Beta-Testing Life through WoW

Walking towards the futureI wrote a post a long time ago about the impacts that WoW has had on my life at that time.  However, I have gotten a good bit older (in kid-years at least) and a great deal more mature so WoW’s impact on me has definitely changed.  So thus, Beta-testing life through WoW.

I wish to start by saying that WoW has had an enormously positive impact on my life.  I know there are people out there that had the game completely take over and ruin their lives, but my experience has not been anything like that at all.  I’ve grown up in WoW, and it has been one of the best teacher’s I’ve ever had.

At this point in my life, I’m starting to decide what sort of person I want to be when I grow up.  How I want to act and react to those around me.  How I want to portray myself to others.  How I want to think of myself.  I’m beginning to realize just what the world is like, and its not an easy thing. I don’t know how many of you remember your teenaged years, but they can be a difficult and emotional time.

Which is why I find myself ever grateful to know about and play WoW.  That might sound strange; during my most vulnerable years I want to play a video game? How does that help? But it does.  WoW is the the place where I can really try out who I want to be. It’s the beta test, in a way, of my personality.

Because in Azeroth, I can be anyone I want to be.  Anonymity is a powerful thing but also a chance for me to try out who ‘me’ is.  How do I treat strangers? How do I treat friends? How do I make friends? I’d like to say it’s been a successful trial run thus far, since I don’t know of any enemies.  But it’s so much better than school, because there are no strings attached.  No history or past prejudice.  How I acted years ago doesn’t affect me now.  It’s a really empowering feeling, especially coming from school with it’s baggage of history.

But along with how I act, WoW has also taught be the best way to react.  Dealing with trolls is one of the stickier aspects of life.  This is going to sound really ridiculous, but the trolls of WoW have actually taught me a valuable life lesson.  How do you deal with insults? How do you deal with arse holes? I’ve learned that you can’t always fight it, but sometimes you have to.  And other times, you have to stand up for another. I’ve had some encounters with some really awful people in real life, but because of WoW I know how to come out on top.

Leadership is another thing I’ve picked up from WoW.  I’ve been an officer in three guilds now, and have organized and executed dozens of events.  I’ve led raids, organized people, and dealt with managerial stuff, to the point where I thing I have a good handle with what I am doing.  This sort of knowledge translates superbly well into the real world.  School projects become a lot easier (usually no one wants to lead, so I often step up and fill that role) and I would assume the workplace too. Because of my beta testing in WoW, I’ve learned how to lead and how to get people to follow.

The list goes on and on.  Time management, how to own up for mistakes, how to ask for help (I really struggled with this).  I won’t say that I’ve learned it all because I know I haven’t.  But I have certainly got a lot of advice and experience under my belt.  It’s made me a more mature, more confident, and more successful person.  Because of WoW, I’m finding who I want to be faster that most others my age.  I’m making mistakes, absolutely, but I’m doing them in an environment that will let me move past those mistakes.

However, I don’t believe that I am the only one who can change and grow because of WoW.  I would bet money, that every person who plays WoW can use it to better themselves.  This probably sound really hippy dippy talk, but I think this is an important idea.  You get out of life what you take out of life.  And I’m going to take all this WoW experience and run with it.

Because of WoW, I’m finding me.

 

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So yeah.  One soul baring article with added philosophical musings.  I promise I won’t get all profound and deep all the time, but I really needed to write this and get this out there.  Have a nice weekend folks and a Happy Spring Break (whenever that might be)!

The Apex of My Loathing

Apexis crystal hatredI don’t like apexis crystals.  In fact, it wouldn’t be untoured to say that I hate apexis crystals.  However I’m not one to rant without reason.  So let me tell you why I dislike those infernal little shards of the past.

First of all, Apexis crystals are really small.  Or they must be, because it takes so dang many of them to buy even the lowest tier of gear.  And because it takes so many crystals to buy things, there is a feeling that it is that much harder to obtain gear.  Back in the day of Justice Points and Valor Points, it required less of that currency to buy the comparatively same gear.  And while the rate of acquisition balances out, it certainly feels like it’s a lot harder to use currency to buy upgrades.

The second issue is that Apexis crystals are gathered differently than previous currencies.  With Justice and Valor Points, you could earn them from daily quests (which I’m glad is gone) or running dungeons/raids/scenarios.  But with Apexis crystals, you either do one daily for a large amount, you get lucky with work orders, you can do some garrison missions, or you grind elites for hours. I think this is the crux of the matter.  You can’t do instances to get crystals.

