Monday, July 19, 2010

How much time, part II

Continuing from last week's post.

On Sunday, July 11th, I played for three sessions of 130 minutes, 184 minutes, and 177 minutes, or for the mathematically-challenged 8 hours and 11 minutes. With the next day being a work day I logged out at 10:35pm.

I didn't play at all on Monday and on Tuesday put in just 70 minutes, logging out at 8:30pm when my attempt at Tanking Utgarde Keep on my properly spec'd, def-capped Death Knight crashed & burned. That was also the end of my week's WoW time.

So this past week I played for a shade under 9 1/2 hours, with almost all of that time being on Sunday. Compared to last week's 41 hours this is also not really an example of my regular playing habits, rather an average of the two is more realistic, or it would be if I hadn't canceled my subscription.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Walking out

No, it's not another "I'm quitting WoW" post :P

Today the Bunny had a playdate at a friend's house so Liz gave JE a choice of tagging along to a playdate with three 5-year olds, or coming in to work with me for the day. He chose work and so he was up bright & early, catching the bus and riding into downtown to spend a day at the office with me.

I set him up in the empty cubicle next to mine where he started on his homework. Around 8:30 we took a break and walked over to the Subway where he got a 'free' Oatmeal & Raisin cookie. (Free because I'd eaten lunch there earlier this week, and if you take a brief online survey about the experience then write down the code proving you took the survey you can get a free cookie on your next visit.)

I let him play his DS for a little while as he ate his cookie but after half-an-hour or so it was back to homework. When he'd finished his run-on sentence exercises we took a second break before returning to his homework. He wasn't too happy because he now had to rewrite a 5-paragraph essay, but double-spaced with 1" margins on each side so his teacher had room to correct any mistakes.

"It's so much!" he protested.

So I asked him, how do you eat an elephant?

With that he started writing, one sentence at a time, one word at a time, and I returned to my desk. When I checked on him a little while later he was talking on the phone to Liz, who wanted to join us for lunch around 12:30. When she hung up I showed the boy that I had another coupon for another free cookie, and said if he had 3 paragraphs of his essay done before Mom got in he could get another cookie.

When Liz called to say she was almost here he was starting on the fourth paragraph, so we quickly packed up and made our way to the Subway for another cookie. It took a couple of minutes so Liz was waiting for us by the time we got out.

We decided to eat lunch at Panini Cafe, on 9th & Hope, found parking one block away, and despite it being 12:30pm were seated right away. Unfortunately the table at which we were seated was immediately beneath a slowly rotating fan beneath a rather bright track light, which resulted in a very unpleasant strobe effect bouncing off our table.

At our request a Waiter stood on Liz's chair and turned up the fan. This sped up the strobe effect so it wasn't as obvious but after a minute or so of being subject to a now high-speed strobe we decided it was still unbearable. Fortunately a table in the corner was not beneath a fan (there were numerous fans throughout the restaurant) and the four gentleman seated there had just paid their bill, so we grabbed our Waiter and told her we'd like to switch to their table when they were done; she said that would be fine.

Then I heard a Waiter behind me telling another customer they would be seated there when the foursome left. I turned and told this Waiter we'd already asked to be moved to that table.

"I'm sorry," she replied, "but they've been waiting longer than you."

"That's fine," I said, putting my menu down, "we'll leave then." I'm fairly easy going and laid back and so have never done anything like this before, but Liz was right there with me as I stood up and to his credit the boy didn't protest or complain; he immediately stood up and followed us out.

"Let's just go across the road to the Ralph's," I said, "they have a pretty decent Deli section there." And so we did.

Later I said to Liz, almost in disbelief, "I can't believe we just walked out of the restaurant!"

She said she'd been about to suggest doing that herself.

Had we stayed Liz would probably have suffered a severe vertigo attack, and I do mean severe; if she watches me play Super Mario Galaxy even for just a few seconds she'll start to get motion sickness. I'm the gamer so I'm more tolerant to these things but as we'd walked out of Panini the relief I'd felt made me realize the strobe had been affecting me too, and I'm sure it had made the boy uncomfortable as well.

