So with May 21st creeping up on us and the supposed end of the world incoming, I plan to fill this week in between movie posts (Priest review tomorrow. I had to wait to see it as my girlfriend wanted to see it and tonight is the only night we can do it) with a series of the world is coming to an end posts. However, I have been meaning to talk about the real end of a world that at one point was as important to me as this one, the World of Warcraft.
I don’t want to sound like one of those “I started playing WOW back in vanilla when questing and raiding was hard” jackoffs, but really, I am one (Classically trained raider image courtesy of the WOW t shirts). Back then you had to run on your mount (which you only got at level 40, not level 10. Of course, I was so broke I had to wait until I was level 47), flight paths were few and far between, and the lack of ease of battleground meant you were getting ganked and camped about every ten minutes. Five man raids were honestly hard and you wiped a lot, and when you wiped graveyards were miles away and you didn’t just fly back to your corpse. Raids required you to find 39 competent players and were wipe fests too. Just spending time in a raid dungeon did not mean you would eventually kill the boss. Epics were rare, and just having on tier 2 piece meant a huge difference in your DPS and survivability. I remember running into a AQ40 equipped hunter who kicked the crap out of me and two of my guildmates in spite of having decent T1 and T2 gear.
Then came Burning Crusade, which was a lot of fun. Raids were still tough, Outland was fun, and for the first time we had flying mounts. You had to be really good to see the death of the final boss in Black Temple (which I did, before they nerfed him). Overall a good effort, but the first signs that WOW was beginning it’s death spiral showed up. First of all, epic gear became much easier to get. Instead of being happy with decent blue gear and a few epics, now everyone was epic’d out about three days after hitting 70. Flying mounts, while cool, made stuff like farming minerals and herbs really easy. They made battlegrounds easier to get into, and I saw the first decline of world PVP.
This was also when we first saw the preview of the complete nerfing of the game in the form of raid addons. In vanilla addons were minimal, didn’t really work great, and were essentially complex macros that might or might not help, but even with them you still had to make sure you were on your game to stand in the right place, heal the right person, and hit you shot rotation correctly (I always played a hunter). No real alarms or anything. In BC we saw addons that pretty much made the game easier. Recount, Grid, Gatherer, Deadly Boss Mods, and any number of class specific addons made raiding and playing much easier. However, the game was complex enough to really need them. Overall BC was a great addon. Raiding and PVP was fun and challenging, and overall you still had to know what you were doing to play.
Then came the first mortal blow to the game, Wrath of the Lich King. Northrend sucked and was painfully boring. Battlegrounds got so easy to get into that no one did world PVP any more. Flying mounts, which earlier cost 5K gold and were something of an achievement to get, became ubiquitous and made things even easier. Most classes saw their game play simplified. Towards the end of BC all the losers who couldn’t play well complained to the developers about how they never saw the inside of Black Temple and whined about not seeing all the content, so Blizzard nerfed raiding to the point that most dungeons are raids were more of a gear check than anything else. They added hard mode for the really hard core raiders, but even so it was significantly easier than vanilla or BC. However, the thing that really nerfed the game was the addons. Blizz started incorporating popular addons into game play, but everyone with an ounce of programming skill were developing stuff to do everything by change your diaper for you. The ones that really hurt the game IMO were all the quest finding addons, showing you exactly where all your quest items or goals are located. At the time I thought they were cool, as they really saved time, but in retrospect I can see the end was near.
The one thing they did was added the achievements, which I jumped into with both feet. I loved getting achievements. I would play for hours trying to grind the most obscure stuff possible (if you know the game, you should either be really impressed or really sad for me in that I got the Insane in the Membrane achievement. Yes, I had no life). It was enough to keep me going.
Then came the final death rattle. Cataclysm. Instead of spending the time and money to develop a new zone (hey, writing new content is hard work) they just recycled a bunch of old code and let us fly around the old world, which they somehow made more boring. Addons, including the questing addons, were completely incorporated into the stock UI of the game. Most of the dungeons were simply a matter of time, not effort, and getting a dungeon group has become super easy, especially if you are a tank or healer. As I approached 10,000 achievement points I came to realize how achievements were really a never ending quest and a massive time sink. Every aspect of the game became easier and softer, catering to the casual gamer.
