World of Warcraft

The Mysterious Case of Marcia

I received a legitimate from Blizzard today that I found to be very weird.

Blizzard is trying to win back customers with a seven-day pass to World of Warcraft for inactive subscriptions. There was just one problem: The name affixed to this email, which was connected to my World of Warcraft account, was “Marcia.”

Who is Marcia? I haven’t the foggiest.

What I can say is that I grew worried and checked my account immediately upon receiving the email. I found that it was still intact, with my authenticator keeping security tight, and that the email was legitimate since there was a notice below my account offering me seven free days to return to Azeroth.

That process took all of four minutes, and yet I still had no idea where this Marcia person came from.

To that end, I sent a ticket to Blizzard so that it could be investigated, and they got back to me in less than five hours. The result, according to the CS rep, was thus:

I reviewed your account, and it appears that your account *is* under your actual name. The discrepancy is with your World of Warcraft account, which appears to be under Marcia’s name at one point. Since the email was automatically sent out, it just looks like a little mistake on our computer’s part.

Of course, I shot back a follow-up question asking if the name could be changed to my name just so everything’s properly represented, but I expect them to get back to me on Monday. Still, at least I now sort of think I know the name of the person who hacked my WoW account so many years ago (unless it’s an alias or someone else’s name, of course). Here’s to hoping none of my accounts ever get hacked again.

On “Bad” Games, Pricing Models, and the Feeling of Fun

Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing - a "bad" game or simply not fun for a majority?

I was reading Beau Hindman’s latest Free for All column earlier and a thought occurred to me that I wanted to put in writing. In Hindman’s post, he was, in part, discussing how the free-to-play movement can be seen as the latest experiential phenomenon to take hold to the world of MMO gaming.

While free-to-play games have had a long-standing history in the realm of MMO titles available to the world, there’s been this stigma that a free-to-play MMO is is some sort of lesser being in the realm of gaming, that it is relegated to the realm of “inferior” products. We know now, through experiencing various MMO pricing models and hybrids of such models of payment, that high-quality and “less-than-high-quality” MMOs can be found in all points of the pricing spectrum.

Now, you may have noticed that I’ve placed quotation marks on some of the negative modifiers in the previous paragraph, and there’s a good reason for that. It all goes back to my personal belief that I, as an individual, have my own preferences and mindsets in life and I cannot truly say that one thing is absolutely abhorrent for everyone. Even the basic ideas of death and poverty or the basic emotions of joy and sadness are so wildly divergent in what they mean to people (such as in terms of what constitutes certain ideas, or what triggers an emotion).

As such, a corollary to my personal belief would be that the “bad” game does not exist. There are simply games that fewer people enjoy and games that a larger group of people enjoy. The sweeping generalizations that Syp recently talked about regarding gaming have to be taken out if we are to better understand why people can feel similar emotions when faced with completely different and possibly opposing stimuli.

For instance, let us take stock of Square Enix’s Final Fantasy XIV and Trion Worlds’ Rift.

When I first installed Final Fantasy XIV on my computer, I played for four or five hours and pretty much left the game entirely because it did not capture my attention. Information on the game and its various activities was scarce, and if you were the type of gamer who honed his skills on World of Warcraft, the lack of question marks to indicate quest givers would drive you insane.

On the other hand, when I first heard of Rift and played the beta, I was also not thoroughly impressed, until launch grew closer and I realized it was essentially a highly polished and technically proficient game with an intriguing storyline. If you check my Rift articles here on Games and Geekery, you’ll notice I meander between thinking the game is “meh” and thinking the game is awesome for having tanks that can self-heal.

If you fast forward to last week though, you’ll notice I barely posted anything. The simple response to this is that Rift could not hold my attention and I was madly searching for a game to occupy my free time. On Saturday evening, I decided to play Final Fantasy XIV again on a whim. I created a new character, rolled on a new server, and looked for the old guild I was chatting with online about the game. I played FFXIV for, as it happens, 14¬† hours straight that day (a feat that only happened once previously when I went raiding in vanilla WoW).

