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?


October 20, 2011

Tonight I ran through the Headless Horseman instance as healer with a random group. I was sat there, healing, and healing, and healing….and wondering why the Horseman wasn’t down yet. And healing. Colt, sat behind me, turned to watch, as it was obvious from the sounds that this was Taking A Long Time. An unnaturally long time, in fact.

Eventually the Horseman went down, and out of curiosity, I examined Recount. My suspicions were correct. The tank had done 28% of the damage, one of the DPS had done 48%, the rogue had done just under 3k DPS and the DK had done just over 3k DPS. I boggled. HOW?! I ended up scrutinising Recount closely, and had a snoop at their armory profiles, and realised that not only had the DK made some appalling choices of equipment, statswise (a lot of intellect and spirit, and a little bit of agility, and they were packing the Mithril Stopwatch), but they weren’t gemmed, enchanted, glyphed in points or taken full advantage of their spec. They had opted for Frost, put all their points bar one in the frost spec, and the other in unholy, and didn’t use disease more than about once in the whole instance. Now I’m not a top notch DK player by any means, but heck, even so….It made me want to weep. The rogue meanwhile was half clothed, did most of their damage using straight auto attack, was missing glyphs and enchants.

It’s the Headless Horseman. It’s not rocket science, it’s not a hard encounter.  And I’m still struggling to work out how people can reach level 85 and NOT KNOW or care about their basics. Suggestions on a postcard, please…


In which a crazy cat lady wonders just what makes a hero.

October 4, 2011

I’m currently “boring” our guild with regular updates about an itty bitty kitty that Colt rescued on Friday morning. Poor little thing had been dumped (along with her sibling who sadly didn’t make it) in the middle of a very busy road in rush hour traffic. Thanks to some other helpful folk, who provided him with a bag, a jumper and some antiseptic wipes when she bit him, he was able to stop – no mean feat on the road he was travelling – and scoop her up, and bring her home to us. We took her to the vet’s, got her checked out, and stitched up (she had a wound on her itty bitty bottom) and have been looking after her since. She’s beautiful and right now she’s almost constantly terrified. Although I did coax her into purring this afternoon, a major breakthrough considering she’d do nothing but hiss when we first approached her.

I can’t begin to say how proud I was of Colt. And all of my friends who have heard about what he did were proud of him too. Okay, it wasn’t saving the life of a human, or facing fire or anything notably medal-worthy by most standards, but he saw a creature in distress, and he stopped and did something.

He claimed that it was nothing, that he just did what he had to do. And over a cuppa we discussed the nature of being a “hero”. I pointed out to him that many, many others wouldn’t have stopped, would have worried about traffic, or being late from work, or, and this is most likely, thought “oh, someone else will sort it out”. And he didn’t. He acted on his values, basically didn’t think twice about it, but just did it.

That made me think. We play heroes each day, brave bold beings who save Azeroth. But am I a person who can do what needs to be done, and not let someone else sort it out? I don’t know. I’d like to think I could. I’m scared of pugging with strangers, and a whole lot of other things, including rejection. But if it came down to saving a life? I’d like to think so. I’d like to think I could step up and not drive on by.

I’d like to think that the majority of us are. And that Colt is indeed right. And I am wrong.



If Alq were to have an RP background, this would be it.

September 12, 2011

Times have changed somewhat since I first wrote this background. The druid once more walks on her own, but this time she’s confident in her abilities.  And she’s relearning how to pick up her killing feathers, having had little chance to wear them over time. But this is my tree’s background in all its simplicity.

Why am I posting it? Nostalgia, perhaps. Maybe a reminder to myself that I can still role-play. Maybe that I’m thinking of downloading an RP addon. I don’t know. Anyway, here it is. Make of it what you will.


She gazed at the spider busy with spinning its web. Her head was filled with all sorts of thoughts, and none of them were to do with the moment at hand. She didn’t need to listen to the words, she knew too well that no matter how hard she’d tried, swords were not for her. The last time she’d attempted to use one, she’d nearly killed her tutor, then dropped it by mistake. It was a wonder she still had all her fingers. They’d despaired of her skill, but couldn’t help admire her determination at the time, while thinking of different means to keep her as far away from any form of blade as was elvishly possible.

The spider had finished spinning its web and was now sat in the middle, patiently waiting…

“I’m very much afraid this path isn’t for you, dear child.. ” The words pulled her back to the here and now with a jolt of shock. Despite the kindness in the voice, she felt cold, frightened. Wasn’t this what the women did? What was left to her now?

