Monthly Archives: August 2012

Character Futures and Stuff

I wanted full body shots in different poses for the character profile pages I have up, so made new images.  I wound up not using shoulders for most, because my ModelViewer sometimes does strange things – and at the time I was fiddling with these, shoulders were showing up Tauren-sized on everybody.  I didn’t think it looked too bad on Thermalix, given the pose I went with, but for everybody else?  It just looked dumb.

I’m also taking a moment to sit down and make a kinda sorta plan for what I intend to do with the dramatis personae come Pandaland.

Mechalis

Mechalis

Quote: “Wanna purchase a Rocket Camel?  It’s totally legal on all four continents although some faction exceptions may apply!”

Will She Survive Pandas: Yes.  She doesn’t care about pandas, unlesssss she can put a rocket or two on them and see how aerodynamically they behave when launched.  Don’t worry, she’ll make sure there’s a trampoline they can land on.  What?  It’s perfectly safe.

Future Plans: As my primary melee DPS, Mech will likely be among the first of my gals to make it to 90, for those times when things need to be smashed.  I am certain that there will be smashing times ahead.

Thermalix Spendtrue

Thermalix

Quote: “I soooo did not mean to shoot that.”

Will She Survive Pandas:  Hell yes, ain’t no panda nowhere gonna take her down no way no how!  Also, ENORMOUS ROCKET MOUNT MUST HAVE.

Future: Thermalix is the only one who has clear goals for the expansion.  She will probably be the first to make it to 90, as my inner hunter pet collector will kick in (again) and I will need to tame a Purple Armored Stone Quilen, and a White Porcupine, and a Goat of some color, and a Green Fen Strider (or maybe a white one!), and a Black Crane, and a Raven, and a Ghost Saber Worg, and and and!  Yay!

There are only two depressing things for Thermalix in this: you can’t tame color changers any more (thank God she got her color changing scarab already), and she really, really wishes they’d increase the stable space to allow for more pets.  Thermalix is going to have to let some of her darlings go, and that’s always a tough call.

Centina Dollarbender

Centina

Quote: “The sky is falling!  The sky is falling!”

Will She Survive Pandas: Yes, providing no panda hits her.  If one does, she’s probably going to get one-shotted.

Future: She will inch towards the new level limit (providing she ever reaches the old one), forced to do so by her fondness for leveling tailoring in order to get rid of all the fabric scraps she hoards.  When her bank is full, it’s time to level tailoring.  When she can’t level tailoring, it’s time to level herself.  While dungeoning, she’ll pick up more fabric.  It is an endless cycle.

Bombelina Sparklefuse

Bombelina

Quote: “I’ll just spend this whole pug pickpocketing.  I’m sure you don’t mind.”

Will She Survive Pandas: Yes.  I want my own lockbox opener, dammit.  Also, she only has one transmog outfit to her name, and that’s just friggin’ sad.

Future: She will be forced to level so that she can open up the high level lockboxes the others keep sending to her.  They’re really starting to stack up!  As my only leather wearer, she’s also going to have to level so she can represent.

Thingie Goldwasher

Thingie

Quote: “No tanks!  No tank you.”

Will She Survive Pandas: Maybe.

Future: I’ve been debating deleting Thingie, and I’ve been debating making her a monk once Mists comes.  So far, her saving grace against both these fates has been her current ability to dual wield Shovels of Mercy.  If the human and the orc in that video had Shovels of Mercy, that panda would’ve had a far tougher time.  There will be no tanking for Thingie, so I foresee a lifetime of long queues, which is kind of depressing.

Majig Goldwasher

Majig

Quote: “I’m having an issue with some yetis.  Can I call you back?”

Will She Survive Pandas: I don’t know.  In fact, I don’t know what happened with playing a shaman.  It was fun, once, but now I just don’t know what I’m doing.

