Glory of the Pink Coward

I knew it would happen. I'd fiddle with my Pink Transmog and not update my results. I was pleased with her outfit and have been wearing it all over Azeroth, but because my screenshots are on one machine while I blog on another... You're only getting to see it now!

Hm, can't see the Cape or Shoulders in this picture.
Sages of Tabasco is Aldonza's personal guild, so I changed her tabard to pink! At first it was because I had so little pink otherwise, but I'm planning on keeping it far beyond Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Something interesting about this outfit. There's only TWO TRANSMOGs! The only things mogged are the hat and cape. EVERYTHING else Aldonza wears undisguisedly every day. (Undisguisedly?)
I debated finding something better for things like the belt and shoes, but concluded they went well enough. Feel free to point me to something better. I wasn't a fan of the skulls on her heirloom shoulders, but their colour seems to go, doesn't it?

The shoulders show now!
Sometime after starting this outfit, I noticed the Fishing Pole actually went well with my outfit. I realised since Aldonza was a coward that didn't need a better weapon, she could merge her fishing outfit and heirlooms into a single outfit. See the tiny details on the pole?

Jeweled Fishing Pole is Jeweled!
Before, I would have a fishing outfit that I'd switch to instead of my heirlooms (that allow her to squeek out a few extra XP.) With this change, all she's giving up is the hat's fishing bonus, but she's continuing with the fashion statement. The gloves and pole continue to provided bonuses, but were not originally chosen to match pink. The gloves with their open fingers were originally chosen for the fishingwomen's look, but they provide the casual touch now and I like their look. Maybe I should switch to brown?
Yes, that was Arille in Dalaran in that close up above. Aldonza is now doing the cooking dailies in Dalaran! Her recent increase in XP shall be the topic of another post.

Pink on the Inside

As a supporter of Breast Cancer Awareness month, I was inspired by JD's  Pink Transmog Challenge.

As others can attest, there is a small pool of pink available. Aldonza has the luxury of being able to wear white and grey items, since fishing and cooking don't actually matter. She got her friend Martuska, the tailor, to send her a pink shirt, but after that, things got non-pink. She decided that alone was better than nothing and ran around with that for a day.

Eventually Aldonza decided that her Darkmist Cape was a bit pink. Being the Guildmaster of her Banking Guild (Sages of Tabasco!) she'll change the colors for the month, but here is her current outfit:
Breast CANCER Awareness, not Breast Awareness!
I will continue to search, but was already fretting about participation.

NOTE: There will be an update to her outfit!

Friday Five: Random Questions

Anna asks Five Random Questions for a character to answer:
  1. What did your character have for breakfast today?
  2. What one thing do they hate to do the most?
  3. Do they have a lucky piece or good-luck charm? If yes, give details.
  4. Describe one of the best laughs your character has have ever had.
  5. What is one thing your character thinks about every day?
Aldonza eyes the enthusiastic student across the table with doubts and worry. "Fine. If it's for your schoolwork, sure, I'll answer your survey."

The young orphan dwarf girl excitedly helps herself to a seat and arranges her papers. She carefully picks up her pencil and refreshes her memory before looking up again at the human, "What did you have for breakfast this morning?"

With a sigh, Aldonza leans her head down and props it on a hand. "Well, this morning I was going to go without. I often do. But then I was asked to deliver a Round for the Guards and there's no way I'm smelling Haggis and Ale on an empty stomach. On mornings like this, I'll usually go with Spice Bread."

Dutifully, the girl writes down the answer. She's a little surprised, but despite what Dirk was teasing about yesterday, this is a real human, not one of those undead types. She didn't think she'd answer 'brains'. She has seen the mage frequently enough. She seems almost... dwarf-like. Just tall. "Next question. Name one thing you hate to do the most?"

"Hmm, besides answer personal questions?" Aldonza's humor can't be supressed quickly. "It'd have to be giving gold to beggers. At least this is only costing me time, which I was going to spend here anyway. Next?"

There is a long pause and scribbling before the question arrives, "Do you have a good luck charm?"

Aldonza pops up, "What?" Astonishment wars with her smile. "That is so not what I expected. A good luck charm?"

A young head nods with sincere sobriety. "Like a Rabbit's Foot? You can find them most anywhere."

Chuckling, Aldonza shakes her head slowly, "No. Nothing like that. Oh! But when I go fishing... I have a Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat. It isn't exactly a Lucky Fishing Hat, but that's what I wear. I feel like it helps."

"What was the best laugh you've ever had?"

Aldonza shows her puzzlement again, "You mean the best joke I've heard?"

