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Unfortunate fashion accidents

I thought I was really rolling when I got Beltar into an ICC 10-man raid last week and got a Taldron’s Short-Sighted Helm, which uses the same model as the T10 helms for hunters.  For some reason (I don’t even remember why, there was number-crunching involved, I guess), I got him the helmet, gemmed it, and enchanted it.  Then, happy to ditch his old T9 helm which I never really liked the looks of, I put it on…

…that’s right.  My dwarf now has a giant saronite Mr. Happy growing out of his forehead.  I mean, yeah, he’s a dickhead sometimes, but damn, Blizzard, did you have to be that literal?

And if that wasn’t bad enough…over the weekend, my shaman Sakula finally got exalted with the Wyrmrest Accord while failing his way through heroic Oculus.  That left him just one of the “big four” Northrend factions he needed rep with, the Kirin Tor.  So I changed his tabard and finished the heroic run.  Then I took a good look at what a Kirin Tor tabard looks like on a male troll…and /facepalmed.

Clearly, Rhonin felt the need to overcompensate for something, if you know what I mean (and I think you do).


How to spice up a boring heroic run…

…have a small child (my daughter, aka Nublet, aka The World’s Cutest Four-Year-Old) watching over your shoulder as you run Azjol-Nerub on your hunter.  And then have her firing questions at you non-stop while you’re trying to work a marks hunter rotation that you’re rusty on from lack of play.

“Are those bugs?”

“Yes, honey, they’re bugs.”

“Are they mean bugs?”

“Yes, honey, they’re mean bugs and they’re trying to eat us.”

“They look like spiders.”

“They are sort of like spiders, yes.”

“Why’s that one got an arrow over his head?”

“I put it there so we know which bug to kill first.”

“Spiders eat icky bugs.”

“Mm-hmm.”

“Look!  That bug has little wings!”

“Yes, yes he does.”

“Is that wolf made out of ice?”

“No, honey, he’s just a white fluffy wolf.”

“He looks like he’s made out of ice.”

He’s not, love, he’s just a big white wolf that follows my guy around.”

“Does he bite bugs?”

“Yes, sweetie, he bites bugs.”

“Hey, a bridge made of ice!”

“That’s not ice, that’s spiderweb.”

“But why aren’t you getting stuck?”

“I don’t know, love, that’s just the way the game works.”

“That’s a biiiiig spider.”

“Mm-hmm.  And now he’s a big dead spider, see?”

“Eww, you fell in an icky river!  Are you going to step on the little bugs?”

“No, sweetie, I’m just going to leave those alone.”

“Why?  Shouldn’t you step on the little bugs?”

“No, hon, not enough time.  See, there’s the big boss bug.”

“Where?”

“There.”

“Oh, yeah.  Hey, he’s gone in his hole.”

“Yeah, he does that, and he sends little bugs out to try and eat us.”

“I think he’s got a secret tunnel.”

“Mm-hmm.”  (at this point I’m frantically trying to dodge darters)

“Look, no more boss bug!”

“Yep.”

“Are you going to go back and squish the little bugs now?”

“No, sweetie, we’re done.”

“Are you flying away on your dragon now?”

“Mm-hmm.”

“OK.  I’m gonna go draw fairies now.”



My name is Panzercow…

…and I approve this message.  Not least because I can’t think of a better artist to filk for a song about tanks than the Man in Black, who was basically the Avatar of Badass wearing a guitar.

(Yes, I know it’s two years old, I just saw it.  Shut up or I’ll Shield Slam you so hard they’ll be picking your teeth out of your ass.)

Hat tip:  our raid’s Chief Cat Herder, Itanya Blade and her paladin’s Helmet Hair of the Gorilla.


Linedan’s Top Ten Predictions for Cataclysm

And now, live from the home office in Red Cloud Mesa, it’s the Panzercow’s own Top Ten Predictions for Cataclysm…

10.  There will be a troll city in Cataclysm.  It will be named “Zul’Masharekinababa,” which is Old Trollish for “sweet zombie Jesus, NOT ANOTHER ONE!”

9.  Concerned about losing his macho appearance as he ages, King Varian Wrynn will go to Gadgetzan for plastic surgery…which goes horribly wrong and leaves him with pectoral muscles on his chin.  Strangely, he doesn’t seem to mind.

8.  After Horde characters unlock certain phasing in Orgrimmar, they will see Basic Campfire attempt a coup d’etat and try to dethrone Garrosh Hellscream as Warchief.  There will be several exciting quests to assist the usurper, culminating in Garrosh being banished back to Garadar, where he will resume sitting in the dirt, listening to Simple Plan, and cutting himself while writing orcish love poetry.