Future: Majig’s future is as tenuous as her sister Thingie’s.  Maybe I’ll play her for a little while with this new talent system and see how I feel about the shaman class, but as of late it’s been mostly indifference.

Ailabeth Blisswell

Ailabeth

Quote: “There are some ghosts who can never go home.”

Will She Survive Pandas: The question really ought to be, “Will pandas survive meeting Ailabeth?”

Future: Ailabeth will probably be the second to make it to 90, as I enjoy Levitate, Leap of Faith and Shadowform far too much.  Her goal is, more or less, to kill the sheeyit out of things and take their stuff and gold for transmog purposes.

Niremere Lane

Niremere

Quote: “I can only go forward from here.”

Will She Survive Pandas: Yes, although she’s a very long way from ever getting to Pandaland itself.

Future: SAVING THE WORLD.  Handing a huge catfish to King Chin (or possibly slapping him with it.  Is she in a protadin or a retadin mood?).  Daydreaming about marrying him, and using the combined power of the Church and Stormwind’s military to reclaim/make useful again Elwynn and Westfall.  Would insist on being generous with former Defias who agree to take an oath of loyalty and would put pretty much every person ever to work repairing or replacing infrastructure in Westfall because Being Nice and Doing Good Works is all for the Light.  Retaking Stromgarde Keep, because seriously, guys, after Lich King + Deathwing + Serious High Level Stuff, you’re really letting some lowbie rogues and ogres sit there and hold it?  The Horde will take it if you don’t do something!  Nir wants to do something!

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Hugbees!

You know, when this one player from Wrymrest Accord chose to pipe up in a baby Deadmines run I happened to be in a couple months back, I don’t think she knew what the hell she was getting herself into.  I’m not sure I knew either.  But somehow, this random encounter turned into a beautiful friendship!  Proof: Tab created a beeeeeyuutiful blood elf warlock by the name of Amiprettynow, and I made Hugbees the Orc Death Knight, Amiprettynow’s possessive and quite dominant girlfriend.  She’s only mostly dead.  You know what they say about true love, anyway – death can only delay it for a little while.

Hugbees may not be quite right in the head now (if she ever was in the first place), as evidenced by the horse PONEH she chose to steal for the Scourge.  (Also, oops, I misspelled her name, but how many will get the reference in the first place?)

HUGBEES!

HUGBEES!
/smrt

Yeah, I chose the angryface.  But Amiprettynow loves her anyway, because she’s got amazing abs.

Now, Hugbees and her boy toy want to go to a transmog contest this Saturday on Deathwing, but they find it extremely embarrassing to show up untransmogged themselves.  Though they haven’t quite decided if they are seriously trying to compete or not, making an appearance without being properly “attired” seems like a super faux pas.  Gasp!  Never!

Hugbees isn’t attempting anything complex.  She’s already had to amend her plan, because there’s pretty much no way in hell she’s going to be able to get the belt she wants by Saturday.  Despite this, the gloves are still proving troublesome.  She spent a lot of time /sobbing in dungeon groups the other day because the tanks kept on skipping the boss that drops the darn gloves she wants.  Unfortunately, she’s leveled out of Blackrock Depths as far as Dungeon Finder is concerned.  Since Tab and I know no one on Deathwing, this means Hugbee’s only hopes are: 1.) Soloing everybody in the Grim Guzzler, 2.) getting money via questing and then getting way lucky on the AH, or 3.) giving up.  I’m thinking 2 may be the most realistic.  This is bad, because luck is not something I command on a regular basis.

Despite our best efforts, Amiprettynow may not be transmogged by the time the contest rolls around.  Hugbees may just tell him to strip down to his underwear.  He’s a blood elf, after all, he should have no problem with exhibitionism.  If he’s not going to be transmogged, he may as well go naked!