The way it used to work was you ran instances in hopes of getting new gear.  Then in case you didn’t what you needed, you went and used the points to buy gear that you couldn’t upgrade.  That way you always got something out of an instance, even if the bosses gave you no drops.  That also acted as an incentive to get those who might not need the gear from an instance to run the instance.  Meaning in LFR, there was always at least one overgeared person to pull you along.

But instead of grinding instances to get better gear, you now must grind mobs.  A grind is grind, right?  Wrong.  Grinding instances was an experience.  You could chat with other instances members (or fight with them).  You could help friends gear up by running them through.  You could stoke your ego and burn things down with your awesome gear.  But a mob grind? You mindlessly murder hundreds of mobs for hours.  Mob grinding is repetitive, dull, and anti- social.  Plus, tanks and healers especially can’t mob grind nearly as effectively as dps.  Instances, no matter how many times you do them, are more interesting than mob grinds.

As a healer (with a tank offspec) I can’t really grind mobs.  And besides that, I would way rather run an instance.  In effect, apexis crystals have destroyed alternative gearing methods for me.  And, they’ve taken away my incentive to run instances once I no longer need gear.

I know there are other methods of getting apexis crystals, but they are not as controllable.  The missions options change almost daily.  Work orders are completely random.  The daily is dependable, but you can only get your 800-1000 and you are done for the day.  I miss the flexibility of justice/valor points.

With the vast number required to buy a single piece and the time commitment and unenjoyable grinds attached, I definitely think that Apexis Crystals are a weaker aspect of this expansion. It’s completely possible that I’m doing this whole thing wrong, but they have been no use to my gearing up process.  I’ve bought maybe one or two pieces of gear.  Apexis Crystals just aren’t doing it for me.

Liebster Awarded Once More

liebster-award-rulesThe Liebster Awards are making their way back around again! Growing Up in Azeroth has been nominated by Waiting for Rez! Yotaan and Fussypants blog their answers below!

1)    How did you get started blogging?
Yotaan: My daughter really enjoyed playing WoW and really enjoyed writing.  It was a natural to put those two together and start a WoW blog.  I joined her to supervise (of course, have to be a father, and all) and we thought it was a blogging perspective not yet covered, that of a father/daughter’s take on WoW.
Fussypants:  The idea was all Yotaan’s; a way to connect my love of writing with my love of WoW.  I will admit though, I sort of took the idea and ran with it!

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2)    What ability or skillset do you most admire in others but personally lack?
Yotaan: I always strive to communicate better.  It can affect all aspects of one’s life.  Additionally, better communication means better understanding, and one cannot stop trying to improving understanding, no matter what the subject is.
Fussypants: The ability to tank.  Seriously.  I just can’t do it.  I’m alright leveling as a tank, but once I hit max level I just can’t do it.  I feel my veins fill with adrenaline and a develop a headache every time!

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3)    You’re a long forgotten celebrity from the 80s looking to make a comeback. Which reality show do you make an appearance on and why?
Yotaan: This question completely confuses me.  I suppose I need to watch more reality shows?
Fussypants: The 80s? Didn’t the dinosaurs live back then?

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4)    What’s the origin of your blogging name?
Yotaan: I’ve watched my daughter literally grow up playing WoW.  But “Growing up on WoW” was taken, and Azeroth turned out be a good googleable name.
Fussypants: The blog is a father daughter perspective, and one of the biggest parts about the game is the fact that I grew up in it (under Yotaan’s watchful guidance).  So we wanted the name to reflect that, but as Yotaan said Growing up in WoW was taken, so we went with Growing Up in Azeroth.

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5)    Which blogger would you like to meet in real life and why?
Yotaan: I enjoy my favorite blogger’s company every day (before and after school, that is.)
Fussypants: There’s this awesome cool blogger I read, name’s Yotaan.  Man, I’ve always wanted to meet him in real life since the first time I read one of his articles! (:P)  In all seriousness though, I think I’d like to meet any other blogger in real life.  It’s one thing to read a person’s writing, but quite another to speak to them face to face.

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6)    What is the most important thing you’ve learned from blogging?
Yotaan: Consistency is key.  You have to put something out there on a regular schedule.  Fussypants and I have struggled with this from time to time.
Fussypants: I will second what Yotaan said, but also add my own.  Not every article has to be this deep 1000 word analysis of some integral aspect of the game.  I struggle with writing shorter pieces because I always feel like I need to be conveying some important opinion.  Transmog articles can just be about transmog!

