Tag Archives: stories

Choice

5 Sep

Whenever I read something, I try to imagine the authors voice in my head and what it would sound like if they were reading the story directly to me.  If theyre angry, I imagine their voice rising and falling and maybe even that theyre pacing back and forth.  If theyre happy, I imagine them smiling broadly and expressively talking to me with their hands as theyre sharing their good fortune with me.For anyone reading this post, I would like you to imagine that Im speaking to you in a very level headed, professional tone.  Im not angry.  Im not upset.  Imagine that Im speaking to you in the same tone of voice that I would if you were listening to my podcast or if you were listening to me discuss strategies with you during a raid on Vent.  What Im about to write has nothing to do with being spiteful or malicious, but with the feeling of maybe being a bit misunderstood.Its recently been brought to my attention that certain bloggers or personalities have expressed concern or frustration with the fact that many of us in the blogosphere have been highly critical of World of Warcraft and Blizzard for certain decisions that they have made and continue to make towards the game.  Certain people feel that we have become overly negative and that we are fostering a sort of bitter rivalry between those of us who still enjoy World of Warcraft and those of us who may have moved on to greener pastures (i.e.

Putting A Face On Goodbye

30 Aug

One of the main reasons that the gay marriage movement has gained so much ground in recent years has been attributed to people being able to put a face on gay marriage, which makes it much more difficult for people to deny others that right when they know someone who is in a similar situation.  When its your uncle, your neighbor, your boss, something like that really hits home for you and it affects you in ways that it otherwise wouldnt. The same goes for a charity that youre trying to raise money for.  If you have lost someone to HIV or breast cancer, chances are that you will be even more passionate about fund raising for that particular cause and you may possibly even participate in events to do your part so that the very same thing doesnt happen to someone else.I remember when the news that Blizzard had lost 600,000 subscribers had been released and people began absorbing and discussing it.  It didnt really hit me.  I was firmly in the Oh, its just 600,000 people.  Were going to be fine camp.  I didnt have a personal stake in it, really.  Those were just numbers to me. Shortly after, we learned that the cross realm Dungeon Finder was going to be implemented.  I remember posting something on my Facebook about this, hoping that the one third of my friends list who I met through WoW or who I know play WoW might be interested in queueing up with me sometime.  Instead of seeing the expected responses of Sure, hit me up! I was sad to see a string of Gosh, I would if I still played the game, type responses.Suddenly, those 600,000 people had names.  They had faces.  I knew them.  I couldnt believe what I was seeing.  They couldnt all have quit the game.  Could they?  The most surprising response came from one of my ex-boyfriends, whom I had actually met through the game and had even moved out of state to be with.  He was as firmly engrossed in World of Warcraft as anybody else.  He was one of the first PVP Gladiators, had the Insane title, and had repeatedly been asked to participate in Beta testing.  In fact, one of the many reasons that we broke up was because of the game.I remember the night that we broke up, when I told him that I needed a life outside of the game and when he replied that he couldnt give me one.  That guy was now in nursing school and had been so busy discovering life that his 10 man team (the members of which he handpicked himself) didnt even manage to finish clearing any of the T11 content on normal mode.  Of course, I was happy for him.  But it still blew my mind.  He was the last person I would have expected to join the ranks of the 600,000 who quit World of Warcraft for whatever reason.  And here I was, still playing. Then word came that another 300,000 had quit.  It affected me a bit more because I was one of them now.  I knew why people were leaving the game.  Because I was doing it, too.  Even then, people were still brushing it off as a modest loss and it was no big deal. Today, I read a blog post from Borsk that literally took my breath away.  In it, he mentions that his guild, which had weathered many storms and overcame many challenges along the way had finally decided that their last raid together would in fact be their last.  I couldnt believe what I was reading.  Here was someone else, who I thought would be one of the last to stick it out and show us all that World of Warcraft was worth staying around for, who might even be enough to lure some of us back into things and he was saying goodbye, too. I guess what Im trying to say is that were losing people.  Let me stress that.  We are losing people.  Were losing loved ones.  Were saying goodbye to friendships and memories and ties that we have formed with one another.  Its more than just lost revenue and subscription numbers.  Its not just a lump sum that we can shave off the top of a quarterly report and write off so easily.  These people have names and they have made contributions to the game and to the community.  I think thats something that we tend to forget about when were thinking about things like this.  It doesnt seem real, otherwise.  When you can rationalize it away, when you can convince yourself that it doesnt affect you and it would never happen to you, it becomes easier to deal with it and to dismiss.What people dont understand is how difficult it is to get to that point, to know that its over, and to know that you have to finally do something about it.  Its a very hard thing to have to go through.  You might make an attempt to stay in touch and to try and keep things as close to the way they were as possible, but not everybody succeeds.  Think about how many people you have seen leave the game through the years and that you still remain in touch with.  If youre anything like me, you can probably count the number of people on one hand and still have fingers left over. I just want people to remember that, the next time the topic of people leaving the game comes up again.  There is real loss happening here, that goes beyond income and bragging rights.  Its hard to say goodbye, but its harder to admit that its really over.

