Two Months Until Cataclysm — So Now What?

image from farm5.static.flickr.com

It’s nice to finally have a release date in hand so I can start figuring out what I want to — and have time to — accomplish in game before the world changes. December 7 gives me two full months before I have to start thinking about leveling my primary toons and their professions and the alts’ professions…

I’m sure that having a concrete date two months away is going to make some folks angsty. After all, if you don’t have an army of alts and killed the Lich King months ago and have already been feeling like you were stuck in a holding pattern, I can see how it would seem like way too long to wait. Had I not rediscovered the joys of playing my Alliance characters, I would likely be in the cursing the release date under my breath camp.

But luckily for me, I have plenty to do and to look forward to between now and then:

  • Level warlock to 80 (she’s only 40 now)
  • Level warlock’s JC
  • Level a new shaman and their corresponding profession(s)
  • Farm rare pets
  • Obtain remaining old world cooking recipes
  • Work on fishing up the elusive mister pinchy and the turtle mount
  • Complete world explorer for the druid
  • Hallow’s End fun and festivities
  • Pilgrim’s Bounty (a.k.a. the cooking leveling holiday)
  • Find more places like the Horizon Scout that I always meant to get around to seeing and go there

So, now that we have a date in hand, what’s your plan of attack?

10 Tips for Becoming a Better Citizen of Twitteroth

a twitter primer for Warcraft peeps

Tip 1: Narrow Your Focus

Consider creating a twitter account just for your warcraft or gaming related tweeps. Why? Because your non-gaming friends don’t care about your Warcraft achievements,  and your Warcraft tweeps don’t want to hear about your bunions. That said, DO share the occasional off topic RT or photo or recipe so we can get to know you a little better.

Tip 2: Upload a Unique User Icon

It doesn’t need to be anything fancy, but you need to upload a graphic of some sort to identify yourself with. It can be a RL photo, or a screen grab of your character.  If you use one of the default user icons, your followers can’t see at-a-glance who you are,  and might even mistake you for a SPAMbot.

Tip 3: Don’t Name Your Account Jenny2435

Speaking of SPAMbots, they all seem to name their accounts this way. If I see you’ve followed 800 people,  never  tweeted, and are named this way, you’re going to be reported for SPAM and blocked.

Tip 4: Don’t Auto-follow Back

There are tools out there that will automatically add back everyone who follows you. Don’t use them! Why? Because this is a great way to end up with a ton of bots or "Get 800 twitter followers in 10 days" scammers on your following list.

Tip 5: Put Time Into Your Bio

Your bio is a primary way that folks decide if they have enough in common with you to follow you back, so it’s worth taking some time to consider what t put there. It’s also great to have a link in your profile. If you don’t have a blog, you can link to your WoW armory profile, or even your guild’s website. But be sure NOT to use a URL shortener for that link – that’s a common SPAMbot tactic.

Tip 6: Resist the Urge to Auto-Post Achievements to Twitter

If you SPAM my twitter feed with your in-game achievements from an automated feed, or I get a play-by-play through RSS postings of every new piece of gear you are equipping, you are going to take a quick trip to the unfollowed list. It’s one thing to have this as a gadget on your blog; it’s incredibly annoying in the middle of a twitter conversation.

Tip 7: Don’t #FF Your Entire Following List

I love seeing who folks list in the Follow Friday (#FF) lists and have found plenty of new folks to follow from them. That’s because they are a timely,  curated list, or even a 1-at-atime peek into the more interesting folks they follow. If you hurt the feelings of someone you follow by not including them in your 140 characters for #FF, they are probably a little more high maintenance than you need.

Tip 8: Continue the Conversation

If you ask a question or for others to share their opinions, engage them in conversation. It’s tacky to use the question tactic as a way to cheese your twitalyzer standings (i.e. to generate more @you then you @others.) Twitter is about sharing and conversing with others, not about inflating your ePeen. Really.

🙂

Tip 9: Don’t Try Too Hard

No one else cares how high your influence score is on Twitter.  If you continually follow others, then unfollow them after they follow you back, to get yourself up to a 1 followed for every 10 followed ratio, you need a new hobby. Twitter is not Farmville. Follow the folks you find interesting, and don’t worry about who is following you or how many more people are following you than you follow. That’s all pretty shallow and meaningless.

Tip 10: Don't be a Drama Llama

Don't have a twitfit whenever someone unfollows you. Don't twitterflame everyone you unfollow. Don't tell anyone who disagrees with you on a topic that they are stupid morons for having a different opinion. Don't flog your blog by RTing yourself 8 times for every blog post. And please disregard those blog traffic builder posts that tell you to ask folks to RT your every blog post (it's OK once in a while, for a post that you are passionate about but gets annoying if it's every time.)

