An irritating annoyance

I have noticed a few things while running lower level LFD content. Things that are like a mild sunburn on a warm summers day.

Annoying, but not that big of a deal really.

By lower level I mean everything from Ragefire Chasm to Blackrock Depths. I have yet to make it to Outlands in the LFD, though from all accounts I can look forward to a lot of misery there as newly minted Dps DK’s try tanking for the faster queue.

Meh, if it bugs me too much I’ll just pull on my extra tough Bear Druid pants and tank for a few levels myself. That, however, is a tale for another day.

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In the modern day of dual specs it is common for players to have a soloing spec and an instancing spec to make their leveling more efficient.  For a time I was rolling as Resto / Feral, now I am running as Resto / Balance (love my lazerchicken).

The point being that ever since level 40 I have been queueing both Dps and Heals. For the most part I am getting called on to heal, and thats great. In fact that is why I rolled the Druid in the first place. To that end I have made a macro that depending on what spec I am currently in, and what I am called to play, I may use at the beginning of an instance. It goes something like this.

Hello. I was in my other spec and gear set running circles around Dalaran when the call came in. Everyone gather up for your Druid buffs, and then I will need a sec to swap specs and drink my water gauge back to full.

This is often followed by half the group running off towards the first pack of mobs (out of range of getting either buffed or healed) and starting to pull things.

If they are lucky they have a Dps with them that has some healing spells, since I just swapped specs and I am sitting OOM watching them all die.

Public service announcement: If a group member says something that sounds anything like “Wait, I need to drink” you should listen. Particularly if that person is your tank or healer. The digital life you save might be your own.

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Speaking of letting people have the resources to do their job….

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For those who may not know this Druids and Warriors are what I like to call rage tanks, what with them using that as their primary resource for tanking. Rage tanks are like the energizer bunny, they can just keep on going and going and going as long as they are doing their job they will rarely ever run short on rage to do it with.

The trade off here is that they start off with an empty rage bar.

You know those football players you see in the movies? The ones that smack each other about the head and shoulders to get pumped up before a game? Remind you of anything?

Your friendly neighborhood rage tank needs to get smacked around a bit to get wound up and start smacking back.

If everyone were to just give them a good solid count to ten before beginning to AOE the crap out of everything life would be much better for everyone.

Believe it or not waiting those few seconds will actually save you time in the long run, as your healer won’t have to sit and drink for thirty seconds after every other pull. Not having to blow their cooldowns and spam heal everyone makes their mana last much longer.

We won’t even get into how much time you lose running back from a wipe. Hell, in BRD it seems that it takes as long to run back as it does to run the damn instance.

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The final annoyance for the day is the way a few people decide to talk to others. Sometimes its some EJ quoting, gearscore bragging, recount posting, asshat. Other times it’s the guy that thinks using offensive language is somehow a funny thing.  (His favorite reply when called out on it: “I wuz just joking, lol.  Lighten up.) Sometimes, like a few nights ago, it can get downright ugly.

That night I sat and watched two dps players in the group completely lose it on one another. Players who by the way had played quite well together through all of Maradon orange, down the falls, and we were right in front of  Princess Theradras . Literally all the trash was cleared and we were drinking up before the final pull.

One of the players decided that apparently that time was as good as any to start making racist comments, equating the rather ugly boss we were about to kill to an ethnic group he apparently did not like.

I was a bit offended, and said as much in chat. Something to the effect of “That wasn’t funny in grade school, and it’s not funny now.”

One of the other Dps players was far more vocal about being offended than I, apparently belonging to said ethnic group. Honestly I don’t blame him for tearing into the guy, that crap is exactly that. Crap.

Long story short ( a first for me, I know) is that the group collapsed at that point, never finishing the final boss and my ignore list got ever so slightly longer.

I did however find out a bit of useful information. Possibly as a fix for the exploit that happened to me (and many others) some time ago, you can no longer kick a player from the group after the official “you just finished the instance” boss goes down.

The moral of that little story? You never know who is behind the other avatars you are running with. Keep that in mind if you decide to “crack a joke” that some might find offensive.

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Tempus Fugit

I have been quite busy of late. 

Nothing I wish to get into here, lets just suffice it to say ” Real Life > Wow (and blogging about it)”. Actually I haven’t even been writing on my personal blog recently, I should do something about that. 

