Monday, August 30, 2010

Raiding with a Puppy

Young puppies require a lot of attention. At 8 weeks old, they may not even be potty trained. Trying to raid while you have a puppy rolling around your computer room is... interesting, to say the least; and when you're working on something like Hardmode Lich King, you need your full concentration in the game.

So, what's a new puppy owner to do?
  1. At least one hour (preferably 2) before the raid, take her outside and play. Play hard. If she'll chase a ball, use that; if not, take a long stick and run around the yard with her chasing it. Or have her chase you. Just get her running!
  2. Make sure she potties. "Afk my puppy peed on the floor" isn't a fun call to make mid-raid!
  3. Lavish her with attention before the raid. Do this even if you have a family member who will look after her during the raid, because bonding time with your pup is important.
  4. Save 15 minutes of time before you log in as "wind-down" time. Set up her usual nap area (my puppy insists on having a fan going... northern breeds, go figure!) and pet her/brush her. Let her calm down.
  5. If you can't keep her in the computer room with you (wires, carpet, etc) I suggest a crate. Otherwise, you'll be distracted by needing to stop her from chewing on everything (wires, carpet, papers, trash can, cats, door frames, bookcases, table legs, your feet) or be ever-paranoid about her leaving a puddle on your floor.
  6. Attend your raid. Ignore the cries/whines for attention; a couple of hours alone in a crate is not going to hurt her. Just don't abandon her all evening, particularly if you've been gone all day, too!
  7. During any 10/15 minute break, take her outside quickly if you know she has a weak bladder. Give her some food and let her settle back down; a chew toy or frozen carrot will also occupy her as you return to your raid.
  8. Return to her after your raid for a longer walk and playtime. She will have missed you.
  9. Train her to control your character.......... I wish. :)

If you have any additional tips or just stories to share, I'd love to hear them :)

Friday, August 27, 2010


River finds her bark.... wait, what?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Semi-OT: Requiring a Data Plan?

I read a news article yesterday that said,


“As instructors, it might behoove us to take a look at whether we want to require a hardcover textbook or a data plan [for phones],” he said. “It’s not going to work on every subject, and it’s not going to work in every department, but we need to look at it.”

This set my mind churning.

First, a bit on my perspective:

I work at a major university. I am a gamer, as well, who happens to dislike using cell phones because they are noisy, distracting, and demand your immediate attention. They are also very audio-centric, which doesn't mix well with my heavy preference for writing and visuals: I want to type and read, not listen. I will confess that, out of my phone-hating bias, that I didn't bother TRYING to learn how to send a text message on my phone until I was sitting bored in a car in a parking lot 5 months ago, and only did so because I knew it would be text-based.

I am an odd mix, certainly: a (relatively) young phone-hating gamer who works in distance learning at a university. I can respect that phones have their ingrained place in the American society, however, given the way that they interconnect people in places where a computer's internet access isn't assured. When it comes to learning, connectivity is key.

Requiring a data plan??

Why would a college instructor do this, specifically, for their class?
  • They themselves are heavy phone users
  • The school is in an area with good cell phone signal
  • The curriculum doesn't require a lot of software programs that a phone would be unable to run
  • There is no guaranteed wireless connection around campus/dorms/where-ever the class may be spread, as may be the case with a school spread through a town
What is a data plan but an internet connection for your phone? Am I perhaps spoiled by living in an area where students are all given great wireless access for their laptops, with a centralized campus and a wireless signal expanding even to the bus system?

To be honest, if I were ever confronted by an instructor who told me I have to get a data plan for my phone in order to retreive online class materials, I would balk. For one thing, I would have to get a new phone that would allow me to type better. And a larger screen that could reasonably read the websites without converting it all into ugly chunks of plain text with horrible formatting. And a better scrolling option. And I'd have to remember to charge it and take it with me every where. And I'd wonder why my teacher is so interested in being able to send me emails or class announcements while I'm out on Friday night with friends.

At that point, I would say, "A laptop would serve me better. Why is a laptop with internet access not enough? Why should I get a phone data plan instead?"


