Mage Tower Challenge: Holy Paladin Style

I am always up for a good challenge in the World of Warcraft. Pushing my own skills to the very edge to achieve some crazy goal, now that’s one of the most exciting parts of the game for me! However, not even I was prepared for the Mage Tower Artifact Challenge.

The Mage Tower Artifact Challenge is actually a collection of solo trials with different versions for different specs. There’s about five different DPS only challenges (including one for Disc Priests) and then a tank and a healer one. The trials vary in difficulty, with the general consensus being that the tank and healer ones are perhaps a touch more challenging. However, each trial is a beast in it’s own right.

Despite being released when the Broken Shores dropped last patch, the Mage Tower Artifact Challenges were in fact tuned for gear from Tomb of Sargeras. That’s right, these trials were made with the assumption that you were wearing gear that wasn’t even in the game yet. Talk about a rough ride!

Rather than take that as a hint to wait until Tomb of Sargeras, myself and a number of other crazy individuals decided to give it a shot. And then another. And then another. For as long as the Mage Tower Building was up in the Broken Shores, myself and a host of other players would spam the challenge in a dogged attempt to beat the challenge. Then, when the Mage Tower was down, we’d all farm Nethershards to pay for the 100 Shard cost per attempt.

The challenge was completable, the handful of successful YouTube video tutorials could attest to it. However, it required either an insanely high level of gear or a lot of RNG luck. And of course, a deep knowledge of one’s class. At first, the only holy paladins I knew who’d successfully completed the challenge were all mythic raiders geared to the nines. We’re talking 910+ ilvled gear, kited out with the best. And then there was me, barely 890 with just two legendaries.

But when has being underprepared ever stopped a determined paladin?

In this case, it almost did. Only after about 10 item levels of gear improvement, over a dozen new traits, and a hundred attempts, was success within my grasp. But then, one fateful Sunday, on my very last attempt for the day, the stars aligned and I, Fussypants, holy paladin extraordinaire, completed the trial. And there was much rejoicing.

How exactly did I do it? And can you, intrepid reader, do it too? Let’s find out, after the cut!

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Anduin Wrynn Appreciation Post

Artwork from the Son of the Wolf Digital Comic

It’s time for another installment of Unpopular Opinion Hour with your host, Fussypants! Today we profess our undying love for a character almost as reviled as Thrall himself.  You guessed, it, we’re talking about Anduin Wrynn!

Anduin Wrynn is, hands down, one of my favorite characters in the World of Warcraft.  He’s no badass fighter, walking away all cool-guy like from explosions.  He’s no infallible leader, orchestrating the perfect sequence of events to win the day.  And he’s certainly no wise sage, consulted with for matters of prophecy and the foreseen.  All told, there’s really not much remarkable about Anduin at all, other than the fact that his father is Varian Wrynn. However, despite all this (or perhaps, because of all this), I connect with Anduin much more than any other character in the game.

Prince then king, then prince, and now once again king, Anduin has, in many ways, been thrown to the wolves unprepared.  Not only did young Anduin have to deal with the disappearance and supposed death of his father very early on in his life but he also had to help lead an entire nation.  There was no boyish innocence, no rosy colored childhood allowed, just a load of responsibilities which would have been much for even someone much older to handle.  Anduin grew up in a world where he was expected to grow up quickly and take on his duties as king, without a mother or father to guide him.

Then, when his father did return, life didn’t exactly get much easier.  The Varian Wrynn who returned was not the Varian Wrynn who had left, instead replaced by a grizzled, scarred warrior who struggled to connect with anyone outside of the battlefield.  Varian Wrynn might have come back and resumed his duties as king, but he sure as heck did not resume his duties as a father.  Once Bolvar Fordragon, who’d acted as young Anduin’s father figure during Varian’s absence, disappeared forever in Northrend, Anduin was  left without any sort of support.

