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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.

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I thought I’d check out the Darkmoon Faire this month. After all, the portal for it was in my home town of Goldshire. I still have no idea no idea how to use the game interface most of the time, so after realizing a right click on the portal would get me there, I took a stroll through the Faire. I found the experience to be a mixed bag for me. (The exit portals are at the end of the pier; one for Alliance, one for Horde.)

If you’ve never been to the faire before, it consists of games to play, different things to eat or drink, some different pets and items you can purchase.  The better items have to be purchased with tickets, tickets that you win when you complete quests within (and sometimes outside of) the faire.  Most of the games (quests) can be played daily.

One of the down sides of not having gone to the fair before is how it works. Being unfamiliar with RPG games, I didn’t realize once I bought my sack of tokens I needed to right click on them until the coins landed in a box in my inventory bag.  I stood at the Whack A Gnoll game for a long time.  The lady kept throwing me out because I hadn’t taken the coins out of my bag (even though I clicked the “I’m Ready” button).  Clearly she knew they were in there.

Some of the games require you to click on the bullet, then the target before you shoot, some require you click on the target first and then click the bullet (Tonk).  You just have to figure out which game works which way. When you meet the requirements for the game (quest), the time will continue to run out at which point you can go back to the person who let you in and collect your ticket prize.  I found the Tonk game to be the easiest to play.

One of the problems I had with some of the games, such as the shooting gallery, was the buffer between the game and my computer was way off.  The guns always went off way after I clicked for the target and the target light had moved.  I noticed other people were hitting the target frequently.  I can only surmise that I just don’t understand how to use the game interface correctly (more aiming involved than just clicking the cursor where you want the bullet to go).

There were other equally frustrating buffer problems.  For example, you can get blown out of a cannon and hope to hit a target in the ocean, but the movement commands didn’t seem to start working on my computer until I was right on top of the target and by then my over compensation had already lodged itself in the buffer.  The swim back was obnoxious.  For some reason my avatar wouldn’t swim straight and moved VERY slowly.  Once you got back to the shore, you had to ride all the way back to the cannon.  The Human Cannonball quest won’t disappear from your list unless you abandon it or finish it.  I decided to abandon it as it seemed a rather unproductive use of my time.

The other problem I had with the faire were the unmarked places.  Most people who have played WoW for a while probably know what a PvP (Player vs Player) arena looks like.  I had no idea.  When I went up to investigate, I found myself in the ring wishing I hadn’t been so curious.  If you get TOO close and hit the wrong button, it throws you right in.  I don’t PvP specifically because anyone else in the game who’s been playing a while most likely has the BEST equipment.  I don’t know what the restrictions are for levels either, all I know is some really big dude popped into the ring and cut me down with one slash.

The only good thing I got out of the faire was a storage box with more storage space than the bags I currently buy to hold my things.  It only cost one ticket. The rest of the faire was pretty annoying, especially the girl next to the “Test Your Strength” machine.  To complete that quest you had to go kill 250 NPCs (ones your own size). I did it in one day, but I have no idea if that’s normal.  I received 10 free tickets for it.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything I wanted to use my 10 tickets with.  Whether my achievements roll into next month’s faire, I do not know. What I do know is there is an awesome staff I could use at the faire grounds, but it costs 160 tickets – far exceeding the 11 tickets I managed to come up with this week.

On Sunday WoW did an update to their software around 1:00PM. Nothing worked right the rest of the day.  There was constant lagging, and oh, did I mention hackers managed to get through the system while they were upgrading?  That’s right, if you look around YouTube, you’ll see the carnage. Blizzard had to shut down the servers until they could figure out how the German hackers got in and cut them off at the pass. Somehow, the hackers had created a level one character with the powers of a God – able to kill people with one slash of the sword.  There were a lot of dead players who weren’t looking for a battle.

Blizzard put their purchasable mounts on sale half price yesterday.  Instead of paying $25, they were $12.50.  I was getting tired of using the gryphons, so I thought if I bought this mount (Winged Guardian) it would solve my problems, after all it said you could use it at level 20.  I went into the game, received it into my in-game mailbox, right-clicked on it to get it into my mount area and hopped on.  I couldn’t get the darn thing to fly!  Apparently, if you buy a mount you only get to use the running part of it until you are level 60 (I believe) and can learn how to fly.  Disappointing to say the least, but it was a lesson learned.  For now I’ll keep using my horse for transportation because it makes me feel happy.

I finally leveled up to 35 so I could wear my pirate hat.  When I put it on, my hair style suddenly changed. Not sure why.  I also noticed when I just went in the game to get a print screen of my new equipment (new hat, staff, belt, gloves and boots that look more like toe-less socks), it said they were planning on doing more upgrades at 1:00PM (ET) today.  I just hope it doesn’t turn into the horrible mess it did last time.


WARNING: There are spoilers for the Morbent Fel Quest below.  If you don’t want to know where he is, don’t read any of the text between the red “SPOILERS” indicators.  I’ve been looking for Morbent Fel for three frickin’ days. Seriously. According to the map, he’s supposed to be in his house on Forlorn Rowe, but when you go there all that’s left is a hat I used in the previous quest. (NOTE: Some web sites claim he is still in his house surrounded by three bodyguards. Yes, the guards are still there, but Morbent Fel is not.)  After looking at several different resources online, I had even LESS of an idea where this guy was.  All the pictures I could find of him showed him in front of beds. The house had no beds.