The dutiful nod is repeated. "Okay."

Returning the gesture, Aldonza nods but says, "I don't think I'll tell you the best. It doesn't translate well unless you've seen the Penguins in Northrend. How about 'Do you know how wire was invented? Two goblins were fighting over a copper coin.' Like that?"

It brings a smile. The interviewer thinks she'll enjoy telling that to her classmates. "Last question. Um, it says 'Name one thing you think about every day.'"

Aldonza spends a few moments thinking, "Only one thing? There's lots of thoughts I have most every day, like 'What'll I have for dinner?' and 'Was there something important I forgot to do today?' Is that what you mean?"

A mute shrug is the only answer she gets.

Kallispamming Tome

I thoroughly enjoyed my visit with Navimie. We've still got plenty to talk to each other about, including guys enjoying romance novels. The visit was so good, it got me thinking...

For a short while, I wasn't going to be able to play WoW, so around Christmas 2011, I intentionally turned one of the family accounts off. My son and daughter still played on the active account. A few months later Blizzard offered a free level 80 character for returning to the game. By that time, I was ready to return anyway, so this sounded like a bonus win. So I needed a friend to send a Scroll of Resurrection.

So in March 2012, I sent an email to someone that I only knew from comments on blogs. We'd exchanged notes and so I was only mildly anxious about sending an email asking for a scroll of resurrection. It wasn't until later that I realised my email address did not provide a clue that I was Kallixta.

As I recall things, weeks went by before I thought about my "Free Level 80" character. Putting some thought into it, I decided I wanted to use this as an opportunity to explore the Horde side. Eventually I decided to make it a Troll Druid.

Female, of course.

And being Horde, there was no advantage to being on the same server as Kallixta. I couldn't send gold or guild. I might as well be on a different server and have 10 empty character slots. To invoke the reward, I had to choose a server and it offered the message, "Do you want to play on the same server as your friend (that sent you the scroll?)" Oh!

Oh yeah. My friend would have gotten a free mount as her reward for getting another person back into the game. I could see the rewarded character and which server she was on. The scroll is meant for us to play together. So I created Kalligrafi on Fenris. I selected Restoration as her spec and was rewarded with gear appropriate for her.

And discovered I had no clue how to play a Restoration Druid. I wanted to learn, but there was a strong learning curve that I postponed. Instead I leveled up her Skinning profession which provided some gold and allowed me to test the guide I'd written for Wowhead! I wrote a skinning guide without having taken a skinner to Outland!

That was in the spring and when 5.0.4 I realised the Talent Change meant lots of people were re-learned how to play characters, so the learning curve wasn't as intimidating. So I pulled Kalligrafi off the shelf.

And so it is that this morning I Kalli-spammed Catwynn and she invited me into Sasche's guild. My expectations with Kalligrafi are to do some things as a member of the Horde that I've missed on Alliance.

This could be fun.

Preparing for Navispam

Navimie likes to surprise folks, so I can only guess why she might have mentioned me as a target for Navispam. She's undoubtedly already tried and failed to find me online. Since Summer and until the Autumn schedule settled down, there has been only a short window of opportunity to catch me each day.

I'm a non-elite rare spawn!

And it's actually gotten worse recently. I spent 12 hours at work yesterday! I'm feeling guilty and need to arrange something with her.

However, where once I was hoping to be considered for Navispam, it's different knowing she's coming.

I don't know what to WEAR!

(Kallixta's spouse starts laughing at this point.)

It's like cleaning up the house before your mother-in-law visits, except I like my mother-in-law. And I like Navimie. I just want to look good for her.

The state of my Transmogs is mixed. I need to ensure I have my clean underwear, I mean what I wear underneath my tabard. See with 5.0.4, I dropped my Ret spec and brushed off my Holy, which hadn't been mogged. And my Prot spec was in an intermediate state. A quick trip to the Void Storage can fix that. Okay. It wouldn't win a contest, but it'll mean I won't be embarassed.

My next problem concerns mounts and pets.

See Martuska was my old main, not Kallixta. When my daughter Syylia started playing more frequently, I moved to a new account, leaving Martuska behind. However I wasn't interested in repeating a bunch of grinds. So Kallixta hasn't been achievement hungry. Mentally I was doing "Shared Achievements", but when that kicked in with the recent patch, I discovered that Syylia was the heir to Martuska's work, not Kallixta! Besides Syylia loves collecting mounts and pets. So it'll be important that Syylia be with me when Navimie comes calling. (Not that she'd be able to sleep with the squealing I'll be doing.) Syylia has the rocket mount in case Navimie has a low-level alt when visiting.