Despite Varian now being back, things only got harder for Anduin Wrynn.  While he was no longer acting as the king, now Anduin had to contend with the awesome reputation of Varian.  Varian Wrynn was no simple king, he was more of a force of nature. His prowness in battle and leadership at home elevated him almost to the heights of legends.  Everyone knew the name Varian Wrynn, whether they were Alliance or Horde, and all were in awe of his abilities. Being the son of such a figure, there was an expectation that Anduin would be similarly legendary.

Only, Anduin wasn’t.  He eschewed the sword, choosing instead to wield the Light.  Where Varian was confident, Anduin was unsure.  Where Varian was ruthless, Anduin was compassionate.  Where Varian was a pragmatist, Anduin was an idealist.  To many, the crown prince of Stormwind seemed downright weak.

This is the first major reason why I love Anduin Wrynn as a character.  In a world where everyone is insanely self-assured, Anduin was the kid who wasn’t.  He doubted his actions.  He made mistakes.  He failed.  Try as he might, Anduin Wrynn failed again and again. Not because the enemy’s strategy was better or some force outside of his control got in the way but because he himself made a mistake.  Anduin Wrynn isn’t perfect, and he knows it.

Nevertheless, Anduin Wrynn does not give up.  When something knocks him down, Anduin gets right back up and tries again.  He is determined to a fault, willing to do whatever is necessary to stay true to his ideals.  War and bloodshed have not numbed his sense of compassion; if anything, they have made it stronger.

Anduin Wrynn is an unashamed idealist in a world run by pragmatists.  Even Jaina Proudmoore, the old holdout on peace, has become jaded and bitter.  But not Anduin. While the things he believes in may never come to pass, Anduin Wrynn does not give up hope.  And truly, Azeroth needs someone like that.  Someone who can trust, someone who can hope, someone who can believe.  By believing in something better, Anduin and those like him help to create a world where that is actually the case.

However, it is vital to realize that Anduin Wrynn is no fool. He might be an optimist but even Anduin Wrynn recognizes that peace comes at a price  Even Anduin Wrynn realizes that some enemies can’t be reasoned with.  Even Anduin Wrynn knows that war is sometimes necessary.  His is a character where idealism is in constant conflict with harsh realities.  Over the expansions, Anduin has outgrown his naivety but the kid is far from a realist.  That internal conflict is part of what makes him interesting.

It’s also part of what makes him identifiable.  I won’t lie to you; part of the reason why I love Anduin Wrynn’s character so is because I see a lot of myself it him.  Someone who is young but wanting to change the world.  Someone who is having to balance perfect scenarios with what actually occurs.  Just as I’ve been slowly finding my place and who I want to be, so has Anduin Wrynn, growing up along side of me in the World of Warcraft.

When Varian Wrynn died at the Broken Front, all of these factors that have been building and growing inside the young Wrynn came to a head. His father is now well and truly gone, and Anduin has to fill the enormous mantle left behind. Lead the Alliance.  Fight the Legion.  Become the new Varian Wrynn.

I think that short little cinematic (Alliance side only, I’m afraid) does the perfect job of explaining who Anduin is now.  He’s absolutely still afraid and unsure.  He’s most definitely not prepared.  And he can never be the new Varian Wrynn.

But that doesn’t matter because he doesn’t need to be.  By accepting his father’s old sword and infusing it with the Light, Anduin has demonstrated that he will not be his father.  He will try to emulate his father’s strength and bravery but he will still maintain his own idealism. He will lead the Alliance, not as Varian but as King Anduin Wrynn, Son of the Wolf and Keeper of Peace.

And then maybe, hopefully, become a paladin >:D

Au revoir, Overflowing

Huge shout-out to Vall, who went out and got this screenshot for me

Ding dong, the witch is dead! And by witch I mean Overflowing affix for Mythic+ dungeons.  And by dead I mean being removed with patch 7.2.  Hooray!
For those who don’t know, Overflowing was the one healer specific affixes for Mythic+ dungeons.  Well, at least, it was supposed to be healer specific.  Unfortunately, due to the nature of the affix, it ended up only really applying to certain types of healers.

