The Gray Place

Hate is good. It builds character.

Posted in Gaming by mrfenris on March 30, 2010

Lets start with the facts…

CCP Games “merged” with White Wolf.

They are planning a WoD MMO.

NVidia released a video of some of the possible animation for it.

It looks freaking sweet.

However.  Am I REALLY ready for it?

Must we have more big sweaty men playing female characters.  Do I want to play with Hank, who lives in his parent’s basement, has Dorito dust on his fingers, damp spots on his sweat pant clad body, as he plays a Venture seductress to his fullest potential?

Do I really want to get repeatedly owned and teabagged by an 11 year old who just earlier that day got his head shoved into a toilet as he continually griefs me on his Brujah enforcer named BludKilla.

Do I really need some Emo kid getting all weepy on their Toreador as I kick them out of the raid for standing in the sunlight?

Do I really need to head to whatever passes for the bank in that game and see the afore mentioned three having a threesome erotic role-playing session?

That game has the chance to attract everything I can’t stand.

Role-players (WoD ones especially), gamers, and human beings.

I can only imagine the party as it heads into the Nightclub (the dungeon) to slay the Demonic Drug Dealer (the Dragon).  Comprised of a Vampire (crowd control, DoT), 2 Magi (their probably AOE whores too), a Hunter (healer), and a Werewolf (tank).  I kid.  I know at least two of you will take that seriously.

And to out myself.  I used to role-play.  I used to play WoD (the OLD one.  No I don’t think that made it better).  I am a gamer.

I can’t wait to see CCP’s approach to this, although as I understand WW built the new WoD to actually be played together.  (The old games didn’t scale together in lore or stats, but WW kinda just limp dicked their way through it, even though they claimed they never intended them to be played together.)

I think it’s really cool they have this license.  It would have been even cooler 5-6 years ago.

Imma roll a Dhampyr/Mage/Kinfolk with a trenchcoat, who wields a katana in her main hand and a SMG in her offhand.


In which I embrace my inner pimp.

Posted in General Me, WoW by mrfenris on March 26, 2010

My wife is convinced I broke my tail bone.  (Secret:  I’m starting to think she’s right.)  I fell down the steps here at home while coming downstairs.  I couldn’t fall on the last step.  Oh no, that would be amateurish .  I am a pro when it comes to falling down the steps and I went down like a ton of bricks flat on my back.  Next thing I know I can’t breathe and I’m staring up and my ceiling. My entire body feels like it was in a car crash (I am not a light individual.  It sounded like someone dumped a load of bricks down a flight of stairs).  That pain is okay for me to handle.  I just move slightly slower then normal but I also have this sharp stabbing pain in my tailbone “area”.  Its not constant but I can’t sit upright without it firing off.  Fact I can’t put any sitting weight on it without it screaming and me gritting my teeth.

She told me she could get my some “O” shaped pillow, that they have at the hospital so I could sit on it.  I declined the offer nicely by snapping at her that it wasn’t broke and to quite bothering me about it.  So now she has put me on /ignore.  Heaven help you if you refuse her help.  I did ask her to rub my butt where it was sore, but she won’t take me up on it.

This has given me a new “gangster” lean when I sit.  I am now so pimp a WoW player that I have a gangster lean.  In fact, I’m so leet that I can pimp lean on my left cheek to tank and I can pimp lean on my right cheek to heal.  The joys of being a Hybrid.

To further embrace my new-found pimpness I have started getting back into GTA 4.  Ahhh Rockstar Games, how I missed your “horribleness”.  Yes I am running over civvies, shooting people in the face, and helping drug dealers secure their territory.  It feels so good to run amok with wanton abandon and act like a complete douche bag.

Wife: “Honey do you want to watch Fringe?” (We DVR everything.)

Mrfenris: No answer.

Wife: “HONEY!” (She’s a subtle angel.)

Mrfenris: “what.” (I heard her the first time.)

Wife: “Do.  You.  Want.  To.  Watch.  Fringe?”

Mrfenris: “Well get the fuck out of my way!” (I just t-boned a car in-game.)

Wife: “This is why I don’t love you…”

Mrfenris: “Honey, the goddamn cops are chasing me and I’ve got 3 stars!”