I think that is what does it for me. I don’t have the time or inclination to be a hard core raider anymore. However, if I am going to play I don’t want to be one of these casual player jerks. The problem is the game is either for super hard core raiders or freaking idiots who play a couple hours a week. There is no middle ground. The game has gotten so painfully easy to play it’s like reading one of those choose-your-own-adventure novels. Unless you are raiding hard mode there is no challenge whatsoever. I think this point was finally driven home for me one day when I was doing a quest that had me riding my mount underwater (remind me again why I spent all those hours fishing up the Turtle mount if any normal ground mount can swim underwater now). I got done and climbed to the surface. At that point I figured I was due for a long, grinding swim to shore to mount up on my flying mount. However, I had a mount macro that would mount my flyer if possible and low-and-behold, I was flying! How much easier can they make the game?
Anyway, WOW was fun while it was fun. I don’t regret the time I spent playing it (although I refuse the type /played as I am afraid the answer would send me into a serious depression). If you are a casual gamer who likes to log on for a couple hours on the weekend, or a hard core raider who puts in 30+ hours a week, than good on you. I won’t deny that there are people out there for whom WOW still fulfills a need. About three weeks before Wonder Con I stopped logging in as I was too busy, and haven’t logged on since. I really don’t miss it, and find myself more excited about writing long, bitchy blogs like this one. For me, the World of Warcraft is fail.
OK, assuming you haven’t frightened her off (or been frightened off by her. Believe me, creepy is a two way street) and you have exchanged between 3-12 emails (12 is a lot. I would normally try to go after the 4th or 5th) it is time to set up your first meeting. How to do it and where to go?
Honestly, email sucks as a way to get to know each other so after you have more or less exhausted the standard “where did you grow up” and “what did you study from college” questions it’s time to get face to face. I find it best to just blurt out the question, usually at the end of answering her questions from the last email. Something like this usually works pretty good:
“…and then animal control showed up and collected all the bodies. You can see why that was the happiest day of my life.
Say, how would you like to meet up and get some coffee? I know a place not far from the area you (claim to) live in that serves the best (insert coffee drink of your choice). Are you free on (weekday) at (sometime while the sun is still up)? You can always call me at 555-1234.
If you haven’t given her your number yet, you should. Most women will probably want to talk to you at least once to make sure you don’t use a voice disguiser or something. When she calls keep the conversation to a minimum, focused specifically on when and where you are going to meet. Don’t get sucked into a long conversation on the phone, as odds are your conversation skills will lag and give her a reason to never talk to you again.
For the place, pick a coffee house or cafe that is in a public place and serves coffee and other drinks without the obligation to buy a meal. Think Starbucks. Don’t go to a restaurant as that implies and more or less obligates the two of you to eating a meal. Also if you sit down at a formal restaurant and just order a drink you will look cheap. If the first meeting goes well you might suggest a meal of food at a nearby restaurant.
Try to show up earlier and be waiting for her. This gives her the chance to scope you out and bail out without talking to her, but honestly you are better off getting that then suffering through an hour of stilted conversation before getting the boot. Wear something distinctive and tell her ahead of time what it is (“I’ll be wearing the Mickey Mouse ears”).
By the way, remember what I said about pictures online always being better than reality, so be prepared to be at least slightly disappointed. Also work on not showing your disappointment on your face. All the old rules I listed regarding clothing, grooming, and behavior are doubly important, so if you are a recent reader of my blog go back a few months and review the rules regarding bathing (every day), clothes (wear them), and other odds and ends (deodorant is not your enemy).
I’m coming up on the end of the this line on online dating advice. I think I have one more in me. Not sure where I am going after that, but I will find something interesting. If you have any suggestions or dating questions hit me up: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday’s question, Onyxia from WOW versus Godzilla, seems like a close match. They both breath fire, have a tail attack, bite, and claw. They also have more or less fireproof scales. I am going to go with Godzilla just because I have seen Onyxia killed dozens of times and Godzilla never. In fact I believe Godzilla would stomp a 40 or 25 man raid flat in about 30 seconds (Raiding shirt courtesy of the WOW t shirts category).
