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One year ago, we put up our first blog post! Since then we’ve posted 396 articles, comics, random thoughts and raid reports. We’ve received about 1475 comments and more blog hits than we thought was possible when we started! Along the way we’ve made some really good friends too.

We started blogging together as an experiment; it quickly became a way for us to engage with other WoW players in a fun and relaxed way. At the time we were friend alts in a hardcore raid guild, occasionally pugging ICC content and consistently killing up to Putricide. We were focused on our stable of alts and on enjoying WoW together, as a couple.

Reversion started his Tanking 101 series here. He’s thinking about a new series on a similar theme but if the stat reports are right, we’re still getting a lot of hits on the Tanking 101 article.

And this is the very first Corporate Raider comic! We’ve both had a lot of fun with these. Reversion does all the art and 95% of the ideas. Sometimes I suggest one to him but mostly my contribution is snickering at them.

I did an occasional series with titles of “Think Like A Healer”. I still like this one where I discussed interface evolution. Later I’d write up a Vuhdo guide. I still think that the UI is critical for a healer and a good one makes a big difference.

By May we were getting farther in our ICC pugs and occasionally running GDKP runs with the big guild we were in.  Those were a lot of fun!

In June I wrote a silly post about what I’d do as a raid boss that got linked on WoW Insider – we got about 10k hits in two days, definitely our biggest exposure ever.  After that our average viewers per day was considerably higher than it had been; I think it raised our profile nicely! And it was a fun piece to do, even if it wasn’t an original idea.

In August we took… well, not a “WoW Break”, but we were playing Starcraft. I got the Mini Pet from Reversion’s collector’s edition, hah! Andhad more fun with an RTS game than I’d thought I would.

In September, we came to a realization that we were not where we wanted to be for Cataclysm, so we started guild shopping.  We had a couple awesome offers and decided to move to Winterhoof to join Crits and Giggles, with Repgrind and Troutwort and it was awesome. Crits worked us into one of their 10 man raids and a few weeks later, the Lich King was dead. Wow.

Well, after that we watched Blizzcon and were in such a state of excitement over Cataclysm and having had raid success what we decided to start our own raid. We talked to people in guild, built a group, and had some success. Any follower of our blog since can tell what an important part of our WoWing the raid has become. We love it!

The Shattering hit and then Cataclysm and it was time to start leveling again, we stood in fire, we hit 85 and started running dungeons and raids. And here we are!

It’s been an awesome ride. We’ve made some great friends this year, achieved some awesome WoW goals. We’ve seen our focus shift from being total alt-o-holics to more serious raiders, but we still love our alts! I’ve learned a lot about WoW, and healing, and even leadership this year. I’m so glad we decided to start this blog.

And so glad we started it together. I’d been thinking about blogging a bit and when Reversion mentioned he was interested too I wasn’t completely sure how that would work. But I’m so glad we did, it’s a great project for us to share and I have to think it’s more interesting than just me spouting random stuff would be.

Thanks to everyone who has joined us on this ride. We’re hoping you’ll stick around for the next year, because I don’t know what’s going to happen but I know it’s going to be great.

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Filling Dead Air

In radio, the one thing you don’t want is “dead air” – nobody talking. It makes people change channels. In blogging, is no post better than a stupid one? I don’t actually know.

We’ve been in a holding pattern the last few days. I’ve been under the weather, not literally like my northern guildies, but metaphorically, dealing with flu. We’ve got raid night tonight and tomorrow so I’m excited for that but so far this week – another Baradin Hold bosskill, yawn. A couple random heroics. My T11 2 piece set bonus – achieved last night – coolness. It’s feeling very mid winter, that quiet stretch of time between Christmas and spring where you just hang out and exist.

Our guild is running a fishing contest – http://crittys.wordpress.com/ – and I’m falling further behind the leaders (fishing on my mage, Invariant) but having fun. If we haven’t got the fish achievement yet it should fall shortly, and then, fish feasts for all! Lokicat, you’re insane though; 1,500 fish in four days? Yikes!

I love our guild. So much – the last four months of WoW have been so awesome. Moving when we did was totally the right call. We had time to finish our Wrath goals and jump into Cataclysm fresh off the start. A lot of bloggers seem to be going through the guild drama/raid drama/WoW goals drama that we knew would come for us at the start of Cata if we didn’t move. I just want to urge anyone who is hesitant, make the move to that guild or server you’ve been considering now.  The expansion is still young, conquer it with people you want to be with!

