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October 2011

I'm a Face-Melting Shadow Priest But I Still Love the Whimsy and the Adorableness in WoW

This poor goblin must have been very naughty to be jack-o'-lanterned this way...

Recently, on twitter, pretty much from the moment Blizzard announced them as the new expansion's focus and new race at Blizzcon, there has been much backlash against the Pandaren. I've seen many comparisons to Ewok and gnomes (because apparently many many people feel sickened and/or threatened by gnomey awesomeness) and assertions of how their "silliness" as a class equates to Blizzard having jumped the shark and ruined the World of Warcraft.

All I can say to that is: BALONEY!

Personally, I am equally at home with my love of vanity pets and gnomes and kittens and being a face melting shadow priest! I challenge anyone who has played with me to honestly say "Oh that Anexxia is such a carebear gnome lover and kitten scratcher that it gets in the way of her being a good player; she really needs to L2play."

The entire style of WoW, to me, is somewhat cartooney, versus hyper realistic. It's not meant to be a very serious representation of modern life. I don't want to play a character that looks just like me in real life-- I play me in real life every day. Having a little fun with appearances doesn't change my ability to play in any way. Yes, sometimes we are going about very serious business, such as very important raid boss killing, but at the end of the day, we are playig a game, with a goal of having fun. And having a dancing gnome shadow priest in your raid is fun! Not as fun as a dancing boomkin perhaps, but FUN all the same!

You know what else is fun? Bouncing along as you run. I bounce on my night elf. I bounce on my Forsaken. I bounce on my gnomes. And the bounciness is contagious. Before you know it, you have other folks bouncing along in synchronization with you! And suddenly that long run back from that wipe isn't quite as annoying.

Frankly, it always puzzles me how much anti-gnome sentiment I'd hear while playing my beloved gnomey casters. Now, Pandaren have taken up the mantle of most heckled and despised race. I don't particularly like the hunchbacked, ever-sniffing worgen, but I don't go on Internet tirades about how they ruined Wow and are ridiculous insults to my gaming self. I just simply don't play one. Hopefully the anti-Pandaren uproar will die down and folks will find something else to deride. If not, at least all you pandas will have a nice thick furry skin to deflect the criticism. And hopefully you'll have an awesome beer-powered dance to dance those cares away with...

PS a big thank you to Cyn for suggesting I actually post about this.

Friday Five: Five Hallow's End Faves


Those of us not at Blizzcon at the moment are thankful to have Hallow's End activities to keep us busy. And pleasantly, there are even a few *new* features and activities in which to take part. And thus, today's Friday Five, Five Hallow's End Faves.

  1. Creepy Crate. Don't let its clumpity clump clumping behind you fool you-- there's a shadow priest trapped in there! Park yourself next to a critter and you'll see what I mean. Those are SHADOW ORBS you see before you...
  2. Feline Familiar. A cute kitty with glowing green eyes and a witches hat, who pops out onto a broom to follow you as you fly around and about. My only compliant here, is the kitty doesn't really have as wide a range of animations/activities as some of our other pets. But it is adorable so I'll live with it.
  3. Stink Bomb Runs. The fun of PvP without all that pesky danger! You hop on the back of a witch's broom (as per above, which I did while posing as one of those humans' ghostly ancestors) and are whisked away to your enemy faction's city where you are able to merrily toss stink bombs wherever you'd like. Now that's fun!
  4. Tons of Guild Rep via the candy buckets. Due to having a number of high level characters, I've yet to max out my guild rep on any of them. I slapped on my Renowned Guild Tabard, got myself a wickerman buff, and then set off to collect enough tricky treats from candy buckets to buy the Feline Familiar, and earned a ton of guild rep along the way.
  5. Hallow's End Vendors. Pet and toy vendors, wand vendors and mask vendors. Not only do tricky treats finally have a use, those folks who have been perpetually a few masks short of an achievement can take care of that at their leisure, no longer dependent upon RNG.