The food at Panini cafe is quite good. It's a little pricey but it's still good food. That said, if one has advance knowledge that their meal is not going to be enjoyable, for whatever reason that may be, and attempts have been made to correct the situation but to no avail, one should never be too embarrassed to just walk away.

Very few meals on this planet are worth suffering for.

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Roadworks at my normal stop meant I had to walk up to 7th Street so I missed the 2:40pm bus, and the 2:50pm bus never came. The 3pm bus was running a few minutes late which didn't make Liz happy when I called and told her, and she already wasn't happy that I'd missed my usual bus because it meant plans had to be changed. Grr.

So instead of picking me up Liz dropped JE at basketball practice and then picked me up at the Bus Station at 3:35 (normally I'd be there between 3:10 & 3:15pm). We drove back to the park where JE had basketball, Liz jumped out to stay with the boy and I took over and took the Bunny to her Gymnastics class. As Gym started half an hour later and finished quarter of an hour later than Basketball, I left the Bunny at Gym and returned to Basketball in time to get Liz and the boy, then back to Gym to get the Bunny, then it was on to the Mall for a very late lunch/early dinner (the kids got frozen yoghurt).

After shopping for a while we returned home and the kids played outside on their bikes, scooters, and skateboards. Rain clouds were blowing over and it did rain, briefly (typical for Los Angeles); the ground was so hot that the drops dried up almost as soon as they'd touched down.

Random Fun of the Day: Quake Cottage was set up at my office this morning so I took a spin to see what an 8.0 earthquake feels like. Apparently Quake Cottage still doesn't accurately simulate what a real 8.0 would feel like. We only rode for 30-seconds whereas a real 8.0 is predicted to last for up to 2 minutes, if not more. (That was a loooong 30 seconds though). A real 8.0 would also set off other Fault Lines so you'd be getting hit from all sides; Quake Cottage is a linear, front-to-back rolling wave. It still tosses you around, but not like what a real 8.0 would be like.

I went on it twice :)

It's now 9:40pm and I'm contemplating logging into WoW but on my Hunter, not my DK. There's a couple of old friends whom I'd like to say goodbye (again) to, if they're on. Re: leveling another Paladin to 70. My Mum will actually be here in a shade over 2 weeks. It would take me most of those 2 weeks to hit 70 and I'd probably need to play for a couple of hours every night. I'd rather not do that. Instead, if I do log in, I'll just putter around for a bit, relax, and have fun. I mean that is why we play games, right? To relax, unwind, and have fun? That's probably even more important after a day where I rode out an 8.0 earthquake, even if it was simulated ;)

Rant against MyPoints

followed by vindication.

MyPoints, for those who may not be aware, is an online spam program where you sign up to get spammed and you click the links in the emails for points and after clicking a bazillion links you finally earn enough points to get a $5 Toys 'r' Us gift card. (Actually it's not that many emails, and the rewards are pretty decent, but unless you shop online at their affiliate's sites don't expect to be getting a gift card every week, or every other week, for that matter.)

I've been a MyPoints Member for quite a few years now (maybe 8-10?) and I've happily clicked through their emails and slowly accrued my MyPoints...which the wife cashes in for Gift Cards and spends, all without my knowledge. Meanwhile I continue to happily click through their emails and accrue more MyPoints, and so on. The wife also has a MyPoints account and she probably signed our son up, too. Nothing wrong with that, except there's probably an age requirement to be a MyPoints Member. Meh.

Last this week I clicked one of the MyPoints emails in my Inbox and as the page loaded I returned to the MyPoints folder, deleted the first email then clicked the link in the second. When the 'offer' pages loaded, instead of seeing their 'offer' I was presented with a message that said "Account closed due to violation of Terms of Service".


Ok, I knew what that meant, but still. Huh? What violation? What did I do that violated their Terms of Service?

So I emailed them asking "What did I do?", and the response I got back appeared to be a simple Copy & Paste from the company manual, listed several possible ways to violate their Terms of Service, and didn't really tell me what I did wrong.