And we’re coming up on our first bloggiversary here in two weeks.  We’ll probably have some retrospective type posts then but wow, what a ride. Totally didn’t see this coming when we started!

Have a great weekend, y’all. Us? We have to figure out how to balance Raid Night with Reversion’s birthday tomorrow; tradition calls for lobster, but raid night commitments mean we have to be back before 7… ah well, with Nomster, the romantic dinners tend to be a bit more practical and less candlelit anyway :)

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Bootcamp

Dino Tam has his work cut out for him.

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Still Alive

 

So we started this blog on a lark and I have been a little surprised how well it has gone and how much ‘content’ we have turned out. So far there have been no signs of us stopping any time soon. Now normally I prefer to get at least one ‘content’ post out before I post consecutive comics but we both have been fairly busy this weekend. We do have several posts in draft form including another one from me on situati9onal awareness. I just have not had time to finish it up. So I will break the mold and toss this comic up to keep thinks moving…

Now I will go back to listening to the 200th ‘The Instance‘ and pretending to work.

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Guest Post: DinoTam

Greetings. Had this bear here do a portrait of me. Here I am relaxing in my den. It is more refined than a sunny rock though far less satisfying. I am not sure it captured my best side. I might have to pay him a visit later.

I mean REALLY… How can one be expected to sneak up and retain the element of surprise with ‘tropical breeze’ wafting off one’s hide. Intolerable I must say.

All this stress of poetry and what not. Really a bore. Still, that hunter that follows me around seems to enjoy it. Too bad she does not give him scales as much attention. I will have to let her know my displeasure.

DinoTam

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Tomorrow we get our stats back

I admit it. I am a stats junky. I like to check them and see how we are doing. It is also fun to look at the per post break down and see what sorts of things people are most interested in.

When we started the blog of course the stats were nothing. Mostly just the hits from times we looked at our own page when we were not logged in. Slowly people started finding us. Analogue commented on other blogs and pimped us around a few forums. The numbers started coming up. We got a couple vaguely interesting posts out there and we started seeing a few dozen hits a day…. Ya! We started our blog in February and I the first month managed 127 hits. Yaa! Then someone somewhat popular posted something about us. Sadly I don’t recall who. This made a nice spike. But then tragically the numbers fell back down a day or two later. But they came down and settled at a higher average than before. And again and again. Then one day I posted a comic in response to a Big Bear Butt post and we got a ‘huge’ hit. Hundreds. It was great.

Some time a few weeks later we woke up and were famous. Well not really, but Wow.com linked a post Analogue made and we hit over a thousand pings. The next day it broke 5k. There is something deliciously narcissistic about that. Something perhaps only fellow bloggers can understand. The tragic thing was that the two days after the number was much lower and 3 days after it was back to ‘normal’. Only now normal was twice as big as before. But this is the problem. You see compared to the ‘spike’ our normal numbers are way smaller. So on the wordpress.com stats graph it looks pathetic. L

After a while I was really looking forward to that spike being more than 60 days old. That way it would ‘fall’ off the left side of our daily stats chart and then puny normal numbers would jump up to the top and look good again. Just as this was about to happen we got linked by them again!

This spike was shaping up to be bigger than ever except that the next day Bliz broke their folly of Real ID on the forums. The fall out of that cut our spike short as everyone’s attention was distracted.

And here we are almost 60 days later. Tomorrow is the day that it will have been long enough that our last ‘wow.com spike’ will fall off the graph. Yaa! Numbers which look big again! And they sort of are. We usually get more in a day than our whole first month.

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Raiding with SAN

SAN was supposed to go to Ulduar Saturday afternoon, but we couldn’t find another tank or some dps (only seven SAN folks were able to attend) so we decided to do the weekly, Marrowgar. From SAN, we had:

Me, Divergent, as a holy paladin
Reversion as Consolidate, a feral druid
Harrygiblets the hunter
Enyss the Resto druid
Shifthappens the Resto druid
Edamaxim the DK
and (I think) Norinka the Boomkin

We pugged in another tank, a shaman, and a mage and set off to ICC to clear trash. Whee! Some folks had never been in there, but the SAN folks were all on vent and we had a good time clearing – until Enyss dc’d. We still had trash to clear so we kept going. Then she came back in Vent and told us her internet was dead (she was using dialup for Vent) with no sign of coming back, so we sadly decided to replace her. We decided to go with two healers and the pug tank brought in a hunter friend of hers.