Some may argue that it'd not be a big leap to require a data plan, "Everyone already has a phone, and most already have a data plan." I'd have to argue against this. I was forced to get a cellphone by my then-fiancee during college because of safety reasons: I was doing field work and he wanted me to be able to call out if there was an emergency. As someone who enjoys backpacking, I couldn't argue with his reasoning. Within the first year, though, I lost it down a hole in a huge field while doing soil sampling. I still go camping and expect my cell phone to be a durable, rugged, preferably water-proof lifeline to emergency services. A blackberry is unlikely to survive me very long. (EDIT: Rhii tells me Blackberries aren't the delicate flowers I make them out to be. :) I stand corrected.)

Aside anti-phone wierdos like me, there are those who can't afford one, or can't afford the data plan. Locking an international student into a phone plan for the sake of making sure they can check email on the sidewalk just makes me squirm. Buying textbooks for a class is painful enough, but at least a $80-$160 book (and that's on the high end) for one class is cheaper than a $60/month data plan for dealing with heavy email attachments and web use. A class that doesn't need a textbook would otherwise be a financial breathing point, saving the student money, but instead it would be filled with an even more expensive data plan.

This is in addition to the basic computer requirement held by any major university, because a phone's not going to be able to run the necessary software to create presentations, spreadsheets, or term papers. There are also special software packages like AutoCAD, ArcGIS, and Photoshop and design studios. Some classes/programs even require Tablets.

Why not a laptop? Laptops come in all sizes and power, and can have internet access of their own. Computers are required for most American college students, anyway. You can get a cheapo word-processing, internet-browsing laptop for the same price or less as that little iPhone, and it'll still weigh less than most text books. You can get a decent laptop and use it for internet access, while it can also run programs you want/need (like if I want to play WoW while sitting in a cafeteria), both in the classroom and for recreation.

I don't like it.

I'm not saying that there aren't some people who like data plans for their phone; there are certainly some out there who find it more convenient to have a pocket-sized web browser. Being able to price-check or look up reviews while standing in the store is always a bonus.

REQUIRING a student to get a data plan for a phone (when some may not even have a phone) for a class, however, is a little extreme, given the current cost compared to already having a computer requirement.

So, I guess I'm just left baffled. As time goes on, phones and laptops are becoming more similar, and the lines between them are blurring. Requiring a student to have both with internet access for the sake of a single class just seems like asking too much, financially. I just can't understand the reasoning of requiring, specifically, a phone data plan for a class that will span all of 3 months, when a student may instead prefer to keep their internet access mobile via a laptop.

So I'm throwing this out there. I know we, as gamers, tend to rely much more heavily on having a good, strong computer: do you have a data plan on your phone, too? Is it used enough to be worth the money you spend? If you were a cash-strapped college student who had to buy a laptop for a whole degree program and were then asked by a single class to also get a phone data plan, would you complain, or think it unfair to those students without data plans already?

Or, perhaps, is the quoted person assuming that the student won't have a computer? Have I been spoiled in my perspective by the computer requirements at my own and other major universities? (EDIT: the quoted person's university has computer requirements, as well!).

I think that rather than requiring a data plan, the class should simply require reliable internet access.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Trying to talk WoW...


Just because a leaf is defying gravity, doesn't mean it's hacking.
The wind is a perfectly ordinary class mechanic for it.



Beta efflorescence graphics: no, this puddle isn't going to melt your feet. EMBRACE THE GREEN OOZE!


...Lich King? I like bubbles. I hate defile when it eats bubbles. Defile can DIAF while I bounce around the room in my pretty shiny bubble. With fear ward. F U, DEFILE.

F U N D A!..........


*looks around*



Oh, who am I kidding. My attention is elsewhere, atm!

If for some bizarre reason you are offended by adorable puppies, I suggest avoiding my blog for a while. Just sayin'.

The cuteness compels me.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

RE: River: An Old Bit of Art

Might not fit in the blog frame, but still worth posting.