It’s strange.  I enjoy horrible things about the game.  But I won’t shoot back at the police.  All the horrible things the game (and series) involves yet I draw the line at shooting at police officers.  I don’t say it with pride, because I enjoy walking up to the Chihuahua Hot Dog vendors and shoot them point-blank in the back of the head and robbing them.  I’m also weird about that in WoW.

I won’t do quests that involve attacking baby animals.  There’s that one quest in Dragonblight where you have to inoculate the polar bears against the plague and they aggro on you.  I always run away because I don’t want to kill the babies.  Weird.

Speaking of weird, thank God they are getting rid of weapon skill levels in Cataclysm.  I can’t tell you how depressing it is to get a new weapon type that you haven’t trained…

Gate Man: “Mrfenris the Paladin!  Slayer of Dragons, killer of Demons, Smiter of the Old Gods!  He who has killed many an AFK Alliance members and felled Giants!  Why-for do you leave this city with your new epic axe over your shoulder?”

Mrfenris: “Imma go kill sum bunnies.”

Gate Man: *looks shocked*

Mrfenris: “I gotta go level up my axe skill…”

Gate Man: “Oh right!  Good hunting sire!”

Pimping ain’t easy.

Its ugly out there.

Posted in Raid Leading, WoW by mrfenris on March 25, 2010

I took a rare sick day.  Here I sit armed with a cup of strong and sweet coffee of which my wife said I should not be drinking.   (Secret:  I’m going to have an extra cup or three because she told me not too).  My daughter is sitting next to me with her cranberry juice and bowl of gold fish crackers.  She has no preschool today so were hanging out.  I’ve got a hankering to make pancakes for lunch for us and then we’ll take a big nap on the couch.  Perfect.

I’ve mentioned before I am a Prot Pally tank in my guild and that I also raid lead.  This means 99% of the time I am tanking when I’m raiding.  Because of this I don’t get a chance to do much on my alts, but a few pugs and heroic dailys.  I’m cool with this.  I love to tank and I love to raid lead.  But at the same time I wanted to experience a raid from a DPS point of view and decided to check out other guilds on my MM Orc Hunter.

It is not pretty out there.  Its downright FUGLY.

Hunters are a dime a dozen on my server.  Some of the guilds I checked out had about 15 and all geared better than me.  I decided to check out some guilds who weren’t as progressed and found this nice small little guild that was still doing Ulduar and ToC.  I got some crafted gear made and got all my badge gear and joined up and immediately got invited to a raid.

I am not high maintenance.  I just wanted to play my character and play it well.  I am extremely well-organized when it comes to raiding.  I even assign whose putting out fish feasts for the evening.  I also realize that hiccups happen when you raid.  You do your best to patch the holes and keep moving.  So I show up at the stone, 15 minutes before the raid starts, well stocked with potions, flasks, arrows, etc.  I even brought “ghetto” drums.  I’m ready to rock.

I watched the start time come and go and my new guild members all show up late and the GM struggles to put together the raid.  He then went AFK to eat dinner (I knew my days were numbered when this happened), then he came back and seemed to be busier epeening in trade then putting together the raid.  One of the last things we are missing is a healer so I ask a friend of mine to join us and she does.  We’re all ready to rock.  Then someone leaves the raid, so the GM goes back to Dal to pug the spot.  45 minutes later my friend the healer nicely says she’s not waiting any longer and drops group.  I’m totally cool with that.  Then the GM proceeds to bad mouth her on vent.

Oh hell no.  To my credit, I did not curse or act the fool, but I told him where he could stick his guild, his gear score, and his fail raid leading and gquit on the spot.  To his credit he apologized to me via whisper and invited me back.  I declined.  Secret:  Rule #1.  Don’t disrespect women around me.  (Only I can do that.)  Rule #2.  Don’t dog out my friends.  Even if their wrong, I’ll have their back (within reason).

So a week later I join guild number 2.  It’s a newer guild but they’ve got an active roster and raid nearly every night.  So one night I log in and the GM asks if I mind helping in a saved Ulduar raid.  (I don’t expect an auto ICC spot and don’t mind paying my dues so I said sure.)  To the GMs credit he’s semi-organized and we start only 15 minutes late.  We head into Cat Lady and I’ve got a pretty good feeling.  The GM gives a real quick over view of the fight although I’ve got a sneaking suspicion that people had questions.  We pull and wipe immediately because one of the tanks didn’t taunt the boss off the tank that was on the Sentries.  No biggie, I think.  Shit happens.

