Monday, February 27, 2012

Politics: Is 50% enough?


I've been sitting on this post for a while and just decided to bite the bullet and hit 'Publish'.

Typically, when people vote on something, it's agreed that majority rules. Put another way, whatever opinion has more than 50% support wins. Recently I've been wondering if that's good enough. Should a simple majority rule? Or should more things require a supermajority?

A supermajority is when more than 50% support is required to make something pass. For example, in order to remove the President of the United States from office, the House of Representatives must pass a simple majority to impeach the president and then the Senate must pass a 2/3 majority (67 of the total 100 available votes). A three-fifths supermajority is required to pass a bill with no further debate (i.e. break a filibuster) and either chamber of Congress can forcibly remove one of its members with a two-thirds supermarjority. This was last done in 2002. A two-thirds supermajority can also overturn a presidential veto.

When is a majority necessary?
A simple majority is necessary when some sort of positive resolution must be made. For example, a simple majority is necessary for all elections, because somebody must hold the office. Furthermore, say you were a member of a group of travelers going through the forest and you came upon a fork in the road. The group must come to a decision about with path to take, if you required a supermajority consensus, then you may not be able to come to a resolution.

However, most bills don't require an immediate resolution. They aren't "We will do A, and if we don't decide to do A then we must decide to do B." If A doesn't pass, A can be voted on again at a later date.

What's wrong with a simple majority?
As it stands, a simple majority is enough to strip people of their rights. This allows just slightly more than half of a group to restrict the rights of the other half. Personally, that doesn't seem right to me. Is 50% strong enough to force a piece of legislation on people when so many disagree with it? As it stands in the United States, the majority rules and the minority suffers.

The other problem with a simple majority system is how it plays in with our system of voting and our party system. As I've noted before, our method of voting and how it interacts with our party system and the public creates a situation where party representation in Congress is A) always very close to 50% and B) bounces across that line regularly. This has the effect of the dominant party changing hands frequently and then using their newfound power to undo previously passed legislation. One party bullies their way into passing legislation, and then the next time congress changes hands it can easily get repealed.

Could we force supermajority votes on certain topics?
In New York, most tax increases requires a 60% supermajority vote. So this is certainly something that could be done; the main question is what would we want a supermajority vote for and how enforceable that is.

Personally, I would like to see a supermajority vote on any legislation that would restrict the rights of any person. Legislation that opens up rights that were previously closed to a group of people would still require the standard 50%. I don't know what kind of supermajority I would like to enforce on it, but I know I would like one. In a country that is founded on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, you need to be very strong in your convictions before you restrict the rights of any person.

One thing I wonder is if a slight supermajority, say 55%, may just be good to require for all legislation. The immediate thought that I have is that no legislation would ever pass; the opposing party could just block everything. But that's thinking too simply, I feel. The real question is, what changes would be required of congresspersons if such a thing were true?

No legislation could pass unless it had support, at least some, from both sides. Legislation would be less controversial, less contentious. It would force congress to work together, to give things up on both sides. I think this might lessen tensions in Congress, and make the two parties less violently opposed to each other.

There is a potential downside, however. If you consider that congress/law is on a path towards what's best (even if it is slow, often), then this could be seen as a impediment to progress. If the overall trend is towards a better United States, then this would slow that progress if it were implemented across the board. Sure, it would slow down/stop legislation that would take us backwards, but it would also slow/stop legislation that would push us forward. So implementing this across the board would be a bad idea.

Another problem with this would be our current electoral system. As I've mentioned before, our system for electing representative drives congress towards ~50% representation. This would give the minority party the power to veto anything they want. Quite frankly, my hope for cooperation from both sides seems pretty unlikely, given how much like children they act. So a blanket 55% majority needed would definitely not work with our current political system. If a legislature were not composed of two parties embroiled in such a close battle for the majority constantly, if there were, say, more than two viable parties, then there is definitely a potential for this to be a meaningful way to operate.

Supermajorities are a very interesting thing to consider. If I were creating a new country from scratch I would strongly consider an expanded role for them in legislature. However, they don't fit within our current system due to our tense 50-50 party politics. It's a shame really, because I feel we deserve better. Perhaps in a country with different system for presidential and legislative elections, this would be a much better idea.

Friday, February 24, 2012

WoW Survey Results: Age Differences


MAAATTTTHHHHH
We've already covered the topic of how the different gender's pick their characters, but what about people of different ages? The differences are more pronounced than I thought they would be. To do this part of the study, I split the male respondent base into three groups, each as close to one-third of the total as I could. The groups were those 18 and younger, those from 19 to 24, and those 25 and older. I took the young group and the older group and then I summarized and compared them. Each group consisted of over 400 respondents, with approximately the same number of respondents in each group.

Since there was a correlation between the age and gender of respondents, I separated the male and female respondents so I could analyze each independently. Unfortunately, I did not have enough female respondents to split them into groups for a similar age analysis. I really wish I did. I intend on doing another survey in the future and I relly hope that I can not only have a more robust form, but that it will get a much better spread through the community.

Average Class Representation
ClassDeath KnightDruidHunterMagePaladinPriestRogueShamanWarlockWarrior
Younger10.95%11.84%10.63%8.86%12.08%9.1%8.78%9.9%7.25%10.63%
Older10.57%10.78%9.89%9.89%13.1%9.96%7.78%9.96%7.37%10.71%
Difference-0.38%-1.06%-0.74%+1.03%+1.02%+.86%-1.0%+0.06%+0.12%+0.08%

The classes that increased in representation as you go from the younger respondents to the older respondents were the mage, paladin, and priest primarily with the shaman, warlock and warrior receiving minor increases. The classes that decreased in representation were the Death Knight, druid, hunter, and rogue. I personally don't see any particular trend in the data. There is a decrease in the leather and mail wearers and an increase in the cloth and plate wearers as you go from the younger to the older respondents. When I tracked the preferences of the two age groups by role, the changes were incredibly small. Then I looked at things with respect to the class's location when fighting.

Average Representation by Location

YoungerOlder
Melee10.12%9.69%
Mix11.27%11.28%
Ranged8.96%9.28%

Here we see a decrease in melee-only classes and an increase in ranged-only classes, with the classes that do both remaining about the same. Is it possible that young men just feel a stronger need to hit things with weapons, and that drives them towards warriors, Death Knights, and rogues? I feel that's distinctly the case. Now, the difference we're talking about here is still somewhat small, but it is there. It likely reflects an overall trend for male players that if I had enough data and could make a category for each age, would pan out.

Average Race Representation
Blood ElfDraeneiDwarfGnomeGoblinHumanNight ElfOrc TaurenTroll UndeadWorgen
Y12.32%6.44%5.31%3.86%5.8%14.41%9.98%9.1%8.53%8.21%9.18%6.84%
O13.51%7.37%5.66%5.05%6.28%14.46%8.25%8.19%8.73%6.82%8.39%7.3%
D1.190.930.351.190.480.05-1.73-0.910.2-1.39-0.790.46

From this (crammed) chart, we can see that the blood elves, draenei, dwarves, gnomes, goblins, humans, tauren, and wrogen all increased in representation while the night elves, orcs, trolls, and undead decreased in representation.