We had some fun with giants and traps and wiped once – heh – but got all ready at Marrowgar. Gave the briefing and went ahead.

Well the bonespikes just didn’t get attacked, people didn’t stack back up after bonestorms, and we wiped. We had at least three people who were new to the fight so I wasn’t surprised. I told people to stack on the tree – Shifthappens was doing a really good job getting back into position and it’s very easy to spot the tree and stand on him. (Note to Blizzard: please let us keep trees around in Cataclysm…)

I glanced at Recount so I could remind people to switch to Bonespikes and I got a surprise: neither pugged DPS had attacked the bonespikes at all. A mage and an elemental shaman, I couldn’t think of any excuse for that since they’d agreed that they understood what they needed to do. Even the new SAN people who hadn’t seen this fight had some damage to the spikes! I called them out specifically and reminded them to switch to spikes and to avoid fire; they agreed.

We went again. THIS time, the spikes died. (Harry had been trying a /tar bonespike macro that hadn’t worked before; this time he switched manually. I don’t know if anyone else had the same problem but the change was obvious). People stacked back up after fires. It wasn’t a fast kill, but slowly Marrowgar’s hit points dropped until at last he was dead.

We were victorious! Loot got handed out and while the SAN folks were eager to continue, the puggers dropped and we couldn’t progress.

I checked combat logs after the fight and guess what? All the SAN folks, even the new ones, had killed Bonespikes like they were supposed to. That mage and shaman? Nope. The mage not at all, the shaman had a little damage against the spikes but not much. Yes they were high on overall dps but they hadn’t bothered doing what they needed to do. Sigh.

So anyway SAN raid group needs more people! We’ve got a really good spread of healers; what we need is another good tank and some solid dps. Ranged or melee. We’d like to do more. Daruma the shaman is about to ding 80 and be ready to raid with us; with just a few more folks we can start working in ICC. If a blogger guild raid sounds like fun, it is! So if you’ve got a spare character lying around, transfer it over to Argent Dawn US Alliance side… or level one up. Plenty of folks around to help you gear up and get ready.

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A New Project!

So last night we saw a group was forming to run Nax on Single Abstract Noun(Argent Dawn US). So my wife and I decided to take our spare tank and healer and server transfer them. So now we have a heal/tank and tank/heal pair on Argent Dawn –US in SAN with ICC viable gear for all those roles.

So we had the idea of a new project. We have been thinking about what we might want to do in Cata and even between now and Cata. We are getting fair results with PUGing ICC groups and getting into occasional guild alt runs but it feels like we need a smidge more… SOMETHING to get a push to downing Arthas. All we really need is a better pool of raiders to draw from then what we have been getting semi randomly.

 Basically our idea is to form a 10 man group inside SAN and to court enough 80s, either from internal leveling up or from getting MEMBERS (not strangers) to server transfer, and then to make those into a viable raid group.

We are not trying to ‘run’, ‘take over’ or in any way control the guild. This is a voluntary end game raid team pulling primarily from SAN members and open to any SAN. We will pug the rest of the slots as needed. We are going to be a subset of the guild, not setting any directions or agenda on the guild as a whole. If this project interferes at all in the atmosphere of ‘fun’ of the guild as a whole we will nix it and move on to some other project.

 We plan for it to be a viable group so while we are laid back and not picky we will be doing what we can to build the team up and advise people as needed to have viable dps/tanking/healing and to do their part.

We will not tolerate dead weight (in the long term) but will do everything in our power in a friendly constructive way to make anyone that wants to come into ‘non-deadweight’ including (within reason) gear runs and pointing people at class and fight resources. I think anyone can be built up into a viable raider. But raiding is not for everyone. This means no GS requirement and no experience requirement but come ready to learn and willing to work to gear up if you are short on gear or knowledge.

So come as you are and be ready to learn the fights, gear up, and do well.

 This is SAN so we are not going to bother with complicated rules unless a need for a stated policy pops up.

 We are targeting to raid 1-2 nights a week. That would get us into LK with only minimal raid lockout extensions. We might start by doing one ICC run and one ‘old raid’ run.

 Chances are 100% that there are SAN with far more raiding experience than myself of my wife. So we will be drawing on the knowledge and leadership of anyone willing to come and help. I am personally 10/12 in ICC 10 mans (I forget where on 25). We also have a lot of practice putting together PUGS of ICC and dragging them as far as we can.

