Posts Tagged ‘WoW’

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End of the road

September 28, 2013

Shadowmourne
So, this week I wrapped up the seemingly endless quest for Shadowmourne on my hapless death knight. I had a pretty good shot at it, back when Wrath of the Lich King and Icecrown Citadel was the current raid content; I was with a hardcore raiding guild back then, and finished most of the quest line with them. When that guild burned down, fell over and sank into the swamp, I went through several raiding guilds with softer, chewy centers, and got jerked around every time. I even left the Daily Kos guild this year when their raiding officers proved to be just as cliquish and backstabbing in that regard as anyone else. Shocking?…not really. But this summer I learned how to solo more of the content, and picked up the last of my soul shards this month. After being rejected by everyone else, I just kept mugging Marrowgar until he gave me what I wanted and begged me to stop. I’d feel bad about it, except that he’s only a bunch of pixels (much like my orange axe).

I have the option to go try to whack Arthas one more time and get a chest of super-rare loot for it, not sure if I will. But since Wrath was wrapped up, I haven’t had the same urge to play and raid and max-out and test myself in the game like I used to. Having tried the hardcore thing may have contributed; more likely, it’s having been through so many raiding guilds, trying everything from no-frills raider to officer/raid organizer and back again, and always finding it unsatisfying in the end. It may also be because Blizzard has picked on melee classes forever. And it could be because my death knight’s story seems played out; even if he has gone from a Tauren to a Night Elf to an Orc in the process.

I’ve got one of every class on our server now at this point, and not being terribly interested in tanking and healing, I’ve been exploring my ranged classes. Mages are often showered with love from Blizzard, although maximizing the output of my fire mage is supposed to incorporate the somewhat puzzling Alter Time ability. Perhaps less complicated is my hunter, although he’s only level 80 now; have to see how that works later. But it’s promising. I may end up going back to the class where I started, way back in 2004, although my original nelf hunter is languishing on some other server than our ‘main’ one, Kilrogg.

Whisperclaw
Whisperclaw, contemplating the Storm Peaks on his way to 80. I’ve gone back and forth on questing vs. dungeon crawling, but lately I’ve been questing. I think questing on the wolfie was the first time I finished the dwarf questline out of Frosthold and saw the lore about Muradin. That may change as I leave the Wrath zones for Cataclysm and Pandaria, since the older xpacs are still my favorites, flawed as they were. Why, I can’t say. I suspect that I am just getting old and set in my ways, even virtually.

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You will know fear!

March 5, 2013

[Since I have seen the Sha of Fear (and beaten him in LFR, but then who hasn’t), it seemed appropriate to include a reference to the bastich in today’s presentation of NRA fear-mongering.]

Another physical manifestation of terror

The NRA seems to have recognized its weakness on universal background checks for buying guns, as their spokesmen made the rounds yesterday, trying to reinforce their campaign of fear-mongering against this popular gun control policy. Undeterred by the demonstrable falsity of their claims, NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre and Ronnie Barrett, an NRA board member and manufacturer of his namesake sniper rifle, preached messages of conspiracy theory and revisionist history, aiming to frighten any doubting conservatives, gun owners or NRA members back into line.

With three-quarters of NRA members supporting background checks, their leaders have some work to do, since they’re evidently not going to follow the will of their own membership.

*****

Let’s begin to face the peril with Wayne on Fox & Fringe, er, that is, Varney & Company on the Fox Business channel. Stuart Varney obligingly pretended to play devil’s advocate, offering a position in favor of background checks while doing nothing to counter LaPierre’s arguments. I guess he personified the straw man.

LAPIERRE: It is a huge waste of money. It’s going to be selectively enforced. It’s going to be abused. And the worst thing, you’re creating a registry of all the law-abiding people in the country that own firearms. I know the politicians say, “Hey, we’ll never use that list to confiscate.” That’s a pretty darn tall order to believe a promise from people in this town right now.

Media Matters goes on to explain, yet again, how the NRA chooses to ignore the Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA), the law they worked to pass, which forbids the creation of a federal gun registry. It’s this law which has created the sticking point in Senate negotiations, as Republicans resist any kind of record-keeping — and as Democrats try to find an effective alternative to a federal agency.