So I emailed them again and said, "Dude! Skip the copy & paste and just tell me what I did wrong."

This time they replied and said, "Dude! Are you fucking stupid or what? You got multiple accounts, and that's some bogus shit, dude!"

Ok, so they didn't say that exactly, but that was the gist of what they said.

So I emailed them back, again, and said, "Dude! WTF? Multiple accounts, dude? What multiple accounts?"

Ok, so I didn't say that either, but I did mention that can find almost 100 people with my name, 20 in California alone, and that when I tried to become a member at the downtown L.A. Library I had to use my full name because there were two people with my name already in the system. And I had to use my full middle name - not just middle initial - because the 'me' who had used his middle initial (to differentiate from the first 'me' ) also had the same middle initial as me! (Bizarre or what?)

I added that not only did I know of at least 5 people with my name in the Greater Los Angeles area, but that my son and I also share the same name (as we do with my father, his father, my great grandfather, and so on, for at least 10 generations as far as I know) and my son still lives at home (he's still a bit young to think of moving out) and that he probably has a MyPoints account just as my wife and I do. So if you're claiming I have multiple accounts because you're seeing two MyPoints accounts with the same name at the same address, I concluded, that would be me and my son.

I never heard back from them, but this morning I had a couple of MyPoints emails in my InBox. They were the same as all the other MyPoints offers I've received over the years. When I clicked them the page with the offer came up, rather than an Alert message that my account had been closed due to violation of Terms of Service.

Mondo radical, dude! Score one for the little guy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


Rode the bus all the way home, made myself an Iced Coffee when I got there, then settled down to play a bit of Super Mario Galaxy 2. I realize with the Mario games that it's tradition that each 'chapter' be called a World, and that each World is then broken up into 8-10 levels, but it makes no sense to maintain that naming policy with SMG, especially when each World contains multiple Planets, and in some cases a Galaxy or two.

The boy joined me on the second controller and SMG multiplay proved remarkably more cooperative than the new Super Mario Bros. game, except for a couple of occasions where he would freeze a moving critter just as I was leaping into the air, and instead of coming down on top of its head I'd find myself landing in front of it and losing some health. Still, together, we managed to beat World 3, including Baby Bowser. The bunny read his dialog before he does battle with Mario, and the haughty tone she gave him as she read cracked the boy and I up.

After dinner I took out the trash and the bunny wanted to come with me, then she wanted to play frisbee, then she wanted to ride her bike, so on went the helmet and up and down the drive she rode. After several laps she started showing off by standing up while pedaling. She's 5 1/2 years old, never had training wheels, and she's now standing up pedaling. I freaked out at first but after she showed no sign of wiping out I calmed down then called out to Liz to come and watch (so she could freak out too, which she did ;).

Liz went back inside but the Bunny and I stayed outside until the sun had set and it got too dark to ride. Tonight's bedtime story was a Christmas gift from my older sister, "Josephine Wants to Dance", and near the end when Josephine was being applauded for a successful perfomance, I noticed several familiar faces in the crowd. I asked the bunny if she recognized anyone but she didn't, at least not until I pulled out her copy of Pete the Sheep-Sheep. Then she noticed the wombat sitting next to the dogs, pointed to him and excitedly exclaimed, "And there's him! From the book with Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday!" (aka Diary of a Wombat.)

Now it's 10:30 and I have no desire to play WoW. Although I have been contemplating whether or not I can level another Paladin to 70 within the few weeks I have left, because I'd like to see if I can Tank UK with a properly Def-geared Tankadin, or if my Tanking efforts will once again end in frustration.

What I really want to do right now though is find my copy of Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island. I'm a little over half-way through it and it's the perfect size to read on the bus, but I've gone and set it down somewhere and now I can't find it. Grr.

I bet as soon as I post this and the wife reads it she'll say, "Why didn't you tell me you were looking for your book. Here it is."

