Yeah, I know, long time no post…

June 14, 2012

I’ve been busy recently, with casual work, and two evenings a week taken up attending bellydance classes again. I’ve missed them  a great deal, and am having a great time learning to move in ways I didn’t think was possible. So I’ve not been doing as much in game as I should. I’ve achieved about 1/2 of the Frostbitten achieve on Eir though. And am packing 2 Souldrinkers, so it’s been pretty good.

And I’ve now got a proper part time job lined up too, in an area which I suspect I am truly going to enjoy.

But enough of me. I want to show some link love for a blog of a good friend of mine. It’s not a WoW blog, but it IS a gaming blog. Card and board games to be precise. And how he’s introducing them to his little girl. It’s a beautiful blog, and I’d heartily recommend it to gaming parents of youngsters, and as a shining example of some exceptional parenting. If you know of anyone who’ll really enjoy it, please do feel free to spread the word!

Training a gamer






The Secret W…tf?!

May 14, 2012

I must admit, when I first heard about The Secret World, it ticked all my boxes.

Let me explain a little further. I was brought up on table-top rpg. I ran Cthulhu for a bit – I even volunteered my services as a gamesmaster in the Student Nationals this year after a rather long sabbatical. Yeah, I know, I’m not technically a student, but I’m friends with members of the Uni role-playing teams our way, and they wanted some help. It was hard work and it was fun. A lot of fun.

For those of you unfamiliar with Cthulhu, it’s a game without levels. Instead you have skill points and percentages and they don’t increase that dramatically. It’s a nifty system, and it’s a fun system. And I like it.

Oh, and I’m ever so slightly into the occult in real life. Myths and legends, mythology, magic. I’ve once played in a game of Cthulhu where the gamesmaster handed us a list of books only to burst out laughing, as we actually had a couple of them in our library. No, not the Necronomicon….

So wheee! If ever there was a game I wanted to play, this was it.

I signed up to the newsletters, read around it, joined the Facebook page, and then …bam! They hit us with The Secret War. And that’s where I stopped, read what they expected and stuck my feet into the ground. So…you do well by recruiting a load of friends from Facebook and move things around on a map. The map bit wasn’t a problem.

Recruiting friends on Facebook was.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a lot of them. Plenty enough to do this. They’re also friends and I respect them. No bloody way am I going to spam them with requests. I hate that when people do it to me, or when they drag me into a group which goes against all my opinions without my permission. Yes, people have done that. I’ve extracted myself from groups talking about how dogs shouldn’t be allowed to be walked in public places, and the last one I left had something to do with mammary glands of a religious nature – best not to ask…

Suddenly I slumped from being excited about this game to thinking how cheap it was of them to force their potential customers into doing the marketing for them. I didn’t like that they were trying to bribe me with the “chance” of winning beta access by pimping my friends into what sounded like a cheap flash game, only suitable for the likes of Facebook.

Maybe if they decide to have free sample weekends I’ll try it. But until then, I’ve put my eagerness to investigate the occult in the virtual world on hold.

For now, I shall retreat to my library and be satisfied with the tomes therein. I’m certain I can stir up some nefarious occult dealings from there. Who needs pixels anyway?  Now…how does it go…?

Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn…..





Your signatures please! Another cat – and common sense – related plea.

March 8, 2012

For those of you who are reading this in the UK,  I’ve got a request to make.

You might remember last year I posted asking for help regarding a branch of the RSPCA. Well, I’m doing it again. This time I’m not asking for money, only a simple signature on an online petition if you are willing.  There’ve been a few cases of antifreeze poisonings in cats in the area near the branch. One of my friends is spending the morning distributing leaflets informing people and I want to help her spread the word, and hopefully raise awareness in general.

For those who don’t know, antifreeze in this country has a sweet taste. Because of this, it is attractive to animals and probably children too. It is also highly toxic. Cats and dogs poisoned by antifreeze have very little chance, if any, of recovery, and die a horrible death if they’re not put to sleep first. By the time symptoms show, it’s often too late.  This could be avoided if a bitterant was introduced to the product. It’s not expensive, it doesn’t affect the quality, and it would save a lot of broken hearts in the long run.

So, here’s a link. If you are happy to sign, please do so.

I promise to turn into feral cat and purr for all of you who do!