This week, I was reading through other blogs, and Elementalistly’s entry on how he feels about Rift kind of got to me. It wasn’t that I was offended by his post. Quite the opposite really.

You see, I was beginning to feel the exact same thing he felt when it came to Rift, only I was experiencing what he was feeling with Final Fantasy XIV, the game Elementalistly and I once both found to be less than stellar.

When I compare the two games on a purely technical level, I find Rift to be a clear leader in terms of customer-centric accessibility and polish. Final Fantasy XIV is not perfect, and still remains free-to-play so long as Square Enix deems the game to be in a state that is below their standard of what a good game should be.

Despite this, however, I know that there are people like myself who currently feel about Final Fantasy XIV the same way that Elementalistly feels about Rift. We’re all having fun in the games our preferences and predilections lead us to, and it shouldn’t matter how much you play, how much you pay, or how off-beat your tastes are.

The important thing is that you are happy with what you’re doing, whether it’s when you’re playing an MMORPG, when you’re writing that fantasy novel masterpiece about the adventurous marmot with nunchaku, or when you’re enjoying Direct TV Specials in the comfort of your home.

Exceptions to the Rule

There is so much that can be said about this next bit of internet weirdness, but I suppose Syp sums up my reaction to the posted situation rather well with a facepalm.

In a nutshell, a WoW Player goes permanently deaf, and support from his guild deteriorates rather swiftly as the guild leader asks if the player can still use Vent. Player cannot use vent because he can’t hear, argument breaks out between him and GL, and player is kicked from the guild and put on ignore.

While I can understand why a rule exists for having a VOIP service as a prerequisite to raid, I would have thought there’d be outstanding exceptions to such a rule. It brings back the idea of the “spirit of the law” versus the “letter of the law.”

Following the letter of the law is all well and good, but if one doesn’t make concessions to the intended spirit to which a law was made, if there is no compassion for your fellow man in your judgment, then the law itself is as oppressive as a tyrant’s rule… or something to that effect.

I’m glad, at least, that the player has received words of support from people so that he doesn’t feel so down. Not everyone in WoW is a jerk, and this is certainly a good reminder of it.

December – Willpower = Monetary Losses, Many Games, and Lots of Love

December was a rather tumultuous month for me for a variety of reasons. In addition to school, I was looking for a new job and was constantly rebudgeting my money to compensate for a lack of willpower due to various personal events happening in my life.

For once, I gave a digital gift through Stargrace’s Secret Santa. I bought a copy of Amnesia: The Dark Descent, and I’m hoping MMO Gamer Chick, the fine blogger who received my gift, enjoys the numerous hours of immeasurable terror it brings.

On the side of my personal purchases, I had an active sub to World of Warcraft. In addition to this, I bought Mount and Blade and its Warband “expansion.” I spent some money to alleviate some personal depression, but it ended up making me feel worse, so I actually went and purchased even more games to try and forget the guilt I was feeling, and my inability to say no to a good deal sort of killed my budget severely. MMO Gamer Chick, who happened to be my Secret Santa, also gave me her gift, which was a Steam copy of Borderlands, which I’ve played quite a bit.

As Christmas neared though, some unexpected gifts came in. People started giving me money, and I started saving it up, only to realize that I wanted even more games because of some rather intriguing deals and my own lack of Willpower. I purchased Just Cause 2, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, and Team Fortress 2 within the past two weeks. I also unsubbed to WoW, and replaced it with a sub to Darkfall in order to make an attempt to resurrect Blackrod LeDouche.

Finally, Longasc from Twitter enticed me to purchase Guild Wars with some healthy talking points on Twitter, and because of some luck on my end and some assistance from Ardua as well, Steam had the Trilogy on sale and the Eye of the North expansion was available on the NCSoft Store for 10 dollars. Total damage: a little over 35 dollars for the full package, once I finish installing the Guild Wars Trilogy.