So we rebuff and we wait for her to path around again.  This is when the ret pally decides to take off running down the steps.  The GM to his credit tells him to come back, the pally doesn’t and just stands there.  The GM then tells him if he doesn’t get back to where we all are, he’ll kick him out of the raid.  The ret pally then pulls the trash outside Thorim’s hallway and the GM boots him.  (Good move GM).

So now were down another player.  So the GM goes to Dal to pug a spot.  We get another player.  I notice his guild tag and he’s from a  really progressed guild on our server so I’m pretty happy.  He asks the GM where we’re at.  Nobody responds, so I tell him to port to the Shattered Walkway.  He asks the GM again, “where are you guys?”  I whisper him.  “Shattered Walkway/Cat Lady”.  The guy then quits the raid and leaves.  WTF.  Not the GMs fault really since it’s obvious the dude was drama, but man this is turning into a long night.

Just then the ret pally that got kicked for pulling trash ahead of the raid gets invited back in.  He claims his brother got on his computer and was screwing around.  (Cue laugh track).  At this point I don’t really give a shit and just want to kill something, so I’m of the attitude, lets just get on with this.  We FINALLY manage another pull of the Cat Lady and we get her down to only 85% before the raid wipes because people were standing in the black void zone.  It seems like 5 out of the 6 DPS were on the Feral Defender instead of the boss like the GM wanted us.  It also seems like the raid didn’t understand rule 101 of WoW.  If it’s on the ground, don’t stand in it.

So he GM starts getting really shitty at this point, which doesn’t bother me, but it’s kinda cute in a child like way.  So we mount up for another pull.  And the off-tank Paladin goes to taunt the Cat Lady off the Cat tank and instead uses Righteous Defense.  For you non-paladins that’s the 3 target taunt… he ends up getting the Cat Lady AND the cats.  The other tank clearly has no idea whats going on, even after I tell him to taunt the boss back.  We wipe.

The GM (who I can understand SOME of his frustration even if I think he’s toolish at this point) starts ranting and raving about his tanks and that nobody listens, how sick he is of this shit, and he’s too frustrated to keep going and calls the raid.  We did 3 pulls…3.  Then the GM drops the party and logs off.

Yeah, I g/quit.

I grew up being yelled at.  My father is ex-military.  I grew up playing sports and had some screamers for coaches.  Doesn’t bother me.  Because my father and my coaches would tell you WHY they were yelling if you listened.  They wanted you to square up a hole you just dug, take the body, or don’t make blind passes.  They were yelling at you for a reason.  This dude, just yelled and ranted and raved about everyone else.  That’s not a leader.  A leader will tell you what went wrong and how to fix it.  This GM just got pissed things weren’t going well and auto logged and left 9 people (no matter how bad some sucked) hanging.  He had an opportunity to teach them something and he didn’t.

I have since then joined another guild with my Hunter.  They are a huge mega guild, but the folks seem nice enough.  Their raid times don’t work out for me, but I have no complaints.  I hear they are starting up a new ICC team and I am hoping to get a spot on it.  It’s nowhere as fun as my main’s guild, but it’s a place to hang out and pew pew.

I find it amusing when I see people in my main guild take it for granted how little drama and failures we have.  We have a tight raid squad, I never yell or stomp my feet when we wipe, and I have our raids scheduled on our website weeks ahead of time.

It’s ugly out there.  People don’t know just how good they have it.

I am dying.

Posted in General Me by mrfenris on March 24, 2010

Had a post in my head that I wanted to put up today, but I’ve decided NOT to post or visit the site while at work.  I work for City Government (I am not important) and don’t need some of my comments taken out of context and used against me.

The fact that I SHOULD be working, doesn’t factor into it.  I did however manage to catch some sort of stomach flu.  I have not eaten in 4 meals.  That is like a lifetime for a fat guy like myself.

I feel like I have 400 tiny ponies kicking holes in my lower GI.

