the best you can do is be the best applicant you possibly can. Bellwether has a great post on How to Ace your App that’s a good read if you’ve not seen it yet.

Finding a new raid is work, and they don’t often fall into your lap. You’ll probably go on trial runs with groups that make you totally crazy or that can’t even clear what you’re already doing with your guild. You might go on runs with groups unwilling to explain new fights who then tell you you’re not a good fit because you can’t meet XYZ standard.

Obviously, if someone approaches you to say “no, we don’t think you’re a good fit”, you should be gracious about it. Whining, yelling, and being argumentative isn’t going to change their minds – and besides, that’s a good time to ask that person if they know of a guild that might fit better! Burning a bridge isn’t going to help you in the long run, and being gracious might mean they change their mind later (especially in the raiding climate that exists right now).

After all that, you may even decide that you’re not keen on the hassle and would rather stick with the group you’ve got. That’s fine as well – sometimes it takes getting into other groups to realize what you like about the raid you’ve got.

A lot of raids are winding down right now, between the summer lull and the impending expansion pack.

While that might mean it’s hard to find groups that are still active (I know a few that threw in the towel and are on break until Cataclysm already), it also means other raid groups are trying to keep their rosters full enough to raid. It’s a bit of a toss-up, but now can be a good time to find a new group willing to give you a try, especially on already learned (for them) content.

I wish you the best of luck finding a group that matches with what you’re wanting to put into raiding. It can be frustrating, and for a lot of (perfectly valid) reasons, sometimes we all agree to put up with one or two things we don’t like in order to stay with the things and people we DO like.

Also, as usual, I’m sure you all (my readers) have other advice to give Kharasa – please do so in the comments!

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

annas

Deconstruction

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 …

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

November 7, 2013 – 1:33 pm

(Written by Jolly, Tarquin, and Annalea)

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 …

Riders of Lordaeron – Logistics

September 13, 2013 – 7:11 pm

(With Tarquin and Annalea)

Once more, four people made their way through the thickets and hills of Lordaeron, this time in the crisp chill of late morning, seeking after the Rider. Aelflaed had snatched what sleep she could while Chryste …

Riders of Lordaeron – Problematic

September 11, 2013 – 9:47 am

(With Tarquin)

She hadn’t wanted to leave Jolly – not so soon after finding him again – but once away, it took about five minutes for Aely to figure out she had a problem.

That problem had just announced that …

Riders of Lordaeron: Arrangements

September 9, 2013 – 10:05 am

It was an uneasy goodbye for him, but it was agreed by both he and Aely that a stroll back to Hearthglen would not be very easy to explain, nor would the explanation needed for the three Argent soldiers once …

Riders of Lordaeron

September 7, 2013 – 9:02 am

“Light sent me ye when I needed ye afore – an’ now again when I need ye. I canna ask fir more than tha’.” She sighed and slung the shield back across her shoulders. “It’s… Light. Been awhile hasna it? …

Dark Rider of Lordaeron (Part 4)

September 6, 2013 – 2:02 pm

She blinked, but did not drop either of her shields. “Aye, though I’ve been Caltrains fir th’ last near three years. Canna say I’ve any memory ay ye.”

“Yeh’ve far moar’n yeh realize,” he replied evenly, his grip tightening on …

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