Uh oh. Where to go?

When you browse the gallery of Navispam pictures you can see the variety of locations. I knew where I'd love to take her, but reviewing other visits, I'm sad to see the farm near Stormwind with the exploding sheep was already visited. It's a fun surprise for folks that don't spend much time as Alliance.

Probably my next favorite place is Booty Bay. It isn't quite as nice since the Shattering and needs a good scrubbing. They still haven't picked up those downed branches.

Oh. I'll have to make sure the microphone doesn't go wandering again. It's tricky using Vent without a microphone. My youngest steals the headphones/microphone for his Vita. I think Syylia's laptop is rigged alright.

I can clearly see the advantage of surprising folks for Navispam. There's a surprising amount of worry!

(Kallixta's spouse is still laughing!)

Kallixta, the Kingslayer

Aldonza sat quietly and Kallixta felt the weight of that gaze. Shifting uncomfortably, her patience runs out, "What?"

Aldonza smiles, tickled with herself at getting the paladin to blink first. "I'm very proud of you. It's a considerable accomplishment. It required a lot of teamwork, I hear."

The final words allows the paladin something easier to respond to. "Yes. It took a crew, working together. It's not like you can just walk into the Frozen Halls and slay the Lich King by yourself. I had one of the least important roles. I just needed to do a bit of timely cleansing and keep from falling off the edge. We had Been Waiting a Long Time for That."

The human mage nods in agreement, "Still, it isn't something I could imagine doing." Of course, the human mage is a known coward.

Kallixta continues, "It seems like a dream, now. It's like we kept returning, fighting the same battles, hoping this time The Orbs would Whisper 'Congrats!' I had more than one dream about tangling with that Blood-Queen. You know, Once Bitten, Twice Shy."

Aldonza reaches across the table to pat the dwarf's should, "And now they call you a Kingslayer?"

Humility fights satisfaction, but finally Kallixta smiles with some pride showing, "Yeah."

Unable to stop herself, Aldonza adds a final tweak, "And you earned quite a bit of Glory for yourself as an Icecrown Raider!"

Echoing through Ironforge was the denial, "That's not why I did it!"

Note: For an RP-oriented guild that with the typical end-of-summer, end-of-expansion attendance issues, I still have some pride in this belated accomplishment. And I get a kick out of seeing the cowardly bank alt Aldonza riding that Protodrake, thanks to account sharing mounts. Aldonza is pleased for Kallixta, but big thanks to guildmate Lyss for riding herd on us cats!

Shared Topic: Aldonza cooks up a profit

The Blog Azeroth shared topic for July 30 - August 5 was suggested by Effraeti  from Effraeti's RP:
Some of us have farming professions. Some of us have crafting professions. Some of us have a little bit of everything! Professions are leveled because they fit our style of play, help us in raiding, allow us to outfit our alts, and make us money.

What professions do you have on your main? Do his/her professions fit their personality? Why did you choose them? If you chose professions based on your character and not on gaming needs, would that change some of their professions they use?
[Note: Over the summer my two sons decided to start two new characters and level together. The older boy bought our first account years ago but hasn't played recently. This is also the Part 5 update on my Low Level Dailies experiment. For more, see Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4]

Aldonza hurried into the back room of the Stonefire Tavern, brushing past Gwenna while juggling a stack of papers. She starts for an empty table before the sight of two familiar faces remind her why she's here. Aldonza sits by herself here so often the pull of the empty table had to be consciously fought. She drops tiredly into a chair and smiles at the two Gilneans. Belatedly she thinks to straighten her hat, "I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long?"

Grimsbie politely brushes it off, "Not long at all." Furoci sits far less patiently and merely shakes his head.

Aldonza sighs and pushes her papers to the side. She then brushes crumbs off the table and with a frown checks the bottom of her stack for damage. "The use of the Guild Bank is clearly spelled out in the contract. You both can deposit whatever you'd like in the last vault. There's no gold for repairs and I'm charging for all this convenience. I'm afraid I'm a bit strict about all this. When you're on your feet and with a bit more experience under your belt, I expect you each to find your own home Guilds and I can have my vault back. I'm trying to make a profit here, not practice my philanthropy."

The Worgen look at each other, but have no questions. Aldonza ploughs on, "I've far better contacts and knowledge of the market, so come to me for your purchasing needs and I'll ensure you get the best price. Likewise the 'Consignment Agreement' contract spells out how what you deposit will be sold and profits returned." Aldonza stops talking abruptly, shuffles through the papers quickly sorting them into two new stacks in front of the men. "Finally, there's the standard terms and conditions for your starter loan... Netherweave Bags not included. Have you decided how much you need?"