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7)    What work of fiction would you like to see made into an MMO virtual world that hasn’t been done already?
Yotaan:I wold love to see the Wheel of Time series made into an MMO.  There is a lot of depth to the series and I think it would work well.  But it would be have to be done right, by developers that love the series.
Fussypants: Hmm, that’s a toughie.  I think I’d have to say Narnia, purely because there’s a lot of wiggle room for character and story development.  Narnia is a pretty big and well imagined world, so it would make sense for it to be turned into an MMO.  But it would have to be done very carefully to avoid being childish or dissimilar to the original.

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8)    What role of the holy trinity of tank/dps/healer fits your personality most?
Yotaan: Since I am a father, I suppose the tank fits best.  I take all the abuse (sorry Fussypants!)
Fussypants: Definitely healer! I think of healers as those who enjoy helping others but also the leaders who are not afraid to do what what is necessary.

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9)    If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Yotaan: My most vivid dreams as a kid was being able to fly, if you just concentrate in the right way.  Totally would love to be able to have that power and it would save time and gas on my work commute.
Fussypants: Forget flying, I just want to be able to instantly teleport anywhere in the world.  I would go to amazing natural locations and get food from different continents every day.  Also, I could wake up for school way later since I could instantly teleport there.  That would be really nice!

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10)    If you could cut and paste your favorite games into one mega-ultra-super MMO, what would it look like?
Yotaan: I can’t answer this one, I play very few games, just WoW and Hearthstone.
Fussypants: It would be the lore of the Warcraft RTSs turned into a ‘Everquest’ styled MMO called…. oh wait.

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11)    If you were to start up a video game company, what would you name it?
Yotaan: My video game company would be called “Cartridge Gaming.”
Fussypants: Enigma Gaming, and we would make awesome RPGs.

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The second part of the Liebster Award is to provide 11 facts about yourself, but since Yotaan and Fussypants have already done so, we decided to give you 11 facts about the blog itself.

Growing up in Azeroth is over a year old
Readership of the blog is from around the world
Oreos are very tasty
Wordpress keeps changing the rules…
In non favorable ways for blogging
Never have we gotten a hunter to max level
Gnomes are the best…
Unless you ask Yotaan
Paladins are great…
In both of our minds
Nobody was excited about patch 6.1
AZEROTH

Now for the last part, our nominations! We nominate
wowstorylines

A is for Azeroth and Z is for Zeirah

Blog of the Treant

World of Pascalcraft

Harpy’s Nest Blog

Gnomecore

Sportsbard

The Exodar Sisters

Ravyn’s Reliquary

BattlePetRoundup

Adventures in Skywall

 
Our questions for you!
1)    In your opinion (not based on views), which article that you’ve written is your best?
2)    You wake up in Azeroth as your main character. What do you do?
3)    What motivates you to write?
4)    You can have one spell in real life that isn’t a mage spell.  Which one do you pick?
5)    Best noob mistake?
6)    If you could kill off one WoW character to bring back another WoW character, who would you kill and who would you bring back?
7)    What was your first video game?
8)    If a patch is released and no one is there to play it, do the forums QQ?
9)    If you didn’t play video games, you’d be…
10)     On a scale of 1-10, how much have you enjoyed WoD (1 being not at all and 10 being its the best thing since sliced bread)?
11)    What’s the best thing about blogging?

Satire: Stop Catering to the Casuals Blizzard!

Wow is dead!(Warning: Satire)
Usually Twitter is the place for ranting, but today Twitter is what I’m going to rant about.  So I brought the party here.  Grab your popcorn folks, this ones gonna be a doozy.

Patch 6.1 brought many changes, but arguable one of the most radical was Twitter integrations.  The patch notes explain it best.

“Twitter Integration
Characters can now send Tweets for items, achievements, and screenshots from within the game client using the /share command.
To activate this feature, visit Social options in the Interface menu to enable, add, or disconnect a Twitter account.”

In addition to this, Blizzard also added a S.E.L.F.I.E camera as a garrison mission reward.  The S.E.L.F.I.E camera allows players to take a ‘selfie’ or head shot of their character. This picture can also be used in conjuncture with the new Twitter Integration.

I see what’s going on here.  I’m onto you Blizzard!

Stop catering to the filthy casuals!

