Level 99

Quick update post:

  • I’m level 99 and am 68% through it
  • I love garrison missions and it’s basically my goal in life to collect more followers
  • I skipped most of Spires of Arak because I really, REALLY dislike the Arakkoa
  • Nagrand, by contrast, is MY FAVOURITE
  • Love various throwbacks to Outlands/BC
  • Did I mention I <3 garrison missions???
  • I’ve only done one dungeon, Skyreach. I did it via LFG and it went very smoothly. Got the first version of the ring. Feel like this expansion will be a little Gollum-esque…
  • Looking forward to proving grounds and other stuff at 100
  • The heirloom bow from Garrosh is pretty bad-ass
  • Quite pleased with random upgrades from greens to blues or blues to purples, both in gear and followers
  • Having a follower with an EPIC MOUNT is AMAZING

All told, I’m enjoying myself. I didn’t have to deal with queues or disconnections, haven’t had to spend all day, every day levelling to get to 99. I started playing on Friday night around 11pm or so, played for a few hours, then played for chunks of Saturday and much of Sunday (to be fair), but have been limited to evening play during the week, due to work. So it’s not bad. I’m not rushing. I’m taking my time.

Also, I am a very different person now than when I wrote this blog post in 2008.

Off to get my day started. Hope you’re enjoying Draenor.

Welcome to Warlords

It’s certainly been a long time since I’ve had the time to sit down and write here, for which I apologize. It’s not that I don’t have things to say, mind you, it’s that I lack the time.

Work is a bit overwhelming, as I adjust to this “daytime” schedule. I feel as though I have no time for anything that I really want to do. Or, if I really want to do it, I have to abandon other things that I want to do. In fact, I recently had to step down from writing about guild leadership at Sentry Totem, which really, really makes me sad. I just didn’t have the time to contribute regularly.

I haven’t played much WoW, either.

I have mostly maintained my podcast, which is great, but it’s been at the cost of doing other stuff. And this month is National Novel Writing Month and that is something I always endeavour to do, but, perhaps understandably, my ability to hit 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November never goes well when I’m actively playing WoW. ;) This year, as last year and the year before, I’m dedicating a lot of my spare time (and I have so much less of it now!) to NaNoWriMo.

Speaking of writing, I haven’t finished my Raid Leader’s Guide. If we’re lucky, I’m hoping to have something for you in the early weeks of 2015. It’s just so difficult to find the time (and motivation!) to write about it. Even though I think it’s super-important for WoW folks, even though I want to share everything I know about it with you, it’s a tough slog. I’d rather you wait for something good than something terrible and pretty much unfinished.

Tonight, the night between Wednesday, November 12th and Thursday, November 13th, marks a pretty big change in my life, strangely.

You see, Warlords of Draenor launches at 3am.

And I… am going to be asleep. Because I have work in the morning.

Not only that, but I’m probably not going to play much, if at all, on Thursday when I get home from work, because there’s this whole “writing” thing. Friday, I’ve got the first of two high school reunion dinners this weekend. I think that, realistically, the first opportunity I’ll really have to be able to play Warlords is Friday night, after dinner — if I’m still conscious.

While I did miss out on the Mists of Pandaria launch, I was on a flight to Rome. Kind of couldn’t be helped.

This time, it’s all my choice. It’s my choice not to be sleep-deprived at work tomorrow. It’s my choice to be rested for Friday. It’s my choice to not play.

And it just seems as though my choices, of late, have been just that — not to play.

And it makes me sad.

I’m not blaming anything or anyone for these choices, although I freely admit that if I didn’t have a full-time job, I would probably be resting now in preparation for a 3am launch… My priorities are changing, shifting, and they’re not even done changing, yet. They will likely never be what they once were. I will likely never again know as much about WoW as I have previously. I will likely never be quite as engaged in the game as I was before. And the thing is, none of this is because of the game. It’s all because of me and my circumstances in life.

I remember when Burning Crusade launched and I was SO ANGRY that there were no midnight parties in Montreal, which meant that I had to wait until 7am the next day. Still, I was on TeamSpeak (!!!) with Majik as he stepped through the Dark Portal… and got flattened by the Fel Reaver while gazing at the sky.

I waited in line for Wrath of the Lich King and played through the night.

I bought the digital version of Cataclysm and played through the night then, too.

Of course, there was the delayed playing of Mists of Pandaria due to Italy.

But tonight… I won’t be up late. I won’t go out and explore Shadowmoon Valley within minutes. I won’t skin dead animals or tame new ones. I won’t log in and out on all my characters to make sure they get rested experience going.

I’m going to bed shortly and the entire World of Warcraft will change while I dream of things that don’t involve healing or hunting or deck fire on Heroic Blackhorn.

I’m a little sad and feeling a little introspective tonight.

But to those of you who still wholly embrace this wacky game, to those of you who will be up at 3am, to those of you who will race through the new content in the next couple of days… enjoy it. Take care of yourselves. Take it easy on the soft drinks. Get some rest, eventually. But above all, enjoy the launch. You never know when it’ll be your last.

Go forth and decimate the Iron Horde for me. I’ll catch up with you soon.