The tooltip for Overflowing reads: “Healing in excess of a target’s maximum health is instead converted to a heal absorption effect”.  Jargon aside, that basically means that any overhealing done turns into this really awful shield that absorbs the next couple of heals.  And additionally, that really awful shield doesn’t just absorb the amount of heals that went over, it absorbs 300% of the amount of overhealing.  So let’s say you accidentally overheal your tank by 300,000.  Because of Overflowing, you now have to heal through an absorption effect of 900,000 health points before your healing abilities start actually healing the tank.

The solution seems quaintly simple: don’t overheal! And while the goal of all healers everywhere is to avoid as much overhealing as possible, because of the nature of some healers’ tool kits, that goal not always successful.  Especially if, say for example, the healer stacks crit as their main secondary stat.

Let’s take my Holy paladin for example.  The stat priorities for holy paladins place crit as our number one secondary, as has been the case for quite some time.  And consequently, I’ve been doing just that; right now, I’m sitting at about 38% Critical Strike Chance. However, holy paladins also can get extra crit from multiple other sources.  These range from the 20-45% crit increase during Avenging Wrath (our main healing throughput cooldown), an additional 50% crit chance increase for Holy Shock (our primary healing ability), and a few other specific ability crit increases in our artifact talents.  Long story short, holy paladins have a lot of crit.

This huge amount of crit makes a lot of sense for our healing style.  Holy paladins, in this expansion especially, are the masters of large single target heals.  We have one area of effect heal and no heals over time to speak of, but we can single target spam like a beastie.  However, because we are experts at big, single target heals, we often overheal by a large amount on that one single target.  Especially when combined with our crit, it is not untoured for me to crit heals of 2-3 million health.  And when I’m only trying to heal someone for 1-2 million, that extra chunk of healing all becomes overhealing.

Usually, this isn’t a huge deal.  But now, enter Overflowing.

Let’s take that same scenario where I’ve healed for 2 million but only needed to heal up 1.5 million.  I’ve just done 500,00 overhealing, which translates to a 1.5 million absorption shield.  Wonderful. I’ll need to heal through that shield in order to be able to start healing my target again but if they haven’t taken damage, I run the risk of criting again and creating yet another shield.  Not a great position to be in.  I either have to throw some small, lower crit chance heals on to try to get rid of the shield or just hope that, when they do take damage, it won’t immediately drop them to 10%. And seeing as how Mythic+ dungeons are considered the ‘raiding experience’ of five mans, the damage can get rather spiky.

Or, let’s say they are taking damage and now I need to get through that shield as fast as possible to heal them up.  But I can’t heal them up too quickly because I could break through the shield, crit and overheal, and have to begin the process all over again.  It’s a constant battle with RNG.

So to avoid creating that terrible shield, I won’t heal the tank until they drop below 70%.  I won’t even apply big healing abilities until they hit 50%.  And I’ll have to pray that the damage is smooth enough that they don’t drop from 60% to 5% in the space of a few seconds.

I do proclaim! that Overflowing is the worst affix ever!

It’s an incredibly nerve wracking experience.  And especially when you start getting up to the higher level of Mythic+s, it starts becoming untenable.  I have to keep a super close eye on health bars and shields and which heals I press, along with dealing with all the other mechanics of the fight.  I’m generally a pretty competent healer but this was getting to be unfun.

Now this affix wouldn’t be ‘the witch’ if it had applied equally to all healers.  The problem was, it didn’t.  Holy paladins and holy priests dreaded Overflowing with all their being.  Resto shaman and resto druids especially loved this affix like a dear friend.  Because for them, it was like the affix didn’t even exist.