What has WoW come to?? I remember back in the day how screenshotting was! It took real skill to get that shot just right.  HOURS of preparation to capture that perfect moment!  If you wanted to get a picture of your character you had to wait till they stopped yawning, or bouncing, or looking around, or sniffing to take the shot.  And then, right as you would hit the screencap button, your stupid toon would look away.  It used to take real skill to take screenshots!

Oh look at me, aren't I so cool with my S.E.L.F.I.E camera!

Oh look at me, aren’t I so cool with my S.E.L.F.I.E camera!

Now any filthy casual can do what it once took years of learning to achieve.  Just click on the S.E.L.F.I.E camera and Blizzard will solve the problem for you!  Any brainless mouth drooler can do it, and it makes me sick.

Blizzard is ruining this game!  They are making it stupid easy so any old schmuck can go and take a screenshot!  People liked it when it was hard! Change it back! Vanilla WoW was the best!

And don’t even get me started on the Twitter integration!  What used to take a hundred dollar investment in Photoshop and months of trying to learn the program now is a simple /share command.  Now everyone can post their screencaps without going through the pain of trying to find them in all the files that come with WoW and crop them to be just right!

You know what, I’m gonna boycott the Twitter integration! That’ll show them! That will show them to cater to the casuals! I’ve played this game for 11 long years so I deserve to be appeased.  My opinion matters more than the noobs that started in WoD!

What will happen next? Free Mythic raiding tiers for logging in? Full sets of conquest gear for killing one mob? Rare mounts for turning in any quest? It’s a slippery slope I tell you, and I just won’t stand for it!

It's simple math!

It’s simple math!

This game is dying! Any noob can now take high quality screenshots and post them to twitter.  The game is easymode!  No one will play, there is no challenge!  People loved spending hundreds of dollars and hours perfecting their skills! Don’t you dare listen to the casual’s whining; change it back!
So take to the forums my righteous friends! Give Blizzard a piece of our mind about this keyboard-turning camera! Make them see the truth of their actions! Shout it to the world and don’t let anyone correct you! This selfie camera is the nail in the coffin; WoW is dead!

Filthy casuals ruining the game….

(Disclaimer: I actually have no qualms with either, but it sure is fun to pretend to rant like a hardcore :P )

Mistful of DPS healing

By the way, this tank was awesome

By the way, this tank was awesome!

And here I go again! I’ve started yet another healer, this time a mistweaver monk.  I’m leveling this one to be the healer in several Herald of the Titans runs.  Which in hind sight, might not have been the best idea considering that monks were not around when Wrath was current and there is no tier gear for them.  Oops.  I’m too far along though to turn back (BC leveled at the moment of writing).

I chose mistweaver for two main reasons.  I have never played a monk beyond level 20 and I was curious about fistweaving.  Monks beyond level 20 is a truly enjoyable affair, but fistweaving not so much.

First, let’s start with the positives.  I’m really enjoying monks!  I think the Chi system worked out remarkable well and feels intuitive (instead of tacked on like it is for paladins).  There’s a good rhythm of building and spending chi, especially for mistweaving.  And the accelerated leveling is a gift that keeps on giving.  Monks feel fast, light on their toes, and flexible.

If I had to pick one negative thing, I would chose the fact that one must constantly interrupt the channel of soothing mists.  For years I have been trained to never interrupt channeled casts until they are done.  Especially for healing abilities (Tranquility and Divine Hymn come to mind), you never want to interrupt if you can help it.  And this ingrained knowledge has made it difficult for me to interrupt Soothing Mists to cast other abilities.  It’s a small pet peeve, but I feel guilty every time I end Soothing Mists early.

While I think Mistweaving is enjoyable and lively, the same cannot be said for fistweaving.  I feel that fistweaving could be fun and enjoyable, but right now it is weak.  Very weak.  Perhaps this gets better with level or gear, but as it stands I cannot reliably heal by fistweaving.

I know I’ve already mourned the loss of dps healing, but it still haunts me.  There is just something innately appealing about being able to do two roles at once.  While I don’t advocate for the return of SoO disc levels of power (while enjoyable, it was a balancing nightmare), I do think that dps healing should have some sort of relevance.  It’s just too entertaining a mechanic to get nerfed into oblivion.

Other than fistweaving, monk has been an enjoyable healing class! Monks are different enough that the play style doesn’t feel like any other class, an impressive feat considering all the different healing builds out there.  And as a bonus, when I get to max level, there are a bunch of monk transmogs just waiting for me to wear them!

Fussypants Writes a Horror Story

He's sort of horror story-ish, right?

He’s sort of horror story-ish, right?

