Misfortune cookie

Last night as I was eating my take out something happened, something odd.


I had a thought. For some reason this does not happen all that often while munching on fried rice and watching old reruns of Gilligan’s Island with the kids. Fortune cookies always say the nicest things. Life is not always nice. My MSG loaded brain made the connection…. what we need are misfortune cookies.  

I don’t mean in real life, although having a chance to get a fortune that said “your day will suck” or “I sense bad gas in your future” or some other such funniness as opposed to always being nice would be downright entertaining. I mean in warcraft. 



We already have savory deviate delights, let us have misfortune cookies. Give them a few dozen random messages and make like 25% of them bad ones. “I see many wipes in your future”, “Say hello the the spirit healer for me”, “All today’s drops would be perfect for your other character” things like that. Make it fun.



While we are at it, Give me a magic eight ball that on use gives a random party buff depending on the message that comes up. 30 minute buffs, 1 hour cooldown. If it says something bad, it debuffs the entire party. The catch is it’s only usable in combat.


How about some Red Tauren energy drinks that give Stamina and Haste?


I just want the chance to be silly from time to time. Come on Blizz lets have some fun.

The ant and the grasshopper

Here we are, the Burning Crusade is winding down and the long dark winter of the Wrath of the Litch King is approaching. it makes me think of the story of the grasshopper and  the ant.


The ant works hard in the withering heat all summer
long, building his house and laying up supplies for
the winter. The grasshopper thinks he’s a fool and
laughs and dances and plays the summer away. Come
winter, the ant is warm and well fed. The grasshopper 
has no food or shelter so he dies out in the cold


Like the ants in the story some folks are starting to stockpile money and materials like the Wrath of the Litch King is the long cold winter they need to prepare for. They grind materials, they do dailies stockpiling gold, they have bank alts full of stack upon stack of crafting materials for the next phase of the game. in short they are prepared.


Then like the grasshopper there are those more worried about having fun now. Stockpiling things by accident at best. spending more time on doing whatever seems fun at the time than worrying about what will happen when the long dark night of leveling in a new area comes to pass. They simply trust that whatever they need will be found along the way.



I can’t speak for you but I am a grasshopper. I will keep goofing around and having fun for now, leveling my alts and going wherever the winds carry me. When the time comes I will travel light and live off the land. Only time will tell which way was the wisest choice.


Epic flyer for half price in WotLK

What do you mean half price! Blizzard has said more than once the price won’t go down!

Well the answer to that is that it won’t go down, and yet it will. Confused yet? Good, that was the whole point.  I told you you could get it for half price….. I just didn’t say when. Do I sound like a double talking politician yet?  Some guy on latenight TV selling a pyramid scheme? An infomercial telling you how it slices and dices for only $19.95?


Whether you have seen it your self or just heard us old codgers whining about it you know how a dollar just doesn’t go as far as it used to. A hamburger cost a quarter in the 1950’s and it costs a buck and a half today.  A car you could once buy for a few thousand dollars now costs more than a *&^%* HOUSE did 30 years ago. 

What is this evil trend called? Inflation of course. Inflation is bad, it makes our money stretch further each day trying to cover the ever increasing costs of things with the same salary. But that is the real world, not the world of warcraft.

In warcraft Inflation works in reverse. You saw it as you leveled when the mobs dropped more and more money, when the quests started to give silver instead of copper, then gold instead of silver. Remember when you really wished you had a few gold to buy some bags for your shiny new character? when having 500G for your epic riding skill was tons of cash?  In WotLK we will be saying the same about 5000G for our epic flier.

Think for a moment, they want us exploring the new content. They don’t want us at level 80 going back and blitzing our way through the level 70 dailies like they aren’t even there. How are they going to do that? The rewards will have to justify staying in Northrend when we could have an easier time of it back in “old outlands” The rewards will have to be higher.

Think for a moment about how much easier it is to go through a level 60 now. It takes about half the time it would have at 60 to do the same quests there, maybe less. The only way to get players to spend twice the time on their dailies  is to double the reward. If a quest gives 10G now, they will need to give 20G or better to keep us in northrend.

The way I see it with the price staying the same and our earning potential going up its like inflation in reverse. The thing I am really spending is my time, the gold just represents how much of it I have invested. I see one of two things happening.