Can’t see the wood for the…DK?!

February 29, 2012

I hit a crisis point recently. Regarding healing.

For some reason I simply couldn’t face it any longer. I don’t know why or how the reluctance set in. Possibly it’s because it’s been pretty much all I’ve done in our guild in raids for a long time, possibly it’s because I finally became fed up of the meters telling me that while I was good, I wasn’t quite good enough for my own personal standards.  Even with the pesky meters out of the picture, I could still feel it. And while I love being a part of the team healz, I am constantly frustrated with the fact that I’m not quite reaching things as I should, and am not providing the best I can for Team Raidz.

In some respects, this is a silly way for me to think because I’ve consistently provided a dedicated healer for raiding.

Anyway, something happened. Alq’s resto charm slipped away, and Eir, the frosty dual- wielding little Draenei slowly worked her way into the fun space where Alq had been.  I realised it was time for a break from Resto, before it broke me. Luckily our guild is understanding and very supportive about things like this, and people stepped into the healing spot for me to try my hand at DK DPS on Monday.

Eir’s been on a few heroics, and some LFRs, and isn’t too badly kitted out now. She needed a replacement for her 346 offhand, which was swiftly remedied, and the tank belt which helped with ilevel has now been replaced with a 397, following some more LFR fun today. She went on a guild Spine and Madness outing on Monday too. I learned a lot from that and when I went into LFR today, I had far more confidence in what I was doing.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got a lot of work to do, getting timings right, working out how to squeeze every last juicy drop of DPS out of this girl. But in the short time I’ve been playing her, I feel that I might actually become a better DK than I ever have been a resto druid.

And that feels very strange indeed.  But good strange, if you know what I mean.




Things I’ve learned in LFR.

February 18, 2012

Don’t wait until everyone’s there before you pull. Don’t worry if you’re not the tank. You’re so epeentastic, it’ll all work out, even if he’s afk and has fallen asleep. Blame the healers when the dragons aren’t taunted down and the floor is being redecorated in lots of purple fire.

Internet disconnects. No, Internet really DOES disconnect. It’s perfectly reasonable to have many childish giggles about how Internet’s down too.

It’s also perfectly reasonable to have a protracted argument in raid chat about whether one of the mages has ninja-ed the shoulders he already has, even when he argues it’s for his offspec. It’s even more reasonable when the person arguing is one of the tanks and is highly obnoxious with it.

If in doubt, threaten someone with kicking. Always, always pin the blame on someone else, and whinge mightily about it loudly and publicly. If loot drops, whisper whoever wins it. Offer an exchange of loot. Offer useless loot for the class. If that doesn’t work, continue to be highly obnoxious. It won’t help, but it’ll make you feel better. And the person who won it, as they happily add you to their ignore list.

Don’t fall off the edge of the platform when fighting Deathwing. If someone falls off the platform when fighting Deathwing, don’t laugh at them.

It’s possible to get up mid-fight, remove cats from the room, lock the door firmly, return and continue dps-ing and still be in the top five.

Always remember that glyphs, enchanting and gems are optional – especially if you’re the tank. People who complain about this being otherwise are apparently “gay”.  80k is supposedly acceptable health for tanking, and yes, it will be argued.

Heroism should be used on the pull. Always. No matter what else happens afterwards. Heal at all times, even when nobody’s injured, to ensure you stay on top of the meters. Popping tranquility whenever it comes off cooldown is essential.

Tanks called Snugglepup are cool.

But, for me, most importantly it beats the hell out of grinding heroic after heroic. And going in with guildies is priceless.

Thanks to Theanorak and Coltoon for some of these reminders. Watch this space for more.

Six…six…six…the number of the beast…

February 16, 2012

Morrigu at Arsenic and Old Mooncloth tagged me.

This was my sixth image.

So, uh yeah. It’s the Grey Camel. I stumbled across my first ever camel figurine in Uldum a month or so ago, looted it, and was unbelieveably transported straight into a fight. Cue achievement, new mount and pretty uncommon title.

There was much squeeing.

I’m not a fan of tagging, instead I’ll leave it up to you as to whether you share your sixth image in your sixth subfolder (if you have one, this was the sixth in my only folder) of screenshots.