Raid went really really well last night.  5 one shots before we called it.  Frost giant quest, then the weekly and I had 20 frost badges by the end of the night.

I’m going to go curl up in a ball and die.  I’ll be back tomorrow.

I take it for granted.

Posted in General Me, WoW by mrfenris on March 23, 2010

My guild is the equivalent of small town USA.  Everyone knows each others name, their kids, and everyone gets along most of the time.  In fact like many small towns it’s quite sheltered and almost xenophobic.  Pugged players are given the eye of suspicion like they deserve;  After all, they are outsiders and therefore not “us”.  We do not have contact with the “outside world” (read: Trade Chat) all that much.

Which is why I’m always surprised when I hear stories of discrimination against other WoW players.  I hear horror stories about how women/gays/minorities are treated in other guilds.

Now let me be the first to say, I am NOT one of the politically correct crowd that believes everyone is a victim.  I will gladly log into guild chat with a “What’s up bitches?”.  (I am neither gangster nor wanksta, just being silly).  I enjoy making Mexican related jokes about how I married my white wife for her credit and soon will have her in the kitchen pregnant, bare foot, and making tortillas.  (Secret:  My wife is 10x smarter than me, which is not hard in and of itself, but she also makes more money then I do.)

I am a half-breed like most Americans.  My father is Mexican/Apache, my mother is Swiss/German.  I am considered a minority in the USA.  I don’t use it as a crutch.  My family (Dad’s side) has quite a chip on its shoulder when people try and consider us “minorities”.  We are Tejanos.  We don’t need shit from anyone.  We are American’s and whether it’s owning a company or stealing your car we are pure red, white, and blue.  I was brought up to treat people with respect until they no longer deserved it.  But the key word was that they were “people” first.

Yesterday a “hispanic looking” family moved in across the street.  I turned to my wife and said, “Great.  There goes the neighborhood.”  If I was in front of a group of strangers they would be horrified (although some might agree).  But because of the context I said it under it was deemed to be funny and ironic.  Funny to me anyway.  (I also turned to my 3-year-old daughter and told her to stay away from the little brown boys they had with them.  But that was more to tweak my wife, since having married me she evidently likes the dark meat.)

In my guild the Asian guy can make jokes about how the Humane Society won’t give him a dog because their afraid he’ll eat it.  If you call someone a cocksucker, one of our Gay men might chime in with a “You say that like it’s a bad thing”.  We’ve got a staggering number of women in our tiny guild.  They are in no way shape or form discriminated against.  In fact our GM is a woman and she can be a hardass without people calling her a “bitch”.  Instead we think of her as direct.  (Secret:  I still think she’s too nice sometimes, but I have been known to be a prick.)

I should not be surprised when I read about how minorities are treated in WoW -> gaming -> or life in general.  I am not a naive person.  If fact im ultra-cynical in most cases.

However when I’ve got a task that needs doing, whether it’s a position at work or killing a raid boss I don’t care if you’re a Hindu-Midgit-Lesbian-one armed-unibrowed-Canadian…

Just be able to get out of the goddamn fire.  Srs.  Whose got time to discriminate?  I have shit to do.


Posted in General Me, WoW by mrfenris on March 22, 2010

Solo dad weekend. My lovely pudgy wife works every other weekend. I have a sneaking suspicion she’s nicer to her patients (post-surg nurse) then she is to me. I don’t care if their sick and dying. I deserve it more. Not to mention she only has a finite amount of niceness. In fact I know she’s nicer to them. I’ll remember that when she’s old, brittle, and standing at the top of the steps.

I do not play video games while my kids are awake. In fact one of my pet peeves is when I’m playing WoW and I hear someone’s young kid on vent or they refer to having to go AFK to take care of their children. Now this is probably self-righteous of me and I can already hear a the gnashing of teeth from offended people. I really don’t care.

I am the first to admit that I am not a fantastic parent. My children always have enough to eat, say please and thank you, yet one will probably grow up to blow up government buildings and the other will probably be on Girls Gone Wild. However I do not play video games while my kids are awake unless I’m playing it with them. (Secret: I taught my then 3-year-old son, left/right/north/south playing Grand Theft Auto 3 with him. No we did not play the missions, he just drove around. Okay some people died from him crashing into them. But hey it taught him to look both ways when crossing the street.)