Fun

23 Aug

Ghostcrawler brought up the notion of fun 15 times in the most recent edition of the Dev Watercooler series.  In my opinion, this was about 14 times too many.Let me explain.There are many different kinds of fun.  There is the kind of fun that you have when you are going down the steep hill of a rollercoaster.

Bang

10 Aug

This is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsThis is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper.- T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men.I woke up the other day to find this post in the Breakfast Topics section over at WoWInsider and it got me thinking.  I related a lot to what the author had to say.I always imagined that when the time came for me to quit World of Warcraft that I would go out in a blaze of glory.  I fantasized about going out like Jack Berger and randomly shouting Fuck you and fuck you! before casually walking off and going about my business like such a random outburst never happened.Or maybe I would go out in the most passive-aggressive way possible.  I would tell people I was quitting the game, leave a huge goodbye post on various forums and check back often to see who would miss me or who would try to convince me to stay.Instead, it just kind of happened.  I received an e-mail from Blizzard, telling me that my subscription could not be renewed because the credit card linked to my account was no longer valid.  This is because I had to cancel my debit card a few weeks ago, due to some unauthorized charges that were made to my checking account.  Normally, I would have been all over that.  I would have been tapping my fingers impatiently on my desk while staring at the login screen, waiting for my payment to go through so I could keep playing.This time, I took a good, long look at the e-mail and deleted it.  Just like that, I had decided that I would not be renewing my subscription to World of Warcraft and that I was ready to finally move on with my life and with my gaming experience.  No string of expletives.  No emotional forum posts.  No one last thing before I go.I have been spending a lot more time playing Rift and Im really enjoying it.  I belong to a great guild that is home to some familiar faces in the blogosphere who I can see myself doing big things with.  With that said, I have decided to begin posting regularly about topics pertaining to Rift, specifically healing and the calling that I play.  I feel inspired in ways that I havent experienced in a long time and Im eager to pour out my thoughts and feelings here.Because Rift is a new game, they dont have the resources that World of Warcraft does.  There isnt an Elitist Jerks or a Blog Azeroth or a WoWInsider just yet.  There arent many personal blogs out there that talk about things from a players perspective.  There is a huge niche out there that could be filled and I would like to be one of the first to fill it.  Its a huge opportunity and I look forward to giving it a shot and seeing what becomes of it.  I plan on giving my blog a face lift,  too, to reflect that Im going in a new direction.I have no intention of deleting World of Warcraft from my computer.  I have nothing bad to say about the game or those who continue to play it.  I still plan on going to BlizzCon in a couple of months and continuing to support those who I regularly follow and enjoy reading.  The Double O Podcast is still going strong and you can count on Ophelie and I to continue bringing you the best episodes we possibly can and to keep talking about the things that you all want to hear about.They say that lightning never strikes twice.Well see about that!

