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Blizzard decided to enter the world of microtransactions today and launched 2 mini-pets (non-combat) in the Blizzard Store: the Pandaren Monk and Lil' K.T. And suddenly the Internet exploded with a mix of cheers and anger, the comments at Wow.com being just a sample of the mixed reactions.

First of all, this is not a first. Every WoW box has a Collector's Edition that gives cool extra stuff, including an exclusive in-game pet (I wish I had the original ones). It takes more $$$ to buy this. Second, Blizzard has had loot cards in the Upper Deck Trading Card Game for 2 years now, and you can technically say these are microtransactions since you can pay real money to get in-game rewards. The worst part is your odds of getting a loot card are very low so the cost of these virtual rewards, whether you buy a lot of cards or buy the loot cards on eBay, are much higher than the $10 these pets cost ($5 on the pandaren goes to charity). Third, the loot codes Blizzard gives to Blizzcon attendees and buyers of the Blizzcon stream on the Internet or DirecTV also count as real money for in-game stuff. Murloc custome, Blizzcon Bear Mount, Murloc Marine mini-pet, these would cost you $40-100 each, and the last 2 did not even involve going to Blizzcon at all. Sure, you get a nice Blizzcon stream, but I know a lot of people who bought the stream just to get the pet and did not watch the lovely Kat Hunter during those 2 days of fun.

Why do people hate microtransactions? My opinion on this is there are 2 things that divide all MMO players: free time to play, and real world money. This creates 4 types of players:

  1. Players with lots of free time, but limited financial resources. I think most hardcore gamers and raiders fall in this category. Or kids. Yes, I'm sure there are very professionally accomplished hardcore raiders out there, but you're not the norm.
  2. Players with limited free time, but with more money on hand. This is where I fit in. Accomplished professionals who like to play MMOs are usually in this category. I'm definitely not loaded, but I pretty well off.
  3. Players with lots of free time and lots of money. Lucky people. Aside from Curt Schilling, I have no idea who that would be. But whoever they are, I envy them.
  4. Players with limited free time and little money. I feel sorry for them. They love their game, can barely pay for it, and might have to work hard just to make ends meet. The game is probably a great escape for them, if only they could play it more.

I'm willing to bet that players who hate microtransactions fall in categories #1 and #4. I can see why #4 would hate it. They already struggle to get anything in game due to limited play time, and now this is something else they cannot get. Sorry guys, I hear you and your complaints are legitimate. #1 is probably the majority of the complainers. They spend such an insane amount of time in game that they need to justify it. If they can get rewards others cannot because they can't invest the time, they feel like their time sink was worth it. They can typically get anything they want in game. But now that you dangle something in front of them they cannot get, they complain. I find them purely selfish.

We all know time is money. Why is it socially accepted in MMOs to get everything when you sink the time, but yet not accepted to sink your time into a career and then spend the money you earned in your game? These people are basically frustrated because they see richer people than them with better rewards in real life, and the MMO is the virtual world where they can be king, and forget that they are at the bottom of the financial totem pole in real life. If they see richer people get an advantage, real or cosmetic, in their MMO, they cry foul!

Yes, I'm an elitist in real life, but I worked real hard for my career. I had great opportunities, I made sacrifices, i took risks, and it paid off. That investment should not end when I log into WoW. I think microtransactions are cool, as long as they are for cool cosmetic items that do not give paying players an unfair advantage. Otherwise, if real battle gear and epics would be purchasable with microtransactions, then at least Blizzard or the MMO developer need to make sure the same items can also be obtainable in game via "free means", such as questing, raiding or the good ole RNG.

For now, enjoy a few screenshots of my main, Shalansay the Feral Druid, accompanied by my new buddies: Lil' K.T. and the Pandaren Monk. I think I'm only 1-2 pets away from the 75-pet achievement now Stick out tongue

After yesterday's long blog post, I figured I would steer clear of the massive wall of text and show you pretty pictures instead. I present you with pictures of my FigurePrint of Shalansay, who is my main character in World of Warcraft. "Shal", as my friends call me, is a level 80 feral druid, talented for bear tanking, with a 2nd spec as a resto druid. In case you do not know, FigurePrints is a company founded by Ed Fries that can "print" your WoW character in 3D using hardened powder that is applied in layers and colored afterwards. Their site has cool details about the process and many podcasters have interviewed them in the past.