Face, Meet Desk

Thirabel, as you might recall, was once a Night Elf druid whose sole purpose in life was to beardance on Varian Wrynn’s head.  With her goal fulfilled, I realized the only reason I would want to play a druid would be to transmog leather outfits (since I have wearers of all other armor classes), but that’s 85 levels to go for the sake of completionism, and that kinda killed that plan.  [Edited to add: Oops, forgot about Bombelina.  I have wearers of all armor classes, therefore, the druid for transmog purposes would be redundant.]  I eventually concluded that if I was going to have an alt for an Alliance alt (suddenly, my life is like looking into a mirror looking into a mirror), I was going to make this as damn easy as possible and make her a huntard.

Thirabel

Unfortunately, for a second time lowbie space goat, Azuremyst/Bloodmyst Isle is like the Alliance version of Mulbore: it’s kind of tedious and takes a painfully long time to get anywhere.  My general feeling was something like, “I’ve gone through this place once before, and I’ll be damned if I innoculate the owlbeasts again!”  So, despite my hesitations, I sent Thirabel to Elwynn Forest, to live among the humans.  (Reason 1: They have a hunter trainer.  Reason 2: I find  the human quests more interesting than the night elf ones.  Reason 3: Leveling a space goat amongst dwarves seemed insane.)

Upon arrival in Stormwind, poor Thir was immediately stalked by a loony death knight, so she fled town and ran to Northshire Abbey.  Completing the quests there didn’t take much time, and so Thir entered the most difficult portion of her short life – that is, surviving Goldshire.

Goldshire Never Changes

Goldshire Never Changes
Level 8 vs. Level LOLZ!

I’ve begun to realize that you don’t see the Horde hanging out in the equivalent location (Razor Hill) for the lolz, whereas in Goldshire, the Alliance is there and full of lolzing, and that makes your early levels suck.  Goldshire takes “For the Alliance” and does a little transformation, making it “FOR TEH LOLZ!”  The only problem is that the lolz are generally at your lowbie expense.

Some more lolz were had at Thir’s expense and she was feeling a little jumpy, so she decided it was probably safer to live in the woods.  While helping out in the boondocks (otherwise known as the Stonefield Farm), a level 85 male human mage descended next to her from out of nowhere.  He was wearing a diving helmet and riding a rocket.  Given her past experience with human males (stalker, rather upfront commentary on her appearance, gibberish, all around insanity, etc.), Thir pretty much panicked.  Her fight or flight reflex malfunctioned however, so she /waved.

Rocket Mage 01

Rocket Mage 01
He started off with “Greetings.”

The first thing he had to say filled her with dread.

Rocket Mage 02

Rocket Mage 02
That sounds ominous.

As it turns out, the gift was 200g.  I generally don’t like to take without giving something in return (although some folks have cured me of this habit by refusing to accept the pretty rocks, clam meat and whatnot I try to give), so I gave him the linen I was carrying.  When you’re level 10, you can’t offer much!

Face, meet Desk, because:

  1. You walked into Goldshire despite knowing what goes on there, but also,
  2. You assumed the worst about Mr. Mage, and you were wrong.

“Spell Factor” Set

"Spell Factor" Set

“Spell Factor” Set

“Spell Factor” Set

Class: Priest (with shoulders), Mage, Warlock (without)

The Argent Skullcap | Vengeful Gladiator’s Satin Mantle | Cape not shown | Spellweave Robe
Spellweave Gloves | Thuzadin Sash | Legs not shown | Wrists not shown | Sorcerer’s Slippers

Blood Weeper
Hellfire Tome

Status: Finished

Thoughts: OH MY GOD THREE BLOOD ELVES SHOWED UP IN THE SAME DRESS. Not one blood elf.  Nope.  THREE.  Do you know how embarrassing it is for a Forsaken to wear the same thing as a blood elf?  AND they stood near her!  Poor Ailabeth, her dignity is ruined forever.  Alas!