The Raw Story also notes Wayne’s appearance on Fox Business, pointing out his empathic commentary on the mentally ill…

“It’s a speed bump for the law-abiding,” he said in an interview with Fox Business Network host Stuart Varney. “It has no effect in the real world on stopping crime or keeping mental defectives from committing horrible acts.”

LaPierre goes on to claim that HIPAA laws and privacy laws will prevent would-be mass shooters from being entered into the system for psychological issues. This NRA article of faith, as usual, is demolished by the facts. As can be seen in this helpful infographic from the Center for American Progress, of the nearly 2 million people blocked from purchasing guns via NICS background checks, 1.1% are categorized as “severely mentally ill.” They cite FBI data on adjudicated mental health reasons for denial, and that percentage translates into 10,690 people who tried and were stopped from buying a gun.

Mind you, this is the current, flawed, incomplete record-keeping system that President Obama and Democrats in Congress are trying to reform and improve. This system that Wayne LaPierre claims isn’t stopping anybody, in reality, has stopped almost 2 million people.

I find it interesting, if a bit odd, that the likes of Wayne LaPierre continues to rain down abuse and trash-talk on the mentally ill. It doesn’t seem to be in keeping with the NRA business model. Then again, considering the NRA’s desired result of no new gun laws, maintenance of the status quo, ever more gun proliferation, and of course profits for gun manufacturers…

All right then, don’t tell me that it’s too perilous. Let’s have just a little bit more peril. In the form of Ronnie Barrett, CEO of Barrett Firearms Manufacturing and a member of the board of the NRA. Yes, when I see an NRA board member on an NRA sponsored TV show, I see just another NRA spokesman. Barrett’s history of gun manufacturing and sales is…interesting, perhaps worth a moment to read that wiki article. This is another company who refuses to sell to law enforcement, specifically in California, as punishment for their state’s law against the company’s .50 caliber rifles.

In Ronnie’s case, he appeared on the NRA’s Cam & Company show on the Sportsman Channel. This NRA propaganda vehicle is often featured on Media Matters, and in my diaries for that matter. So here we go again, as Barrett compares gun laws to Nazi Germany and predicts genocide…

Ronnie Barrett, defender of liberty

BARRETT: In all of history when this kind of stuff has happened before, it’s bad news. You know and I hate to be one of these doomsday guys, but in past things like this result in the death of millions. You know, and World War II hasn’t been 700 years ago, it’s only been 70 years ago. And if people don’t think that these things don’t happen to modern, progressive, Christian nations like Germany was, they’re wrong, brother, I mean we’re sitting here just nearly repeating the same past of that, the disarming of the citizenry not based on any facts but based on cynical emotions that are put in and rushed through in the middle of the night before anybody has a chance to study the true facts, before their citizenry even knows what’s going on. I mean holy smokes, what kind of state government was that? I can’t believe that’s one of the members of the Union here, one of the members of our Republic. It’s just unimaginable.

Compare this to the previous video of Wayne and Stuart tut-tutting about the confiscation of guns in the United Kingdom. How about that, anyway? A law was passed there in 1997, which banned private gun ownership almost completely. Surprisingly, years later — 10 years since the full effect of the law was achieved — no genocide. Wondrous. Well, it could be Barrett is just mad with them because his company used to supply sniper rifles to the IRA; I suppose Barrett may not be selling many Light Fifties there now. And in some previous work, I’ve gone over the revisionist history used by the NRA to falsely compare gun control legislation to the Nazis. Actual history shows that the gun laws in Germany were much more strict, prior to the Nazi regime, and that the 1938 law signed by Hitler deregulated guns for most Germans, while prohibiting gun ownership for Jews and some other persecuted classes. To quote again the historian Salon consulted on the matter:

“Their assertion that they need these guns to protect themselves from the government — as supposedly the Jews would have done against the Hitler regime — means not only that they are innocent of any knowledge and understanding of the past, but also that they are consciously or not imbued with the type of fascist or Bolshevik thinking that they can turn against a democratically elected government, indeed turn their guns on it, just because they don’t like its policies, its ideology, or the color, race and origin of its leaders.”