Resources for Finding WoW Tweeps to Follow

My favorite way to find new tweeps is via twitter lists of warcraft folks. Here are a few of my favorites, plus my own lists:

You can also use Listorious or We Follow to find WoW tweeps, or even the new Follow suggestion functionality on twitter. Unfortunately, the latter will often keep showing you the same folks over and over, which makes it less compelling in my POV.

Let me know in the comments if I missed any of your pet peeve twittiquette items.

What WoW Has Taught Me

Thank you Blog Azeroth for this shared topic, as suggested by Six-Inch Heals. I've been turning this over in my mind for a while now trying to figure out how to tackle it, and somehow ended up a day late. My bad. But here goes.

First and Foremost, I've Learned a Lot About People

First, the good:

  • I've seen how people can come together and really make things happen, due to a shared passion (the game)
  • I've seen people come up with creative solutions to a variety of in-game and meta-game issues
  • I've seen people put aside their RL political and socioeconomic differences and get things done together
  • I've met people from across the country (and this continent) whom I would have had almost no chance of meeting through any other means
  • I've forged casual acquaintances with some amazing people that I spoke to almost daily for years, talking not just about what I was up to in game, but also about the things that mattered to me IRL

But there has also been the bad:

  • I've had to listen to boorish political arguments set forth by those who are unaffected by the issue and thus have no stakes in them (see especially gender politics)
  • I've had what I thought were friendships that extended outside of the game crumble like sugar eggs the week after Easter
  • I've seen hard work for naught, when poor leadership has allowed bad apples to ruin the guild cart
  • I have seen some of the absolutely worst, nasty, back-stabbing behavior I've ever seen outside of daytime dramas, over pixels and in-game power

I've Learned How to Better Deal with People IRL

  • I've learned how to motivate performance long-distance
  • I've learned how to detect all manner of non-visual cues as to something being up with persons I work on projects with virtually
  • I've learned how to work towards a common goal, even when paired with people I don't personally like
  • I've learned more about what motivates achievement for a variety of folks whose situation and motivation are outside of my personal frame of reference.
  • I've gotten much experience in teamwork — both in assembling and managing teams

I've Also Learned a Lot About Myself

  • I've learned what my deal breakers are for friendships and for collaborations
  • I'm better able to articulate my concerns with people/situations
  • I've built upon my teamwork and collaboration skills, without burning any social currency at work to do so
  • I've learned that I truly thrive and am happiest when I am in a functional, thriving collaborative team of some sort, regardless of if I am leading it, or just one of the team

People may think of World of Warcraft as just another video game, but due to the intrinsic social collaboration model it employs, it really is so much more than that. Overall, not a bad investment of time to have gotten so much more out of it than just some sparkly pixels.

Friday Five: Five Ways I’m Handling Pre-Cataclysm Burn-out

Another Friday, another Friday Five topic courtesy of Blog Azeroth, as suggested by @Jaedia…how my guild and I are handling the pre-expansion slump:

  1. Gave myself some new short-term goals. Like earning cash for the eventual worgen. And working on fishing for my hordies whenever the fishing daily is in Dalaran. Bite-sized goals, and little morsels of accomplishment.
  2. Cutting myself some slack. RL is incredibly busy at the moment. Thus, I'm only going to be able to do so much in my limited amount of playtime. So that's how it goes. I want to do more in game, including hard modes. But I also don't want to give work or friends the short end of the stick. And since I try to be a courteous person, I'm not going to sign up for raids I might not be able to make it home in time for due to the inevitable working late that's been happening.
  3. Working on getting alts to 80. I am making the most of every last drop of rested XP on my three 70+s to keep them moving slowly but surely towards 80. I make sure these lowbies do the cooking and fishing dailies and any holiday-related quests too. It's all good XP. And every bit counts at this level.
  4. Cutting back on the guild's raiding schedule. After weeks of watching our fearless 10-man scheduler scrape together runs, and watching some of them not go due to no shows, I broached the topic of killing our official 10 mans other than the Lich King runs or the hard modes. It wasn't an easy decision or one made lightly, but it was eventually what we decided. We went from 30 people or more per week t 14 or 15 signing up each week. It's time had come and gone.
  5. Accepting the slump as cyclical and inevitable. That's right. I gave up fighting and went into acceptance mode. It's Summer. And people are tired of ICC. And ready for the expansion. And there's nothing I or any of the Officers can do to change that. Once the weather turns cold, and the expansion promotion hits a fever pitch, things will pick up. They always do.

That's the whole unvarnished truth. I'e embraced the slump. I shall revel in the slump! I shall slog onward and get through the slump and emerge on the other side with a dozen 80s and conquer the World of Warcraft! Or something like that.

Happy Friday!