This FigurePrint was created about a year ago when The Burning Crusade was nearing its end. This immortalizes Shal's best TBC gear, which I used mainly to tank all the tier 4 content, from Karazhan to Magtheridon, and a few bosses in Zul'Aman. I think I got my T4 "Mantle of Malorne" shoulders about a week after I placed the FigurePrints order, but I still wore my arena season 2 shoulders a lot when tanking, especially since resilience in TBC helped tanks become uncrittable instead of just stacking defense. I still have the cool season 3 helmet, the shoulders and the ubiquitous "Earthwarden" in my bank, I just cannot get rid of these beauties. It would have been nice to get another print with my favorite weapon to date: Terestian's Stranglestaff! I still have it, maybe someday...

I've been meaning for a long time to post them online for all to enjoy, so here you go!

   

Disclaimer: This obviously controversial (and long) blog post is not directed at any specific guild officer or leader I know. I have been a guild officer and council member myself on a few occasions and the observations in this post are based on my experiences as a member of approximately 15 guilds across 4 MMOs over the last 6+ years. I know I will get a lot of flak from guild leaders and officers, who might or might not know me, but at least consider yourselves warned.

The question in this blog post title is quite a touchy one. Questioning the leadership of anyone in any position of authority can always lead to trouble, criticism and partisanship. In MMOs we call that drama. There are many leaders in our lives, and whether they are politicians, presidents, mayors, company executives, team leads, volunteer group leaders, or guild officers, there is are two fundamental stances I want to take:

  1. Not everyone is fit to lead
  2. Not every leader is a good leader

Based on these two assumptions, I ask the question: Are your guild officers fit to lead?

In order to discuss this, I'd like to analyze a few social realities that can easily categorize the various people we deal with in terms of leadership:

  1. Do they want to lead?
  2. Do they lead in RL?
  3. Do they have good leadership skills?

1. Do they want to lead?
Not everyone wants to lead. Some people simply want to do or follow their whole lives, and that's ok. You cannot just have Chiefs, you need Indians too. Non-leaders sometimes prefer doing/executing rather than managing, and any leader needs to respect as well as acknowledge that if we had only leaders, we'd be left with no one willing to do the work. Non leaders can be amazing performers and team players. By not being bogged down with the responsibilities and time sink of leadership, they can perfect their own selves to be the best contributor to a group effort.

Then you also have the situation where some people want to lead in certain situations but not in others. If someone already has a lot of responsibilities in one leadership role (e.g. company executive), they might not want to spend the time or energy to be a leader in another forum (e.g. condo board president or guild leader).

2. Do they lead in Real Life?
Whether or not someone is already a leader in real life can sometimes affect whether or not they want to lead in a game, and also if they have the skills (see below). You could argue that being a parent is a form of leadership, and it certainly is, but leading adults vs leading children is very different. Some great company executives make lousy parents, and some awesome parents can also be really bad managers. For the purpose of the question here, let's push parenting aside, although I have to acknowledge that with the number of kids we have in MMOs, sometimes it takes a good parent to keep them in line.

If someone is not a leader in real life, it could be because they do not want to, they never got the opportunity, or they do not have the skills, and therefore tried and failed.

3. Do they have good leadership skills?
This is the controversial one that is open to debate and opinions. Assessing a leader also means assessing who is being led. Since there can be many levels of leadership, you can have a team leader answering to higher organization leader. For example, a company director might lead an entire department, but still has to answer to a Vice-President, who in turn answers to the President and/or CEO. With guilds, officers can lead various class groups or raids, but ultimately answer to the guild leader. Guild councils usually represent co-leaders but in this post I want to focus on individual leadership aptitude.

Because of the chain of command, one leader might be perceived as bad wheras another might like them. For example, if someone prefers to receive very specific instructions, they will like the type of hands-on leader who likes to micro-manage. Me personally, I prefer a leader who delegates, leaves me alone and asks for a weekly status. Micro-managers drive me nuts.