If the new dailies pay the same as the old I go to outlands and do them in half the time, getting my epic flier for half the time investment it would have cost at level 70.

If the new dailies pay enough to keep me doing them I make more money in the same amount of time I spend on dailies now, still getting it for half the time investment.

You thought I was talking about gold? Nope, Blizzard has said they won’t lower the price. The fact is they don’t have to. I am going to get it for half the time investment, and for that I tip my hat to inflation.


Engineering changes I would like to see in WotLK

As I was sitting thinking about the expansion today I began bouncing around a few ideas for changes that I would like to see to engineering. Things I figure will make it more fun and more useful at the same time. I am sure none will actually happen because I am suggesting them, my luck just kinda goes that way. They really would be nice to see though. Here are the ten I think are the most realistic to implement without unbalancing the game in any way I could see.


1. An engineering bandage machine. 10 charges applies a bandage to the target, has a separate “bandaged” timer than normal bandages. ( would be right up there with lightwell in effectiveness, but at least it wouldn’t cost me a talent point)

2. Goblin army knife, a multi tool that combines the effects of all the other tools an enginner uses but only occupies one bag slot.

3. An engineering scope with +hit, if not a new one make the old one available as a rep reward craft-able with modern mats.

4. An engineering craftable gun that actually has stats for folks who rely on their guns the most, say hunters for instance.

5. A repair bot that also functions as a portable mailbox, it would be so nice to pick up more bullets/potions/food/whatever without having to inconvenience the rest of my group by hearthing and catching a re summons.

6. An engineering craft-able land mount, available in both standard (level 40) speed and epic (level 60) speed. They would require the appropriate riding skill of course.  I am thinking of something that looks like a segway.

7. A normal walking speed craftable engineering mount available at engineering level 80. bop so it would require level 10 at least. would give absolutely no advantage at all within the game, would just look kinda neat.

8. An inscription for the engineering transponders that would enable them to function for all party members, kinda like a mage portal but limited by having only the two transport points. Would also require a reagent for each use.

9. Goblin anti tank mine, roots a tank or other siege weapon in place for 30 seconds, can only be triggered by siege weapons and tanks. charges 1, 45 second cooldown. crowd control for the new world pvp.

10. An inscription to make goblin jumper cables xl  work 100% of the time to revive the target, however there will still be a 50% chance that a malfunction will occur killing the engineer using them. This one alone would make having a hunter or rogue engineer valuable for raiding as a last ditch “living soulstone”.

These are just a few random ramblings I thought of this morning. They might be interesting, or more likely are just proof I should never blog before coffee.


A new beginning

I have been leveling a Troll hunter lately in order to play with friends that are on a different server than my main. Up until recently I would grab a boar at level 10 and never look back all the way to 70. However with the recent nerfs to a boars aggro generation I started experimenting with other pets. In the process I discovered how much I like leveling with a cat.

I decided to go poking around on Petopia and found a cat I really liked the design of. It just so happens the highest level it can be tamed at is level 20, and that was in Darkshore. So after a visit to the local vendor to make sure I had a few sacks of meat Dekado, my young Troll hunter heads off on the long walk to Darkshore alone but for Vira.


Vira was a good companion and true. A young black boar that once roamed the coast west of Orgrimmar, she had now been with me for ten seasons. She was in fact the first companion I had tamed after learning how. After a long run helping me fight my way through to my new companion it was time for me to let her go. I gave her a snack to send her on her way with a full belly, then waved a reluctant good bye.

Creeping through the brush I laid a trap and started using the talents I had been taught by my trainer, speaking in a calming voice I slowly convinced the great charcoal cat that I meant no harm, that friendship would make us both far stronger than either one could ever be alone. There was a flash in her eyes as her decision was made…we were now joined as one.

Working together like a finely crafted machine we carved our way back to friendly territory. Tired and sore we made camp our in the crossroads for the night. Tomorrow we will head south to Camp Tajuro and whatever it has in store. Tonight though we rest by the fire in the great room of the inn. As the great cat naps by my side I scratch idly behind her ears, and ponder what she should be called.


My new companion


So here is where you come in. If you can think of any suggestions for Dekado please put them here, I’ll be sure to pass them on.

What are epics worth?

I was planning to write something witty this morning but alas my brain is mush. Last night I popped online to chat with a few friends before I went to bed and got snatched up by the epic bug.

