2 kids, a beta, and a new release…OH MY!

•July 28, 2010 • Leave a Comment

You do the math…. 2 kids, wonderful wife, full time job, and accepted in into the Cataclysm beta, and Starcraft 2 is out (squee!!).   My time for gaming is pretty much limited to when the kids are in bed and on weekends when they are sleeping.  So here is my catch-up post to get back in the swing of doing this again! I will try to skip most of the stuff that everyone says and just provide my humble thoughts.

I was very fortunate to win the raffle that is the first week in the Cataclysm beta.  I decided to try all the flavors of it I could.

The Gothic and the Lycaon (The Worgen Starting zone)

I started by rolling a Worgen.   They “style” of Gilneas is very victorian gothic in feel.  The zone is very dark.    I think overall the starting experience works well for this race; I never got to see how I was “infected.”  I just all of a sudden was a Worgen.   I am hoping Blizz is going to put a cinematic in or something because it does feel very sudden.

The high point of the area for me was completing a quest involving working on pushing back the forsaken, and the world shook.  I left the cellar to find the world broken… like the farmland I was just fighting the forsaken on was gone… that was when the rescue effort began.  I am trying not to give any massive spoilers, but it was awesome!  You do get an ability that is called Two Forms that allows you to shift from human to Worgen form once reach  your Worgen form.  The other way to do it is with the “\transform” command.  The visuals of the transformation are ok going from Worgen to human, but they are much more dramatic going from human to Worgen.  The quest lines do lead to looking for the scythe of Elune.  I will leave it at that for the time being.

GTA Kazan (aka Goblin starter zone…)

Goblins of course are the penny pincher’s of the Warcraft Universe… they are the ones who live for money and have set up cartels to help them hold their individual power structures in place.  You actually start out as kind of a thug.  You get to go clear out some mines, keep the workers in line, and even gather soda (for your own party).  For me, the high point was getting the roadster and picking up your friends.  From that point on, it got fun… I actually spent an hour running around running over pedestrians.   It is very easy to get caught up in this part of the game, but of course, there is always work to be done.  Handling party guests and playing a shredder version of football was cool.  Unfortunately the game leads to the um… chain reaction that causes the island to explode.

This was a starting experience I really kinda wanted to go longer.  On the Lost Isles, the constant cody continued.  From bomb throwing chimps to sharks with FRICKEN LASERS, you just can’t go wrong.


Back From (Away From Blog)

•April 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

What can really be said?  The whole point of this blog is to strike the balance between the game and real life (particularly when family is involved).  It has been a long couple of months since my last post and thought it would be good to fire this backup.  So here we go!

I have spent the last couple of months gearing my main, Kaneka.  I did respec him from Frostfire to Arcane so I could try to get him into some raids.  I also did a major financial grind to get 8.5k gold so I could obtain the battered hilt.  I have seen it drop in Pit of Saron a few times but my rolls have been crap lately.  But Man ‘o Man is that an awesome sword for casters: Quel’Delar: Lens of the Mind!  And to top it off, last week, I was able to go into ICC 10 man and give it a go.

It was very hard for me to find a spot in a run with my guild.  A lot of the runs started around 6pm server which my kids are still awake so the only way I could do that is if my incredible wife would be willing to take the kids solo for the evening.  I knew I wouldn’t be on a static team, but when the stars aligned, I was able to sign up for a 10 man.

I was able to sub in until the normally rostered player showed up (about an hour or so from what I was told).  Now I had not set foot in ICC until then and in that one run, we managed to get down, Lord Marrowgar, Lady Deathwhisper, Saurfang, Festergut, and Rotface!  The whole time the only problems I really had were with Deathwhisper (got hit by a bolt and killed) and we wiped once on Rotface.  I should have taken screens, but I didn’t think about it at the time.  I was very excited to just be in the raid.  From that run, I replaced my Ward of the Violet Citadel and Sunstrider’s Hood of Conquest with Scourgelord’s Baton and Thaumaturge’s Crackling Cowl.

I feel like the run went really well for my first time in ICC.  I ended up leaving after Rotface because the normally scheduled player did come online, but I do think if I stunk up the joint, they would have told me.  And they invited me back for tonight’s continuation… although I do not believe that will be possible due to soccer and other things going on with the kids.  It was a very exciting night and I hope to have another run soon.

I also began the slog of the Netherwing rep grind.  I am currently Honored, and I want my netherdrakes!  It looks like my next raid will be next week if I can land another sub spot with that same team.  We will see!

