Missed of Pandaria

I missed it all.
I am a sad panda(arian)…

When I write on this blog it is usually because I am not able, due to economic, and therefore emotional-mental-nervous-breakdown-in-progress reasons like:
•I am homeless and live in my Geo Prizm. FYI: Nowhere to plug-in my desktop.
•I am unemployed and have to move into my parents house. No available Ethernet ports on the router, nowhere to set up my computer, and nowhere to play that is free from the hustle and bustle of family traffic in the common areas of the house.

And WoW, how I dearly love thee, I do not love thee enough to justify playing in public. What is wrong about logging in from a wireless internet connection stolen from Peet’s or Starbucks on my girlfriend’s Lenovo Thinkpad hovered over the tiny laptop keyboard attempting to quest using click-to-move and auto-run?
In the immortal words of RP server TOS nazis

You are ruining my immersion!

Alas, I blog.
So, it’s been roughly a month since I last logged into Azeroth. Good news is: it was during patch 5.4 so I am somewhat familiar with the current state of the game/world.
Bad news: it was after missing patches 5.2, 5.3, and all of MoP. I have not been in any of Pandaria zones, save for what I have seen of the Panda starting zone, which I have watched from over-the-shoulder as a spectator.


And soon Warlords of Draenor will drop.
Questions abound like:
1. Will I be ready?
2. Will I still want to play or will I give up on it because RL has proven to be too difficult and I need to level up to do the content, i.e. Get a job, save money, find somewhere to live, move in, balance work and free time such that I work effectively enough that work is supportive of my free-time activities, and far from jeopardizing my enjoyment, is responsible for creating it and quitting the job would result in my losing the opportunity to play at all, much less as much as I would like in a perfect world.
Which reminds me of a random Dream Job description I wrote recently:

My dream job in simple words-
To get up each day at whatever time I wake up and start my day, then roll into work whenever I want to during the day, logging on to World of Warcraft and then spending all day playing wow in some or many ways questing, pvp’ing, raiding, doing trade skill stuff, auctioning etc and being paid $1500/week to do it, from home, on my dream computer (see doghouse systems Armor TL)
And I talk everyday to other people who are also playing and are paid for their efforts. I am free to have (I.e. Have permission, am allowed to) bud and A bong on my desk and take as many smoke breaks as I want and “I love my job!”
“I love the people that I work with!” (Ian from HCL)
and I go to blizzcon and things like it for work,
and I enjoy both my day to day work life as well as I feel proud of my career/title because it makes me happy and I like it.

HOW DO I GET THIS JOB????!!!!??!?!

•Who makes money on WoW?
Blizzard, maybe some vendor companies, but they probably make money from advertising revenue (from people clicking on their web ads/visiting their website)

•Who makes money from playing WoW? (Pro gamers? World-first guilds? I don’t know actually…)

•Who gets paid to attend BlizzCon?
Blizzard employees, maybe some other employees of Blizzard vendors and sub-vendors…I don’t know much about what BlizzCon is other than a pay-to-attend convention in Irvine, CA held annually by Blizzard, Inc. to showcase and advertise and inform it’s consumers about what it does (produces and publishes video games and internet-based services and other related media (TCG, books, etc.)related to its IP (realm transfers, vanity pets for use in WoW)
•Where do I get the money to buy a doghouse systems Armor TL (they cost about $4000.00)? I don’t know…’From working’ is the short answer, the long answer is ‘I don’t know right now’
•Where do I get the money for a deposit on my apartment/home that I am ‘working from home’ in?
I don’t know that either…a job? But really, I don’t know…
•Where is it located?
I don’t know.
•What is the address?
I don’t know.
•How do I get $1500?($6000/month)?
I don’t know.
•Direct Deposit?
•In a check?
•From who?
I don’t know.
•Who is doing the paying of my ‘paycheck’?
I don’t know.
•Who do I report to?
I don’t know.
•Do I report to anyone?
I don’t know.
•Do I have supervision?
I don’t know.
•What do I do that is the job?
I don’t know.
•Is the job playing?
I don’t know.
•Does anyone earn a living on playing WoW? Swiifty? ‘Pro’ gamers?
I don’t know.
•Do they have to break the ToS to do so (as in botting)?
I don’t know. (Bot-ers do)
• Do I attend meetings in person?
I don’t know. I hope not, unless those people are kind, and I like to work with them, Then Yes, I hope so.
• do I work for a company?
I don’t know. But how else am I going to get a paycheck?
• am I an independent contractor?
I don’t know. Maybe, but way less stable than a full -time gig/career
• do I pay taxes?
Yes, I assume I would…
• do I have benefits?
I would want them, so,Yes.

But that is a pipe dream. Unless I win the lottery, find a sack of cash under a bush, discover buried treasure, or in some other way, get rich spontaneously, I am going to, if I want it, have to make it happen.