Crutch

4 Aug

Things have been kind of quiet around here lately, for one big important reason:I decided to take a break from raiding.The circumstances surrounding my most recent post really tipped the scale in that direction.  When I say tipped the scale, I mean that there were other things already on the scale that were making it lean in a particular direction.  This just ended up being the deciding factor.For the most part, everything has been entirely amicable.  There were no hard feelings between myself and my group (other than the initial furor by some over the post itself).  Im still in my guild and Im under the impression that I could come back and raid at any time (if not with my current group then with another one that falls under our umbrella, of sorts). Its been a lot easier to go without raiding than I thought.  I dont even think Ive logged into the game since I made the decision to take a break.  I feel overwhelmingly disappointed with the current state of things.  I feel like Bring the player, not the class has turned into Bring the cooldown, not the player. I feel that we have fallen into a state of convincing ourselves that we need certain things to succeed, when that wasnt always the case.  I feel that this has created a demand or a sense of obligation that everyone needs or deserves a cooldown, which Im sorry to say isnt true.  I was against shamans receiving Spirit Link Totem and I cant say that I sympathized with druids who insisted they needed a cooldown, too.  This is what the game has turned into.  It has turned into taking classes who were strong and are strong and convincing them that they arent or that they are nothing without a desired cooldown.I have been spending most of my time cooking real meals, going to Zumba classes twice a week, and getting addicted to various TV shows on Netflix.  I have been spending quite a bit of time playing Rift and getting familiar with how the end game works and trying to decide if I want to get involved with that at all.  I have entertained the idea of coming back to WoW, either by raiding with a different set of people or choosing a different spec thats outside of my comfort zone (like the deeply misunderstood Atonement spec).  Most likely I would remain holy.  I dont really have a plan right now and it feels good to be able to say that.  Im just kind of putzing around and having an absolute blast doing so.So in closing, Im still here.  The blog is still here.  Ophelie and I are recording a new episode of the Double O Podcast this weekend, so the podcast is still here.  I dont really know where Im headed, but hopefully a few of you will still be willing to take the journey with me and see where I end up.Thanks for stopping by!