This is an old bit of artwork I did back when I had the time and inclination to try "painting" with a mouse (translation: when I wasn't lazy and/or busy). I felt it was appropriate to repost :) This is my original druid, Kae, with her worg pup... I have wanted a puppy for yeeeeeeearrrrrrsss!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Offtopic: SQUEE

My puppy! She came home this weekend and has spent the past day charming her mommy and daddy. Little River is 7 weeks old and a complete ball of fluff.

Things she likes:
  • Mommy's socks
  • Fans
  • Cat Toys
  • Belly Rubs
  • Cool floors
  • Stepping in her water bowl
  • Attention
  • Chasing her tail
  • Sleeping on her back...

The whole litter is adorable, but I'm biased: River's the best.

In spite of many looking identical.



Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sketch: Kaeya

Her head's too big. Oh well.

Hands are hard. : /

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Guest Post: Halion's Cutters

My guild leader (and our shadow-phase dragon tank) had a brainstorm for a post she wanted to make, so I offered up some rant space for her :) So, here I have a guest post by Alyae:

Dear Blizzard: You are making good raiders feel fail for no reason!

Why Blizzard why? Why did you make a fight like Heroic Halion, and a shadow realm full of instant death?

My case for why this mechanic sucks - Alyae: GM of Vortex of Turalyon

I’ve been doing some thinking, and I think I know the reason. It’s been really puzzling to me why I see my fellow raiders get cut up by the beam of death. These are people that have very good situational awareness, on pretty much every fight. They know how to get out of fires.... But for some reason Heroic Halion is probably harder conceptually for us then even Heroic Lich King.

Why? Because, the Halion fight expects you to do several things at once:
  • Find a purple blob of death.
  • Figure out your location corresponding to the purple glob of death.
  • Locate the purple glob of death immediately to the left
  • No blob there, check the right.
  • Put the two blobs you have now found together, one left one right.
  • Now draw out that picture in your mind, figure out the angles, how they cross in the middle to form two identical shapes, mirrored, the angles, vectors, square root of an isosce....whatever.
  • Position yourself in a space the size of a credit card on your screen, all mentally.
  • Now, move there before the cutters chop you in two.
Basically what they are asking you to do is avoid a fire you can’t see by playing a game of connect the dots with geometry... in your mind!

Clever trick isn’t it? It’s basically the equivalent of an old archaic IQ test question in a raid instance.

Ah... those old proven-to-be-bunk IQ tests. Reminisce about the time when you had to look at a multiple choice question, we’re asked to peel back a three dimensional shape into a flat representation and then try to pick the correct one... the memories....Sigh...

...So what am I getting at?

Most good raiders have good situational awareness. They know how to react quickly to threats can taunt or heal with good reaction, they generally make good decisions on the battlefield, and they can push out good numbers while doing it. These are people who see a fire and run away from it.

You see bad, you run from bad, you determine safety, you continue. Every human is good at those mechanics from birth.

The Heroic Halion cutters on the other hand, require critical thinking, the ability to create shapes in your mind, and adapting to that shape as it moves on the playing field. It also requires you to understand that shape in relation to the same shape to the left and right of you. (Avoid the head and the tail)

Some people just are not good at that kind of thinking. Not just that, but it might even be a bit sexist. Women have a harder time then men do on tasks like this. Like it or not. My brain is different from a man’s brain. Thank god. (Sorry guys!)

But putting that Woman/Man brain difference aside.... anyone who has problems with this type of mental equation will have trouble on the cutters no matter HOW good you are at the game.
I tank in the shadow realm because I’m pretty good at laser dodging, but I know when I get cut in half, it’s because I could not see the other orb behind the dragon and screwed up my mental picture. I’m convinced if I was an ace at that part of those old lame IQ tests I’d never be cut by a cutter... EVER.

You can make the argument that putting people in a clump and having people follow each other is a good way to compensate for this. I’m sorry, but if you react to other people, you might be several steps behind the group according to the server and get cut in half by the death rays before you even knew what happened. Add that to the fact that the cutters of death will kill you a few steps away from the visual of the graphic, and you have a recipe for...

Death by Grape Flavoured Light Sabre! News at 11!

I still don’t know why they just throw us a bone, and let us be immune to the death rays at least for a second after they activate. Let us run from something we see, not imagine. You feel me here?