Well, never is the short answer. The long answer: never again. I’ve played WoW for days on end, for 14+ hours a day, for weeks, sometimes months, at a time. While ‘kept’ as in supported by a rich girlfriend, while on unemployment, while couch-surfing in a house whose rent is paid by someone else…
And at no time did I do more with it then devolve into the same old pattern of WoW behavior: anti-social, playing it like a single player game, avoiding guild interaction, going so far as to avoid RL friends and family that I knew were online because I didn’t want to talk to anyone or take credit for, how WoW was as much in my way to being happy as it was creating happiness for me.
Let’s be honest: MMO’s are a time sink. For the effort spent playing WoW, for all the time investment, compared to another pastime (hell, even gambling itself) it wastes not only time, but money. I’ve spent 100s of dollars, maybe even thousands.


New Servers

I was just reading WoW Insider’s 18 easiest achievements and was reminded of AQ. After thinking about AQ, I was reminded of Gathering war supplies both factions had to do in order for AQ to be available. And AQ marked the first definitive Point of No Return that is part of what has made WoW into the unrecognized animal it is today.
The reason why AQ is that point is (was) because it marked the first shift in World State. There were servers that were still being released. Some of them, completely fresh. One of the most memorable experiences I have had in WoW stemmed from the release of new servers.

Before Faction Changing, Realm Transfers, Purchasable Sparkle Ponies, and cross-realm, anything, WoW was comprised of a disparate group of island like realms that interracted only with itself. For Instance, PvP servers prevented creating characters of both factions to ward against PvP grief, and to limit faction shit talking.

Population size affected the make up of servers in a variety of ways. Some servers were more progressed than others and had distinct concerns as a result. A lower population server had more trouble filling the 40 person requirement for raids and suffered slower raid progression. Higher pop servers had login queues prohibitively long, causing some players to miss raid starts. Additionally, higher population servers were plagued with faction imbalances, often consistent with their type; PvE servers were predominantly Alliance heavy (no serious min-max’r raided as Horde due to no paladins), while PvP servers were often Horde dominant due to the Horde’s notorious ugly-factor advantage (not to mention the stupidly OP old form of Will of the Forsaken) as well as players like Drakedog, Pat and others representing the horde with pure Zug Zug). And being Horde on a PvP server usually meant getting to be the ganker and not the gankee.
As WoW’s overall popularity continued to rise, Blizzard saw fit to continue to create additional realms to accommadate the demand. Some servers were created with the intention of providing an escape off of high population realms. Some were created to satisfy the demand for an RP-PvP rule set. And some were created as an opportunity to give newer players to WoW a chance to enjoy it from a fresh start.
After I levelled my first toon to 60 on Cenarion Circle, Alliance side (Yes it was a Night Elf Hunter), I actually understood the game. My first experience on a new server was as an Undead Rogue, rolled on Maelstrom at server launch. I recall many charming little phenomena that only a new server could bring. First of all, no one had a high level main. So twinks were nonexistent. So was gold. Finding a green piece of gear while leveling was significant. Even if it wasn’t class ideal, a Training Sword of the Whale still netted additional stamina, so it was valuable and if you could equip it you did. If not it went to the Auction House. And asking 50 silver would have been price gouging. Currency accumulated slowly at low levels, which meant the overall economy developed slowly as well. One could put a stack of copper ore on the AH for 20g/stack, but there was no way it would sell. Whole guilds didn’t have 20g to spend. Unlike today, the leveling experience was as important and richly rewarding as endgame. Everything had to be earned. Groups were a necessity to complete group quests, budgeting for future goldsinks like mounts or training were legitimate concerns.

World of Pandacraft-fu?!

Or How did Disney convince Blizzard (ahem Vivendi oui oui!) to advertise their movie franchise inside my Warcraft? Anyway, a bit more than just a little dismayed- WoW seems to have devolved into a McDonald’s cash register icon-laden EZMOAD MMO. Where once there were dungeons that required a (at least semi-)coordinated group of 40 people to successfully complete, there will be Pokemon-style pet battles instead. Where once we had talent systems that varied gameplay in subtle but significant ways, we will have big fat easy to read skill-talent-thingies where the main choice seems cosmetic and spec is another name for spell choice.

Azeroth: I am coming home

I finally landed a job! And with that, a room of my own. Soon- I move my stuff up here from where it is being stored and that includes my computer. In a few short weeks, I am going to be back online, ready and pumped to tackle the new content I have missed.
First on the list, Transmog’ing.
I was excited when I heard this was coming to WoW and have patiently been awaiting the opportunity to indulge in the new feature. In previous posts I have detailed my interest and ambitions regarding Transmog’ing as I level.

I hope this video still works:

I have to admit, I have been out of WoW for so long this break that I am unclear about what I am even going to do when I get back. I am contemplating playing a new character. Maybe a warlock maybe continue with Crowfield, maybe play

Not sure yet. No matter, soon- verrrry soon, I will be staring into the pretty pixel forests and navigating my way through them as though nothing changed.