 Because SAN is still short on geared 80s we will probably start with some more runs like the NAX run last night. Plus since our alts are also under geared we will have a strong early focus on gearing up.

 We are planning to start with 10 man but might run some 25 if there is interest. Also SAN seems to be heavy on tanking and healing so keep in mind you might be need a DPS off spec or alt (Analogue and I plan to have some DPS alts for the project).

 We are not concerned about perfect class balance or any other srsbzn. All we want is a desire to see new content. All we need is the willingness to work a little to get there.

 Currently we are targeting Friday night to get started by 8 server (EST). If there is interest in another time or day we will be open to it.

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Only made four levels on the noobs yesterday, even with triple XP. I thought I’d take a post and explain a few points about Recruit-a-Friend leveling with regards to established paired players, but first, our story:

Over lunch we made two levels in Darkshire killing some skeletons. Reversion works really close to the house so we can get forty minutes of playtime in if I’ve got lunch ready to go when he gets home. Usually we run an instance; right now, it’s easy to get a level or two on our RAF noobies. Run around, nom some food, ding. It’s that easy.

About four o’clock in the afternoon the power went out for a second. It does that around here kind of a lot. One of the many reasons that the power company may be my most despised utility. They have to beat out the internet provider and that’s a daily competition. Whose commercials do I hear more on the radio that day? Do I have to call up and yell at the internet guys that no, we don’t have cable tv, we don’t want cable tv, I don’t care if it’s only $5 more, go away and die. Or… do we get stupid unexplained power outages.

I get up, check all the parts of our network, turn my computer back on (I know, I need a UPS. Bleah) and wait… there’s a blinking yellow light on the new Airport Express that runs the gaming rigs’ half of the network. Ugh. I find the tool I want on Reversion’s Mac (we’re a mixed marriage; Catholic Mac fan to Presbyterian Windows user) and try restoring settings. It doesn’t work, I decide I’ll leave it and just play with the Nomster. She’s cuter anyway.

Reversion gets home, we set the network back up. He logs into WoW as I try to figure out why my machine isn’t getting a connection. I plug some  cables back into the switch. The network goes down.

We spend the next hour or more trying to figure out why, now, we can’t see the devices we could see before. Finally in the midst of brainstorming, Reversion looks at the switch… where I’ve plugged both ends of one cable in. Making a loop. This is a Bad Thing. I know it’s a Bad Thing. I have a masters degree in Computer Science. In grad school, I was a systems admin for our department. Go ahead, point and laugh.

Evening’s pretty much shot but we log on for 45 minutes, get two levels, pick up some flight points, and chat a little with folks that are on in SAN. It’s really cool saying Hi to people you know from blogs. Way more fun leveling up over there.

Anyway. The actual content of this post is about RaF leveling in pairs. First, a warning. Please don’t get your girlfriend an RaF account and nag her into playing WoW with you. Leveling goes too darn fast. She’s likely to end up with a level 60 character she has no idea how to play, a whirlwind trip across half of Azeroth, and a bad taste in her mouth. Honestly the best approach there is to let her develop an interest in the game and then use RaF to power level a character she wants to play, if you’re determined to use RaF at all.

Ok, that out of the way, RaF is great for pairs who play together and want to power level some alts. Decide who gets the new account and who is the ‘veteran’ player. The Veteran will get the loot (sweet rocket ride) so you may have to do this twice to make sure nobody gets left out ;-) Anyway the Veteran emails an invitation to the other member of the pair, who clicks the link in the email to create a linked account.

You can have this linked account on the same Battle.net account as your real WoW account. You just have to be on a separate Battle.net account from the Veteran account.

Now, this new account is a trial account. It can’t level past 20, or trade, or join a guild, or whisper people, or invite to groups. Thank your friendly neighborhood gold sellers for this one. If you are doing this to get the mount, what you do next is buy two game time cards or time card codes – these you can buy from Blizzard’s online store – activate your account as a real account, and apply the time cards. Now you have an active account with three months of playtime on it. When you add the first month of playtime, the Veteran account receives one month free playtime. When you add the second month, the Veteran gets the rocket mount.

The rocket can only go to one character on the Veteran account. You select which from the RaF website showing what rewards you’ve received, and the character gets the rocket in in-game mail.

A note about upgrading from a trial account to a real one: the leveling restriction is removed right away but the other restrictions may take a while. I upgraded mine around noon Saturday and did not get an email saying that the upgrade was complete until late Sunday. Meanwhile, I’d dinged 25 and was seriously hurting for cash.