Okay, so putting the uniqueness/loss of dignity problem aside, I actually really like this outfit.  I spent way too long planning it and way too long acquiring it (see: leveling to 80 in the first place to wear it, also see: entire questline needed to get that dang hat).  Considering the effort that I dumped into the sholders alone, I have not spent enough time wearing it yet!  I will have to wear it forever.  I’ve got to find a new weapon transmog for this set, though, as Ailabeth now uses a staff instead of the dagger/book combo she acquired for the WoW Factor competition.  I changed Ailabeth’s face to the bondage straps to reference the blindfolded female faces on the shoulders, which I totally went and PVP’d for because somehow, they were the only ones that would do.  Cal and I collected the materials for the Spellweave Robe and Gloves and then turned them over to Tab so she could put them together, as Centina is not yet skilled enough to sew such fine things.  I also totally forced Cal and Tab to run Stratholme with me a lot until the Thuzadin Sash dropped because Ailabeth had no AoE skill at the time.  Thanks guys, for saving Ailabeth from the lots of little ravenous zombies she kept faceplanting into.  They were like leggy, rotting pirahnas, I swear!  It’s also not Beth’s fault she ran into those cultists.  They were hanging on a dark street corner, lying in wait!

Oh, and the shoulders ooze this faint blue smoke/shadow/something.  So even though I have to leave Shadowform to see what I’m wearing, I still have a little bit of the Shadow with me.

“Acherus Scourgelord” Set

He Won't Drop His Pants

He Won’t Drop His Pants
C’mon Exarch Maladaar!

Here’s the “I Randomly Switched My Spec to Frost and DK is Fun Again!  I Need New Armurz!” Set.  If you want a more sober sounding name (because we are talking death knights), I suppose “Acherus Scourgelord” ought to do.  Alternately, this could also be called the “I Just Know He’ll Bring an Extra Pair of Pants to the Dungeon SOMEDAY” Set, since Lurega and I smashed Exarch Maladaar’s face in over five six eleven times before we finally got the Doomplate Legguards off his dead body.  What?  It’s plate, that blood will wash right off.

"Acherus Scourgelord" Set

“Acherus Scourgelord” Set

“Acherus Scourgelord” Set

Class: Death Knight

Helmet not shown | Scourgelord Shoulderplates | Cape not shown | Scourgelord Battleplate
Trapper Punchers | Deathforge Girdle | Doomplate Legguards | Greaves of the Slaughter

Pilfered Ethereal Blade (x2, thanks transmog!)
(Rune of Razorice for additional SHINEH)

Status: Finished
To Find: Nothing

Thoughts: as;lfkjas;lfkja;slfkja;slfdkjas;lfdj TRANSMOGGING PLATE IS HARD /punny

No, seriously.  It is, if you:

  1. Rule out all platekini
  2. Don’t want to use a set because you’re “creative”
  3. Hate helmets because your hair is really cute (and your ears just ruin the frightening effect helmets are supposed to have, anyways)

Mech happens to have some additional rules that make the problem worse:

  1. She won’t wear red because she is green
  2. She won’t wear green because she is green
  3. Since she’s short enough as is, boots cannot look like hip waders or like pieces of foam wrapped around her legs
  4. Since her arms and hands are huge already, gloves can’t be bulky

With the way they distributed skulls and teeth on DK armor, certain plate tops go with certain plate belts go with certain plate pants.  It’s as though each piece wasn’t considered as a “separate” whole, rather, it’s just the location where the overall pattern or image landed.  So trying to mix it up gives you half a skull or some triangle things, and looks silly.  I eventually gave up on my artistic pretensions and just smashed together some sets.  DONE.

