Thursday, August 31, 2006

My WoW-Life Crisis

This entire blog is me thinking “out loud” – as a lot of blogs seem to be. It therefore has no real story or point except letting me crystalise my thoughts.

It’s been seven or eight months now since I started playing World of Warcraft, and the game has eaten up a large chunk of my spare time. I have a night elf druid at 60, a night elf hunter at 48, and assorted other toons (aka characters) at levels below 30. I try to avoid thinking about how much time I’ve poured into this game, though I have a game mod that would let me add it up if I wanted to.

My druid, Swiftspring, is now at a level where I’m part of what’s called the “end game” – where the level caps and you generally stop the solo questing and minor group instances (aka dungeons); instead, you start to participate in huge 20 or 40 person raids into bigger and more complex instances where the wandering monsters take everyone to kill and the bosses require complex strategies – and, when killed, drop ZOMFGEPIX (epic) items of armour and weapons that have the potential to make your toon better.

I say “the potential”, because there are lots of character classes in the game, and not every bit of equipment is going to be suited to your character. Also, even if the item is perfect for you, you have to first win it over others of your class and/or other classes that can use the same item. For example, if an uber staff that does damage and healing drops (for example the Staff of Dominance from Molten Core), odds are that not only will my druid be interested, but so might the priests, warlocks and mages.

It can mean you do a lot of runs and get nothing for it. Your compensation is generally a better shot at getting the item in future (less competition, more points earned for attendance) and the fun of the run itself.

And that’s where my WoW-life crisis sets in. Because I’ve discovered (and this will not be a surprise to anyone, but it’s disappointed the hell out of me) that, the bigger the group of people you’re running around with, the statistically greater chance you have of encountering a dickhead. Or, worse, a group of dickheads who have banded together to look out for one another and make life hell for others who aren’t part of their little circle.

Myself and M. recently had cause to leave our old guild (aka group of people who get together to do instances) after a conflict that had been escalating for months exploded into nastiness. M. had discovered another guild that had just started up and was looking for other raiding toons (aka level 60 characters interested in end game instances) whose players weren’t dickheads. Sounded awesome, so we joined.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a group of people with no dickheads present, and even if there was, any method of communication that isn’t face to face has great scope for people to misunderstand one another. And it’s amazing how many people don’t actually ask for clarification or approach someone if they hear something that shocks them; they usually just bitch about it behind the person’s back. And that’s how these in-guild feuds start.

So. Having realised all of this, I figure that there may come a point soon where my patience runs out. At that point, I have three options.

One is to find another guild, but I am not very excited at the idea of developing a reputation for guild-hopping, because eventually no one will take you.

Another is to find another server – Blizzard offers a transfer service where you pay a fee (everything costs money) and they will transfer one of the toons on your account to another server. Yes, one – meaning I’d have to pay a silly amount to transfer all of them, or just pick a couple and then delete and recreate the rest (meaning all of the time I have spent on them would be lost). The advantage to this approach is that I can escape the baggage of my current server and never have to look at people who have pissed me off again, but the disadvantage is that there will inevitably be dickheads on the other server too (there always are). The other disadvantage, of course, is that the majority of people I’ve “met” on my current server are awesome, and I would lose touch with them too. :(

The third option, and the one I may ultimately go with, is that I hear the new D&D on line game has lower sized end game instances – 15 to 25 people rather than 20 to 40. The percentage of dickheads per group may be the same, but the actual occurrence should be lower.

Anyway. I haven’t decided to do any of these things yet. The difficulties so far in my new guild seem to be of the misunderstandings gone wrong variety (I hope) rather than the dickhead variety, and, again, most of them seem to be awesome and lots of fun to hang out and kill stuff with. Part of the problem is that M and I are the outsiders in a group of mates, and we really feel that way – but it’d be silly for me to pull the plug without actually giving it time for them to regard us as part of the gang.

Also, in November or so a World of Warcraft expansion pack is due to come out, called “The Burning Crusade”. It will increase the level cap to 70 (meaning weeks or more likely months of questing and leveling, which is the part of the game I enjoy the most on account of how I can do it solo or in a small group of people I like), and apparently the new level 70 instances will have a maximum raid size of 25.

I guess Blizzard have learned that groups of 40 aren’t really sustainable given the dickhead factor too. :\

Monday, August 28, 2006

Paperclip, You've Been Warned...

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting You know you have been experiencing technical difficulties with Microsoft Office programs for too long when you start to contemplate grabbing a paperclip from the drawer, holding it up in front of the monitor, and slowly twisting and bending it till it is a deformed and broken mess… all in the hope of driving a point home regarding consequences to the bored looking "helper" paperclip that, well, isn't.

I'm just saying.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hang the Information Highwayman!

I was just Googling for the "Dr Seuss Technical Manual" poem that did the rounds on the internet a few years ago. I found out that it was a chopped up version of a poem called "A Child's Guide to Using Grandpa's Computer" by Gene Ziegler, which you can find here.