And now for something completely different, Fussypants writes a horror story!

Has I gone mad? No there’s a reason behind this!  I just got home from vacation and all of my time has been devoted to catching up on schoolwork.  In my English class, this meant I had to write a horror story (which was due today).  So I figured, instead of squeezing in a WoW article between all my schoolwork, that I would just post the story I already wrote for you all. No, its not WoW themed (that’s the really horrific part :P ), but I still think it’s kinda cool in a creepy, horror story sort of way.

So without further adieu, Fussypants presents….


 

Eaten Alive

They always told you that adulthood would be a fantastic thing. You would be free and independent, allowed to choose your own destiny. The world would be your oyster, and all you had to do was go out and pursue it. What they didn’t tell you about was the monotony. The mind numbingly dull repetition. You were one of the lucky ones who got a job. But stability granted you no relief from the endless drone of life. It wore on you, as endless as the ocean.

Every day was the same. He woke up, the alarm with its shrill insistent beeping. The shower was always cold and his shirts never as white as he hoped. Breakfast was the same cheap coffee every day. He caught the bus at 7th and Haviture, two blocks from his apartment. Fifteen minutes later, and he arrived at his job and his entire life.

The office building was a lifeless tan and unimaginative in design. It was as if the builders had all sat down and came up with as many boring and cliché elements to include before constructing. He didn’t look up, but he knew what was branded above the grimy doors. Pierson Law Firm. Even the name was bland.

Joined by the numbed masses, he trudged across the lobby and into the elevators. They slowly climbed, like old mules under the weight of all those people. At every floor, a tired ding announced their arrival. He got off at the 31st ding.

Every day was the same, and today was no different. He shuffled down the hallway of cubicles like a prisoner to execution. With a final sigh of surrender, the man lowered himself into his desk chair. The computer was switched on and slowly began to load. The Windows logo blazed across the screen, and he got down to work.

 

Several hours later, and he could no longer sit. His knees burned with disuse and his eyes ached. With a groan, the man stood up, and wandered over to the water cooler.

Now the water cooler was more than a simple place for refreshment. It was the heart and soul of the office. All gossip started here and all news came through it first. There were always two or three ‘condors’ there. A condor was someone who monitored all that happened at the cooler. No one could hang there without first earning the approval of a condor. And somehow, the condors never got in trouble for avoiding work. They were, despite their name, the top of the food chain in the office.

He meekly tiptoed over to the cooler. Today, the condors were two women from the larger cubicles and a man known as The Pen. All three were relatively powerful condors, but they were too immersed in their own conversation to notice the arrival of one lean, pale man in an ill-fitting work suit.

“I’ve heard that Boss is thinking of firing some of the dead weight around here,”

“Ooh, I knew the Firm was struggling, but I didn’t realize it was that bad!”

“What departments, do you think?”

“I don’t want to spread any rumors,” The woman lowered her voice, “but I personally think there will be cuts in the human resource department, also the tax, real estate….” The woman’s voice dropped even softer, and he could no longer hear her.

The cup rested, empty, in the man’s numb hands. His collared shirt suddenly felt like the tightest thing in the world, and he choked on the air. Before the condors could notice, he ducked away, back into the relative safety of his cubicle. Eyes wide with terror, he gazed unseeing at the walls of his cubicle. The company calendar hung next to the company’s mission statement. Our goal is to provide our clients with the highest quality legal services. We will not rest until every client has received the premier and professional service that they deserve. Will not rest… not rest….

Panic frizzing in the back of his mind, he committed himself even more to his work. The hours melted by, narrated by frantic typing. Endless lists of numbers blurred into one strip of glowing white. His nails clacked on the keys while his fingers jumped on the mouse.

BRRRRINNNNNGG!

The end of the day bell broke him out of his trance. From all around came the animated shuffling of dozens of people packing up and heading out. He stared at the screen, unable to comprehend the gibberish scrawled upon it. Then with sinking finality, he hit the grey submit box and packed up to head home.

The old mules carried him and all his coworkers down to the lobby. The man stared unseeing at the dull reflective walls. Unconsciously, he scratched at his cheek, rubbed his eyes, and played with his finger. The metal prison broke open and the people were released into the lobby. Like a zombie, the man stumbled out of the monotone building onto the waiting bus.

His apartment was dark. The man stood, staring into the darkness as reality poured into his soul. He might lose his job. The tiny shred of sanity onto which he clung. The life line which just barely kept him out of poverty. The stability that allowed him to wake up every morning. The man shook, and stepped into his apartment.