Tales from support Hell

•October 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I like to think of myself as a fairly calm, patient, and rational person.  (oh ok, most of the time)  I currently work support for a fairly large organization in the heath field.  We are talking about 5000 PCs total.  My job is mainly doing phone support and triaging issues that can be handled without physical contact by one of our other techs.  I do like my job, but sometimes there are callers that make me just want to really just tell them they have no business using this equipment.  Usually, I have no trouble handling these calls.  The stress occurs when I get several in one 4 hour block of time.  Here are 2 examples:

These stories are true, and I truly wished they weren’t.  the names are not used to protect my job….

Support Case 1:

User:   Hi, um my Monitor isn’t working… I can’t see anything, the screen is dark.

Me:  ok, well lets see what we can do to help you out. I will need some information to get the ball rolling here… do you know the PC name?  It should be printed on a white label on the lower left corner of the screen.

User:  um… *pause while he mutters something* Viewsonic 1730….

Me:  well sir, that is actually the brand of the monitor.  The PC name I am looking for is usually a combination of letters and numbers that start out with the floor or section you are in like “ITxxxx”.

User:   I see a white sticker here that says to call Technical Support at extension:  <ext omitted>.

Me:  Yes well that is our extension here.  Let’s move on and see if there is a way I can help you without the computer name.  On the lower right corner of the monitor should be a button with a light.  What color is it?

User:  blinking orange or yellow…

Me:  ok, can you press the button for me? (this would bring this model of monitor out of sleep mode and check for signals if need be)

User:  well now it is black.  That didn’t work.

Me:  well lets hit the button again.  It should go back to the orange light again.

User:   well it is blinking.

Me:  That is what we want.  Does anything come up on the screen?

User:  it doesn’t show anything but a box that kinda bounces around that says “Looking for Signal”.

Me:  Ok, sir… can I have you check the computer…  *user cuts me off*

User:  the big box thing on the wall?

Me:  yes sir.  There should be a round button on the front of it.  Can you tell me if there are any lights on the front of the computer that are lit up?

User:  Nope

Me:  ok, can you find the power button and press it for me?  It should be in the middle of the front panel.  When you press it you will see the green light come on and hear the fans kick in.

User:  Oh now my monitor is working!

Me:  Thank you for calling sir, hope you have a great day.

:: I mute my phone and proceed to pound my head on my desk ::

Support Case 2:

**note:  We have a staff of volunteers here that helps out in a variety of ways.  Most of them are older and kinda remind me of my grandmother.   We were told to make sure to lay things out very plainly for most of them.  The problem is, well… you will see…**

Me:  thank you for calling, what can I help you with today?

User:  well I cannot log into the computer, it says my password is wrong.

Me:  Ok, well we will start at the beginning, have you recently changed your password?

User:  No, I have had this password for a month now.

Me:  ok, no problem, can I have to check to make sure your Caps Lock is off since our passwords are case sensitive?

User:  I am not sure if it is or not.  How do you tell?

Me:  Well toward the upper right of your keyboard is a logo for Dell, just above that logo there would be a green light that is an “A” in a box.  Is that light on?

User:  I can’t tell.

Me:  Ok, well can I have you press the “Caps Lock” button a couple of times, and if it is working right you will see the light go on and off as you press the button.  I just want to make sure the keyboard is being seen by the computer.

User:  I can’t tell where that button is…

Me:  The “caps lock” button is on the far left of the keyboard on the last column of keys in the middle.  Do you see that key?

User:  No, I just had eye surgery and can’t see much.  I can barely see the screen.

Me:   Did you get clearance to come back to work?  I know monitors can really cause eye strain and I am not sure how that will affect your recovery.

User:   I haven’t talked to my doctor about this.  I just came back.  I have a job to do!

Me:  Ok, well the problem we have is I am not allowed to enter in other people’s passwords even if they request it due to security restrictions.  I understand you have a job to do, but not being able to actually read the screen may make it kind of difficult.  You may want to see if the volunteer coordinator to see what to do next.  I can unlock you acct and that is about it in this situation.

User:  well for a help desk, you aren’t very helpful.

Me:  I am sorry, but we have limits to what we are allowed to do because of security precautions.  We can reset passwords but the only passwords we know are related to our personal accounts or for our job function.   If there is anything else I can do, please let me know.