I’ve talked to a few of my resto druid friends about this (mainly to complain about how awful Overflowing is for holy paladins) but their general experience with the affix was that they’d never had an issue with it.  Because the majority of a restoration druid’s overhealing comes from the little ticks of HoTs, the shields they were getting were tiny by comparison. And those little baby shields were really quickly healed through by the continuing HoT ticks.

Talk about unbalanced.  While some healers would be working their butts off to deal with the affix, others didn’t even notice if it existed or not.  As a result, certain healing classes stopped being brought to those higher level Mythic+s.  Even in my own guild, while I knew it had nothing to do with me as a person, I stopped being asked to run mythic dungeons because I just couldn’t keep up.  And there was no comparative affix that was difficult for those other healers.

Luckily for myself and the other holy paladins and priests of the world, Overflowing is set to be removed in the coming patch. In it’s place is an affix called Grievous, with a description that reads “While below 90% health, players are afflicted with Grievous Wound”.  Obviously, I’m going to reserve final judgement until I actually get to experience the affix firsthand (after all, I did think that Overflowing could be fun at first, what a naive fool I was then). But for now, my holy paladin is satisfied.  Avoiding overhealing is a fun exercise in theory, but in practice, it ended up being a lot more stressful and uncontrollable than I ever could have expected. Can’t wait for 7.2!

Returning to Raiding

Our first N Gul'dan kill!

Our first Normal Gul’dan kill!

Last Wednesday, I ended an almost 2 month long hiatus and entered my first raid.  While it certainly wasn’t the triumphant return I had hoped for, I am glad that I chose to jump back in.

Nearing the end of November and beginning of December, I made the difficult decision to stop raiding.  Anyone who’s read this blog or knows me in Azeroth has probably figured out that raiding is my favorite WoW activity.  I like dungeons and I like transmog, but I really love raiding.  But back two months ago, my most favorite activity was rapidly become my least favorite and so I decided it was best to (potentially permanently) step away.

The first reason for this came down to something as simple as timing.  I was just so gosh darn busy that I could only make it to a handful of raids.  In some situations, this might not have been the end of the world but in this case, I found that I was actively gimping the team.  We were progressing through Heroic, maybe looking into venturing into Mythic, and I was one of the core healers.  Me being gone or late every other night was severely impacting progression.  So as much as I might have loved raiding with the team, the reality was, I was bad for the team.

The second reason was a lot more personal.  I’m not going to go into the details for the sake of those involved, but I did not feel welcome at raid.  Beginning even before my attendance started dropping off (so the issue wasn’t created by it), I truly felt as if some members of the team, mainly one person, just did not want me around.  I made a few attempts to talk to the person but it wasn’t getting anywhere.  Slowly but surely, the sense of vague animosity changed raiding from something I loved into something I dreaded.  So once my attendance got spotty, it was a lot simpler to say goodbye to raiding because the experience was already soured.

So there I was.  Maining a holy paladin and yet, not healing a thing.  As my hiatus dragged on, I found myself playing less and less Warcraft.  Not because of lack of time, but rather due to lack of interest.  And what’s worse, the friends I had made on my former raid team began to drift away.  I was still in the guild and still relatively active but because I wasn’t raiding anymore, I was no longer people’s first choice to talk to.  To be clear, I was never ignored or shunted.  I doubt anyone did it purposefully; it’s just when you don’t hang out with someone on a bi-weekly occasion anymore, they can slip out of sight, out of mind.  I don’t blame anyone one bit, but I was feeling incredibly lonely.

This dragged on and on.  It got to the point where I was logging in maybe twice a week, and only for a few hours at most.  Eventually, I sat back and took a good long look at the way things were.  Evaluated the problem and evaluated my part in it.  My schedule had pretty much cleared out at this point, so the only thing keeping me from re-engaging with my guild was my own reservations.  And instead of tackling the issue head on, I had decided to run away from it.

I decided then and there that enough was enough.  I loved raiding, it was my thing! And taking a break from it, while it had been necessary at the time, was not something I needed to do permanently.

