Friday, November 29, 2013

Blog Azeroth: Thanksgiving 2013

Amerpriest was disappointed that there wasn't much of a response for Blog Azeroth Thanksgiving this year, but in Australia, we don't celebrate Thanksgiving so I wanted to join in as it gives me an opportunity to be thankful for all the blogging stuff that's happened this year.  JD wrote a lovely one!

There's been a lot of changes this year for me in WoW - we moved servers, and I took on the dubious role of guild leader.  In terms of blogging, the biggest blogging event for me was Blizzcon where I got to meet so many blogging friends.

But if I had to choose the things that I am most grateful for there are a few:

The first one would be for a new friend that I made this year, that has since joined my guild and helped me in so many ventures and the ridiculous ping pong gift giving we give each other.  And that would be Luxy.  The other day we were talking about how my Btag list is full.  She told me to start deleting people off the list and she said she should get out while she still can!  I laughed at her and said it was SHE who added me to Btag! And poor Luxy, little did she know what would happen after that day she added me just so I could talk to her cross faction without the ridiculous emoting and hand waving.  There would be me constantly asking her how to use photoshop, how to make Modelviewer work, talking about of World of Warcraft, the debates on why we kept letting her die in raid...

The second person I am immensely grateful for is Mataoka.  Always happy to chat to me, always brutally honest with the knowledge we can be ourselves, and always there to give me a helping hand when things are troubling me.  And by the Earthmother, at Blizzcon she gave me such a big hug that was full of love and joy how could I be anything but super smiley for the rest of the day? We both love to write fiction, so we had some lovely collaborations for WoW fiction, our best ones being our Fable stories (well, they were my favourites) and we are still plodding through our coin series - which reminds me, I have been super lazy of late when it comes to doing my coin stories!  Luckily for me, Matty is still super addicted to WoW and can be found online at all hours of the morning and night (when she's not at work) - and poor Matty, the worst thing she did was give me her phone number so now when I can't find her I end up texting her instead!  I should tell her not to reply so she doesn't incur international charges...

The third person who has also always been there for me is Arvash.  When I went to Blizzcon, I was so happy to have met both Matty and Arv - 2 of my favourite people!  Arv is always so helpful, so generous, so goddamn hilarious, that without him to vent to when I'm angry and spitting fire, I would probably have gone and done something more stupid like buy another Tyrael to giveaway or worse, a Vanilla collector's edition to make some crazy competition on my blog.  I wish we had similar timezones so we could raid regularly.  And it's great to have all my stuff that won't be shipped out of the US being shipped to my holding centre at Arv's home (and poor Arv, he's the only one without a sexy draenei female!)

So all you americans, happy Thanksgiving!  And to everyone else, happy Pilgrim's Bounty!

Raiding - Nothing to write home about

Raked still hadn't made an appearance but Sabrehawk enlightened me:

Sabre: I spoke to Raked
Navi: Did he have a baby?
Sabre: No. He said he's sick of the stupid game
Navi: You didn't tell him the staff dropped did you?
Sabre: No, did you?
Navi: I haven't seen him.
Sabre: Ok, so that's not it then.  He gets cranky sometimes.
Navi: Ok, well, lucky we have extra tanks then.

So Raked will not be on for a bit.  Gosh, I was looking forward to when KyXyn would be back.  But you won't hear me say that to his face - his head won't fit out of the Orgrimmar gates!

So we were one short for raid.  Morzierz turned up late because he was stuck at work, but we got Nok to substitute in on his monk.  We had a few goes at Dark Shaman the standard way but we were getting overwhelmed and it wasn't going well.

Asys then had a power out. He managed to come back, but with a latency of 1.2k.  By then we had started trying to 3 tank it - Nok had respecced Brewmaster.  But we weren't having much luck.

So Voros dropped and I got Morz and Priestie in to heal the bottom section and I went to the top but I could not heal it to save my skin.  And I was a ning nong and died a few times as well.  The guys had had enough by then - 2 hours of dying to Dark Shaman with all new tanks was a bit much to ask, but we had to give it a try!

I felt really disheartened.  I think I was on a low all yesterday anyway after reading a couple of blog posts (and NO I'm not feeling low because of GC leaving Blizz sheesh) and after my inability to heal the 2 tanks up the top I was feeling like the worst healer in the world.  Even Lush had managed to do it on his alt toon's OFFSPEC.  Though, as my guildies tried to reassure me, the fact that we had all new tanks, with 2 tanks with gear way under what our other tanks had was the problem, that part of me which always feels like EVERYTHING is my problem felt otherwise.  I even had FIVE hot chocolates throughout the day yesterday to try to cheer up, as well as half a pack of M&Ms, but probably all I needed was some sleep.  Shab and Sev would tell me I would need a good battleground or arena fight but sometimes that backfires and we lose every game which makes it only worse!

However, I woke up this morning feeling better and ready for another day of WoW.  Except for the fact that I'm on call this evening AND I have a Christmas party to attend.  My poor kids - no wonder my daughter wanted to get up the other night to sit with me whilst I raided - she's hardly seen me this week!  Oh, and today is Friday and Exray and Lushen said they would be on Saurfang!  Which means my recruiting days are over!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Bye bye Crab

I don't claim to know the man, but I know OF the man. So, Ghostcrawler has decided to leave Blizzard and speculations will always arise to why he did so.  But he said, we'd find out soon enough what he was up to.

It's surprising how all you know about someone is their social media and forum posts (and Blizzcon speaking, of course) and you suddenly have an opinion about that person.  I guess to an extend you can tell what someone's opinions are like from their tweets and posts, but it doesn't really tell you much - after all, words can be rehearsed. But like all people in important positions, he has to be careful what he says and he seems to always be careful with what he says so people can't infer too many bad things.

Godmother wrote a post about it, looking at it in a totally different light to what I would have.  I read what she said and I am unsure what she is trying to say.  It seems like she is saying that he was very social media savvy and he used the social media to announce his leaving for the best effect.  I will have to ask her about that.  She has chatted to him on twitter a number of times, so I am not sure what her opinion of him is, or if she thinks it really matters in the big picture.

Xsinthis wrote him a letter to say thank you.  However, when reading his letter, I feel that Xsinthis, like so many others in the game think that GC is responsible for EVERY change that comes into the game. He was just a name to address complaints to, or so I thought.  He even said so in his this reply to a tweet:

When I was told he was leaving Blizzard, I wondered if it was something to do with Warlords of Draenor - did he disagree with something?  I went back to read the forum post he posted about his departure and he said an opportunity had come up - well, that's totally understandable, what normal person wouldn't? Besides, he must still enjoy the game, he said he would still be playing, and he would be out there on the forums whinging with the rest of us.  And he plays a holy priest?  Man that's weird.

