There are altaholics.... and then there's the rest of us. A Druid blog for the player that never wants to have to roll another character again. A Bear/Tree/Cat blog dedicated to being able to queue for all three roles in the Dungeon Finder.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

On REAL ID's fallout, a post-mortem:

(...although really, calling it a "post-mortem" is like saying "Dracula is dead". He always comes back. =T)

All in all, though, I'm not happy with Blizzard. Or Activision. Or any one of a giant nebulous "them".

It's kind of hard for me to *not* hold everyone at Blizzard as accountable for this whole fiasco, partly because of the lack of information on what happened behind the scenes, and partly because all the CSRs, whether forum or phone-based, were all told to hold the company line.

I'm not happy with Blizzard anymore. I mentioned in a previous post that I regarded Blizzard as the gold standard for a video game developer. It's cliche, but the magic is gone. It's like a studio exec deciding to axe Firefly. It's like LeBron leaving Cleveland for Florida. It's like Garrosh being a dick and pissing off people in Cataclysm. It's any semblence of "cool" that Blizzard might have once had has now evaporated. Just look at my Achievement points over to the right. I have invested a great deal of time and money into WoW. I was ready to keep telling Blizzard, "take my money, please" all the way through Cataclysm, as long as they kept giving me a great game to play every time that I logged in.

I mean, quite literally, I was just about ready to give Blizzard my $55 dollars to transfer an old 80 from another server and faction change it. I had planned this out months ago, working up all the things I would need, by liquidating my now-abandoned guild's vault, and buying things in anticipation of reselling them Hordeside on Kirin Tor. Oh, and the things I bought. I picked up a Rowan's Rifle of Silver Bullets for 900 gold. I found an Eye of Shadow. I bought cheapish ICC BoEs. I bought every single ToC recipe, most of the Ulduar recipes, gobs of Alliance-only pets (most of which consisted of White Kittens), every single Alliance-only Cooking recipe, stacks and stacks of Hakkari Bijou, and Coins, Sunfury Signets to turn in for Scryer's rep, Dreadfang Venom Sacs to change to Aldor, and Marks of Kil'jaden and Sargeras to pump that up quickly. I bought out Books of Glyph Mastery, flasks, fish, gems, both cut and uncut, enchanting materials, and just before this whole thing blew up, I was starting to stockpile Primordial Saronites. Basically, if it could be sold for a profit Kirin Tor-H, I was buying it in spades. And now all I'm left with is wasted effort, and goods that now sit in my bank and bags, rapidly depreciating in value.

I don't want to reward Blizzard's stupidity on this issue. Again, there I go blaming the entire company again when it was probably just the work of a relatively small group of people.

But man, I want to have *someone* to blame, and cast out.


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


I think I'll let the headline do all the heavy lifting here:

 ESRB unintentionally exposes email addresses of people who filed complaints over Blizzard's Real ID system


I mean, seriously, now. I'm just glad that I filed my complaint using an email from


Monday, July 12, 2010

On hedging one's bets:

Just a quick note here, because I sit in wait with bated breath. From His Crabbiness:

If I had to guess, Omen of Clarity will be a trained ability. It's too useful to different kinds of druids. Even if you put it shallow in Resto, Feral wouldn't be able to benefit from it until very high level.

But we'll see....
Long story short: Talent trees REALLY AND TRULY TRIMMED this time around, "boring talents" turned into passives that are level-based, everyone picks a specialization, blah, blah, blah, you don't live under a rock like I do. =P

But this brings up some very interesting ramifications. Hopefully if it *is* trained, it should help smooth low-level druid levelling, especially if, as has been hinted, that we will not have access to our second talent tree until something heinous like 70+. Assuming things stay relatively the same as they are now, missing Furor for 70+ levels is going to be an utter pain in the ass. At the same time, though, one wonders if we'll be able to delve far enough into Restoration to be able to pick up Naturalist for the +10% damage, or if that's getting streamlined into passives as well.

Here's to hoping there's some tasty news that comes along later today!


Saturday, July 10, 2010

On retractions:

Today, Blizzard co-founder Michael Morhaime walked Real ID back.

Great, right?

....not really. There are still too many things *wrong* with what they're doing. Like they're putting the cart in front of the horse.

I wrote up a forum post in the same thread, maybe you've seen it, maybe not, but I'll cross-post it here, because I don't think I can explain my position any better than I did.

Thank you for your letter Mr. Morhaime. I feel that you've done right by the community by putting the kibosh on things, even if the decision is only "at this time".

That being said, I'm still very disappointed with what did happen. Blizzard was the gold standard to which I held other video game companies, always thoughtful, never impatient, and always listening to their playerbase. I can't help but feel betrayed when it seems that the first two of those were thrown out with the bathwater.

I don't mind a greater community. Community is good. But community doesn't happen when some force from the top brings down stone tablets with fifteen! *crash* Ten Commandments! and commands us that we have to be closer to each other. It just doesn't work that way. Community is the funny chatter in a PUG Heroic that leads to "Hey, can I friend you?". Community is the camaraderie that you get when your random PUG raid turns into a weekly ritual. Community is your guild, the people you can whine to when you go through four or five healers and tanks in a row in a H:HoR wipefest.