Dear Blizzard:
You are making good raiders feel fail for no reason. As a GM and an officer, that makes me sad.

To the raiders of Vortex:
All of you rock! (Even if you are a kitty druid that feral charges into a cutter.) <3

Kae's comments:

Personally, I'm okay with playing with the cutter beams, and I *am* a girl. Maybe it's more a "geometry vs algebra brains" thing, which isn't gender-dependant. The guild has taken to marking me and following me as their safe point in P2, actually... they seem to think I'm good at this whole beams thing. I do mess up from time to time, though, when I get the timing off and expect the beams to activate a few seconds earlier or later than they do (hmmm I've noticed this especially at phase transitions into P3...).

But... I'm not the tank. Out of those triangles in heroic-mode, I don't have to dance around in the center and hope I'm not cut by the *converging* beams as they blast through the room like a pizza-cutter from the great beyond. The closer you are into the middle (where we tank the dragon), the more likely you'll hit a beam. Hanging around in the space between the center and the wall tends to provide plenty of space for a raid of DPS and healers to hang out, gives more room for error, and still provides a running space for people with debuffs to run out to the wall.

Poor tank, though. If you move too far away from the center, the dragon follows you, then spins a bit and tailwhips your fellow raiders, where they all lay stunned and then all get cut in half by a beam. And then the tank gets yelled at. >_>

Additional problems I've noticed with the beams generally include:
  • His huge effing wings blocking view
  • Lag
  • Other people freaking out when they see a Treant run into a beam and thinking it's me taking a suicidal dive
  • ...or other people blindly following the treant through the beams rather than the tree. ;)
At some point, our guild'll have some combination of laglessness, luck, and a general lack of "omg we've been doing this all night zzzzzz" and manage to get Halion hardmode down... not that the cutters are our only problem (ahem, keeping the fire-side alive in P3 and not dropping gigantic pools of fire on the fleeing shadow phase players...). But, for now, we're honestly seeing hardmode LK as easier and more doable!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Alt

"So, how's ICC been treating you?"

Kaelynn looked up at the question, lifting her head from her own thoughts to look over at the little blood elf leaning against the wall nearby. "Icecrown? Oh... it goes. We've seen phase 3 of LK-Heroic. The rest we kinda breeze through these days."

The blood elf smirked to herself, unsheathing a dagger and using it to manicure her own nails. "Not much in the way of good drops? I see your feral kit is a bit... unpolished."

The druid sighed heavily. "Shards, mostly. That's just how loot works, though... in these small raids, drops are usually what isn't needed, while what could be used is never seen."

"Heh," the rogue smiled to herself, "I know what you mean. Every raid, no new daggers. These are serviceable, of course," and she inspected the little blade non-chalantly, "...but they're not even a raid drop. Better than a paper-cutter, at least, I guess."

"It's more the trinkets, really," Kaelynn said, leaning back into her chair and gazing up at the candleabra lighting the dim tavern. "Weapons seem to drop like water. I have a 264 staff or polearm for 4 different specs, but kitty it up with a i200 trinket."

Kaeya, the rogue, narrowed her eyes at the druid. "'Water'? Huh. You are still killing Lich King, right?"

The druid knew that tone in the rogue's voice. Warily, she regarded the rogue out of the corner of her eye. "Yes... we swap it to normal each week."

"....what dropped last night?" the blood elf asked politely, her interest seemingly upon her nails again.

"Shards." The druid said simply, not wishing to upset her rogue companion. A silence fell, and she cleared her throat uncomfortably. "But you know--"

There was a dagger at her throat. "What.... dropped?" the rogue whispered irritably.

The druid scowled. "Now, I *was* going to be nice, but since you've asked..." and she dug into her pocket and pulled out a long pair of deep purple gems. "SHARDS. Shard 1 may be of some interest to you."

The rogue picked up the first gem, sensing the link beneath it. "You didn't!"

"You put a dagger to my throat again and I'll shard them all."

Kaeya glared at the druid, but slid her dagger back into its sheath. "You could've stepped out for me."

"It was Kaalla's turn."