But like a lot of people on Twitter, I really like looking at what GC has to say.  Everything he writes is favourited and retweeted by TONS of people.  It's how the world is now - we're busy nosing into everyone's business.  Look even I am doing it.  Fascinated with the famous, wondering what they're talking to us about!

But in the end, I wish him the best.  The game will not change in his absence - there are so many people there at Blizz working on WoW, and the departure of one man, even though he was for so long the face of Blizz to the players, will not make much of a difference to the player base.  I wonder who the new beating stick will be?

Raiding - First timers with good results

We knew KyXyn would be away because of school camp, and he would be back at the end of the week, but I didn't realise Raked wouldn't turn up either, or Priestietute.  At 10 minutes till raid start, Sev whispered me saying that Aza was concerned that we wouldn't be raiding. I had started the group, and we had 6 people.

"Don't worry," I said.  "Moo isn't in the group yet - he's eating dinner.  Lushnek will be on shortly, and Aza is still in MSV."  That still left one spot empty.

I looked for our new priest recruit, and fortunately he was online.  "Are you ready for a raid invite, and a guild invite?"  I asked him.

"Yes, to both," said Morzierz.

So I invited him to raid and guild and we managed to get a full group.  Lush got on Aimei to tank and Moo reluctantly tanked up.  That left me, Asys/Cranked and Morz healing, with Voros, Luxy, Sev, Aza and Sabre DPSing.  Aza cried about no crit because Raked wasn't there but Sabre brought out his wolf and all was well.

Immerseus was yawn with 3 healers though I did laugh at Cranked because he died.  Even the new healer, Morz, didn't die.  Sev went and opened the chest and Az said "Ohhhhh.... Raked is gonna be PISSED!"  For sure enough, the weapon that we have never seen was there.  Aimei was itching to take it, but then thought he'd give a roll and try and he managed to roll his own weapon.  So guess who got to walk away with an offspec weapon?  ME. Asys nabbed some new gloves as well!

Onwards to Protectors and I told Morz what his dispel targets were and I gave Asys only Luxy to dispel and I took the rest.  It was ok at the start but once things got hectic, the boys got lazy so I just laughed at them with a sigh of resignation thrown in for good measure.  I was worried because I thought they killed He too quickly but it was ok in the end.  The RNG gods were telling Moo he had to tank, as plate tanking gloves dropped, and Sev got some new shoes.  Moo hadn't tanked it before and asked which ones to tank, and I did let out a tiny giggle when Aza died suddenly and he said good naturedly "That's the one you have to tank Moo," but there were no other hiccups in that fight.

My daughter decided she wanted to watch me play WoW and wandered downstairs to see me.  So I sat her on my lap and I suddenly realised how much I swore.  As I ran to the group as we cleared trash to Norushen, I pulled a group and I said "Fuuuuuc----ar out!  I pulled a group!"  to which I promptly said "Shit, I said a bad word."  Whoops.  My daughter said to me quietly "Mummy, you said shit.  You say shit a lot."

"I'm sorry for swearing," I apologised.  She turned her head and whispered to me "It's alright, Mummy, I don't mind if you swear."  I had to laugh.

Aimei had never gone into the zone for Norushen successfully - the last time, he died - and so Moo thought he'd give it a go, but he died too.  That meant the DPS and healers had to soak the orbs and it made for a slower kill, but we got it in the end.  Aza soaked 3 orbs - that would have put a dent in his DPS for a change!  Morz picked up some offspec cloth - saved it from a DE.

Morz didn't know what hit him when we did Sha's room.  We did our usual trying to kill each other - Aza made the mistake of saying "Uh oh, that's a lot of debuffs," so I instantly dispelled him so he took out half the raid (including a tank) and I was laughing my ass off.  I nearly made it the full stretch too before Sabre or Sev exploded next to me on the second last  mobs and I died.

"Why is there blue fire everywhere, Mummy?" said my daughter.  "It's bad fire," I said.  "Mummy's friends are trying to kill her."

"That's not very nice," she replied.  "Tell your friends not to do that."

Luxy said, "Did you tell your daughter that evil mummy is killing everyone else?  I've never killed anyone!" LOL, yes I am evil.  But hey, even Aza said that he looks forward to this room when we're raiding.

Sha went down a little slow for my liking and Voros nearly died twice and I was running to him to save him a few times and he managed to JUST survive.  Some good drops from Sha - Voros got his Tier chest (and managed to roll some legs), and Sabre got Assurance of Consequence.  Damn, that's two nice trinkets for Sabre now!

Onto Galakras, and I decided it was time for my daughter to go to sleep.  We had a short break before we went to tackle Gala, and Moo went up to tank the towers and there were no flying cows.  I will have to tell Kyxyn.  And it was the cleanest Galakras kill we have ever had.  I was very pleased and very proud of my raid team!  Both warlocks rolled an Extinguished Ember of Galakras, and Voros was happy again because he got Evil Eye of Galakras which was really good for him.  Morz got even MORE offspec cloth gear.

Iron Juggernaut turned out to be our furfy for the night and we had multiple wipes before we got it down. Poor Cranked, I think he just gives up in that fight and doesn't heal because of all the running around, and I think Morz did better healing than Cranked.  But that fight was made for druids and I felt in my element running around and throwing hots around as well as using my nice Tier bonus to top up the guys who ate a bomb.  Aimei got some new shoulders and Morz walked away with MORE offspec loot LOL!

It was a pretty good run for a non core team, and I was pretty happy with what we did.  We won't be able to do our 3 tank method for Dark Shaman on Thursday, so we will have to do it the normal way unless Raked turns up.  Morz wasn't too scared off by our raiding, and when Cranked cheekily said "Moo, this is a sign you're going to have to tank full time," Moo replied "I will tank when everyone here licks my balls."

Real classy Moo :P  Well I guess that answers the tanking question that we all knew the answer to already!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A lucky LFR!

I went to bed too early, so I woke up at 2am and thought, well I've had my 5 hours of sleep, so it's time to get up.  What should I do?

I sat around talking to Exray who told me he and Lushen would be here by Friday (they were going to move from our Dath guild to Saurfang guild).  Woot! Don't need to recruit anymore DPS.  I mucked around gemming all the offspec items for my tanking set.  Perhaps I should take my tanking set seriously and get rid of my PvP 496 tanking cloak and get the legendary version.