I call this “Acherus Scourgelord” because I originally started with the Acherus Death Knight’s beginning tunic.  I’m super cheap, sure, but it was more because I liked the detailing and the grayish-purple cast.  I then had to endure a phase where people were going “OMG YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BE LIKE EVERY OTHER DK OUT THERE WHO USES THE WHOLE STARTER SET ARE YOU? LIKE, GAWD!”  No guys, seriously, I’m not!  This and my inability to find plate pants that matched exactly made me change my mind.  I eventually acquired the Scourgelord Battleplate in its stead.  I also admit to using the starter shoes for a minute, but I couldn’t get used to seeing my toes.  I’m currently using the other starter DK shoes, the Greaves of the Slaughter, but I don’t like those much either.  They’re fine from the front, but from the back, you can see they were meant to go with a blueish outfit.  BUT WHATEVER.  I HAVE PANTS NOW.  PANTS, YOU HEAR ME!?

They Deserve It

They Deserve It
No Pants = Desecration by Sandbox Tiger

If Exarch Maladaar had just given me the pants in the first place …

Ideas for Improving Future WoW Factor Events

Holy Crap, Look At Them All

Holy Crap, Look At Them All
11 FPS, baby!

So the WoW Factor Show occurred last night on Wyrmrest.  I’d like to take a moment up front to thank the organizers and sponsors for taking the time and effort to put on the event.  It’s no small feat to organize such a thing and keep all attendees in a circle for such a long time frame.

Attendance, however, has clearly grown past expectation.  Because I think way too much about things like this, I’ve cooked up some ideas that might improve future events.

1.) Hire an emcee.

While it would take several events to settle on the perfect candidate, the right emcee could drastically improve participant experience by filling dead time and guiding the “flow” of the event.  This would be especially true in situations with “technical difficulties” (see #2, below), but also for those souls who cannot connect to the livestream for whatever reason.  It is important to note that while he or she would be in communication with the judges, the emcee would not be a judge.  He or she has no time for that.

This person would ideally be quick typist, because a key function of the emcee would be to talk to random players about their outfits while judges are doing their judging thing.

“Whats-her-name here is wearing this awesome shirt!”, or “So let’s look at So-and-so here!  He’s got the Blah Blah Blah chestpiece.  Where does that drop, So-and-so?”

Time consuming?  Most certainly.  This is why the emcee cannot be a judge.  But the consumption of time would fill the moments that participants otherwise spend standing around being bored.  More importantly, it recognizes random attendees who have not and probably will not win for whatever reason.  This would significantly improve overall mood, I think, because every attendee, whether they admit to it or not, wants some recognition.  (Refer to point 8 in this post, and also every comment ever last night about how “nobody’s looking at meeeeeee.”)

As a side benefit, it would also cue in the clueless who walk into the area and insist on asking publicly, “what the heck is this?  Why are so many people here?”

1a.) And/or hire more judges.

As the number of participants increases, there’s a definite need to scale the number of judges accordingly to keep the process up to speed.

2.) Have backup for “technical difficulties,” because communication is key.

One of the biggest challenges the organizers experienced  this time around was in the form of a failing livestream.  Putting aside the time spent trying to get it to work, this was a huge problem for the pacing of the event as it was the primary mode of communication with attendees.  An alternative, perhaps, could be a combination of an emcee/quick typist in communication with officials over a “Judges’ Vent Channel.”  That way, organizers can communicate with each other while the emcee delivers relevant information to attendees.

It seems that, in the past, a very personal style was the standard mode of operation for WoW Factor.  Judges talked on the livestream as they were going about, which passed the time for participants while also making prize-awarding reasoning as clear as possible.

Unfortunately, once the livestream went down this time around, no modifications were made to the standard practice. This had the effect of turning the contest into three or four hours of waiting around aimlessly.  Periodically a judge would cheer at a person and shout they had won.  Oh.  Okay.  Wait, what?

In the absence of information, players are wont to make up their own reasoning so that it all makes sense.  This kind of thing is bad, because people are always likely to think of themselves as victims of the system (they are not being considered or they are being blatantly ignored), and as humans, they are inevitably offended by what they perceive to be  unfair treatment.

