Thursday, March 31, 2011


This is one dance where Mat won't have to sit out...she is very excited to be going through Karazhan these next few days. (Kind of reminds her of a the Haunted Mansion ride, Scooby-Do, Jane Eyre, and a dash of Tim Burton all rolled up into one big adventure!) Oh, you really have no idea how thrilled this makes her...

Mat in the ballroom - wondering if they know the Texas Two-Step*

*Oh -it's on my friend. Most defintely ON.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Hot mess.

Luperci going where no level 32 paladin should go...

This is Luperci. About the coolest thing about her is her name, which although technically is a collective noun, basically means protective party animals. Because right now, that's the best thing she's got going for her.

She is is a hot mess. Neither fish nor fowl. Protector of the Universe? Hardly. No shield, no helm, no bus fare. But the other day, impulsively, she went into a dungeon as a tank, and she kind of liked it. There was something about heading horn-first into an angry mob and helping it tumble down that was pretty satisfying. Expect greatness and glory from her? Only time will tell. Meanwhile she'll shake down some ghouls and monsters for that bus fare.

Perhaps this will clean her up a bit:

Postcript: No, this doesn't mean Luperci is going to be "dances naked with wolves." Sheesh people. She's not a shaman ya know.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dancing with myself...

Mat in Baradin Hold last night: Death Knight drank Potion of Illusion to look like her: but Mat's one-of-a-kind...

Wonderful post on leveling an enhancement shaman: full of the complexities and intricacies that make up Mat:

The point is made that enhancement shamans are similar to Death Knights: maybe that explains why Mataoka's doppelganger Morphemia sits fixed at level 74.5: Mat's human just doesn't have the stamina to level another complicated character at the moment. She just needed some pew-pew with her hunter* or spam-aids on a lower level healer. She knows it gets much more complicated, every class has its nuances and dare she say: culture?

There have been a few tears shed when Mat's human thinks why-oh-why did she begin playing with a enhancement shaman? The learning curve has been really steep. Mountain-goat-hoof-steep. She just didn't know any better. Thus the ignorance of noobs.

They say there are no accidents. Mat's human is not so sure about that. Maybe..there are? Anyway, chaos, string or relativity theories aside - shrug - perhaps Mat was not this human's first character without some cosmic play. Mat's human is also: complex, known for the occasional short-burst rage, dual-hemi-wields, hybrid-dynamic chassis 4.8...oh wait. No. That's her truck. Nevermind. In any case, the human shares many traits with this shaman. Stand clear of her magma AoE when there is an injustice or if she just needs to call shenanigans on some bull. But keep close to her when she showers a healing rain over you. She always does what she can to make things better.

And that laugh*. The only difference between Mat's and her human's is her human's goes on longer, and a bit louder...but still ladylike.

*That's right, boys: Baradin Hold. Piece of Mana Cake. 
*And BELIEVE ME - she knows how complicated hunters can be too - hers just isn't there yet.
*This is a female Draenei thing, not a shaman thing.

I dare you not to get up and dance: Dancing with myself --Billy Idol

Monday, March 28, 2011

Loose ends.

Here are a few epilogues to some posts:

Invoking Parlay: Mat was saddened to learn the impulsive, issues-with-anger-management Death Knight had been deleted. Godspeed, sir, rest in peace.

What I Got: Debt paid. Thanks, my friend.

Beseech: Ozruk -- still at large. Arise, my champions! Help a girl out.


2010 Blizzard Global Writing Contest:

Sunday, March 27, 2011

High note.

While Mat's still curled up in sheepskin blankets, and resting her head on flaxen linen pillows in a dwarven hovel somewhere, her human's been busy. Well - not as focused as she could be, admittedly. It's Sunday evening, there's probably, maybe, a new Simpsons' episode, homemade chicken burritos (chicken's been in the crock pot for a day; seasoned to perfection, and no, Senor -it's not croc meat), and laundry is drying.

But the weekend didn't start off so rosy and cozy:

The blues definitely put a debuff on Mat's friends this weekend. And just like sometimes we "choose" to hide under the covers and not face reality, her friends chose either to take a break from, or hide, from play time this weekend. Because quite frankly, it quit feeling like play.

Mat watched from the sidelines as more ambitious players kept climbing the ladder. Punks cussed out her nurturing, lower-level Night Elf holy priest, Zeptepi, in dungeons. (Really, young man, who says WTF ZEP to a healer when: A. you are not dead; and B. are not going to be dead and C: she said she was sorry for the mistake, offered a trade, and yet --you still said she had an ego when she politely asked you not to swear? It's Sunday, for heaven's sake, and she's a priestess...and...and...), and some of Mat's friends had other issues and concerns. But mostly...Mat was just kind of feeling that player-plateau-paradox that we all probably feel in life. We know we should just enjoy the moment, but can't quite find it...

Mat watched a video on Magmaw (which to her human, sounds like some southern grandmother's name - Mee-maw, a very common matriarchal nickname), and thought to herself: Oh, snap. Even though the charming British accents give the whole scenario a two-lumps-of-sugar-dropped-with-silver-tongs feel, it still looks deadly, deadly, and fast. No monologuing-super villain. You're just dead. Did she mention dead?

And the first comment on the Youtube video site does make a misspelled point: players were wanting tougher content. And Blizzard, being who they are, and wanting the monthly subscription dues, are more than happy to deliver to the end-content user. Some of these tougher players may prove to be a bit too macho for Mataoka, however. She was feeling, suddenly, very...very..."I'll just stay in the castle thank you (say this in a British accent) and shine the helms...ta ta!"

But then Mat's human remembered a quote from one of her favorite movies, The Big Lebowski. (Mat's human does not care whether or not you think she's weird, or you don't get this movie. You know she's a dork - just accept that). There are many memorable quotes, but the one that seems to fit this mood is when Walter Sobchack (John Goodman) tells the Jeff Bridge's character, "F*** it, Dude. Let's go bowling."*

Because sometimes, it doesn't matter if it's a league game. It doesn't matter if you're over the line (you really should just watch the movie). All that matters is that you're bowling.

And Mat wants to give a nod to her intrepid dwarf hunter buddy: You don't let any of this baloney stop you from having fun. I saw that you were in one of the raids today, and hope it was exciting and fun.

So, by way of a happy, new beginning, to Mat's friends, she'd like to say:
Paladin: Your hair looks fantastic. And you're amazing, and your timing impeccable.
Senor: You rock. Always. And I'm glad you got your balloon today. Although in your worthy hands, will be one the deadliest balloons in the game.
Hunter girl: You are the most beautiful hunter in all of Azeroth. And in the real world too. Have no doubt.
Warrior: Your talents lie far beyond the world of Azeroth. And you crack me up (and I take that very seriously). I'm still a bit concerned about your priest however: did anyone ever answer his ad?
Gnome: I don't think you know about this blog, but your spirited exuberance inspires me.