Then I thought I should work on a comic.  I need to get some pics from raid for that.  So I queued LFR.  It had a satchel so I thought cool!  Maybe I'll get something nice.

When the queue popped I realised I'd queued the wrong LFR.  I wanted the first one, not the last one!  So I tried to leave queue and requeued the first one.  Suddenly I was teleporting to an instance.

Shit, I was still in Downfall.  So I thought, ok I'll just finish this and get my satchel and go.   Though it might take the whole damn night if I had a bad group.

The group was not too bad.  We seemed to be killing things ok.  I had a death by falling off the platform before Blackfuse, that was embarrassing.  I switched my loot spec to Guardian and see if I could get some upgrades.

Blackfuse went down and oh, what is this?

Woot a pet!  I didn't know these dropped in LFR, though I should have known.  Now this LFR was totally worth it.  I will stay till the end no matter how many wipes now, because I got a cool pet!

I did try my luck with Kovok, no go.  I didn't think I'd be that lucky.  Not two pets in one LFR in one day. But hey, I guess good things happen in LFR every now and then, don't they? :)

We wiped on our first pull of Garrosh because people were all over the place.  Then the warrior tank took over and set up markers and instructions and it all went well after that.  A big thumbs up to Zarthelas of Kil'jaeden who did a great job leading and tanking and staying till the end.  And I might have only got a Sun's radiance out of my Satchel but that run was still totally worth it :)

Shab's cameo on Swifty's Twitch

Shabahdu (my mage guildie and arena teammate) is a massive fan of PvP live streamers - it's because of him I started watching live streams and also became a mini fan as well.  He was just as excited as me when I rang him to tell him I got that pic with Sodah at Blizzcon.

The other day he messaged me saying that he was in a BG with Swifty - a Strand of the Ancients. Unfortunately Horde lost, and it was a close game.

We went to go watch his stream - there was a SEVEN HOUR streamed video there - who the hell streams for 7 hours and even more weird who watches it for 7 hours?  I have to say, I think it would be more fun to watch streams of just arenas, or bgs, or him duelling - then you could choose what you wanted to watch without having to wade through all the crap.  I guess if you're a fan then you like doing the reality TV thing and watch all 7 hours...

Anyway, I found the bit with Shab in it, and Swifty even said something positive about Shab!

"Like this mage had more mitigation that that DK."

I told Shab I had manage to capture that part of it for him to watch (so we didn't have to keep loading up the 7 hours of stream to get to it) and I asked him if he would mind if I put it here so we can watch it any time we wanted.  I apologised because Shab was getting pwnt by Swifty and do you know what Shab said?

"It's an honour to be killed by Swifty!"

LOL!  Aza has duelled Swifty and killed him - a shame I didn't get THAT on a FRAPS for us to see!

Navispam - A real life catchup with Joubran!

I was off jetsetting again, and went to Malaysia for my cousin's wedding last weekend- I spent most of my time eating, so if you want to see more food pics you can see them here.

However, one of the awesome things about going there was that I was going to the hometown of my friend Joubran!  She hasn't been online much since her account got suspended after she changed her phone and had authenticator issues - it's always hard on the Oceanic side to call Blizzard to sort out your account because when you're free to call they're all sleeping and when they're open, you're working or sleeping.  So she hasn't been on in ages.

We went out to eat and then hit the mall for more food and then we ended up at the bookstore and she told me how much she loves reading the WoW fiction but hadn't read the latest one -Tides ofWar - so we looked for it and found two copies.  So I bought both copies and we signed each other's books so we could be book twins and have a souvenir of our visit.

It was a great opportunity to catch up with my friend - I hope one day we can meet again!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Guild leader chores - Recruiting

When Fue was guild leader, we used to do our recruiting through the forums, then direct people to go to our website and fill out an application there.  That was good because I liked reading the answers that people wrote and maybe laugh at their English or how NON seriously they took it.  The funny thing was that we took it seriously because we have to spend x hours a week playing with this person, and also because when we recruited there were certain things we were looking for.

Since I've become guild leader, we have done very little recruiting for raiding - all our new "recruits" have been via friends of people in the guild, or friends of mine via the game/twitter/blogging - Asys came via Nerisella, who came with Disco (I feel bad, I think I broke him because he ain't coming back to WoW), and Neri is one of my blogging friends.  Voros came via blogging.  Exray and Lushen were friends of Aza (during Dath'remar Frostwolves days).  Sars is a friend of Priestietute's.  And so on.

The guild recruiting tab is rather useless.  I have used it ONCE and that didn't go far.  Nobody reads it anyway.

When I read the recruiting forums for Oceanic servers, EVERYONE is looking for people.  They're all looking for heroic raiders.  Even the people advertising there who are looking for guild are heroic raiders. I'm not sure the person I would be looking for would be in there, but I decided to write an advertisement that will hopefully appeal to the kind of person we are looking for.

So what AM I looking for?  

Well, we are not a heroic raiding guild, so I don't need any hardcore people screaming at me in vent.  We are very understanding of not being able to make raids due to family and work commitments, so we really are just looking for backups to our raiding numbers that we can pull to raid if we need.  Come WoD it will be great because all the levels we raid at will be flex anyway so no more sitting out!

But how to angle it so you can attract people.  Why would anyone want to join our guild over all those great progression guilds?

I guess the key points that I am looking for are:
  • Skilled at their class and playing well in a group
  • Not necessarily an experienced raider but willing to learn the ropes quickly
  • Easy to get along with and understanding of raiding/guild needs
But how do you sell that?

I guess there might be someone out there with raiding experience returning to game and needing to get back into it.  Though I am looking for someone more loyal, someone who values the friendliness of our guild, yet is also mature enough to understand the need to sit out for others every now and then.  I think the selling point we have is to aim it to the casual player who wants to raid but like us, has many commitments and sometimes can't raid full time.  Someone who would just raid on Thursdays and Mondays is perfect!  Well, I put my guild recruitement post in.  See if anyone bites.

I have also been using trade channel a lot too when I see people LFGuild.  You can learn a lot about a person chatting with them in game - how polite they are, their level of maturity, their attitudes towards the other people, new people.  I give them "the talk" and so far there are few people that have either been interested or meet my expectations.

Triarch, of Illidari Remnants, was telling me about how he does guild recruitment.  He told me he had gone through a lot of trials and rejected them.  Geez, that's a lot of recruiting!  I don't think we would have that many applicants.  But we'll see.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Raiding - Woo! Nazgrim down!