Races Representation by Faction
Young46.84%53.16%
Older48.09%51.91%

And from this we can definitely confirm something the previous table hints at, which is that the Alliance is more popular among older players than younger players. Oddly, the Blood Elves had the most significant gain when going from younger to older respondents (tied w/ gnomes). This is very interesting given the Horde's overall decrease in popularity. Similarly, the Night Elves saw a dramatic loss in representation despite the Alliance's overall increase in popularity. Frankly, I find this odd and I'm somewhat at a loss as to why this may be. Are young men afraid of playing the less muscular blood elf? Does the night elf suddenly become "not cool" as men age? I certainly welcome guesses/perspective in the comments.

From the results presented above we can see that the age of a player (at least for male players) has an influence on how they pick and choose their characters. I unfortunately did not have enough data to do a similar study comparing different age groups of female respondents, but I hope to be able to do so in the future.

I plan on coming back to this sort of age comparison in a later post, when I talk about for which races and classes men like to play female characters. Men play far more female characters than women do male characters and we'll be looking at where they tend to do so the most.

          - Σ Δ

Friday, February 17, 2012

#FictionFriday: Cassandra

This is part two of an ongoing story. Read part one first!

Everybody greeted Karuun into The Kingdom's Glory. Then Kalin, the gnome, and the druid all left the room and Cassandra stayed behind. "I bet you feel awfully out of place here in Ironforge in the company of people you don't know." she asked.

"I do, but it's not a new feeling for me." Karuun replied.

"I'll show you around. My name is Cassandra." They shook hands and walked out of the room. The Kingdom's Glory definitely one of the smaller guilds, and their base of operations showed it. "Kalin started The Kingdom's Glory after the Third War. That's when most guilds started. The world had found itself in a time where there was definite aggression between the Horde and the Alliance but there was no full out war. All these trained warriors and mages needed to apply their skills to something, and that's when guilds started to form." Cassandra explained as she was showing him around. She continued, "As you can see, we're not one of the big guilds who go out on the prestigious missions or get called on by King Wrynn to assist in the war effort. We tend to receive smaller work, usually assisting in matters that don't directly pertain to whatever conflict is happening. The guild does participate when there is an open call for guilds to assist, such as right after the Cataclysm and the world was in turmoil. They also went to Northrend to assist in the war against the Lich King, but they didn't do anything high profile. They stayed primarily in the eastern area of Northrend, fighting against Vrykul, furbolg, and trolls. I wasn't yet a member at the time for those campaigns, but knowing the guild's history is heavily emphasized."

"This is the kitchen. We typically eat lunch around noon and dinner around sundown. Kalin's wife, Martha, typically prepares the meals, although if you're not doing anything pressing, it's customary to assist her." Cassandra gestured around the kitchen as she spoke.

Karuun interrupted, asking, "I've noticed that your robes bear Gilnean symbols. Did you come here after the fall of the Greymane Wall?"

Cassandra stopped and leaned against the counter. She answered, "My brother, Brigham and I lived in Gilneas until the Cataclysm. We grew up in a rural area. After our parents died from food poisoning, I went to Gilneas city to study the priesthood and he stayed out on the country to study paganism and assist with the crops. After the worgen went from being a rumor to a confirmed problem, I went back out to the country to make sure he was ok." Cassandra took a brief pause before beginning again. "When I got to the farm where he worked, I found it empty and the crops unkept. That's when I saw my first worgen. It was running right for me, bearing down on all fours. I started to prepare a defense against the beast, but when it got close it just stopped. It was then that I could see its face. It was my brother. Shocked at finding each other, we didn't notice the other pack of worgen that was rapidly approaching."

This was a story that she had told before, he could tell. She seemed well steeled against the pain that must lie in the memories she was recalling. He started, "If you don't mind me asking, how did you survive?"

"In a way I didn't. Brigham helped me keep them at bay but there were too many and they overcame us. I became a worgen just as they had. When they started to round up worgen to administer the cure that would give us back control of ourselves, we were fortunately still both alive. After the attack by the Forsaken and the rescue provided by the elves, I took up my studies again and Brigham began training with the druids. He never has been able to calm his emotions enough to stay in his human form for very long. He tends to stay in an animal form almost all the time, even when he sleeps."

"That's horrible, I'm very sorry for what you and your brother have suffered. Your brother and I seem to have something in common, then. We are both held down by something that was forced upon us."

"That's true, and maybe you can help him. But don't feel too bad for us, It's not like you could have done anything, Gilneas had sealed itself away from the world." Standing back up from leaning against the counter, Cassandra suddenly began "Now, let me show you where everybody sleeps."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mists of Pandaria Talent Calculator Changes: Druid, Shaman, and Priest

The Mists of Pandaria talent calculators were updated yesterday and there are some really exciting changes. There are also some really not-so-exciting changes.


Druid
The first thing that I'm really excited about is that Bear Hug is now baseline, at least for guardian druids. The talent calculator seems to imply it's both baseline for all druids and is also a guardian only ability. We'll see how that error corrects itself. I'm super glad that Thrash is now going to apply Demoralizing Roar on my targets. Symbiosis still looks like and amazing spell that I can't wait to use. I'm still not sure how the new active defense style based around the new Savage Defense is going to work, but we'll see. I'm worried it will devolve to "Herod says, '5'." and then having to store up rage to avoid the insta-death attack.

Talent opinions by tier, from a guardian druid perspective.
  1. I'm really excited that Wild Charge is now on this tier, although I'd also love to have Feline Swiftness.
  2. All of these look great, but there's nothing new here. I'll likely go with Renewal. 
  3. Typhoon is still great, because I'm a massive troll. I'm sure I'll use the other stuff if there is some hard content that need it, but otherwise Typhoon.
  4. Soul of the Forest looks like a solid addition for boring fights. Incarnation also looks for fights with hard phases. Force of Nature will be my favorite from a flavor perspective. If Incarnation has a really awesome transformation effect for each spec, then I just might use that one though. We'll have to see what Force of Nature actually does, before we can really pass judgement on it. 
  5. I'll probably use Ursol's Vortex most of the time, with Mighty Bash and Disorienting Roar being situational. I like Ursol's Vortex and Typhoon because I'm a massive troll.
  6. Disentanglement is the only real option here, because I have no idea when I'd use the other two as a bear. Even then, using it will be very hard. Tier 6 is a big 'screw you' to bears.
Shaman
Grace of Air may have been there before, but I still think it's really neat. It grants nearby players 5 Mastery. Ascendance is the new level 87 ability for shamans. With it they'll take on some elemental aspect that empowers them. Elemental shaman will become a flame ascendant which removes the cooldown from Lava Burst and makes Chain Lightning into Lava Beam. Enhancement shaman will become a wind ascendant, which makes autoattack and Stormstrike deal nature damage and have a 30 yard range. Restoration shaman will become a water ascendant, which duplicates all healing done and spreads it out among nearby allies. I'm incredibly excited for that ability.

I don't really have much to say about the shaman talents, probably because they don't seem to have figured out what they're doing with them, especially since the last tier is absent!

Priest
Nothing here really seemed new to me. Maybe I'm wrong. There was probably new stuff but I didn't notice it/it was underhwhelming to me. I'm hoping I'll get more excited about it as time goes on. If I'm wrong, let me know.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentines Day!