And if the nihilists torch your car or put a marmot in your bathtub, remember: you are an achiever.

*(And yes, apologies for the profanity on a Sunday.)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

When the cat's away...

Following busy gnomes: Mat in the sewers and canals of Stormwind. 

The crepuscular spring evening is rainy but greenly bright. Drumming thumbs and fingers on the railing of the inn, beating the rhythm of just needed to get out of Stormwind, but wasn't sure where. Normally very hardy and weather-proof, she felt a bit chilled even at the thought of venturing out. Her wingless cloak might shrink in the rain. A little gnome had put her through her paces the night before--no, gnomes weren't the answer, as charming as they are. In the air clung a hint of the gnome mage's pet skunk and, was that ozone Mat smelled? A frosty, moldy stench from the mage's water minion? While her human is busy, it occurred to her the only obvious thing to do: drink with dwarfs. 

There were many a night, in her tough training days, while drinking with dwarfs, when she crawled in the sleeping sack, with dwarfs sitting on her legs still chugging away, laughing. They never bothered her or played mean-spirited pranks, they loved her too much. But she was teased for being somewhat of a lightweight. Draenei blood doesn't hold its mead well.

However, once there, in Twilight Highlands, with the braggadocious and bombastic heroes clanging away in Bastions, she could curl up next to an embracing hearth with the friendly folk, have a few pints, and laugh the night away. 


See? We Enhancement Shams get some nourishment, too:

Lucky in love.

There is an old saying: "Lucky at cards, unlucky in love."

Mat is lucky in love.

This dropped today during her Valor Point run:

She didn't get it. The tank did, and said he was going to use it for his hunter. Oh well - c'est la vie.

But you know what she did have? A really, really fun morning.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Senor, gracias por todo lo que haces. Tu amistad significa mucho para mi. Siempre habre un lugar en este mundo y en mi corazon por ti.*

Today was a really good day--full of sunshine and dancing. But the clouds encroach upon Mat's human as quickly as a bad mood, and while she was driving home, and a little voice said, "just quit."

And like an unwelcome chore, she logs on for her daily valor points, and sees that her friend is playing. He seems discouraged; she confesses that today she thought about quitting. He is thinking the same. They talk, and promise to support each other while they take care of real-world projects, of which they are both facing. Her project is more expensive than Deathwing's dry-cleaning bills, and twice as looming. His is probably the same.

And Mat was thinking about what another friend told her, too: for some players, it's not all about DPS scores, but who the human is, behind the toon. And Mat imagines her trickster mage friend, the human, is a pretty wonderful human indeed (she's just glad she doesn't work for him!).

Mi amigo, we will both feel better if we take care of business. Because we have that in common. Si, boss?

*I did the best I could. 

Postscript: will play enough to pay the bills. That never changes, no matter which world we live in!

In-valorious Basterds.

Mat woke up from a sheet-soaking nightmare: she was in a beautiful meadow, and a small gnome*, speaking in tongues, told her to go climb a mountain. She started up the path easily, but then as each hoof took another step, the ground began to give way, the dirt crumbling into tiny shaped V's and Ps'...she just couldn't reach the top of Valor Point Mountain.

Okay, okay --it was only a dream. Though her day yesterday was fairly bizarre. The morning was bright and clear, and filled with great conversation and insight. This always buffs her day.

But later, in the evening, trying to do her dungeon-a-day* she pops into Shadowfang. For some reason, she likes this dungeon. It has pretty colors. A guildmate reminds her of an appointment, and for the first time ever - Mat bails.

Well, a worgen curse must have hexed her; when she returns from real-life adventures, she goes into her next dungeon.

You guessed it: Stonecore.

And the tank, sorry to say, was simply not up to the task; we wiped on the first few mobs.

Next up: Grim.

No worries. No problem.


Mat went against her own tenacious, persevering nature and enough was enough. Hooves weren't moving. Dwarf hunter couldn't seem to read DPS score charts. Healer was starting to make herself martinis. And no one knew left from right for the last adds, though Mat demonstrated very clearly by standing here and there what was considered "right" and "left."


But, you know what? She's really not that upset. The day started off great. And this day will, too.

*No-you were not the gnome in the dream.
*This is a work of fiction. Mat's human actually dreamed of snakes wearing vests.
*This apparently has changed! Thanks, my friend, for the information.

Theme song: "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" The Clash

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What I got.

Early in the mornin'
Risin' to the street
Light me up that cigarette and I'll strap shoes on my feet
Got to find a reason
Reason things went wrong
Got to find a reason why my money's all gone...

After a humiliating run in Stonecore a few days ago, Mat left the dungeon for some repairs, reached in her beautiful embersilk bags, and found herself a bit short. The repairs were 90g. She had 85. So, she hocked some soul-bound weapons that she'd probably (hopefully) never use and her grandmother's cocktail jewelry, fixed up, and back she went.

Money's been on Mat's mind lately. She's been trying to repay a debt in a timely and honest manner. She had to hit up a cross-dressing rogue and her rich mage uncle for some of the gold. The uncle had just spent 25kg on a staff. Twenty-five thousand gold. Mat has never had more than 8kg in her bags at any one point in time. It makes her feel a bit embarrassed, and frustrated. She has missed opportunities for wonderful and rare items because she just didn't have the gold ready and accessible. (She is certain there are guildmates who have off-shore accounts in the Bahamas, but this has never been confirmed, as they pour the Dalaran champagne.) The item that procured this particular debt was worth every pence, and the seller is incredibly sweet, fair and honest. Mat would have liked to earn one on her own someday, and sell it, which would be so much more satisfying. (Earning our rewards and boons on our own volition is the way to go; and, it is conversely devastating when these rewards are taken from us through avarice.)

But sometimes you just gotta pay the cobbler for new shoes and keep walking.

Now money, (gold, lire, yen, clams, etc.) is a touchy subject. More so than sex, politics, or religion. Our ability to earn, keep and spend gold may be more judged than our gear scores.

Coincidentally, as she was thinking she'd have to spend more time farming and less time hanging out on farms, a little gnome friend in disguise as a Death Knight popped in to share her success in saving enough gold for something or another. This little gnome mage is so cute, sweet, and innocent. She is as delightful as a gumdrop and, if she was a flavor, it would be blueberry. She tells Mat this: "Oh, I noticed you have some volatile fire in the AH, so I'll wait until your auction is over before I sell mine."

Mat nearly fell off her gryphon.

"NO! Silly!! Go ahead and sell it--don't worry about me!" 

The point is, business is just that--business. We all have a right to make some gold, have some fun, and spend it on what we choose. But, /sigh, is it tough to do. Earning only 70 VP a day in a heroic sure does make for some slow going for gear. Grind, yes - and sometimes Mat feels ground to a halt. 