MBTI Personality Types

Next, allow me to dig into recognized personality studies such as the MBTI Personality Types from the Myers & Briggs Foundation. Anyone who has ever attended management classes has read about those. I'll give you the high level gist of it here but you can read more at http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics.

MBTI splits people across 16 personality types, each built from a combination of the 4 following preferences:

  • Favorite World: Extraversion (E) or Introversion (I)
  • Information: Sensing (S) or Intuition (N)
  • Decision: Thinking (T) or Feeling (F)
  • Structure: Judging (J) or Perceiving (P)

My analysis here does not rely too much on the MBTI personality types, but I will refer to them here and there. In any case, if you have any interest in leading people, I highly suggest you read more on MBTI. In the interest of full disclosure, the following description applies to my personality type (ENTP, with a strong slant towards ENTJ):

ENTP
Quick, ingenious, stimulating, alert, and outspoken. Resourceful in solving new and challenging problems. Adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically. Good at reading other people. Bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.

ENTJ
Frank, decisive, assume leadership readily. Quickly see illogical and inefficient procedures and policies, develop and implement comprehensive systems to solve organizational problems. Enjoy long-term planning and goal setting. Usually well informed, well read, enjoy expanding their knowledge and passing it on to others. Forceful in presenting their ideas.

The 16 types are described at http://www.myersbriggs.org/my-mbti-personality-type/mbti-basics/the-16-mbti-types.asp but it's usually a good idea to take the test to find out your type, instead of guessing by reading the descriptions. I took the test a couple years back and my results were exactly what I anticipated.

Based on these 16 types: the ones that are best for leadership roles are usually ISTJ, INFJ, ESTP, ENTP, ESTJ, ENFJ, and ENTJ. Other personality types can make leadership work somehow, but it's not exactly how they are wired. As you can see, there is no one preference that makes anyone a leader. While most leading personalities have a preference for extraversion, some leaders can also prefer intraversion.

Lastly on this MBTI topic, any leader of any personality has to recognize that the people they will lead can be of any of the 16 personality types. You cannot lead an ENTP individual the same way you deal with an ISFP. A good leader is someone who recognizes who they are, which personality type fits them, what their preferences are and how to interact with the other 16 personalities. This is not easy and that is why true leadership can be a lifelong pursuit.

Leader Type Combinations 

Ok, now that I've established my 3 leadership questions and the 16 personality types, where am I going with this? Let's analyze some combinations:

Good Leaders Who Want to Lead
This combination is a no brainer. Whether or not they lead in RL, these people are good at it and want to do it. You want these people as officers and guild leaders. However their RL responsibilities might make it hard for them to find the time to be a dedicated officer, and their level of involvement can fluctuate over time.
Personality Types: ENTP usually cannot help themselves and want to lead. Some, like me, already have a lot of responsibilities in life and might not want to assume guild leader positions due to time constraints but would still like to pitch in as officers. ESTJ make awesome raid leaders. ENFJ players are probably the most dedicated and non-selfish guild leaders you can find, cherish and support them. Like ENTP, ENTJ folks make good strong leaders, however can come across as a bit forceful. Those that respect strength will follow with no issue, others with strong egos might clash with them though simply out of pride.

Bad Non-RL Leaders Who Want to Lead
This type of leader is also a no brainer. These are often the people spamming trade chat to advertize their guild and recruit anyone willing to join. They just want to lead, no matter what, and have no idea how to do it. They are easy to avoid and you can spot them from a mile away. If you end up in a guild where the guild leader and/or many of the officers fit that bill, just /gquit and don't look back.
Personality Types: I hate to peg any personality type in that category because you can find good leaders in all of them. You typically do not need a psych profile to spot these people though.

Bad RL Leaders Who Want to Lead
Like the previous type above, these people somehow ended-up in a position of power at work despite a clear lack of skills, and now they seek to reproduce their narcissistic power grab in an MMO guild. These can be the worst because they are bad leaders but think they are good leaders and will cite their real-world position as proof. Avoid at all costs!