What's been your favorite Hallow's End change?


Oh Hai There Creepy Crate!


Hallow's End is upon us once more!

Hasten ye to Orgrimarr and Stormwind to embark upon a new adventure, which will eventually result in this creepy crate following you home. He will clatter behind you all clickety clackety, occasionally popping up an eye-- or a tongue-- for a quick look around. Get him too close to a critter and ZAP! purpley lightning will wrap around them and suck them into the crate.

Watch out tho-- I haven't found a way to get rid of the foul stench from his green gaseous emissions...


BREAKING NEWS: There seems to be a shadow priest lurking within the creepy crate! the shadow orbs do not lie!


Friday Five: Five Good Criteria for Choosing New Guild Officers

That shadow priest may have put lots of fish in the bank, but that alone is not a good reason to promote her to officer!

All too often I've been in guilds who seem to choose guild officers based exclusively on longevity of membership within the guild. Which is how you end up with the worst druid I've ever played with as the Druid class leader and the raid healer leader in a former guild. Luckily, there are a number of better indicators that a guild member might have what it takes to make a good officer in your guild:

  1. One of your top performers in raids. These are the folks you want to give a shot at being a class or role leader, or helping to define raid strats. Yes, it could just be dumb luck, or the stars aligned against everyone else in the raid that has propelled them to the top, but more often, it's due to their taking the time to optimize what they're doing, often by poking around on blogs and forums and synthesizing a number of opinions and ideas until arriving at their own witch's brew of excellence. These are people you want to have as part of your leadership team.
  2. One of your most friendly gchatters. Every guild has that member that says hello and makes newcomers feel welcome. In my past WoW life, that was Lady D. She made all our new recruits feel at home, while also being sure to give a warm welcome back to folks who hadn't logged in for a while. As a result, she was often the guild member people who were having a rough time confided in. You want your officer team to reflect the needs and concerns of your entire membership, which makes having at least one outgoing, friendly officer key.
  3. The maintainer of your guild website or wiki or whatever medium you've chosen for your out of game community. It's not a cakewalk to administer an active forum, or to keep a complex guild website updated with the latest news and widgets. This guild member often gets little public recognition for what amounts to a part-time job behind the scenes keeping things going. But they are in fact, demonstrating daily how committed they are to the guild. This is the sort of participation that merits an officer slot.
  4. The most prolific sharer of WoW-related news. This member has a direct link from MMO Champion to their brain, and spits out WoWhead links in their sleep. Or at least it seems that way. They are the first to interpret what all the Patch Notes really mean, and are often the instigators of lively (yet respectful) debate around those topics. These are the sort of folks that truly help keep a community going, and that should be a primary goal for your officer team.
  5. The altaholic. Now, at first glance, the altaholic might not look like an obvious candidate for leadership. Some might see the full selection of character slots on a realm as a sign of being flighty and unable to focus their energies n completing a task. However, I see the altaholic as someone who has a true passion for exploring all the nooks and crannies and perspectives available to them in the game. And that sort of passion can be inspiring-- both to their fellow guildies, and to the leadership team.

What are some of the other guildie traits that you've found to make great officers?

Kitten for Sale! Turns US$ into WoW Gold!


Awwww look at the cute widdle kitten. Isn't he adorable? It's hard to believe something so tiny and so cute could have caused such a ruckus this week, but this little guy sure did when he was announced as a new Blizzard pet store pet. The reason? Because this little guy, who sells for $10, is unlike his BOA predecessors that you buy for yourself or share a code with a friend via email. He's a BOE that can be sold on the auction house.

Q: How does the Guardian Cub pet work? How is it different from other Pet Store pets?