I cannot be a halfway decent parent (remember I’m already not that great to start with) and raid or even run a five man. I can’t even use the TV to babysit them, because I have to save that for when I wanna put the moves on the lovely chubby wife.

I was in a pugged ToC10 man on my Hunter this weekend and I almost puked with this moron had to go AFK to change his kid. WTF if the kid is young enough to still be in diapers, shouldn’t you be oh-I-don’t-know spending time with “it”? Creep.

On my main I had a ICC 10 raid friday night. It went “meh”. Usually I let the healers pick their own assignments (they all work well together) but I had to actually tell them who I wanted healing who on Rotface. We downed it as soon as I changed it. Yes I’m taking the credit. I cannot drill into their heads enough that each person HAS to be responsible for themselves and their assignments.

My daily’s weren’t too exciting and I ran Mara on my baby priest 3 times too many. Man I hate that place, however once I did get to DPS. I normally don’t care for casters but I like DPSing as Shadow. Although on almost every single trash pull in Mara I lamented for the lack of AOE. I don’t think I even get Mind Sear till level 72.

I did put on an “old pair of slippers” when I fired up GTA IV. I hadn’t played that game since I got it for my birthday or was it X-Mas (thanks Mom)? In a lot of ways it’s like coming home. It’s a familiar safe feeling…car-jacking, beating up innocents for cash, and performing domestic acts of terrorism. I found myself playing it more than WoW this weekend.

In some ways the solo dad weekends are perfect for gaming…

Kids in bed by 7:30 firm. Check. (my kids get up at 5am that’s why they don’t stay up late)

Wife gets home around 8pm after working 12+ hours, showers, goes to bed. Check.

Dad stays up playing video games all night long in peace and quiet. Check.

Ahhh. Just me and my pixels.

Still figuring it out.

Posted in Raid Leading, WoW by mrfenris on March 21, 2010

I am a member of a casual (too casual sometimes I think) 10 man Horde guild.  We currently are 6/12 in ICC and have finished everything else with the exception of Yogg.  We raid twice a week and we don’t bench anyone that sucks.  Yes even when that person sucks soooo bad that they cause us to stall out.

There is a certain romantic/martyr/underdog aspect to finishing content with scrubby players.  We’ve often fall back on yesterdays where “we did Plague Wing with 8 people!” or “there’s no way we should have killed Gluth by tanking the adds!”.  You know those scrubby players you first pick up when you’ve gotten that dumbass idea to start your own guild just to get some members?  Yeah we still have them.  We are as loyal as we are scrubby.

You probably think I am a jerk at this point for bad mouthing my guild members.  But that’s your mistake.  I’m not bad mouthing them.  We all know were scrubs.  It’s why we laugh when someone spins a dragon around while tanking (Dragon Roulette).  It’s why we try and kill Hunter and Warlock pets by making them stand in environmentals.  It’s why when your tanking and your kid wakes up, comes into your office, says “Dad I don’t feel good…”, then promptly pukes in the doorway they don’t get mad when you wipe the raid.  True story.  My kid.

Of course there are times when you lose sight of that.  It’s especially easiest on those “bad” raid nights.  The nights where healers forget to heal themselves, people stand in the stuff they got told not to stand in, or players are talking in guild chat when they are supposed to be raiding.

I am still learning how to raid lead.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I think I have a certain style.  It draws from my days as a hockey player and my own special parenting style.  It’s a combination of growling, tough love, shunning, hand holding, and sometimes almost a teary eyed confession.  I don’t claim to be a fantastic parent or raid leader.  In fact today I plan on taking my kids to the store to buy them something because I feel guilty I yelled at my son this morning.  (Secret:  That’s how you say “I love you” in my family.  Material things.)

It’s a combination of telling someone to “PUT HIM ON HIS ASS” and the cold eye of Dad saying “Screwed the pooch didn’t you?” when your kids fall and hurt themselves.  (Secret:  I hug my daughter more.  Yes I’m sexist.  I treat her differently then my son.  Although I will teach her how to box, fight someone with a knife, etc.  She is my baby.)