Bad Leaders Who Don't Want to Lead
These people are usually a non-issue, just do not force them to become officers and do not transfer a guild to them. They can be a problem when they are part of the initial founders of a small guild, and are given officer status as such but do not want any responsibilities. The guild leader might keep them on as officers if they are friends, but the problem is they set a bad example for other members and officers as the guild grows and the officer roles become formalized. This can also happen when guild leaders start a small family-style guild but end-up growing beyond their expectations. Once the guild gets too big, their small leadership skills become capped but they do not want to step down since the guild is "their baby" and they have a core of "officer friends" supporting them in their self-serving bad leadership. They will typically treat all non officers as second class citizens, creating a culture of "Do what I say, not what I do". Very bad.
Personality Types: Hard to peg anyone here, but INTJ and INTP can fit the bill. ESFP can apply here but they would recognize the need to step down as officer once they realize the guild needs more dedicated officers.

Good Leaders Who Don't Want to Lead
Typically these will be people who are already leaders with lots of responsibilities in real life and who just want to play the game to have fun and relax. What can happen is because they are usually so helpful or naturally inclined to lead, they get promoted to officer status as a reward and can risk letting people down because of their lack of time to dedicate to officer duties. You can also find "diamond in the rough" leaders here who never had the opportunity and therefore do not step up on their own.
Personality Types: Any of the aforementioned leadership types can fit here if their schedule is too busy and their play time limited. They usually end up more often in casual guilds since their obligations can prevent them from following the rigorous schedule of hardcore raiding guilds. The "diamond in the rough" types will usually be ISTF or INFJ, slanting more on the introvert type but sitting on untapped potential. It usually takes an ENFJ leader to encourage and support these future leaders to step up.

Conclusion 

So why did I tell you all this crap?
If you're already a guild leader or officer, or want to become one, take a long hard look at yourself and see in which category you fit. I would also recommend taking the MBTI test if you can, it might even help you to pursue a career in management in your line of work. If you realize this is not your place, then gracefully step down, explain your reasons and everyone will respect you for having the balls to put the greater good of the guild above your own.

If you are dealing with difficult personality types in bad leadership positions, hopefully this post can help you realize why they act the way they do and give you insights on how to deal with them. I recommend a diplomatic approach over whispers or in a private voice chat channel instead of a confrontation in guild chat. Note that sometimes it will still fail if the leader's ego is too strong and the pride factor kicked in. Unless you can get support from other officers who agree with you, the only option is to /gquit if you know you cannot change anything. Keep your best guildies in your friends list and leave on a good note. Do not burn bridges on your way out.

If you are blessed with good officers and guild/raid leaders, support them and fight for them. Their job is not easy and sooner or later they will have to deal with drama and rotten apples. Give them some input, some support and remind them that you respect them for the role they fill, no matter how hard some decisions might be sometimes, and that you'll be there to back them up. Leadership can be a lonely position sometimes.

And remember: Yes, it's just a game, but you're dealing with real people behind the avatars.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this post and the leaders you have encountered over the years as MMO players. Please send your comments to me via Twitter at http://twitter.com/ActiveNick.

It's Maintenance Tuesday again. For us MMO players, it usually means our servers are down for maintenance, restarts or patches. This is certainly true for WoW, and Star Wars Galaxies (which I used to play, and still do on occasions) also has its maintenance on Tuesdays. I guess it's a standard deal in the MMO business, kinda like how all main TV networks have their ads/commercials in sync to prevent viewers from jumping to another show in progress on another channel.

Maintenance Day means "I have a real life" for many of us. You get to do other things when the death grip of your favorite MMO loosens for a few hours. So what do you do on Tuesdays? Me, it usually does not change much since I'm at work all day and the servers are usually back on by the time I get home, and even then I'll cook dinner with my wife and spend the early evening with her, even if I'm raiding later.

Still, if you have the day off or don't work on Tuesdays, Maintenance Day can be an opportunity. If you're like me, your primary MMO is not the only game you play, or want to play at least. Check out other MMOs that are not under maintenance today, or indulge yourself into a single-player PC or console game. It's sad the number of games I have on my shelf that are sitting there unplayed, or even still in the shrinkwrap.