So I'm thankful that you've taken our collective voice, and listened to it.

Please listen again to what I, and others have to say.

Real ID isn't the way forward. There are too many intrinsically *wrong* things about it. There *are* people that we know, cross-server and cross-game, that we know only by a screenname. We are good friends with those people. We might know the names of their cats, we might know that they live in their parents' basement, we might know that they raid better drunk than sober, or that they eat pizza with everything on it, and by god, I mean everything, and if you forget the anchovies again, there will be hell to pay. But in the end, we only know them by screenname, and that's all we want to share with them. We just want the ability to friend people, cross-server, cross-game, what-have-you, without having to share one's One True Name. (And that's not a joke, either. In the age of Google and, and readily available background checking sites galore, having one's real name *does* give them power.) Given the rapidity with which poor Bashiok had his information found and collated, and I can understand if the official line is to deny that is his personal information, because it is a real danger, and a real risk.

A community is frequently compared to a web, and the depth of the community is often compared to how strong that web is. Now, there *are* two ways to make a web, or community stronger. You can make the threads linking people together stronger, or you can let people make more connections with more people. And wouldn't you know it, the way nature takes its course, nature tends to favor the latter solution instead, making ever more intricate webs, and letting the individual people make their bonds together stronger as they see fit.

What I'm trying to say is that Real ID is too binary. There's an "On" position, which lets you friend everyone, and tells EVERYONE who you are, and an "Off" position, which tells nobody who you are, but also traps you to your own server or game. There needs to be a middle ground, one where you can friend that funny person on another server, or your younger sister that's off at college, and the only time you ever see her online is on Bnet. I can't imagine the community at large getting angry with these kinds of greater community bonding.

And the most important thing is, is that it's not Blizzard's choice to reveal our personal information.

So give us the ability to use a unique "Gamertag". Link that gamertag to all our other profiles. Link it to all our WoW characters, even the ones under level 10. Make it so that no matter what we do, the rest of the community can see past any the disguises used by trolls, make them traceable to the community at large.

Again, I want to thank you for listening, and for stepping in and walking things back. My relationship with Blizzard, one that I've had for a very long time, has taken a hit, a very severe one.


Kirin Tor-US-H

PS: One more thing, and I feel that I should still get this off my chest. I am still *very* disappointed with the Real ID announcement. I meant it when I said that I felt Blizzard was the gold standard in the video game industry.

You can be sure that I will never take anything that Blizzard says at simple face value again, nor should anyone else. With such a drastic move with such blatant disregard for privacy, I feel that my intelligence has been insulted, that someone at either Activision or Blizzard said, "Oh, they'll think this is a GREAT idea!"

For now, I'll trust you again, but not until after I've verified.

Maybe not even until *after* I've verified

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

On getting it in before it becomes old:



On Real ID, and why what Blizzard is doing is a bad idea:

The first rule of internet safety is to never use your real name.

That's it. That's all I have to say about the new Real ID changes.

This is the rule that was first drilled into me when I first started using the internet. When the heck did we stop teaching kids this?

Oh wait, I know. It's because of social networking sites, like MySpace and Facebook.

But that's not why I'm really mad. If were supposed to be a social networking gaming site, then yes, I wouldn't be as... angry? No, too strong a word. Annoyed? Not strong enough...

Let's settle with a facepalm and an "Oy." and go from here.

The reason why I throw out Yiddish colloquialisms is because I didn't enter into an agreement with Blizzard, about this being a social networking site. If I'm going to sign up for a Facebook, I understand what I'm getting into, because I expressly desire to put my real name out there for people to find and communicate with me. But when I bought my Blizzard games and got a account, I had no such intention. Whatever my original intention, the decision to sign up for a social networking site, has been taken out of my hands entirely.

And for the record, I *hate* social networking. I think it's stupid and idiotic to plaster your name all over the internet. For pete's sake, potential employers do not need to find out that you frequent furry forums or see your spring break photos of you drinking shots out of some girl's cleavage.

Let me tell you guys a hypothetical story.

Let's say that at one point in time, a person who we will refer to as "A" did a presentation for one of their college courses. And let's say that during this presentation, this person asked for people to volunteer their names so that "A" could demonstrate the kinds of things that they could find on the internet from just using Google and their first and last name, and filling in information as they go. "A" would start with the name, and then include information like the college they were attending. "A" happened to find a mention in an article in the college's newspaper, as they were being interviewed, mentioning their high school. "A" might have gone on to find an old profile on a forum somewhere, finding not only their interests based on the contents of the forum, but also an email that matched several other places where that email address was used. And "A" might have also found different distinct usernames that were attatched to the email address, which in turn also led to more usernames, all the while taking note of this person's hobbies and personal information. "A" started culling bits and pieces of information from innocent blurbs on blog comments, and forum posts, starting to move on from hobbies, age, and location to more specific information. Where they lived. Who they lived with. What cell phone provider they had. Who they were going out with. Where they were going to be next Friday, and who should bring the beer.

This information got more and more specific with each search, until this person demanded that "A" stop what they were doing, which "A" complied with and closed everything down.

"A" recieved an A for their presentation

 That person just disappeared from school.

I'll say it again. The first rule of being safe on the internet is to never use your real name.