How (not) to abuse achievements

Last night, we were settling down and getting ready to fight the Assembly of Iron in Ulduar. This involves three bosses who need to be tanked separately. One of them, to whom I always get assigned, casts spells which damage the raid but can be interrupted.

My warrior has access to some interrupts, and last night I was also assigned a rogue to come and help me out with some more. The rogue who was to be my interrupt-assist is a nice guy, but notorious for his lack of focus and the length of time it takes him to understand the mechanics of a fight.

So I whispered to him that there was a special achievement you could get if the boss didn’t get off a single cast! He whispered back excitedly that he wasn’t sure we could do it but he was going to try — and he didn’t put a foot wrong.

In the end, the joke was on me, because I checked the Ulduar achievements later and there really is one


We need words for this: 15 MMO concepts that need labels

Language is a wonderful and everchanging thing. In a week that sees ‘noob’ added to the dictionary, I feel that MMOs still have more to contribute to the evolution of the English language.

Here’s a few suggestions for objects, feelings, or situations where current vocabulary doesn’t quite cut it. We need new words for these:

  1. Travelling halfway around the world to a group or instance before suddenly realising that you left some critical item in your bank.
  2. The feeling you get when you respec from tanking/healing to dps,  and you hit things and they fall over and you can’t stop giggling.
  3. The guy who always goes afk just before a boss pull. (note: noob may cover this one.)
  4. The sensation of wondering whether something you just discovered was meant to be there or is just a bug.
  5. In-game fishing zen.
  6. When one more person signs up than the group size will allow. It doesn’t matter what game you are playing or what the actual groupsize is.
  7. The screenshot that you take after a first kill.
  8. Realising that someone just signed up for your raid who you said you’d never group with again — but you need them to make up the numbers.
  9. The types of strange conversation that go on in your game’s main chat channel (if it has one). eg. Trade chat, Barrens chat (for the dinos)
  10. Someone who has been playing a game since the first day it went live.
  11. Very militaristic guilds, especially when the officers have delusions of grandeur.
  12. The kind of RP server which isn’t really very different from a regular server except that some of the names are better.
  13. The sinking feeling when a friend rerolls the same class/role as you and you know you’ll be fighting for group spots with them later.
  14. People who only log on to do dailies.
  15. Extended discussions in guild about what type of DKP system to use.

Feel free to suggest more!

Teach your orphan to be a mighty warrior in 10 easy steps

When my little orcish in-game foster child said to Spinks that he wanted to grow up to be a mighty warrior of the Horde, I thought, “Son, you’ve come to the right place.”

Here’s a few rules and inspirational quotes that always worked for me. True, some of these quotes were said by humans but even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

Feel free to add any suggestions via comments, I’ll add them (with attributions) at the bottom.

1. You might not start every fight, but you will always finish it.

Yes, even if that noob mage at the back pulls with a pyroblast, once the fight is on you pile in and stay until it’s over.

2. “Defence is the stronger form of waging war,” von Clausewitz (On War)

540 defence to be exact.

Dead warriors don’t win wars. They don’t even win consolation ice creams. Whether you are taking the beat-down to the enemy or keeping the crazies away from your friends, remember that you have to stay alive to be any use.

Stay out of the fire. Use the scenery to your advantage. Don’t run away from your support lines. And stick to plate.

3. “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again.” – Attributed to Robert the Bruce

Real warriors don’t wimp out after the first wipe. Or the second. In fact, as long as your allies are willing to stick at it and you’re still  improving, don’t give up.

But also, it can be very demoralising when you are a new warrior and feel the weight of everyone else’s expectation on your shoulders. We’ve all been there. It’s a warrior rite of passage to have some abysmal heroic runs (everyone did it when they were learning the first time).

A  true warrior keeps trying until they can make it work.

4.”Death is nothing, but to live defeated and inglorious is to die daily.”  – Napoleon

As a warrior, you will look death in the face daily. Eventually he’ll run. Don’t be afraid of dying. But never settle for defeat — revenge is always sweetest when served cold. And it isn’t over till it’s over.