I was on my priest in Shat when the whisper came. “Looking to fill one last healing slot for a fresh Kara clear, are you interested?” With a glance at the clock I knew I should not go. It was already about 9:30 and I had to be up for work at 3 am, but the epics were calling.

For those who don’t know me my priest is relatively well geared considering he hit 70 about 2 months ago. Tier 4 and badge epics mostly with a little bit of crafted gear thrown in. The only things I had never been able to replace were the gloves and trinket I had been using since my first Blood furnace run. Yep, I was healing SSC with a pair of level 60 blues.

Well, I reasoned, I have 22 badges sitting in the bank. A full clear would give me enough to upgrade the trinket at least, and there is always hope for one of the two pair of healing gloves to drop as well. Thus I finished convincing myself and agreed.

The group I ran with was reasonably well coordinated, competent, and smashed through most of Kara with few wipes. It was a good run. Not only did I have an absolute blast and get my badges I picked up the token for my tier 4 gloves as well. I hearthed back to Shat, logged, and headed to bed. As I climbed in to go to sleep I remember looking at the clock, 1:26 am.

At 3am I was back up and getting ready to start my day. I was pondering a bit about people calling Badge rewards “welfare epics” for the casuals. The more I rolled that around in my head the more I thought that there is nothing “free” about the epics I have gathered. Epics in the game, like everything else in life have a price. It’s all about how much you are willing to pay.

Bring some class to your car…literaly

For those who may not have known about it (like me until TJ pointed it out this morning) there is a wonderful site full of (war)crafty goodness. These stickers are sweet, I plan on ordering in a few myself. They can guard my laptop when I am not around and keep the curious away from my car.

If you haven’t been there yet check it out, you just might find something nice to get for fathers day *hint applied with sledgehammer for my kids*

Warcraft, security, and reality

In the time it takes you to read this everything you have worked for in Warcraft could be gone. It has happened to lots of folks. Some of them had (relatively) good experiences with it like Lassirra illistrates in her blog Here. Others have been much less fortunate as posted about by Big Bear Butt Here. Others know lots more about this topic than I do, one site in particular that comes to mind is confessions of a serial ganker.I have found his work to be well written and informative.

I am A maintenance man. I work as an electrician, mechanic, and machinery repair man. I have had years of training and experience in systems analysis and analytical troubleshooting. That being said, when I look at something that is not working well I tend to think of ways to make it work better. On the other hand I tend to err on the side of over-engineering at times.

Like an almost headache that you feel in the back of your head, this one has been bugging me for a while. I sat down with a good friend of mine we will call “Wayne”, mostly because that’s his name. The idea was to look at suggestions that would help Blizzard make our Warcraft accounts more secure. Wayne got drafted for this for three reasons. Firstly he plays warcraft so he knows the system I am talking about, secondly he has worked in IT at a security company, and thirdly he is a friend of mine so I can bribe him into helping me keep this realistic. I’m thinking pizza, possibly even with breadsticks.

If you are not familiar with the story my brother’s account getting hacked i’ll give the short version. He was logged in to his second account and watched his first account log in and start ransacking his main. He immediately tried to log into his primary account to change the password while others online put in tickets explaining what was going on to GM’s.

when trying to change his password he found it had been changed by the “bad guy” and was unable to revert the change without the new password. He was completely stripped, everything sold, and as we later found his characters deleted. While this was going on he was attempting to get with someone on the phone to stop this.

It took a bit over three weeks to get his account restored, however he did get his character and most of his stuff back. The communication he received was hard to come by and in many cases downright confrontational, despite the fact that he was the victim in this case Blizzard seemed to imply that he had stripped the account himself and now wanted all his stuff back after mailing the money off. That may not have been their intention, but the poor communication seemed to imply it.

The story overall had a happy ending, but was very frustrating while it was going on. Now I am going to break this down into several different things that went wrong, and see what could be reasonably done to keep it from happening again. These are both my thoughts on the topic and ideas I have had suggested to me by other users. I will then bounce this off of Wayne and post his response as well.

1. The account was compromised by a key logger. We later discovered the key logger had picked up his full log in information while he accessed the forums to post from a friends house.

   a. make separate log ins for forum use and admin/character log in (the friend had the account name saved and only typed the password, he was never completely compromised)

   b. have the forums/admin log in screens have the option to remember account name like the character log in does.