In Defense of Civility

Truth be told, much of what annoys me in-game about the behavior of other people boils down to civility. Specifically, a lack thereof. Some examples over the past few years of playing WoW:

  • Having to talk a guildie out of qguitting due to her absolute panic and hysteria over the teenage boy who refused, after being asked multiple times, to stop making dead baby jokes. The woman, who was 7 months pregnant at the time, had also lost a baby a year prior.
  • The men old enough to know better who pepper their vent chat with gender-specific vulgarities whenever fighting a female boss, and don't give the male bosses the same treatment.
  • The self-centered persons who ninja AFK and leave a team of others waiting for them to show back up to complete the dungeon/raid, never apologizing or explaining their absences.
  • The people who constantly ask for help, be it in the form of your time or handouts, who then never reciprocate.
  • The trade chat troll who spent hours at a time, wearing my guild tag, being condescending to and picking fights with the server at large, including other guild members on their unguilded alts.

I'm sure most people have seen some of the above examples during their game time. What they all have in common is a demonstrated lack of civility.

Civility.

n., pl., -ties.

  1. Courteous behavior; politeness.
  2. A courteous act or utterance.

Well-mannered behavior toward others: courteousness, courtesy, genteelness, gentility, mannerliness, politeness, politesse. See courtesy/discourtesy. A courteous act or courteous acts that contribute to smoothness and ease in dealings and social relationships amenity (used in plural), courtesy, pleasantry, politeness, propriety (used in plural). See courtesy/discourtesy.

That's the dictionary.com definition.

As you can see from some of the synonyms, civility seems to be a term better suited for a Merchant Ivory film than a blog about the World of Warcraft. Who cares about civilized discourse and politeness? Surely not anyone who gets behind a keyboard and picks up a pixelated sword, right? Wrong.

Civility Isn't an Antiquated Concept

Do you make plans with your friends and then not show up? And then never say anything to them afterward? Why is this OK if the plans are a raid signup and involving 24 other people?

Is your every day language at work, at home, and in social gatherings towards acquaintances full of expletives and racial slurs, and derogatory remarks against folks with sexual orientations that differ from yours?

Would you walk up to a group of women whose names you know but you in all honesty are not good buddies with, and start making dead baby jokes? And casually toss around a number of gender-specific sexual terms? Would you say these things in front of your sister/significant other/mother?

Why then so often is online chat too often full of all of the above?And why is it that when you approach someone about their lack of civility, you often are chided for trying to suppress their freedom of expression, or called the thought police? When did it become unfashionable — or even extremist to hear some folks reactions — to ask for courtesy in people's interactions with each other and expect a civil environment in which to play online?

At their core, many of the posts I've written here have boiled down to looking for the human beings on the other side of the computer screens to stop what they're doing and behave more like they would behave towards others they knew in their non gaming lives. The fact that I'm sitting in guild chat with you doesn't mean I have an expectation and desire for the level of your conversation to stoop well below what it would in your living room.

I'm not advocating for a G rated guild chat at all times, but I am advocating for the return of common sense.

Ways to Demonstrate Civility

  1. Think before you type. In person, rude and insensitive comments can fly out of your mouth before you have time to reflect upon them. Online, you're communicating with other via text. Read back what you are saying to someone before you hit enter. This is a major benefit of text-based communications. Take advantage of it.
  2. Be the better person. I don't care if it was someone else who started in with the crass commentary — you are not obligated to join them. You have free will and the ability to make a better decision than they did.
  3. Don't be a dick (a.k.a. the DBAD rule.) Don't troll in trade to "light things up." Don't pick on a guildie in Gchat over something they are sensitive about. Don't treat the World of Warcraft as your personal soap box and megaphone, with your fellow players as the captive audience who can't walk away from you.

How to Cope with Others Demonstrating Incivility

  1. Let them know. Don't seethe with anger and lash out once you are past all points of patience. When the bad behavior/unwarranted commentary happens, whisper the person and ask them to knock it off. If it continues, or if it is malicious and directed publicly at another person, politely ask the offender to cease and desist, using the same channel the person is using for their behavior/comments.
  2. Set an example. No, I'm not saying make an example out of the offending person. I mean model the kind of behavior you want to see in other people. Exert peer pressure by being civil in your interactions with others. Even when you disagree.
  3. Try to give them the benefit of the doubt. This is probably the hardest thing to do. And this is also why obscenity laws vary from state-to-state: what offends me or goes against my community's standards of acceptable behavior may not align with what offends you or what offends your community's standards of behavior.

As much as it boggles my mind at some of the comments and behavior people I don't know but am thrown together with over the Internet say and do, I can suspend my disbelief and think that there may in fact be a time and a place wherein they are within social norms and boundaries that favor them and not me. That said, however, the online space is neither my place nor their space — it is a new shared space wherein we have to compromise and come to a workable and tolerable environment for all of us.