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As the saying goes, time really does fly. 

It flies by so fast you sometimes need to stop and look back to see where you have been. As the great and wise Ferris Buller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. You don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” 

Seven hundred and fourty days ago I sat down and dipped my toes into the blogosphere for the first time. For those that don’t feel like doing math in their heads first thing on a Monday morning that puts me at ten days beyond two years. 

Happy Blogday to me, apparently I missed it. 

To the folks who have stopped in and listened to my ramblings over the years, thanks for stopping by. 

You folks are the reason I keep writing, even when it seems like I am simply screaming into a vacuum. 

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On a much more entertaining note I did manage to get a bit of time to go dungeon crawling on my up and coming Druid. 

I am still leveling almost exclusively through the LFD, and having a blast doing it. The only real exception I made was the cloth turn in quests. 

I know I’ll end up doing them all for rep later, I figured I might as well do them as I went for the XP. It’s simply silly to not claim a solid 150,000 XP that’s just laying about in the major cities. 

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At any rate the game gave me a series of great groups that ended up with me getting something I have been in the hunt for since the day I rolled my Druid. 

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Why some complain I cannot see, I think I look great as a tree.

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Like potato chips, you can’t have just one…

Lately I have been thinking a lot about where I find my fun in Warcraft.

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I have known for a long time that I am really not much of a PvPer.

It’s simply not something I spend a lot of time doing, though if I start running BG’s with some friends while chatting on vent it can be a real blast.

It’s simply not a good solo activity, at least for me.

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Just recently I realized something else.

I am not a raider.

Don’t get me wrong, I love raiding.

The challenge of working together in a group to make things happen, the thrill of a first kill. It’s a blast, I wish I could go more often.

I don’t raid simply because I can’t commit to the time investment required. The don’t have the ability to set aside several hour blocks of time for raiding more than once a month or so.

I fall behind the curve and there is little incentive to try to catch up as I know I’ll just fall behind again.

The problem with this is that once I am at the level cap and have all the non-raid gear I can farm up I have basically nothing left to do other than run the same heroics over and over again until I can (and have) run them in my sleep.

That loses its appeal after a while, particularly when there is no reward to look forward to beyond a bit of cash and perhaps a few shards.

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I love running 5 mans, as dps on my Hunters and as a healer on my Druids. I don’t really care much for tanking, I have found it’s just not my thing, at least in a pug.

 The new LFG has truly been a game changer for me in this regard, allowing me to jump on whenever I have an hour or so free and grab a quick 5 man.

I have, however, managed to get bored as hell of running the Northrend ones. I have run them so much on heroic already that I have completely geared 2 characters in emblem gear, half geared another, and bought damn near every heirloom in the game for my alts.

Lets just say I am taking a break from them right now.

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This leaves me in a bit of a bind.

You see, I want to play not only my Druid but my Hunter as well.

I can only see one solution on the horizon, and it makes me think I am nuts.

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I think I might just have to make me a shiny new hunter to play through the lower level 5 mans.

Something to play while my Druid gathers rested XP, for to make his time in Outlands mercifully short.

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Lets see… I already have 2 Draeni Hunters (80 and 72), and a Troll (80), and a Night Elf (71)…

I know, I think i’ll roll up a Dwarven one.

That would be something new.

Either that or Hunters are simply like potato chips, you can’t have just one.

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I should not have looked

It all started out with the best of intentions.

You see, even though I am leveling a Druid I still love my Hunters.

Drupadi is very nearly as geared as she can get without running raid content. Just on the off chance that one shining day I can actually find a block of time and an ICC pug that will let me in all at the same time.

Hey, every so often all the planets line up and things just fall into place.

I figured I could easily double my odds of that particular lightning bolt striking by gearing up my much neglected Troll Hunter as well.

Two different factions on two different servers, it makes perfect sense right?

Then I logged over and looked at my gear.

After I got done laughing at myself I shook myself off and started running random heroics for badges and gear.

I have been running the odd heroic for a couple weeks now, as well as one hella fun evening where I ran a couple of wings of Naxx with the folks from The Zug Initiative.

I picked up a couple of pieces of T-9 and a few other shinies for my efforts.

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Then this morning I made a mistake.

I made a shopping list of the gear he would need to compete in ICC.

Assuming nothing drops that I could use in place of some of this stuff I am looking at needing 225 more emblems to finish getting ready.