Unlike the other Pet Store companions, the Guardian Cub is a tradable, one-time-use pet that permanently binds to a single character upon use. When you purchase the Guardian Cub from the online store, the character you designate will receive a bind-on-use item to carry in his or her inventory. You can either use the item yourself to permanently add the pet to your character's collection (consuming the item in the process), or -- after a brief initial cooldown period -- you can trade the item to another player so he or she can add it to one of their character's collections.

As you might expect, the WoW community has reacted with a number of tweets and blog posts, many of which characterised this as a "trial balloon" to test the level of acceptance (and revenue) such an item would generate. The announcement FAQ tackled the "Isn't this a way for players to pretty much legally buy gold from you" with this Q&A:

Q: Could I put the Guardian Cub up on the auction house to try to make some gold if I wanted to?

While our goal is to offer players alternative ways to add a Pet Store pet to their collection, we’re ok with it if some players choose to use the Guardian Cub as a safe and secure way to try to acquire a little extra in-game gold without turning to third-party gold-selling services. However, please keep in mind that there's never any guarantee that someone will purchase what you put up for sale in the auction house, or how much they'll pay for it. Also, it’s important to note that we take a firm stance against buying gold from outside sources because in most cases, the gold these companies offer has been stolen from compromised accounts. (You can read more about our stance here.) While some players might be able to acquire some extra gold by putting the Guardian Cub in the auction house, that’s preferable to players contributing to the gold-selling “black market” and account theft.

Personally, I have two serious pet collectors in game -- one Horde-side and one Alliance-side. As such, I'm a huge fan of the BOA pets. Buy once, and see it on all your toons. I'd like to see this guy available in a BOA version in addition to this 1-time-use BOE version, but I doubt I'll see that happen. This feels akin to the WoW TCG loot items, which I have agonized over more than once (who should get the spectral tiger cub??? OK, Candy got the cub, so Anexxia gets the Blazing Hippogryph), but in a more accessible format, and one that will put the cash back into Blizzard/Activision's bottom line rather than in that of the third party sellers.

Will we see more BOE items for sale from Blizzard directly? Only time-- and the proceeds from this little guy-- will tell.

Keeping the World of Warcraft out of my Facebook

Forsaken shadow priest Anexxia checking out a remodeled house in Brill

Yesterday, on twitter, I started a small twitter poll, curious to find out if my policy of keeping my World of Warcraft life separate from my offline life was a common occurrence. It was fun to hear from a few folks about the real life meetups they've had with guildies, and how they'd gotten to know players better thanks to being Facebook friends. And still others replied that of course they did, as they didn't have anything to hide.

That latter comment stuck with me for a bit to ponder. Do guildies whom I've politely refused to RealID friend or to share my Facebook info with feel I must have something to hide? I hope not, since that's pretty far from the reason why I don't overlap, except in a tiny number of cases, my gaming life with the rest of my life.

You see, I like to log in to WoW and submerge myself as Anexxia the shadow priest, or Psychocandy the Boomkin. Someone calling me by my real name drags me out of the magical World of Warcraft, and puts back smack dab into every day me. Everyday me works as a digital marketer and manages content, and slogs around a cold and rainy city on transit each day to get to and from work.

Further, even my friends who game (and they are a minority) primarily play console games and have little or no interest in hearing about my WoW adventures, much like the people who unfollow me on twitter after I post about food or some sort of RL event didn't have interest in hearing about things outside of Warcraft from me.

One-on-one, I will talk to guildies and my warcraft buddies about all sorts of RL stuff. But please don't be offended that I don't FB friend you. You'd just be annoyed by all the social gaming SPAM and baby animal pictures anyhow...


This is the point at which I must disclose that I have met a small handfull of guildies IRL over the years. They know my everyday name, have met our crazy cats, and I would friend them on Facebook in a heartbeat if only they used Facebook. But those folks have transcended being my gaming friends -- they are, blessedly, just friends at this point, with whom I'd be just as likely to talk about something tasty I baked as some awesome WoW achievement.

How about you? Are your Warcraft worlds and your Facebook worlds combined?