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I freely admit I’m a noob.  The universe seems to be testing my resolve When it comes to World of Warcraft.  These last two weeks have been the most mentally exhausting weeks since I started playing, which means I had one good week and then it all went down the toilet.  I was lucky in that Blizzard happily transferred my character from the trial program to the main server when I purchased the digital Battle Chest they offered for $9.99.  It left two WoW server log-ins though.  I kept hearing that the old trial server log-in would disappear in a week.  It never did, but I was too happy about being able to keep the character I had already leveled.

As I got to higher levels and started reading about where good places to find materials for my professions and leveling were, I noticed people talking about add-ons.  I thought they would be a wonderful addition.  WRONG.  I started with something simple like Atlas, TomTom and something that claimed to allow me to move any of the user interface windows on my screen where they were more effective for me.  None of the add-ons were as helpful as billed and in fact made my life more miserable with their incompatibility with the Blizzard UI. I finally gave up, took the add-ons off and removed the Curse.com installer.

Several things happened at the same time I uninstalled the add-ons.  1) I finally got around to telling Blizzard I wanted to return my non-working authenticator…the same one that locked me out of my account for half a day while I waited for the west coast to wake up and go to work.  2) Someone at Blizzard looked at my Customer Support ticket and completely ignored what I said and instead of telling me how to return my authenticator which I carefully explained was my purpose for filling out the ticket, returned my digital upgrade for Mysts of Pandaria.  3) Doing so destroyed my account right after everyone on the west coast left work for the day, leaving me locked out of my account for another 12 hours.  I was livid (mostly because these last two weeks I’ve just been waking up when Blizzard employees are going to bed so that was my prime game time). 4) Right before this happened, I did a quest that went from Stormwind to Old Town and noticed my blue EXP bar had disappeared.

Let’s start with the last item first.  Here’s a note to people who are new to World of Warcraft.  Just because a web site, wiki or forum says a NPC is in one place, doesn’t mean that NPC will actually be there when you go to find him. My first example of this phenomenon was Morbent Fel, a NPC who the wiki showed a picture of in his bedroom.  Morbent has since relocated to under the crypt that is guarded by a HUGE bone animation (lots of hit points) with a million undead ready to have their way with you.  He’s also a bit of a badass now with his fancy clothes and spells.  The same is true for Behsten, the guy who gets your EXP bar put back into your user interface.

Blizzard didn’t just move Behsten from the Old Town warrior training area, they made him opaque so you couldn’t see him unless you looked very carefully.  I don’t know which spell controls fading out, but he’s chock full of it.  As you may or may not be able to see him in the picture above, he is located in the battle room to the right of the King’s (possible) throne room at Stormwind Keep, at the very farthest left-hand corner in front of that table.  You have to wait for him to show up and what you see in the picture above is as real as he gets.  If you right-click on him, he’ll offer to toggle your EXP bar, but keep in mind if he does toggle it OFF, you will no longer be chalking up EXP points.  I don’t know why anyone would want to do that, but I’m sure there’s a reason. I’m not even sure how mine got turned off as it appears you have to PAY Behsten to turn it off.  Inasmuch as I couldn’t even find the guy to get it fixed, I have no idea how mine got turned off.

Back to my Blizzard drama – once the Customer Service Representative turned off my Mysts of Pandaria digital upgrade, I could no longer log into the server.  I figured it’s easier to communicate with Blizzard through their e-mail type system, but it’s clear I need to give that idea up. How anyone could mistake the words “Mysts of Pandaria” for “authenticator” are so far beyond me, I can’t fathom what they were thinking.  Oh wait, I remember.  I had to buy my digital upgrade through battle.net, while the authenticator had to be ordered through the Blizzard store.  It created two different orders.  Clearly, the guy answering my request for information on how to return the authenticator back to Blizzard just clicked the first order they saw, leaving me with no way to get onto the server. Or they’re a sociopath who likes to screw with people for shits and giggles.

Having reached my limit for being shackled by the lack of Customer Service “open” hours, I pounced on my phone the minute 1:00PM ET hit my clock. Luckily I only had to wait a couple of minutes.  We discussed the merits of how to distinguish the words “Mysts of Pandaria” from “authenticator.”  He explained to me that my inability to connect to the game server was simply a happy coincidence with my Mysts of Pandaria being taken away and that add-ons were the root of all evil.  He very kindly put my digital upgrade back and gave me instructions for uninstalling ALL of my World of Warcraft software (all 20+ GBs of it) from my Windows 7 installation so I could start with a clean slate.  They consisted of this:

In order to remove World of Warcraft from your system, please follow the instructions below.