At an average of 6 emblems per random I would be looking at 43 more randoms.

Thats almost 11 hours just sitting in the queue waiting. (avg 15 min per run as Dps)

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Usually when I sit down to figure out how to make my characters better I enjoy the math.

This time not so much.

I should not have looked.

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It looked great until I actually read it.

Good morning,

Today we will be discussing what I consider to be the most important piece of news that has come out about changes to the World of Warcraft, far more reaching than any OMG THE ALPHA TESTING STARTED post.

Alpha data will change so much between now and launch I am hardly paying attention. I am talking about the upcoming changes to Battle Net.

Sometime soon we shall have the ability to link together with people across platforms, games, and even through social networking sites such as Facebook.

Instead of trying to paraphrase bits and pieces of what Blizzard has put out on this, risking taking things out of context, I will simply mirror their post here in its entirety. I will add my own thoughts in as we go. Blizzard’s text in blue, my comments in black.

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Battle.net’s Real ID system is a new, optional layer of identity beyond the standard in-game character level of identity that keeps players connected to each other across multiple Blizzard Entertainment games. When players mutually agree to become Real ID friends, they’ll have access to a wealth of additional features designed to enhance their social gaming experience. For information on these upcoming features, check out our Real ID page and read the FAQ below.

Real ID Friends

How will I become Real ID friends with another player?

Both players must first mutually agree to become Real ID friends. To send a Real ID friend request to another player, simply enter his or her Battle.net account name (an email address) using the Add Friend function in-game. The other player will see the pending request in their friends list, and if they accept, you will become Real ID friends with each other.

Well, that’s a good start. There is a grey area in its implementation though. Does this mean that I actually have to provide this friend with my account name? Is there a function to highlight a character and “Add as Real ID friend?”

So far it sounds promising, but there may be issues for me with how it’s implemented. Personally I won’t be giving anyone my login info (minus password of course) any time soon. More on this later.

Who should I add to my Real ID friends list?

Real ID is a system designed to be used with people you know and trust in real life — friends, co-workers and family — though it’s ultimately up to you to determine who you wish to interact with in this fashion. When you become Real ID friends with another player, you will be sharing your real name and opening up new communication options with that player. In addition, players who are Real ID friends with that player will be able to see your name in a “friends of friends” list, which allows people to be able to quickly send Real ID friend requests to others they may know.

What, wait, real name? Not just to someone I friended but to everyone they friended?

Now this person (whom you had better trust mightily) has not only my login information but my real name as well? Worse yet, not my real name is known to everyone who is friended to anyone I am friended to?

Lets just say that while the jury is still out on this one they looked mighty cranky when they headed off to the back room to start debating.

What is the “friends of friends” feature of Real ID?

Similar to other social-networking platforms, when you click on one of your Real ID friends, you will be able to see the names of his or her other Real ID friends, even if you are not Real ID friends with those players yourself. If you happen to know someone on that list, you will be able to quickly send a Real ID friend request to that player. This feature is designed to make it easy to populate your Real ID friends list with people you might enjoy playing with.

Ok, at least the jury can see the logic now.

Then again, lots of things sound logical, and yet are simply a bad idea.

Ask anyone that fixes things for a living about things that had such promise. Perfectly logical designs that make us want to beat the designer about the head and shoulders with a sack of anvils because they don’t reflect reality.

We even have a term for it. “It looked good on paper.”

How can I remove a Real ID friend from my list?

Simply right-click their Real ID name and select Remove Friend. That player will no longer be on your Real ID friends list, and you will no longer be on theirs. To stop using Real ID, simply remove all of your Real ID friends from your friends list, and do not accept any more Real ID friend requests.

Ok, I don’t want you on my list anymore so I unfriend you. Seems like it makes sense.

Oh, wait, unless I also unfriend all our mutual friends you still have access to all the same info on me anyway.

Once again, I think this looks better on paper than the reality will look.

Will Battle.net inform me if I enter an invalid Battle.net account name when I send a Real ID friend request?

A player who sends a Real ID friend request will only be notified if the other player accepts the request. To protect the privacy and security of all of our players, the requesting player will not be notified if the email address entered is an invalid Battle.net account name or if the other player declines the request.

Ok, now this makes sense.