Sellout

27 Jul

The defintion of selling out, according to Wikipedia: The compromising of (or the perception of compromising) integrity, morality, or principles in exchange for money or success (however defined).  It is commonly associated with attempts to tailor material to a mainstream audience.  Any artist who expands their creative path to encompass a wider audience, as opposed to continuing in the genre and venues of their initial success may be disdainfully labeled by disapproving fans as a sellout.I pride myself on being the rebel.  The underdog.  The odd one out.  Secretly, I crave acceptance and being able to fit in, but I wouldnt know what to do with myself if I were to start experiencing either of those things.I made a vow to myself when Firelands came out that I wouldnt go discipline unless I absolutely had to, unless I could really show that discipline was leaps and bounds better than holy.  I felt like I owed it to myself and I owed it to my readers to do this.  My most viewed posts for weeks on end have been the ones relating strictly to holy priests. People want to see a holy priest doing well.  They want to see a holy priest telling them that things are OK and that they dont have to go discipline to get by in Firelands.  My loot listings, my theorycrafting posts, my trinket discussion; those are what people are coming to my page to see.  They dont want to read about yet another holy priest throwing up their hands and caving into the pressure of having to go discipline to make it through this tier.So far, I have only had to go discipline for one encounter and that was for Baleroc.  I simply could not keep my targets alive as a holy priest in Chakra: Serenity.  I wasnt building enough stacks of Vile Spark to make a difference, mostly because the spells in my arsenal couldnt build stacks as well as those that a discipline priest has at their disposal.  I was losing my healing assignments, people were dying.  To me, that was a no-brainer.  I went discipline for that fight and we started to down it much more smoothly and regularly.Cut to last week and were working on Alysrazor.  Im really struggling with the tornadoes and dying before P2 even starts.  Thats where I should be making my money as a healer.  I should be dropping HW: Sanctuary, dropping a Lightwell and blowing up the raid with heals.  But Im not, because Im dead and Im not grasping the tornado mechanic.  As Im running back after a wipe my healing lead asks me if I wouldnt mind going discipline for this fight.  I tell him that I would mind because I havent made it to P2 enough to determine that we need another Barrier and that holy is that inefficient for this encounter. Once I started getting the hang of the tornadoes and making it into P2 and P3 (which is basically just a repeat of P1) consistently, I felt like I was doing quite well.  In fact, our best attempt (getting her down to 3.2%) was done when I was holy and so were the next best attempts.  My being holy had nothing to do with why we failed to get her down.  We were losing DPS in the final round of tornadoes, which a discipline priest couldnt have prevented.  The two had nothing to do with each other.The next day, I received a private message on our boards again asking me if I would go discipline for that fight.  I replied that I am open to going discipline, if the fight truly warrants it and based on what I was seeing and experiencing this one doesnt require me to do that.  The person who messaged me was polite, but did mention that there could be consequences for not doing whats best for the overall group and I should be aware of that before I make my decision.  Unlike most guilds or raids Ive been in, I know that when this group says there are going to be consequences there will be consequences.I really like running with these people.  Im proud to be associated with them.  I have a lot of fun when Im with them.  I dont want to let these people down.  But at the same time, I dont want this to become a habit and Im afraid that it will be.  I havent seen Majordomo or Ragnaros yet.  I havent done anything in Firelands on Heroic mode, but I know what Im hearing from various sources and its not good.  Ive managed to shrug off the chants of Go disc or go home.  Ive managed to avoid various forums and discussions that have made me lose faith in the very community that I belong to, because of how quickly everyone else seems to have thrown in the towel and given up on a spec that they love to play.  I dont know how much longer I can keep doing those things.I received a Tweet yesterday that literally warmed my heart and made me smile:I love the fact Paragon uses holy priest 5/7 FL.

New Double O Podcast – Episode Six!

25 Jul

Fresh out of the oven, its the latest episode of the Double O Podcast!http://thedoubleopodcast.wordpress.com/2011/07/24/episode-6-o-chat-with-a-side-of-vs/Ophelie and I return and with not just one, but two special guests!  We welcome Vidyala and Vosskah, from Manalicious and Sword And Board to discuss all things related to guild leadership and raid leading.We packed a lot into this episode and covered a number of topics like recruitment struggles, social networking guidelines as a guild master and as a guild member,  guild expectations, and whether or not its a good time to be a new GM. Vidyala and Vosskah were a pleasure to have on the show and they were both extremely smart and easy to get along with.  This was our first time having two guests with us and Ophelie and I were very pleased with how it all turned out.  Please let us know what you think about this episode or previous ones, too!As always, the Double O Podcast is available on iTunes for free.  You can subscribe to us, leave a review, and download all of our episodes anytime, day or night.   If youre looking for other posts to help you get through your Monday, I would suggest the following:Cynwise addresses the scandal behind Chase Christians recent post on WoWInsider and whether or not it was really worth getting upset about.Beruthiel questions if shes ready to give up blogging just yet.    Zelmaru tackles a hidden boss in Blackwing Descent and talks about the outcome.Enjoy!