Right now, I’m not sure if I’m really happy or not, but one thing I do know is that I’m loved, not only by my family, but also by the friends I have here at home and also those of you online who comment on my tweets or read my blog. To all of you, it means a lot.

To all of my friends online, I just want to say thank you, and Merry Christmas. Much love to all of you, and cheers! ūüėÄ

Rocky Ruminations: The Culture of Stone

It is unsettling to think that They Who Walk see themselves as our betters, that they think us all dead, or broken, or useless as rubble. What would perhaps unsettle them is this simple fact: we choose to let them believe such in order for us to observe and ruminate on the particulars of these people.

How can They Who Walk compare to our majesty, when they require sustenance to continue about their lives? How can these people think themselves our betters when the pain they know best is that of the body, whereas we know deeply the pain of the soul?

They fortify themselves with our bodies, infuse us with magic to further their dreams of power, and shoot us from guns in order to make men bleed. Where we come from, there is no need for such barbarity. We stand strong against the elements and have no need for petty things such as war, or famine, or strife. With us, there is only peace and the promise of greater knowledge with each passing day.

If They Who Walk were able to understand our thoughts they would know that, before any one of these men could call themselves cultured, we already carried on the development of the greatest culture of all time. OF ALL TIME! Our art is in the words of the soul, our knowledge is of worlds and stars, and our future is filled with immutable promise.

We are a culture of stone, and wings of death shall not deter us. We watch all the worlds, etching the tales of mankind into the Great Tablet from which all shall know in time. From dust we came, and to the dust shall we, each and every one of us, return.


~Excerpt from as etched by Kuugan Third-Name ~

Rocky Ruminations: The Naming of Rocks

This is a new attempt at a series of posts discussing a view of World of Warcraft life never seen and talked about by any of its denizens, living or dead.  To start, this is an introduction to the series, which will formally begin in approximately 14 hours, at 10:30 a.m., Philippine Time.

Apologies to T.S. Eliot or his relatives (if any exist) that will find the next bit rather unsettling or an affront to human sensibilities.

The naming of Rocks is a difficult matter.
It isn’t just one of those holiday games.
You might think at first, that I’m as splashy as water
When I tell you a rock must have four different names.

First of all, there’s the name that Alliance use daily,
such as Sentinel, Hillsbrad, or Alterac Plains
Perhaps Victor, or Frida, or Grobnick, or Mei-Li
think of them sensible, everyday names.

There are also Horde names if you think of fancy stuff,
Some very common and some filled with fame
Such as Red Rock, Stonetalon, or even Thunder Bluff,
Yet they are all sensible, everyday names.

Yet I tell you, a rock needs a name that’s particular
A name that’s peculiar, yet quite dignified.
Else how can he stand tall and vestibular
or rain from the heavens, or cherish his pride?

For names of this kind, I shall give you a quorum!
There is Galvanblast, Thresho, or Erbil von Dat!
There is Balbautogia, or else Sephoridum,
Names affixed to stone and to only one, at that!

But above and beyond, there’s name that’s left over
And that is a name you will never guess,
For only the greatest archeomaniacs discover
What a rock himself knows and shall never confess!

When you notice a rock on the road, stop and ponder
the reason we’re there: it is always the same.
We are watching, and waiting, making a dissertation
on the thoughts… yes, the thoughts
Those ineffable, effable,
Thoughts you might have when you think of our names.



~As etched by Erdwise Third-Name from his tablet of poems, Around The Haggard Human the Rugged Rock Rolled~

More Butchered Song Lyrics: Stillwater’s First Day of Cataclysm


Notes: Cataclysm began in my country at 4pm of Tuesday. I rolled a Goblin Hunter named Lucretinker on the Nagrand Server, and boy, has hunter play change. I don’t even use mana anymore!