I was all wound up to go on a tirade about less than savory characters being able to spam the friends request until they hit on a valid login and then using that info to go password phishing. Apparently Blizzard thought of that as well.

Excellent, glad to see it, even if it caused one of my rants to fizzle.

What information about me will other players see when I use Real ID?

If you are using Real ID, your mutual Real ID friends, as well as their Real ID friends, will be able to see your first and last name (the name registered to the Battle.net account). You will also be able to see the first and last name of your Real ID friends and their Real ID friends. Your Battle.net account name (your email address) is not displayed to other players through the Real ID friends list. In addition, players with Real ID relationships will be able to view each other’s online status, Rich Presence information, and Broadcast messages, and will be able to see which character and game their Real ID friends are playing across supported Blizzard games.

Ok, the jury just called in the bailiff and ordered pizza and hot wings, looks like they are in this for the long haul.

While the door was open you could hear someone in the background screaming “They get your first and last name, even if you don’t know them! Plus anyone you have friended now has your login ID! Madness I say! MADNESS!”

Then the door shut on their deliberations.

I was going to try to come up with a crack about this looking good on paper, but I failed.

Oh, wait, it would look good on toilet paper.

Am I able to set my status to show my Real ID friends whether I am online or away?

You are always able to set your status to show whether you are online, away, or busy. Any Real ID or character-level friend on your friends list will see your online status. Beyond simple online status information, Real ID friends will see detailed Rich Presence information (what character the Real ID friend is playing, what they are doing within that game, etc.) and will be able to view and send Broadcast messages to other Real ID friends.

One setting is noticeably absent. You can set to Online, Away, or Busy. I don’t see any function to appear offline, a stealth mode so to speak. I’ll address this more later.

How does Blizzard safeguard my information?

We respect the privacy of our players and recognize the importance of providing a secure environment for them. You can find out how Blizzard safeguards user information by reading our Online Privacy Policy.

Except for that whole “You have to give out your login info if you want to have any Real ID friends, and while you are at it we will tell anyone with a passing interest your full real world name. Because we at Blizzard respect your privacy.”

What can I do if another player is contacting me through the service and behaving inappropriately?

If you feel that another player is behaving inappropriately when contacting you through the service, please contact a Game Master in-game or visit the in-game support contact page, and a support representative will be able to assist you. There is also an option to permanently block individuals from communicating with you in Battle.net and within the games themselves.

Now, this has a few interesting possibilities. First and foremost it appears that you will be able to block communication from an entire Battle Net account. Once again how it is implemented is key, but this could be a welcome change.

I have had friends that were getting harassed in-game by other players. Sick little monkeys who would simply roll a level one alt and start whispering them again as soon as the first ignore went though. The ability to ignore by account would be excellent, I just hope I don’t have to have their registered email address to do it. 

Will parents be able to manage whether their children are able to use Real ID?

We plan to update our Parental Controls with tools that will allow parents to manage their children’s use of Real ID. We’ll have more details to share in the future.

I can’t really comment on information that has yet to be released, but I do see a glaring problem with this that I will address in a later section.

World of Warcraft Friends & StarCraft II Friends

What’s a World of Warcraft friend or StarCraft II friend?

A World of Warcraft friend is any player you add to your friends list by World of Warcraft character name; this works just like adding friends works in World of Warcraft now. You will be able to add StarCraft II character names to your StarCraft II friends list in a similar fashion. If you add a character name to your friends list and are not Real ID friends with the player, you will not see the player’s real name in the game, nor will they see yours. Character-level friends such as these are specific to each game (i.e. World of Warcraft character friends cannot see each other in StarCraft II or communicate cross-game) and can see online and offline status information only, not Rich Presence details or Broadcast messages. Other characters that a World of Warcraft friend creates will not automatically be added to your friends list.

Ok, there will be two levels of friend. This makes perfect sense when taken with the rest of the system, well played.

What information about me will other players see in-game if I do not use Real ID?

If you are not using Real ID, only the in-game character name and online/offline status of the character you are playing will be visible to other players, and only within that game.

Excellent, unless I choose to actively participate nothing changes from the way it is now.

Can I use features such as cross-game chat, Rich Presence, or Broadcasts if I do not use Real ID?

Features such as cross-game chat, World of Warcraft cross-realm and cross-faction chat, Broadcast messages, and Rich Presence are only available if you use Real ID. For more information, visit the Real ID features page.