2. his password was changed by the “bad guy” to keep the rightful owner out.

   a. have password changes require a email link-back to make them final.

   b. make certain the log in name and customers email address are different.

3. There was no way to stop what was happening, even with putting in a ticket to GM the response was just too long in coming.

   a. put a “panic button” of some sort into the game for cases such as this. If we can have an instant report button for gold spam, we can have  a button on the ticket screen for this too.

   b. give GM’s authority to put a hold on the account upon suspicion or report of this happening, instead of waiting for a TOS violation. Besides last time I checked logging into someone elses account WAS a TOS violation.

4. his characters were deleted as well along with unlearning all his skills.

   a. require an email link-backfor character deletion above say level 10 as well. If It takes a link-back to transfer a toon it should take one to delete it.

5. Telephone response was not available.

   a. Blizzard runs a game that operates round the clock all year long, customer service should reflect that. they are staffed 40 hours per week, however taking maintenance into account the game is running approximately 160 hours per week. This is only 25% customer service coverage and that is unacceptable. Hell, my bank is open more hours and more days.

6. The form letter emails were difficult to come by, and worded in a way that appeared to accuse the victim of wrongdoing.

   a. If form letters are the way to go please have more than one or two letters. Perhaps one for accused EULA violators and another for folks who have been victimised.

7. The account was turned back on fairly quickly, however the character was returned naked, broke, and skill-less.

   a. Even a set of level appropriate greens, or return quest rewards from some level appropriate quests would have helped him get some use out of his account while waiting for resolution.

note: when the resolution went through several weeks later he did get his skills and most of his gear back.

I sent the first half of the post over to Wayne at this point and received this reply in return.

Since I was formally part of the IT end of things, as a simple user I still tend to see both sides of the coin and play devil’s advocate with all issues.  First, I do understand Blizzards reason for not returning items.  On their end, there is no way of telling the difference between someone looting their own character, or someone being hacked.  It looks the same as far as a computer or database is concerned.  However, what would be nice is if they kept some sort of log of all transactions over 100, 500, or maybe 1000 gold.  That way they can see which character got the money sent to them, and then see who owns that account to catch either the bad guys or their accomplices.  They must have some sort of log of the character post deletion though if they were able to rebuild him.  So you would think that they could have restored the skills and rep too.  Why keep a record of one thing but not the other? Programmers…


I know it’s terribly annoying, but frequently changing passwords and/or having different passwords for all your different accounts is necessary in today’s world.  Most people don’t want to be bothered with it though, and hackers depend on this to get you. Key loggers are a real bitch too.  The logistics of an in game panic button to instantly/temporarily freeze an account could be just as devastating in a different way.  Now you have hackers randomly going into peoples’ accounts and freezing them just to be a prick while the real person is actually playing.  Can you imagine being in the middle of a huge raid and about to defeat the boss when suddenly you get booted and your account locked.  By the time you clear everything up, your team is all dead and you have to start over.


As for form letter responses, those are more and more common throughout tech support in all fields these days.  Operators are needlessly tied up answering the same silly questions over and over and this is a way to answer some of the simpler ones.  Operators are free to handle more complicated issues, and you save money by not needing as many operators because you have handled half your load through automation.  Most of the time the email isn’t even sent or seen by a real person, but by a computer without human intervention.  The computer scans the service request for key words and then sends the form letter that best matches what those words are usually about.  I’ve gotten standard responses at times that had absolutely nothing to do with my problem, but it picked up on the wrong keyword.  A real person doesn’t get involved till much later typically.  I would love to see 24/7 live support, that would be awesome!  Heck, I would like to see my in game tickets answered within 5 hours.  I consider blizzard moderators like the government.  The government wants you to believe that they are capable of so much stuff so that you don’t do anything wrong out of fear of being caught.  Blizzard is the same way, “don’t do that, the moderators are watching”.  Sometimes I think they are just as real as the vendor I get my items repaired at.  Don’t believe me, like a moderator scanning the system couldn’t tell that a level 1 character in orgrimar with the name of asdfghjklis isn’t up to no good…  


Email verification of all these items sounds simple, but that’s going to be a load on the servers, and slow down when people are actually really trying to do something.  Humans, more specifically Americans are inpatient, they aren’t going to want to wait and have to confirm in an email every time they want to do something.  They want it quick and easy.  Security is only considered “after” you have had a problem.