User:  you can log into my pc. Here is my password … **user starts to say it**

Me:  I cannot do that ma’am.  If I were to log you in, I would most likely lose my job.  If someone else at the volunteer desk wants to enter your password for you, that is their choice.  If there is anything else I can do please let me know.

User:  no,  you aren’t much help at all **hangs up phone**

I goto aftercall and just try to forget this call.

A Note in closing:

Please be kind to your support people.  They put up with a lot of sh*t, and even though you may be frustrated at a particular issue, chances are they have had a TON of “frustrated user’s “calls.  And in addition, these jobs just don’t pay as much as they should.

How’d you do that???

•September 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I have been asked by a few people how I got my wonderful wife, Nytefyre into WoW.  Well it is actually kinda funny how it happened….

I started wow about 4 years ago, and she was complaining that all I played was the game.  She never showed much interest in it and for a while it was a real struggle for me to find that balance.

I had those nights of “just one more quest then bed…” (3 hours pass); and that made her upset on more than one occasion.  Her brother was an avid gamer and I was afraid she thought I would be that hooked.  It also was on her radar because she had written a paper for school about MMO Addiction.    The cases she cited were pretty heavy and I knew I would never hit that level to turn my back on her or our Hordeling.  She did have rpg’s and card games in her past and that came into play next.

I was into everything WoW, I read the novels, surfed the sites, and I wanted to get into the card game.  So, when it launched I talked Nyte into getting a starter as well and we played nightly for a couple of weeks.  Then we went to visit her brother Rottenal.  He just so happened to be going after the brood mother herself… Onyxia!! Nyte really enjoyed the concept and soon after, we actually set her up with a trial acct and she got into it… Nytefyre was born.

We got BC on opening day, and Wrath after that… when she was home prepping for our new arrival, she played when she felt up to it.  If I remember right she actually beat me to the level cap in BC.  She was really enjoying her shadow priest.

I had a friend ask me what I did to make it all happen, truth is, Nyte enjoys it.  She now has Truulo on an RP server, and we both work together with our bobsie twins (2 pallies we play only as a team to level together).  I am fortunate to not only have her in my life, but also to have a spouse who enjoys this game.  It is a big part of my life… I think for anyone who plays every evening (or close).  Whether you want to admit it or not, the game becomes part of your life.    The balance is there, we are a busy family, so raids are kinda few and far between (with stuff like scouts, soccer practice, and other commitments involved time is very short); we mainly just fit time in when we can.  (Usually after the Hordelings are in bed)  Our oldest has started a warrior, and our little one… well she may or may not play.  We will see.  Either way, the real point is to make sure that you have fun and don’t sacrifice real life for a virtual one.  It can be a tricky balance for some, but the rewards are even more important and useful.

Cataclysmic Predictions from a Casual

•August 25, 2009 • 1 Comment

The Blizzcon hype is over… Players are slowly coming down off their Mountain Dew fueled highs hearing about details from the new expansion to go back into the grind… I am left with a sense of excitement both about Icecrown and the changes to old world that Deathwing will bring.  All the other blogs have pretty much posted the news so there is no need for me to reiterate it here…  Makes my job easier since I can just sit back and predict.

Well there are 2 more events left before we can even think about Cataclysm right?  My guess is the time line will be something like this:

November 2009: Patch 3.2 Onyxia’s grand return!  (to coenside with the 5 year anniversary of the launch of WoW) don’t forget your Broodling!  It attempts to do deep breath… and it is supposed to be really cute!

January (or Feb, if running long on Development) 2010: Patch 3.3 will drop.  That’s Right!!! ICECROWN BABY! Multiple 5-man instances, a multi-wing Raid, complete with Air ship combat!  It will be an epic battle!  I did see one panel transcript where the developer said “when you DEFEAT Arthas…”, this wording makes me think he will not die in this encounter.  He is too big of a character (not that Illidan wasn’t) in the Warcraft Universe.  I have a feeling we could see more of either Arthas or the Lich King in the future… I think we may see a divide happen with this charater.  Don’t ask me why… just goin with my gut on it.

July (or early Summer) 2010: Beta will open for Cataclysm.   The footage I saw off the web (starting zones being somewhat playable, actual video of dungeon content (not just concept art) the fact that the Devs said they had started work on this new expansion pack before WOTLK launched…  I think they are a lot further on this than they have let us know.  I also heard that on one of the panels someone slipped and said “2 releases in 2010…” and we know that Starcraft II should be going to beta any time since they talked about pushing it’s release from this fall to 2010.