Telling the players what’s up via typing, in the case of livestream fail (or even in addition to a functioning livestream), works against this inherent tendency.  “This transmog has an amazing sense of character to it,” “These shoulders work so well with the color in the chest piece,” or even “OMG I LOVE THESE GOGGLES” would help.

While it can never silence all the naysayers and those who believe that favoritism is going on hardcore (rumors of judges giving prizes only to Real ID friends abounded),  it would do much to sway those who are not so damned cynical.  It would also help the people who are bored out of their gourds.  (While I don’t buy the Real ID conspiracy theory, I suspect there was an affinity for red/gold/black color schemes.  Must be the Silvermoon location influencing the judges’ subconscious …)

Obviously, the competition is subjective, and it will never be possible to satisfy everyone.  That’s not the goal here, however.  We want to preclude negativity in order to promote good times.

3.) Location, Location, Location

Two things seemed very clear to me: interest in WoW Factor has grown quickly past organizers’ expectations, and Aurosalia was going to drive me absolutely friggin’ mad.  (GAWD!  I should’ve stood on the other side of the room.)

Because the judges are primarily from different servers (and sometimes different countries altogether), they typically create level 1 characters on the event server and hold the event in a town.  Otherwise, fate would have one mob aggro all the judges and that would be that.  Awkward!

While it’s certainly nice to have an easily identifiable spot such as the Spire, the dramatic increase in attendance makes “indoors” an unsustainable choice.  It’s time to think of alternatives.

If the competition is kept in town: Take Silvermoon, for example.  Rather than crowd inside Sunfury Spire, another option might be holding the event in one of the more open areas, such as the Bazaar.  Alternatively, participants could be lined up on both sides of the street in any part of town (although one hopes not Murder Row, because it’s too dang small and also kind of seedy).

If the competition is moved outside: Event organizers could also consider an “outdoors” location in a starter area, such as somewhere in the wide plains of Mulgore, where the things don’t attack, the available space is large and the obstructions are few.  As long as there’s a flight path nearby, this wouldn’t be any more inconvenient than somewhere in some town.

4.) Just Ditch the Second Round

Why?  First and foremost, time.  Even setting aside the technical issues experienced at the beginning of the contest, we were a good two and a half to three hours in by the time round two came about.  With the increase in attendance, multiple rounds will become correspondingly tedious unless action is taken to decrease time spent in them (hiring more judges, instituting a level limit, having a competition devoted specifically to a type of armor, etc. etc. etc.).

Another reason to get rid of it: this particular round really, really gets people riled up.

Even if you didn’t win anything in the first round, you’re theoretically still eligible for the second.  On the other hand, if you did win in the first round, you are not excluded from winning in the second.  Accordingly, though the format of the event has changed over time, many of the winners in round two have also been from the pool of winners in round one.  At the Wyrmrest event, all round two winners were pulled solely from the winners of round one.

Therefore, this round is a more or less a waste of time for the majority of attendees.  They are not, in all likelihood, in consideration for the bigger prizes of round two.  At the same time, it makes them think they have a chance.  It also gives people dreams of easy money (you also have to consider that for some players, like me, the notion of a mere 1k as a reward is amazingomg), which are almost certain to get dashed in round one and then dashed again in round two.

Did I mention that as humans, we are invariably offended when things seem unfair?  It’s not that all folks believe that they ought to win money, or even that they ought to win in the first place.  Lots would be perfectly satisfied if they were convinced that they had a decent chance and the best won.  But waiting around for hours to see the same people get rewarded dreamy sums for decisions that are not understood can be a real pisser.

Therefore, rather than deal with this whole dynamic, just get rid of round two.  You remove a major source of discontent while saving organizers, judges and players alike their time and effort.

While I feel I ought to write some sort of pithy conclusion here, since those are my suggestions as they currently stand, I’ll just leave off and let the post be.  It is an open topic and I’m sure there are many other ideas for making every event a little better than the last!