Thank You WoWInsider

#save joystiqEDIT: WoWInsider will be shutting down on February 3.  I just….

I hope that the writers find success in all future endeavors, and that WoWInsider is remembered for many, many years to come.  You guys were the best thing to ever happen to the WoW community.  I feel like a part of me has been ripped away….

 

Thank you WoWInsider, thank you.

 

I have some potentially very sad news for you all today.  WoWInsider, your source for the latest and greatest in the World of Warcraft might be shutting down.  AoL plans to shut down Joystiq, the place where WoWInsider is hosted.  While the shutdown of WoWInsider has not been confirmed yet, there is definitely a risk of this happening.  If the shutdown were to happen, I’m not sure if the website will disappear into the void but for certain this would mean the end of all new publications.  The end of WoWInsider.

I’m going to be brutally honest here: this sucks.  This sucks hard.  Like when a family pet dies or a friend moves away for forever.  WoWInsider in many ways is the lifeblood of the WoW community.  When I heard the news I actually teared up a bit (and then ranted on Twitter).  The shutdown of WoW Insider would mean the destruction of a community that I can safely call my own.

Because WoWInsider is so much more than just a website.  WoWInsider is people.  Its the writers, the commenters, the trolls, the readers, and everyone and anyone who has contributed to the site over the years.  WoWInsider is a community.  In fact, it’s one of the better communities out there.  Are there trolls?  It’s the internet, there are always trolls.  But far outnumbering the few unsavory individuals are the people.  The Mathew Rossi, Anne Stickney, Alex Ziebart, Adam Holisky, Olivia Grace, Christian Belt, JeffLaBowski, Scott Leyes, Mogs, Valencemagi, Armenius, Draknfyre, Razwick92, Liopleurodon, Sleuth., Retpallyjil, Eliza, HerrKlokbok, Chrth, and every other person who has commented or written on the web page (if I missed you, I’m sorry! I still love you all!). WoWInsider is made of people.

But just as WoWInsider is made of people, WoWInsider has also made people.  I personally owe a HUGE portion of my success to the site.

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When I first started reading WoWInsider, it was just like my experiences with WoW: over the shoulder of my dad.  One of my first memories of the site was way way back in the days of WoW.com, there was a drawing contest.  I remember being amazed at what the people could make and awed that it was all WoW related.  That is what inspired me to try to make WoW themed art, something I have continued to do to this day.


Eventually I graduated from reading over my dad’s shoulder to reading the site by myself.  For years I read about the crazy antics, wishing I could join in (I was still much too young).  I remember laughing my head off at the Choose My Adventure  (Especially Archmage Pants’ bits).  I remember the great Orcish Proverb Breakfast topic, which is still saved in my bookmarks.  There were days where I’d hit refresh over and over again, waiting for a new article.

Then a year ago, my dad came up with the idea of writing a WoW blog together.  We both really enjoyed the game and I really enjoyed to write, so the logical step was to make a blog.  And one of the starting ideas we had was to submit articles to the Community Blog Topic that WoWInsider then hosted every week.  So I made an account for livefyre and we did.

Looking back, my writing was pretty terrible then.  But it didn’t matter.  Mine and my father’s words were posted, with very litter altercation, on the front page of the webpage that I had read for years and years.  It was a surreal moment.

From there, it only grew.  I began to get dozens of hits from WoWInsider, and the commenters convinced me to join Twitter.  From there, the rest is history.  I have met a bunch of amazing people, been able to play with many more, and have made friends that I would have never guessed.  And all because of WoWInsider.

If it hadn’t been for WoWInsider, its pretty safe to say that I would not be blogging.  I would not be on Twitter, I would not be raiding (the majority of my raiding happens with people I’ve met because of WoWInsider), and I might not even still be playing WoW.  This is how big of an impact that WoWInsider has had on my life.

So to say that WoWInsider is merely a website is to ignore the people who contribute to it and the people who are helped by it.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: WoWInsider is the lifeblood of the Warcraft community.  WoWInsider is a friendly and vibrant group of people who all love WoW.  WoWInsider connects people from all walks of life and unites them under one hobby.  WoWInsider is the meeting room for gamers that is ever open to new members.  It’s the best source of news and the greatest spot for debate.  It’s the best mishmash of chili, haikus, WoW tin foil hat lore, My Little Pony, GIFs, and HMDI converters there will ever be. WoWInsider is pretty dang amazing.