September/October: In game Pre-Launch Cataclysm events… maybe some odd “geysers” or something start cracking through the surface and you have to check em out… or maybe some event that will get people’s attention.  Fissures start to appear in the Barrens and Mulgore for instance…

October/November 2010: Azeroth will suffer the Cataclysm!!!  I hope I am wrong and it comes sooner, but once again, figure 2-3 months for Beta then the launch window would just about fit if my guesses are right.

One thing to note is during the Trailer released at Blizzcon, the narrator says that this Cataclysm occurs while we are busy fighting the Lich King.  It is possible for it to occur sooner, and if that is the case, I think it would be awesome!  I just wanted to put some speculation out there just based on previous patterns I have noticed from Blizzard.

10 Ways to be a Better Player….

•August 13, 2009 • 3 Comments

Everyone has experienced it… Rude people in game. I have on many occasions dealt with rude people. For those who would like to know, here are some of my “common courtesy” things you can do to spread a bit of etiquette in game.

  1. Stay away from Barrens Chat channel. Let’s face it, I don’t care what Chuck Norris and your mom did last night! This chat channel will cause your brain to ooze out of your ear!
  2. When a Mage kindly answers your request for a portal, please take into account not only the cost of the reagent, but also the travel time when tipping! I know of many Mages that will port out of daily quests to help someone out in an Different Zone only to be tipped 15 silver.
  3. When you are a tank in a party/raid, thank your healer… respect them!  They are the ones that keep you alive!
  4. If the floor looks funny, Move!!! That means staying out of poison clouds, death circles, ooze, or anything else that could harm you.
  5. I have heard this on many occasions… YOU CAN’T HEAL THROUGH STUPID!!!
  6. No matter how good your DPS is, See Item 4.  After all, when you are dead you do ZERO DPS!
  7. Even if someone says they aren’t charging a fee for something (disenchant, enchant, or whatever) offer them some money as a ‘thank you’ for their time.  I am sure you would want them to do the same.
  8. When in a raid, Mages kinda become vending machines for food and such.  Give them a thanks now and then.  I have spent many starts thinking I should have a Culligan shirt on.
  9. If you are running through a lowbie area drop some buffs around.  Every bit helps when building up a lowbie toon.  Even the most L33T player can benefit from a buff early on.
  10. This may seem like a “well duh” point, but just treat others as you would like to be treated yourself!

Well there you have it… Kaneka’s 1o ways to have a little good etiquette in WoW.  If you have some items to add Please use the Comments Link Below!!

Patch 3.2 Impressions Thus far… this Casual’s thoughts and musings

•August 10, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Mage stuff:  Ok Living Bomb’s changes are a lot of fun.  If your tanks can hold threat, you can LB several mobs and once and they just tick down and cause some good damage across the board.  Very fun in the new 5-man instance where you fight groups of 3.  Just gotta cast it on each, scorch em up, and then Pop! Pop! Pop!  and the area damage is still going,  so basically get splash damage on all of em.

Which brings me to the new 5-man Instance:  Trial of the Crusader

Well what else can be said… it is a Loot Pinata.  I have run it now 3 times both heroic and normal modes… It is quick and fairly easy.  It is a nice touch with the added quests they put in when it comes to the Black Knight.  Personally, I do hope to see it get harder with the 10 and 25 man modes.  I haven’t had a chance to do those yet.  There is a good bit of flavor that goes with the 5 man though.  They set the tone by having the characters get announced and periodically you will see “the contingent from Silvermoon cheers for Kaneka” while you are waiting for a phase to start.  The loot tables for the drops are pretty impressive as  well.  I know many people are QQ’ing about it because they feel it is overboard.  Personally, as a casual who has yet to be able to arrange enough time to get into Ulduar (just finally cleared Naxx completely for the first time last friday)… it works for me!  I got a nice set of boots and enough emblems to trade in to finally ditch my cloak for a better piece.

My take on the Jewelcrafting additions…

I LOVE the new recipes. I got my stockpile of Titanium prospected and picked up a couple of new designs from Timothy Jones.  Got myself regemmed to an extent.  With my additions, I am at over 1840 bonus damage.  Not bad for a mage who hasn’t touched Ulduar.  🙂

Note to self:  Start researching what I need to do to gear myself for surviving some PVP.  right now I pretty much get squished!

coming soon… kaneka’s pvp and mount adventures!!!