And there was never a better time than right now to jump back in.  I started logging in again, gearing back up.  There was most undoubtedly a few bumps in the road but eventually I mustered the courage to approach the raid leader about the issue head on.  And then, I was back on the team, just in time for Nighthold.

The animosity from before was still there, but the guilt about bringing my team down was gone.  I had checked my schedule and found it surprisingly clear for months to come, meaning that attendance would not be an issue.  What’s more, my healing was better than it had ever been.  And, the majority of the team was super friendly in welcoming me back.

Still, I needed to talk to the person.  I delayed it for a few nights, thinking that maybe I was just being irrational and I should let it go.  But as one of my friends astutely pointed out, if it bothers me, it’s a legitimate problem.  And if it’s a legitimate problem, it’s going to need to be addressed.

Finally, I sat down and had the talk that had been months in the coming. I’m not sure how it impacted them (I hope positively as well) but I know it really, really helped me.  By no means is everything solved but I’ve taken a step in the right direction.  After nearly three months, I’m finally back home.

I had no idea how much of an impact raiding had on my life.  It’s kind of a silly thing to admit, “yeah, playing World of Warcraft every Wednesday and Saturday really helps me get through the week, y’know?”.  But it is honestly, so very true.  Raiding is my zen place.  Never do I feel more relaxed, more engaged, and more focused than when I am raiding. I truly do look forward to that two hour block at the end of the night.  And what’s more, I absolutely love my raid team.  I’ve come to realize that they are my family.  We may not always agree but at the end of the day, we’re all in it for each other.

And I’ll be all in it for them.

PvP: A Niche Issue?

WoWScrnShot_030416_205223

Man, I *really* don’t PvP that often because this is the most recent PvP related photo I could find!

One of Blizzard’s overarching goals seems to be to get people involved.  Lower the entry requirements and really get players to play all aspects of the game.  From this philosophy we saw features such as Looking for Group, Looking for Raid, and the battleground queueing system as well as world quests, bonus weekends, and satchels.  There are lots of incentives and rewards out there to get players to try new things and, to some extent, it seems to have worked.

On the PvE side for example, raiding is now more accessible than ever.  LFR has given countless players the opportunity to experience the raids while the new Group Finder has made it easier than ever to find a run and jump right in.  I am obviously a bit biased, being a raider surrounded by raiders, but it seems to me that more people are raiding.  What once was a 1% of the population activity now seems to be more like 15 or 20% (I’m totally guessing at numbers here but I do think it is higher than it once was).

But not only is raiding more accessible, raiding also feels more accessible.  That is an important distinction because if something feels easier to jump in, people will be more willing to jump in.  Case in point, my own father, who has gone on record as saying that raiding is the most stressful thing in the game, regularly runs LFR and has been on a number of normal runs.  The stigma that used to be associated with raiding – that it’s difficult and that it’s elitist – seems to be going away.

While I’m not actually within the PvP scene itself, I’m not so sure the same can be said for player vs player.  Even with all the incentives, the artifact skins and the mounts and the achievements, PvP still appears to be just as niche as it has been before.  Why isn’t PvP popularizing like PvE?

To answer this question, I ran an informal poll on my twitter.  Over the course of three days, I collected 127 votes and while the results aren’t surprising, they are rather telling.

(Quick note: this poll was by no means the end all be all on the PvP issue.  Rather, it provided a snapshot of what a small portion of the WoW community thinks.  I’d like to think that the people it reached were diverse in their WoW backgrounds but since I have no way of verifying that, I’ll say this was as random and as widespread as I could get it)

50%, half of the respondents, cited Toxic Behavior as their number one reason that keeps them from PvPing.  Whether this is true or not, it seems a large portion of the sample group believes that the PvP community is negative and nasty.  And this idea is not unique to the poll; I’ve seen similar sentiments echoed all across the Warcraft world and community at large.  PvP has a really bad rap and it’s actively discouraging people from joining in.

