Friday, July 23, 2010

An Ounce of Prevention

Hi, Kat here!

Recently we had a couple of guildies that got their accounts hacked, items lost, characters deleted and transferred, badges spent and, weirdly enough, moved to remote locations. One guildie, in particular, was the guild leader, which also compromised the guild bank. Fortunately, while a lot of items were removed and supposedly sold, they were also things no one really used or needed, so it was nothing we couldn’t live without for the time being.

One of the more interesting quotes I heard from someone, someone who wasn’t one of the hacked, was “NOW I’m going to get an authenticator”. Why is it that people are so bothered by that tiny little electronic device that they can’t be bothered to get one and apply it BEFORE they need it? It’s like saying, “You’re pregnant? Let’s start using a condom.”

We had another guildie who DID get an authenticator and, even having waited impatiently for it to arrive, didn’t apply it for approximately 3 weeks, because the directions were complicated. I said, really? I think it took me all of 5 minutes to go to the various websites and apply this or that and bam, done. I think what finally worked, talking him into finally doing it, was reminding him that he got a pet for doing it. Same person, let me point out, who went and bought Lil XT the same day it was released. Hey, if it takes a pet for you to help secure your account, so be it.

But why? Why are people like this? People will spend money to move a character from one realm to another before they’ll spend a fraction of that on an authenticator. I’m not saying that having one is going to absolutely totally and completely secure your account from any hacking attempts whatsoever. But it is going to prevent a lot. Condoms aren’t 100% effective but the medical field is never going to say don’t bother using one.

You can tell your friends and family you’re as smart as you want. You can say you don’t go to “phishy” websites and you don’t give out your account information and you are super careful about what you do and you never DL stuff and whatever. The other guildie hacked was the IT manager for his company, who cautions and berates others for not being more careful with their online activities.

It’s true, what they say. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Would $6 have been worth the time, effort, mental peace of mind plus a really cute in game pet that these guys lost? One guildie lost his main, favorite toon – an 80th level hunter – who was transferred off his account and to another server. He also lost all the gear on his raiding healer, and we had a raid that night that we obviously had to cancel. Plus he sat on hold for the Billing department for over an hour. And he was livid. If you ask him now, yes, $6 would have been a very low price to pay to avoid all that. But if you’d have asked him last week, $6 wasn’t worth it when he was saving up for some other, temporary, in game service.

This is a cautionary tale. Will everyone be hacked? No. Does everyone care about their account? I hope so. Do you have to spend real money for account security? No, actually, you really don’t. A lot of people go for years being extremely smart, lucky, or both, and never have an issue. But sometimes luck works against you and everything falls apart in a matter of hours. Whether you choose to spend the money for another layer of protection is up to you, of course, but it really comes down to how much is the cost upfront worth the cost after the fact. Consider not only the initial outlay but also the manpower hours as well as mental tranquility.

Plus, cool in game pet!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dear Blizzard/Activision

You can accomplish accountability by requiring a permanent UNCHANGEABLE alias that you can associate a SINGLE character to without requiring people to use their first and last name. Trolls would still be forced to ALWAYS use the same alias (without creating trial accounts or posting from multiple accounts, which will happen) and nobody will be required to use their first and last name. See? Problem solved. You're welcome.

Edit: Blizzard has announced a reversal of the policy. The link to the source article isn't active but more information is here:

Thank you, Blizard, for listening to your customers.

Edit again: The link to the actual source post:

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hello Kitty!

No, this post is not an endorsement for cute Japanese toys. This post is to talk about a nearly forgotten alt I've had sitting around forever, a druid. The poor neglected thing was level 36 and had no talents due to several talent shifts through various patches. I've been suffering from some pre-expansion burnout so I thought 'what the hell', found a decent feral leveling spec on the web, and started leveling her again.

Wow. Even though I keep hearing that feral leveling does not really get good until 40, I immediately started having a blast. Forget the bear (even though it has it's uses!), I'm in love with the cat. In some ways, I feel like I'm cheating even though mobs are getting a little harder to kill as I go along. She's level 45 (almost 46) now after just a few days, and I think I may have possibly found my new main character.