* Edit - Yep, she did.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Liz picked me up from the Bus Station, I dropped her and the boy at basketball practice, took the Bunny to the MIL's (who would take her to piano practice then keep her for the night), then returned to Liz and the boy with time to spare to watch him run a few drills and even sink a few baskets. Not bad for a kid who has only played a handful of games. After practice we went to the market and got a few things for dinner (and the next couple of days' dinners) before returning home.

After dinner I logged into WoW and decided to try Tanking Utgarde Keep on my Death Knight. Like my Paladin I'd Tanked my way through the Burning Crusade's Instances on my Frost-spec'd DK, but unlike with my Paladin (who bombed in UK) I'd picked up my DK a complete set of lvl 70 Cobalt Armor, so with a few +Defense enchants I was now Def Capped for UK (490@70) with a shade over 500 Defense. After party Buffs I also had over 14,000HP, which should have been more than enough to successfully Tank UK.

On the first Pull we managed to grab both the left and right packs at the same time. I didn't intend to do that (and I'm not sure I did) but I quickly picked up all the Mobs and held Aggro. My Health went down a spot, then back up to full, Mobs were dying and I thought we were doing alright, then I died. One second I had a full Health bar, the next second I was dead on the floor. Followed seconds later by the rest of the Group.

WTF??? was the general sentiment expressed as we ran back in.

The Healer was copping some flack from the DPS but as they were a Druid Healer (my favorite) I stuck up for him. To their credit everyone laughed it off as we ran back in, rebuffed and continued on.

"Pull more," someone said. (There's always one Go! Go! Go! More! More! More! Faster! Faster! Faster! person in every group)

"Like that first Pull?" I asked.

"More than that :D" was the reply

Other than the two almost side-by-side packs, for the most part the first few packs in UK are spread out, so I decided to pull one group deeper into the Instance in search of the next Pack.

"Stop moving them!" came the indignant cry, probably from DPS channeling an AoE spell on the spot we'd just vacated.

"I was looking for another group," I said.

"Finish off the ones you have first," was the response. Some people are never happy.

We got to the first Boss who is preceded by 4 linked Mobs. No problem. I ran in, picked up Aggro, and as I saw someone say, "Pull them back!"...I died.

Naturally we wiped again.

As we ran back in it was stated that this pack Bombs, a lot, so with only one ranged DPS I needed to pull them back to the doorway and Tank them there, away from the Boss.

We got back to the pack, rebuffed, and I pulled and began moving towards the doorway. I didn't make it. Somehow I died yet again. Even though I'd come in more prepared than I had with my Paladin this was still turning into a repeat of my first attempt at Tanking UK. Seriously. WTF?!

Before we could regroup and try again the Druid dropped group, as did two of the DPS. The Hunter took his chances and stuck with me. Wise man. The Instance queue is shorter for Tanks. We requeued but it would still be several minutes before we would get another group.

I took the time to look through the DPS meter, which includes Damage taken as well as that dished out. As expected, being a Tank I'd taken the brunt of the damage. The Paladin and Warrior DPS had each taken around 15,000 which really isn't much (and could be explained away by damage taken during the Wipes), while the Hunter had barely been scratched. IMO that meant I'd done a pretty good job of holding Aggro, which meant maybe, just maybe, the Healer had not done his job properly.

It's not that I was looking for someone else to blame; I was trying to work out why we had wiped, if it was something I'd done (or not done), and if so, how could I prevent it from happening again.

So with the available evidence appearing to point to the Healer (and thus out of my control) I was somewhat mollified, although I still didn't like having Wiped three times before we even got to the first Boss.

After waiting for several minutes we finally got a new Healer (another Druid! Hooray!), and two more DPS, including a 72 Warrior who had signed up to be Tank or DPS, and expressed surprise to find himself assigned to DPS rather than Tank.

"I'll Tank," I said, "I'm spec'd Frost so my DPS sucks."

Back in we went, up to the first Boss's room where 3 of the 4 Mobs still remained. We rebuffed, went in, I pulled the group back towards the door, and died. Again.

You have got to be fucking JOKING!!!