Sometimes life in the "World" seems a bit too much like work. Real life work. Mat's human doesn't do her real-life life for a lot of gold in relative terms (money is all a matter of perspective: you have a penny, and they don't, you're richer). Mat is the sugar-momma for her alts, and that cupboard is getting kind of bare. So, she'd better get her tail out there and start making some scratch. She doesn't want her celestial steed repo'd. 

Theme song: "If I had a Million Dollars" by Barenaked Ladies

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


In the squeezing hours of night, she heard a voice only wood-fairies and toads can ignore: the moon had strayed too close to the earth, spoke apologies, but vised the ground and trees nonetheless. The moon's light would not, could not, let go of earth.  The voice whispered to Mat, who was enclosed of rooms of wood, bronze, smoke, and the floor coverings of Dwarfs'. The moon shrugged. Not wanting to spend another night on the scratchy Dwarf rugs (spun from uncombed rams’ fur and brambles), alone, she tumbled her way to Moonglade. Emerald-shard fire and ice grass blades melted under her hooves. Winter still frosted the early spring. 

She had one final bottle of moonglow in her last pixie-dust sprinkle of effervescent energy. (She hoped that this was the penultimate vial, but no, no more remained.) She drank it, and enjoyed the speed-of-light spell, danced, and laughed. The Night Elves looked on, if they chose to see her at all. Dancing alone under the spell of the moon is self-indulgent--she doesn't deny it. The pull of an early spring night is intoxicating, and the moon will have her say.

When she came to her senses, and the moon-fever had burned through, she reluctantly put back on her mail and weapons, and went back to the iron and salt world of Stormwind. 

Postscript: Mat doesn't want to be hemispheric: in the southern hemisphere, the seasons are changing, too, but like a giant yin-yang, who's to say who is spinning this way or that way/?

Theme song: "Yellow" --Coldplay

For something completely different: The Rite of Spring --Stravinksy


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Party's over.

Did someone crack your cupcake? Pee in your punchbowl? Too many clowns and not enough balloons? Well, listen up, jokers. Mat is as calm as a mana spring totem, but if one of her friends has been wronged, she will come to their aid and defense. If you need to vent, nerd rage, or just talk, please call upon her. She likes to think she has the ability to wind shear any troubles and make them simply fly away. Her kegs of powerful mojo and joy are always at the ready, and she brings her own tap and cups. No deposit required.

Theme song: "Sledgehammer" --Peter Gabriel

Postscript:  Mat is not making light of any injury, insult, or wrong-doing: far from it. She is empathetic, and takes matters seriously. There are some blackguards out there; those whose selfish deeds may be their undoing. She is merely offering her time and attention if you need to rally and rail.  


What is love?

(No--you didn't just get Rick rolled. Mat would never do that.)

Before you answer, this isn't necessarily romantic love, either; but the things we do, give, and receive that make us so very happy.

Mat sees a message from a friend, shouting out to the electronic world, that to him, love is his girlfriend helping him with archeology (he really wish she would just play with him, but I am paraphrasing --damn journalists--always getting the quote wrong!)

That is about the sweetest thing she has ever heard. 

This inspires her: she now has the burning question: How do you feel the love, show the love?

Another player shares this story:
"We were in a dungeon and we had a really bad PUG group, and it really made him mad so we left. I really didn't understand why he was so upset until we were standing in SW and he opened a trade window with me and tried to pay for my repairs. He said that I didn't deserve a group like that and he was sorry. I told him it really wasn't a big deal, declined the gold, and then asked why that bothered him so much. He said, "It just really pisses me off to see you die." Wow...I think that was one of the nicest things anyone has said to me in game before. It really made me take a step back and I have been thinking about it all day. 
In real life, we all have our heroes that we look up to and cherish. In game we have these too, just in a different form. We have our tanks that would rather take the beatings so we don't die. We have our healers that spend every ounce of mana they have trying to heal our wounds. We also have our DPS heroes that if we die, they will be there to fight for your honor and get revenge for what they did to you. In my mind, that's love."
Whew...when Mat hear this...she thought...damn. (Coming out soon as a major motion picture...starring James Franco as the tank and I don't care who plays the female lead because James Franco is going to ask me out...and no, Natalie Portman, you can't have this one.)

The grand, sweeping gestures...those are take-your-breath-away wonderful. 

But that isn't always what it takes for love.

Did you ever sit at work, and think of something funny a friend did in a dungeon, laugh out loud, and have your coworkers look at you strangely? Log in, and get excited to see there's mail and it's not from the Auction House, but from a friend?  Love is when friends share how to do fun emotes (remember /golfclap?), take you out dancing in goblin joints, and maybe not start fights with PvP Horde, but certainly finish them. And if you're feeling a bit blue, Love will make you a beautiful dress just so you can feel like a princess for a moment, before battle begins again. Love sits with you while you clean out your bags, and then buys the next round. Love shows you where the secret places are, or patiently crafts  a new gem or enchant for you, mats included. 

Love is in many forms. In the most surprising of moments. Don't take them for granted. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Checking it twice.

There is no such thing as a quick dungeon run, Mat thinks. Anytime someone asks for this in a PUG it is jinxed, it seems.

As was the case this morning in Grim Batol.

Apologetic healer. Okay. But about five or more wipes? (Mat lost count.) Was the healer stoned? Mat isn't sure. She didn't bring a drug test.

At one point, the tank, DK, said to us all, "You're on my list."

Mat hears Comic Book Guy's voice in her head.

He proceeded to tell us that he keeps track of players and servers.

Mat knew she had nothing to apologize for; she was more than pulling her weight, hexing, binding, and damaging her way through.

She whispered tank something about doing her best or some such nonsense, and he says to her, "No you're cool you're on my good list."

So Mat imagines, somewhere in the world is a scratch-pad note that says Mataoka Whisperwind enh shaman cool (is this a good thing?).

Always better to be nice than naughty when someone's keeping score.

Postscript: those were some hard-won Valor Points.

Theme song: "Simpsons Theme Song" by Danny Elfman

Invoking Parlay

Mat sips a rum & Diet Lime Coke in Ratchet...
Many seasons ago...when the crisp fall air began to snap at tails and tabards, Mat became restless as the skittering leaves. And though she fears to confess these swaggering stories, for the reprimand, betrayal, and distrust they may conjure, she feels she must have others take heed, for dead men, indeed, tell no tales. 

These are the stories of her brief days flying the colors of the Bloodsail Buccaneers. Death Knights, who have crossed to the other side and back through the fire, blood, and frost, returning from the dead, have no fear of crimson fights and traitorous acts. Mataoka regrets the influence of a Death Knight, and the opportunistic achievement which cost her dearly. She keeps her Bloodsail garb in her bags, along with the title of Bloodsail Admiral, but rarely, if ever, takes them out. The bloodstains of the hearts of goblins will never wash away in the ocean's tide. 