When All Else Fails

And for those die hards who refuse to modify their behavior in the face of guildie requests for a kinder gentler place online, you may do well to direct them to the Terms of Service for the game, which state:

Rules Related to "Chat" and Interaction With Other Users. Communicating in-game with other Users and Blizzard representatives, whether by text, voice or any other method, is an integral part of the Game and the Service and is referred to here as "Chat." When engaging in Chat, you may not:

(i) Transmit or post any content or language which, in the sole and absolute discretion of Blizzard, is deemed to be offensive, including without limitation content or language that is unlawful, harmful, threatening, abusive, harassing, defamatory, vulgar, obscene, hateful, sexually explicit, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable

Safe travels, adventurers.

Friday Five: Twitter Dev Chat Edition

There were a few nice gleanings from last Friday's Twitter Dev chat (including a few tweeps I follow getting their questions answered — huzzah!) But I do have a few questions still burning a hole in my pocket. WTB answers to:

  1. Any chance potential spoilers like the Arthas cinematic in the Dalaran fountain might be tagged so as not to accidentally spoil? Because spoilers are not fun.
  2. How about another character slot so we can actually roll a Goblin/Worgen on our servers? Or do we all need to go roll one on the same random server, that will then crash, to get the point across about needing an extra slot?
  3. Do you have any plans to update the classic race models? Because my troll would really love to do something new with her hair.
  4. Now that armory is so robust, any thoughts to add raid progression lists to it at a server lvl? What else is in development for armory anyhow Will the improved guild interface live here and in game? And for that matter, will polling functionality (like votekick) be incorporated into the Cata guild mgmt interface?
  5. Professions. I has questions abut professions. Will tailors get to make some of the cosmetic cloak covers? What is the possibility of tailors making dyed to match companion pet rag dolls or voodoo dolls?

I have questions — WTB answers! As did many of the folks I follow on twitter whose very good questions were *not* answered.

I do hope next round instead of both developers simultaneously cherry picking from the same feed, they either have a moderator assign questions, or they get on Skype together to coordinate so we don't have two devs answering the same softballs twice…

😉

Happy Friday!

Friday Five: Weekend To Do List Edition

  1. Kick Mimiron’s butt in hard mode, then mosey on over to Algalon to do the same.
  2. Clean out everyone’s bank and carry-around bags, freeing up bag space for Love is in the Air.
  3. Figure out which characters need what for the Fool for Love Meta-achievement (last year I focused on thi for my Alliance characters, plus I have 2 new alts created since then.
  4. Try to find time to do the RDH on my 3 horde 80s and squeeze in lowbie randoms on my alts as well. Need moar badges!
  5. Keep slowly but surely leveling on the alts, playing through rested XP then letting them rest.

What are your plans this weekend? Excited about the holiday starting on Sunday? I’ve been hearing from a few guildies who are bah humbug! about it…

Keeping it to Yourself: Lich King Edition

I've previously made the case for keeping Patch 3.3 Spoiler Free. And I have been happy to have kept myself in the cone of silence until I was able to see things for myself. But yesterday's buzz over the data mining of the Lich King cinematic makes it a good time to revisit the topic.

As soon as I started seeing the twitter buzz, I made my plea:

internets plz 2b keeping your lich king spoilers clearly marked so peeps don't get spoiled not by choice.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Re-Tweeted a few times. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who wants to experience Arthas 1st hand when we eventually get to him. I wouldn't have watched a Sephiroth FFVII spoiler back in the day either. I don't shake my Christmas presents to try to guess what they might be. I don't read the final page of a novel first. I do like for a few things to be in the moment surprises.

First of all a big THANK YOU! to MMO Champion and WoW Insider for keeping their article headlines, which show up on feed readers all around the Web, clearly marked as containing spoilers inside, and not hinting at what they might entail.

I can totally understand the curiosity about what's going to happen next, and that some folks want to know now. I don't care if others ant the spoilers; I just hate when I get them not by choice. I'd like to think folks don't purposefully spoil stuff for others, rather that they get caught up and spill the beans. But the same way you wouldn't blab the ending of a new movie or the seasonal finale of LOST this year if you are on the East Coast to everyone, if you choose to read the spoilers, please think twice before sharing them some place the unwary can't avoid them.

GOOD: Behind an LJ Cut, behind a blog cut tag with lots of SPOILER! copy around it. BAD: On twitter, in guild chat, in various and sundry WoW chat channels. MARVELOUS: the #wrongspoilers the tweeps I follow were posting last night. Not only did a number of them make me LOL, they'll be sure to confound google real time search as well. mwahaha.

Happy Adventuring and thanks everyone for keeping this patch as spoiler-free as you have.