"Kaalla? The paladin? SHE got to go in?" the rogue asked incredulously.

"Yes," the druid said simply. "Have you not also seen Alkes and Immortalus' titles?"

"Wait, THEY have killed the Lich King?!"


The rogue stabbed a dagger into the wall, her blond hair falling into her red face. She was silent a moment. "I'm the oldest alt in the guild. I don't suppose you have suggested I get a chance?"

The druid leaned back with a serene look on her face, and let the question linger between them for a moment. "I did. You are on the list--" and she held up a hand as the rogue looked at her quickly, "But if you threaten me like that again, I will shard every dagger I can master-loot into my bags. And mail them to you. Gift-wrapped."

"Can't gift-wrap stackable items," the rogue hissed under her breath, turning her back.

"I'd find a way."

~~Kae's note: I think my rogue's upset that I haven't played her in a while. Haha.

Oh, and many <3's to Kaalla, Immort, and Alkes ;) Kaeya's just jealous.~~

Thursday, August 12, 2010

WTF Tranquility

Beranabus... you are one strange chicken.

Bus is a moonkin with a resto offspec in my guild. While he is typically running around chaining rejuv/wild growth across the raid when we have him tree it up in our raids (progression or farm iCC10), he does have a fondness for Tranquility, so much so that he went and farmed up a full 8/8 Cenarion Set (tier 1) and...


...seriously, I'm baffled...

...heals his heroic runs with only Tranquility. He posted a video where he is healing Heroic HoR with only Tranquility. With a mostly pug group (and pug tank with some blues). Successfully. This is the guy that I have to remind to use swiftmend/nourish/lifebloom.



Bus, you pull off some crazy stuff. /salute.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

RS10: Halion, Flowchart

So, weeks ago I started trying to come up with a full stick-figure strat for Halion without it becoming a full 5-page epic like the Lich King did. Then I decided it'd be best to just make it a heroic strat.

But we haven't successfully killed Halion on heroic mode, yet. And what's a heroic guide without excellent tips from someone that's actually seen the dragon DEAD?

So, as a hold-over until I'm able to finish a more formal stick-figure strat (or even a full-out text strat, but I know most of you would rather see stick figures screaming at each other), I have a simplified flow chart.

A simple-strat flow chart with stick figures.

Enjoy. :)

(I'm also posting this a day early, cuz it's finished and I know you all missed your dose of bad artwork while I was gone!)

The problem with "Kae"

No, this isn't a problem with me personally. Or my character. This is about my name.

I love my name. I think it looks pretty, and it's short and easy to say (though admittedly I did take much humor when the greeks I used to play with pronounced it as "Kai")... but there is a glaring problem with the name.

"K" is used a lot. A lot a lot. It's an affirmative sound tossed all over voice chat, both as "okay" and as the shortened "k." You can imagine the difficulties this can cause for a Kae.
  • "Okay." "What?"
  • "K?" "....wait, what?"
  • "Mmkay." "Sorry, I missed that, did you need me to do something?"
  • (chorus of affirmative "k"'s resounds through the channel) "WHAT?!"
I have been Kae for 5 years now, and I still do double-takes at some vent conversations. You know how you start to tune out and focus on what you're doing when you know a conversation is not about you, but then you hear your name and snap back to the conversation to figure out what's going on? Oh yes. Kae does that a lot. I have had to train myself to figure out quickly if it was my name or not, which is no easy task for someone like me who is a heavily tactile/visual learner!

Take-away lesson from this is, I suppose, that you should be careful when choosing your name to make sure the sound of it isn't used heavily in conversations, especially if it is short.

And by posting this, I know some of my guildies will probably start messing with my head in ventrilo on purpose for the next few weeks. I will pre-emptively state this to those that are already grinning to themselves about it: "I HATECHU!"

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Camp was good. Except for the mage that summoned a fire elemental in my tent.

...wait, what?

Using long-exposure photography while playing with a glowstick in your tent results in some strange photos ;)

Gimme some time to get back into the swing of things and wade through a backup of work, emails, and RSS feeds... I have a few posts bouncing around in my head to write up!