His reply poem to this theft (taken from that same link) tickled my fancy, so I am replicating it here for my own amusement. :) (In order to reduce the risk of earning a poem of my own, I must emphasise that I DIDN'T WRITE THIS! I am nowhere near that clever!)

When a party writes a poem and he puts it on the net,
He writes for love not money, and he takes what he can get.
He writes to bring you pleasure, that's the nature of the game.
He writes for recognition and he's sure to sign his name.
I wrote the poem in question, but this will make you laugh,
the version circulating, is my work cut in half!
Someone didn't like it, I guess that's a cinch.
It passed around the internet, until it met the Grinch.

I've never met the miscreant who edited my work,
but when I close my eyes and try, I can see the jerk!
The eyes are tiny pixels, close together you will find,
they're only separated by his narrow little mind.

His fingernails are dirty as he types on sticky keys,
He lurks around the network and takes whatever he sees.
He edits, chops, appropriates, and strips away my name,
A scoundrel on the internet, a lowdown dirty shame.

I'd like to find this filcher, so I'll offer this reward.
I'll give away my Mac SE, throw in the power cord.
If you will help me track him down and hang his internets
This information highwayman deserves what'er he gets.

An if we fail to find him, I'll hit him with a curse.
His hard disk will start spinning counter-clockwise in reverse.
His screen will start to flicker, and his mouse will chase a hearse.
I'll teach that hacking larcenist to tamper with my verse!

If you want to see my uncut work, take heart, it's still alive
It's in NetGuide, page eighty-six, for March of ninety-five.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

So I did a new picture...

The smaller view doesn't seem to do it justice though; people are complaining about imaginary black lines. :(


Monday, August 21, 2006


As well as the perennial neglect of my blog, I've also neglected my digital art in the past month. The last picture I completed, called Rhapsodie, I uploaded to my devantART account over a month ago, and I haven't done a new serious piece since.

You can see Rhapsodie here:


As an aside, the character is inspired by a low level warlock toon I have on World of Warcraft (which is, of course, the reason I've neglected my art - how pretentious does that sound? - in the first place!). I got her name from a jar of blueberry jam - it was the brand name, I think. I presume it's French. :)

In the past two months, however, I did have a very brief foray into the world of on line comics - again, all World of Warcraft inspired. I doubt I will do anymore of them at this stage, but if you're curious, you can see the series below:


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Definition of Helplessness...

… is a visually impaired person whose glasses get broken.

It's a truism from horror movies and "real world" fantasy novels the world over, and on the weekend I demonstrated that it was true when my glasses frame fell apart in my hands as I was cleaning the lenses.

I wasn't being particularly rough with the glasses; this is the second time those particular frames have broken on me (the first time they were replaced under warranty), and they are the first frames I've ever had break in my life. Sure, I've had lenses scratched in the playground when bullies stomp on my glasses, but I've never had them snap before.

Of course, this happened just as the shops closed on Saturday afternoon, and none of the optometrists or glasses stores are open on a Sunday. This meant two days of headaches because I was alternating between trying to see inside at night with prescription sunglasses on (big eyestrain) and trying to wear a really old pair of glasses I had whose script was so bad that I couldn't see clearly more than a foot in front of my head (also big eyestrain).

Fortunately yesterday an optometrist was able to solder the frame back together as a temporary fix, and I've ordered a new pair of frames that hopefully won't be as badly manufactured/designed/whatever as this pair is.

The whole experience was very traumatic. I will never laugh at comedy skits relating to people who can't see properly ever again. :(

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Continental Shift

Well, it’s finally happening.

More than six months after the original job offer (I originally blogged about it here, on 13th January), I am FINALLY leaving. Tomorrow is my last day in this job.

I know I said in the original blog that they were trying to organise a gradual moving away from this job, but quite frankly I never anticipated it’d be quite … this … gradual. I have seen continents shift faster than this process has been.

In fact, the interview panel I have been on over the past few days is actually for my current position, which feels sort of weird. At least I know the subject matter, I guess.

I expect I should feel nervous or something. Mostly I am just relieved. And dreading the inevitable calls for me to come back over here and help out – they aren’t likely to have a replacement doing my old job for a month, I’d say. I feel sorry for one of my colleagues, who is probably going to get dumped with most of my work as well as her own. It makes me feel guilty.

On the bright side I’ve had some very nice feedback from management as part of the exit process, about how awesome I am and how they hate to lose me but understand why I am leaving, blah blah blah. Some of it was so glowing I felt a bit uncomfortable; I am sure I squirmed like a little kid in my chair.

I wonder if I will receive a novelty size farewell card? Or if there will be a farewell morning tea or something? If there is, I hope I don’t cry. My previous supervisor cried when they had a surprise morning tea for her on her departure. I had to go and fetch tissues.

Wish me luck.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?