Yesterday was Valentine's day. My day began like any other, since I wasn't going to present Sarah with anything while she was asleep/waking up. I went to work, where I was asked by my female coworkers repeatedly if I had done anything for Sarah that day. When I went home for lunch, however, I presented her with Valentines.

At first, I presented her with a joke card. One of those ones that tries to be sexy. It said, "You+Me+Naked+Chocolate Sauce =" then on the inside "Happy Valentines Day." I changed it to, "Naked Ice Cream Eating, YEAH!". This card was accompanied by some candy. THEN, I went and got another card, this one was another funny one about how I'm not sick of her yet, blah blah blah. It was presented alongside a serious gift, a blu-ray of The Princess Bride. THEN, I went and got another card, a serious, pretty, lovey card. After she finished reading it I gave her the final gift: The blu-ray deluxe edition of Twilight. I was worried she was going to die from laughing as much as she was at this gift. I bought it for her because we'll periodically rent it so we can laugh at it and watch the RiffTrax for it.

She is going to get me the golden bananadragon. I say going to because the queue was too long to get it for me yesterday. We then had a lovely dinner at Jimmy Johns (because we're classy, damnit) and then we watched TV together. Happy Valentine's Day.

In WoW news, I keep forgetting to do my daily dungeon for the holiday. Oh well, what are you going to do. I doubt I'll get anything cool out of it anyway.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 20 - My last day of WoW


If it were my last day to play World of Warcraft, and not just a temporary unsubscription, I would really want to spend it connecting with people again. I'd run dungeons with my guildmates and say goodbye to all of them. I'd log on to old servers and send mail messages to old friends/seeing if they were online to say goodbye.

After that, I'd give away what wealth I had to those who needed it. If I had friends who were always in need of gold it would go to them. Otherwise I'd just hand it to some low level character who didn't have heirlooms, since they'd be the ones that most likely don't have a high-level character to bankroll them.
My final act would be to move all my main characters to somewhere meaningful to them. I would take my priest to Ashenvale. I have really strong memories of leveling her there and that's where I think she'd want to be, defending it from the orcs. I would log out my shaman at the Throne of the Elements in Nagrand. Being a Draenei and a shaman I think he would want to be there. My very last act would be to log out my druid. I would take him to the Night Elf starting area and log him out next to that initial quest giver, standing by him, greeting each new Night Elf and help new druids as they come.

Games and Love: Shadow of the Colossus

This is my first post for Critical Distance's Blogs of the Round Table for February. The theme for February is Love. For this post I will be talking about one of my favorite games of all time, Shadow of the Colossus.

[[spoiler warning for Shadow of the Colossus]]

It's no secret that I love Shadow of the Colossus. That game was an incredible experience for me, and I will never forget it. When I think about love being conveyed in a video game, I think about Shadow of the Colossus. I believe Shadow of the Colossus conveys love so strongly because it does so without words.

Mono, the girl
Shadow of the Colossus starts off as the story about a boy who steals a magic sword so that he may gain access to a strange land where he can resurrect a girl, whose name in Mono. We are never informed about the boy's relationship with the girl, but I'd assume that they were in love, given the apparently similarity in their age. Other possibilities are that they are siblings, possibly twins. But it's not the nature of their love that matters, it's the quality.

When the boy reaches the land he is told by a spectral voice that calls itself 'Dormin' that it can bring back his love, if the boy slays the sixteen colossi. Without hesitation and without question the boy embarks on this quest. As the game progresses, the boy becomes weary. He looks dirty, corrupted, and has a much more difficult time getting up after he is knocked to the ground, but still he presses on to resurrect his loved one. Eventually the quest consumes Wander, and he struggles for his life so that he may see her alive again. You truly know that he would do anything and everything in his power to bring Mono back, because he truly loves her.

And while the game is about the love a boy has for a girl and his struggle to bring her back, that's not the love that the game fosters. There is another love.

Agro, the horse
Agro is your trusty steed througout the journey. He carries you wherever you need to go, as far as he can. There are even several boss battles that could not be done without him there to help you. He's even different from horses in other games. He's more intelligent. When navigating through a narrow passage, you don't need to steer him, he'll avoid the sides and lead you through. As I played the game, I came to care deeply about Agro.

This connection that you have to Agro is facilitated by the game's controls. When you're controlling Wander, you just tilt the left analog stick in the direction that you want to go, as you do in any other video game. Agro doesn't control the same way. When you are riding Agro you use the X button to kick your heels and go forward and use the left analog stick to steer left or right. Many people complained about this control scheme, saying that it was awkward and made going long distances frustrating because you had to keep pressing the X button. But what this scheme does is it make you connect with Agro the way you would a real horse.

You, the player, have to form a physical connection to Agro. When I walk, I tell myself to walk and my body doesn't disobey me, unless I trip or something. Compelling and animal to move is a very different story, and Shadow of the Colossus forces you to communicate with the controller in much the same way that Wander must communicate with Agro. Then you add in Agro's very realistic rendering and animations and you have one fastastic video game horse that puts any incarnation of Epona to shame.

When you call out to Agro, Wander's tone is different depending upon how far away Agro is. If he's far enough away, the call is loud and almost sounds desperate. He's your only companion in this strange, harsh land, and you need him. You need him to survive. You need him to complete the mission.

I grew to love Agro. I could feel Wander's love for Agro, and I could feel Agro's love for Wander. Every time you defeat a colossus, Wander passes out and wakes up in the temple where the game begins, and every time Agro is there, coming back to find/meet you. He knows that you'll be there and travels back to the temple by himself so that he can be with you and help you on your journey.

Before the final boss, there is a bridge that you have to cross. As you run across it on Agro the bridge starts to crumble. You can't make Agro go fast enough and as you're just short of the end Agro throws Wander off of him so that you land on the other side and he...he falls into the gorge, plunging into the river below.

It was at that moment that my heart sank and I felt absolute rage. This last colossus was going to die so that Agro, my friend's sacrifice would not be in vain. After killing the last colossus and fulfilling some final scene responsibilities, Mono is alive in the temple. Then, at the front of the temple you hear it, the sound of a horse's hooves. Agro had somehow survived the fall into the river and made it all the way back to the temple one last time, limping, to be with you. Mono takes Agro and the two of them make their way to the top of the temple to presumably live out their days together.

That, dear readers, is a love greater than any that has ever been conveyed to me in a video game, and it's one I hope to never forget.

Monday, February 13, 2012

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 19 - In my bags/bank


My first bag is where I keep the standard stuff, the things that I'll never get rid of. In there you'll find my hearthstone, my battle standards, and fun items that I like to use. On my druid, this includes my Tol'Barad Searchlight as well as the tabard from Operation Gnomeregan that lets me turn into a gnome. I also have juggling torches from the fire festival because why the hell not.

My second bag contains my offspec gear. My druid's current offspec is balance so I have spell leather in there. My third bag is where the stuff really starts to pile in. First, you'll find potions, flasks and food. You'll also find alternate pieces of gear that I may use situationally. After that the quest items and other random pickups start to fill in. My fourth bag is usually picked up items, and my fifth bag is also picked up items.