“We have girls. They’re hot”

February 9, 2012

I don’t normally read trade chat unless I have a reason. Tonight we were looking for a few extras for a chance BH run, when I came across a guild recruiting in trade chat with this gem.

“We have girls” followed a bit later by the classic “They’re hot.”

My initial reaction was a disgusted “What? You’re using that as a selling point?” Our guild is quite female-centric, we’ve got a great base of great female players and we think nothing of it.  And frankly, in every single MMO I’ve played (all three, whoop), there has been a decent proportion of excellent female players in the guilds/kins whatever.

The more I thought about it, the more I inwardly screamed. This, exactly this attitude and its continuation is why we women in gaming have such a hard time of it. The advertising of a guild with girls in it implies that we’re rare creatures in the WoW  world, that women in gaming don’t really exist, and OMG this is SUCH a selling point.

But if we think about it logically the male/female ratio is roughly 1:1. Why shouldn’t there be such a split in gaming? Are we hiding ourselves because of this attitude and others like it? Are we actually helping to perpetrate that myth ourselves?

It’s a tricky one. And one to which I don’t have an answer. But one thing I do know for certain. Guilds who advertise themselves as “having girls” are going to be guilds that get no love from this tree.

Penalise me all you want for being one half of a couple – but I think you’ll find that jerks come in all flavours.

February 1, 2012

No couples. Couples need not apply. Couples cause drama.

This is something I’ve seen all too often, and it makes me cringe EVERY time I read it. People being penalised for doing something they enjoy together.  And I’ll bet you anything that those guilds with no couples rules still have as much drama from single people and people who are close friends as they would couples.

How many times have you seen a guild exodus happen because of a couple? In my experience it’s just as likely to happen with a group of people who play closely, or who are real life friends. Not just people who share the same bed. Package deals come in all shapes and sizes.

Yes, I am somewhat biased. I’m half of a couple in the same guild. A guild that is couple friendly, and thanks to that little fact, we have some great players. Great couples. Couples with mature attitudes who don’t gripe about being benched for a raid if we’re oversubscribed with signups. Oh, and couples who work together to gear up, help each other out. Not to mention couples who, because they’re sat in the same room, can respond to each other very quickly.Or couples who can shout out to their partner to come fill in at the last minute when another raider has to drop.

I’m not saying that this is the case with every couple. Bottom line is that jerks come in all flavours, and people can be selfish, not realising that their needs aren’t the only ones.  There are couples out there who will have stronger/weaker player issues or will over defend each other over minute criticism.  But we don’t write off single players because of these issues, and I’ll bet there’ve been just as many problems with single players complaining about being criticised, or being overdefensive, or hiving off with a group of their friends because of drama. So why should we discriminate against all couples because some have caused drama in the past?

And it finally leads me to wonder whether those people who insist on a “no couples” rule or complain about couples are actually in healthy and happy relationships themselves…

Thank you, Ultraxion!

January 25, 2012

Okay, so being hit hard by the Raid Attendance Boss thanks to Christmas and various other games that shall remain nameless, we were a bit late to the party on this. But…last night we secured our guild’s first kill of Ultraxion.

And it felt wonderful!

I’ve missed the feeling of having to work hard at a boss. Unlike most of our members, I’ve not braved the LFR yet, I’m working up to that. And I’ve not been running my full quota of heroics each week, so I’m currently only sporting two pieces of 397. I also didn’t expect to raid last night, I popped in at the last minute, so unlike the others, I’d not seen the Ultraxion fight first hand at all from the previous evening, I’d glanced briefly at Guild Mum’s healing tactics, but that was it. Not even had a chance to watch a vid.

Of course, this meant that I was completely bolloxed by the missing Big Purple Button. Which meant stupid deaths a few times. Yeah, I’d not updated Bartender, and the macro  I was given didn’t seem to work either so following a quick update to that and DBM, I got back on the horse, albeit muted, due to grumpiness and a quick bout of swearing,  and began work in earnest.

We were two healing it. We hadn’t been sure how much DPS we could hammer out, so we’d gone with the two-heal stratagy. Like I said, I’ve not been grinding my VP, so I was a bit nervous about how much healing I could put out. I knew it was DPS intensive, but I didn’t know how HPS intensive it was.