The second most chosen answer was that folks weren’t interested, clocking in at 25% of the votes.  Whether this is due to the basic nature of PvP or it’s current iteration, I cannot be sure but it also seems that a good chunk of people just have no interest in that type of gameplay.  If I had been able to contact everyone that voted for this option to ask them if anything would be able to interest them in PvP, I absolutely would have but since I cannot, I’m going to assume their disinterest is static and unchanging.

The least chosen option of the three defined choices was that the entry barrier is too high.  About 14% of voters chose this option which, to me, points out something very important.  PvP isn’t seen as something incredibly hard to jump into.  People aren’t terribly concerned about their skills being lacking. Dislike of PvP stems directly from the players in the term players vs players.

The remaining 11% of the votes went to a variety of different issues within the Other category.  However, there was one recurrent idea that I think merits discussion: reward.  A good number of people felt like the rewards weren’t worth the time put in.  Why spend an hour PvPing and getting barely 200 honor when you can go and run multiple different dungeons with dozens of potential drops? Unless you win all the time forever, PvP rewards aren’t all that amazing.

I do realizing that I’m comparing apples and oranges a bit here; PvP and PvE are such completely different beasts that it’s hard to explain why one is becoming more accessible while the other remains niche.  However, just like apples and oranges are both round fruits with star shaped seed patterns, PvP and PvE do have similar elements.  For one, I think both can be activities that any WoW player feels confident to jump in and try.

So what’s the number one issue keeping PvP niche? I’d say it’s the stigma.  But unlike the difficulty and elitism that PvE suffered, this cannot be solved by adding an easier difficulty with queue.  PvP already has that to an extent, it’s called unrated battlegrounds.  What exactly can Blizzard do?

One solution that I’ve heard and really liked is the idea of an arsehole’s league.  The players who are constantly being abusive and rude get sorted into separate games with all the other jerks.  Such a system would, quite literally, remove a lot of the negativity from PvP by isolating it all by itself in a sort of corner of shame.  The people who are constantly being reported for bad behavior get a punishment that actually could stop the behavior from being a prevalent.

A dynamic system to control toxicity as well as maybe a rebalancing of rewards and I think PvP could become a lot more approachable.  And of course, the success of such a system would rely on Blizzard actively advertising the new changes to get the word out there.

So what do you folks, the readers, think? How would you change PvP from a niche activity to a more widely played one?

2017 New Year’s Resolutions

suramar

…Also known as, ‘getting back on the bandwagon’.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the blog and for that, I owe all my readers and explanation and an apology.

My main New Year’s Resolution for 2016 was to “post a minimum of 5 blog posts a month”.  For the first half of the year, I was very good about this.  I was rocking and rolling, writing and posting prolifically.  Around about summer time, the number of posts I was putting out decreased while the length got significantly longer.  So, while I wasn’t maintaining the letter of my resolution, I maintained the spirit.

And then, my next year of school began.  When I established my resolution, I didn’t really think very far ahead.  Specifically, I didn’t take into account that 2016 would include one of my most academically rigorous years.  All of a sudden, I didn’t have very much free time.  Both my post number and post length dropped significantly.  I started feeling really guilty, like I was failing the blog.  Writing became a chore and a checklist rather than a hobby.  And as a result, even when I did find the free time, I didn’t have the motivation to write anymore.

As much as I’d like to blame this on my super busy schedule, the reality is my lack of writing was partly my fault.  I didn’t set a realistic goal and turned something I enjoyed into something I avoided.  It was a self fulfilling cycle; I didn’t write because I didn’t want to and then I felt awful about not writing, which further decreased my motivation.

Regarding my other, non-writing related resolutions, I actually faired much better.  I completed Heroic Hellfire Citadel, even going so far as to help out with Moose group carries and venture into Mythic.  I started the Ironman Challenge but didn’t get much farther than that due to Legion (it’s still on my to do list though). I did go and try out a bit of open world role play but the bigger achievement there was the writing I did associated with it.  I established backstories and wrote dozens of little vignettes for my characters. And, I completed scores of transmog sets I’d been meaning to build, thanks in part to the new transmog system.