It was a bad start to the night.  It was 845pm and I was just leaving work and it takes me 40 mins to get home.  Raid starts at 9pm.

I told Lush and Luxy and raced home, wondering who was going to be online.  It turned out that Asys didn't turn up and Priestie had said she wasn't going to be on because she was at work and it was late night shopping, so she finished at 9pm which is 10pm server time, so that ruled her out for the night.

So that left us with exactly 10 raiders:
Tanks: Raked and Kyxyn
DPS: Azadelta, Sevrus, Sabrehawk, Luxygaga, Voros, Moopiex
Heals: Lushnek, Navimie

So whilst I was heading home, the group decided to clear trash, which was great because by the time I got home all the trash was done.  Aza had gotten onto his paladin to heal and so we decided to take a crack at Dark Shaman with 3 healers.  We wiped at 28% or so, then tried again and got a 2% wipe.  After yet another wipe, we decided to try 2 healing it and after we wiped again we went for one more go and we got it!  That was exciting!  Two warforged items dropped - Haromm's Talisman and Kardris' Scepter, which went to Sabre and myself.  Lush outhealed me, as he was healing the two tanks and I was with Moo as he kited his mob around with the group.  I was really proud of him, healing that!  Asys had said he thought it could be done.

Then we went onto Nazgrim.  Well, we weren't feeling optimistic, we only had half an hour left of raid and we hadn't really had a good go on it. The idea of the fight is simple but I remembered last time we had real issues with his rage and adds everywhere and frigging axes going all over the place and healers struggling. And now we were going to 2 heal it.

Well, whaddya know.  We one shot it.  Everyone played well, rage was well controlled and we never got axes and Sabre didn't die to his assassin (though admittedly I did yell at him to move his ass to the wall ask him politely to move his back to the wall because the assassin's mark was on him and he disengaged out and didn't die and the assassin was unstealthed so that was good.  We approached 16% and everyone was backing off a little and we waited out the defensive stance and once we hit 10% they bloodlusted and Nazgrim went down.  WOOO! I can't believe we 2 healed that too!

And we even got the achievement because Gamon was busy running off fighting the demon and didn't get hit by Nazgrim.  Tier was taken by Sabre, and the healing chest was taken by Lush.  It was about time Sabre got some loot - he hadn't looted very much in SoO!

It was a great finish to the night!  From a day where we had issues with healing to suddenly killing a new boss with time to spare, it was a wonderful finish and at least THIS time I managed to get them all together for a pic.

Halfway through my raid I had asked my friend in Illidari Remnants about their guild leader as I hadn't seen him in a while.  Apparently half their raid team is sick and can't raid!  Geez, remind me not to get on their vent/mumble in case I catch whatever weird disease they're spreading through their guild.... it was my friend Manahungry I was talking to and he said that they were short on heals and were trying to do Dark Shaman and using some offspec healers.  They ended up having to call their raid.  I remember at the time wishing I could borrow a healer... but we didn't need them anyway!

Well, I might be missing Monday's raid as I will be home late as I am busy flying internationally again this weekend.  Hopefully Priestie and Asys will be there so we will have some mainspec healers again.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Raiding - Chopping and changing for a fairer go!

First raid of the raid week!  Boy was I excited.  And this time I didn't need to be woken up!

I logged on early and got myself organised and started inviting people to raid.  For the first time in a while, we had more than our quota and I wanted to make sure everyone was feeling included.

Tanks: Aimei, Kyjenn, Raked
Healers: Cranked, Navimie, Priestietute
DPS: Azadelta, Sevrus, Sabrehawk, Luxygaga, Moopiex, Voros

I made Cranked/Asys sit out for the first two because I coudn't face his awful dispels for Protectors again LOL.  And then I thought I would get to have a nice break and sit out for the other two bosses and come back for Galakras.  Sev sat out for the first two.

So off we went to do Immerseus.  Poor Priestie was having a derp day because she died not once, but TWICE and left that whole side with no healers.  I was thinking it was going to be pretty pathetic because when we get to the final stages I can only heal that many blobs so it's going to go SLOW but it wasn't as terrible as I thought - time does go by quickly when you're having fun solo healing... Raked grumbled again at the lack of weapon - I wonder if it even exists.

Protectors was messy.  I was buoyed when Priestie did the first dispel but after that it was like being with Asys.  Fortunately we made it and I was worried about no mana but it worked out ok in the end. I will have to tell Asys that he's not the only one to be on the end of the "ARE YOU GUYS DISPELLING?"

Az sat out for Norushen and we got Cranked in to heal.  It was messy but we got it.  Not as messy as Sha of Pride though!  That felt like a lucky scrape.

Onward to Galakras and Az ended up sitting out for the rest of the raid, which he didn't mind.  I got Luxy back in and asked Kyxyn to sit out for Aimei to tank up a bit.  And we wiped on the first go but managed to get it eventually on the second go.  Or was it the third go?

But would you believe that Iron Juggernaut was giving us issues yesterday!  I got Kyxyn back in and had Moo sit out and I don't know what was going on but we wiped twice.  The third time it was better, just like all our other previous attempts but that left no time for Dark Shaman, so hopefully we can get that down tonight and work on Nazgrim.

You may wonder why I did so much disruption to a raid, swapping people back in and out all the time. I did want everyone to raid... but it was hard to make everyone fit!  Fortunately everyone was really good natured about it - I only sat people out of bosses that they didn't need any loot from and brought them back for ones they did.  Kyxyn actually whispered me and said that he thought it was a good idea and I was glad - Aza was the one who sat out the most, but he really wanted first wing anyway as he says all the fire mage destro lock BIS stuff dropped there.  I did want to sit out but I wasn't allowed to! So I felt bad, wondering if people thought that I was making it good for myself, but I really think it's important to try to gear up our reserve raiders otherwise constantly sitting out means they will stop turning up.  Though, what amazes me is Sabrehawk, whom I swear never loots anything and seems to somehow magically ROLL everything he needs, isn't way up there on the loot priority.  I think it's because of the decay.  Which reminds me I haven't decayed it for ages.

At least there were loots to be had!  Sabre rolled a bow, and Priestie got a new healing neck.  Aimei picked up a nice mace and Voros got bracers and a cloak that will be replaced in a week or two.  Tonight will be interesting as Priestie said she won't be home in time to raid

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Pets, Achievements and rares this week

An amazing week for pets!  I come home and some of my friends had sent me presents!