In my bank you can find tons of items that I need to get rid off. There are bags that are soulbound and smaller than my current bags. There are things that I need to put on the auction house but have been to lazy to. There are old crafting materials, in case I need to make something for an alt. Other items include
  • lockboxes even though I'm not a rogue
  • tabards I don't need anymore
  • rep items
  • food that I don't eat
  • an ogre tannin
  • a rock

WoW Survey Results: Gender and Class

Last time we covered the differences in race selection by the gender of the respondents. This time, we're going to talk about the differences in class selection by the gender of the respondents. There are tons of ways to break this down, so let's get started.

Breakdown by class

Classes played by male respondents
PaladinDruidWarriorDKShamanHunterPriestMageRogueWarlock
12.69%11.24%11.03%10.27%10.22%9.72%9.61%9.10%8.45%7.67%

Classes played by female respondents
DruidPriestHunterPaladinShamanMageDKWarlockRogueWarrior
15.71%13.60%12.48%11.22%10.66%9.96%7.15%7.01%6.31%5.89% 

The classes that increased in representation if you go from male to female respondents were: druid, shaman, hunter, priest, mage, and warlock. The classes that decreased in representation were, paladin, warrior, dk, and rogue.

One of the things that we want to do when we look at this is to figure out the trend. Certainly by looking at which classes decreased in popularity it would seem that women don't like being in melee as much as men do. Is that the chief difference? Or is it that women don't like wearing plate or rogues as much? I think this deserves some breakdowns.

Breakdown by roles available

Average class representation
Male respondents
No HealHeal
No Tank8.74%9.92%
Tank10.65%11.97%
Female respondents
No HealHeal
No Tank8.94%12.13%
Tank6.52%13.47%
 
But what does this all mean? Both male and female respondents seem to enjoy classes that can heal as opposed to classes that can't heal. There is a clear indication that male respondents would rather have the option of tanking than to not have the option. However, with the female respondents, we see an increase from dps/healing hybrid (top right) to 3-way hybrid (bottom right) but a decrease from pure DPS (top left) to tank/dps hybrid (bottom left).

If you think about it, the tank/dps hybrids are warriors and Death Knights. They are both plate classes. SO maybe this all has to do with the aesthetics of armor types and it cascades into the roles of the class. Let's look at some more breakdowns.

Breakdown by armor type

Average Class Representation
ClothLeatherMailPlate
Male8.79%9.85%9.97%11.33%
Female10.42%11.01%11.57%8.09% 

From this chart it would appear that male players prefer heavier armor types, with cloth being far below leather and mail and plate being far above. It's a bit more complicated for female players. We can certainly say that they don't play plate-wearing characters as often as the others, but otherwise there is an increasing trend from cloth up to mail.

So what is it? Is it that female players just don't like plate, but otherwise prefer heavier armor? Let's check something else out.

Breakdown by location in battle

Average Class Representation
MaleFemale
Melee9.92%6.45%
Mix8.54%9.40%
Ranged9.03%10.76%
From this chart, it would appear that women tend to prefer to prefer to stand at range as opposed to melee. Male players have a much more even distribution of preferences. But there may be something else at play here. Loot at the bottom four classes for the female respondents: Death Knight, warlock, rogue, and warrior. What separates them from the others? They have a different tone than the other classes. The Death Knight is dark, filled with necromantic energy. The warlock uses fel energy; it is literally demonic. The rogue is sneaky and ruthless. The warrior is often thought of as a barbarian. They have these harsh connotations to them. Maybe that's a source of their lack of representation.

Conclusion
I've just spent an awful large amount of time trying to figure out the motivations that give us the breakdown of classes played by the female respondents to my survey. This is because when we look at the breakdown by roles, their isn't a clear explanation. There was an increase from healer/dps hybrids to 3-way hybrids but a decrease from pure dps to tank/dps hybrids. 

When looking at the decrease I saw that something else may have been at play. Both tank/dps hybrids are plate classes! But the paladin is also a plate class and has a quite favorable representation among the female respondents. Paladins can heal, warriors and Death Knights cannot. This means paladins can be at range. What happens if we bring rogues into this? They're melee only and also feature a low representation. When looking at the numbers it would seem that melee versus range seems to play a big role in the class choice of the female respondents. Lastly, when we bring another data point into the analysis, the representation of the warlock, we appears to be the classes with darker themes that feature the lowest representation. But the warlock has been unpopular this expansion in general and is receiving an overhaul in Mists of Pandaria to make is more appealing, so maybe bringing it into this analysis isn't going to help.

The problem that's at the heart of this is correlation, and it can be a big problem in statistics. If you've ever taken a statistics class, you've likely heard talk about independent random variables. When things are independent (unrelated to one another) it's easier to isolate the effect of each variable. In our case, the classes with harsh connotations tend towards melee DPS. Both of those groups tend towards plate wearers. Those groups all tend towards the having the role of tanking available. There is a relationship in how the classes are designed that obfuscates the motivations at hand here. Furthermore, I didn't collect information about specs (for reasons of it being difficult to parse the data that I would receive. I'm going to talk about all of that in a much later post.), but I did collect something else. I asked each person what their feelings were about different activities in a PVE scenario.

Difference From The Average Score by Gender
TankingHealingRDPSMDPS
Male-0.14-0.170.30.01
Female-0.540.20.62-0.28
 
For that chart I had asked everyone to rate those activities on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 meaning that you loved participating in that activity. I split my respondents by gender and found the average score for each activity and then I took the average of those averages and subtracted it from original averages. This would let me see which activities a gender liked "more than average" and "less than average". From this, we can see that male respondents liked ranged DPS more than average and melee DPS slightly more than average. Female respondents liked healing and ranged DPS more than average and tanking and melee DPS less than average.

So maybe that's it. Maybe the female respondents just typically don't like melee DPS and tanking as much as they do healing and ranged DPS. This effect would cascade down and affect what armor types the female respondents wear, and what classes they play. 

The only real way to get a handle on the motivations for why someone plays the classes they do is to ask. So, dear readers, what classes do you play and why do you play them? Of particular interest is if you made a conscious decision to switch from one class to another. 
 
Remember, statistics are a function of a group. They can't tell you anything about an individual. So no matter what a group does, you should never use that to suggest that a person do or not do something.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dinner Tonight


We went to IHOP for dinner tonight, because I owed Sarah breakfast for dinner, and some really interesting stuff was going on at the tables near us. At the table behind Sarah, the guy spent the whole time talking about Coke, as in Coca Cola. First he talked about the Coke Freestyle machines and how they're super cool and how they were designed by Ferrari (I don't actually know if that's true). Then he spent an inordinate amount of time talking about New Coke and about where it was a great or terrible business decision. He has apparently written at least 3 papers about Coke and, from what I could observe, was drinking a Coke during the meal. He was with a woman. I presume they were on a date, since I'd think that if you were in a relationship with someone you would have already released your Coke craziness on them before you managed to make it to that point.

At another table nearby, I first noticed that the guy was just staring at his phone and completely ignoring the woman he was with. As I paid more attention, things started to seem more unfortunate to me. I could tell that she was talking to him, but that he was hardly saying anything, if anything at all. She was leaned forward, staring at him directly, really trying to engage with him but he continued to ignore her. She was even holding his free hand across the table as she was trying to engage him in conversation. I only saw him make eye contact with her briefly. Even when their food came, phone.