If I was home, here are some of the MMO games I own that I'd like to play on maintenance day since I have barely touched them or not at all:

  • Guild Wars: Back when the infamous NGE hit Star Wars Galaxies in late 2005, I picked up Guild Wars in consolation (many SWG guildies went there too). I played SWG for another 8-9 months on and off, but I also played Guild Wars in parallel. To this day, this game is still one fo the most beautiful out there. However I always deplored the lack of true social gameplay mechanisms. It felt too much like a single player game despite being online, and I found it very hard to meet people in this game. The PvP endgame with the "1, 2, 3, SPIKE!" routines in vent are also a turn-off.
  • EVE Online: I started playing EVE in 2007 when I was in a WoW slump, played for a few months, loved it, but then realized I would have to dedicate MUCH more time to it. Gorgeous game, hugely complex, very niche but definitely calls to me. My skills have been training in the background for 2 years and I have almost 25 million skill points now. I hope to get back into it someday. That game deserves it.
  • Free Realms: I tried it last Spring during another WoW slump after patch 3.1. Since I have a SOE Station Access for SWG that gave me full access to Free Realms, and I was curious. The game is so well made, beautiful and engaging, even for adults. With all the mini-games, it's the perfect MMO to play if you know you have less than an hour to spend online. But do not be fooled, you can easily sink 8 hours straight into this baby if you do not pull yourself away.
  • EverQuest II: WoW owes a lot of its roots to EverQuest, and while I only logged into the original for about 40 seconds, only to log out in disgust at the graphics, I do own EverQuest II and my SOE Station Access account also gives me access to it. I tried it twice, made a character, but the bad-pseudo-realism was too creepy (like Tom Hanks in the "Polar Express" to quote Frank in "30 Rock"). The animations were also not natural. i played for less than 1 hour and logged off. I still want to try it someday since it's supposed to be a decent game and the franchise has a solid history in the MMO world.
  • Lord of the Rings Online: I bought LOTRO a few months after it launched but never activated or played it. I'm not a big LOTR zealot, I loved the movies, partially read the books but the game seemed nice enough to grab. However it seems to have a LOT of content and I fear I would have to sacrifice WoW for a while to truly appreciate LOTRO and I'm not ready for that yet. Maybe someday I will be.
  • DDO Unlimited: I was a huge AD&D 2nd Edition fan back in high school and also in college. I loved the Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, Planescape Torment and Neverwinter Nights PC games. I was really happy when I heard that D&D was gonna have its own MMO, but the "Eberron" setting was a huge turn off. True D&D = Forgotten Realms, and they really should have built the MMO there. Now that DDO Unlimited is Free-to-Play, I figured I should at least check it out. I downloaded it and installed it at home. Now I need to find some time away from WoW holidays and achievements to play it.

There are more MMOs intriguing me, like Aion, Champions Online and Fallen Earth, but I did not buy them yet. So let me ask you dear readers, which of these games should I kick myself to play? Why? And which games or MMOs are on your shelf or hard drive that you wish you found the time to play?

Since I've been battling spammers, I turned off comments here until I have better anti-spam mechanisms in the upcoming engine upgrade for this site. Please send your comments to me via Twitter at http://twitter.com/ActiveNick.

Greetings fellow WoW players and achievement whores Smile

Brewfest has been running for a week now and I figured it's not too late to share a few tips I have for all of you about Brewfest and reaching the Brewmaster title. Hope this helps:

  • If you are not sure what to buy and if you can get the title, do not spend tokens right away. Stockpile them and in the last couple days of the event, if you have enough to get the title, buy what you need for the achievements first. If not, just buy what you find fun.
  • While cool, the pink elekk pet, tankard & gnome goggles are not needed for the achievements. Only buy them if you have enough tokens in addition to the rest, if you already have the title or if you do not care about tiles/achievements. 
  • What you buy this year can be used next year. My druid Shalansay already had the outfit for the dancing achievement.
  • It seems the tokens do not expire this time (unlike last year), so keep extras you have for next year if you cannot buy everything.
  • If you are lower than level 65, you cannot eat/drink all the food & beer you need to get the achievements. Stockpile them so you can eat/drink them later when you turn 65 and get the achievement. If you completed everything else, you should then get the Brewmaster title.
  • You can get up to 55-65 tokens per day. 10 from the Dark Iron dwarves cog gear/attack daily, 15 from the "ad barking on a ram" for the brewmasters around IF, and easily over 30 from ram racing. See my optimized route below for ram racing (Alliance). Takes practice but my record so far is 40 tokens in 1 race. Use lowbie alts to practice.
  • If we win against the Dark Iron dwarves, quickly cycle thru your alts to get the daily before the cog gear poofs, you have well over 5 minutes to do so. It's a good idea to park unplayed alts in the Brewfest camp to maximize token returns.
  • You can do most Brewfest quests with a level 1. Brewfest outfits look great on bank alts, especially if female! Big Smile