The fuzzy lights turned on, revealing a pile of envelopes that had been stuffed under the door. He reached down and snatched the pile. Junk. Junk. Catalog. Bill. Junk. Bill. Bill. Bill. He discarded the junk mail, and stared wide-eyed at the bills. As if staring at them could change the numbers inside. As if he could pay off his dues.

 With shaking fingers, he opened the bills. And stared. Those zeroes couldn’t be right. There must be some mistake. There was no way he could pay that much, even if he had twice the time to collect his money. He slammed the papers down on the table, and shut the door with a tremendous crash.

 Flinging off his coat, the man stormed into his kitchen. He ripped open the refrigerator, but found it pathetically empty. A scowl on his lips, and he turned to the cabinet. He snatched out the last Ramen noodles, partially crushing the plastic bowl. The kettle was filled, and he stared at the flames. He tried to compare them to his anger, but they were much too small and tame. His rage felt bigger, more consuming like a wild fire.

He stamped over to the couch, falling onto it with a grunt. The TV buzzed on, and its pale flickering filled the darkened room. News, something about a shooting. The man stared beyond the screen, completely ignoring the tearful testament of a mother. The story switched, and the announcer began to trill about the economy. Down, loss, spiral into depression. A business owner was interviewed, talking about how hard it was to operate, and how he’d have to lay off some workers if things didn’t improve. The veins stood out on the man’s forehead as he willed the business owner’s head to explode.

The kettle whistled its piercing scream, snapping the man out of his reverie. He rose slowly, and shuffled over. As the boiling water spilled onto dry noodles, the man felt his rage seep away as well. What was the point of being angry? What would that do for him?

The man returned to his couch, meal clutched in hand. He flipped the channels to one of those humorless comedies, and scratched his cheek again. Then, he began to eat.

Long after he was done, the man continued to stare at the television, willing his troubles to melt away like those in the shows. Always the same for them, half an hour later and all their problems were solved. Why did they get it so damned easy? What makes them special? A dark cloud descended and wrapped around the man, but still he blindly watched the blinking screen.

 

BRRRRINNNNNGG!

The man woke with a start. The TV still flickered, though the rays of dawn now cracked faintly through the shabby curtains. He jumped up with a start, and stared down at himself. Ramen was stained on his not quite white shirt. His pants were wrinkled and covered with cold noodles. And, scratching his cheek, he felt the stubble on his face. Another day, another dollar.

The shower was cold like it always was. His shirt was not as white as he would like, and the coffee was cheap and flavorless. But today was not the same. Several pimples had broken out on his cheek. A cloud of doom hung over him, and a sense of finality poisoned everything.

The bus was a little late, so he arrived at the building after he usually would. The mules only carried a few stragglers, and seemed to move much slower, as if they were tired already from today’s work. The 31st ding, and the man sprinted to his cubicle.

There was a note on the computer. You must fill the quota by today, or a meeting will need to be scheduled to discuss your work ethics. Thanks! ~Management. The man stared at the note like a loaded gun pointed at his face. Then, panic fluttering in his stomach, he sat down and began to type frantically.

It was a sea of numbers, and he barely could stay afloat. The numbers ate at him from the inside out and outside in. Forms upon forms splattered across the screen, all carrying one message. Doomed! You are doomed! Doggedly, the man typed on, all while sinking beneath the waves.

Too soon, the end bell rang. And still, dozens of forms needed to be filled. Thousands of numbers were unchecked. The quota was not filled. Not even remotely.

Empty. He was empty. A void, devoid of all sense of feeling. Like a man drowning in a pool, he could only stare at the quota. The unfilled quota. The quota that would lose him his job. For how long he sat, time cannot tell. But eventually, the dogged sweeping of the janitor brought him out of his trance. Fingers numb, he submitted the form and wandered out of the office.

The elevators carried him down, sinking into the lobby. His feet brought him out, out to the dark street. It had rained sometime in the day, and now the night was heavy with the wet orange haze. The sidewalks glistened orange. The air hummed with darkness. The sky, black and inky, glowed with the unearthly orange.

The bus had long since departed, so the man shuffled into the dim night. Humidity stuck to his clothing, and the gloom sunk in his mind. His cheek had really begun to itch, so he scratched absentmindedly. The orange buzz of the streetlights against the dark sky put him in a contemplative mood. With remorse, he questioned all that he did, and all that he stood for.

“Why is this job so important to you?”

“Because it provides me with the money to get by.”