Each adventurer pulls their stack closer. Grimsbie starts to carefully read through while the younger man barely glances at his. He also responds dismissively, "No loan needed for me. I've another friend what's already in your network of clients."

Aldonza gives a gracious smile, "Of course. One less issue then. We can talk later about your glyphing needs when that issue comes up. I'm a full service Scribe, of course. I can also craft some enchantments, but I understand neither of you expect to twink. I mean..."

Grimsbie shakes his head. "Not for me. Been there. Done that ages ago, you know."

Aldonza nods in agreement, "I remember. I'm afraid I'm hurrying through all this. Stop me if you've questions. Next topic will be professions..." She looks at Grimsbie first, still showing polite interest. She gets a shrug in return. "No preferences? Really?"

In response, Grimsbie shrugs again. "Things are different than when I... I mean when my old friend was active. All I'm sure of is I'm not going for Engineering. Things haven't changed that much, have they?"

Taking a moment to remove her hat, Aldonza brushes her hair with her hands and otherwise straightens up. "I could use a good Engineer, but you're right. It still takes a huge investment before seeing much profit. No, for an inexperienced adventurer like yourself, I suggest sticking to one of the three gathering professions."

"Mining and Skinning then," Grimsbie quickly supplies. "I fancy both would be useful supplies for my line of work."

Without asking, Aldonza nods. She is already aware the rogue prefers not to be more explicit. She turns to Furoci.

"Skinning, sure. As a druid, I think I'd like that. In addition, I'd like to be a Leather crafter." The youth explains excitedly. "There is this really neat set of armor and you can make these cloaks and stuff..." Aldonza can't seem to stem the enthusiasm that erupts from Furoci, now that he assumes it's his turn to talk. Aldonza fails to dissuade him and explanations of existing leatherworkers in her network don't diminish his interest. She sighs at the inevitable inefficiency.

The trio take a little break, fetching drinks and exchanging more pleasantries now that papers are signed and exchanged. Gwenna smirks at the Gilneans embarrassed order for milk, as neither is ready for much else she sells. The human mage declines to get anything fancier and orders the same. Before long, the three are feeling more comfortable and the topic has shifted to Aldonza's history.

"I've never been an Adventurer, really. I was practically raised for the consignment business, hauling things off to sell for others and occasionally purchasing something special for someone and mailing it off to a convenient location. It's actually a life that suits me well. I'm not greedy by nature, you know. It's just a useful measure for how well I'm doing. Things had been going along alright when I decided I'd try branching out. The Disenchanting business seemed simple to enter. I was already spending time at the Auction House. It was no trouble to keep an eye out on cheap items that could be quickly turned into dust and resold. It was that first step that awakened me to the larger possibilities."

"You see, only knowing disenchantment doesn't get you past the apprenticeship stage. Investment in some enchanting recipes would still only get me to journeyman, at least at my then level of experience, and it wasn't clear the investment would provide much of a return. That's where things stood until I picked up Inscription. As a scribe, I found even the lowest level glyphs can be profitable. There was a clear potential where the return on investment made the effort worthwhile. It wasn't long before..."

Aldonza stops, blushing. "I'm afraid I'm self-conscious about this. I pursue profit, and fear I'm greedy. I don't believe I really am, but when talking about these things, I know it'll sound like it."

Showing he's been paying attention, Grimsbie nods. "You don't adventure, so you've less to brag about."

Considering this viewpoint, Aldonza slowly nods. She's still blushing a bit as she prepares for more confession. "I'm a coward. It has taken a while to admit it, but I especially after the shocking invasion by those elementals set free during the Shattering... I prefer to stay safe. I had always thought that meant I'd never have the experience to be more."

Puzzled, the rogue twists his head, giving the Stormwind refugee a careful look. "What changed?"

Aldonza smiles brilliantly know as she reveals a secret. "The capital cities started calling attention to their daily fishing and cooking needs."

Furoci finds the topic boring. He gruffly notes, "I already know about that. I'm going to find something else to do." Grimsbie frowns at the rudeness, but declines to make the impatient druid stay. Returning his attention to the woman he asks, "Tell me more. I've never been that interested. It doesn't sound like there'd be much profit in such mundane matters."

Aldonza smirks a bit as she watches the younger man leave. "It isn't obvious at first. First, however, you need to understand how it fits my lifestyle. I spend much of my time checking the Auction House, running between the bank and the mailbox, and not anything else. Here is another activity that costs only a little time each day, and provides a reward for consistently checking in for a short time. It is an extremely efficient use of my time."