It really seemed like she was trying to talk to him about something important. Sarah said it seemed like he felt guilty about something. I felt really bad for her. I wanted to go up to her and say something like, "Are you okay?" when he went to the bathroom. I wanted to tell her that he would probably always be a dick and that she shouldn't be with him, but I felt if I did so it wouldn't be well received and would be an incredibly awkward gesture. Now I kinda with I had said something to her. She deserves better.

The last weird thing was that at one point our waiter asked us if we would like to make a donation to the Arkansas Children's Hospital, which we did take the time to do. The weird part was that he told us that his manager isn't only making them ask patrons to do this, but that if they don't perform successfully at soliciting these donations from people that they will lose shifts, since the donations are a big tax writeoff for the company. I just thought that was horrible. I'm not at all surprised that a manager would do that, but I'm very disappointed that they would do that. I left a fairly nice tip for our waiter for having to put up with that kind of shit.

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 18 - My favorite outfit

Druid Tier 6
Since I only recently resubscribed and haven't been working to put any outfits together, I don't have any favorite outfits. I don't have old tier sets collected and I don't have any transmog outfits. But I do have favorite tier sets for each of the classes that I play.

For my druid, I particularly love tier 6. It has a very Tauren feeling, and the Tauren are one of my favorite races. Tier 6's simple look is very appealing to me. I'll take the Tauren themes over the Night Elf themes anyday. Night Elves are overdone. Less elves and orcs, give me the other races please.

Shaman Tier 8
My second favorite is for my shaman, who is the first character I ever had to reach the level cap. As I've said before, I raided Naxxramas with him and I eagerly anticipated the release of Ulduar. One of the things I was looking forward to about Ulduar was the tier set. Shaman Tier 8 has some of the most badass shoulders I've seen.

Shaman shoulders tend to be some of the best shoulders in the game, in my opinion. Big bright things with awesome stuff happening on them? Sign me up. The shaman tier 10 shoulders are also pretty nice, if just for the cool effect.







For my priest, I also enjoy tier 6, but for a different reason. Priest tier 6 fits a shadow priest magnificently. The shadow priest themes appeal to me, their psychic/psionic abilities are so mystical and cool. Since I don't have this, I'm making do with what things I end up picking up. The only piece of gear that I've gone out of my way to get for transmogrification was Whitemane's Chapeau, which I had when I was level appropriate for it and I loved the look when I was in shadow form.













Saturday, February 11, 2012

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 17 - My favorite spots

LMAO if you don't love this music


In game
Ummm...I don't know if I have one. I don't think I have a place that is the one place that I just like to go hang out. If I had to pick a place that I particularly liked, it would be the Twilight Grove in Duskwood. I leveled through that zone a couple times before I ever actually explored it and was amazed at what I found when I went there. I definitely have some favorite zones.

For classic WoW, I definitely loved Ashenvale the most, even if I was initially afraid of it. The music and the locations are just my favorite. There are some fallen trees that you could get on that went over the road that I loved to climb on. I still haven't actually leveled there since Cataclysm came out (I'm way behind on things) and am eager to check it out, even if it will make me sad. Duskwood. For Outland, I love Nagrand with its scenic beauty the most. In Northrend, the Grizzly Hills were my favorite. I love the Furbolg. The music for the Grizzly Hills was what really got me excited for the zone before Wrath even came out. In the Cataclysm content, I'd have to say that I like Vash'jir the most. The zone has great history, views, and it's just so big and mysterious.


Out of game
My parent's house has this one room that I absolutely love. If you never looked in it you'd probably just think it was a closet. It's a narrow room, probably 5 ft wide by 7 ft long. It has a narrow entrance at one end and at the other end the room narrows into a little alcove that has window. On one wall there is an old desk with a couple shelves above it and a light attached to the bottom of the bottom shelf to light the desk. This cozy little room has always appealed to me, and I spent a good amount of time studying in there.

In the future, I'd like to live somewhere that had one room that was no more that 10 ft by 10 ft, with windows covering half the room and bookshelves covering the other half. There'd be a window seat in front of the windows with pillows on it, and possibly a small, simple desk somewhere. It would be my favorite room.

When I have a house someday, I want it to have a bunch of small, intimate, specifically designed rooms instead of a handful of large, general purpose rooms. It's probably because I'm such an introvert.

Friday, February 10, 2012

#FanfictionFriday: Karuun

I've never really done creative writing before, so I won't pretend to be a quality writer. I never would have considered myself to be a fanfiction writer, but you know how it is. A story just pops into your head and then you can't stop thinking about it and developing it so you have to put it down somewhere. I can't really say if this will become a thing that I do regularly, but it's a thing I'm doing now, so have of it what you will.

A grizzled dwarf with a bald head, a bright red beard, and wearing everyday clothes leads the draenei to a chair in the middle of the room. The dwarf, leader of this group, asks him to sit. Seated at a long table in front of him were three figures: the dwarf, Kalin, who brought him here, a middle-aged gnome male, a young human woman, and to the side of the table was a rather large bear. The gnome is wearing blue robes with red accents he sports a somewhat disheveled blond hair and the look one might expect of an academic. The human woman is wearing priestess robes with the Gilnean symbology and has long, pulled back, brown hair. The bear is sitting next to the woman and has an attentive pose. Once everyone is settled, Kalin asks, "So, Karuun, tell us about yourself. What's your story?"

Karuun begins, "I was born on Oshu'gun, between the time when my people fled Argus but before we settled on Draenor. I grew up in the light of the Naaru and trained as a paladin when I became of age. When the Burning Legion came and turned the orcs against us, I defended against their vicious attacks. My people were among those that fled on the Exodar, and after we crashed on Azeroth and found refuge within the Alliance, I returned to Draenor to help liberate and cleanse it of the Legion's taint. After Illidan fell, I joined up with the Shattered Sun Offensive to help repay may debt to the people Azeroth."

"I was in Stormwind when the Lich King attacked and fell in battle against a frost wyrm. The next thing I knew I had been raised as a Death Knight in service to the Lich King. After our leader, Darion Mograine, liberated us from the Lich King's control I served in Northrend with the Ebon Blade. While there, I spent my time in Icecrown, pushing back the scourge threat so an attack on Icecrown Citadel could be made. After the Lich King fell, I was really confronted with the reality of my situation. I had been a paladin for thousands of years, and then I was stripped, not only of my life but of the Light. I felt directionless and left the Ebon Blade. I wandered for a while and now I'm here."

After Karuun finishes his story, the human, Cassandra, speaks up, "So tell me, Karuun, why do you wish to join us in going back to Northrend?"

Karuun begins again, "After the death of the Lich King, I was not the only Death Knight who felt directionless. Many of them had trouble not only handling their undeath, but also their newfound immortality. Some killed themselves, others engaged in pointless bloodsport, many stayed with the Ebon Blade, and others joined guilds. None of these things initially appealed to me. As I said before, I wandered, exploring the world for a while; I had never really had a chance to take it all in after we arrived here. I was in Ironforge when I saw your flier advertising that you were going to Northrend. I knew that if I would find meaning to my life I would find it there, and so I contacted Kalin."

The bear suddenly spoke up and asked, "You know that we have been commisioned by the Argent Crusade to go to Northrend and aid in their efforts at containing and defeating the remaining Scourge?"

"Yes" replied Karuun.

The gnome looked at the others and then spoke, "Then let me be the first in welcoming you to The Kingdom's Glory!"