“Get by to what? You have no end goals.”

“But if I don’t keep going, then I’ll fall apart.”

“And why is this a bad thing? You have no one to stay together for, no girlfriend or family.”

“….”

“Just fall apart. Give up. You’ve reached rock bottom and it’s time to end the race.”

“….”

“Just give it up….”

The apartment was dark. The man stumbled in, scattering the envelopes all across the floor. He did not notice, as he lurched about. Drunkenly, he lurched about before wobbling into the dank bathroom. He turned the lights on, and stared at his wide eyed, pale face.

His pupils were the size of coins. His left cheek was a swollen mass of red irritated splotches. His hair was disheveled and thinning. His shirt had been miss-buttoned, and was off kilter. And skin was pale as a skull. With trembling hands, the man opened up his medicine cabinet. He already knew which bottle to grab, and how many pills. He had calculated long ago.

A dozen pills rested in his hand. Their pearly white surface promised oblivion. And their promise was true. But there would be no going back. For hours, the man stared at the pearls. While they might seem white, they were truly black as death. But they were true.

A millennium passed.

The man did not move.

And slowly,

With soft motions

He dropped the pills back into the bottle

And returned it

To the darkness of the cabinet.

 

He felt a hundred years old. Aching bones and soul, he changed into his pajamas. He settled down on his hard bed under his thin sheets and stared at the ceiling.

“This job really is eating you alive”

He signed, turned over, and went to sleep.

 

BRRRRINNNNNGG!

The alarm shrieked, dancing all around. With purpose, the man rose. His shower was cold, his shirts never white enough, his coffee cheap. But today was not like other days. An air of purpose crisped the air. It was do or die time.

While in the bathroom, the man glanced in the mirror. He still looked pale, that was true, but there was a revival of life in his ashen cheeks. And speaking of cheeks, his left cheek had swollen to the size of a plum. It was turning a worrying black, and itched like a band aid on for too long. The man briefly flirted with the idea of going to see a doctor. But there wasn’t time, and certainly wasn’t money.

The bus dropped him off, and he marched with purpose into the bland building. The mules seemed energetic today, and the dings lively. At the 31st, he hopped off, and strode into his cubicle.

There was a note on the computer. Meeting in Conference Room B at 11. Attendance is required. ~Management. He rolled up his sleeves. It was do or die time.

With determination, he sat down and faced the numbers. The numbers streamed down endlessly, but he was ready today. Eyes focused, he battled the forms with vigor.   And in the back of his mind, he devised his plan. All the while, the hours slipped by.

11 ‘o’ clock struck, and way too soon. He wrapped up his work, and marched confidently to the conference room. A severe faced lady sat in the big chair, and his morale slipped a bit. But with bitter determination, he stepped in the room and sat down.

“Mr. Oliver is it?” It was not, “Please take a seat.” He was already sitting.

“The Firm has always valued its dedicated and hard workers. We pride ourselves in the fact that we employ loyal and diligent employees such as you, and we appreciate your many hours of dedication. However,” she paused, “In these trying times, difficult decisions must be made. And unavoidably, jobs must be cut. Here at the firm, we appreciate,” again, stress on this word, “the years of dedication you have provided. However, your recent works has not been up to par. And with the economic downturn, we cannot afford to have subpar employees.”

This was not at all going how it should be. The woman pressed on, emotionlessly ignoring the man’s shocked face, “I’m sorry Mr. Oliver, but we are letting you go. Please have your stuff packed and out of the office by the end of the work day.”

He sat there, drowning in the news. The woman offered no life preserver, no support, no comfort at all. At last, he was able to mutter something.

“I don’t get a chance to defend myself? I’m just… gone?” His voice cracked.

“I’m afraid so. The higher ups made this decision, not me,” The woman’s voice held no sympathy.

“I… I…”

“Good day Mr. Oliver,” With a curt nod, she stood up and strode out of the room. He looked in shock at the large chair she had just been sitting in. Fired… fired….

The man stood up in a trance. Unknowingly, he shuffled to his office, and slowly began to pack his things. There wasn’t much. Little stuff in his cubicle and no fire in his heart. He was cold and empty. Supplies in hand, the man wandered by the water cooler to the last time. The whispers of the condors followed him out to the elevator.

“Oh look, another one’s been fired,”

“Sucks to be him,”

The elevator carried him slowly down, a lonely ride to the end. Dazed, the man wandered out of the elevator, out of the building, and into the streets.