So on this warm fall day, she jumps in with both hooves and no thought to the consequences, declaring war among her once loyal friends of the Steamwheedle Cartel, she and others plunder, pillage and butcher their way across Booty Bay. Mat finds herself entrenched deeper, crossed over the point of no return, and any forming regrets are not afforded the voice or chance--this is her worst moment, her darkest decision.

The impulsive Death Knight is warned by a member of the Alliance not to kill the banker...or there will be hell to pay, and the Devil himself will collect. The banker's soul is snatched by boiling blood, and the Alliance returns as a Horde shadow priestess. And although Mat pleaded with her, begged her--it was not her fault, she just wanted the title, the priestess kills her repeatedly. She resurrects, and is targeted. Mat's soul, damaged and bruised by the traitorous act, is further diminished by the priestess's soul-sucking spells.

Now for those of you who are thinking that Mat was only getting what she thoroughly deserved, you are correct. But until you've stood on the other side of the looking glass, until the mirror-mirror has told you you are no longer the fairest, or the rabbit hole's roots and vines don't ensnare your descent, you may not understand that every hero needs a moment of facing her dark side in order to return to the light...

And so Mat did.

She paid the devil his due. And proceeded to seek redemption and forgiveness--

Wearing a target, the red maligned goblins of Booty Bay, Everlook, Gadgetzan and Ratchet would summarily kill her on site. She would fly in nearly nude, vulnerable, but still extolled price of repairs, cloth, and travel days. This reputation took her seven times as long to repair as it did to exact. She is considered honored again with Booty Bay and Ratchet, but only neutral with her once- friendly Gadgetzan and Everlook. She sighs with relief and remorse every time she flies into one of these zones and isn't netted and shot. 

She learned the hard way where the graveyards and the flight paths cross.

It may not be possible to reach this achievement in the new world. The goblins are much stronger, and unless you truly have a death wish, Mat implores you to learn from her mistake and do not attempt this bloodstained and dubious achievement. 

Mat's friends know of these days, purse their lips, and are silent as stars. Their eyes speak loudest: their disappointment of her poor judgment is clear. Her friends would not offer tithe, bail money, or distract the bondsman; she came back and paid her dues all on her own. 

Aye, matey -- that's a tale worth hearing.

Postcript:  It would be cheaper to buy a football team named the Bloodsail Buccaneers than to pay the price of gold, cloth, time, and reputation. But at least you'd have the cheerleading outfit.

Theme songs:
"Remember (Walkin' In the Sand)" --The Shangri-Las
"Nobody's Fault but My Own" -- Campbell/Beck

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Kaylyne Spells It Out.

OMG, IMO WoW has too many acronyms. Half the time IDK what they are trying to say. I guess I need to QQing and LOL about it. I am well OMW to screaming “FTW” when I see WTB, WTT, WTS in trade chat. The constant LFG, LFM, LFR or even LFW makes me want to nerd rage. Not to mention BGs, specs, dungeons, raids, profs, towns, and spells that I have to keep track of. FML! IRL we don’t go around saying “BRT” or “OMW” when letting a friend know we are coming or “BRB” or “BIO” when we have to take a potty break. I mean WTF? So I run out of the AH and get out of SW and disregard TC just to jump into a PUG with a healer who doesn’t know how to use his HOT and keeps going OOM* cause the DPS sucks and doesn’t AOE or CC. The tank admits it is not his MS and is taking way too much DOT and needing on all the BOEs for his OS. He keeps blowing his CDs and doesn’t understand his GCDs and we wipe cause he ran out of LOS to get away from the PAT. “BR?” he askes. Nope! No druids. GG! His ILVL sucked and made me think back to sitting in Dal watching TC reading about GS. FML. That sucked too. All I wanted was my VPs and JPs for the day but the healer went AFK, but DW; super tank is here! HWG again! INC-Troggs! I MD on the tank, but oops! Targeted the DPS instead! Drop PUG, try again. Oh wait. How about a BG? I think I will! I don’t have enough HP to get good PVP gear so I am trying in my BOA gear. I get a friendly BOP from a pally and put on a bandage, but die anyway. Just to get a sarcastic “GJ!” followed by a rude gesture. WTH was I thinking? Alliance win in a BG? GTFO here! That would never happen. PVP is not Alliance’s strong suit IMHO. We can barely PVE the NPCs! Oh well! IDC! “We’ll keep trying!” OIC how it is! Thanks Horde! So maybe I will try my hand at RP and PST a draenei and he started up an ERP conversation that makes me facepalm. G2G! JK RP’s not for me. ROFL. What a day. Just makes me LMAO! In fact, I am LSHMSFOAIDMT*!
*Editor's Note: Either you know it or you don't.

*Mat knows this is Out of Mana, but thought that maybe the healers were chanting their mantras, too.

Numbers game.

Remember Mat's human, in high school, bewitching, befuddling, and bewildering a D&D player? Ultimately, the dice won out: Geek over love. Nerd over hormones. You win this round, complicated role play game structure! But I'll be back!! Oh, yes!!

Mat has greatly benefited from the patience and kindness of her friends. She has sensed she has tested this patience more than once. And, after helping many newer players herself, she realizes more deeply, more appreciatively, how generous this help and assistance are. It speaks to all personalities and characters: those players who genuinely like Mat and enjoy her company have extended advice and information. Inspecting her up and down, trying to make sure she's added up right.

Now Mat is not her human, nor her human this character. But there is some cross-over, most certainly. Mat's human was an art major, (painter, printmaker), has been a copywriter, ninja-in-training and creative defender of humanity. (Can you put those on your resume?) But one thing Mat's human isn't (hang head in shame and fixed-mindset thinking), is "good" at math. Somewhere along the line things stopped adding up. To pull her through an otherwise stellar academic career, she would have to have tutors help her with basic college level algebra. (For some reason, biology and geometry - love them. Chemistry/algebra=/cry.) One tutor in particular, was motivated by sitting next to someone who didn't smell like Fritos and Pepsi; but even he got frustrated with her. But she did pass, she did get it, and can't really think of another time she's ever really needed algebra, although many people have assured her yes, you do need this later in life.

What smart, sharp players (usually male but not always) assume is that those numbers are there, in black and white, green, red, and white, and it's so obvious what you do - you just follow the guidelines, the specs, the talent trees of great players, other knowledgeable websites, and bam! You're reforged, hit capped-up, and ready for action.

And please do not think, my friends, your advice and help didn't help -- it did. But sometimes you just need to find the right instructor for the lesson, and for this, Mat would really like to thank one of her priest friends.  He seemed to enjoy taking Mat through each of her numbers, explaining and revealing to her what was mysterious. Analytical thinkers: you still need us intuitive ones, too. You may be able to explain Mat's white and yellow hit numbers; but Mat can show you poetry in motion while she's slinging her axes. And perhaps that's why you help.