As with everything in life, it’s all about finding the delicate compromise and balance between security and ease of use.  Plus, there is a triangle in business between price, speed, and reliability.  As the sang goes, you can have any two but not all three.  We can have WoW be fast and stable but it will cost a bloody fortune, or we can have it be fast and cheep but crash all the time. 


After looking at it from the position of someone who actually has some experience on the other side of the tech support and IT security issue I have narrowed down my wish list just a little bit.

1. I still think having separate log ins for the admin and the game/forum sides of things would increase security quite a bit. It would also improve the parental controls aspect of the game as the parent could have the administrative password and the child could be only given the character log in password.

2. I do now realise that an email link back would not be a good idea for everything, however I would still like it to be in place, if only for password changes.

3. I still believe that telephone tech support should be staffed to some degree 24/7. At very least a small staff that could handle the issues where time truly is of the essence.


To sum it all up I think these few things would go a long way towards providing better security in a way that is at least somewhat realistic. In the end however any security tools that Blizzard can provide will only ever be as secure as the person using them. Do your homework, read up on how to keep the bad guys away, come up with a security plan and stick with it. If its worth spending an hour poking around the net to figure out which armor kit would work better on your legs, it’s worth an hour to help those legs still be there when you come back online.

At least that is my two cents on the matter. (void where prohibited, some assembly required, your milage may vary)


Will heal for food

When is enough enough? Seems like a simple question right? Well not always. How do you know when there is no hope left?

Rewind a few months into the past, my guild was clearing Kara every week. We were excited and getting ready to move back into 25 man content. Grull was in our sights and we were excited. Morale was high guild chat was buzzing and friendly.

The High King died with a quickness that surprised us all, we moved along to Gruul spanked him hard and went through his pockets for shiny purple loots. Happy and cheerful, we planned to come back after the reset and give him another shot. We even tentatively looked at trying out Mag next week if we had a day left after having another go at Gruul’s lair.

The next week we were able to pound out Gruul’s lair in time to have one night left to try Mag’s. A great try ensued where we learned a lot about the encounter, most had never seen it before. We left for the night with Mag still standing, that would be the last time we failed and left him alive though.

After a few weeks of downing Kara, Gruul’s, and Mag’s lair we were really clicking as a team. We were getting pretty well geared and were now one shotting most encounters we went through. We set our sights on SSC.

Lurker went down on the second night of the first week of SSC, we still got a few wipes but everyone was upbeat and looking to the future. We started talking about trying Hydross or Tidewalker next week assuming we could down lurker on the first night.

So started our stay in SSC. We were able to clear lurker every week, pretty soon getting it down to a one or two shot. We looked towards Hydross next, but despite our best efforts he was still kicking at the end of the week. Deciding on a different tack for the following week we once again spanked Lurker, and then moved on to try Tidewalker. At the end of the week Tidewalker was still standing and we had nothing to show for our work but repair bills. Such is the life of a raider doing progression raiding.

A funny thing happened over the next few weeks though, after the first night of clearing lurker we started having trouble filling out the group for the progression attempts. Guild chat was getting a bit less chatty, people were getting a bit more touchy. I worried about the future, but kept plowing on.

Looking for heals for kara? Can do. I still need a few odds and ends out of there myself, and you can never have enough of those wonderful badges. Heroic something or other? Yeppers, I can heal that. No I don’t need any of the drops I just want to run something. And guild chat got a bit quieter still.

The next few weeks we scheduled raids, but were unable to build groups when the time came. Those who came on time and ready improvised. We put together on the fly Kara and ZA runs with what we had. We farmed heroics for badges and shiny purple loots. All the while guild chat got quieter, our once active forums started to feel like a ghost town. I thought “it’s just a cycle, summer is coming” and kept plowing on.

Over the next week or two it got quieter and more tense. It seems odd to say you can sense the mood in a room that doesn’t really exist, but it seemed like ther was the proverbial “elephant in the room” that no one would mention. Two of our officers left that week, one quit the game totally the other simply moving on. We put together what I started privately calling “guild pugs” for Kara and the odd ZA, mostly using the forums to coordinate. It became more and more likely that if you tried to split Kara into two runs you would never finish for the week.