I wasn't pissed off; I was just very, very confused. I had more than enough Health. I was Def Capped, and although DK's can't wield Shields my combined avoidance, dodge, parry, etc., is pushing 40%. I'd been backed up by Druid Healers (my favorite flavor), and in spite of all this we'd just wiped for the fourth time.

Fail once, shame on the Healer. Fail twice (well, four times), shame on me.

I just didn't understand what I'd done wrong. I wasn't a Noob. I'd successfully Tanked my way through BC's Instances so I knew what I was doing. I'd picked up a full set of Tank Armor and was Crit Immune. I had plenty of Health, or thought I did. And yet I'd still bombed in a spectacularly horrible way.

As we went back in, without saying a word, the 72 Warrior switched to Sword & Board, made the pull on the 3 Mobs and began Tanking them. In his Tank gear he had 15K Health, which not that much more than my own, and yet he did fine. He not only did fine but before the 3 Mobs were down he'd also pulled the Boss and was Tanking him, too! And with that I was relegated to DPS for the rest of the Run.

It was very demoralizing. I wanted to Tank not just because Tanks have shorter queues, but because there is a shortage of Tanks and I've always played DPS. Not wanting a repeat of my Paladin's first foray into UK I'd taken all the steps I thought necessary to successfully Tank the Run, and yet I'd still not been able to do it.

With the Run over I was not in the mood to play so I logged out and actually turned off my PC. Before 8:30 even! Incredible! With the boy almost finished his homework (from summer school) I decided to watch Shaun of the Dead. Sure it's Rated R, but he's seen Zombieland and Ninja Assassin, and by now he's probably heard all the curse words at school (although it is an English movie so there were probably a couple of new ones ;)

After the opening scene I kept trying to place Kate Ashfield, who plays Shaun's girlfriend Liz. It wasn't because I've watched Shaun of the Dead a few times before. I knew I'd seen Kate in something else, but what?

It wasn't until after the Zombie outbreak, when Shaun has gathered together his Mum, his Step-dad, and Liz and her two friends, that I finally realized where I'd seen Kate before. Kate plays Mzzz Hardy (as Richie Twat, aka Rik Mayall, refers to her) in Guest House Paradiso. When I finally realized this I was even more amused to recall that Bill Nighy, who plays Philip, Shaun's Step-dad - but you probably know him better as Davy Jones from the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, or Viktor from Underworld - is also in Guest House Paradiso where he plays Mr. Johnson, aka, Mz. Hardy's boyfriend.

In other words the actors who play Shaun's girlfriend and Shaun's Step-dad are a couple in Guest House Paradiso. Small world :)

Monday, July 12, 2010


Got home a little before 4pm, caught up on some Blogs, watched some Youtube videos that don't stream at work (so I can't watch them on my lunch break), then got sucked into an episode of The Closer where Brenda had to 'close' a case against a female Detective who had accused her husband of beating her, a husband who was later shot & killed by a police officer who responded to a 911 distress call the Detective placed.

After Brenda got her man (or in this case her woman) we went to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory (had some Gift Cards burning a hole in Liz's pocket), got a free book at Borders for the Bunny (for reading 10 books since the start of summer break), then bummed around the Mall until closing time.

Came home, got the kids ready for bed, read some more Blogs, and now it's Bedtime for Bonzo...or something like that ;)

Once more unto the breach we go again.

The reason given?

WoW's Terms of Use, S10 "Security of Login Information" makes me "responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of the Login Information". I stated that as RealID was an Opt-Out program and not Opt-In, I felt this amounted to unauthorized disclosure of the Login Information for which Blizzard had made me responsible, and so I no longer wished to continue my subscription.

I now have a few more weeks to play, until August 7th, and then my WoW subscription will once more lapse.

How much time???

Part of becoming my own parent through WoW's parental controls was being able to request a copy of the amount of time played/signed in to my WoW account.

I know I play a lot, especially when I have days off/weekends and I don't need to do any Dailies (Weeklies?) to grind Spousal Rep. Today I got confirmation of how much I play, being a record of the amount of time I'd played on my account last week, the number of minutes logged in, and what time I'd logged out.