(Mat doesn't smell like Fritos and Pepsi either: She smells like honey and grass.)

Theme song: "She Blinded Me with Science" by Thomas Dolby

Is WoW Cool? I agree with the Drama Mamas. Don't care:

Girl's Best Friend

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet.” –William Shakespeare
“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”-- Author unknown
Incredible words from a truly inspiring writer.
Names are important in this world. It was once said that a good name is more desired than great riches. When it comes to naming my characters, a lot of time, consideration, research and love go into selecting the right one. There is nothing worse than being stuck with a bad name such as “Earl”. The same careful planning goes into each of my pets as well. Take a journey with me as I introduce you to my pets. Some might need a bath because they have been in the stable too long.
 Being a night elf and starting in Teldrassil, my options were limited when it came to taming my first pet. So my collection of furry friends started with a spotted Nightsaber Stalker and I still have her even though she is a very low level. I named her Echo because I saw way too many “Shadow” or “Kitty” Stalkers walking around so I decided on Echo. I mean, hey; she always was following me, mimicking whatever I would do so it seemed to fit. I would just like to say that I loved the ability to tame any pet my heart desired. My only argument was that I would never own a spider. They were gross and let’s face it; I just didn’t want a spider following me around everywhere.
Pet #2 was a work in progress. I like to have/do things that are different than others. I like things that not everyone has. Every night elf hunter that I saw had their own version of Echo so I decided it was time for an upgrade. That’s when I saw him. He was big and blue and had two heads. That’s right! I am talking about the core hound-Kurken. From the first time I saw him, or shall I say-heard him, I wanted one so badly. But you had to be speced in Beast Mastery to be able to tame him and little Kay was just not old enough yet. So I waited ever so patiently to drop that last point into the talent tree that allowed me to go get my core hound. Upon taming him and glowing with pride, I was asked what I was going to name him? I hadn’t even thought that far yet. So after some consideration I decided to name him Echo. Yes that’s right, Echo…Are you seeing a pattern here? Come on! I had to! It was a giant blue dog with two heads! Echo was perfect. So now I had Echo my core hound and Echo (1.0) my Nightsaber Stalker.
Echo, the wonderful friend of mine, walked with me and fought beside me in Wrath. I was a BM hunter with an awesome looking pet. Eventually I saw the green slimy core hound and decided that I had to have him as well and I appropriately named him DosDiablos. I kept switching between the two core hounds to make sure they stayed up on their levels while I was gaining levels as well. Once I hit 80 a close friend of mine informed me that the exotic pets are nice and all but BM just didn’t do near as much DPS as Marksmanship or Survival. If I was serious about doing well, I needed to respec. That’s right…it was time to put Echo in a stable and go out and get a “real” pet. With a heavy heart I wandered around Azeroth in search of my new best friend. I was instructed to find a wolf and I found one that would do for now. He fought with me in all my dungeons but there was still a void feeling in my heart knowing that Echo was in the stable; in time out. Yes my DPS did increase dramatically, but it just wasn’t the same running without him.
I started PVPing in Wrath as well and I was just getting clobbered. My friend, yet again, offered his advice. He said I was using the wrong pet…again. *sigh* Here we go again. He informed me that if I wanted to be a good PVPer that I would have to go out and get a spider. Eww! They are able to throw a web out and trap whoever is coming after you. I rebelled for quite some time. After playing a battleground one day and just getting owned by a hunter with a spider, I reluctantly went out and farmed for a cool looking spider. If I HAD to have one, then he was going to have to be easy to look at. I saw him, tamed him, and named him. I never wanted him in the first place so I named him Peeve. So when I busted him out in a BG and you would see him charging after the horde his name would read “Kaylyne’s Pet: Peeve!” Clever, right? I thought so.
Occasionally I see an Echo stomping around Stormwind and it kinda tugs on my heart strings a little. Even though he made everyone’s sub woofers kick and I got some upset friends and guildies when he would go running past them, I miss the times we shared together. Maybe one day BM will get a little love and I can pull him out of the stables, give him a bath and we will be reunited once again.
--Kaylyne the Huntress

Help me, Obi-Wan, Two, Three...Four...

The sun is out.
The sky is blue.
It's beautiful.
And so are you...
Dear Prudence...
won't you come out to play?*

Mat is quietly resting, with a cool Highland Spring water-drenched cloth on her head before heading out into real-world dungeons, storage closets, and the like: she was so close to becoming exalted with the Wildhammer clan, she thought she'd just pop in the world for a bit, get some things taken care of, and go enjoy some rare sun on her way to her real life tasks; also, being extremely close to enough Valor Points for another piece of epic gear, she thought, "Sure...what's the worst that could happen?"

Her Voldemort. Her Moby Dick. Her Joker. Her Plankton.


(Hey - his name would be great in a dirty limerick!)

But if she had to die again, she did so with a charming, roguish group in a PUG, all admittedly working off hangovers, and completely funny, jovial, and kind. No one took anything too seriously. Which is how it should be. She stayed very quiet, until the charismatic tank and healer dashingly took her under their wings offered her preemptive advice. She told them she would man-up, and stay tough. (Sometimes Mat's vulnerability is her greatest strength...sometimes. Sometimes it's just bloody annoying.)

They all wiped first time through. No blame, no shame.
Second time--she did her valiant best. Last shammy standing. (Unfortunately, this put Mat on the other side of Ozruk, away from the safety of her group.)
Third time --she is immediately killed; they all ranged and casted away, Ozruk down, she missed the fight again, but did get a good necklace out of it. Felt very unearned, though.

My friend, who checked in on me: Thank you. Just to be clear: there was no expectation that you would fight time zones and summoning stones to come rescue my tail. Not at all. I know you are well-past Ozruk on your journey. But at some point I need closure. So, the word of the day is "beseech." Please sir, consider going in there with me at some point and showing me what's what. I will pay all repair bills. And perhaps throw in a Tasty Cupcake or two. And this request is for all of my friends, my very talented, buffed friends: you're my only hope.

In the meantime, training continues.
And the sun is out.


Postscript: What happened to the duck metaphor, Mat?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Weather With You

Don't feed the elfin rabbits...

Mat's human wishes her real-life passport would get a workout. But, she is grounded for a bit.  One of the beauties of Azeroth, however, is one never needs a check through customs or uncomfortable No latex gloves required.

She has often commented on how many of the regions remind her of beautiful geographic locations around the globe. If she could, she would revisit Denmark*, England, the islands of the Caribbean, and other states in her home country, (green chili stew...oh yes please!). She longingly desires new adventures in India, New Zealand, Thailand, (although her cousin has sent pictures of cobras...lots and lots of cobras...), and other ports-of-call. She has lived in many parts of the United States, and even in another country. She is no stranger to exploration and a deep appreciation of other cultures and experiences. Mat's exploration tabard is one of her most prized possessions. When Mat's human looks around Mt. Hyjal in particular, she sees the west coast, her adopted terrain -- large trees, wildlife--and she has commented on their remarkable similarity to one another. Trolls. Fires. Natural beauty. Just like California.