Guild chat became even less chatty. Vent was left unused unless people wewe instanceing. A few more people followed the officers example and left. The forums started to pick up again though, but the topics were mostly about how to stop the bleeding and get back to raiding. We talked of regrouping and recruiting replacements. It was a very different place than it had been not so long ago. Though I was all but certain the end was in sight I soldiered on, knowing that we had lost to many already.

Now we are finaly catching up to the present, just a week ago there was still hope. We took a week off of raiding while the guild leader took a weeks vacation. Everyone had a chance to rest, farm up much needed supplies, work on alts, or just take a break. That was the week all hell broke loose.

People were actually talking in guild chat, on the forums, even on vent again. It seemed like things were turning around. Maybe I was right to stick around after all. The forum topics turned darker, fingers were pointed, people were offended by nothing in particular. I guild chat it was much the same, people started out the evening joking around and trying to have fun. By the end of the night we had lost several more players and only had one officer left. Yet out of some sense of loyalty I stayed.

The next day I came online only to find a slightly smaller guild, there were fare the well posts from several folks I liked and respected in the forums. Vent was gone, either disconnected or the password changed. It really made no difference either way. We talked amongst ourselves and someone was able to get a self hosted vent running. We were back in business. We waited for the return of the guild leader to find out where we were going from here.

Yesterday morning we awoke to find the guild website had been shut down. The last remaining officer had transferred with her husband to a different server, leaving an alt in guild to continue running things. By this time the place I had been full of cheerful, helpful people was but a distant memory. It had turned into something odd, like a train wreck you can’t stop looking at. I knew it was over, but I still had friends there. Still I stayed.

Yesterday afternoon I finally made the decision to move. I left the guild I had so enjoyed being a part of, moving to a guild a couple of married friends had just to use as a family bank. They retreated there as well. We will likely have a few more joining us, but will never try to build it into a raiding guild. For the time being at least I will have lots more time to work on my alts.

Even though I have a tag above my head it still feel like I am homeless. It seems odd, but I feel I should be sitting outside the door to Kara holding a tin cup and a sign that says “Will Heal for Food”


Revenge can be a funny thing

So there I was, farming. God how I hate farming. Grinding 497 motes of boredom to finish crafting my primal mooncloth set makes my eyes bleed. I killed so many bog lords I started to get blamed for global warming.

A rogue (we will call him “noob”) comes along and I think “well I was here first, but I can share the area, it’s only two of us”. So I start off, dot, dot, grey! dammit he tagged it before my first dot ticked. The second time in a row this happened I politely whispered him and asked him not to “kill steal”. Thats when he decided to wait till I was in combat and train 5 mobs onto me, then vanish. Much pointing, laughing, and spitting on my body ensued after this. I decided not to play with kids and went to farm something else, but I remembered……

Fast forward about a month, 68 has given way to 70. Shadow has given way to holy. The farming is done, whew. One Saturday morning I had a few hours to kill, none of my friends were online and I just wasn’t in a daily kind of mood. Here comes a whisper…..70 prot warrior has a full group neads heals would I be interested in shattered halls? It’s mostly a guild run, only pugged one dps and me if I go. I think for a moment….sure why not. I join group and guess who the other pug is, yep it’s Noob! I whisper the Warrior with the short version of the story, he offers to boot Noob for being an asshat. I suggest a different approach, He gives me their vent info so I can tell the others.

We pull, We clear, We are having a blast, But Noob keeps dying for some reason. He can’t seem to control his aggro (the hunter misdirecting onto him during trash pulls had nothing to do with it, honest) and he always seemed to run out of health when the boss was at about 2%, damn healers. Hell at one point Noob had to hearth and repair, only to be summoned back. I was in the other guilds vent the whole time, but Noob was not, apparently mom wouldn’t allow him to run it. We one shotted the whole place and the only one who ever dies was…. you guessed it, Noob.

That might show as a bit evil, and just started as “lets let him die a few times on trash pulls” and went to outright evil when the others started having fun. It eventually became “how many times can we lose this guy and not wipe?”. Apparently Noob liked to herb other peoples trees in skettis as well, and they had already had problems with him in the past. They just had not heard of other folks having issues with him till I brought it up.

Apparently I have a bit of an evil streak. Perhaps I should have just stayed shadow.