Happy 2012

It is here! The fabled new year of new years! Will RL asplode and dc us or was Y2K the set up and 2012 the punch line?
Only time will tell.
Over a month since I posted and I apologize profusely. If waiting with baited breath is your hobby, then I am back to give you a breather. Or something.

There are many excellent resources swirling around in the WoW-verse that need mentioning. I am constantly coming across addons, websites and other WoW-related phenomena that gives me that “A-Ha!” feeling. The ‘why-didn’t-I-think-of-that’ surprise. I hope this site does that for at least one WoWer.
But that is not why I am interested in posting today.
Today, I am brainstorming ideas about re-RE-entry into Azeroth.
Last time through, I leveled and story-lined Crowfield. It has been nearly four months since I was playing, and Crowfield as an idea, and as a character has grown stale.
I am moving on.
Thinking about a whole new project.

As a former Mage, this may come as some surprise but the time has come that I reprise the Opus Alpha Omega: the toon to end all toons, the fully heirloomed and fully chanted dot dot fiend of damnation and brimstone. I bring you


I am thinking along the lines of re-rolling my former lock name, and re-inventing it as my main.
Zslatok, was the name, and as a lock, it works great.
The list of heirlooms I need is long. The first hurdle is acquiring the guild vendor items. Not an easy task, given I do not yet have a character in any guild that can both access the vendor and has the required reputation to afford it. That said, the list:
From Psynister’s Notebook:

Cloth Armor Set
All of the cloth classes are casters, so there’s not much wiggle room here. If you’re a Mage, Priest, or Warlock then this is the setup for you. If you’re a Druid, Shaman, or even Paladin caster then you can get by with this set for a time, but I wouldn’t suggest it in the long run unless you just cannot afford the armor pieces that fit your class.

The items:

•Helm: Tattered Dreadmist Mask
Stamina, Intellect, Crit, Haste, +10% XP

•Cloak: Ancient Bloodmoon Cloak Stamina, Intellect, Crit, Haste, +5% XP

•Shoulder : Tattered Dreadmist Mantle Stamina, Intellect, Crit, +10% XP

•Chest: Tattered Dreadmist Robe Stamina, Intellect, Crit, +10% XP

•Ring: Dread Pirate Ring
Stamina, Hit, Crit, +5% XP

•Main Hand: Dignified Headmaster’s Charge
Stamina, Intellect, Crit, Spell Power

Thankfully, I already possess the chest and shoulders. I have the health trinket as well. The other will be a pvp trinket.

Undead, male. Maaaybe Orc. Maaaay-be.
Jewel crafting and Mining.
Leveling-wise, I enjoyed the beginning of the new Forsaken storyline, and can see a warlock fitting into it well.

Addons Page added

As good a time as any to report my list of addons. Check the addon tab above (if viewing mobile format, switch to full site view below first).

The list! v1.0

Well, well well.
I could let this evening’s news that the job I thought I had secured turned out to be a scam get me down. Instead, I am using the energy behind the disappointment to help me focus on what I want to create. You see, dear reader, I was beginning the downward slope into despair: that I would have to wait that much longer before I was playing WoW again. I /sigh’d and then it dawned on me: the minute I am logging in for that first session after this hiatus, whatever it took me to get to there, however long it takes, will be worth it.
Which got me thinking.
I have begun to develop a list of things I want to do when I return. Call it the What I Am Going To Do When I Am Back In WoW List 1.0 or W.I.A.G.T.D.W.I.A.B.I.W. List. 1.0. Shit, even the acronym is a beefer.
The list begins with, of course, re-subbing WoW itself. Once re-subbed I am seriously considering making a couple of bold moves: Character transfers. Name change. Aquaríus may well become a human, given this story thread.

is going to go back to his original moniker, Cliff. Long Story.

With the transfer to Alliance, Aq brings gold, very much something Crowfield is in need of as the 70’s bracket approaches. Which brings me to what I plan to do upon re-entering Azeroth.

At log in:
• I am likely going to bounce around characters, moving gear, gold and consumables between them as needed.

When in-game, I am going to go figure out how the hell to play a paladin again.
Go quest.
Once reasonably confident with DPS rotation, time to queue a dungeon. After a run or 2, time for a BG.
I’m still in basic heirloom gears. That. Will. Not. Stand.
I am thinking along these lines:


Destiny as a replacement for R.T.C.

Or maybe:

Dark Iron Plate

Overlord’s Plate


Warmonger, for use with Dark Iron set.

And those are just a few ideas.
Depending on how long the Dark Iron set takes to complete, I may opt for the Overlord’s set, and call it good.

Need to update addons. Thank the Light for the curse.com updater. I highly recommend it.
While outside the scope of this post, I do think mentioning one addon here is okay. That addon is MogIt (here’s WoW Insider’s review). Looks promising. Real promising. It is an in-game model-viewer for Transmog goodness. Has a built in filter-by-color option, and while I have not used it, seems like a new-for-4.3 must-have.

That is all for now. Thanks for reading.
Until Then…