Created by the magnificent Scott Leyes

Created by the magnificent Scott Leyes

Remember the haikus.  Remember the class columns.  Remember the Scott Leyes photoshopped images.  Remember the 1k+ comment Queues.  Remember the memories.  And #SaveWowInsider.

Addendum: The commenters have created a guild for the Queue now! “of The Queue” is the alliance guild on Nesingwary/Vek’nilash/Nazgrel US realms.  Keeping the legacy alive! (I need to go join this!)

Also, read Sportsbard, The Exodar Sister, and Ravyn‘s articles on what WoWInsider has meant to them!

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Transmog Time: Monk-pocalypse

I have a dirty little secret.  I love to make monk transmog sets, but I don’t have a monk high enough leveled to wear them.  For months now these have sat shamefully, burning a hole in the back of my bookmarks.  I’ve decided to come clean and show the world my dirty little secret.  So please enjoy this rendition of Fussypants goes transmog crazy: Monk Style!
Dragon Warrior MonkDragon Dancer
This first look was based entirely off the shoulders.  I saw someone wearing these, and thought the dragon glow (which fades in and out of existence) was the coolest thing ever.  But when I looked up the rest of the set, I was thoroughly unimpressed.  A little searching and I created the perfect dragon monk set!  Glowy and cool, but still practical and not too flashy. (BEWARE: There seems to be a bug on WoWhead right now where the chestpiece for this shows as invisible, so click the model viewer at your own risk)

Chest: Hillman’s Leather Vest   Staff: Aspirant’s Staff of Harmony                              Gloves: Hillman’s Leather Gloves        Head: Adventurer’s Bandana                 Legs: Rigid Leggings    Shoulders: Grievous Gladiator’s Copperskin Spaulders        Belt: Grievous Gladiator’s Waistband of Cruelty      Boots: Rigid Moccasins

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Electric Bogaloo MonkThe River
This was another one of those sets where I loved certain aspects of it, but not others.  So I mixed some newer gear with older greens!  Seriously, how can you not like those glowy blue orbs/beads? Note: This does not look as good on male toons because the boots do not cover past the knee and the shorts are frayed.  If anyone can find a better alternative, please let me know!

Chest: Clefthoof Hidemantle        Shoulders: Red Crane Mantle                          Belt: Weaver’s Cord of Eternal Autumn        Gloves: Tharill’s Blessing              Boots: Clefthoof Wanderboots       Staff: Ghost Iron Staff                                   Legs: Trickster’s Leggings       Head: Red Crane Crown

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Drunken Brewmaster MonkThe Drunken Brawler
Technically speaking, this next set is not restricted to monks only! I was going for a more rugged look for this, and also straw hats are fun! Another added benefit: because of the color scheme, many pieces can be swapped out if farming proves to be too difficult (I am guilty of this).

Chest: Heraldic Breastplate       Shoulders: Shoulder of the Ogre Nabber            Belt: Potent Belt      Gloves:  Heraldic Gloves       Boots: Swabbie’s Booties      Staff: Suen-Wo, Spire of the Falling Sun or Cranedancer’s Staff                        Legs: Earthbound Leggings     Head: Straw Hat

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The Road Warrior MonkThe Road Warrior
Rejoice! This one isn’t monk restricted either! I was going for a sorta ‘warrior on the road’ vibe, and I kinda like how it turned out! Plus, this kilt model has always fascinated me because it is actually pants that have been stretched into a skirt.  Yes, I think about the important things.

Chest: Grizzly Jerkin      Shoulders: Defiant Spire Shoulderguard                        Belt: Snow Lily Belt        Gloves: Gory Gloves      Boots: Thunderlord Sabatons      Legs: Kilt of Sewn Flesh      Head: Runic Leather Headband

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Classic MonkClassic Monk Set
A very classic monk look, slightly redone.  And yes, not restricted to monks (rogues would look pretty rockin’ in this too!)

Chest: Leather Tunic of Eminent Domain      Shoulders: Puncture-Binding Spaulder Boots: Landfall Leather Boots      Gloves: Gloves of the Silver Assassin             Belt: Belt of the Merciless Killer      Legs: Leggings of the Broken Beast           Head: Cursed Vision of Sargeras

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Starcaller transmogStarcaller
Last but not least, a druid look! I respecced my druid to boomkin (with Glyph of Stars of course) and I realized that I had absolutely zero transmog outfits for her! That certainly won’t do! I was going for a starcaller look, hence the tabard.  Keep in mind that I made this with the intention of having the Glyph of Stars up, so the whole thing would be blue and sparkle.  And yes, this is not class restricted.