For Windows Users:

1) Go to the Start/Windows button, and click “Control Panel”
2) Look for “Uninstall a program” (Windows Vista/7) or “Add or Remove Programs” (Windows XP)
3) Right-Click on the World of Warcraft icon and select “Uninstall”

This will begin the uninstallation process.

If the game is not listed in the Add/Remove Programs, manually uninstall the game by deleting the folder directory where WoW was installed.

After uninstalling, there may be remaining game files on the system. Search the hard drive for any Warcraft related files and delete them, including Temporary folders and the Blizzard Entertainment folder from the Common Files folder. These folders will normally be located at:

C:\Documents and Settings\<YourName>\Local Settings\Temp
C:\Windows\Temp

Select and Delete these folders if they exist.

C:\Program Files\World of Warcraft
C:\Program Files (x86)\World of Warcraft
C:\Program Files\Common Files\Blizzard Entertainment
C:\Users\Public\Games\World of Warcraft
C:\Users\Public\Public Documents\Blizzard Entertainment\World of Warcraft\

To reinstall the game, please do the following:

1) Install from disc(s) or download the installer from (https://us.battle.net/account/management/download/)
Downloading the game client will install a more current version which may save you some patching time if your disc has an older version.

2) Patch to the latest version of the game.

After the game is re-installed, please make sure to not reinstall any custom UIs. Connect to the game servers and download the latest patches to test the game.

Unfortunately, I still had errors that were keeping me off the server (Error: BLZPTS00002 – We Could Not Connect to the Battle.net Patch Service). Luckily, it was easy to find the solution here.  Apparently, even though I had rebooted my machine before trying to install the game again, some background program on my computer was still causing problems.  I followed the easy directions about closing background applications and was FINALLY reconnected to the server to download the game again.

The re-installation is what caused the picture at the top of this blog entry.  It was funny when I first installed the digital copy of the trial program I had the same thing happen at a much lower degree.  All the flowers and plants on the ground were that horrid void green.  Blizzard will install enough of the program so you can play immediately while it chugs away at uploading the rest to your computer.  I take it from the fact that my horse turned up all green that mounts are a low priority as well.

One of the other things that used to bother me whenever I tried to reload the UI by deleting the WTF, Interface and Add-On folders in the World of Warcraft sub-directory was when I tried to log back in, it asked me what server I wanted to log in to and what character I wanted to make.  I already had a new character, I thought it was supposed to reload itself.  Luckily this time, selecting the server I was already on (Dalaran) brought up both my characters.  I guess that’s the good thing about playing on the server.  No matter what happens to your PC, your character will almost always be there (unless someone has hacked your account and destroyed everything).  Even then, I think Blizzard keeps a back up.  While the guy from Customer Service was telling me about reloading the software to my computer, he also made my authenticator work.  I’m just afraid to start using it without Customer Service being open in case it doesn’t.

At one point, I put my tale of woe on the Blizzard forum.  Apparently I’m the only person who can have so many bad things happen.  I guess it takes a noob to make that many special things happen at once.

BTW, I’m very proud of the fact that I FINALLY have boots that cover all of my feet.  I’ve been getting new armor pieces, but I’m at the point where the attributes on the armor is really coming into play.  I had a cloak with +7 strength for a long time because I liked the extra strength.  I know priests aren’t supposed to need it, but I found it annoying not to have it.  I’ve slowly been weaning myself off the armor that has STR on it, but it hasn’t been easy since my intelligence and spirit are so high it seems negligible to swap out a couple intelligence for strength.

Dreamkeeper
At the end of day three I wound up with the best present ever!  I was finally a high enough level to buy a horse.  I chose a pinto pony for my mount as the palomino horse was covered in some goofy-looking armor.  I can’t tell you what a relief it is to not have to run everywhere.  What is even odder is the sense memory that comes flying back as I ride my horse in the game.

When I was in my 20s, I owned a horse.  I loved it dearly as it was the best horse ever.  Of course, this didn’t mean that he was a pedigree horse or held any championship records.  It just means we had this incredible bond.