There is a recognizable dawning of recognition in Grimsbie's face. "Just a few minutes in the morning, for example. Clear your mailbox, check for undercuts, repost then fish and cook?"

Nodding in agreement, Aldonza adds, "Yes. And in a couple weeks, the work provides a nice handful of gold, experience, and an increase in skill. The fishing isn't particularly profitable, but the Chef's Awards provided an extra incentive right away. I'll get back to that later. Like any regular exercise, once you see tangible benefits, it's much easier to stay on track. It really didn't take long before I was eligible to train as an Expert Scribe. Research showed quick profit with new glyphs. It was a much longer hike to Artisanship, but I had a regular habit and ways to measure my progress."

Grimsbie sees where this is going, "And then Master and very soon, Grand Master. All only from fishing and cooking?"

Aldonza sporting her colors!
Aldonza admits, "Almost all, but not exclusively and certainly nothing dangerous. Early on I found I could inscribe Darkmoon cards for a profit and minor experience bumps. There are the occasional holiday event that grants experience without adventuring. That was especially true at Pilgrim's Bounty. That event also allowed me to rapidly raise my cooking skill. Basically, as long as I didn't have to adventure outside the cities, I did it. The only exception was when I accidental took a wrong turn in Stormwind and ended up inside the Stockades! I didn't need any reminders that I didn't like danger!"

A frown grows on the Gilnean's face, "But what about the Outland?"

A sigh escapes as Aldonza confesses, "What I did wasn't dangerous at all. When ready, I took that portal in the tower to the Dark Portal and immediately on the other side I stayed on the established flight paths. The journey allowed me to take advantage of my recently earned experience to learn flying, allowing me to make my runs much quicker. It also meant I could gather certain limited quantity items from Outland vendors and still never aggravate an enemy. Soon enough I'll be able to learn the Shattrath portal spell myself. In theory, I could fly all over the place and let the discovery safely gain me experience, but that isn't my style. No, I'll stick to flight paths in Outland and flying around a capital city, but no exploration. I did subsequently take a boat to Northrend and fly to Dalaran. That trip proved the profit in importing doublets and the like. It was a business trip, not an adventure."

Acknowledging the explanation, Grimsbie nods and gestures, "I noticed the Kirin Tor Tabard which goes with your outfit. It all has a Darkmoon Faire look."
In Guild Tabard now, not Kirin Tor

Sharing another brilliant smile, Aldonza agrees. "I have so few ways to improve reputations. The Kirin Tor were happy to recognize my early life and the profitable Portal business keeps those skills well polished, but the Darkmoon Faire is something I really earned. I crafted enough decks, strictly for the profit you know, that I was exalted even before they opened their island for fun and games. Of course, the Faire is a beautiful method of raising a profession like my enchanting without worrying about some of those difficult points in the process. No recipes worries. No crafted item floods. Very efficient, if slow. It got me to the Fiery Weapon profit point." She winks as if he'd understand which maybe he does.

Sitting up straighter, the rogue considers. "Well, I expect it'll be a long time before I'm ready for a different profession. You've already got a stable network of crafters, right?"

Aldonza smiles and nods. "Yes, my friend Kallixta is especially good while her old friend Martuska is more retired. I can get epic Tailoring or Enchantment done through her, but I usually don't bother her. Now Syylia..." She gets a nod from Grimsbie, who knows Syylia well. "I'd love her to be more involved than the occasional shipment of Truegold, but it just isn't her thing. No. Kallixta is the only active crafter with epic results in current demand by the most skilled raiders."

Grimsbie takes a guess, "And with big profits."

Aldonza nods, "That and cookies."

A grunt of shock escapes the Worgen, "Eh?"

Aldonza preens, "I had a plan for all the Chef's Awards. I think I hinted about it earlier. Well, answering 266 daily cooking needs yielded all those useful tokens just itching to be spent. My plan required maximizing my cooking skill to qualify for the Chocolate Cookie recipe. Every 2 or 3 award yields enough Imported Supplies than soon becomes stacks of cookies that, I don't care who you are, by the time you're done eating You'll Feel Right As Rain. Takes a bit of advertising, but it's all profit!

Flowers at 41, Kallifornia's visit to Scholomance

Kallifornia writes in her diary. That she's allowing others to read these entries implies she might share other pages, but don't hold your breath.

I found myself joined with another rag-tag group, this time adventuring into Scholomance. This was a place I had seen a map of, once. That's about all the whims of the Elements bothered to inform me of my fate. I was curious how patient this band might be and got my first clue as some charged off before I managed to talk to Weldon Barov and someone else that might have been helpful.