For today I’m going to go to a classic: who would win, Superman versus the Hulk?
So like I said (threatened) yesterday I went to a late night showing the latest opus from Nicholas Cage, Drive Angry. Given the last Cage movie I saw and lambasted, Season of the Witch, I did not expect a lot and for the most this film met with my expectations. I got home, thought about writing it, and decided to sleep on it to see if the movie looked any better in the daylight.
Sadly, it did not. Don’t get me wrong. I love grindhouse. However, this movie feels less like true grindhouse and more like some Hollywood guys trying to either do a high budget tribute or parody of grindhouse. In either case it feels plastic and fake, like brown hair extensions on a redhead.
Also, remember when Nicholas Cage would act and actually deliver some level of emotion with his lines? Like in Raising Arizona, the Rock, Kiss of Death, 8MM, Valley Girl, or prelude-to-a-suicide Leaving Las Vegas? Right before doing Ghost Rider I think he was kidnapped and replaced with a robot who can simulate life but not quite deliver emotions. The lines “Coffee, black, with sugar”, “Ever heard of a place called Sweet Water?”,” and “I am going to kill you” are all delivered with the same monotone deadpan delivery that would work well for a sidekick or secondary character (especially if the sidekick was the computer voice from War Games) but which makes me think I could do a better job filming the movie using World of Warcraft toons as actors. For a movie called “Drive Angry” there doesn’t seem to be a lot of anger or any other emotion from the main character. (Murloco’s Taco’s image courtesy of the World of Warcraft t shirts)
That being said, there are elements I liked. Just not the story, acting, action, dialogue, or all but two of the characters.
Honestly, I think the synopsis will be the hardest part of this review for me to write as I spent the first 45 minutes of the films saying “What the hell is going on?” I appreciated a film that doesn’t reveal everything to us like we are ten year old short bus riders, but at some point you have to make an effort to give us a clue of what was going on. If I hadn’t read a blurb before the movie I would have been totally confused.
Anyway, Nicholas Cage plays John Milton who escapes from Hell in a hot car with a stolen gun called the God Killer a few years after being killed in some ill defined crime spree and is somehow unkillable. He is trying to save his infant grand daughter from being sacrificed by a Satanic cult leader (Billy Burke, one of the two characters I liked). He somehow convinces Zombieland hottie Amber Heard (playing the kick ass waitress Piper. Come to think of it, she actually has a lot of anger in her roll. Maybe she is supposed to balance out Mechano-Man Cage) to help him in her boyfriend’s stolen Charger. They are pursued by the other only character I liked, William Fichtner, who plays Hell’s repo man sent to collect Cage and bring him back (it is later revealed that he is actually a former Egyptian god who I will not name but you have seen on Stargate SG1). There is also a cool looking and sounding police captain who seemed to get a lot of character buildup and development and then fell off the screen like a lead seagull. They travel through Louisiana mixing it up with white trash kooks and local color. Car driving hijinx ensue, and there is a final battle scene not so much lifted as taken frame by frame from the car destroying the undead army scene in Army of Darkness.
OK, the stars. The opening and closing scenes with Cage driving to and from Hell are pretty cool. One star. There are four amazing muscle cars, including a 69 Charger and a beautiful Chevelle. Two stars. I will give a star for every totally gratuitous grindhouse style nude girl, so like two and a half stars. The Accountant from Hell (literally) was kind of cool. One star. The driving action, while over the top, was actually pretty cool and well filmed. One star. While headache inducing, the film was actually shot with 3D in mind and has some fairly cool things flying out of screen. I actually found myself jumping a couple times. One star. Total: 8.5 stars.
Now the black holes. Nicholas Cage acts like a Tweekie dealing with irritable bowl syndrome. Two black holes. The story kind of blows. On black hole. The dialogue blows. One black hole. As good as the driving sequences were (which was only moderately good) the fight scenes were horrible (at one point Cage kills about 20 guys while in coitus with a trampy waitress and doesn’t pull out until they are all dead. On the other hand, this is one of the nude scenes that netted them a star). I know grindhouse is supposed to be over the top, but this is just dumb. Hire a fight choreographer. Two black holes. For no explained reason whatsoever Cage’s character is not only unkillable but somehow heals himself from a gunshot wound in the eye. One black hole. For the life of me I cannot figure out where Pipers motivation to do anything but run screaming into the night comes from. One black hole. Total: 8 black holes.