Waste Not, Want Not

12 Jul

I know I said I was going to put this to bed last night, but I still feel like I have a few things to say about it and so Im going to do just that.Lets begin.It all started with Kurns post on how she felt that it was wrong that we as raiders were being asked to farm Heroics and specifically, Zandalari Heroics to get enough Valor Points to purchase new pieces of gear.  For the record, I agree with her.  It does suck that this has become the new normal for us and that this is what we have to do, in order to be competitive.  I agree with her, in that I am a raider and I play this game solely to raid.  If there ever came a time where I couldnt raid, I would probably cancel my subscription immediately.I dont have a back-up plan.  Its raiding or nothing.  Im not good at PVP.  Im not an altoholic.  I have no idea how to play the Auction House.  This is all I have going for me.  Because this is my passion, because this is my reason for playing WoW, I am more inclined to do whatever I need to do to keep that going.  Including making sure Im capped on Valor Points each week.I made a comment on Twitter where I said that if youre a raider and you dont end the week capped that youre doing it wrong and I truly believe that.  This led to a post from Windsoar, where she admits that isnt capped each week and defends her position on why she chooses not to do that.  Its a wonderful post and she was kind enough to send me a few messages on Twitter, telling me she was using my Tweet as inspiration and asking if she could do that.  Of course, I said yes.  Ive followed Windsoar for quite some time and even wrote her a guest post once, so I was thrilled to be included in whatever she had to say. However, it was this amazing post that got me thinking and stirred enough things within me to inspire this post.  Here is what I took away from Windsoars response.9 hours a week hasn’t always been much to me, but it’s also been bloody impossible and a commitment I couldn’t keep even when I sincerely made every effort to be there.I feel like this is something that could only be said in Cataclysm, in this era of more accessible raiding for all.  I have been raiding since Vanilla and anyone who raided then or even in Burning Crusade will tell you that back then you couldnt get anything done with just 9 hours a week.  It took nearly 9 hours just to get buffs situated!  If all you had was 9 hours a week to spare, you were not raiding.  Its as simple as that.  Raiding was a full time job and it was one that many of us were glad to partake in and remember fondly.  If you were there for that, it doesnt seem so foreign to put in a little more time each week to get capped on Valor Points.  By now, it should be old hat.When I’m killing time waiting for my raid, or just finished a nice, tight 3-hour session, the last thing I want to do is put up with shit from stangers.

Dip, Baby. Dip.