Well, that's how it is somedays and Karma will be a bitch. I wasn't the one to make with the negative thoughts, so I tried to catch up. That's how the whole trip was. I was always playing catch up, even when I'd ask for time to drink. While on occasion, the party would wait for me, more often they didn't. I'd rarely get halfway through my Moonberry Juice before I'd be on my feet again. I used a whole stack of juice in the adventure! I suppose I'll be needing to make a bigger deal in my unhappiness over such treatment, but I didn't be wanting to make waves.

I should make a bigger deal about how sometimes my actions as a healer attracted more notice than the flashy show put on by the tank. Why was I being seen as such a threat? But it didn't happen often enough and when it did, most of the time the tank would notice. Unfortunately, not all the time. Let *that* be a lesson to our tank! What good is a healer that's lying dead on the floor, eh?

I concluded our tank is a slow learner. After he lost the roll for some fancy pants, he whined and begged to the pants holder so badly, and wouldn't continue the fight, that the poor beggee had enough of it and left!

The final battle was with the Darkmaster Gandling. I was not prepared for being banished to a side cell and healing from there while these skeletons nibbled on me. Closing down the school  gave me a reward, as did a satchel, but neither were improvements. That's when I realized my greed failed to ever reward me. Somebody else had also needed our trophies.

While I've learned my skills will keep our party alive, I'll need to speak about what will make me happy.

Different Experiences with Magic the Gathering and World of Warcraft

Oestrus wrote an interesting post about
Why Women Are Seen Different in Magic the Gathering Compared To World of Warcraft I enjoyed the comments, but as I was writing, I realized it made more sense to blog this.

I'm assuming all readers come with a WoW perspective, but not necessarily with any MtG experience.

I wanted to discuss some of the differences between MtG and Wow, and there are many differences and these can dramatically change the experience, irrespective of gender.The perspective I'd like to explore is how different an experience can be with friends. Many of WoW players will understand how different WoW is with a guild vs a pug. That support network can be critical in how far and how long someone plays their game.

A typical MtG experience supposes a small group of IRL friends that play FNM somewhat regularly that will on occasion dabble at a higher level, attempting the occasional PTQ. I think I need to explain...

FNM is "Friday Night Magic", which is typically hosted at a game store that sells MtG cards. Cost is low, maybe $5. It occurs under competitive rules and usually qualifies as a "Sanctioned Event". Even if you don't win, you're accumulating competitive points. Most FNMs I've seen have between 12 and 50 people.

Other Sanctioned Events include "Prerelease" or "Release" events, which typically cost more because you're buying cards. The competitive level isn't much higher than a FNM, but it is usually larger, at least it has been for me.

The next step up is the PTQ or "Pro Tour Qualifier". Actually there can be other events with other abbreviations, but the experience should be comparable. Not all the FNMplayers are ready for these events. The cost isn't really that much higher, but the size and level of competition is. Folks at a PTQ mean business. There are professionals. The size of these tournaments can be huge and some folks travel quite far to compete.

So now let's examine how someone gets involved in WoW. Wait! I'm supposing all readers play WoW. Y'all know how folks get started. Y'all know how levelling up, running dungeons and sinking more and more time into the game works. You can understand how some folks never get past the newbie stage and how finding the right guild makes all the difference in enjoying the end-game. Typically you have far more friends you've played WoW with that you've not actually met IRL.

A common MtG entry supposes a IRL friend lending a deck, playing casually a bit before attending something like a FNM. The next hurdle is purchasing cards, which means a starter deck and then a few improving cards, but avoiding the chase rares, so let's call it $40. If you've had fun and enjoyed playing with these friends, you're more willing to invest another $100 over the next couple months at which point you'll not be a newbie, but also not a big winner.

So I've mentioned two points where many newcomers are lost: (1) those without encouraging friends that make the entry fun enough, (2) those that haven't had enough fun to justify a bigger investment of real money. Some will continue to play very casually without spending more, but just with friends. My daughter is happy to play with her boyfriend and her brother when it's friends, but she has no interest in playing competitively. She enjoys the social side, intrigued enough by the intellectual exercise of building a deck, but not interested in spending the time or money going further. She's perfectly willing to support her boyfriend's interests and is willing to be slightly bored going to a PTQ and watching, but wouldn't play herself. She's also a casual WoW playerthat has levelled a toon to max, but has never raided while the BF has raided since Vanilla.