Was sitting here in my boring room
Was just another sunny Tuesday afternoon
Was wasting my time, I had nothing to do…
Just hanging around, a Twittering fool
But something’s s’posed to happen, and I wonder…

Went driving around in my car
Bought Cata at last, came back home before  four.
Installed that sucker, patched it up
Waited a bit ’cause the servers went bust
And something’s spose’d to happen, and I wonder…

Logged onto WoW and wondered why
I Rolled a Goblin Hunter from the Kezan Isle
When all that I would see
Is Deathwing flying over me.

Enslaved on a ship, almost drowned
Ended on the Lost Isles where Thrall and I found
A pact so we’d be free
To be Horde and make tons of money!

*a la-dee-da interlude*

I’m sitting here,
Playing for hours
S’posed to take my goblin through the back to Azshara.

But there’s a couple dailies I did instead
Leveled  my tradeskills, Killed chickens dead.
Well, nothing ever happens, and I wonder…

Isolation is not good for me.
Isolation! I don’t want to do quests with just my crab and me!

I’m stepping around in Azshara, Oh Boy!
Killed sixty naga with goblin made mortars.
I’d rather punch a dragon, and I wondered…

I wonder how, I wonder why
I couldn’t rocket jump to punch him in the eye,
Back there in Ol’ Kezan
To show the people I’m the man!

I’m thinking instead about how
I’d spec into beast mastery and make a vow
To punch him in the face
And turn him to a big disgrace!

And I wonder, I wonder!

I wonder how, I wonder why
I rolled a goblin hunter from the Kezan Isle
When all that I would see
When all that I would see
Is Deathwing flying over me.

Excited for Cataclysm?

I just basically want a show of comments here folks.

Who’s excited for Cataclysm, and for what reason?


Personally, I’m excited to play a goblin hunter, but I’m also feeling some stress related to playing through the game as my Tauren Death Knight. I’m not sure what to do, as I want to be a part of the endgame with my guild, but I do want to play that Hunter to sweet, sweet death.

A Song for the Shattering


To the tune of “Time of My Life”

Human Hunter male: Now WoW’s had the change of its life
No it’s never felt like this before
Yes I swear. It’s the truth
Blizzard owes it all to you

Tauren Paladin Female: And I’ve had the time of my life
and I owe it all to you

Human Hunter Male: I’ve been Human for so long
Now I’ve finally found a boar
To stand by me.

Tauren Paladin Female: We saw Sunlight on the wall
As we felt this Light-filled fantasy

Both: Now with passion in our eyes
There’s no way we could disguise it secretly
We hold weapons in our hand
‘Cause we seem to understand the urgency

Human Hunter Male: Just Remember

Tauren Paladin Female: There’s just one thing

Human Hunter Male: I can’t get enough of

Tauren Paladin Female: More than PVP-ing,

Both: Shattering’s come! Because

Both: WoW’s had the change of its life
Oh it’s never felt this way before!
Yes I swear! It’s the truth!
Blizzard owes it all to you
Tauren Paladin Female: With my body and soul
Want aggro more than you’ll ever know

Human Hunter male: Pop Bestial Wrath on the Boar
Forget the shots, let’s lose control!

Tauren Paladin Female: Yes I know whats on your mind
When you say:
Let’s Bubble Hearth tonight.”

Human Hunter male: Just remember:
WoW’s the one thing

Tauren Paladin Female: I can’t get enough of

Human Hunter male: So I’ll tell you something

Both: This could be love, because

Both: WoW’s had the change of its life
No it’s never felt this way before
Yes I swear! It’s the truth
And Neltharion’s come for you!

Now WoW’s had a new lease on life
As every soul on Azeroth’s done for
‘Til I found the loot
And I owe that all to you…


Human Hunter male: Now I’ve had the time of my life
No I never felt this way before

(Tauren Paladin Female: Never Felt this way)

Human Hunter male: Yes I swear it’s the truth
and I owe it all to you

Both: WoW’s had the change of its life
And every soul on Azeroth’s done for!
Till I’ve found the loot
and I owe that all to you

And I’ve had the time of my life
No I’ve never felt this way before
Yes I swear! It’s the truth
And I owe Blizz money too!