On the 4th of July (the first day of my report) we joined friends for barbecue dinner and fireworks so I logged off at 3:50pm after playing for just 85 minutes. After we got home I logged in again and played for 160 minutes before calling it a night/morning at 1:50am. Because the 4th was a Sunday and I get all the Federal Holidays I was off on Monday the 5th, so logging off at ten-to-two on this particular Sunday night/Monday morning is not that big of a deal.

What's funny about my play time on Monday is I had 3 session that each lasted almost exactly 100 minutes. Two at 99 and one at 98. Combined with the evening's play session I racked up a little over 7 hours for the day.

Tuesday I played a much more moderate 2 hours (literally. The report says 121 minutes. Ok, 2 hours and 1 minute. Happy now?), logging out at 11:25pm. Wednesday I played just 1 hour (or 61 minutes for you nit-pickers) and logged off at 10:43pm.

But Thursday?

The wife called me on my way home and said the boy had basketball practice, the bunny had gymnastics, and afterward she was going to the Gym and wouldn't be home until after 6pm. She confirmed that the kids would be staying with her parents (no need to make dinner) so I rode the bus all the way home (instead of her picking me up at the Bus Station) where I emptied the dish washer then reloaded it, picked up dog poop (from the backyard!), took out the trash, vacuumed the stairs, then sat down to play at approx. 4:30, logging out 110 mins later at 6:20 (probably when the wife got home). I wouldn't log in again for another 3 hours, but when I did I racked up another 200 minutes between 9:30pm and 1am when I called it a night (or the wife called me to bed ;) So between 4:30pm and 1am, a period of 8 1/2 hours, I played for 310 minutes, being 5 hours, 10 minutes (for the mathematically challenged).

Friday was another day off (yes, I worked just 3 days last week, flanked by two 3-day weekends) but the kids stayed with their grandparents while Liz and I spent a lazy day at home. I actually only played twice this day. I logged off at 7:07pm after playing for just 572 minutes, (a little over 9 1/2 hours :P), but it was clearly an idle-out while grabbing something to eat because I logged in again just minutes later and would stay logged in until quarter-to-one, Saturday morning. Two sessions, one at 572 minutes, one at 333 minutes, for fifteen fucking hours.

I got up Saturday and despite attending my son's basketball game, among other activities (such as shopping with the wife), racked up another 7 hours in-game.

Total time played for the week (thanks in no small part to Friday's 15-hour marathon session)? 2,498 minutes, or 41 hours, 38 minutes.

With the extra days off and the kids spending much of their time with their grandparents this was not a typical week, but I'd still expect to play for at least 20 hours in any given week. Let's see what this week brings. Will I let this inordinate amount of in-game time affect this week's play time? Or will I still play for 20 hours, if not more?

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Facebook, WoW, and RealID

"Facebook is the only (big) place where people interact, play games and spend time by their real name, not behind some avatar..." - Okrane S. commenter on Spink's Blog

Except for many of those 'games', Zynga's games in particular, you need at least 501 friends WHO ALSO PLAY if you want to be 'successful' in them.

In Mafia Wars, if you don't have 501+ people in your Gang, you're guaranteed to get attacked by other players. Having 501 (or more) doesn't mean you won't be attacked either, but having less than 501 means you certainly will.

So you have two choices:
You can spam the message boards asking hundreds of people to add you as a Friend while you also add as many new 'Friends' as you can;
Or you create a second Games-only account where you don't use your real name or picture;

I did the first but slowly grew frustrated at having my wall filled with countless messages from all the games all these Friends-I-hadn't-met were playing. The final straw came when my brother-in-law posted a status update commenting on his broken foot, I asked what had happened, he said he'd crashed his car a week ago...and hadn't I seen his status update?

No. I hadn't. Because my FB Wall had been filled with the random crap of countless strangers. (In my defense I do live in another country, 8,000 miles away.)