Chest: Lo’ap’s Tunic of Muck Diving        Shoulders: Spaulders of the Ring         Belt: Mighty Girdle   Gloves: Gloves of the Silver Assassin    Boots: Acidmaw Boots Staff: Ethereum Life-Staff or Apostle of Argus       Legs: Shattrath Leggings       Head: Phantasmal Headdress      Tabard: August Celestials Tabard

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It has been laid bare.  My obsession over monk transmog, my apparent love for the one shouldered look, and my over-usage of the color brown in transmog. What do you folks think? Any improvements you would suggest? Which was your favorite?

First Normal Highmaul!

Hey, would you look at that.  I actually got a screenshot from the raid!

Hey, would you look at that. I actually got a screenshot from the raid!

As the saying goes, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.  And this proved to be true for me.  Mere hours after I posted my last article about my inability to raid this expansion, I got some fantastic advice in the comments and an invitation to another blogger’s normal raid.  You guys absolutely rock!

So problem solved! I now know the Highmaul fights!  And here’s how it happened!

Shortly after posting the article, I got a twitter DM from another blogger named Ambermist (you should all go check out her blog, she has some amazing stuff on raiding and WoD in general) offering to take me along on her normal clear of Highmaul.  I got Yotaan’s permission, downloaded Mumble, upgraded some gear and I was ready to rock.

I was invited to the raid and right away given a quick and concise rundown of the fight (it turns out there are tiger pits in the Kargath fight).  As soon as I was caught up, we were off!  I was healing so I got a good feel of the damage going out in each fight as well as deadly mechanics to watch for, which is absolutely perfect!

We tore through Kargath (if he focuses, run him through fire) and sped onwards into the raid.  Before each boss, Ambermist would give me a great little overview.  The Butcher (stack with ranged, run back after knockback) and Tectus (move right if you have debuff, otherwise move left) both went down without a hitch, and we were at Brackenspore (heal the mushrooms!).  We did wipe to this but we quickly picked ourselves back up, located the problem, and fixed it, downing Brackenspore with ease.

Up next were the Twin Ogrons.  I was a bit worried about this one because this is the one fight that people wipe on in LFR.  But my fears were unfounded because a quick explanation and boss fight later, and the Twin Ogrons (stack, avoid fire, shield charge, and ground swirlies) were down!  Ko’ragh was up next (run away when boss is coming to make silence circle, heal hardcore through shadow and energy marked players) and before I knew it, we were at Imperator Mar’gok.

Mar’gok unsurprisingly was the toughest fight in the raid.  There were a lot of mechanics to watch for (jump DON’T SURF waves, stack and avoid runes, stack for intermission unless you have mark, heal like crazy all the time) and a lot of raid wide damage going out.  We wiped a few times, but each time we popped back up and tightened our method.  Finally, with the help of another healer from their guild, the sorcerer king fell!

I want to send a huge thanks to Ambermist and her guild Check Please! Without them, I definitely couldn’t have done this!  The raid was clean, efficient, and cheerful, a perfect environment to learn the fights.  And I just want to say, I was super impressed by their ‘get stuff done’ manner! When things were going horribly wrong, we would quickly and cleanly wipe it instead of wasting time.  And even though people were streaming in and out of the raid group, everyone who joined was super focused and professional!  Very remarkable!

So now I have a pretty solid working knowledge of the fights in Highmaul.  I also have quite a few Normal pieces of gear (something I did not expect at all!) which helped greatly to increase my ilvl! I am ready to begin raiding again!  Huge thanks to Ambermist and Check Please for unlocking the world of raiding for me!!

No More Learning in LFR

Learning to RaidThe best way I learn things in video games is through experience.  Reading and watching videos can only get me so far; to really understand how to do things, I have to go out and try it.  That’s how I learned to heal, learned to raid, and learned to PvP.  I just went out and did it.

However with many things, its very hard to just throw yourself out there with little previous knowledge.  Queuing up for my first dungeon ever as a healer was pretty stressful.  I had no idea what to expect, but more importantly I didn’t know how the other people would react to my admission of this being my first time.  I’ve been in groups where people are totally supportive and I’ve been in groups where people tear me to bits because of my lack of knowledge.

A safe and hands on experience is the best way that I learn how to do something new.  I observe all that is going on without fear of being ridiculed.  Even better are the times when people explain portions to me.  Everything new I’ve learned to do in this game has been through trying new things hands on, not reading about it online.