I was surprised to see mail from Icaruss - OMG he got me a Droplet of Y'Shaarj!  It did arrive a week ago whilst I was at Blizzcon, but I hadn't checked my mail so I only looked at it on Monday.  And yes, I somehow forgot to check my mail on Sunday when I came back.  God, I was thrilled to bits, thanks Icaruss! Now what do I get for him?  It has to be something awesome.  Hmm.

Cavendar gave me a welcome home present - wow!  Now I hardly ever see this rare spawn on the Isle, let alone the pet!  I was super chuffed.  Thanks Cav <3 br="" nbsp="">

And of course being at Blizzcon I had my new Murkalot which I only got on Monday as well, with matching FoS.

I did my Celestial tournament for the last time and got my final pet.  Welcome to the pet family Yu'la!  It took came with an accompanying achievement.

Whilst we were raiding the other day, the guild got an achievement!  Woo, that's a lot of dailies folks!

And Cymre was amazing, she whispered me and said Golganarr was up!  So she invited me and I rushed off to kill him - unfortunately I was flagged from BGs and arena before and standing there flagged was not fun. A hunter tried to kill me with his Censer on but failed - that would have been embarrassing for him - and then I died from Golganarr hitting me!  But I got the kill - but it was damn hard to get a decent pic of Golganarr. All I got was his butt =/ but YAY! That was the last rare I needed for Timeless Champion.  Thanks Cym!

Extra large pic for extra large butt. Cym is shotting him in the butt.
And last but not least, it was WoW's 9th anniversary and they gave us the little rep/xp gift again.  Last year's one was never used by me, but at least this year I used it when I was doing my dailies and trying to farm Shaohao rep at the same time.  A lot of people complaining that it's a lame gift.. but hey don't look a gift horse in the mouth.  They could also have given us nothing.

Now that the dust has settled - My thoughts (and a collection of everyone else's) on females in WoD

It is dangerous ground to tread when you talk about women in World of Warcraft.  You never know which side of the line the person you are talking to is standing on. I think that no matter which side of the fence you sit, as long as you are respectful and consider the other person's argument, you won't end up losing friends over a difference in opinion.

At Blizzcon, I saw LOTS of females.  I thought that it was about 30-40%, but if you looked at the queues for the toilets, I was obviously wrong.  For the first time in my life I saw queues outside the little boys' room, and there were no queues at the litle girls' room!  So obviously, I was wrong in my estimation of boys and girls.  But I did see lots of girls around, or so I thought.  So, Blizz has a large female following - not surprising really since I'm female and I expect there are lots of people like me.

After the announcement of Warlords of Draenor, I heard a lot of dissatisfaction about the lack of strong female characters in the upcoming expansion.  My feminist friends and gamers would like to see female characters who are memorable, who don't want to have their destinies or paths forged by males (ie not abused, abandoned, tortured, spurned by men making them the females they are today) - I think they are looking for characters who can be role models for women, who can be strong, decisive and powerful.

Being female, I understand where they are coming from.  I think everyone wants someone they can relate to, or look up to, and females identify with females.  And they want people to realise and recognise women are just as strong as men, just as memorable, just as iconic.  Because, sometimes when you try to think of strong, memorable females in this game, you struggle to remember names, faces, or events.  Is that sexist or is it wrong?  Perhaps.  Nobody likes people that you identify with to be made small, redundant or unimportant, or unrememberable.
Saw this pic on Orcish Army Knife.  RAWR!
I remember my feelings at the time when I watched the trailer for Warlords of Draenor.  Metzen told us that it would be back to Outland, back in the past, and reliving some of the lore that newer players missed out on.  I remembered some of the characters - all male, mind you - Gul'dan, Durotan, Grommash, Kilrogg, Blackhand, Velen... but as I watched the video, I saw lots of female characters - there were orc priestesses or shamans, dancing, there was an female draenei on a snow capped peak.  I wondered who they were, and was excited about finding out about new characters - a chance to rewrite history to include some girls, since this is a timeline reboot.  Time line reboots are great - you can use the existing history and add new things to it, rebuilding on the foundations of lore that are already on there.  And you can add whatever the hell you want as extra, because new things happen, right?  Look at Star Trek, they do timeline reboots all the time, and characters change, new ones appear, and I like it.

A screen cap from the WoD release video
Then I started seeing the comments on twitter.  And I realised that there was another point of view I hadn't considered - that females were being overlooked and forgotten.

Then the blog posts came.  Heated ones, on each side of the argument.  I read them, and considered the merits and downfalls of each.  There were a lot of good points made, and it made me question myself, and I felt bad for not being more "female".  But is this how I am supposed to feel?

Everyone is entitled to an opinion.  Everyone's opinions should be respected.  I can see the disappointment from my fellow gamers about the lack of female characters and wanting to balance it more.  It would be nice if they did that.  But I don't want it to be written into a story because people felt like it SHOULD be there to be more politically correct.  Perhaps it would be nice if Joss Whedon wrote some story coz we KNOW we would get some badass females in there, coz he's pretty cool like that.  Look at all the ribbing Peter Jackson got for writing all Tolkein's mouselike female characters into major features who are strong and memorable and heroic!  I loved LotR and now with the new female elf added into the Hobbit that turned all the book fans into screaming hordes of discontent.  Am I bad because I LIKE the revamped Peter Jackson version of LOTR?  My two favourite scenes are Arwen riding with Frodo trying to get him away from the Nazgul, and Eowyn ripping off her helm and saying "I am no man!"

I used to think that it was not females or even strong females I aspired to be or admired..  It was the characters themselves.  Even now, I admire characters for what they are, and who they are, regardless of their sex.  It doesn't even bother me if they are male or female, and I don't identify more with female characters, just characters!  But that doesn't mean I don't understand how others feel - how would I like it if characters who are gentle and only fight when they have to, kill when they have to were eradicated to make way for only bloodthirsty, critter killing characters!  (Read that as WE NEED MORE LUNK!).  However, when I look more closely at myself, I do like female characters.  I play one.

Around the community I went, using the eloquence of others to try to convey all the opinions I think are worth having a listen to.

Lissana said:
We shouldn’t ever leave a Blizzcon event asking ourselves “where are the female characters at?” Once they’ve missed their opportunity with releasing biased marketing materials, they have already lost the chance to connect with the part of their audience that didn’t think the marketing materials appealed to them.
(btw, Liss linked an article which is a great read - How to be a fan of problematic things.  I have to link it here so I won't forget it!)