So we end up with a net of 0.5 stars, which is very slightly higher than the review I gave for Cage’s last movie, Season of the Witch (where he also portrayed a character with less emotion than the suit of armor he was wearing). However, remember 2.5 stars come from my appreciation of rated R style nudity and 2 more from a love of American muscle cars. If you do not share these interests then it swings heavily towards the black hole end. Definitely not a date movie. Honestly, if you love driving action then I would say see it on a screen. On TV I don’t think it will really have the impact the big screen would have. If you miss it wait until you see it in the $4 bin at Best Buy (or the #2 bin at Walmart).
For yesterdays who-would-win question, Jayne Cobb versus Snake Plisskin, I think it is kind of situational. If Jayne had Vera and all the hardware he carried on a typical day of Firefly and Snake just had the gear he had in Escape from New York, I would have to bet on Jayne. On the other hand if Snake had his choice of weapons (or was armed like he was in Escape from LA) then I would bet on him. You can’t beat him in a gunfight, Bangkok style.
For today I will again go with Jayne, as I am in a Firefly mood. Who would win, Jayne Cobb (with Vera again) versus John McClane from Die Hard?
“Love is like a snowmobile flying across the frozen tundra that suddenly flips over, trapping you underneath in the sub-zero temperature. At night, the ice weasels come.” – Matt Groening
I am going to suspend the line I was on earlier on making out due to the fact that I recently had an event that has caused me to question my ability to advise anyone on dating. Instead, I am going to discuss something that I am if anything overqualified to discuss: getting rejected and dealing with it.
(By the way, don’t worry too much about me. Odds are by this time next week I will be back in my usual cocky form. I tend to snap back pretty good. Thank god for self delusion)
Anyway, being rejected sucks, and any of my female readers may actually gain something in terms of learning how to make this less painful (or, for that matter, more painful if that is your personal bent, as I currently believe most women are inclined).
In the interest of not being totally bitter and dark I will start off with discussing the timing of being rejected. There are bad times and slightly less bad times to be rejected. I would say a week before Christmas is among the worst times to be rejected. Same with your birthday, 4th of July, or any other weekend that promises to be particularly fun. Tends to be a bit of a downer.
On the other hand, getting dumped right before Thanksgiving is not bad, as you can freely drown your sorrows in the food coma you were going to fall into anyway. Also, being surrounded by friends and family who wish you well is a nice salve for the burn (if, however, you don’t have any friends or family you might as well move to your Unabomber-style shack now).
The worst time, however, to be rejected is right before Valentines Day. No woman will willingly go into V-Day single, so if she dumps you right before it inevitably means she has someone else on deck, as it were. Also, I have found that the whole greeting card industry “You are a loser if you don’t have someone” message hits home like an acid covered harpoon in your gut when you have been recently dumped.
On the other hand, if you are looking for a slightly less painful time to dump a nerd, the best would be about a week before a big video game release. If you are going to dump a nerd and want to let him down easy, do it just before Cataclysm comes out so he can drown his sorrow by ganking lowbies in Stranglethorn Vale (WOW image courtesy of the WOW t shirts category).
It has been my experience, however, that the vast majority of women have little to no interest in making this easier for the guy. If I were a cynical person I would have to say that most of them are solely motivated to end it as quickly and conveniently as possible for themselves with no regard for the damage done as they pull the rip cord. Good thing I’m not cynical.
Incidentally, I am really not normally as bitter as I sound right now. However, I think the bitterness makes this post funnier. I love gallows humor.
Anyway, just a few words on timing a rejection. Tomorrow a list of things to NOT do when you are dumped.