Thanks to triple XP leveling speed, you need to train all the darn time and you have to do so little questing, you just don’t have money.  For this reason you might want to make the new characters on a server where you have friends or other characters who can loan you cash. Don’t bother taking gather skills and trying to mine your way to gold; you level way too fast for that. Fortunately we had a hundred gold or so on Argent Dawn already thanks to our previous time in SAN.

More RAF details: you have to be grouped together to get the bonus XP, and fairly close . Watch carefully, you don’t want to miss any of that precious precious XP! Pick up the “Kill Ten X” quests and not so much the “Bring me 18 tongues” quests. Takes too long. Plan ahead and pick up quests for instances, then run the instance and do all the quests. You’ll probably only go once before it’s not worth it for XP.  We did Stockades with the full set of 6 quests. By the time we could even get the Wetlands quest, some of them were green. Between running Stocks and turning in, we got four levels.

Strategize: once per hour each of you can summon the other to where you are. Set your hearthstones in different locations and use it as a quick travel method. (One at the trainer, one at the quest hub works nicely). Train every fourth level, or you’ll be running back to the trainer all the time. And look for quests that reward gear…

The newbie character can grant levels to a character on the veteran account, one level per every two that the newbie has. So if the newbie runs a character up to 60, he can grant 30 levels to a veteran character. To do this you have to be in the same location so it’s same server only.

You also gain a little more reputation than otherwise, I think it’s 10% extra. Just FYI.

So why would you want to do this? There’s the mount, of course. There’s having some level 60 characters fast – nice for figuring out if you actually like a playstyle, since many characters don’t really handle like they will at endgame until at least 40 if not 60. If you want a stable of alts on another server, this works well.

Cost: $20 for the new account plus $30 game time if you’re doing the two months = $50. If you’re paying for the veteran account from the same budget, subtract the $15 of free time the veteran receives = $35.  Any characters you transfer off of the newbie account are $25. I’ll probably just abandon mine  and we’ll RaF again so I can get a mount and permanent characters.

So far: our characters are level 34 and our /played time is something like 16 hours, and that includes leaving WoW logged in and walking away.

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Did I get your attention? Well this is not exactly what I used to think of blogging but it is close. Sure I knew there was some good ones out there. Some people wrote guides… but that was not really blogging was it? And some people would do some good (IRL) news or investigative reporting. But a whole bunch of people whose hobby was to post their thoughts on the internet as if someone actually cared? And there were people that made a habit to actually read them? What a waste of time!

On the flip side I was active at posting on various forums…. Heh.

So a few months back my wife suggests a WOW blog. Since I am actually a pretty big egotist I figured it might be fun to grace the masses with my amazing wit and wisdom. Starting the blog and then networking on it completely changed my view on things. Oh, by that point I was more open minded about them anyway. But it was still eye opening. So what did I discover?

Blogs are a slow moving forum inhabited by people that can actually write and think (mostly)

And, depending on how you set up your blog-roll you can tailor your ‘forum’ to be personalized with only posters you think are interesting and have something to contribute. Sweet eh? Of course since you are reading this you already knew that.

So here we are a few months later with lots of content and a couple people that sometimes read things. I am not sure we don’t have too much content… so most people just run more than one blog to break up topics? We have three series and a comic series going… And I am thinking about more. So far there is a series on tanking I am having a lot of fun with. Not going to link it in-line, the links are on the right.–>

I still have several more Tank 101 posts planned and more that probably will spawn.
Analogue also has one on healing and we both have done some for the pairs leveling series (need more in that one).

Since most of our series are guide oriented it seems lame, and pretentious, to spawn them off as their own blog. I would rather just have too many posts here.

So my newest idea is a series on wiping… Er, you know, in instances. I am not sure what I am going to call it yet. “Legends of the Fail” might be a bit much. “Why is my screen all black and white?” is probably too long (yeah I heard that in chat once). “The anatomy of a wipe” could be bad for the google search hits… So I am still not sure what to name it. It will be all about the ways a group dies. There are not as many as you might think.

Meanwhile I resolve to have more personal story posts. I keep finding myself saying to my wife ‘you should blog that’.

This post would be more suited for a bloggerversary but since we don’t have one of those anytime soon I just thought I would post it anyway. Thanks for clicking, we are not going anywhere for a while.

Oh, and the comics will keep coming. They are too much fun to do.

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