Raid leading in a casual guild is HARDER then it is in a hardcore guild in my opinion.  You have to try and make up for other people’s flaws.  Does this guy suck at adds?  Then put him somewhere else.  Does this girl suck at switching targets?  Then put her on the boss.  You can’t scream and shout and tell them to get their shit together or they will be replaced.  Not only is that against the guild focus, you really don’t have anyone to replace them with.

Instead I try the factual approach…

“If we can’t keep the tank up through the third inhale, we can’t finish this.”

“If you stand in front of the mob you WILL get cleaved and we are not wasting our Battle Res on you.”

“We need more DPS or we have no hope of killing him before he enrages.”

Most days it works.  Somedays nothing works.  In fact sometimes I let them know I’m AFK.  I walk calmly out to my kitchen, look out the window, and take a deep breath, before heading back.  This lets me avoid screaming…

“You fucking idiots, the same shit happens every single time.  There’s fire on the ground, you die when you stand in it, why the fuck can’t you figure out you need to MOVE when it’s under you!?!?!  You stupid keyboard turning assholes can’t watch anything but your rotations because your have to click everything like a noob.”

Then I can walk back into the office. Sit down and prepare to handhold/scold (but nicely)/adapt our raiders to get around the encounter.  I have heard raid leading compared “herding cats” or “herding five year olds” (my kids listen better actually).  There are days when raid leading is like that.  Sometimes it’s getting together 10 friends to go play a video game.  Other day’s there’s very little effort and they perform like spec-ops soldiers.

And of course there are those days where it’s like leading 9 stupid-ass-motherfuckers who try and sabotage your efforts every step of the way.

I like my guild.  Most days I even love them.

I quit.

Posted in Gaming, General Me, WoW by mrfenris on March 16, 2010

My online friends tease me about quitting WoW.  I have been talking about quitting since I started.  I started playing midway through BC.  It was supposed to fill my time and keep the addict side of my brain busy.

I am an addict.  I get addicted to anything.  My addictions consume me and I’m wracked by them until they suddenly stop and I find something new to be addicted too.  I don’t mean to make light of people who have serious addictions to substances or behaviors.  My addiction is more like blowing several hundred dollars on a new hobby and obessing over it and tearing it apart via articles/media/theory/etc then toss it in a heap into a corner and find something new to feed off of.

I think the root of it lies in the fact that we moved constantly when I was a kid.  My father is largely the same way.  Although he’s addictions were job related.  Well that and he has a knack for burning down everything he “touches” including work relationships.  I was always the new kid.  It’s why I tend to be very outgoing even though I’m a shy person.  I do it out of aggressiveness which in this respect is based on fear.

Make no mistake.  I do not complain about my childhood, especially with outsiders.  That’s against the code.

When I started WoW, I never expected to get to level 70.  My constants were, “when I get my flying mount I’ll quit”, “when I hit 70 I’ll quit”, or “I’ll quit before I even get near Kara (I had no idea what it really was)”.

Yet here I am knee deep in ICC.  Some might say that this is a testiment to Blizzard’s game design.  Other’s might say it’s a reflection of the friends I’ve made in my guild (2+years BTW).

Me?  I say it’s because there’s no other MMO out there to get addicted to yet.

Until then.  I am a retired Guild Leader who acts as the Raid Officer/Leader in a small (on purpose) 10 man Horde guild.  My main is a Protection Paladin who takes time away from my beloved Muti Rogue, OP MM Hunter, and my baby Shadow/Holy Priest alts.  I raid twice a week for about 3 hours each time, and I log in 3-4 times a week total.  Not very addicted.

I tend to enjoy melee classes better then casters, but every once in awhile I like to log on my Hunter just to laugh at how easy it is to be a ranged DPS.  Although I usually am crying on the inside because the same DPS I have to WORK for on my rogue I can faceroll on my Hunter.   (You try having to chase your targets everywhere and don’t get my started on fights where you have to switch targets and move across the room…)

That being said.  There’s nothing more satisfying then running up to your target and stabbing them in the face.  I think it stems from me spending all me time as a tank (yeah leveling as Prot back in BC was harsh).   I just don’t feel right unless I’m in the middle of all the action. I just feel better with mobs around me.

BTW I plan on quitting after Cataclysm.