The question posed in the last post, Maxwell Smart versus Austin Powers, is actually quite the conundrum. Austin Powers regularly killed more guys than Maxwell Smart and had a great nemesis in Dr. Evil. On the other hand, Smart worked for an organization with a much cooler name (CONTROL), fought a cooler sounding enemy (KAOS), and had the painfully hot 99 helping him. I think I am going to bet on Maxwell Smart, if only because Austin Powers had no trouble getting women and at the moment guys like that annoy the bejeesus out of me. I guess I’d like to see him eat a bullet right now. Not that I’m bitter.
For today, I am going to go mix genres. Who would win, Buffy the Vampire Slayer versus Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter?
As I have been hinting, I actually have had something lined up for a big finish towards the end of the year, and now I am going to start. This is the goal we have been working towards and dream of achieving.
Now, before we get into it, as always I have to make a proper introduction and qualify my terms lest certain of my friends rip organs I am fond of off my body. Like I said at the beginning of this whole dating thing my goal is not to teach you how to simply get laid. The fact is, I have never been very good at the whole “one night stand” pick up thing. We are trying to get you a girlfriend. Trust me when I say this is more than enough for most of you. If you want to know how to pick up a different girl every night look for other blogs. Personally I think if you are still reading this you really don’t have the skills, looks, or alcohol tolerance to pull that off anyway.
So basically we are talking about going in for the first kiss/makeout session. I don’t think I will try to talk you past 2nd or 3rd base unless there is a serious demand. I am not creating that kind of blog. I am sure you should be able to find some kind of site that has material of an adult nature SOMEWHERE on the web that can help you (although most women don’t really do what porn girls do, so look for something a little more instructive that outright porn).
First kiss is important, if only because it helps you define your desires and intentions to her. It says “I am here to be your boyfriend, not your friend.” Girls in general are shockingly insecure, and if you don’t go for the kiss they tend to think that there is something wrong with them or you or both. If you wait too long you WILL get a “Let’s be friends speech.” If you go in too early you will (most likely) creep her out and she will bail.
The good guideline should be sometime between the 3rd and 5th date. Kissing can occur on the 1st or 2nd date, but in that case it should be her who initiates the action, not you. If you go five full dates with no kiss, lose her number. It isn’t worth your time and/or money to keep pursuing it, as she will reject you.
The thing to remember about dating is it’s not like a marathon where if you just keep moving your feet you will eventually get to the finish line. It is more like a full 40 man raid attempt on a World of Warcraft boss. Every attempt requires everyone doing all things perfectly, and all you need is one mis-key, bad placement, or minor mistake to wipe the whole raid and force you to restart completely. Even if everyone does everything perfectly you can still have all kinds of bad RNG mess you up. This is the kill shot, and the timing on this has to be good. If not, run back from the graveyard and line up another shot on the next girl. (Classically Trained Raider image courtesy of the World of Warcraft t-shirt category).
By the way, my friend Dave and I have been doing the “Who would win” game via text lately and it’s really fun, so I think from now on I will end each post with one for you. I will report my personal answer plus anyone who wants to comment on the next post. Here is the first:
Who would win, Skynet from Terminator vs the Justice League of America without Superman?
When World of Warcraft was released, it was a game requiring a high amount of skill and commitment to progress to the upper echelons of dungeon and raid content. The casual player who didn’t even own a WOW t-shirts (from our video game t shirt category) had no place in high end raiding, even in the first raid dungeon of Molten Core. The Burning Crusade continued this trend to a lesser degree, and still made it difficult for most guilds and players to progress to a higher level of play. This all changed with Wrath of the Lich King that feels a lot like the Coke Zero of what WoW used to be. No longer are there barriers from casual players enjoying all the content in the game. There is little to no commitment involved in the whole game, as the needs for farming, raid preparation, and even research have been dumbed down to a severe degree.
WoW, which was once like Frodo journeying to conquer the Dark Lord Sauron that was Everquest, is now like Frodo had he been consumed by the greed of the One Ring. MMORPGs that have been made in recent years can’t stand up to WoW both in scope and design. Blizzard simply has too much money. It is now greed that drives them to continue to release content for an MMORPG that has been discarded by the original players who worked so hard to conquer it. Blizzard may have gained more casual players with the release of WOTLK, but in doing so they’ve also lost some of those hardcore players who made the game famous.