7.  There will be an NPC in Gilneas with some play on “Snoop Doggy Dogg” as a name, there to film a production of Gilneas:  Furries Gone Wild.

6.  Azeroth will suffer a massive economic crisis when it is announced that the Steamwheedle Cartel has defaulted on its purchase of Icecrown Citadel and its attempts to turn it into a theme park called “Arthasland.”

5.  Speaking of Icecrown, with the Lich King dead, Tirion Fordring will retire as Highlord of the Argent Crusade and return to his simple life along the Thondrodil River as a thirteen-foot-tall hermit farmer.

4.  In order to expand WoW’s appeal even further, Blizzard will announce that Deathwing will be voiced by Justin Bieber.  One million tween girls immediately subscribe and flood existing endgame raids looking for DPS spots as hunters, all with white cat pets named “Iluvjustin.”

3.  The shock announcement that the World of Warcraft client will run on the iPad is marred by Steve Jobs’ sudden reversal on the deal.  When pressed for an explanation, he points to a paladin’s toolbar and exclaims that something called “Flash of Light” will never be allowed to run on his platform.

2.  After five years, the bridge outside of Lakeshire will finally be completed.  As King Varian Wrynn is about to declare the Bolvar Fordragon Memorial Bridge open for traffic, Deathwing appears and destroys it again.  That poor bastard who’s been hammering on the thing since release throws himself into the lake and drowns.

And the number one prediction for Cataclysm:

1.  Headlines across Azeroth scream:  GHOSTCRAWLER AND JAINA PROUDMOORE CAUGHT ON CAMERA IN EXCLUSIVE HINTERLANDS LOVE NEST; THRALL SAID TO BE SHATTERED


A little randomness never hurt

Lately, my blogging Muse seems to have deserted me.  So while I wait for her to return from wherever she’s gone off to–my guess, personally, is that she’s on a bus heading for a gambling weekend at the Harrah’s casino down near Cherokee–here’s some random and semi-coherent rantings for a Good Friday:

- 0.9% wipe on Putricide last night in The Anvil’s 25-man.  ZERO POINT NINE BLEEPING PERCENT.  Maybe 400,000 health from our first Putricide kill after weeks of trying.  That’s just brutal, especially given our track record of being short on people for Friday raids (and this week looks to be no exception).  We executed near-perfectly on him last night on all attempts, for the most part, but even with Hellscream’s New and Improved Buff of Pity, we wiped at 3% and 0.9%, among a few others.  It can get frustrating as hell when you do everything (or almost everything, as close as you’ll get with 25 people and lag and whatnot) correctly, the abomination driver noms up all the slime and keeps Putricide slashed up, nobody dies to the oozes, and come phase 3, you still can’t quite seal the deal.  And that’s the killer part–we know we own this dweeb, he just hasn’t actually fallen over and coughed up the loot yet.  We need to get The Good News Man down so we can move on to Valithria Dreamwalker, Team Edward, and Blood Queen Gaga.

- I guess the Random Dungeon Gods like me.  I haven’t had any truly bad LFD groups in a couple of weeks.  Oh, there’s always some with some durp durp here and some durp durp there, here a durp, there a durp, everywhere a durp durp, but in general, I haven’t run across any real mind-bending Stupid for a while now.  In fact, since I run almost all my randoms as DPS (yes, even on Linedan–sometimes I just can’t be arsed dealing with tanking when I’m tired), I’ve been fortunate to get a string of modestly-geared yet extremely competent tanks.  It warms my heart to see a warrior tank with 32k health do a whale of a job tanking Forge of Souls–not an easy dungeon to PUG even at Lin’s inflated gear level–and have the other four people in the group work with him, not bitch him out for being geared at the appropriate level for an ICC heroic.  Of course, the next night, I get Lin-as-Fury into a FoS group where he’s out-DPSed by the tank…a druid with 58,000 health pulling 4300 dps, while Lin did 3900.  Wow.

- Speaking of Forge of Souls…I’ve taken to random specific heroics on a few characters, in addition to random dailies.  Linedan is stacking armor penetration as part of his Fury build…hence, trips to Forge of Souls for the tasty Needle-Encrusted Scorpion.  (Irony:  Beltar, my dwarf MM hunter who isn’t stacking passive arpen?  Got the Scorpion last week.)  My blood elf BM hunter Illithanis runs one of the three ICC heroics, because there’s something for her in each one–the Scorpion from Forge, the Felglacier Bolter from Pit of Saron, or the Orca-Hunter’s Harpoon from Halls of Waves of Trash.  For RP purposes, I’d prefer to get Illy one or two swords, as they seem more “elvish” a weapon than polearms or staves, but I’m not sure where I can even find hunter-itemized 1H or (especially) 2H swords these days without raiding.  No luck on the up-gearing yet, but it’s only a matter of time, right?