BattleTags: Digging Deeper

Well, it’s been about ten days since I last wrote in this space, mostly due to work stuff, family stuff, oh, and yes, illness. (On Thursday, I started sneezing so much someone could haven mistaken me for a pregnant Bajoran.)

At that time, I had pondered whether the “Show my Real ID on Friends of Friends lists” option would extend to BattleTags, since we still have no controls specifically for BattleTags.

The answer, it would appear, is no.

list

Yup. That’s Majik’s “People You May Know” list and, 15 screens down, at the very bottom, where there are no mutual friends connecting him and those individuals that “he may know”, I’m right there. (In order to get this screenshot from him, I had to actually tell him my BattleTag or he wouldn’t have confirmed it for me. :P)

As to why this is a big deal, I can understand why some people don’t think it is… But to me, it’s just another way of showing me that Blizzard doesn’t care about our privacy. The lack of control, the lack of refinement of the tools, these are things that, were they fixed, would have me thrilled to use BattleTags. That’s ultimately where I’m coming from: I want to be able to use BattleTags within World of Warcraft without giving up my privacy.

Since I can’t do that, I don’t want to use BattleTags. More, I don’t want anyone to be able to associate me with a BattleTag.

Think about it. With someone’s BattleTag, you can search for them on the official Hearthstone, Diablo 3, Starcraft 2 AND Heroes of the Storm forums, all without being their “friend” on BattleNet. Just how long do you think WoW’s character-based postings are going to last when all of their other properties are using BattleTags?

Then, with someone’s BattleTag, you can spam them with requests, even if they still turn you down. Someone who knows someone else’s BattleTag can also post this sort of thing to various forums, which will cause an uptick in spam requests.

Then we have this story from Jemmy

My husband decided to disable his RealId to see what would happen. He doesn’t play WoW any more and I’m the only active RealId person on his list, everyone else is btag. So I disappeared off his list, and he cannot add me back on using my email. So far so good. So then he sends me a btag friend request, which I accept. My RealId name appears on his friends list. Not my btag, my RealId name. He shows up only as his btag, but I show up as a RealId name.

What’s up with that?

It’s true that these are not exactly the most harmful or most efficient ways to harass someone, but they’re there. More, this is just what people can do with your BattleTag ID right now. What happens when WoW’s forums adopt the BattleTag?

What happens if BattleTags become visible in WoW, even to the extent that they are currently visible in Hearthstone? Right now, after you play someone in Hearthstone, you get their BattleTag and you get the option to request to add them to your friends list. What if some genius idiot at Blizzard decides this is a good plan for LFR or the LFG groups in WoW? “Did you enjoy playing with FAKENAME#0000? Add them to your BattleTag list and play with them more often!”

Again, with proper, granular controls that existed on an IM program in the late 90s, BattleTags would be brilliant. But without any kind of control whatsoever, I have to opt out of their use. I was a less-effective guild recruiter without using BattleTags, because I didn’t want prospective recruits to know every detail of my Blizzard gaming habits. I’m sure I come off as an aloof snob when people want to exchange BattleTags with me. There are actually a lot of people with whom I would like to connect over BattleTags, but none to the point where I’d like them to have an unfettered view of my gaming. I don’t want anyone to know about my Undead baby rogue on that PVP server. I don’t want anyone to know what I’m doing in Hearthstone. It’s my decision whether or not I share these activities with others — or, at least, it should be. Once you give someone access to you via BattleTags, you don’t have that decision any longer. That privacy is gone. All because Blizzard doesn’t seem to care enough to even install the most basic of privacy controls.

It’s a worrying privacy creep and it just continues to show me that, perhaps, my love affair with World of Warcraft and Blizzard in general, is truly over.

(You’re welcome to comment, welcome to disagree, but bear in mind my Comment Policy.)

ETA: Related podcast: Episode 19 of the Kurncast: Privacy Creep

Blizzard, Why Do I Still Have to Talk About This?

Dear Blizzard,

I have been playing your games, in some fashion, since the original PC version of Diablo. I played Diablo II, as well as at least one expansion. I eventually found my way to World of Warcraft in October of 2005 and the rest is basically history. I played until November of 2012 and then took a break for approximately 17 months.

I came back to the game shortly after the Warlords of Draenor pre-purchase came out. I pre-purchased Warlords, then four hours later, I resubbed to the game.

As I write this, I have about 68 hours on my current game card and, to be honest, I’m not really inclined to fork over another $15.

It’s not because of the sexism and even homophobia and misogyny that I have seen in the game — although those exist.

It’s not because you nerfed my class to the ground — although my main raiding character was a paladin for the majority of my playing time.

It’s not even because it’s going to take over a year between content patches — although that’s a truly abysmal production schedule and if I had been raiding this whole time, I would have surely quit in disgust by now.

It’s because @YAWoWB on Twitter said this:


I wasn’t exactly sure what Rooster was talking about, until I opened up my own desktop app. Now, let’s be clear: I have precisely 0 BattleNet friends and my RealID is turned off. But I still clicked on “Add a Friend” and was rewarded with this piece of nonsense:

addafriendblog

 

Now, to be fair, because I have RealID turned off, those are all BattleTags. But that’s my brother’s BattleTag, my friend Majik’s BattleTag… and the guy above Majik? That’s one of his friends. Something like two years ago, I played Diablo III with Majik and his friend, for a period of approximately THIRTY MINUTES.