This is the kicker:

  • If you feel like you'll run out of time/tokens, stockpile them, do not buy individual items yet. Then when you have 350, buy the outfit, hat & shoes, go dance smashed in Dalaran, get the achievement AND THEN GO RETURN THE 3 CLOTHING PIECES FOR A REFUND!!!!
  • You have 2 hours after buying to return them, get your tokens back and then buy the Brew of the Month club subscription, and spend the rest on pets and cool vanity items. 

About Coren:

  • You need to be at least level 40 to enter Blackrock Depths (BRD). Even if you have a warlock to summon you or a friend has Direbrew's Remote, you cannot enter untless you are 40+
  • As long as you can enter BRD and be in a group that kills Coren Direbrew and are close enough to the fight, you will get the "Direbrewfest" achievement. Insulting Coren via the quest is not required for the achievement.
  • You can loot the keg that starts the quest for the 40-token token at the Brewfest camp, but that quest is level 65 and can only be turned in during Brewfest.
  • The minimum level to summon him is 75, so use your alts and gear up on cool trinkets. This will save you from buying trinkets with Badges of Heroism (converted from Conquest to Valor to Heroism) when you reach 80.
  • If you have alts you are leveling to 80 now but still lower than 75, see if you cannot convince a group of guildies to run you thru Coren a few times. Make sure to at least give your summon with your main before you switch to your alt. I've already done this for my shammy (level 46), and I plan on doing it for my mage (71) and DK (63) if I can find a group. These will save you from spending Emblems of Conquest at 80.
  • The Mug O'Terror Epic mace is BoE (item level 226!!!). If no one in your group needs it, either greed it for resale, for an alt or put it in your guild bank. I got it on my druid and immediately mailed it to my shammy for when she turns 80.

Ok, here is my Ram Racing route. This is for Alliance only. I'm sorry but I do not play Horde enough to have devised a strategy

  • Put the whip/strap on a hotkey (I use #1)
  • Play with the sound on to make sure you ear the ram chewing, the keg dropping in your bag and the coin turn in at the tent, it helps
  • Ignore chat when you race rams, it distracts you and you'll miss bushels, get stuck on them, miss the keg or the turn-in
  • Gallop all the time, just hit that strap like crazy
  • Cross the bridge and run right past the bushel on the left, try not to get caught in it but ride right besides it to make sure your ram eats. I recommend AGAINST jumping over the bushel, more reliable to run right past them
  • Then head in straight line behind the trees to catch the next bushel on the left side of the road, just before Kharanos
  • Next head for the guy with the kegs, but just as you cross the stone path leading to house before him, do a 180 and turn around quickly. The key is to go just far enough to catch the keg and head back. You do NOT need to hit the bushel after him deeper in Kharanos
  • The thing is you will not see him toss the keg, so leave your main bag open, listen for the "blup" sound and confirm the keg is in your bag. The keg will eventually spin behind you as you ride back, sometimes all the way past the bridge if you are good
  • Now ride back in a straight line towards the FIRST bushel you hit, the one before the bridge (right side as you come back), you will have enough time if you did things right
  • Then head for the tent, go past the torch and immediately turn around around the big tree. Do NOT hit the bushel in the tent. You will see a big flash, hear a turn-in sound as you get your coins
  • Then head back towards the first bushel on the left after the bridge. Rinse. Repeat
  • To recap, you are grabbing 2 bushels on the way to Kharanos, but only one bushel on the way back to the tent
  • I suggest practicing on lowbie alts. Even if you mess up and tire your ram once, you can still get around 30 tokens
  • My record is 40 tokens in one race... can anyone beat that? Contact me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ActiveNick to let me know
  • If you have a lot of lag/latency, it might hurt you. I play with latency below 200ms. If you have more then try hitting the same 2 bushels on the way back instead of just one to play it safe