- I don’t get all the BM hunter hate.  Yes, I know, BM is weak sister to marks and survival in SRS BSNS progression raiding right now.  (Although we have a BM hunter in The Anvil who is absolutely wrecking shit…and proving a few people wrong about BM and raiding, at least in our behind-the-cutting-edge way, in the process.)  Personally, I think BM as a spec is slightly harder to raid with than MM.  I’ve got limited raiding experience in both, and honestly, I’ll take the somewhat trickier shot rotation of MM over the pet micromanagement of BM if I’m looking for “easy.”  MM feels like I’m more powerful because I’m seeing these crazy large numbers spamming down the right center of my screen…then I go look at Recount, and Illithanis, with modest gear compared to Beltar, is within 500 dps of the dwarf in heroics, and pulling solid numbers on her very rare ventures into Big Round Room.  Consistently.

- Highest Revenge crit since 3.3.3:  12,294.  Oh yeah.  I think I like this.

- But not even New Revenge compares to the power that is death nuggets’ new boosted Icy Touch–or, as the Twitterati have dubbed it, Icy Dickpunch.  Moody over at Death Grip My Heart (warning:  possible NSFW artwork of hot dead blood elf chick) has a pretty good post on it.  Short version:  It’s doing up to fourteen and a half times more threat than it did pre-patch.  And I believe it.  Revenge’s high damage has boosted our threat gen considerably, but now, our raid DK tank can accidentally pull mobs off me with Icy Touch crits.  Beforehand, if I could gain the threat lead on a mob we were both tanking, like Festergut or Saurfang, I could hold it without difficulty.  Now?  I lost the handle on Saurfang twice last night because of Icy Dickpunch crits pulling him back over onto the DK immediately after a taunt.  I thought I was suddenly missing taunts, but instead, it was just good old-fashioned accidental agro pong.

- Tamarind wrote a fantastic post over at Righteous Orbs on why “casual” raiding doesn’t–or shouldn’t–mean “roll in 15 minutes late and then go AFK to pinch a loaf.”  He said it a lot better than that, of course.  He’s British.  They do that.  Say things better, I mean.  (BTW, if you are not reading Tamarind and Chastity over at RO, you should.  You’re missing out.)

That’s pretty much it from the Panzercow Bunker.  Here’s hoping my Muse catches the bus back from Harrah’s, hopefully not too broke, next week.  Have a happy Easter weekend, kids.


Serious post is serious

Well, here we are.  April 1.  April Fools’ Day.  I suppose this is the time now where I’m supposed to post some semi-plausible joke post…y’know, something like, say, “I’ve decided to move all my characters off of Feathermoon to a PvP server, change Linedan from a Tauren Prot warrior to a female human holy paladin, and rename the blog Achtung Sparklymaedchen” or some such silliness.  That wouldn’t work.  You guys know I’d go Draenei instead of human if I did that, so that wouldn’t fool anybody.

Nope.  Not me.  We Prot warriors are serious types, after all.  We hold the fate of entire raids in our large, studly, calloused hands.  We mash more buttons before 9 a.m. than prot paladins mash all day.  We don’t have time for frivolity.  We constantly train, we constantly theorycraft, we constantly prepare.  We study video of boss fights like an NFL defensive back watches game film of the opposing quarterback.  This is an awesome, crushing responsibility that we bear, and we take it very damn seriously, people.

Which is why I’ll just take today to link to this excellent explanation of the latest WoW feature Blizzard has under development.  Maybe we’ll even see it before Cataclysm!


Tirion Fordring is the Marlin Perkins of Icecrown.

(Disclaimer:  The following post is brought to you by Linedan’s player being in a very strange mood. You have been warned.)

For you young people who never had the privilege of knowing who he was, Marlin Perkins was the host of the long-running nature show Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom for over twenty years (1963-1985).  Aside from being one of the pioneers of the nature-show format, Wild Kingdom was semi-famous for having good ol’ Marlin sit back and narrate while his poor long-suffering sidekick–professional zoologist and dangerous animal target Jim Fowler–actually had to go out and do the real hands-on work.  Typically Marlin would be chillin’ like a villain either back at the base camp with the native girls or, more likely, back in some studio somewhere recording voiceovers like “Here’s Jim giving the angry musk ox a hernia exam while I’m at the hotel watching Spectravision and making travel reservations for our flight home.  Don’t forget the latex glove, Jim!”  Jim was a stud.  Basically, Jim was Bear Grylls when Bear Grylls was still wearing diapers.

