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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: http://www.wow.com/2010/07/09/mike-morhaime-real-names-will-not-be-required-on-official-forum/


Thank you, Blizard, for listening to your customers.


Edit again: The link to the actual source post: http://forums.worldofwarcraft.com/thread.html?topicId=25968987278&sid=1

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. http://www.formspring.me/GamingWorlds

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

Drama



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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSZhHLkIfkc. 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: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/eshandkat/2010/04/12/girls-dont-pvp

Or you can listen to it on our sidebar.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

D.B.A.D.

When interacting with the people you game with, either face to face, on chat programs like vent or teamspeak, in chatrooms or on forums; a good rule of thumb to live by is don't be a dick or, d.b.a.d. We all have our own personalities, thoughts and opinions. We often have the chance to voice those opinions but, just because you can say something, it doesn't necessarily mean you should.

Recently, in World of Warcraft, we had a great example of why d.b.a.d. should always be followed. It's raid night and, on vent, a guildie gets vocal about a specific class/talent combo, one he's not fond of. It would have been fine, except the reason he got vocal about it was because he hated this class/talent combo (discipline priest to be exact) and the person he apparently felt personified what was the very worst about this particular combo was on our raid AND she was one of the main tank healers, as she is every week. To make matters worse, she is sitting there on vent while he is being very insulting. A clear case of a player being a dick in a situation that made it even more uncalled for and rude.

People often forget that there are real people sitting on the other side of the computer screen, even when we are talking to them and hearing their voices. We lose sight sometimes of the fact that sometimes the things were say are, at the very least, rude and, at the very worst, hurtful. These kinds of things make for uncomfortable and, sometimes, unwelcome gaming environments. We don't all have to be friends. We don't even have to like each other but, we should always at least try to respect each other, especially when we so very often spend time in 'close quarters' as it were.

So, the lesson here is don't be a dick. Have respect for your fellow gamers whether they are sitting across the table or across the country. You'll be doing not only your fellow gamers a huge favor but, also, yourself .

Thursday, April 8, 2010

One Priest's Take on Upcoming Cataclysm Changes

Kat here. Hi, howzit going?

All right, after the initial giddiness has settled down (TEE HEE HEE!) I'm here to summarize the changes and help facilitate the absorption of said material.

By the way, 38 fricking pages of comments in the first few hours. Damn, there's a lot of WoW players. I'm afraid I didn't read all the comments. I didn't and you can't make me.

TL;DR Version - Change is good. Roll a priest. Oh wait. Then you're going to challenge me on lewt rolls. Ok, don't roll a priest. But revel in the awesome.

On with the nommy goodness!


New Spells & Spell Changes

Heal (level 16) is getting a revamp. Right now, and I've found myself a victim of this as well, people stop using Heal after a certain level because it's just not worth the time and effort. Currently when I can use the same amount of time casting a Heal or a Greater Heal, I'm going with Greater Heal. In Cataclysm, Heal is going to fall somewhere between Flash Heal and Greater Heal - if you want a faster heal, use Flash. If you want a bigger heal, use Greater. YAY for utility!

Mind Spike (level 81) is going to deal Shadowfrost damage and puts a debuff on the target that makes further Mind Spikes do more damage. They want this spell to "fill a niche" in Shadow DPS - it's supposed to be a "quick nuke" to use in situations where you don't have time for a full rotation or have multiple targets. Mind Spike is supposed to do about as much damage as casting Mind Flay on a target with Shadow Word: Pain. They expect you to cast a lot of these at a time.

Inner Will (level 83) is a buff you won't be able to use while using Inner Fire and v.v. It will provide a 12% movement increase and reduce the cost of instant-cast spells by 10%. I'm not sure I want to give up my Inner Fire bonus to Armor but... in theory I shouldn't get hit, right? And I can heal, right? We'll see.

Leap of Faith (level 85). This one, if it actually comes through (y'know how people talk), would be similiar to death grip. It's being called "Life Grip" as an aside. Supposedly you'll be able to "rescue" players who have pulled aggro, are being focused on in PvP or "just can't seem to get out of the fire in time". Personally, I think this isn't going to be all that when it gets released, or it'll be nerfed.

Ability/Mech Changes!

HOTs & DOTs! These are finally going to benefit from Haste and Crit! The ticks will have a shorter duration and the crit bonus is going to apply to them. Huzzah!

Shadow Word: Death. Anyone else stop using this? They're trying to revamp it so we bring it back. They want to bring it back as an "execute" - something you do when the target is at 25% health. We'll see how that goes.

Discipline FTW! They're kicking around having a second type of shield, bigger and badder than my best friend PW:S to use on you tanks and folks taking extra damage. Mmm, shield. Purr.

Divine Spirit and Prayer of Spirit are going away. Le sad. Plus, Blessing of Kings and Mark of the Wild aren't going to boost spirit either. With the changes to how spirit is going to work, they don't want those spells to vary it.