Vixsin said:
...I am incredibly disappointed to see ... the tried-and-true “How many females?” checklist that is utilized every time the topic of sexism in WoW comes up (see: victory statue discussions, quest lines that involve courtship, portrayal of female leaders, etc.) After seven years of seeing this same tired commentary trotted out...  is that still how we’re choosing to rate the quality of characters and stories? Why aren’t we talking about identifiable characters in general? Or maybe about how women seem more drawn to characters that are like them presently whereas men tend to be drawn to characters that they aspire to be?
(I found this comment particularly compelling for two reasons - one, because Vixsin said very eloquently what I had been thinking, and two, I never realised Vixsin was female.  I should have realised from the name but for some reason, it never clicked)

Erinys said:
I’d also like to comment on the now infamous “boys trip” line. I happen to love Victorian Literature, a fact I’m sure long time readers are already aware of. Conan Doyle in particular was a childhood favourite, especially given that my Father felt that television destroyed young and impressionable minds and that I should either be curled up reading or outside taking part in such healthy pursuits as shooting things or “playing” war. Did it bother me that the Lost World was a “boys trip”? Not in the slightest, it reflects the period in which it was written and no doubt the attitude of it’s author but that should not be the case with Warcraft given that it’s over a 100 years later. This expansion shouldn’t just be about exploring the story which has already been told, there should be many threads interwoven amongst it and these hopefully will include those of women like Yrel, Garona, Draka, Greatmother Geyah and Ishanah.
(It was interesting to me that Erinys was not more bothered by this subject, as she has grown up in a very matriarchal family.  But it seems to me she is waiting to see the stories being woven, as I am)

Zuulzilla said:
... if you’re going to call yourself a feminist and say you stand for equality, you should maybe refer to yourself as an equalist instead of defining your beliefs by a gender-specific connotation. This will probably make me unpopular with a lot of folks, as I have a handful of followers and friends who call themselves feminist. By no means am I trying to start a riot or offend anyone. It’s an alien subject to me and believe me when I say I’ve tip-toed around the idea of even mentioning it. For all I know, my perspective on the “we need more female leaders” thing could be because I’m gender-blind and just don’t see what everyone else is seeing.
(Zuulzilla echoes my equalist attitude.  It's not often I see people with the same opinion as me.  Guess I've found a new blog to read!)

Xsinthis said:
One of the arguments defending the “boys club” mentality is that it’s more realistic. Says who?.. Just because in our real-world history things have been done a certain way is absolutely not a reason for it to be done in a game.. nothing else in the game is held up to that standard of realism, why should this one aspect of the game be? ... In an expansion where you’re using magic to go through time and space and across dimensions, you’re claiming realism? People clinging to this argument need a reality check.
(Since reading this, I've changed my mind over "That's how things were back then" because Xsinthis is right - this is a fantasy game so we should be doing fantas-tic things, right, not the realistic thing)

Anne Stickney said:
As Chris Metzen put it at the Adventures Continue panel at Blizzcon, "That honeymoon is over, it's more of a boy's trip." My heart sank a little at that, because what I really wanted to see, what I haven't seen out of Warcraft before is a character of a very different kind -- the warrior mother, fierce and protective, warm, nurturing, and capable of opening a can of whoop-ass in a heartbeat if you cross her. The type of mother who is gently kissing her children good night one moment, and toting a gun with a baby on her hip the next. The mother who flat-out refuses to let motherhood slow her down, instead using motherhood as a very good reason to fight even harder.
(A well written article by Anne, whom I wish now I had plucked up the courage to say hello to at Blizzcon. Motherhood didn't slow me down, so why should it slow Aggra down, right?)

Rades said:
But most importantly, I cringe and hope that Blizzard doesn't ignore the issues being so heatedly discussed. Obviously, we don't know what all they have planned for WoD, and maybe these early concerns have all been neatly and adequately planned for already. Fingers crossed! But until we know, I think it's certainly fair for people to be both worried and skeptical from the content we have seen so far. It's early, yes, but that just means it's even more crucial to start talking NOW, to make sure Blizzard hears these complaints and - hopefully - has the time to address them.
As for the awful and dismissive "boy's trip" line...I hope it was just a case of unfortunate phrasing... (To be fair, Metzen does tend to just shoot wildly from the hip and let his excitement get ahead of him, as we saw when he tried to talk about the time travel elements of WoD. It very well could have been intended differently and just came out terribly wrong.)
(Rades' article is really well written with a clear objective look at the problems brought up with Warlords of Draenor.  It's probably my favourite read of the lot.)

Akabeko said:
It's important to note that this isn't really about Aggra the individual character, but rather how, under what circumstances, and with what purpose, are non-player female characters allowed to participate in the narrative... the best option from here on out would be to endeavor to create a robust selection of female characters to prove that in the World of Warcraft, beings are judged on their merit and not the contents of their pants. Continue to develop the storylines of the female NPCs we already have, and continue to add more. Ensure that several female characters make their way into the core characters that are consistently caught up in the center of the current expansion's plot. Force it. I'm serious! Use your writing skills and make it work. That's what we did! Join us!
(Akabeko's twitter challenge of #RiseofAggra was well responded to and had a great number of tweets, go check it out on her blog.  I didn't see it or I would have joined in as well!)

Apple Cider mage said:
Feedback is crucial. Blizzard has let us know that it listens to the community and is willing to make changes should they feel that criticism is both substantive and will improve the game. Representation is also crucial. Our media affects and informs our lives and leaving a lot of different groups out of the story (not just women, but queer people, people of different genders, races, etc.) has a subtle but penetrating effect on the people who consume this media, namely us.
(A surprisingly calm and level headed post from ACM, who normally is really passionate about things like this.  Perhaps because she already let it all out on Twitter - her tweets were very vehement about the whole thing, which makes this post seem so out of character.  Her points are well validated here and there are lots of links to other similar posts on the subject)

ILikePancakes said:
World of Warcraft is a game where by design gender does not matter. A human female warrior has the same stats as a human male warrior. A female night elf druid has the same stats as a male night elf druid. And so on. There is no reason to say that “orcs were a primitive, male dominated society” when there is no special characteristic of gender that would allow males to dominate. It is, in a word, idiotic.
(It is interesting that it's true there is no difference between male and female toons, and yet in the game and the lore it is still male dominated.  A really really good point there.)