Unfortunately, this does not bode well for Esh. Granted the upcoming Cataclysm changes for Paladins may change that, but the upcoming changes for Druids are especially compelling. Of course, there's nothing that says I can not level more than one character to 85 as well, especially if I like them. We'll see what happens, for now I'll be clawing my way up to 80 with the druid.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Curious about Esh and Kat?

Are you (and who could blame you if you were)? Now you can ask us questions via Formspring.

Exciting, huh?

Long time no post

Okay, so I'm a bad blogger. I thought I should at least update here. Kat and I are plugging away weekly on our podcast. Some weeks the numbers are awesome, some shows and topics fall really flat. I guess that's the way of things in the podcast realm. The majority of our listeners are World of Warcraft players. It works out since that's the game Kat and I both play more than anything else (even non-MMO games) but, if we talk about anything that's not WoW related, our listeners drop dramatically for that week. Ah well, what can you do?

A little update from my previous post on drama. I switched guilds. It was the best thing to do for myself. I felt bad leaving Kat behind but, ultimately, I am much happier where I am. So where did I end up? In a guild I've had toons in for a couple years. I don't know why I didn't think of them to begin with. Even if I left the game for months on end, they always had a friendly greeting for me when I would sign in. When I heard they were low on healers, my choice was made. It's worked out very well, so far. Their raid schedule is absolutely perfect for my "casually serious" gaming attitude, and their laid back attitudes make raiding a real treat.

Now if I could just talk Kat into joining me...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Recently we had a bit of drama in my guild. When I say 'a bit' I am understating, naturally. This was not just drama, it was the 'Dumb and Dumber' of the guild drama world. I was not present when it happened, but I am floored by what happened and just how stupid it all was.

I have debated several times writing about it here. Am I just starting my own brand of drama if I do? Who will I be hurting if I do? The bottom line is, I have got to talk about this or I may explode. The situation really is just 'that bad'.

We had a newer guild member (Let's call him Member #1) who was fairly young, in high school at least. He was a little hyper, a little silly. Listening to him on vent during PvP was a hoot. Now, our guild can get a little rowdy in chat. Things definitely are not PG-13. We try to recruit players over 18 but, as anybody who recruits knows, that's not always possible. We have no way to check ID. We can't ask for a driver's license or credit card to prove someone is over 18. Players fall through the cracks. This was one such player and, yes, I did recruit him in.

He had not been with us very long but had gone along on a few raids. In spite of how hyper or silly he tended to be, he knew enough to shut up on vent and listen to the raid leader. He did what he was told and he did it well enough to be asked back. As far as I could tell, he was contributing in a mostly positive manner to the guild. At least he was involved and active.

Enter Member #2. Member #2 is a long time and well liked member of the guild. We all pretty much adore her. However, lately she has been grumpy, snappish and looking for a fight. She recently returned to work. Her new work schedule does not allow her to be around and active the way she used to be. Unfortunately for her, this means she has to miss out on a lot. I imagine it is very frustrating for her to log in when we are in the middle of a raid. When she does, she does not tend to stick around long and I'm not entirely certain I blame her.

Just a few days ago, Member #2 logged in and asked what was going on. Member #1 said she was missing the party. She asked what party and he said "the party in my pants". Now, before I go any further, let me just say that much, much worse gets said in vent and in guild chat on a daily basis. What he said was really not a big deal in the scheme of things, as far as I am concerned. Had I been there, I would have laughed it off. Instead of laughing it off, Member #2 immediately rage quits and then regrets it. She finds the guild leaders wife who lets her back in the guild. The guild leader kicks Member #1 out of the guild and then a guild message is immediately posted not to let this member back in 'do to issues'. Yes, folks, they really spelled it that way.

I found out later Member #2 ragequit because she could not figure out how to kick the guy herself. She used to be an officer but was demoted at her own request because she was not going to be around as often due to her work schedule, so there was no way for her to kick him out of the guild on her own anyway. She also admitted that had the guild leader said that to her (and he's said similar things in the past, and things that really go beyond the bounds of good taste), it wouldn't have been as big of a deal. She would not have gotten angry.