“Red” was a rescue horse – not that I rescued, but the lady who leased and later sold him to me rescued.  He was a quarter horse mutt, a bit high for my height challenged 5′ 4″ body at somewhere a little over 16 hands.  The abuse he suffered before being rescued made him a bit spooky, but having worked at Camp Furman for a time in my youth (as well as years of summer horse camp there), I was OK with it.

When I needed him, he was solid as a rock. On one trail ride I had to walk him along a very small strip of land next to a very deep ditch in the woods where construction for a gas line was taking place (by ditch I mean a good 20-30 feet down).  Everyone else had dismounted, but getting back up on Red in the middle of the woods would have been problematic for me at the time.  He was a perfect gentleman until after he passed the ditch, at which point he spooked just a little to show me he could.  I think he was just messing with me.  Having “Dreamkeeper” (my WoW mount) in the game brings back all the good memories of my sweet Red horse.

Great memories aren’t the only positive thing about playing WoW (World of Warcraft).  It reminded me how good it felt to be able to work hard at something and achieve results.  I contracted CFS (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) after an operation in 1995.  I’ve been on disability since 1996.  There have been periods of my life that were better than others since then, but I remember how physically disabling CFS was when it first manifested.  I played MUD at the time to keep my brain sharp as one of the bad things about the onset of CFS is feeling like you don’t have enough energy to move.  If you don’t exercise your mind when bad CFS episodes come on, you wind up asleep in bed all day.  Playing CircleMUD (this was back before graphics had evolved to what they are now) was a welcome relief from all the things I “couldn’t” do.

I am now a level 22 priest.  When I hit level 20, I went looking EVERYWHERE to buy a horse.  Apparently, while there are many stables in the game, there is only ONE place you can buy a horse these days (and I did it so fast, I didn’t remember the name of the city).  Unfortunately, I had to get help from someone by asking where to buy a mount through the general channel.  I found someone who was nice enough to give me a ride to the one stable I could purchase a horse at and they stayed with me until I was able to actually to get my character on top of it.

I purchased my bridle, did several things I’ll never remember (move horse from bag by clicking right mouse button, move into mount screen, etc., etc.), clicked the “Mount” button at the bottom of the horse screen and I was off! While trying to figure all this out, my new friend gave me a tip about putting an action bar off to the right side of my screen (BEST tip yet!!!).  I moved the horse into that screen and now whenever I want to mount or unmount, I just click the horse icon to the right. 🙂

I know it sounds strange, but while I’m riding Dreamkeeper the graphics in the game are good enough for me to relive what it was like cantering across a field on my Red horse.  It was the best feeling in the world!

The other advantage to the help I was given was joining a guild.  Yes, I finally found a guild situation that felt right.  The person who helped me was really nice and I liked that the guild had a positive name.  I don’t know much about guilds or how to use them, but there were some really cool advantages to being in one from the looks of the guild menu, so I’m very happy.  I’m too little to be of much help to them yet, but I hope it will help me get better gear when I start getting big enough to really take advantage of my armor in the upper levels – I’ll have people to help me fight the NPCs for it.

I also came upon my first quest that was too much for me to handle.  It had to do with prisoners, a character who assists me and really burly people (who I haven’t figured out how to not get killed from), so I decided to work on some quests from someplace else and go back to that area when I’m bigger.

I also bought some better equipment to wear through the auction house (priests can only wear cloth items).  The funny part about it is I have pantyline buldge now.  LOL!  You think I’m kidding? Take a gander.  For a moment it looked like there was some type of chastity belt underneath, but now it just looks like bikini underwear.

On my second day in the game, I was taken via quest into Stormwind where the Trade District is.  I was so lost it wasn’t funny.  I finally did what I used to do in CircleMUD – I drew my own map for the area to make up for my inability to remember anything consistently. Now I can find where all the shops are and if I get lost, I know how to get back to a less remote place in the city.  It’s not a complete or well-drawn map, just one that helps me get around.

I’m really starting to enjoy my gaming experience.  I was surprised how relaxing being in this RPG game is.  It also brings back some pretty fond memories I have of playing CircleMUD, not only with my son but other friends I made while playing.  They are friends I left behind long ago as my life changed, but they will always be wonderful memories.  It will be interesting to see if I make friends as easily as I did back then after I’ve been playing WoW a while.  I don’t expect to interact with other players much until I’m up there in levels and can be of use to others in the game, but that’s OK as it reflects my real life.  That’s the best part of gaming.  Even when you’re sick, you can still be productive.

June 2017
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