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Going out on an in-game date

I thought this was a really cute idea: an in-game date, sharing some of the best locations and activities around Azeroth with someone you love (or just happen to be courting). There are lots of great ideas in that thread -- I agree that the Twin Colossals is one of the more scenic (and out of the way) vistas to visit, but there are plenty more to go to: The Grim Guzzler, a floating island in Nagrand, the Darkmoon Faire, inside the bio-domes in Netherstorm. Personally, I think the best date would be a picnic on the deck of the ship in Deadmines -- sure, you'd have to fight off ninjas every once in a while, but what is a date without a little ninja fighting, right?

If you do head out on a date, make sure you bring some roses and a bottle of wine (depending on how well you expect the date to go). If you've really thought ahead, you can bring a Romantic Picnic Basket, or you can shell out for a regular Picnic Basket, but otherwise, it's probably just best to have a snack of Delicious Chocolate Cake (it's guaranteed to make your date Very Happy).

Like I said, cute. Spending the time together with friends is what the game is all about anyway, and there's nothing wrong with taking some time to experience the world and hang out with each other. And if that's a little too boring for your tastes, maybe you can have your date tag along with you to some 2v2 Arena matches afterwards. Nothing gets the romance going like a little bloodshed.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Humor, Buffs

WoW TCG hosts World Champs in Paris this weekend


The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game World Championships have started up this weekend in Paris, France -- there's some excellent coverage on the official site about all of the CCG gaming going on over there. They've got everything from a roundup of the swag bag to play-by-play on the featured matches and some good commentary on what kinds of decks players are bringing to the tables. All told, the players are fighting for a prize pool of $250,000 -- some serious cash for playing cards.

They're in the middle of Day 2 right now, so there's lots more tournament coverage to come from Paris. If you're a fan of the TCG, this weekend's your chance to check out what some of the top players are up to as they battle for the big prize.

Filed under: Items, Fan stuff, WoW Social Conventions, Making money, WoW TCG

When queue times lie


Yeah, I know what Blizzard said. They improved the wait times. They even ran a survey asking how it's all going. Well, for the most part it's been pretty good. There are some occasions, however, when queue times lie. It's happened to us post Patch 2.4, where the queue times say that we'll have a match in less than a minute... then one minute passes and nothing comes up. Then another minute goes by. And another. Before we know it, the minutes have all rolled over into one huge bundle of minutes and we still haven't gotten a match.

Why does this happen? We're not entirely sure. I figure it's probably because there are no teams close to our bracket, but when that happens we usually get an estimated wait time of 'Unavailable'. That's when I know our night is going to be bad and filled with dueling outside of Orgrimmar in between queues. Because of the new matching system, which Drysc said they continually improve, teams are better matched than before. For some, this means longer wait times, although it also looks like they've allowed more concurrent matches for lower brackets. For 2v2, in particular, the most populated bracket, the wait times used to be excruciatingly long. This has changed drastically, which is a good thing. Matches are almost always instantaneous. Almost.

Sometimes, the estimated queue times are still way off. The problem with lying queue times is that it doesn't allow you to do anything in between. It's almost like waiting for the school bus while wanting to hit the loo. You don't want to go because you're thinking the bus will be arriving shortly. You wait and you wait until you finally decide you have time to do No.2, and when you're finally settled on that seat, the school bus honks its horn with your pants down. That's kind of how erroneous estimates are. It doesn't leave you free to do much. So, while I appreciate Blizzard's efforts at making our Arena queues better, I'm still WTB accurate estimates.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP

Just one more

Whether I'm fighting the seemingly undefeatable hordes of... the Horde, or battling against hordes of easily defeatable world creatures, I find than my truest, greatest enemy is my own self. Indeed, the greatest weapon my self uses against me is that little voice which comes into my head whenever I finish a battle or a quest -- it speaks those tempting, ever-so seductive words: "Just one more..."

If I've just lost a battle in PvP, the thinking is, "Just one more -- maybe the next one will be a winner! If you log off now, you'll miss it!" But if I've just won a battle, the voice says, "Just one more -- you just won a match, so chances are you'll win the next one too!" Whenever I review my progress with honor points, gold or experience, to see how I've done this session, the voice insists: "Just a few more, and your goal of <insert however many points you think you need here> will be complete!" Even if I've firmly decided that I'm fighting no more battles of any sort today, there's always the temptation to log in to "just one more" alt to check mail, auction items, or chat with a friend for a while longer. Just logging off for good can take a long time if I'm not firm with myself, and naturally, whatever I was going to do afterwards (often sleeping) may suffer for it.

By far the best weapon I have discovered for fighting off this insidious enemy inside my own head is to decide beforehand exactly how many battleground matches I am going to play or quests I'm going to do, no matter whether I'm ultimately successful or not. This works better for me than, "I'm only going to play for <insert amount of time here>", because it is based more on exact activities I have planned. With a time limit, the little voice will say, "But I just have a little bit left to finish!" but with the activity limit, once my number is up, this voice will assuredly say "just one more" again, but then I can reply, "NO! Three is the limit! End of story! Go to sleep!" I can then click on "exit game" with glee at my complete and total victory over... me.

Filed under: Virtual selves, PvP, Quests, Leveling, Making money

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