Of course, Wayne wants his flock to believe the myth that they are a persecuted class, even as he barks about gun laws unfairly treating a hundred million gun owners. A hundred million people, as a persecuted minority class? Wayne’s absurdities don’t stand up to scrutiny. What he’s counting on, though, is a lack of scrutiny. From gun owners, from the NRA membership, and a lack of scrutiny from the media won’t hurt his chances either. Which is why I value Media Matters’ work, and make such frequent use of it. Let some light shine on these hectoring blackcoats and their false dogma. Sunlight is the best disinfectant, so the saying goes.

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Nothing lasts forever

February 15, 2013

Tindalos-rocketship

I realize that most of my writing lately has been focused on the issue of gun control, and in particular it’s been a relentless attack on the NRA. I don’t expect this to go on indefinitely. Sooner or later, something will actually happen in Congress, and either this issue will get some action or nothing will happen, like usual. Then it will be done for awhile. We’ll go on battling the NRA, we’ll go on looking for House seats and states where they are vulnerable and attack them. But the federal push must end for awhile in time. We will be lucky if the current sense of momentum lasts until some legislation gets passed – in either the House or Senate, even – much less something getting passed and signed into law by the President. I write about guns, now, partly because I have always been interested in something getting done; but partly because something could happen, right now, in a society where usually nothing (or less than nothing) good gets done about gun violence. Now is the time, to do something, and to speak out about doing something. So I write, and speak out, and more.

Life goes on, though, and there will be other things to talk about. And while WoW is once again the MMO I’m playing, I still have LOTRO and SWTOR and could get back into the Secret World anytime, since all three of them are free to play now. And I’m not even playing WoW that much. I’m having as much fun devising stories for Werewolf, and for the venerable old WoD chronicle of Morgan and Joshua, the characters Sue and I have been playing off and on since the late 90’s. Or reading and writing on Daily Kos, for that matter.

Raiding in WoW is interesting enough I suppose, and Sue and I are leveling another pair of newbies, this time to take in the Pandaren experience and some different parts of Azeroth that we didn’t check out in Cataclysm. It has its moments, but I don’t feel the same sense of connection, the drive to excel and raid hardcore and build a crew of support toons to take my death knight to the top. So instead of the usual screenshot of some dead raid boss or achievement, I have a picture of Tindalos in the goofy goblin-esque rocket (that looks more like a bomb with a seat) that he picked up off a Blingtron. It’s at least as interesting as the (looking-for-) raids and rep grinds and gear. And from the drop rate, it’s at least as rare as anything I could possibly get anywhere, so…not bad!

And in other WoW news, my poor death knight still has the quest to acquire Shadowmourne. And while the Wreck List hasn’t been much help (on their last legacy raid into ICC, I was on and they left me out), I’ve discovered that he can actually solo the first boss in ICC-25. And on my second try, he got another shard. So, hey, only 37 more to go! Off a boss with a chance to drop one for each kill, one try per week. Well, at least it’s inevitable now. It may take another year but I don’t think the game can stop me now unless they nerf DKs.

Something to pass the time.

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Calling it a day

December 5, 2011

The Old Republic beta testing is finally over, leaving me with a couple of weeks to find something else to do. This evening I took care of some business that turned out to be a lot sadder than I’d expected.

Tindalos has found his spot to settle down.

With access to the new replica gear vendors and the transmog reskinning of armor pieces, I picked up his DK starter blues from back when he was just taking off for Outland and transmogrified his mix of Cataclysm gear to resemble the best gear set death knights ever had. Better even than the junior-Lich King model from Icecrown Citadel. Would have liked to leave him with Shadowmourne, but I figured out a long while ago that it just wasn’t in the cards.

I have parked him in Grizzly Hills, down the hill from Conquest Hold, where he can relax with the Horde left behind in Northrend and fish for Glacial Salmon. I liked death knights enough, I guess, that the game felt…done after the end of WotLK, slaying Arthas and finishing what the death knights set out to do.

While I took my last cruise around the zone looking for a spot, it figures that my favorite piece of music would cue up (the first song from the Night Music set). Good sendoff from the game. I have some pre-paid subscription time left until January, but little reason to play again. Maybe in the future I’ll be back at it, playing pandaren monks or the next big thing after that, but for now, all done…and that will probably close the book on WoW posts here as well. Seven years playing WoW, a good run.

I played a lot of toons in WoW before settling on my DK (and his/her many races, genders and faction switches) as the character and story I liked most. I wonder who my next avatar will be in a galaxy far, far away?