About as far as she will go today is a tethered distance between the coffee pot and resposibilities. But when Mat is in this world - limits are banished and flight speeds increased. Worth every piece of gold.

Theme song: "Weather With You" - Neil Finn

*Postscript: She wants to see the Little Mermaid again (Hans Christian Andersen style), the Queen, the pirates, and meet elephants, Hobbits, and more elephants, but no cobras.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Where can I get one of those?

"This," said Galaad, "is the sword of Balmung, forged by Wayland Smith in the dawn times. Its twin is Flamberge. Who wears it is unconquerable in war, and invincible in battle. Who wears it is incapable of a cowardly act or an ignoble one. Set in its pommel is the sardonyx Bircone, which protects its possessor from poison slipped in wine or ale, and from the treachery of friends."
"Chivalry" by Neil Gaiman

Wonder if the landslide enchant does this?

Crossing the Threshold

Mat seeking apotheosis and upping her fishing skills...
Mat: "Human, please, enough with the soul-searching angst: it's becoming quite tedious."
Human: "Mat, I realize this, but I think perhaps, others have been in this place, too, so maybe if I write about it, they will know they're not alone. Indulge me once again, my little pixelated pixie."

Did you ever wonder what it might be like to be the lovable sidekick, and not the hero? To be Patrick, and not Spongebob? Ron, not Harry?* (Hermione would be okay.) Donkey, and not Shrek? The roadie...never the rockstar. Always a bridesmaid...
Speaking of which: 
Years ago, Mat's human's best friend, the best friend from age 13, was getting married. Her friend had worked so diligently on academic success, career choices, and finding a love who was equal to her in intelligence, ambition, and humor. Mat's human was exceedingly happy for her. Words are limited, though: there needs to be another word beside envy or jealousy, because those connote a certain "I don't want you to have it either" feeling, and that was not the case. (If anyone knows of this word, please leave a comment.) When her friend and her husband-to-be were at the alter, and Mat's human was by her side, she sobbed. Not just little tears, but really cried. She was teased for this--she wasn't loud (she is a very pretty crier: many have told her this), but it was obvious she was crying in her bouquet. She defined what she was feeling later: her friend was going somewhere she couldn't go. She was crossing a threshold into a new life and role that Mat's human simply wasn't ready for, or had the means to follow. Having shared every experience of growing up, from adolescence onward, sharing every part of the journey, and then her friend, her very dear friend, went through a portal that was locked to Mat's human. 
The story does have a very happy ending. Everything comes in time. We are the heroes of our own journey, and more in control of our destinies than at first perceived. 
And remember, none of us can do it alone. Odysseus'* hubris cost him his shipmates. He ended up going it solo. And although he reached his destination, Penelope was waiting for him, he received the keys back to the castle, and all was well, I'm sure the families of the sailors weren't too pleased. When our narratives ripple into one another's we don't want to muddy things up by trying to be everyone's everything. It's perfectly wonderful to be our own heroes for a bit, and then meet one another on equal footing. If sometimes I must be the sidekick, a Sam to a Frodo*, so be it. That is what friends do. You have your own story to tell, to share. Please tell it.
*And if you don't know who these are, read a book. And not just the ones in the Ironforge library.

Theme song: "Princess in Another Castle" Alpine Hong 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Luck of the Irish

Mat's human is predominately Irish. She realizes this family ancestry may not be the noblest of lineages, but she feels compelled to wish you all a green and happy St. Patrick's Day. Drive those snakes out of the Halls of Origination, and be blessed with the wind at your back.
Mat drinking with Dwarfs to watch that girl every minute...

What is the luckiest thing that has happened to you today?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I have a confession to make: I secretly enjoy PUGs.

Please --for you long-time players who had to walk five miles up the hills of Dun Morogh in your bare feet just to find a group, and then bang your head against the instance wall for hours, I realize you think we noobs have it just a bit too easy. I understand. And your complaints about PUGs are more than valid: the rate of ninja looting, abandonment after achieving a tabard exalted status, or other mayhem occurs. Feelings get hurt. Nails broken. 

It is my belief that the makers of the World want its players to be social. They want us to learn how to work together quickly and politely. For the most part, this has been my experience. And, there is something safe about strangers passing in the night; funny, smart comments, insight, different fighting styles: all of these great benefits. It's fun to see who's from the same guild or server, and with my own manners, I have been, or one of my alts has been, invited to join other servers and guilds. It's very flattering, and friendly. 

However, sometimes, we end up with more in our loot bags than we bargained for, such as a new overly-curious friend. A player may be a little overly friendly or flirty. Please, kind sir or madam, I do not have any judgments or bias toward your personal lifestyle choices; and although I am sincerely flattered by your kind but perhaps unsavory intentions, you must keep them to yourself. 


Theme song: "All the Single Ladies" version by Pomplamoose

Postscript: But, the little pug dog one receives as a reward? No. That thing is nasty. 

Tough love.

Mat dreams...of killing Ozruck one day...

Mat is still cocooned in a warm bed in Dalaran during this patchy morning. She needs the sleep: after a few hours of a 'tough love' kind of talk, she is a bit emotionally drained. 

We don't know what she's dreaming about now, but her human imagines she's sitting in her fifth-grade class, about to give her oral history report on Prophet Velen and she realizes she forgot to wear pants (and who among us hasn't been there, right?). 

The crux of the issue was, in essence: Mat hasn't quite understood or learned the tough lessons of just being quiet. If you've been following this blog, you will notice this emergent theme. In her defense (and yes, it's a bit defensive), Mat's real life world is full of encouraging collaboration, questions, and pursuit of engaging creativity. If her timing is off, which it certainly was last night, please understand that it is counter-intuitive to her nature not to ask questions. There was a cost-benefit analysis to her asking of questions: the cost was she was embarrassed, but the benefit was she got an answer in 'real game time,' meaning - she didn't want to ask what happened later -- she needed to know now. When she could see it. Learn from it. 

And yes -- Ozruk again. 

She got her answer, and another response: "80% of melee wipe on this boss -- don't worry about it." 

Yet, she did worry, and others did, too.

Now: this beautiful Draenei could charm the crown off of King Wrynn. I'm a bit surprised she hasn't tried to bake Ozruk a delicious chocolate cake and soften his geo-evil heart. She is proud of her ambassadorian accomplishments: who else could go into a PUG where everyone spoke Spanish and still get the achievement, Prince of Tides? Mat makes friends easily and loyally. We know she's kind-hearted and perhaps a bit sensitive. If she stepped out of bounds with her size-13 hooves, well, maybe she'll just hit the Spirit Grace spell and try to diplomatically dodge out of it. 