So I pruned my Friends List and went the second route, creating a Games-only FB account using a fake name and picture, and started over.

With the speed at which you can level to Cap in WoW these days then Epic-out your character via the LFD Tool, starting over is not the set back many might think. Sure, there's the $100+ to purchase WoW, BC, & LK all over again, but by starting over and using prepaid Game Cards you can give yourself a brand new name, which seems to be the concern of many. So that's one way to bypass RealID.

While creating a fake FB account (and likewise a fake WoW account) may be against their Terms of Use (if they even have one, and I can't be stuffed looking), there are thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of people with Game-only accounts, accounts created by people who didn't use their real name and/or picture. For the most part it's easy to tell if it's a Games-only account, especially if their profile pic is a centerfold, or a graphic from Mafia Wars, Farmville, etc. In my case, I trawled a random guy's pic off the 'net, gave him a name, and even created a fake profile/history for him. What's really funny (not 'Ha Ha' funny) is he gets well wishers posting on his Wall on his 'birthday'. But he doesn't exist. He's just an avatar. My avatar. My avatar which I use to play Facebook games.

That's what Facebook and Blizzard need to understand: Many, many, MANY people do NOT want to use their real name when playing computer games, and their reasons for doing so are numerous, varied, and quite often valid.

RealID has set the 'net ablaze. Many are angry about it, some blasé, and some creative types have produced humorous responses (dryly ironic, but amusing nonetheless).

I liken this to those who say, "If you have nothing to hide, why can't the police come in and search your house? I'd let them search my house if they wanted to."

Fine. Let them search your house then, because even though I have nothing to hide, that doesn't mean I'm prepared to let the police poke around in my private belongings. I value my privacy, thank you very much, so I'll share what I choose to share and when given the choice, I'll keep private what I'd prefer remain private.

This is why I enabled Parental Controls on my account last night and deactivated RealID, or I would have, if it wasn't already unchecked once I got in.

By coincidence my 6-month sub expired yesterday and my Mum is coming to visit for several weeks next month so when I renewed WoW last night, rather than buying another 6-month block at $12.99/month, I just bought 1 month at $14.99. I don't intend to play during August so why pay for it? Sure, July cost me $2 more but I'll save $13 in August so by that reasoning I'm $11 ahead. I need to cancel that 1-month recurring Sub before August because I don't want to continue paying $15/month so when I cancel it, in protest against RealID, I intend to state it as the reason why I'm doing so. Who knows, with LOTRO apparently going free-to-play in a couple of months, maybe I won't even renew WoW after Mum leaves.

And in the meantime? I still have both Mario Galaxy games to complete, along with Zelda: Twilight Princess, Muramasa, Sky Crawlers, Zack & Wiki...the list goes on. So many unbeaten Nintendo games. I'm getting slack in my old age ;)

Monday, July 05, 2010

AFK Fun in the Blood Furnace

I've been leveling up a Death Knight Tank (just for something to do) and this weekend I did numerous Ramparts and Blood Furnace Runs trying to get either Hellreaver or the Warsong Howling Axe, but neither of them would drop. (Which is a blessing in disguise, because it also meant I didn't have to lose them to a Ninja Hunter). There are a couple of other low 60s weapons which are more easily obtainable, but none that could really be considered an upgrade as far as Tanking goes.

For the most part the PUGs have gone reasonably smoothly. There have been few (if any) cases of Go! Go! Go! and while I'm still getting the hang of DK Tanking, learning what I can (and cannot) safely Pull, the Runs are also going reasonably quickly. While I'm not doubtful of my Healer's ability to keep my alive, I do want to keep the Pulls to a size with which I'm comfortable holding Aggro. Which would you rather: The Tank play it safe & take 20-25 minutes for a Wipe-free Run? Or you drop out because they're going too slow, then have to endure the 30-minute debuff? (Sure, you could hang in there for 15 minutes to avoid the Deserter Debuff, but in just 5-10 more minutes the Run will be over so why not stick it out? DPS are easily replaced anyway. It's no skin off our nose if you bail on us, first 15-minutes or not.)