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I submit to you that Tirion Fordring is our Marlin Perkins.

Think about it.  Here’s Tirion, old veteran undead-wrangler, rebuilder of the Silver Hand, co-founder of the Argent Crusade and the Ashen Verdict (because we obviously needed yet another rep grind).  Compare that to Marlin, who was a respected zoologist and zoo curator for decades before he walked in front of a TV camera.  They’ve both been there, done that, and honestly, have probably earned the right to take a bit of a break from the front lines of either cleaving Scourge in twain or attempting to radio-collar a pissed-off grizzly.  (At least Marlin never had to stand in the same big round room all the time and listen to Garrosh Hellscream and Varian Wrynn neener at each other.)

But really, here’s the analogy.  Marlin always sent Jim out into the bush to do the dirty work while he sat back, right?  So does Tirion.  You walk into Icecrown Citadel, and there’s Tirion hanging out with High Badass Saurfang.  We get a brief glimpse that Bolvar Fordragon may not, in fact, be beyond saving, and Saurfang hauls ass for the Orgrim’s Hammer because hey, if Bolvar’s not dead, then maybe there’s a chance to get Wrynn and Garrosh to quit slapfighting long enough to actually do something about the Scourge.

At which point, Tirion says something like this.  I tuned out for part of it, but this is what I heard:

“Blah.  Blah blah heroes blah blah Arthas blah final battle blah blah justice blah blah shining suns blah blah Verdict blah.  Now let’s watch our heroes get overwhelmed by trash skeletons and sliced and diced by Lord Marrowgar, while I’m back here at base camp in the hot tub learning the finer points of the Pandaren tea ceremony from Lady Proudmoore.”

Or back at the Crusader’s Coliseum:

“Blah blah working together blah challenge blah worthy blah 15 badges of Triumph blah blah.  Now let’s watch our heroes save us from trifling idiot gnomes ‘working of their own volition’ (insert fingerquotes here) while I’m behind the screen discussing the finer points of Enlightenment philosophy with Argent Confessor Paletress.”

So there you have it.  Tirion Fordring is WoW’s version of Marlin Perkins.  Discuss!


Cross-server PUG culture shock

From my lovely wife on Google chat just now:

“We’ve been doing new dungeons but keep having to pick up one cross-server DPS.  I don’t think ‘Grampywraith’ was quite prepared for me and Jemjabari RPing our way across the Pit of Saron.

‘Jemjabari.  You may be somewhat confused.  The skulls are NOT YOUR FRIENDS.’  <pause> ‘Please stop petting them.'”

“Good thing Da ain’t seein’ this.”

"Ain't natural."

“Right, lad, I hear what yer sayin’.  It’s a nice bow, ain’t denyin’ it.  I know it’s better’n me old gun.  But it’s a bow, lad.  Dwarves, we don’t use ‘ese here things, aye?  Bent sticks’o’wood w’strings onna back, ‘em’s fer poncy elves prancin’ round th’forest.  A dwarf needs th’ feel o’a boomstick in ‘is hand, boy.  ‘Sides, last time I tried t’go on campaign w’a bow, ’bout damn threw m’shoulder outta joint fer a week.”

(EDIT AFTER THE FACT):  OK, the quick story behind this, and why Beltar is the Wildfire Riders’ resident loot trashcan extraordinaire.  While on last night, the call went out for a ranged DPS to help in Ulduar because Yva‘s connection crapped itself and she couldn’t get back on.  So I volunteered.  Despite his somewhat marginal gear compared to the rest of the 10-man, we got Hodir hardmode…and he got a nice cloak when the guy who won the roll saw that Beltar was still wearing a blue Cloak of Holy Extermination.  (Vent:  “BELTAR, GODDAMMIT, YOU ARE TAKING THIS CLOAK NOW.”)  Then we cleared Vezax trash…and the Golemheart Longbow dropped.  At that point, Yva got back on and I headed back out so she could take her spot back and they went on to get hardmode Vezax.


So awful, it was awesome

Everybody’s got pick-up group (“PUG”) horror stories.  If you’ve played WoW for any length of time, and grouped with total strangers to try and get a quest or instance or raid completed, you’ll quickly start building a list of tales of woe.  If nothing else, PUGs should make you feel much better about yourself, I think…after all, since you’re smart enough to be reading this fine blog, obviously you are a top-notch human being in general and WoW player in particular, and do not deserve to group with people so stupid that they have to put a sticky note on their monitor to remind themselves to breathe.