Liore said: drinking companion noted that Azeroth and other WoW worlds are very good at making mothers disappear after they produce an heir or two...
For example, who is Anduin Wrynn’s mother?...WoWWiki describes him as “the son of King Varian Wrynn” alone, as though he leaped fully formed from Varian’s brain like Athena. In fact Anduin’s mother is someone named Tiffin... and she died a long time ago.
...Who is Arthas’ mother? We know that his father is King Terenas — he was in both the Wrath of the Lich King cinematic and made a special appearance in the final Lich King battle... apparently his mother was someone named Lianne and “her fate remains unknown”...
...Who is Moira Bronzebeard’s mother? As far as I can tell she didn’t even die, she just never existed.
...Finally, who is Thrall’s mother? Surprise, while Draka is the one mother I had even heard of before, she too died suddenly and tragically at a young age.
So what’s the deal with mothers, you guys? If I had to guess, I’d say it’s because the Blizzard people are running with the trope of mothers being killjoys. (That is also the reason that often the mom is dead in movies where kids go on epic journeys.) “Thrall, you can’t go master lightning powers until you finish your vegetables.” “Arthas, if you’re going to try and conquer the world from an icy tower at least wear a scarf.”
(How funny that things like this, where are the mothers and wives - think MANKRIK - are dead or not even worth mentioning.  I don't know why I had never noticed that before.  So Liore gets a big thumbs up for mentioning something that I didn't even realise that was right in front of my face all the time.)

Mataoka said:
The thing is perhaps we should consider redefining manhood. It's getting tiresome for women to do all the heavy-lifting. We (women) can't keep hitting our selves against the glass and be met with derision without finally saying it hurts. Nor should men be expected to do the same.
(The video she linked is a great watch, and it really opens your eyes to what the media is projecting to the world about the roles of girls and boys.  Now I know what the Bechdel test is that people were talking about!)

BBB said:
First and only lesson that everyone who is an actual writer knows, male or female, is that the story does not belong to the reader, nor is the reader entitled to make demands upon the writer.  The story belongs to the writer or writers. They are the ones who are creating it, it comes from their imaginations, they are the ones with the voice.  If you don’t like the story that they are presenting, if you don’t like the characters they are inspired by and who drive their story, you are free to go make your OWN story, with your OWN characters, and build it into something so popular it’s inspiring millions of people around the world.  Nobody, and I do mean NOBODY has the right to tell ANY author or creator what they should do to change their own creative efforts because clearly you know better.
(Though there is the undertone of "I'm bloody pisssed off" I think that BBB put into words what many people did think and though it may not be the same opinion as others,, but the point above is true, and BBB's point of view should be respected.  The story does not belong to us, the fans, it belongs to the writers.  If they want to keep us as fans though, they will have to tailor it more to our liking, or we will no longer be fans. But we shouldn't really be telling people what they can and can't write.)

I'll tell you which female I'm hoping to see more of - Draka.  I think that's her in the picture up above - but I could be wrong!  Draka is the mate of Durotan, warchief of the Frostwolf clan - the clan for which my guild is named - and the mother of Thrall.

Rades put in a great line from Lord of the Clans, which made me admire Draka even more:

"I am Draka, daughter of Kelkar, son of Rhakish. No one forbids me to follow my mate, not even Durotan himself! I come with you, I stand by you, I shall die if need be. Pagh!" She spat at him.

Draka is willing to take her baby and fight beside her mate.  No waiting around at home for her.  And for someone like me, a successful professional, working a nice 40 hour week, a mother, a guild leader, a raider and PvPer, a writer - never have I been more proud to be a female and to be a Frostwolf, when there are characters such as Draka to inspire me.  Fingers crossed that she will be as epic in the game as she is in my imagination.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Raiding - Back in the saddle, and some good news for our raiders

So how excited was I to do some normal raiding again???!!  Very!  In fact I was so excited, that I lay in bed with the kids hoping they would sleep soon so I could go raid... and fell asleep and was woken up by Lushnek right on the dot at 9pm.  Shit.

There were shenanigans when I was away.  I had left Moo and Sev in charge of EPGP whilst I was away, and they told me they would be fine.  Apparently they had a bit of free reign with EPGP... awarding 150-500 EP per half hour, not even sure if people were charged for their loots... of if there were any loots!

So I logged on, and got myself organised and headed into raid.  I still need to kick Asys in the bum about his dispels for Protectors!  Poor Raked still cannot get his weapon off Immerseus - hope he has better luck next week!

I have no idea why but there was lots of leather dropping last night.  I managed to score some gloves, which are an ok substitute until I get some Tier, and I picked up 2 items for offspec which nobody wanted.  One was even warforged!

Lush still had to get on his druid for healing for Galakras, as we struggled with 2 healing.  Then Raked had a power out so Lush had to get back onto Aimei (after he'd eaten AND flasked!) and we dragged Priestietute in to heal and we got it down. Just enough time for one Iron Juggernaut go and that was the end of the night. I was happy, we didn't die that much (well except to Galakras since we were stuffing around with 2 healing, and some tank got punted off the tower again!)

I was pleased to see Voros raiding with us, though melee are the new clothies these days!  He actually D/C'd during Sha of Pride because he ran out of game time, and I managed to keep him alive that whole time, but as soon as he logged in he ran in to do something and he died. Talk about poopsicles!

I also got the Purified Bindings of Immerseus for guild bank, but I was going to play with it for a bit before I DE it. The tooltip is a little misleading:

You might think that some of the DPS proccing healing abilities (eg smite healing, Dream of Cenarius) would proc it but that's not the case.  For a druid, you can only get it to proc when you switch to melee and hit in cat or bear.  Which is going to be pretty useless to me!  I did wonder if the passive amplification to my crit, healing, haste, mastery and spirit was going to be worth using the trinket, but I'm not sure.  I was thinking I might use it to bump up my haste but we'll see.  Or maybe I'll just keep it in case I want to be a boomkin or something.  Yeah right.

Exray was chatting to me about wanting transfer over to Saurfang from our guild on Dath'remar, which I was thrilled to hear.  He said he would like to raid - and I have been getting a lot of nagging about recruitment from within the raiding ranks.  I am not keen to recruit because I know it just means more sitting out for our other raiders, but I am happy for upgrading to raider status from within our own ranks.  I'm not sure if that will happen yet, but it is an exciting prospect.  However, that does not fill a healer spot for me, but if Lush's monk Aimei manages to gear up some mistweaver gear then we might have that problem solved.  However, he still likes to tank, and he's more useful as DPS than as heals, so this would be a really good time to have a triple spec!  Which spec is he going to dump to take mistweaving??  But it's a ways off yet, and we have Priestietute healing as backup so we're not in a bad ways yet.  I have no idea where Sabre has gone lately, and Fue has not made a reappearance... but the show has to go on.  Oh, I can't wait for raid on Wednesday!