I don't have any facts about how many females are lost at these two stages, but I also know many males are, too. Is it a higher percentage? Are the reasons the same? I am willing to speculate that the support circle of friends and their enthusiasm for the game is a significant factor. These friendships are all IRL and here Joe's brother being a butt-head can mean total loss of interest because you'll be seeing him at FNM while you might be able to /ignore the worst guildmate. Guilds reform, but the distance to another FNM is usually prohibitive.

Still looking anecdotally and without facts, the FNM scene for me has changed in the last ten years. Well, it wasn't called FNM ten years ago, but even 3 years ago the occasional female was rare. Last year the FNM regulars included 25% females that were serious and most playersknew not to underestimate them. They all had invested hundred of dollars in their decks, but I wasn't seeing all of them at PTQs. They enjoyed the competition, but not all were taking it to the next level. However, at least two were and doing better than I did when I was pushing it.

This next level of investment assumes a lot more time, preparation and practice. They spend a lot more time with the others that also are interested. It's a level my son and his best friend play. They'll travel a couple hour to compete. As Oestrus pointed out, you'll find female names in those "Top Eight" tournament reports.

However, none of this answers the question of Why or How Women are Seen Different. Both worlds are heavily filled with Male Gamer Geeks.

When a new female player shows up at a FNM, the boys always get excited. They'll believe they are polite and encouraging, not realizing the attitude is condescending. They're always shocked when the new female beats them the first time. And yet, there are more competitive female players now than before. And most are better players than me. I mention that because our Ratings at Sanctioned Events are objective measures that can be easily compared and is far more meaningful than Gear Scores.

It occurs to me that "Game Face" is different. In WoW I've only played female alts. I suppose now Mogging can be part of your presentation, but that's still kinda new.  Playing at a FNM means folks are more likely to read your tells from the familiarity. A PTQ allows you to "Present" differently. What you wear, what box you keep your deck it, the accessories you bring are all part of your presentation. Players will draw conclusions about the balding old guy with the bright pink box with Cutesy Anime Princesses. More than once I've lured folks into thinking I'm a Timmy before realizing there might be a Spike inside. However, this doesn't work at FNM. These folks know me too well.

I'm just going to let folks guess what Timmy and Spike mean by context. I will mention that in the past I've taken MtG far more seriously than I've taken WoW.

I thinking I've rambled on enough for today.


Around the end of January, some "issues" developed at home. The result was I wouldn't have my regular computer to play WoW on for a bit. It's happened before and I'm not one that withers without my wow. So I assumed I'd be taking a brief vacation from the game until things were fixed. As a result when the Sixth Meme ran around the Wow Blogosphere, I was AFK.

I saw I'd been tagged by Erinys at Harpys Nest in the meme started by Gnomeaggedon.

Not only was I off the airwaves, but the computers I've used to take screenshots was MIA. It wasn't until now that I've regained access to at least one computer with some screenshots, albeit only recent ones. I don't have subfolders, so I'm just counting down to the sixth image:

This image was taken for the purpose of uploading to wowhead, for an NPC, Frank Carlson, that at the time didn't have a picture. Now it does! In fact, I uploaded that picture one year ago, more or less! I am not a big contributor of wowhead, but I am an avid user and was happy to supply even a small bit.

There are two contrasting axioms "Don't close the barn door after the horses have left" and "Better Late Than Never". You can see what I've done, belatedly adding my small piece to an obsolete event. Originally I expected to ignore it, but then I say what the sixth screenshot was and decided it told a small story. I had a purpose for taking the screenshot, and it wasn't a boss kill or in fact anything interesting that I did. There are some curious details to be found in it, such as it was taken by my Dwarf Shaman while in Ghost Wolf form. I was just doodling on a minor character, and realized I should take some snaps of my holiday in Darkshire, so to speak. Enjoy!

I wonder if anybody will even notice? I was thrilled and embarrassed to have been tagged (and then drop the ball). Oh the burden of being tagged! Woe is me! I'll take care not to burden anyone else. Heh.

Blog Azeroth Shared Topic: Nerd Badges!

The Shared Topic this week at Blog Azeroth was suggested by Akabeko:
How do you express your geekery? Do you own obvious paraphernalia like a Horde-symbol bumper sticker, in-joke tshirts like the dps/ups pun, or less obviously related items like a gift from a guildie? Rather than physical indicators, do you mix nerd lingo into your everyday speech or talk/post about geekdom in non-nerd spaces? How do you advertise your nerd tendencies? Does it help you to attract new nerd friends?
Home has plenty of signs of my geekery, but they aren't badges to others. My family already indulges in geekery and I have few interests that aren't already covered by someone else in the house. (I've mentioned how geeky my family is before in a prior post.) In fact, whenever I interest someone else in the family in something I enjoy, it doesn't take long before I find I've been overtaken. It's happened for years: Star Wars, Legos, Dr. Who, Game Boys, Magic:The Gathering, Joss Whedon, Harry Potter, Warcraft, Big Bang Theory. About the only thing I've left is J-Pop (Namie Amuro!) because everybody else at home prefers K-Pop (2NE1? Really?) (Did you check out my WoW Music Playlist post?)