The guild I joined was no help.  Someone offered to help me find him one day, but they wound up forgetting about me (life as a low level player) and then they logged off.  I asked a question on guild chat a few times during different periods when I was in the game and the one person that responded said they didn’t know anything about him.  Oddly enough a couple of hours later as I watched guild chat go flying by, I noticed a level 12 player talking about how thankful they were these other people in the guild let them tag along so they could learn.  Even though I’ve only been playing since Sunday (six days ago) I still have many, many questions.  No one in the guild ever asked me if I’d like to tag along.  Including the very nice person who recruited me.  This was a bad sign of things to come.

A couple of days ago I posted a question in the guild forum about deciding how to choose a guild.  I was told the reason people randomly ask players to join their guilds is because everything you do generates money for their guild and if they are not maxed out for quest experience points you contribute to that balance as well if you are doing quests.  In my case, not knowing anyone else who plays WoW I had to make a decision whether it was worth staying in a guild that was unhelpful as this one was beginning to seem or leave and wait until I was of more use to someone as a high level character.  I opted on the latter and left the guild I had just joined.

Had I known guild requests were all about what you could give the guild, I would never have joined one to begin with.  Sure, there are some benefits (extra spells, movement of character, discounts at stores), but they pretty much are offset by what your playing gives to the guild.  If you are new to the game, I recommend waiting until you are level 85 or higher to consider joining a guild unless it’s a group of friends from real life.  The WoW forums have one area specific to discussion about guilds – who’s looking for guild members, who’s looking for a guild.  You can look through the ads of people who are looking to add players to their guild and ask questions.  Some of the guilds are very competitive so if you’re not going to be playing WoW every hour of the day that you’re not at work, you might want to shy away from them (I read one notice that said if you weren’t producing up to quota, they’d kick you out). Also, be sure the guild you are interested in is on your server.  If not, you wind up having to pay $25 to get your character switched over.

Back to Morbent Fel. Since I’m a new graphic RPG player, I was very focused on following directions.  No matter how many times I stood on top of the quest indicator, Morbent Fel would not appear.  I kept reading the quest again and again.  It spoke of catacombs, but I had been in the catacombs (the part that wouldn’t end my life endlessly) and he was not there. Don’t get me wrong.  I’m really not afraid of dying. I do it with some regularity in places with a lot of aggressive NPCs (such as Raven Hill Cemetery in Duskwood where the Morbent Fel quest takes place). I had my special Morbent Fel buster (some object received in the quest line to take away his special mage powers) to use as soon as I found him.

[SPOILERS] The reason I couldn’t find Morbent Fel is because he’s located in a connecting catacomb that will kick your rear end!  At least at Level 27 being a human priest.  How did I finally find him, even though I had been in that catacomb in spirit form (after being killed, having not picked up my corpse yet) and not seen him there?  I started at the catacomb I could survive, went all the way to the end where the little tunnel is, went to the end of the tunnel and peered very carefully into the larger catacomb area.  Someone had gone through there already and killed the aggressive NPCs.  The bigger guys at their tables were staying still. Don’t get me wrong, there was still one aggressive big guy standing next to Morbent Fel who dispensed with my living body very quickly (with one hit – I must not have had my power shield on), but someone must have killed him while I was running back to get my corpse from the area.  All that was left standing once the body was retrieved and I was alive again was Morbent Fel.  I shielded up, used the Morbent Fel quest thingy that took away his power and went to town on him.  He wasn’t very hard to kill once there weren’t a bunch of other NPCs trying to kill me at the same time. He has about the same number of hit points the jerk who walks around Raven Hill Cemetery with a big sword ( Mor’Ladim) does.   Mor’Ladim loves to be part of a gang banger.  If two or three NPCs from Raven Hill gang up on you, Mor’Ladim senses it and comes running! [END SPOILERS]

I have to laugh about the whole armor thing in this game.  I’m not a big clothes person.  I buy my stuff from the Walmart and after wearing it a couple of years it falls apart and I have to go back to the Walmart and get new clothes.  I don’t care whether they’re stylish.  All I care about is whether I want to run screaming when I see myself in the mirror (not a ruffles person).

I think about that when I log into WoW every day.  I’m not the kind of person who believes in shoulder pads, but they are VERY good armor so I’ll keep these funky squares shooting off of my shoulders for now.  I waited a long time to find something to put on my shoulder area.  I still have head, neck and trinket spots to equip now.

I’m going to see if there are any WoW meetings in my area so I can find people that might be able to give me tips on the interface and controls and the like.  There’s so much about graphic RPGs I don’t know about, so I’ve got a lot of area to catch up on.  I haven’t done anything but quests this week and it seems like there are a lot of other things to do.

For now, I’m going to bask in the glow of completing the Morbent Fel quest.  It was bugging me for a LONG time and I couldn’t find ANY web sites through the search engines that actually had information about how to find the little brat.  I don’t know if I couldn’t find him while I was in spirit because he WAS a quest NPC or whether someone had just killed him before I died.  I just know I had looked at that exact location when I was in spirit, but he wasn’t there.  It was great finally completing that quest. Now if I could only complete the one where the prisoners of war are without dying a million times. LOL!

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.

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