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 16 - Things I miss post-Cata

Cataclysm brought many changes to World of Warcraft. Many of those changes were great!. Very few were bad. Some of them were unwelcome, but ultimately necessary. Here are some of the things that I miss.

Southshore
I would generally always make my way through Southshore on my Alliance characters, but I can't anymore. They've all been turned into goo.

The Wrathgate
I know that it's in the past now and wouldn't make sense to keep, but it was absolutely one of the coolest things they ever put in the game. I mean...damn that shit was cool.

Understanding Orgrimmar
There once was a time when I played a Horde character or two. I understood Orgrimmar very well. Then I spent a very long time playing Alliance characters and in the past couple weeks I logged back into my Horde characters and Orgrimmar is a foreign place now. I don't like it. Then again, I'm not a Horde player so I don't really have to deal with it.

Being in Northrend
I just liked Northrend, alright? Northrend didn't have fucking trees everywhere. Old world's got trees all over the damn place. Fuck trees. Outland is also good for this. No trees.

The potential for Uldum to be awesome
I was absolutely fascinated with Uldum. It was just this mysterious hole in a wall that you couldn't get through. After hearing/seeing all the cool stuff in Uldaman and Ulduar my mind was full of possibilities. I wanted more than almost anything to explore Uldum. Then, it wasn't really that cool and we spent half the zone in a joke. It was better as a mystery.

And some more things:
  • Magni Bronzebeard
  • Keys! I loved collecting keys. I actually had the achievement.
  • CoT: Stratholme drake runs. I remember my first successful run of that. We fought for it.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 15 - My desktop background

My current desktop
I have this desktop because I abso-fucking-lutely love Shadow of the Colossus. There tons of really great SotC wallpapers out there that can be found just be doing a search for "shadow of the colossus wallpaper". That particular wallpaper is the first result if you search for that.

I keep strange things on my desktop. There's WoW, Starcraft II, and Dustforce (it's the one with the broken image). Then there's Google Refine, Mumble, Picasa. In my pinned items there's TeXnicCenter, Eclipse, and R. The folder in the top left holds reference documents for TeX and R.

I guess that's it. Bye! Come back real soon, ya'll!

WoW Survey Results: Gender and Race

Cats are magic
How do men and women play World of Warcraft? We've all heard talk about the differences between male and female WoW players. Some of that might reflect truth, some of that may reflect enforced gender roles. But has anyone just gone out there and asked them? [Editors Note: Yes, others have. No I won't link you. -HMP]

About a year ago, shortly before patch 4.1 was released, I made a survey and tried to distribute it among several sources, but the only place where it took off was MMO-Champion. In the survey I asked players about their age, gender, their characters, and what they liked to do when playing.

This data was collected during patch late patch 4.0, and consisted only of people who frequent MMO-Champion. As such, it's hard to apply everything here directly to our current WoW population. Absolute results should be assumed to likely not apply, but comparative results should still be quite relevant. For example, I won't talk about the ratio of male to female players or the age distributions of players in my results because I have a unique subset of the WoW playing population.

Race Choices
Player/CharacterHordeAlliance
Male51.21%48.78%
Female45.54%54.46%
 
From this table we can see that female respondents tend to play Alliance characters slightly more than male respondents do. This does not mean that the Alliance has more female players than male players. The only way to do that would be a comprehensive survey of WoW players or an in-game random sampling of players. I wouldn't trust asking people in-game, they'd probably be weirded out by someone whispering them and asking them their age and gender.

Races played by male players
HumanBlood ElfNight ElfTaurenUndeadOrcDraeneiTrollWorgenGoblinDwarfGnome
14.89%12.41%9.00%8.80%8.27%8.10%7.51%7.51%7.19%6.11%5.51%4.66%
Races played by female players
Blood ElfDraeneiNight ElfHumanWorgenTaurenTrollGoblinGnomeUndeadOrcDwarf
17.13%14.47%13.09%10.86%8.07%7.94%7.52%5.85%5.01%3.76%3.34%2.92%

Humans and elves are popular all around, but the popularity/percentage of play changes drastically depending upon the gender of the respondent. In the transition from male to female the human, undead, orc and dwarf representations drastically lowers while the draenei, blood elf, and night elf representations increase dramatically. If you consider the sexual dimorphism for each of the races and the comparative attractiveness between each race's genders it would appear that a large factor in this has to do with wanting one's character to be attractive/human. The more monstrous races tend toward the lower side of the scale, while the more attractive and human ones tend toward the higher side of the scale. In the case of the draenei, the males are large and strange, while their females are more human sized and proportioned. I can't really account for the loss of representation of humans in the transition except that their popularity may pale in comparison to the elves and the draenei.

It's important to remember that people play different races for a great variety of reasons and that the reasons listed above do not apply to everybody's decision. This merely reflects the overall trend. One reason to pick a race that actually went away quite a bit in Cataclysm was race/class combinations. They were far more restrictive prior to Cataclysm and were opened up significantly and now there are far fewer restrictions than there were.

In general, you find that the distribution of races is more even among the male players, while it is more skewed among the female players. I can't really account for what this means, though. Commenters are certainly welcome to speculate.

Next time the discussion will be about the gender of the player and the classes they play. That one is going to be a doozy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Guide: Preserving macros when transferring servers

He didn't have his macros. Do you want to end up like him?
As you may have noticed in my earlier blog posts, I've changed servers on a couple characters recently. Upon logging into both of those characters I realized something horrible. The worst thing possible had happened. All of my macros were gone. For the first character I transferred, my priest, this wasn't a big deal. However, when I transferred my druid, this was a massive deal. My bottom left action bar was filled with macros that changed the ability they displayed every time I changed form. Recreating all of those would have been an absolute mess to figure out.

I thought, "There must be a better way." Lo and behold, there was.

If you find yourself transferring servers and missing your macros, there is an easy fix. While logged off, go to your main World of Warcraft folder (for me in Windows 7, it's C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft), then go into the "WTF" folder, then "Account" and then into the folder for the account the character was on. Then go into the folder for your old server and into the character's personal folder. For example, the full path for the folder that I'm in is "C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\WTF\Account\(account name)\(old server)\(character name)".

Once there, copy (or cut) both of the files named "macros-cache". One of them is a '.txt' file and the other is a '.old' file. I don't know if both are necessary, but I copied both and it worked. Now go to the folder for your character on the new server ("C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft\WTF\Account\(account name)\(new server)\(character name)")and paste these files into there, overwriting any version of these files that is already there. Once you've done that, all you have to do is log in and all your macros will be there, on your bars, where they belong.

This will definitely put all your macros in your macro book. If you have action bar addons, I don't know if they'll automatically be on your bars. I use the default UI for my action bars and all of my macros showed up there when I logged in.

In short:
  1. Go to the folder for your character on the old server
  2. Copy macros-cache.txt and macros-cache.old
  3. Paste those files into the folder for your character on the new server
You have to be logged out of that character for this to work. World of Warcraft loads your macros when you log in, so if you do this when you're already logged in your macros won't show up. Then when you log out World of Warcraft writes what macros it has to those files. So if you put those files there while logged in, it won't load them and it will take what macros it has (none) and overwrite the files you just put there (with empty files).

I hope this helps!