Ok, let’s get into the basics, and by that I mean the basics of how this is going to proceed. In an effort to avoid being nerd raged spammed I will lay out where I am coming from and what I expect from those of you who might read this.
1. None of these are directed at you specifically. Don’t send me “I never do that” emails.
2. Almost all of the mistakes I will be talking about I have made. I am not kidding when I say I have learned all this the hard way. Like this World of Warcraft shirt says, I am classically trained.
3. If I advise you to do something and you think “There is no way women respond to that” before emailing me please take the time to ask a couple non-nerd women and see what they say. You will be surprised, especially on the grooming issues.
4. These tips and guidelines are very general and situational. I am sure the girl you are interested in is an exception to every rule I lay out here. However, if you have been courting (stalking) her for more than a couple weeks why don’t you try some of these things before posting a “Dave you’re an idiot” response.
5. With regards to questions about my posts I will be happy to reply as well as I can but do me a favor and keep your questions as general as possible. I don’t need to hear all the gruesome details of the object of your unrequited love (“and then the third time I saw her she was wearing the same shoes as the second time but different jeans…“) and like I said, each person is different and only you can interpret her actions and comments (although if you take my advice, you will not). If you have a situation describe it as succinctly as possible and I will be happy to respond.
6. While I support any lifestyle you may or may not choose to follow, I am straight and therefore my knowledge base is more or less geared towards trying to date straight women. Lesbians may find some worthwhile advice here (although not really, I think. I lived with two lesbians for a while and there is a whole different interaction I could never really understand), but gay men and women seeking straight men (honestly, if you are a woman having trouble dating nerd men than you have problems that go beyond the scope of any blog. Just go to a comic book convention) I will not be able to help as much.
7. Finally, if you are a woman reading this blog and feel the need to comment, please do so. However, I feel that comments on the “Women never do that” level will more or less be a waste of time. My advice has been forged on the anvil of dating pain and it will take more than a blistering response to change it. I think if you read thoughtfully you will find, as the Mensa women at my first lecture did, that my advice is rather pithy and will actually make the men who follow it easier to date for you. Know that I do respect women but am in all things a realist. If you have a question about men and how to date them feel free to post and I will give you my best advice, but it is kind of out of my scope.
Next Post: Part 1 Grooming
So I am headed to a lame Warhammer Tournament today and tomorrow. My friend asked me to come play ringer, but to be honest I am kind of hoping for an even number so I can bow out. If there are more than 6 players I will be surprised. I think this Failboat t shirt is appropriate from the novelty t shirt section.
My new Skaven build is based around the idea of having enough players at a tournament to avoid the tough lists. This is pretty hard to do with less than 40 or so players, so I am going to bring the Red Steamroller. In fact, I have so little respect for this tournament (except for the friend of mine who is being the head judge) that I am adding Flamers to the list, making it far worse than normal. To hell with sports and composition.
Anyway, this is a good excuse to avoid the huge pile of new shirts that need to be uploaded and reviewed. If I get sat out I will come home and work on them. Otherwise it will be a long Monday.
So I have been having trouble with my DPS in raids lately for lack of a couple of key pieces of gear. I have been having some bad luck with drops and am not getting raid invites as often so the problem is compounding itself. I have a gold raid coming up on Saturday. Basically a bunch of guys are going to raid ICC25 and bid gold for the gear we need. The gold is then split up among the raiders. For the first time in a long time I need gold and am doing some work to get it.
I love combining projects, so I have been soloing UD Strat in hopes of getting the mount. Takes about 15 minutes, and by the time I have sold all the greys, runecloth, and assorted BOP and disenchanted gear I usually make about 100 gold. There are other ways to make gold faster, but this is kind of fun and I have a lot of hope of getting that damned mount.
In celebration of this new project I have been wearing one of my World of Warcraft t shirts like this one from our video game t shirt category. It’s cool, but it’s kind of thin. When I ran to the bank and post office it was pretty cold. I better find one of my hoodies or something.
Anyway, things are cool otherwise. Getting ready for WonderCon. I am really excited to be there. Thinking of other products to bring. I think posters will be the best choice. Anyway, talk to you all later.