As Mat mentioned in another post, she sees somewhat of a Pygmalion response among players: this is where we seek to change others to create our own idea of perfection. She doesn't believe her friends want her to be perfect; however, she does understand that it takes a lot of courage to have a hard conversation with somebody who's making dumb mistakes. (In other words, perhaps edging toward perfection would be warranted.) But, if at the end of the discussion, if both friends come out wiser and better for it, then it benefits all. 

The desire to play with friends who understand us, and whose personalities match our own level of integrity, humor, and skill, is profound. Any one of you who has spent time in a job knows that it's better to work with people you like than those you don't. You can grow skills, but you really can't change people. If you're planning on doing something as challenging and collaborative as raiding in Cata, then you'd damn well better be with people who love you. Or at least tolerate you.

These dungeons and raids are challenging: One of Mat's favorite blogs writes about this very topic in a much more direct and damn funny way:  (Mat will continue to do her homework.)

But for the time being, she's going to back home to Azuremyst for some homemade Timberstrider stew and some daydreaming in the fields. She'll be doing some heroics for her valor points, but other than that, she needs to find her pants before her next report.

Theme song: "Walk This Way" - Aerosmith

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world | Video on

Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world | Video on

Tanks: You are my wonder wall

If I have done or said anything wrong, I am sorry.

I will be quiet.

I will do what's right.

I promise.


Theme song: "Wonder Wall" by Oasis

Postcript: Mat's original rant was over some disquieting tank behaviors. But, good friends are honest friends, and let her know that perhaps she is the one who needed to reassess the threat levels. Her criticism of tanks stems from the knowledge of a singular player paladin tank; he is the kindest, most humble, generous and chivalrous tank in Azeroth. Mat will not name him, because his threshold would be worn from admirers and requests for  unparalleled tanking services. She holds all other tanks to this standard, thus, she is often greatly disappointed.

Because you sir, are one-of-a-kind.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Heaven Help Me

I want to sing the praises, shout hallelujah, in honor and benediction of healers, and shine a light on priest healers in particular. The question was raised recently on one of the WoW blogs: when you enter a dungeon, who are you relieved to see?

My shoulders slumped slightly because I knew no one would respond: "Oh, thank Bronzebeard! An enhancement shaman is here to save the day!"Sigh.

But many are quite relieved to see a priest healer. Somehow they manage to meditate the nerfs, the changes, the patches, with the patience of Jobe, and the intelligence and scholarly pursuit of a Jesuit. These priests are smart. Healing is one of the most complicated roles: healers should have an automatic title of "Dr." in front of their name, because they have earned their degrees. Their careful yet lightening-fast diagnosis and triage tactics would make any battlefield medic envious. They measure threat, health, line of sight, all the while watching their own mana because they know in order to take care of everyone else, they must heal themselves, first.*

On occasion, I have met a burnt-out or grumpy healer. A healer who just doesn't dig my style of street-fighting bloodletting. Ones who have left me for dead. But these are rare, and those who know me know I would never intentionally cause any disruption in the healing process. I take my medicine as prescribed. You are my life-line: instead of giving me last rites, you give me leaps-of-faith, make me walk on clouds, and ease my burdens. I walk in a glow of peace and serenity because of you.

So, to my priest healer friends, and the shadowy ones, too (you keep life in balance): you make my spirit fly.

What a blessing.


Theme song playing in my head:
First, it was "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode, but that is a bit over the top; perhaps "Undisclosed Desires" by Muse works, too, especially the line: "I want to reconcile the violence in your heart..."


There was once was a rogue in Stormwind
Whose hearts and minds he could easily bend
Behind her he snuck
And in her heart he struck
A permanent place as a friend

Admittedly, not the best limerick, but Mat stayed up very late, into the wee shadowy hours of morning, where reason is squeezed and judgment is blurry. She must share this very happy news: A good friend is back! And she waited patiently, sleeping off Dwarven beer and the effects of Savory Deviate Delight, waiting for him to return from his run in Grim. 

They didn't have long to catch up before this little sneaky gnome had to slip off once again into the shadows (the mage is still up to his tricks, and heaven knows what the priest is up to: perhaps only the druid is being reasonable and is using his time wisely for reflection before returning to Azeroth?).

But if she could get a message to him, it would be this: she understands your time in the realm is limited, and will do her utmost to let you be; however, while you were away she has done every dungeon, and knows every mean boss, so if you do want some assistance, please do not hesitiate to ask. And have your mage check for a "Mat-hush!" spell. You have her word. Or less of them, anyway.

Spirited away...

Hunters have pets. Warlocks and Mages have their minions and imps. But I have my spirit wolves. They are privately named Geri & Freki, after Odin's wolves, meaning greedy and ravenous. They are: sublime.  Of pure ectoplasmic ferocity, they come to do my bidding, raising my damage meter, and ripping to shreds anyone or thing who is between me and victory. They cannot truly be named, and most certainly not tamed. Cursed to live an existence on a a celestial plane, attacking creatures in one dimension while residing in another until summoned must be why they fight so fiercely. I cannot say: their bond with me is as tenuous as a starlight's journey. They heal me, as well. This is the blessing and certainly not a curse. I am not sure who infused them with this supernatural aid they willingly or slavishly share with me, if only for short durations.

I don't have a lot of wishes. I understand my limitations all too well. Constantly seeking balance: Give enough show of force to win the approval of my mates, all the while make sure I'm not taking on more damage than a healer can keep up with, I cannot help but remark that these twins, these protective guardians, come in a set of two. Two is for balance. Two for strength. Two is better than, well, one.

They don't get fed. They aren't tamed. And they certainly aren't going to get a rabies shot any time soon. Their destiny is to fight by my side.

And if I were to wish for one thing, my greedy and ravenous wish would be that they wouldn't stay for such a short, spirited time.

Just stay by my side a bit longer.

Theme song: "Howlin for You" -- Black Keys

Saturday, March 12, 2011

It's a mad house...A MAD HOUSE!

Mat wants to know how you feel about: Deadmines (Heroic).

She has waivered between wishing the developers at Blizz had put down the hash pipe or thinking they should have smoked more. It is crazy coo-coo bananas. It is a fun-house ride with poison. And there are monkeys.

A few days ago, after doing mucho-random dungeon runs for rep, she (jinxed?) herself by saying, "Gee, haven't done a run in Deadmines in a long, long time..." and then voila! There she is! There was a hunter. Mat remembers this, and not much else, because the hunter thought it would be a good time to tame a monkey. She sees the standard pet dismissed, and the long-arm of love extended toward a monkey.

Hunter loves monkey. Monkey loves hunter. Monkey is the new "it" pet, and squeaks, screeches, calls, and makes monkey noises: Mat may go insane. Bosses, wiping, and general mayhem ensues. Monkey. Get in the suit. Get out of suit. Kills adds. Wipe. Try again. Parrots. Pirates. Pyrotechnics. More pirates (and why is the rum always gone?).