A while back I wrote a guide on how to get your addons to stop talking to you, especially on log in. If you hate your addons welcoming you when you log in, go check it out.

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 14 – This upsets me

"You know what you did. Now get in the corner!"
I use that picture often, but it's only because I love it so much. The video below is actually relevant today.


Rude People
In Zul'Aman on Sunday, we had a hunter in the group who was a 'go guy'. It seems now that he was urging us to get a speed run for the bears completed, but there was no way that was going to happen, especially since it's the first time that I've run the dungeon since...probably May or so. "Puuuuuuuuulllllll", "GOGOGOGOGOGOGOGOGO", and other such things were all that he said. I once noticed that he had abandoned our current target to run forward just to wait at the next boss.

Why would you do this? Why would you be like this? We hadn't discussed going for a bear run, and we certainly weren't close to being able to do it. When we wiped on the third boss, he insulted the Death Knight in the group's gear and rage quit. This Death Knight actually had excellent gear. Maybe he was doing poor DPS, but I wouldn't know. As is customary, I called him an asshole after he had left the group.

People who just aren't even trying
I was in a Grim Batol NORMAL on my priest a while back and the group wiped several times on the first boss because they were just plain ignoring the fight mechanics. They would let the special trogg die right next to Umbriss, making him enrage and then the group would wipe. We wiped three or more times to this. I was very nearly ready to quit the group.

Offensive People
It should go without saying that I have no tolerance for those who use racist, sexist, homophobic, or other such offensive language. I will not pay fifteen dollars a month to put up with you and will call you out on it and attempt to have you kicked from the group, and failing such, will voluntarily leave that group.

I also don't care for vulgarity. I don't know you. You don't know me. Why would you say these things? Manners, people.

Trade Chat
One of the first things I tend to do is type '/leave Trade' so that I don't have to put up with that. It not only has to do with the stupid and awful stuff people will say there, but also because I just don't like to have all that text filling up my boxes. I'll selectively join Trade if I have a particular need to use it.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 13 - those that I admire

My druid tries his best to make a heart.
Players that I admire. That's a tough question. There are definitely players that I recognize as being exceptional, whose skills I respect. But do I admire any of them? There are people that I admire who play World of Warcraft, but it's not necessarily because of how well they play.

I admire other bloggers for being able to do the types of things that I never would want to do such as leveling, loot, and boss guides. I admire theorycrafters for slogging through the mathematics of this game to help us find our optimal gearings and rotations. I admire the strategists who are the first to clear content for figuring out and disseminating the information about how to best tackle an encounter.

I admire several of the people that I follow on twitter for standing up for what they believe in and calling out the assholes who would dare challenge them or keep them down. I'm non-confrontational to a fault.

I admire my dad for his unwavering commitment to the jobs he's had. He's 71 and is only retiring this year. I admire my mom because her biggest flaw is caring too much. I admire my brother because he has never stopped trying to find that thing, that profession that will make him happy, even though he's had a difficult time of it.

I guess I lied when I said there aren't people that I admire for how well they play. For many years now, Sarah has been healing me and she's always done a fantastic job of both healing and working with fight mechanics. I've never once been dissatisfied with her performance as a healer. Just yesterday (Sunday) in Zul'Aman, when I let one of Jan'alai's bombs get me, she saved the attempt with a clutch Lay on Hands. When I've been healed by other healers in the past, I often find myself wishing it were her.

Lastly, I admire you all, dear readers. You're all attractive, funny and intelligent. RAWR.

WoW Survey Results: Data Collection

A journey begins
Last April, shortly before patch 4.1 came out, I ran a survey for WoW players. It was basic information, such as their gender, age, their characters, and what they liked to do when playing. I submitted the survey to various places, but the only place that I got any information from was the MMO-Champion forums.

Now, because my information came from out-of-game resources and only 1 resource in particular, be very wary of taking things and applying them to the general World of Warcraft population. So if you see some result that says, "12% of characters played by the respondents were paladins" that doesn't mean that 12% of all characters are paladins. However, a result such as "Men tend to play warriors more often than women do" is one that could very well be applied to the general WoW population.

I had a total of 1591 respondents before I pulled the data for analysis. Out of that, 153 selected female as their gender and 1438 selected male as their gender. For the females, the average age was 24.38 years with a standard deviation of 5.89 years. For the males, the average age was 22.22 years with a standard deviation of 6.04 years.

If you went just by this, it would imply that the percentage of female WoW players is between 9% and 10%. Other studies have been done which strongly refute that claim. The likely factor here is that female WoW players just don't go to MMO-Champion as often as male WoW players do. In fact, in my other, previous study, only ~6% of the MMO-Champion respondents were female whereas other sources, such as WoW.com  (as it was known at the time) had 22% female respondents and the official World of Warcraft forums had ~19% female respondents. Other studies have shown that the percentage of females in the WoW population is 30% or higher. What we see from this is that women tend to participate in the WoW community differently than men do, and may be a good source for a future study.

This would also seem to imply that the average of a female WoW player is higher than that of a male player. Again, you can't make that distinction because women participate in the WoW community differently than men do. You can say that the average age of a female MMO-Champion forum user is higher than that of a male MMO-Champion forum user.

From my information, the 153 female players listed of total of 652 characters played, for an average of 4.26 characters per respondent. The 1438 male respondents listed a total of 5284 characters played, for an average of 3.67 characters per respondent. This doesn't mean that women necessarily play more characters than men do, but may also reflect a difference in whether they felt a character was worth listing as a character they 'played'.

Over the course of the coming weeks, I will be detailing much more information that results from this data set. There's some really great stuff to come, so stay tuned to this blog. When new info is posted, an announcement will go out on my twitter.

I really look forward to getting all of this posted.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Leveling Θ: Origins

I've wanted a max level warrior since before Wrath of the Lich King came out. My first real attempt at a warrior was an undead warrior which I mainly leveled solo. He's currently level 60, and was roughly that level before Wrath was released. At the time I envisioned him becoming my main character, since I thought warriors were so cool. So after Blizzcon 2007, when I still mainly played Horde characters, I put my murloc costume on my Horde server with him. Little did I know that I would eventually come to not play horde characters, and that I would hardly ever play characters on that server.

I've spent so many years without my beloved murloc costume because it's been trapped there. I've missed it so much. It's for that reason that I started to level Θ. I started her because I wanted a character that I could transfer off the server to bring the murloc costume to where I'm starting to play these days. She would need to be an Alliance character, so that I wouldn't have to pay for a race change. I made her a warrior, because I've always wanted a max-level warrior.

The name came from my love for Greek letters which itself came from my love for mathematics. The proper spelling of it, 'Theta', was already taken, so I used a phonetically similar misspelling. At first, the choice of the name was somewhat random, but it would soon prove to be very appropriate. I'd never use a Greek letter such as α ('alpha'), Ω ('omega'), or π ('pi) for names since they're too well known. It seems like a mathematically appropriate name for a warrior since 'Θ' is often used to represent angles, and warriors often find themselves concerned with angles.

Since you can't transfer low-level characters, I had to start leveling Θ. To Elwynn forest I went. Since I spent so much time focusing on my high-level Alliance characters before I stopped playing, I hadn't actually spent any time going through all the low-level content after it had been revised. I was quite pleased with the changes to the human starting area and quickly moved on to the Goldshire questing area.