Still top of my playlist
 The workplace is different. There, I do display "Nerd Badges". We've plenty of freedom at work to display things that mean something, but few of my interests overlap with my workmates. I'm older. My kids are in college. Most peers have young kids. None play "Video Games", unless you count that some have kids that play "Pokemon". The older son is twenty one and spent the holidays playing Pokemon with his college friends. (And watching My Little Ponies. Those crazy college kids!)

The Nerd Topic of conversation at work!
So, how do I badge?

On the wall, my calendar of choice has been the WoW calendar for several years. It has NEVER had a comment by a co-worker. I've even seen that the new college recruits don't seem to notice it. I'm guessing maybe they're unsure how much to say about their off-hour hobbies.

The geekiest things I display that attract far more attention is the little Star Wars Lego mini-figures. It's just three figures: two Biker Scout Troopers and Chewbecca. They attract comments and folks will pick up and play with them without asking. I'll come in to find them re-positioned, although never as creatively as I hope. Being a Star Wars fan now isn't a big deal. It's Mainstream!

Almost boring.

End of the Molten Front

End of the Molten Front 12/31/2011

Kallixta sat heavily on the chair. Her enthusiasm drained as muscles unclenched. She was tired. The dwarf had been diligent, spending her time fighting on the Molten Front. She had found herself returning to assist the Wardens far more often than elsewhere. This regular exercise yielded its own rewards. Every week seemed to see more measurable progress
Now with the completion of the offensive, Kallixta finds herself at loose ends, but too weary to worry what comes next. The obvious thing would be to advance into the Firelands or the like, but the ache in her bones fills her with more doubt than she's used to. She wonders why she can't feel more satisfaction for her existing accomplishment. Maybe tomorrow she'll feel it.

Low level dailies, part 4

Low level dailies experiment

You can read Part 1,  Part 2, and Part 3 of the Low level dailies experiment.

Around 6 weeks ago, Aldonza was level 42. She has been travelling between the Alliance capitals, cooking and fishing the dailies and gloating over how much gold she squeezes from the Auction House. Her progress has slowed down as these quests make a smaller contribution to the XP she needs for a new level. She is now level 46. Achievements are not being directly pursued, but rather signposts of her journey.

Winter Veil arrived in a cacophany of a crowd in Ironforge. They spilled forth, surrounding Grandfather Winter and otherwise providing an obstacle course, occluding her path between the bank and the auction house. As happened the year before, a frown donned Aldonza's face for the season, "Bah! What are they expecting? Something different?"

As she shuffled through her mail, sorting and comparing to her notes, her own words echoed in her head: something different, something different. She looked up from her work, preparing to return to the auction house, and felt her frustration fire up again. -It isn't going to be different. And they don't want anything different. They'd pay good gold to keep it the same.- Her jog falters as she negotiates the bridge. Thoughts of gold and how to gather more always burn brighter in her mind. "Bah! I blame the noise for forgetting this is another good opportunity for profit."

Aldonza's notes remindes her that eggs for cookies were especially good last year. Her instincts also lead her to check for new opportunities. What might have changed? Well, she was an improved cook this year. In fact, there were some other cookies that had excellent potential. And she had working diligently developing a perfect source for the cocoa beans!
Aldonza felt great satisfaction with her improved cooking skills, not so much because there weren't plenty of other good cooks, but rather how inexpensively she acquired those skills, mostly during that profitable Pilgrim's Bounty time. Now she had new recipes at hand and a plan for generating foodstuffs in demand by folks with plenty of gold that she would be happy to take.

There was another skill that had recently been showing slow yet steady improvement. Her fishing hadn't had any easy boosts, but had been rising frequently as she found opportunity fulfilling the daily needs of one or another capital.
Back at her table in the Stonefire Tavern, Aldonza smiled in satisfaction at the improvements to her bottom line. Her visits to the Darkmoon Faire had not shown much new earning potential, but it did exercise some skills. Far better news were how many folks wanted Chocolate Cookies  to make themselves Feel Right As Rain. In her notes was an instruction to review the calendar more often. There must be more profit in the Lunar Festival...