And did she mention this is all to the background chatter of a monkey?

Hunter must have sensesd the tensing of Mat's shoulders, and put monkey away. Brought out "normal" pet. It was actually a pretty fun run. Food fights. Werewolves. Disgruntled daddy's girl. Ropes. Mat forgot that when Vanessa gets down to the minimum of health not to kill her, or she will die, too.

And coincidentally, Mat PUG'd Deadmines the next night, too. And both times, there was a different mood than in other dungeons. Wipes most certainly happened - but players laugh. Never once was there an anger-management issue or dressing-down as Mat's experienced sometimes in other instances. It was all in fun, and very good-natured.

Girl, where are your pants?

But once you've run that gauntlet a few times, you may want to jump off the boat with Vanessa, too. A little monkey goes a long way.

Ladies and Gentlmen: Mat has something to say.

Mat struggles to watch her tone with this post: the last thing, the most road-to-Hell-damnable unintended-intention, would be to alienate, make anyone feel 'called out,' or upset anyone. In fact: she wants you to know a few things, a few positive, very positive, things. (She had originally titled it: "He's Just Not That Into You,"but that's a bit mean-spirited and worse, inaccurate.)

Bear with her, please. (Tank bear level of threat? Yes, it might require that.)

In spite of what the trolls say in Trade Chat, the sexist, racist, and nerd-rage comments, both men and women, play WoW. And: we are different. Having some experiences with the dangers of sweeping generalizations, she is cautious when it comes to putting any gender-stereotype in Box A or B. It's more complicated than that, of course. Most of us do not attend all-boys or all-girls parochial schools at any point in our lives, or even at all. We have friends, relationships, and bonds with both genders.*

Herein lie the generalities of gender differences: men tend to be very "let's get this done," and women tend toward (read: over-analyzes) of subtleties and like, to, well, talk. Mat's human has done some field work in this area, and some research. And although she doesn't completely agree with everything he says, a good resource, in case you're interested, is John Medina, author of Brain Rules. One aspect of male/female communication styles that tend to ring true is that men/boys tend to talk side by side - they do not look at one another, nor do they need to. Women/girls, on the other hand, need, perhaps crave, that eye contact; they want full-face communication (which is probably why when a man tells a woman she has 'the most beautiful eyes' it still works...). 

Mat wonders if others have experienced this: The little scrolling world of whisper chat can get a bit complicated. Nuances and shades of meaning are lost, or are misunderstood. When we see a friend pop in the world to play, naturally we want to greet them, and make them feel welcome.

And here is where things can get a bit mucky: Sometimes we're just, well, busy. We may have guild events, catching up with other friends, or sometimes we just want to be alone. Sometimes our focus shifts toward one player friend that we may need at that moment: if you think about it, even in our real world lives we have different kinds of friends for different needs. We have the "fun" friend, the trustworthy listener, the colleague, the silly friend, close and the steadfast ones. We never intend to hurt feelings or ignore those whom we've come to enjoy spending time with in Azeroth.

Mat likes to play WoW. She doesn't like to play mind games (being released by Blizzard in 2012, by the way). As her circle of friends grows, she wants them to know this: She really thinks you're wonderful. Each of you has brought a smile to her face, and some insight that she wouldn't have otherwise obtained. Her human has kept friends for life. She does this by knowing there is strength in confidence of allowing a friend to 'put you back in the box' for awhile, and come back at intervals. Maybe it's that, since we all help each other craft our character's skills, we feel a bit of ownership, a Pygmalion response. But we don't. We're friends, and that's a really good thing. It's really cool - honest. If you want to hang, great. If not, no problem. No harm, no foul. She doesn't read any more into than that.

* Duh.

Postscript: Mat had one of her friends cracking up relating the story from when her human was in high school, and decided to check out the D&D club. Now Mat's human is not unattractive. You have never seen a more confused boy in your life: he really didn't know what to make of her. Between being flushed with teenage hormones and frustration over the fact that she just COULD NOT understand the dice, they both walked away from the experience a bit bewildered.

Editor's Note: this strikes a better tone: (and for the record, Mat has a visceral dislike of Jack Johnson). 

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fantastic Mr. Fox

This world can get quite lonely at times, and although some of you might like the option to solo your quests and achievements, I am not that way. I enjoy the company of a friend. Whether I am killing spiders in Tol Barad, or tying one more time to get through Heroic Grim Batol; a companion to stand by your side is nice to have. To give encouraging words, share tips, or just enjoy a laugh together about how the tank is such a noob. But often times I find myself with nobody to run with. It makes it quite lonely and I find myself sitting in Stormwind, constantly spamming “O” to see if I just happened to miss someone come online. Now this may sound needy, but so be it. This night elf likes her friends.
Luckily though, I am never completely alone. I always have someone close at hand. Someone that comes swiftly with just the sound of my whistle, eager to please. He’s always there; ready to charge into whatever unfamiliar territory I happen to have drug us through that day. He has always been there fighting fearlessly beside me during every battle. I can always count on him more so than any other player I have come in contact with.
You may be reading this trying to put a face or a name with this description, but it will be in vain. This post isn’t about you. His face is easily recognizable and you might even think that you know him as well as I do. You might think that he fights next to you every day as well, but don’t be mistaken. He is MY man! You might be talking about his brother, or uncle, or cousin. I’m talking about Todd. My Todd, and there is only one of him. In my very unbiased (*wink*) opinion he is the best fox in all of Azeroth.
He is the first one to jump in the fight to draw the attention to himself, while I quietly shoot them from behind, but I am continuously giving him love to keep his health topped off. When our teamwork gets an opponent down, he runs quickly back to my side to make sure no one else messes with me. He is the ultimate body guard.
As much as I count on him, I would like to think that he kinda needs me too. He always dashes back to my side knowing that tucked away in one of my embersilk bags, I have a treat with his name on it. I always reward him for his valiant efforts and mend any wounds that he might have acquired.
He can be quite scatter-brained at times though and go off chasing a random squirrel 50 yards away, or the occasional bug in a dungeon, returning with a mob of angry people right on his heels. It doesn’t bother me quite as much when I am questing solo (because of my 2 amazing CCs that help) but in a dungeon it can be very detrimental to the entire group. I am always willing to stick up for him even though the “WTF Kay” and the “BAD FOX!” Let me put your mind at ease: Yes he is on defensive and yes he is on cower. But Todd is just Todd and he is going to do that from time to time. It’s his instincts as a fox.  He sees a bug, he will chase it. When I see him taking off across the dungeon, I can do nothing but hold my breath and hope he doesn’t bring anyone back with him.
In spite of everything, I wouldn’t want to travel this land without him. The good greatly outweighs the bad. Yeah, I would say we make a pretty good team. You could even say that “we are the best of friends!” I can’t help but hum a familiar tune.