It makes perfect sense that in order to use the features of the Real ID system you must actually use the system. I suppose that someone would have asked had they not mentioned it though.

Can my Real ID friends see all of my World of Warcraft characters?

Real ID friends will be able to see all of each other’s characters across games; there will not be an option to hide specific characters from Real ID friends or to appear offline to them when you’re logged in. If you wish to communicate with someone through only a character, you can opt to use the traditional “in-game friend” system and add that player as a World of Warcraft friend.

Although I would like the “appear offline” feature for those days I just want to be antisocial I can understand not putting one in. I don’t like that it’s not there, but I understand it.

The one thing I do not understand, that does not even look good on paper not even toilet paper is the inability to mask certain characters from view.

According to the EULA that I click on every time we download a new sneezing animation for some NPC somewhere I am allowed to let my child under the age of 18 to play on my account. Whether I choose to or not, it’s in the EULA that I can do so.

This is not about the fact that I have alts on different servers, and in fact in different guilds, that friends of mine don’t know about. Alts I go hang out on when I simply want to be left alone. Being able to hide some of them would be nice, but is not a deal breaker.

This is not about the fact that I don’t really want every friend of a friend to know the name of my auctioneer. Particularly when I might have a thousand auctions at a time posted and be in direct competition with some of them. While being able to keep the name of my auctioneer from the friends of my friends would be nice, I can live without it.

This is about the inability (even through parental controls apparently) to mask my childs characters on my account so that they are not bothered when they are trying to just run around and goof off in game. The inability to safeguard my kids online is simply unacceptable.

All it would take is a “friend of a friend” to get one of their first names through a bit of social engineering and all of a sudden they have my childs full name. That is beyond unacceptable, it’s dangerous.

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I have been asking for cross real communications for a long time. I think it will be a great thing once all the bugs are worked out. I am greatly looking forward to it.

Up until now the jury has been out. Well, they just got back and returned a verdict.

While I would love the features they talk about, the system as described is simply too open and unsecure for me to feel comfortable.

Until they fix it, I won’t be participating. Unfortunate, but true.

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Now my daddy always used to tell me never to talk bad about something unless you plan to offer a way to fix it.

I see three things that I believe would be fairly easy to implement. Minor changes that would make for a much better end product in my opinion.

  1. Allow me to block Real ID on individual characters within an account, making them unavailable for the Real ID features. This would allow me to be more able to safeguard my kids while still enjoying the benefits of Real ID myself on my own characters.
  2. Give the option to show either first and last name or simply first name. Even if someone I have directly friended gets my full name at least let me keep my last name private from the “friend of a friend” tier of people.
  3. Allow people to send the friends request by selecting one of that players characters in game, that way the email address linked to players Battle Net accounts is not required to be compromised.

So how about it Blizz?

How about you add a side order of security to go with that plate full of awesome?

I would love to have some, but unless it’s made right I’ll simply have to pass.

Annoying, but fun.

Lately it seems I have been spending more and more time leveling my Druids. It’s been a great amount of fun. It has all the enjoyment and chaos of a level 80 pug, but without the gearscore kids and prima donna asshats of the heroic grind.

As I posted the other day, my Alliance side Druid is sitting comfortably at level 42, having leveled him almost exclusively through the LFD from level 15 on up. My Horde side Druid is sitting at level 13, and I just can’t seem to get over the hump to 15 where I can quit questing and start doing what I actually like.

As I said, I am having a good old time leveling my way up through instances.

There are, however, a few things I have found that are a touch annoying.

Muradon: Purple Crystals would be one of those things.

It is not a particularly hard instance. Lots of mobs that use poison, but Druids R 4 poison removal.

There are a few places where positioning can be an issue, causing chain pulls if the group moves wrong. Then again, that’s all part of learning to position yourself.

The single hardest boss in the place?

The door boss.

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I have seen more groups fall apart after a single wipe trying to run that place than anywhere else, simply because they all corpserun in circles trying to find the door to get back in.

Honestly, I still have not found it. I will zone in to the Orange Crystals side, then zone back out and use the LFG to put me back in Purple side.

The other part that’s annoying?

I have run that single same instance over and over from level 36 or so all the way to a bubble shy of 43.

7 freaking levels in the same instance, it’s annoyingly old after a while.

Annoying, but fun.

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