On this one particular Blood Furnace Run we lost one of our DPS on the wave of Orcs preceding Broggok (or perhaps between Wave #4 and Broggok). No problem, DPS are easily replaced. A Hunter zoned in as I grabbed Aggro on WoW's equivalent of a Beholder and 20 seconds later he went down, dropping the Legion Blunderbuss. Everyone Greed rolled except the Hunter...who didn't roll at all.

I was in the middle of typing "Hunter, Need roll on the Gun if it's an upgrade" when our Priest said, "WTF Why is the Hunter following me?"

I stopped typing and brought up Recount. The Hunter's name was conspicuously absent. He'd zoned in (something you can't do without clicking 'Accept' and immediately AFK-Followed the Priest). I deleted what I'd just typed and replaced it with "No sign of Hunter in Recount". Someone else threw up their Recount showing it wasn't just me; the Hunter was AFK-Following the Priest, and had been AFK throughout that entire Boss fight. (With all due respect, he was a NElf Hunter)

Right-Click Hunter. Vote to Kick. And? This player cannot be kicked for 12 more minutes.

I announced this to the group.

"Just keeping going and we'll kick before the Boss," someone said. That appeared to be the general consensus so off we went, 4-manning Blood Furnace. Fortunately Death Knights are OP so it's not like we were wanting for DPS.

In the room immediately before Keli'dan we decided to try and get the still-AFK Hunter killed. It should have been easy as the Felguard Annihilators in this room often ignore the Aggro table and attack party members at random. It was working too, and I was silently cheering as the Hunter's lifebar started dropping, and then...he Potted. Or Feigned to drop Aggro then Bandaged, or something. But his Health shot back up and just like that he was running all over the place and no longer AFK-Following the Priest, who in an ironic turn of events was the only casualty of the fight.

WTF? Did the Hunter Heal? someone asked.

He's pulling the Boss!!! someone else yelled.

And indeed he was.

The Hunter had run into Keli'dan's room and aggroed the Warlocks, starting the encounter.

Well sure, you can do that, I said to myself, as I watched the Hunter run back out of Keli'dan's room, Warlocks in tow, but good luck taking the Boss down with no Healer or Tank. (I'd moved back to the far wall and was having no part of this fight.)

The Hunter was also not stopping to finish what he'd started and was running back the way we'd come. With no additional incoming damage the Warlocks eventually reset and ran back into Keli'dan's room.


"Running back to the start to pick up our Healer," I announced in Party chat. "Don't want to risk stray Pats or respawns."

Also need 5 more minutes until we can kick this bastard Hunter, I whispered the Priest.

The Timer was ticking down but the Priest hadn't zoned back in. I wondered if he was delaying, hanging around outside. I decided to give him a valid excuse for 'wasting time'.

"We're in the top Instance," I typed. "The one up the ramp and along the wall."

"Oh. Never mind," I added, as the Priest laughed and zoned in beside me.

As we passed through Broggok's room the Hunter's 15-minute Immunity Timer finally expired and within seconds he was Kicked and almost as quickly another Hunter! No!

This one was a Dwarf though, so that was alright ;) He also responded when I mentioned we were on the final Boss, thus confirming he wasn't AFK-Following us. I did a quick Inspection of his gear and he had my Axe! :( Actually that was a good thing, if it would just drop already! (Side note. An earlier Inspection of the AFK-Leech had revealed he was wielding the Heirloom Bow Feel free to interpret that how you will.)

Into Keli'dan's room we went. The Warlocks went down. Keli'dan went down. And...still no Axe :( That made five Blood Furnace Runs, and Orion only knows how many Ramparts Runs, and still no weapon upgrade.

But after all that (& questing to boot) I'm now also 65 and thus able to attempt the Ring of Blood chain in Nagrand, completion of which will reward me with the Honed Voidaxe. Finally! A(nother) weapon fit for a Death Knight! I just need a group, or a couple of über friends, and the Honed Voidaxe will be mine. Oh yes! It will.