We’d started off with me on the green crystal initially, thinking it might be an idea, but in the end I grabbed the red, as my figures weren’t giving me enough. Red worked beautifully, and gave me considerably more healing clout than I’d expected. We had a couple of painfully close 0% wipes, and a few more not so painfully close wipes and then – typically on our last attempt of the evening! – he fell to much cheering.

And I realised just how much I’d needed that sort of evening. Most of the other bosses in this expansion have been pretty straightforward, no real raiding workout required. And for the first time in ages, we had to be on top form to defeat this one.  It felt like a true healing workout, and I appreciated that.  I’d forgotten how much I needed it, and it was an excellent reminder of why I opted to be healer on my main.








Transmogrification – a view from the cleavage.

January 9, 2012

When I was in my mid-twenties (and a hell of a lot happier with my figure then – but that’s another, non-WoW related, rant) I used to wear what I damned well pleased. I particularly remember a short, long sleeved black PVC dress that fitted in all the right places. When I wore it out, it wasn’t because I wanted to look “slutty” or “pull”, it was because it made me feel DAMNED GOOD wearing it. I called it my “ego dress” – at the time I played a lot of role-playing games, and you’d sometimes come across an “ego” weapon, one with a personality of its own, which would occasionally take over the person wielding it. Whenever I put this dress on, it empowered me with a sense of self-confidence such that I rarely had. I knew without a doubt that it looked bloody good on me, and in turn, that made me stand up taller, straigher, it gave me a dangerous gleam in my eye, and turned me into something sexy. It was a combination of factors, most of them psychological, which made a simple piece of PVC into something empowering.

I had a variety of clothing items like this, thigh high boots, a fantastic leather top which consisted simply of a black piece of leather for the front and two chains which crossed diagonally and linked in the middle for the back, a black velvet dress slit down the back (or front, if I chose to reverse it) and laced up, and a dress which had nothing but lacing between rings down the side. Don’t get me wrong, these weren’t work clothes, and I chose to wear them to the appropriate rock and goth nights, rather than when shopping at Tescos. But I chose them and wore them for me, first and foremost. Because of the way they made ME feel.

These sorts of clothes come with a price however. The judgement of others. They can be deemed “slutty”, “whorish” and you may end up being told that  “you dress like a tart”. All of which I personally find abominable, because I perceive these as gendered insults,  ones that would never be aimed at a man, because of the entire double standards issue. It’s somehow wrong for a woman to be anything but untrodden snow, while a man can go about sowing his oats, and therefore be all big and clever because of it…

All of this would be fine if people simply kept their small-minded ideas inside their heads, but oh no, they need to shout it out, and humiliate people, because hey, those people might not realise that they’re wearing skimpy clothing and OMG, they must be a “slut” etc because of it – and not simply that the clothes make them feel good.

I do not appreciate “slut” shaming. It is sexist, it is downright disgusting and it is based on assumptions. Which we all know makes asses out of everyone.

So what does this have to do with transmogrification?

One of my guildies, a female and, as is the wont with our guild, a very strong player, has opted for a skimpier look for one of her main characters. And when I say skimpier, I’m not talking slit robe, I mean that I can now recognise that character’s butt when she zones in!

And I think it’s bloody awesome.

She is a strong player, a fun person, and she enjoys the look of her characters. A number of us  have even chatted about cleavage baring transmogrification armour quite openly in guild chat. I feel comfortable with my main’s off-spec sporting thigh high red boots, a backless, frontless battle strap, and huge shoulders, described as the “space pirate look” by my dear husband.

Recently, that aforementioned guildie had some discussion because someone else didn’t think she was female. Because she was sporting such a skimpy outfit. There you go, another assumption.

So, on behalf of her, and me, and every other female who actively chooses a skimpy outfit for their WoW characters I would like to say this:

Yes, I AM a woman in real life, yes I DO believe in women’s rights and equality, and yes I DO believe that I should have a choice of outfits, either in real life or in any fantasty online game that I so choose, without the automatic assumptions that I charge money, that I will put out at the drop of a hat, or I’m purely after male attention or any one of a myriad reasons. I want to dress as I damned well please without judgement. End of.

Oh, and Blizz, while I’m hammering on about it, there’s a plethora of skimpy women’s armour out there, go get your act in order, and give the men a pile of loincloths and straps and side split robes too, please?