5 Jul

There are two reasons why I dont cook more often.  The first is that Im convinced that cooking is very time consuming and that it will take forever to make the most basic things.  For someone like me, who lives a very on the go kind of lifestyle, the time to make a balanced meal can feel like an eternity.  The second is that Im more motivated to cook things for other people than I am for myself.  If I know that were having a food day at the office or a family gathering is coming up and I need to bring a dish to pass I am all over it.  Mostly because a lot of recipes are tailor made to feed more than one person and I dont like the idea of having leftovers for dinner so many days in a row.  Cooking feels a like a lot of trouble to go through for just myself.Recently, I stumbled upon a recipe for seven layer taco dip and it immediately stood out to me as something that even I could prepare.  Ive been known to buy taco dip from the store or to bribe friends and family to make theirs for me.  Why not just do it myself?  I tweaked a couple of things about the recipe that I wasnt sure about and bought all the ingredients.  I cut the vegetables myself and spent the next 30 minutes making a brief mess of my kitchen and my clothes.  Lo and behold, I had made a delicious looking taco dip that soon became a much loved and much discussed dish at the next office food day.  Suddenly, I was being asked to bring it along.  I was being asked for the recipe.  That never happens to me!Of course, I mentioned it on Twitter and posted a picture.  Enough people asked about it that I figured I would talk about it and include the recipe here.  So without further ado, here is how to make my world famous seven layer taco dip.Ingredients1 (1 ounce) package of taco seasoning mix1 (16 ounce) can of refried beans1 (8 ounce) package of cream cheese, softened1 (16 ounce) container of sour cream1 (16 ounce) jar of salsa2 cans of sliced black olives, drained1 large tomato, diced1 bunch chopped green onions2 packages of shredded cheeseA couple of notes about the ingredients:- I try to stay away from Americanized ingredients, whenever possible.  If you venture down the taco aisle at the grocery store, you can see brands that are more authentic, like Goya, La Preferida, etc.  I would choose brands like that for your taco seasoning, your refried beans, and your salsa.  If for whatever reason you dont have access to those types of brands, then Im sure using more American brands like Old El Paso and Ortega would be just fine.- You can use low fat or non-fat versions of the sour cream and the cream cheese, but I wouldnt do that with the refried beans.  I have found that the healthier versions of refried beans are more dry, more difficult to get out of the can, and harder to mix in with the taco seasoning because of this.  If you would prefer them anyway, be my guest.  The finished product should still turn out the same.- Make sure to use a really chunky salsa, like a picante or something thats not very watery.  Because the salsa is going to act as a layer, you want to make sure that it can support whatever you put on top of it.  If your salsa is too soupy or runny, your final layer or two will not sit well.- Regarding the cheese, I really enjoy the brands that are listed as Mexican style or Taco style blends.  They usually consist of a mixture of cheeses, like Asadero cheese, cheddar cheese, and Monterey Jack.  I tend to use the entire package, because the cheese is one of the final layers and you want to make sure you have enough for your handfuls of vegetables to rest comfortably on.  Depending on how big of a pan or dish you plan on using, I would maybe even pick up an extra bag to be safe.Directions- First, take your green onions and chop them up.  Place them into a small bowl on the side.- Take your tomato and dice that up.  Place it into a different bowl on the side.- In a medium sized bowl, mix the taco seasoning in with the refried beans.- In another medium sized bowl, mix the cream cheese in with the sour cream.  Make sure it blends smoothly and with as few lumps as possible.- Pour the mixture of the taco seasoning and the refried beans into a small to medium sized casserole dish.  I like using a smaller dish because its deeper and it really emphasizes the layers.  It also helps the layers stay firm in the fridge until youre ready to take the dip out and serve it.  Use a spatula to evenly spread the mixture across the dish and around the corners.  When youre done, it should look like a single flat layer.  You may have some excess left over, as I try not to make the layers too deep.- Next, pour the mixture of the cream cheese and the sour cream on top of the previous layer.  Smooth it all out with the spatula, making sure not to press too hard or to actually dig into the layers with it.  Again, you may have some excess, because of the reason listed above.- Open up your jar of salsa and begin pouring that on top of the layer of cream cheese and sour cream.  Begin spreading that around with the spatula, like you did with the previous two layers.- Take a few handfuls of cheese and begin sprinkling that on top of the layer of salsa.  Keep doing that until you cant see any more salsa.  Feel free to take your fingers and slide it gently around, to fill any open spaces in the dip where you can still see salsa.  This is why I usually use the whole bag.  Pay extra attention to the middle and to the corners of your pan.  Sometimes the cheese may come out of the bag in clumps or it may be sticky.  If thats the case, take a second to break it up in your hand before you pour it on top.  The cheese should sprinkle out of your hand or the bag, not come out in clumps.  Its easier to spread it around when its not in clumps, too.- Lastly, take a handful of the green onions and tomatoes that you chopped up and diced earlier and sprinkle it on top of the layer of cheese.  Make it as colorful as you would like.  Again, feel free to take your fingers and slide things around if you want.  Open up the can of black olives, drain it and then sprinkle those in, too.  You should see a nice array of red, green, and black jumping out at you as the final layer of your taco dip.  My first batch turned out like this:I tend to make it at least a day before I know that I will need to serve it or have it ready, so the layers can really settle and take hold.  Eventually, it will cave in on itself once people start to dig into it.  But until then, you really want the dip to keep its shape and not have it collapse in on itself.And thats it!  With any luck, you have just prepared a terrific seven layer taco dip for yourself and for others to enjoy.  Feel free to bring it to your next guild meet up or even make it as a raid time snack for yourself or your significant other (if they happen to game, too).Bon appetit!

New Double O Podcast – Episode Five!

29 Jun

Need something to listen to while waiting for the patch to download on your painfully slow Internet connection?  Something to help you pass the time while you farm Firelands trash for rep?  Well, have no fear because Episode 5 of the Double O Podcast is here!http://thedoubleopodcast.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/episode-5-what-a-long-strange-trip-its-been/In this episode, Ophelie and I take a step back from the normal routine of having a guest host and sticking to a theme.  Its just the two of us and we spend most of the episode relaxing and having a chat about her tour through Canada and the U.S.