5. “An army marches on its stomach.” – Napoleon

Napoleon was a wise man. We don’t actually march on our stomachs but don’t forget to bring food.

6. “Come home with your shield, or on it.” – what Spartan mothers said to their sons, via Plutarch

Whatever you do, don’t lose your shield. You never know when it might be useful.

7. “To fight for the right without question or pause, to be willing to march into Hell for a Heavenly cause…” – Don Quixote, via Man of La Mancha

‘The right’ in this case is whatever your war leaders telll you to do. Even if a quest NPC tells you to do something that is obviously stupid, pointless, or tactically unsound, a true warrior of the horde does not question.

You just bitch about it to the other warriors afterwards.

8. “Put your trust in God but keep your powder dry.” – Oliver Cromwell

You may forget to sleep, you may forget to pick up your daily quest, you may forget your Onyxia key, you may even forget your name or where you left the cat but do NOT forget to repair your armour and keep stocked up on arrows or bullets.

9. Taunt with feeling.

Taunts work better when you yell at the screen in real life too. True story.

10. Mock paladins.

You can’t be a true warrior unless you do this regularly, but try to avoid mocking the healy ones. You may need them later.

10a Obligatory quote from If (Kipling)

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

Don’t forget to use your cooldowns when you need them, even the dps ones when you are tanking or the tanking ones when you are dps.

11. To win is to overcome your own side. To win, your own side must overcome itself.Tsunetomo Yamamoto (via Melmoth)

Yamamoto was a survivor of many Naxx pick-up groups. As a tank in particular, you often feel as though you are fighting your group as much as the enemy.

12. What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage. He wins his battles by making no mistakes. Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory, for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated. – Sun Tzu (via Melmoth)

Sun Tzu was pretty hardcore, clearly. When someone looks as though they are fighting with ease (such as Ciderhelm on the tankspot videos), it’s because they worked very hard at not making mistakes.

One day, people will also say to you, “How do you make it look so easy?” or, “This is so much easier when you are here.”

13. Fortune favours the bold – SAS motto (via Bo)

If you’re not sure how things are going to pan out, grit your teeth and charge in anyways.

14. “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power. If you realize that you have enough, you are truly rich.” – Lao Tsu in the Tao Te Ching (via Tarsus)

Don’t forget to check the armoury of the guy who is inviting you before you agree to that Emalon PUG, but also remember you can use the armoury to check on talents and gear for other warriors you admire or who are in top guilds. If you have to steal (ideas), steal from the best!

Tarsus notes:  that last part is a reminder to do your daily quests so you can afford your repair bills.

15. If it’s a stupid plan and it works, it’s not a stupid plan. (via Ardua)

Don’t be afraid to try something really off the wall. What’s the worst that can happen? OK, what’s the second worst? If people are still discussing strategy after 5 minutes, you can always just pretend you hit the charge button by accident.

Ardua also has a great inspirational picture for badass warriors everywhere.

16.“No plan survives the first fifteen seconds of combat.” (via Sean)

Smart warriors are flexible. When things go wrong, don’t panic. React, judge, and take control of the situation. The rest of the party counts on you.

In which I have a golden ticket. And are bunny ears sexist?

spinks with bunny ears I logged into WoW late the other night because I wanted to touch base with a friend (I knew she’d been a bit down), so we settled down to collect eggs while chatting. I take back slightly what I said about Noblegarden, it’s still dumb but at least it doesn’t require much in the way of actual thought.

I also hadn’t realised how annoying a starter area full of tiny rabbits could be until I saw them all zipping around and stealing my eggs!

There must be some primal human instinct that says when you see something small and fluffy speeding away, you want to go and stomp on it. Or maybe that’s just me?

Duly encouraged by the rest of my guild, I submitted a ticket:

I am a warrior of the horde in full platemail. Surely I ought to be able to crush little bunnies under my booted feet, but it doesn’t seem to work when I try. Is this some kind of a bug?

I got a form letter back later advising me to post it in the suggestions forum. Very witty.
Have you ever posted a silly ticket? Or been tempted to?