The same notion applies to learning a new raid.

I used to be able to hide in the crowd in LFR and learn the mechanics by watching what was going on.  For SoO, I was able to take my LFR experience and successfully transition into actual raiding, getting all the way to Heroic (which was then called normal) Garrosh.  I picked up my knowledge from the hands on experience in LFR and then felt confident to move up on the raiding difficulty scale.

Unfortunately, LFR is no longer difficult, which is both a blessing and a curse.  It is a blessing because LFR is even more of a safe environment to get hands on experience in.  Because it is so trivial, LFR gives a lot of leeway for mistakes.  But on the flip side of the coin, the LFR experience is so different from the rest of the raiding experience that I can no longer learn encounters in it.  The only way I’ll know what to do, is if I join a normal raid.

You might think “Well, that’s not too bad! Normal raiding isn’t really hard!” and I would agreed.  Unfortunately, that is not the mindset of most normal groups.  They don’t want to bring along someone who is learning because it would slow them down.  I would be a liability, so no normal group wants to bring me.  And if they do happen to bring me, I get kicked almost instantly if I make any mistake, no matter how small.  Normal is not a safe learning environment.  It’s the real world, and all people care about it speed.

So this is where I’m stuck right now.  I don’t have the knowledge or safe environment to learn the raids.  And because of this, I have been completely unable to raid all expansion.  I really do want to, but I do not have a group that will take me.  My guild isn’t raiding for a bit (and besides, I’d want some experience going into that) and all my other friends who raid are horde.

I sort of guessed that this would become the case, I was just too blind to see that I would be affected by it.  So right now I’m kinda stuck.  I need what’s in the raids I can’t get into so I can get in said raids.  Wicked catch 22 isn’t it?  What would you guys suggest I try?  And is anyone else encountering this problem?

 

Addendum: There was going to be a massive garrison article on Thursday but unfortunately, after an hour of typing, the whole thing froze up and crashed as I was trying to save it.  Needless to say, I lost that entire article and the desire to rewrite it.  Hence the end of the week posting!

New Year’s Resolutions

WoWScrnShot_122714_194531It’s that time of year again, where foolish and pie in the sky goals are set to mark the passing of an old year into the new.  Let’s see how Fussypants and Yotaan did on last year’s resolutions and what they will pledge to do next year!

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Fussypants: My goals were:
1) Get the legendary cloak! (Sucess three times over!)
2) Level my druid (Success, she’s now my PvP main)
3) Stick to one main character till max level (Success, Fussypants was the first)
4) Every mount in game (Failure, this was a pipe dream)
5) Write for the blog all year (Excepting a few unavoidable breaks, I’d call this a success!)

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So I guess I did pretty good! Next year I really want to focus on blogging with regularity and trying new things in WoW, so my New Year’s Resolutions are:
1) Update the blog once a week for the entire year (with the exception of predetermined hiatuses)
2) Make a serious attempt at arenas.  I want to expand into different areas of the game.
3) Tank some current raids.  I leveled my warrior with the sole purpose of tanking, and I have yet to do that on her.
4) Attempt the Ironman Challenge! I’ve always been curious about this, and I want to actually try it.
5) Start up RAOU again! I really enjoyed doing that, and I want to bring the column back

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Yotaan: My goals were:
1) Beat Fussypants in getting the legendary cloak!  (I was way ahead of her, but she beat me 2 times over!)
2) Play more WoW (yup, that happened alright)
3) Find all the rares in archeology on my dwarf monk (actually got pretty far but ran out of steam)
4) Get more reps up on Yotaan, he’s the toon with the most exalted reputations.  (cleared a bunch, but not all of them, still Yotaan is still the toon with the most reps)
5) Write more in this blog.  Fussypants has offered her views often, and it’s time for more contributions from a father’s perspective. (Well, not so good on this one.  I did do one or two on my own, but we all know that Fussypants is the star of the show!)

Okay, maybe more reachable goals are in order this year:
1) Level Yotaan to max level while enjoying the story as he goes (that may be more relaxing too)
2) Get the legendary ring on Yotaan (boy, that will take forever!)
3) Play with Fussypants more often (we’ve been doing things independently a lot lately)
4) I like the Ironman Challenge!  (I am happy to steal ideas.)
5) Help Fussypants more on her blog (not specifically writing articles, but providing other support too)

What are your New Years Resolutions?