Now that brings us to this New Year. 2017.  I still want to set goals because I know I’m a very checklist oriented person.  But I know I cannot do what I did last year.  Goals are wonderful, but so is being able to reach them.

My Resolutions for 2017

1) Write consistently and write for myself
A lot less concrete than my previous writing goals to be sure, but I hope this will bring me more success.  I do want to keep writing and keep writing all year but setting a quantitative goal hasn’t been the best way.  It’s about the quality of the writing.  For the new year, I want to make sure I write stuff that I love because I love to do it.  Not to cross off a checklist, not because I ‘need’ to, but because I ‘want’ to.

2) Post more stories
I’ve done a little of this in the past, but I really want to publish more of the short stories that I write.  Creative writing is something I don’t get to do as often but I thoroughly enjoy it.  By giving my work an audience, I think I might be inspired to write even more! And I mean, I’d love to get some of these ideas out of my head and onto a page.

3) Integrate my artistic side into the blog more
Surprise surprise, I’m actually a painter! You wouldn’t really know by reading through my blog so I’d like to change that!  Whether that be writing about my art, including my art as article headers, or maybe even doing art giveaways, I’m working on ways of bringing paint into my posts.

4) Complete Suramar (and whatever max level story follows it)
I have a confession to make: I rarely ever finish the max level stories outside of the ones told in raids.  It’s not for lack of wanting its just, when you main a healer, smacking mobs in the face takes a lot more time.  This expansion though, aided by my newfound viable holy paladin dps, I’m going to do it.  I’m going to complete Suramar and not just google the ending of the story!

5) Participate in more community building projects
There are a bunch of wonderful organizations that use WoW as a vehicle to drive positive change; Icecrown Challenge and Running of the Gnomes comes to mind immediantly but I know there are more out there.  I want to participate in as many of those as I can.  But even on a much more local level, I want to start giving back to the community.  Sending bags and gold to low level characters.  Helping new newbies find their footing. Jumping in and being that last body you need to go and run Eye of Azshara. I want to be a force of good.

Lastly, I do want to acknowledge the writing I did this past year.  While I wasn’t as prolific as I would have liked, I still wrote some pretty gosh darn good pieces if I do say so myself!

Soapbox Speech: The Truth about Leadership
A good synopsis of all of the leadership related lessons I’ve learned this year.  Also, home to one of the best lines I think I’ve ever written: “leadership is the art of knowing when to act and knowing when to ask.”

Gaining Closure
My farewell letter to my guildie Hammerstein who passed away earlier this year.  This was definitely one of the most emotional pieces I’ve written but I’m very very glad that I wrote it and I hope I’ve honored Hammer’s memory.

Official Fussypants Warcraft Movie Review!
Wow, I should really be a cinema critic! Just what the title sounds like, this is my breakdown of the strengths and weaknesses of the Warcraft movie. I was particularly proud of my ability to write a longer post and still keep it interesting and directed.

Why I Do Not Use (many) Addons
Not going to lie, I mainly wrote this post so I would have something to link every single time someone asked me to install some sort of addon I wasn’t interested in.  Luckily, I think the writing has held up pretty well and even half a year later, I’d be proud to link it!

Short Story: Trapped Part 1 and Part 2
This is definitely one of my favorite pieces that I wrote this year and it’s totally out of the style of anything else I published.  A short story about a few of my Warcraft characters (as well as one of a friend’s), I spent a very long time crafting a tale that was both entertaining and memorable.  If there’s anything you read again, I’d highly recommend this one!

So there you have it, 2016 in review.  Here’s to 2017, may the year be full of progress, success, and, of course, writing!

(Yotaan’s post should be coming Soon!)

BlizzCon!!

The Hype Center!

The Hype Center!