Mana... well, sounds like they're going to really look into how much mana spells are costing and how much you're making back. In an effort to make things more "challenging" and what not. Hey. It can't all be good news, right?

Talents!

First - OMFGWTFBBQ POWER WORD: BARRIER. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! FEAR MY SHIELD, BITCHES! It's supposed to be a group Power Word: Shield. HELLLLLLLLL YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

Ahem.

They want to improve Disc's "single-target healing capacity" but don't want to make shield the more attractive option to actually healing. >.> Ask me how I feel about this later because I'm just used to shielding to "stop the bleeding" as I say.

Holy PVP, Batman! They're determined to make Holy a viable PvP spec! Stay tuned.

Shadow! They want to improve Shadow for short fights. Which, frankly, right now does kind of suck. It's like, throw DOTs, start cast... oh, it's dead. >.< So, goodness, yes? Yes!

Misery isn't going to add to Hit!? Ugh, and just when I was getting complacent with my hit cap!

Speaking of Shadow tree, it's going to see a LOT of changes, since the sweeping changes they're implementing with the expansion affects a lot of the Shadow Tree's damage-boosting abilities. They're introducing something else, Shadow Orbs. I'll type on that V. (down there)

Healing State! Holy is going to get some loving by putting the healer into a "healing state" when they cast a certain combination of spells. Sounds kinda cool, akshully!

Passive Tree Talent Bonuses

In a nutshell, you're going to get innate bonuses for putting talents into trees that will be automatically granted. Essentially, they don't want players to HAVE to choose a talent because it gives you X bonus to a skill or spell. Instead when you put a point into a talent, you're going get bonuses to things without having to choose those cookie-cutter talents for them.

Disc & Holy are going to get bonuses to healing and mediation (mana regeneration). Shadow is going to get bonuses in spell damage and spell crit.

Now, the new things are:

Disc will get bonuses to Absorption - this will improve the strength of PW:S, Divine Aegis and PW:Barrier.

Holy will get Radiance - direct heals add a small HOT to the target.

Shadow will get Shadow Orbs. This is what the post says: "Casting spells grants a chance for Shadow Orbs to be created that fly around you and increase your shadow damage." Very cool. Oh, and "this will help lower-level characters feel more like Shadow priests before they obtain Shadowform". >.> Ok, well, as someone who thinks Troll Druids should have different forms from Cow Druids... I can't complain. But... rilly? Ok. Sure.



That's about it, boys and girls. Remember, don't make your priests because I hate fighting on phat lewts. =) J/K!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Noblegarden - WoW Podcast

This week's episode is now on the website (Or you can listen to it in the sidebar). The direct link is here. We talk about the Noblegarden event in World of Warcraft, as well as discuss a few other games that celebrate real world holidays in their games.

Friday, April 2, 2010

When is gaming bad?

Disclaimer: I am no psychologist. This post is based purely on my own observations and experiences with online gaming, in particular World of Warcraft.
--------------------------

Games like World of Warcraft can provide many positive experiences for players. Along side the obvious social aspects of these kinds of games, gaming can provide a sense of accomplishment. When your guild finally downs that big boss, you complete a quest that had been giving you problems or you finally reach the highest level in the game it feels good. So when does this become a problem?

If the sense of accomplishment and achievement you are receiving from a game starts to outstrip any other sense of accomplishment, then it might be time to review your gaming habits. Is gaming your only source of socialization or do you pass up other invitations just to play? Has raiding become more important than sex or are you neglecting your job or other important relationships? Maybe it's time to take a few steps back and see what you can change.

From a personal standpoint, I know there have been times when I have played 'too much'. How much is too much will vary from person to person but, for me, it was 'too much' when I started looking more forward to logging in to World of Warcraft or Eve Online than going out and doing things with my husband or my friends. There were times, I am ashamed to admit, I turned down or even cancelled invitations so I could play. Fortunately, I recognized the problem and addressed the issues. I still play World of Warcraft (after a few extended breaks) but not the detriment of my day to day life.

I've seen MMOs destroy relationships. I've known people who have lost their jobs because they were more focused on gaming than on what they should be doing. While psychologists still seem to be debating on whether or not video game addiction should be included as a disorder (linked to an outside article), I think most of us can recognize signs of addiction. It's what we do with that information that matters. Don't forget there's a big, wide world out there too.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Podcasting

The very first thing I wanted to talk about on here is podcasting. I'm new to podcasting, along with my friend Kat, but we dove in feet first this past Monday. We do not yet have a large audience, but people are starting to listen. Hopefully we'll entertain them along the way and maybe they'll even learn something.

Our podcast, along with this blog, is all about gaming. Much of what we discuss will be World of Warcraft centered, because that is the MMO Kat and I both play at the moment. We will not be limiting our blog posts to the current podcasts either, as Kat and I both have a lot to say about a variety of topics.

To follow our podcast (and listen to the first episode), follow the link here: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/eshandkat

Happy gaming!