Since I hadn't any high-level characters on this server, I didn't have access to any heirlooms for Θ. I suppose you could say that I was playing au naturale. It's just as well, I'd like to experience as much content as possible, not blow through it. As I was questing at around level 6 or 7, I was sent to the kobold cave in southern Elwynn. I'm a miner/blacksmith, so when questing in a cave I have to get every node that appears, because they're so hard to find elsewhere.

Those kobolds were monsters. They would just pull in groups of 3 or 4 and decimite my tiny lowbie-warrior self. I died 7 times in that cave trying to get all the ore out of it. I dinged more than once in there. I had to resort to pulling with my gray-quality bow to stay safe, and even that was no guarantee. I generally consider myself to be pretty good at this game, and I, as Θ, was humbled in that cave that day.

Finally having cleared the cave of it's precious minerals, I ran back to town. On the way there I killed a spider, and from its corpse I drew a strong one-handed axe. I equipped the axe immediately because, despite being one-handed, it was far better than my two-handed sword I was using, and when I returned to town I purchased the finest shield available to complement it. Then the name Θ seemed to fit, as it resembles a circular shield one might use. My next quest took me to kill murlocs. The murlocs, true to their tendencies, attacked me in a group of four. Between my new axe, shield, and Victory Rush I brought them all down. So when level 10 came around and I had to choose a spec, my choice was made for me. I would level as Θ, a protection warrior, the shield of Elwynn.

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 12 - A day in the life

Going to work.
For me a weekday starts at 6:35 AM, which is when my alarm goes off. I'll lay in bed and read twitter so that I can wake up my brain without getting out of bed. The amount of time spent doing so is highly variable, and depends on how much everyone that I follow's insomnia was acting up. I'm generally out of bed somewhere between 6:50 and 7:00 AM. The first thing I do is shower. After showering, I brush my teeth and shave before I return to the bedroom to get dressed. Once I'm dressed and have everything I need, I'm out the door to work somewhere around 7:30.

Work is nearby so I'm generally there, upstairs, and at my desk in 10 minutes. First, I check my work email and begin another day. My work consists of pulling reports for people out of our databases as well as fulfilling certain daily, weekly, and monthly tasks. I spend a good amount of time waiting for SQL queries to run, which affords me time to do things such as check the internet and twitter.  I have a one hour lunch that I usually take at 11:00 and I leave work between 4:00 and 4:30, depending on when I arrived and if I really want to finish something before I leave that day.

Fred and George
When I get home I greet my cats and then I get to fully check my internet. There are many things that get blocked by our work filter that I can't check while I'm there. On some days, Sarah works until 8:00 so I'll spend that time writing blog posts and whatnot so I can spend time with her once she gets home. Throw in chores and dinner and TV watching and that's usually all I have time for in a day. I usually go to bed between 10:30 and 11:00.

I don't usually find time to play WoW on weekdays, but I'm finding more time to do so. In my free time I'll also do some statistics work for my upcoming blog posts. If I'm really in the mood, then I'll do some Java coding on various projects that I'm working on. I do spend most of my time relaxing.

Over the weekend, I try to get ahead of my blogging for the week, writing posts to be scheduled during the week. I'll also try to catch up on my WoW playing and my playing of other video games. Sometimes there will be other things on the internet that I'd previously failed to read, so I'll read those too. The weekend is mostly for relaxing. I finally get to sleep in, and that's wonderful.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 11 - Bad habits and flaws

When I was younger, my worst flaw was shyness. I was always afraid to talk to new people, make friends, go somewhere where I didn't know anybody, etc. However, when I was young, I changed schools fairly often. I went to 2 different elementary schools, 2 different middle schools, and 1 high school. I was also sent to all manner of summer camps. So making new friends was something I had to do quite often. This wore away some of this shyness.

My sophomore year of college, I was forced to confront another fear, public speaking. I took a class called Introduction to Advanced Mathematics. This class wasn't taught in a lecture format, but rather in a slightly watered down Moore method. In Moore method teaching, the instructor lays out proofs that the students are to prove, and class time is spent with the students at the chalkboard presenting their proofs. My following math courses were all taught in this method. It was initially daunting, but I grew to absolutely love it. In fact, one of my chief complaints about grad school is that NONE of the classes were taught this way and I sorely missed it. Being lectured just isn't a good environment for me to learn.

Lastly, as a graduate student, I was require to teach two lower-level mathematics courses each semester. This wore off the rest of that public speaking fear to something that I can fully confront.

As I grew older and my shyness wore away, another flaw began to rear its ugly head, sloth. My lack of alacrity has posed many problems for me in my life. It's the reason, that I do poorly in language and history classes, despite the fact that I love language and history. It's the reason that I didn't go to as good of a graduate school as I could have. It's part of the reason that it took so long for me to get a full-time job. It's the reason that I'm so messy. It might be part of the reason that I keep this blog, I can both avoid work while convincing myself that I'm being productive.

Being in a relationship has helped to improve my sloth, since I have someone to be accountable to, but it's still pretty bad.

I'm afraid to go talk to this person that I need to talk to; I'll do it later.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

20 Days of WoW Blogging: Day 10 - My favorite Blogs and Sites

Edit: WHAT THE ASS? I'll just have to upload this to YouTube instead of my G+. Will be fixed at some point. Ass.

This is my cat, Fred. This is what he does when I try to play the piano. He is a butt. Also, Google Video? This came in from my Google Plus account and whatttttttt? There is some outdated code out there.

I'll admit, I'm only starting to get into the extended WoW blogging community. For years I've read WoWInsider and I have followed it from its journey from wowinsider.com to wow.com to wow.joystiq.com. But I'm starting to gather a collection of WoW blogs and blogs of WoW'ers:
  • The Guardian Tank: Eldoric over here is a fantastic guy who loves to tank. He runs a podcast out of there that I've actually been on twice. 
  • Apple Cider Mage: Come here for talk about mages and feminism.
  • The Border House: The Border House is a place for those who belong to marginalized groups and their allies. They have truly excellent articles that you won't find anywhere else.
  • A Sunnier Bear: I love bears. Bears Bears Bears Bears Bears.
  • And more: like I said, I'm just getting into the WoW blogging community, so if you don't see something here, it's either that I haven't gotten around to it, or I'm horrible at remembering things.
I also love twitter. I follow lots of people on twitter, all of whom I think are awesome. Some of those people have started blogging recently (or will), here are the spaces that I'm watching out for:
When it comes to non-gaming/non-WoW  blogging, there are several things that I love to read. You should check these out as well:
  • Animals Being Dicks: Hilarious GIFs of animals. What more do you want?
  • Nedroid Picture Diary: Comics featuring a bear and a bird. Cute and hilarious.
  • Emmy Cicierega: She makes some of the cutest drawings...ever.
  • Chester 5000 XYV: Sexy comics. Victorian and has a sex robot but I wouldn't call it steampunk. Lots of boners. NSFW. 
  • Oglaf: Hilarious and often pornographic. Raunchy fantasy humor. 
  • My Milk Toof: This is so cute. Photocomics. Infrequent posting, but always worth the wait.
I like other things, of course, but I felt like I'd keep it to the lesser known stuff. Check all that stuff out, it's really great. 

What other things should I check out? What am I missing out on? Let me know in the comments.