Months and months and months ago, Yotaan and I wrote about our adventure at the WoD live cinematic premiere. At the time, we thought that would be the closest we were going to get to the Blizzcon experience.  Boy, were we wrong.

Fast forward to now and Yotaan and I are excitedly enjoying our very first Blizzcon!! So far, we’ve gone to the Con Before The Storm party as well as experiencing our first day of Blizzcon glory! Since so many sites cover the news aspect much better than Yotaan and I ever could, we’re going to instead focus on the personal impact of the con rather than the deets.  Here are some of our trip highlights!

Fussypants: Oh my goodness, I don’t even know where to begin!  Beginning, maybe? Yotaan and I attended the CbtS party on Thursday night which, while being initially intimidating to actually go up and meet all the people behind the names, was a perfect beginning to the con!  I was able to meet a number of awesome artist and community folks, people that I have chatted with or looked up to for a long time over the web.  I’m probably going to forget some but in no particular order; Bawk, Avaltor, Ratsel (thank you again for the pin and advice!), Malkarii, Faebelina, Skornflakes, Quel’Fabulous, Katch, Serephita, Battlepanda, and Lyeric.

Speaking of Serephita, thank you so much for letting me set up a little sign with business cards out in the vending area! That was also a really exciting opportunity; over 100 people grabbed a card with my name on it!

After staying up far too late, Yotaan and I came back the next day ready for con action! We’ve spent a surprising amount of time watching the arena championship; something about the energy of the crowd all cheering at once made even this die hard PvEr interested in some player vs player.  And hey, the go to PvP healer appeared to be holy paladins, which was totally awesome for me to watch!

blizzcon-slide

Wonderful picture, boat day?

The Legion: What’s Next panel was also an amazing experience.  It’s one thing to read about the announcements on Blizzard Watch but it’s quite another to live through the hype as it happens.  The energy on that stage was palpable! And man, am I psyched about those “micro-holidays”! And, the class flying mounts! And ARGUS! Gosh, even though it wasn’t an expansion announcement, I am super super excited to play WoW!

blizzcon-cosplayCosplay! The cosplay at the convention has been insanely awesome! Lots and lots of Overwatch (sooo many lady McCrees!) and a good amount of Warcraft as well! Some of the most impressive costumes I have seen was an absolutely perfect Deckard Cain, lady Varian Wrynn, an enormous Reinhardt, Chromie, one of the Feral druid artifact skins, and a stunning re-imagination of the Warlock Tier 2.  I think the most amazing part though, is the fact that these people are just wandering around throughout the enter con.  Turn around and suddenly, there’s yet another Dv.A sitting at the panel behind you.

My badge!

Ok well Yotaan wants me to wrap this up (we’re writing on my laptop) so I’ll just finish with, if you happen to see the two of us at the convention on Saturday, totally come up and say hi! I would love to meet some of the readers of the blog face to face and I mean, I’ve also got some pretty spiffy business cards left over!  Meet and greet the Pants!

Yotaan: By far my favorite time during this trip was during the Con before the Storm.  I accompanied Pants, of course, as we wandered the party.  I loved her excitement and enthusiasm as she met other artists that she admired.  They were all friendly and wonderful.  It is fantastic to see such a supportive atmosphere around artists and their art.  Frankly, our trip could of ended right there, and I would have been happy.

However, Blizzcon is pretty awesome and I saw some great stuff!  While there is a great community around WoW, its rare to run into other folks in the everyday world that know, much less play, WoW.  And then if you are lucky, you get to go to Blizzcon, where SO MANY people play WoW.  What a thrilling opportunity to share this great game with like minded individuals, this experience alone is a highlight.
But there is one more highlight.  One more small, but incredibly  important detail that I learned today…

I get to ride an air elemental as a mount.   A zephyr!  Yotaan will ride a flying, whirling, lightning filled TORNADO!!!

Oh yeah, say hi to us and all, but I’ll be distracted by thoughts flying by twister.