More on the Bunny Ears

You can see Mrs Spinks looking like the fearsome warrior of the Horde that she is in the picture above. If that doesn’t destroy an enemy’s will to live, I don’t know what will.

But the bunny ears and the associated achievement have been quite controversial. This is because the achievement requires you to stick bunny ears on female characters over level 18. (Bunny girl? Get it? No, I didn’t laugh either.)

When I first saw the achievement lists for Noblegarden, I eyed that one and thought ‘Ah yes, casual sexism,’ but I can’t really bring myself to get up in arms about it. I prefer to pick my fights. But I can understand why people aren’t thrilled with the idea.

The ladies (and gents?) at Feministing have worked up a decent rant on the subject though. While I think the achievement itself is puerile and Blizzard should fucking quit with the Playboy jokes, I don’t have a vast amount of sympathy for the female player who was complaining about being chased around. I remember being hunted during the Valentine event because Spinks is an undead warrior and people wanted to throw petals at her. And that was nothing at all to do with her in-game gender.

People enjoy the holiday achievements where you get to play scavenger hunt with other players. I like them too. They aren’t grindy, it gets people to interact with others without killing them and if you don’t like the rabbit ears you can always just click off the buff.

I personally think that achievement would have been a lot more fun if when you put bunny ears on someone, you had a 10% chance to get stunned for 3 minutes and had your PvP flag set. Then if a female character with bunny ears killed you during this period, they could get the achievement, “That Rabbit is Dynamite!!!”
Now that’s the sort of achievement I could really get behind.

10 cool things to check out

Today is a Bank Holiday over here, so I’m taking a day off. Here’s some other fun things to read or play in the meantime.

  1. Try the Braid Demo on PC. It’s an award winning time shifting storytelling platform game. I can’t really explain, other than to say try it and see what you think.
  2. Nerf the Cat briefly reviews some of her favourite gaming and geek-friendly podcasts.
  3. Zork, blogging at Elitist Jerks, is starting a tutorial for people who want to know how to create their own WoW mods.
  4. Blame the Healer has some suggestions for Spring Cleaning your bags in MMOs.
  5. RPS are playing through Knights of the Old Republic (a game that lets you choose whether you want to be good or evil) on total bastard mode and telling us their story.
  6. Sign up for the Dungeon Party open beta. Seems to be some kind of team based comedy dungeon delving. You can read about it here.
  7. If you have a CoH account, go play with the mission creator. I’ll be writing about my experiences with it later (short form: love it!!). A Ding World reviews the types of missions that players have been creating.
  8. I often write about tanking in WoW, but have you tried tanking in other games? Omelettz@Breakfast at War talks about some of the issues she’s had tanking with her Blackguard in Warhammer. Her problems include line of sight, parity with other tanks,  how to tank in PvP …
  9. OK, this is an indulgent one. For me, the best game ever made was Elite which I played to death and loved to death as a teenager. And now  Gamasutra have an article all about the game and what made it so great.
  10. Try Grow Tower. It’s a cute flash puzzle game that kept me amused for awhile.

Blizzard Owns the April Fools Gags

All been keeping an eye out for cool April Fools gags on annual “Don’t Believe What You Read On The Internet Day”?

Blizzard, as usual, have put a lot of work into entertaining the masses (aka us) with their April Fools. I think they have a nice balance here of fun ideas that aren’t SO good that everyone would be pining for the rest of the year.

Blizzard EU: P1mp My Mount – Yeah I want a shoulder mounted sub machine gun for my nether ray too!

Blizzard US: Check out the new Dance Battle System. And check out the ads on that page also (I don’t blame them, it’s gonna get a zillion hits).

And thanks to The Ancient Gaming Noob for the heads up on the Starcraft II and Diablo III April Fools.

Diablo III: Archivist Class. It has an ability called Shush! There’s even an animation showing it in action … *pines for D3 some more*

Starcraft II: I can’t get through to this one but you’re welcome to try here.

And as if that wasn’t enough, they’ve run the US WoW forums through a roleplaying parser. Which they really should keep since it makes everything way more amusing. Here’s a random example (of someone asking about Malygos phase 1):