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's good to be home!

Though I'm sad that my trip has come to an end, it is nice to be home.  Though, it was surprising that where it's late autumn in California, they still had temperatures up to 28 degrees Celsius when we were there, and when we got home, where it's almost summer, it was a not so warm 20 degrees Celsius and raining.  At least my vegetables didn't die since it rained all week.

I had a funny routine over in the States.  I would go to Starbucks every morning and get some kind of coffee, preferably one of the holiday ones (Gingerbread Latte was my favourite) - which is something I don't do over here!  I also suddenly had a love of eating mexican food LOL.  At least they had soy milk there!

When I came home, I was dying to raid, so I was even happy to sit through a 2.5 hour LFR (2nd SoO) just to get my fix.  It was a terrible group with lots of wipes and lots of tanks disappearing and stacks of determination.  I met someone in the LFR who was someone that I had RBG'd with from Frostmourne (Yang) and was surprised that they remembered me.  But in the end, we got it done (the last round of replacmements on Nazgrim had good tanks and players - I think 60% of the raid had left and was replaced).

Balinar had started playing again after we saw him at Blizzcon, and he had also transferred over to Saurfang. So, since he had made the effort to come over, the least I could do was keep him company for 2nd SoO LFR so he could get to the third one.  You can tell how WoW deprived I was because I just stayed around waiting for everyone, not complaining much - even Kyxyn had logged off and watched some TV, played with the kids and come back and when he came back I was still in the same LFR.

That evening I was excited to be raiding again and we did Flex wing 1 and 4.  At least we got up to Garrosh! We had a decent turnout and after we knocked off the first wing we culled it down.  I think it won't be long before we can do Wing 2 with some undergeared people (if we stay on our mains) but that was my first look at wing 4 in Flex (the guild had done some last week) and it was cool getting to see Garrosh.

It's Monday now and I think people are itching for a normal raid.  See what we can get up to tonight.  It's frustrating that we have to keep starting again every week especially when we don't get a full raid in, so we may have to do what we did in ToT at some time and think about extending.  Aza is against it because all his gear drops from the first bosses, but I think if he sat out every other week that would be ok for him so at least he could get a chance to get his loots every week.  We'll see how it goes - Asys was talking about patch but I'm pretty sure that I heard from Blizzcon that there will be no more content patches between now and the expansion (there will be mini patches though) so I wonder if it's going to be like it was in Dragon Soul, where we were on that content for AAAGES.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Anaheim Holiday Days #9 and #10 - Shopping and time to go home

I was all tuckered out yesterday from theme parks so I decided to go outlet shopping at Citadel yesterday instead.  Most of the things I bought were for the kids.  We went out to Roy's for dinner, which is a Hawaiian fusion cuisine restaurant at the Anaheim Garden Walk and as usual we were STUFFED FULL after eating our appetisers and entrees (which is funny because entrees are mains in the US).

Some appetiser nibbles came out for us to munch on before our ordered meals came out.

Mixed appetiser
Bim Bim Bap
Tempura vegies
Stuffed Peppers with Bonito shavings
And the we had our SIZEABLE mains!  I don't think any of us could finish it all!  The kids meals looked quite tasty as well..

Anaheim special - Butterfish and ribs
Rib eye
Kid's meal chicken teriyaki
Miso Butterfish
Red curry chicken
Chocolate Souffle
It was a great meal, for our last full night in Anaheim.  On our last day, we're going to do a morning tour of downtown LA (tourist stuff).  It was a great holiday, lots of memories and though I'm a little sad to go home, I would like to have a nice sleep on my own pillow and look at my twin 24" monitors again... and I think I need to go and login to my favourite game!  So... I should be back in time for Flex raids on Sunday - I hope people will be on because I am DYING to raid after 10 days of no game!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Anaheim Holiday Day #8 - Disneyland

There are two parks here in Anaheim - Disneyland is the original park and is larger than California Adventure. We couldn't finish Disneyland in one day - but fortunately the kids had seen everything because we covered what they had missed when they went on Saturday with my friend and her daughter whilst we were at Blizzcon.

Christmas has taken over here at the park and there was a Christmas theme everywhere, in the decorations, the rides, the parades and even the fireworks!

We started in Tomorrowland first, which had all the Star Wars and space things (Buzz Lightyear) and went on the Star Tour, Astro Orbiter, Buzz Lightyear Astro Blasters, Autopia and Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage.

We also went to Innoventions which had a show which we missed TWICE, and we lined up to see Thor props and ended up seeing Thor as well, and Ironman props.

We then headed to Fantasyland (the entrance of which is Sleeping Beauty's Castle) which had a lot of the original 1955 rides, most of which my youngest child could ride.  We rode Snow White's Scary Adventures, Peter Pan's Flight, Pinocchio's Daring Journey, Mr Toad's Wild Ride, King Arthur Carousel, Mad Tea Party and Alice in Wonderland.

Our last stop was Mickey's Toontown, which seems more Disney to me with the cartoon-like houses.  Here was the only rollercoaster for little kids (Gadget's Go coaster) so we did that.

We backtracked to go to It's a Small World - one of the most famous original rides, and also where the parade was going to start.  It was decorated in Christmas stuff, and the ride itself showcased all the different cultures doing their Christmas or similar celebration.

When we finished the ride we found a spot to see the parade and watched as the street lit up for the parade at dusk.

It looked pretty amazing at night.  The parade was also Christmas themed - my son slept through it again! When we were done we caught the Disneyland Railroad back to the main street where we caught the parade again LOL.

And we stayed for the fireworks.  Main street was packed and the fireworks were lovely with the accompanying music - something you can't really appreciate from our hotel room even though we can see the fireworks there.  Sleeping Beauty's castle looked gorgeous after the fireworks were done.

I had great fun at Disneyland too, though I was a little disappointed we didn't see more.  But, I think after 4 days of theme parks, I've had enough of theme parks - no San Diego for me on Thursday!  I think we shall have to take it easy and just go outlet shopping.  So of the two parks, which did I enjoy more?  It was hard to choose, but I think that California Adventure had a more impressive parade and the World of Colour was amazing.  I also liked that we could finish that park in one day and the kids got to see almost everything (and Cars Land!).  I didn't think I would like Disneyland but I think the whole experience was truly unforgettable and I would highly recommed it to anyone - even if you don't like Disney (gosh, I love Disney though, so maybe I'm biased), it's very hard not to get wrapped up in the excitement.  Where else can you walk around wearing Mickey ears and it's totally normal?