Somehow, his numb body got him home. Before he knew what had happened, he was at the door of his apartment. The apartment was dark, and the slits of light from the outside did nothing to penetrate the doom. The man wandered to his bathroom, peering brokenly into his reflection.

“They didn’t give you a chance. They didn’t even give you a chance. They ate you up and spit you right out when they were done. You meant nothing to them, and you never will,”

The man’s cheek was bothering him, but he ignored it in his broken stupor.

“They ate you alive, and left the bones to turn to dust.

His cheek began hurting more, a pinching and wriggling mass.

“They ate you alive…”

His cheek was a mass of motion. The man was drawn out of his stupor by the sudden pain. He glared at his face, and his eyes opened with horror. The skin under his cheek was moving, lumps squirming around the bulge of skin. The pain was unbearable.

“What is this?” The man nervously asked the mirror, raising a hand to scratch the lump

His fingers touched the blackened skin. The pain and motion suddenly froze, and all was still.

 

And then his skin exploded open. Thousands of tiny, somethings poured out, onto his face, onto his hand. The man screamed, and stumbled backwards. He stared in horror at the black specs skittering all about.

Spiders, they were spiders.

The man screamed again, and the spiders began to pour into his mouth, his nose, his eyes, his ears. He could feel their hairy bodies scraping the insides of his throat and ears and nose. They overwhelmed him, and he fell to the ground.

The spiders dug deeper into his body. All he could see were the spindly, hairy legs of thousands of spiders, all he could feel were their legs as they crawled into him. He tried to scream, tried to close his mouth, but there were too many, too many!

And then they began to eat. They ate at him, deep in his chest and his head. The man could feel as millions of tiny fangs as they dug into his flesh, tore at his body. The pain was incredible and they crawled down his throat by the millions.

They ate at him! They at him from the inside! He could not scream, could not fight, could not do anything but writhe on the ground as they crawled down his orifices. The skittering, thick, moving mass! Darkness and pain! Pain and darkness!

 

The spiders ate him alive, until there was nothing left but bones.

 

 

All about that Base….

Yotaan in his base

I was wrong.

 

And it’s a little tough to admit.

 

I’m playing WoW and it’s all about my garrison.

 

As you might remember, Fussypants and I wrote an article about garrisons wherein we discussed our thoughts and plans. I had written that it would be too much work, that Yotaan did not get very far in the farm, that it would be better if it all was account bound, and the mini-game aspect would not be engaging. I made a foolish Clash of the Clans comparison.

 

Cause of course, now, the garrison is the main reason I play any of my toons. I will log in and immediately check on those follower missions. Fat loot! Then Yotaan dashes over to the salvage yard (okay, some comments here – the salvage yard is the best thing since sliced bread but why is it so far away in Alliance garrisons? My hordie rogue does not nearly need to travel as far – Horde Bias?) and discovers more fat loot in those great crates. Yay!!! Time to level up the followers and boost their ilevels! All leading to the next step, more missions.

 

I have no idea why I enjoy the followers so much but that alone has kept me playing my max toons and even my ones in the lower 90’s. Perhaps there is just enough reward to entice further play. Certainly there is the feel of progression with leveling, and I think that feeling is multiplied with more followers – look, all 3 went up, at the same time!

 

Not all is perfect in garrison-land though. Sadly, professions are profoundly uninteresting and seem to be mostly useless. This is the first time that Yotaan’s leatherworking has barely advanced at all. I had thought that getting the Barn, initially as a way to obtain savage blood, would be fun. Trapping wildlife seems cool, but the actual process is a little tedious and very much a time sink. The leather production from the Barn is too slow as well. The leatherworking garrison options are just not enticing.

 

And yet, I am enjoying the stables, which I surprising. Catching new mounts is surprising fun. Yotaan is the collector of mounts of our cadre of alts, so that is biasing me a bunch. Plus, seeing a fat pandaren on the little talbuk is always funny.

 

Yotaan has become a bloodthirsty gladiator as well. I have leveled up the gladiator’s sanctum and have ran Ashran with Fussypants. If you join a group in Ashran and fight on the main road, then you become loaded in broken bones. Those bones are the currency for your sanctum for more, you guessed it, Fat Loot! Most of Yotaan’s pvp gear has come from there rather than vendors and you can see him in his finest in the picture.

 

So, shockingly, the feature I had the least amount of interest in, the garrison, has become my focus of play. I hope there will be added features in upcoming patches, cause it really is all about my base.

 

 

This post was entirely written by Yotaan.