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Here, have some pandas

October 25, 2011

So anyone who’s been paying any attention at all to this year’s Blizzcon knows. The ‘Mists of Pandaria’ trademark that Blizzard registered some time ago was not a joke, not a ruse designed to lead investigation astray. It’s actually the legit name of the next expansion.

It’s kind of amusing in retrospect to consider the articles I read before Blizzcon, the writers talking about how Blizzard needed to set the stage to take on the Old Republic MMO and whatever else, to prep some compelling content that would keep players interested for years to come.

So, we got pandas.

Well, Pandaren, and companion pet battles…

I understand there’s no going back now, and besides, they’re expanding into southeast Asia. Could not be a better time for an oriental themed xpac. For my part, though, this is the first time I’ve felt pleased about my decision to cancel my subscription a couple months ago. Now it’s like…oh, this is what I’m going to miss? Hey, great.

So in the next couple months I will maybe check out the armor transmogrification feature, if it arrives soon enough, and maybe I can suit up my DK in his original blue set from their starter zone. If not, no big deal. Never did get his legendary axe, but again, no big deal. He would be just as much at home in lumberjack attire, fishing on a salmon pool in Grizzly Hills. I’ll have to pick out a spot before long.

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The Zen of Not Caring strikes again

September 22, 2011

After last night, I was expecting a bad day, and for awhile it definitely was. Things got better, though. There were at least a few people to talk to, and after that I had a surprise waiting for me in-game.

Although the Wreckies on the Garrosh server have a fairly set raid group, I continue to get the odd invite to tag along, and I knew I was in for it when I got summoned to the end boss of the Firelands…

Second time I’ve been to see this fellow, but this time it was post-nerf. Oh, now it’s on.

(…hours later…)

Last try of the evening, and down goes Frazier! Pity I didn’t think to get a screenshot! Not that there is much to see; Ragnaros just takes a dive and leaves a big chest. That and our skeletons from all the previous wipes. I understand that on heroic mode, it’s a bit more impressive. So, now I guess I’ve seen most all of the Firelands content, and I haven’t been trying. I didn’t even transfer over to the Wreck List with this in mind. I knew the best I’d do was an occasional substitute raid slot, but they’ve been good opportunities. Except for the loot; damn little of it has been useful, and I haven’t won any tier 12, like the helm drop this evening. Not that it matters. The DK does fine.

Next week, they’re looking to solidify their B team’s raid with my DPS. Strange. It’s like I belong, or something. It still doesn’t seem like enough to stick around for in the long run, but at least it’ll make the last few months of WoW a bit more fun. Deathwing’s raid I can take or leave.

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WoW flameout update

September 8, 2011

Kidding, of course.

It’s been about a month since my server transfer, and while my horde o’ Horde remains marooned on Kilrogg with nothing to do, I am occasionally taking Tindalos out for a spin on the Garrosh server. This past week I’ve been on a couple of raids, nothing major. The two raid teams seem to continue on with their preferred line-ups and I have found no openings there. I knew this going in, so it’s no more than I expected. Nevertheless, when the stars align and I am online when they need a fill-in, it tends to go well.

So with the Wreck List I’ve gotten to see Nefarian die a couple of times, and yesterday I filled in on one of the raid teams as they got someone started on the new legendary quest line. It’s nice to see some more of the Firelands content, I suppose, as the raid downed three of them in short order. Considering that I hadn’t even seen two of them before, I guess I didn’t hold them back too much. Enough of their raiders know that I can step in, follow instructions, and lay the DPS smack down with the best of them, and what more do they need from a damage-dealer, really?

I haven’t seen any particularly interesting new gear, but Tindalos is decked out in his full tier 11 and a few items I’ve unlocked on the Molten Front, so he’s doing just fine. I’ve never had to have the very latest and greatest gear in order to put out the damage. Funny how that works. This game isn’t that hard, but it helps to have a competent crew. Even if I haven’t been raiding much, I know they have been. They’d have to, in order to get started on the legendary.

None of this has inspired me to stick with the game, though it has been nifty to occasionally hang out with nicer people, and on rarer occasions raid with them. Bit of a happier ending for my WoW experience than I was looking forward to on Kilrogg.