Then, Blizzard, I gasped out-loud at the possibility that my BattleTag is floating around out there like that. See, you have a flag in the BattleNet account options to not show up like that… except that it’s for RealID, not BattleTags (click for a bigger version):

friendsoffriends

Now, one might think that, possibly, since there are no preferences for one’s BattleTags, that perhaps they follow the rules laid out for RealID, but, honestly, I have no idea if this is the case.

As my brother is the father of a newborn and I don’t actually know Majik’s friend, my thought was immediately to get him on his computer and then have HIM click “Add A Friend” and see if I showed up. Unfortunately, he was asleep when I texted him (multiple times), since he has to be up at 5am and I think I might have woken up his wife with my constant texting…

So I’ll have to post again with the results of this test.

But, honestly, Blizzard. It’s 2014. Why do I have to be angry with you about your complete and utter lack of social controls?

It’s been nearly two years since you posted that “Appear Offline” was “coming soon”. TWO YEARS, Blizzard. That’s longer than Mists of Pandaria has been out! And your inelegant (to say the least) “privacy” controls are still absolutely laughable. I say this as someone who has been in the online community industry for over a decade. In this day and age of Facebook privacy screwups, of cloud hacking, of nations spying on their own citizens, you’re really going to continue to deny your users the ability to properly manage their online/offline statuses? You’re going to make it easy to find people who don’t want to be found?

Look, I get that community makes your product stickier. Believe me, I do. People come for the games and stay for the people. I know! And you want to compete with Steam, I’m guessing, right? Guess what? STEAM HAS AN OFFLINE MODE. And a variety of ways for users to manage their privacy. And Steam hit the 75 million active user mark last January.

Why, why, why do you continue to eat away at the privacy of your gamers? Why don’t you understand that, when I play your games, I don’t really want to announce to a dozen people that I’m on a rarely-used alt on a server I never visit? Why don’t you understand that I don’t want people to know all of my alts? That I don’t want prospective recruits to know all of my alts? That I don’t want people to necessarily know that I’m in one of your games?

These are fundamental questions for me. I am increasingly disturbed by each and every privacy issue that comes up when it comes to BattleNet and Blizzard’s games.

You know, Blizzard, there was a time when I loved BattleNet. Those times were back in the late 90s when I was playing Diablo. Ever since RealID came out, I have learned to loathe BattleNet. I resent it. I resent people expecting me to share my RealID/BattleTag with them. I hate that people I barely know are all “hey, whats ur btag???” because “lol its just ur btag”. I hate that I can’t even post on the Hearthstone forums without my BattleTag being exposed for all to see. I cannot believe that I cannot remove a BattleTag from my account and I am just as incredulous about the fact that there are no distinct BattleTag privacy options available to me.

Blizzard… it’s time. It’s time to fix this mess.

Yours sincerely,

Kurn

State of Kurn’s Corner

So, hi. I’ve finally moved my blog over to my new webhost. If you got here after going to kurn.apotheosis-now.com, please note the new address: kurn.info/blog. I believe that I have ensured that all old links point to the appropriate new links — not just because of the domain name change, but because of the URL change to the entries themselves. I swapped from a numerical system (which drove me crazy – I always had to look up which entry belonged to which number) to one with the titles of the posts in it.

I probably should have done that, like, five years ago. Hopefully that works out okay. Let me know if it doesn’t!

Anyhow, welcome to the new home of Kurn’s Corner. I know that I’ve been excessively quiet of late and that is, truly, not my intention. Now that I’ve moved everything over, I plan to tweak the theme a bit and, you know, actually write occasional blog posts.

I have things to say, obviously, like always — I want to spend some time talking about healing. I want to talk about Warlords. I want to mention my thoughts on a bunch of other things…

But that’s going to have to wait. For now, we have a new webhost, a new URL and I’m looking forward to writing here, every so often.

Thanks so much for reading. I promise to have something relatively interesting to read soon. In the meantime, check out my podcast, the Kurncast: http://www.kurn.info/podcast/

Episode 12 of the Kurncast… is not here.

Yes, Episode 12 of the Kurncast is out and nope, it’s not here. I have finally migrated it over to:

http://kurn.info/podcast

It WILL be on iTunes and Stitcher Soon ™ but in the meantime, please head over to that address to listen to all episodes (new and old) of the Kurncast. :)

Thanks!

Episode 11 of the Kurncast

I swear to God, I’m going to move the Kurncast to kurn.info next week. I promise. I’ll also go about adding it to things like iTunes and Stitcher once I’ve done that. Promise!

This week, I talk about my forthcoming changes in my schedule, my idiocy regarding my farm(s), I lament the possibility of giving up my Ancient Sinew Wrapped Lamina and talk about the Curse of Naxxramas “adventure” for Hearthstone.

As always, if you’re looking for a new webhost, please do consider bluehost and I’d appreciate it if you used my affiliate link below. :)