There, I've shared all my Brewfest wisdom, now hopefully karma (and the RNG God) will pay me back by letting me win a Brewfest Kodo after 9 lost rolls since last year. Less than a week remaining [:'(]

Have fun in what I consider the best world even in WoW! Stick out tongueBeer

I know some of you listen to some WoW podcasts like The Instance, Rawrcast or the WoW Insider Show (see my sidebar for great WoW podcast selections). There are a LOT of WoW podcasts and there is a new one primarily targeted at hunters called "The Blueberry Workshop" by Rilgon. He's recorded about 5-6 shows already and the quality is quite good. Rilgon is entertaining and knows how to edit a solid recording into a good quality podcast. You can reach Rilgon on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Rilgon.

I had the pleasure of being the guest host alongside Rilgon in the last episode of "The Blueberry Workshop", even though my hunter is only level 39. I was basically the bear crashing the party, eating all the fish and triscuits and offering my perspective not as someone who plays a hunter, but tanks for hunters.

It was a lot of fun and I hope you get a chance to listen to it. The show is available on iTunes and you can also stream it or find podcast links at http://www.stabilizedeffortscope.com/?p=1017.

Enjoy, and let me know what you think by contacting me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ActiveNick.

Yeah, I created this site a couple years ago, and the blog a few months back, and didn't do much with either. Busy schedule, priority changes, too much WoW, you know the drill. Anyways, all hope is not lost. I'm in the process of securing an upgrade to Community Server, which is used to power this whole site, and I'll be able to do more of what I really want here. This is also why you cannot comment here. Spammers took a hold of the previous posts and it got crazy! The next version will have better spam control.

So stay tuned, I plan on posting real & regular content here. In the meantime, I recommend you follow @ActiveNick on Twitter to see what I'm up to or to contact me.

Thanks!

You can earn tokens to buy cool stuff, have a chance to win prizes and can earn an exclusive non-combat pet for World of Warcraft!!!!

JOIN NOW!!!!!

According to the GameFuel_Admin on the DEW forums: "In-game pet - I can't say much about this yet, but the feature will be available in a few weeks. Anyone registered with the Game Fuel promotion and the owner of an active WoW account will be able to utilize the pet. It doesn't matter if your emails are different between DEW and Blizzard." There you have it, you just need to join and you'll automatically get the in-game pet.

And if you're curious to know what the pet looks like, see below. You get the blue one or the red one depending on the faction you pledge your allegiance to. So what are you waiting for? Register now!

Following in the footsteps of A Dwarf Priest who brought us Karazhan Bingo back in The Burning Crusade, I bring you: Naxxramas Bingo!

Why? For the same reasons... while I'm sure there are plenty of players who have never seen inside the halls of Naxxaramas, most level 80's have stepped in there at least once. My feral druid Shalansay can still find upgrades in there for my Resto dual-spec, and I've been terribly unlucky with the friggin' shoulder token (my Naxx-10 runs typically feature 4 druids, 1 DK, 1 mage and 1 rogue... that's 7 people sharing a tier token with my bear tank), but I'm certainly not as excited to run Naxx as I used to be. Naxx-25 is still not common for me given that Nighthaven is a casual raiding guild and we do 10-mans most of the time, so I'm far from done with the place.

I know plenty of people who do not want to run Naxx anymore, especially given how Emblems of Heroism and Valor in WOTLK certainly do not have the same value as Badges of Justice in TBC, and now that Ulduar just came out. But many will still run it, whether they like it or not, helping fellow guildies or gearing an alt. So here is a little game to help pass the time and spice things up in Naxx. Given how Naxx is definitely one of the most PUGgable raid instance to date, you'll probably find yourself yelling BINGO! more often than you'd like.

Many of these "Naxx moments" are derived from my own experiences in there. I even caused a few myself. Others are borrowed from A Dwarf Priest's Karazhan Bingo because, well, they're timeless classics! lol Smile

May your Need rolls always be 100... Enjoy!


(click the image to enlarge)