Anybody else starting to smell the double standard here? Anybody else seeing the gross overreaction here? Yeah. Me too.

One of the other officers, let's call her Kat (yes that Kat, the other half of Gaming Worlds Collide) asked what happened and, apparently got a dissatisfactory response. So dissatisfactory, in fact, she refused to cut and paste what was said to me. Apparently, she knew I would not like it. I'm still not 100% certain what was said and am not certain I want to know.

What this has managed to do is make me question our leadership. It has also made me decide that I can not willingly and knowingly recruit new players into our guild without knowing the rules will be applied evenly across the board. How can I recruit new players when I don't even know what the rules are? This, you can imagine, is bad when you are the recruitment officer.

When our guild leader can log in two nights later and ask, in guild chat, if 'penis face' (aka the raid leader) had been around, when he can make off color jokes/remarks to Member #2 and have her laugh just a few days later, it really makes me question if I honestly want to be a part of this guild any longer. (Wow, that was one hell of a run-on sentence, wasn't it?) People reading this may wonder if I'm not a drama whore myself. This is honestly the first time I've felt compelled to write about my guild in such a way. I really don't make a habit of venting publicly about things that bother me, at least not so openly. I really do try to work things out before deciding a situation is hopeless, especially when I generally like most of the people involved. This time, I don't think it's going to work and it makes me feel an odd mixture of sadness and relief.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Cataclysm Paladin Preview

So, this post has been sitting on the back burner since the proposed Paladin changes were announced. Better late than never, I suppose, but 'everybody else' has already posted these changes and their thoughts. Too bad, you get to listen to mine now.

New Paladin Spells:

Blinding Shield (level 81): Causes damage and blinds all nearby targets. This effect might end up only damaging those facing the paladin’s shield, in a manner similar to Eadric the Pure's ability Radiance in Trial of the Champion. The Holy tree will have a talent to increase the damage and critical strike chance, while the Protection tree will have a talent to make this spell instant cast. 2-second base cast time. Requires a shield. 
Thoughts: Eadric's ability in ToC is kind of lame. All you have to do is turn around to avoid it. I don't mind seeing another damage spell in our arsenal, especially in the holy tree. Not that I do a lot of DPS type casting in my holy spec. The usefulness of this spell remains to be seen. A blind effect could be very handy.

Healing Hands (level 83): Healing Hands is a new healing spell. The paladin radiates heals from him or herself, almost like a Healing Stream Totem. It has a short range, but a long enough duration that the paladin can cast other heals while Healing Hands remains active. 15-second cooldown. 6-second duration.
 Thoughts: We needed an AOE heal. I like that this works like healing stream totem and will allow us to cast other spells while it's active. The short range, however, means we'll have to stack up on the melee DPS (or, alternatively, on the ranged). Not a problem really, as I've been known to toss a JoW on a boss/mob and run up to melee to get mana back in truly mana intensive fights (doesn't happen often, but it does happen). I just wish I didn't have to wait until level 83 to get it.

Guardian of Ancient Kings (level 85): Summons a temporary guardian that looks like a winged creature of light armed with a sword. The visual is similar to that of the Resurrection spell used by the paladin in Warcraft III. The guardian has a different effect depending on the talent spec of the paladin. For Holy paladins, the guardian heals the most wounded ally in the area. For Protection paladins, the guardian absorbs some incoming damage. For Retribution paladins, it damages an enemy, similar to the death knight Gargoyle or the Nibelung staff. 3-minute cooldown. 30-second duration (this might vary depending on which guardian appears). 

Thoughts: This is not a pet in the traditional sense. There is no pet bar, it can not be controlled or pointed in the 'right' direction. The animation for it should be pretty cool. If you've never seen the animation for the paladins resurrection in Warcraft 3, a video of it is here: It still remains to be seen how well this will work in particular for retribution paladins. Will it damage the ret paladin's current target since it can't be controlled? My prediction? For a few weeks, we'll see winged angel creatures all over raids with several paladins in them. They'll either die out because their usefulness is very limited, or they'll become a common site with players demanding the graphic be nerfed because it's too distracting.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Girls Don't PvP!

Our latest podcast is now archived here:

Or you can listen to it on our sidebar.