But even the best of us–and I–sometimes have to PUG.  And last night, I ran across a doozy.

I was on my hunter alt, and wanted to run the daily heroic, which was Gundrak.  Now Gundrak isn’t the easiest WotLK heroic out there, in my opinion.  Slad’ran (the poison snake boss) has wiped me more times than I care to think about; even with excellent players and a top healer in T7/T8 raid gear, his Poison Nova can throw out more damage than we can power through.  The Drakkari Colossus is a pain-in-the-ass pray-your-and-your-healer’s-latency-is-low movement fight.  Even Gal’darah, who’s pretty straightforward, will gib a strong tank if the tank has a brain fart and doesn’t get out of whirlwinds.  (Don’t ask me how I know this.  Please.)

But, against my better judgement, I joined the LFG queue for it anyway.  And a couple of minutes later, I got a whisper–“h gun?”

Let’s see.  No complete words, all lowercase, and this on an RP server.  I feel a winner of a run coming on.  Eh, toujours de l’audace, dude, what the hell…”Sure!”, I replied.  I immediately found myself in a group with the group leader (a boomchicken), a warlock, and a male human paladin–obviously the tank, since he had over 40,000 health–named…Hotbox.

Ohhhhh yeah.  The stench of quality is overpowering with this one.

I flew for Gundrak while the leader druid rustled up a healer (another druid), and the five of us headed inside.  I was immediately greeted with Blizzard’s lovely new feature…the “ZOMG are you sure you want to save to this instance??!?!?11?” dialog box.  Hmm.  That’s not supposed to happen.  Well, we were all a bit confused by this, but all of us accepted and thus saved ourselves to that heroic Gundrak instance.  And down the stairs we went toward Slad’ran’s area.

We got to the entrance, ate a Fish Feast, and the paladin “Hotbox” pulled.  Without warning.  Two groups.  Hoo boy.  A frenetic and confused fight ensued in which the warlock and tree died, but we got both the trash groups.  The resto druid popped (yay soulstones) and started rezzing the warlock…as the paladin pulled more trash without saying anything.  Ugh.  We four-manned the trash, got the warlock back in…and then the tree said, “no boss.”

We looked.  Slad’ran wasn’t in his alcove.  We walked over to the alcove and saw that the alcove bridge gizmo had been activated.  In fact, all the gizmos had been activated, the bridge to Gal’darah’s ramp was aligned, and had the trolls and rhinos in position.  That meant that Slad’ran, the Colossus, and Moorabi were all dead.

Now people started getting pissed.  The critchicken who had the “hat” denied vehemently that he’d been in Gundrak that day, as did the rest of us.  And yet somehow, we were looking at an instance where the trash was up, but the bosses weren’t, the worst possible combination.

So the rest of the party started jumping off the ledge into the water.  I was last because, of course, I had to dismiss my pet.  In that period of time, people started getting eaten by the fish.  A clusterfuck ensued, resulting eventually in us getting to the ramp with two more deaths, to which the group leader said, and I quote exactly, “lol.”

Yeeeeah.

We formed back up, buffed, and fought our way up the ramp to Gal’darah’s area…

…and he wasn’t there.  His bodyguards and their rhinos were.  But he wasn’t.

The paladin pulled the rhinos (without saying anything) anyway, and nearly died because we were all too busy going “wtf?!?” in party chat, but we got them.  A ferocious argument ensued where the boomkin protested his innocence and swore he hadn’t been in Gundrak for at least a week.  Hotbox also said he hadn’t been in Gundrak for at least a week.  The other two said it had been longer than that, and I hadn’t had my dwarf in there for literally a couple of months.

So there our tale ends.  Hotbox (!) the male paladin, plus the other four of us, all hearthed our separate ways, probably to never see each other again except amidst the bustling crowds of Dalaran…or in the LFG tool someday, God forbid.  I had a pittance of silver and a locked instance with no way to score the two Triumph badges I wanted.  Either somebody was lying their ass off, or had gotten tricked, or we had a bugged instance.  And it was 25 minutes of my life that I’ll never get back.

I balmed my wounded soul by wandering off to the Pig and Whistle in Old Town Stormwind for four hours of the best RP I’ve had in many a month…culminating in a raid by the Stormwind Guard, two near-arrests, three strained marriages, a couple of damaged friendships, and one of the Wildfire Riders’ red-haired paladins telling another of the Wildfire Riders’ red-haired paladins to go fuck themselves, while the third of the Wildfire Riders’ red-haired paladins stood there and shook her head in disbelief.

What’s two Triumph badges in comparison to that?


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