A fly landed in the middle of the web, realised its mistake too late, struggled but for no purpose. The spider skittered towards it, dancing its way through the trap.

Her face must have betrayed her. The sentinel paused before continuing. “I know it’s traditionally our role…however…..” There was an uncomfortable pause. She didn’t need to tell the girl she could never be a sentinel.

The spider was busy wrapping its victim tightly in silk now. All struggling had ceased.

She felt for the fly. Trapped, tied up. A dead end.

“Is there anything else that calls to you?” The night elf shook her head, trying not to cry.
“No…nothing…..I…not……to defend these lands……I thought…please excuse me….” She fled before any further questions could be asked.

She hid away for a time. Sat by the lake, gazing into the waters each evening, wishing for an answer, struggling to find a way, a path. Sometimes she’d forget about herself, lost in the moment, lost in the beauty of the surroundings. She’d always known how much these lands meant to her. And now she hated her inability to defend them, she hated herself. She understood the need for harsh measures better than most. To live, the wolf must kill the rabbit, the spider the fly…..The balance of nature was delicate and at times unkind. And she was not, by any means, a gentle creature.

Finally she came to a conclusion that, as is generally the way with important matters, should have been all too obvious for her. She returned to the sentinel who had been harsh but kind, and told her of her decision. Surprisingly, the woman didn’t laugh. Instead she penned a few words on a sheet of parchment, and handed it to the girl with directions. “This should help you on your way, it’s a letter of introduction.” She met the girl’s eyes and for once there was a hint of a hopeful smile. “ It is never easy fighting against tradition. I wish you luck.”

That last fight had been tough, and somehow she’d managed to keep everyone in one piece. She wasn’t quite sure how she’d managed it, but they’d gotten through together, and were now stood on the deck of an airship, having escaped the grasp of the Lich King. She slumped against a mast and smiled to herself, catching her breath, exhausted but exhilarated. She wished that her mentor could see her now…

It had felt like such a long time ago that she’d made that decision. It felt like a long time since she’d handed that letter to the druid in Moonglade, and waited for him to laugh. Instead, he’d taken a long and hard look at her, before nodding acceptance. Some of the lessons had been easier than others. She’d devoured the details of the land, of the ways of nature eagerly. She had learned to wield the power of balance swiftly. Even wielding a staff had been relatively easy. But she had struggled desperately when it came to nurturing, to healing, to caring. And like a sweet berry in the midst of the brambles, it taunted her….. “Go,” he had said to her. “Go, find your way in the world out there. Make a difference. And if you don’t look so hard, it may find you ….”

It had felt like a long time too since she’d wandered into a glade full of spiders, lured by the sounds of combat. A young Night Elf was struggling amidst them, and it was evident he needed help – despite his valiant attempts to fend them off. She paused for the briefest of moments. Should she heal him? Should she interfere with nature weeding out the weak? But he looked far from weak, and he’d moved so naturally with the fight…. and she was here. Walking away was tantamount to killing him, and she didn’t think she could do that. Besides, he was fighting against tradition too, and she understood all too well the difficulties that brought. She took a deep breath and let loose her power. Afterwards, he’d looked both grateful and relieved when she’d offered him company on the road to adventure. It made sense,they were both travelling the same way, there was more safety in numbers, and much as she hated to admit to it, she was beginning to find a solitary road lonely.

The Gnome mage looked at her. “You did well there.” he said. “Thought I was a goner.” She smiled at him. “It’s what I do.” she replied. The Night Elf warrior smiled.
“And you’re good at what you do.” He waited awhile until the others had gone. “So….I hear there are foulnesses still out there…..Care to put on your killing feathers and come and help this warrior do some damage to them?” She laughed.
“With pleasure!”

She’d found her place at last.

Another in the “They could have been twins” series.

August 19, 2011

So, there I was minding my own business in the Firelands, having just handed over my 150 marks to the Shadow Wardens. And now I’m helping the Guardians of Hyjal beat up the big bads…

Except,  wait…You can’t fool me. I was one of Babylon 5’s biggest fans. That’s not a guardian of Hyjal. It’s a bloomin’ VORLON! They’ve sent Vorlons in to beat things up! Azeroth’s screwed!

You don’t believe me? Check this out then.

See? Vorlon. And Shadows.  We’re all doomed. Yeah, I hear you say. No boom today. Hmm. There’s no boom today. Boom tomorrow. There’s always a boom tomorrow.

Commander Alq over and out.