Monday, December 28, 2009

Urban Meyer Pulling A Brett Favre? (and other goings on)

Quite perplexed by the digital sports intelligentsia in the U.S. trying to compare University of Florida Head Football Coach Urban Meyer's situation in Florida to the ridiculous ongoing off-season dramas of retired-but-not-retired NFL quarterback Brett Favre.

First of all, Meyer's about face on his resignation for health reasons is different due to the very fact that we're dealing with health issues. Favre's will-he-or-won't-he saga was said to be posturing from the QB to force a move to Minnesota because he had little faith in the skill of the team in Green Bay. The "one more chance" at glory scenario. Completely different ballgames.

Second, Meyer's "drama" happened in about the space of 48 hours, not 4 years, 8 months.

Last night the Twittersphere mentioned Florida itself might be to "blame" for Meyer's reversal after agreeing to cover medical and other associated costs. Seems as good a theory as any.


Don't you get tired of the way that most English football presenters gush over Arsenal's style of play?

I mean, we get it. Lots of elegant passing. Great through balls. Enough is enough already. And I'm a Gooner!


During this holiday season, I was able to finally level Hamsalad (Anvilmar, blood elf priest) up to 80. After all that torture he's going to rest up and work to max his fishing and cooking.

I am pleased that according to The Armory, he's just the second lvl 80 "Hamsalad" toon out there. There are now 47(!) toons called "Hamsalad" listed being at least lvl 10. When I started him out I think there were only 9.


After 2 days, 18 hours, 54 minutes, 26 seconds, my bank alt (the not-quite-so mighty warlock Oatmeal) hit level 2. I had to send him to Org to get some presents for his year of faithful service.


I started a new toon (blood elf hunter) on a random RPPVP server. Forget which one. Should be interesting.


I'm in the closed beta for Star Trek Online. I sort of like it. Like the idea of assembling away teams. Space combat is a little wonky for me. I'm frequently getting outmaneuvered or simply flying right by things. I need some more practice. Okay game for me so far. Of course I dislike the fact that different pre-orders come with different bonuses (ie. I need to buy two copies from different vendors to get the two bonuses I want), but when have I ever liked that?


Finally got Assassin's Creed II yesterday, will be giving it a solid go this week.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

UWoW Update

I've been loathe to bump the lovely Ms. McCain from the top post, but I owe it to you good people who keep visiting to give an update.

We've been getting back into the groove over the last two weeks. We've been trying a few new things, including one that I love where the three of us sit around listening to a podcast and we comment on it in a Mystery Science Theater 3000 sort of way. That still needs some work but is showing some genuine promise. However, I don't have decent editing equipment and the fact that my microphone makes me sound like I'm in the space shuttle doesn't help either. Any tips/recommendations for quality equipment would be appreciated.

Since our last set of reviews were all done independent of each others' opinions, we're going in the opposite direction this time around. In fact, the only time we seem to be able to motivate ourselves to listen to a lot of these shows lately is when at least two of us are together. A sort of safety in numbers thing.

So watch this space, plenty of good stuff to come.

Friday, October 16, 2009

With All Due Respect To Melissa...

You have to cut conservative mouthpiece Meghan McCain some slack. I mean, the girl's been blessed by the heavens and she obviously wants to share her bounty with the world. Nothing at all to be ashamed of, it's sad that she was probably browbeaten into giving an apology by her family/handlers.

Core Lore?

I'm putting together a reading list for some future columns. Have any suggestions for essential core lore reads to add to:

Arthas: Rise of the Lich King
Rise of the Horde
Beyond the Dark Portal
Lord of the Clans
Tides of Darkness

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Realm Famous

You have to give it to these days for providing easy-to-read summaries of MMO Champion and linking to interesting content from other sites. But with that sarcastic opening out of the way, I actually rather liked the little nugget that Mike Schramm unearthed this morning about being "Realm Famous" and so thought I'd share.

Not a very dynamic first post back, I know. Nor was it all weepy and misty like Melissa's heartfelt post. But the three of us are still pretty much attempting to figure out what's going on in podcast land and so no real schedule has been worked out yet. It seems like half of the shows I have listed on iTunes are either on hiatus, on a new feed and so haven't been updating, or have stopped production altogether. So we're in the process of re-assembling our list of regulars. And pretty much all casts that are active will be in the crosshairs, even if Jim or Melissa or I personally don't care for them.

So if you're a podcaster look out - there's an inverted red arrow bouncing up and down above your head!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Easing Back Into Things with an Apology

Hiya! It's my first post back with the blog!

Before I start I want to say thank you to everyone who sent notes either to me or to Jim on my behalf while I was away. It was completely unnecessary because if you've been a long-time reader here you can tell the blog hasn't exactly been on fire since it was left solely to Jim, but flattering nonetheless. There are still some folks that I owe emails to too, namely Stompalina, and I'll be taking care of that outreach sort of stuff in the days and weeks to come.

One of the most surprising things to me, though, is that despite Jim's erratic output these days, according to stat-tracker this blog is still getting hundreds of hits per week from unique ISPs. I'd like to think that the continued activity is more of a testament to the sort of unfiltered opinions that we built the blog on, and not Jim's less-than-thrilling three part series on using Blizzard's faction change service, or his idiocy at not installing his Champions Online key properly and losing a whole day's worth of game time. Whatever the reason, it is much appreciated that some of you are sticking it out.

The early incarnation of the blog was an intense experience for all of us. The five of us barely knew each other, and rather than getting to know each other we had "The Code." In some ways it was exciting. When one of us saw the other around campus there would be a knowing smile or gesture between us that made me feel like I was apart of something bigger than myself.

But when Jim had to do his job and edit our writing, the lack of communication in those instances wasn't exciting. It was often misinterpreted as "Jim wanting to write the whole blog" or Jim not living up to the honesty portion of The Code. Our reviews were supposed to be just that, our opinions on that particular day. And while Jim certainly wouldn't change the spirit of our opinions, he would sometimes phrase things to be a little more diplomatic, which is what we thought he wanted to avoid at all costs.

So, like children, Pete (who you'll notice is now officially back as a contributor) and I used Fred's illness as a perfect time to run off. We already knew behind-the-scenes that Toothy's studies were taking up almost all of his free time and that his presence on the blog was probably going to end, so Jim was already going to be a writer down. But Fred's illness took everyone by surprise. The night we heard Fred had gone into the hospital, Pete and I both, on our own initiative and without each others' knowledge I might add, also told Jim that we were leaving.

Why am I saying this? Because I need to clear the air publicly before I feel right about writing for Jim again. Because in one day Jim went from heading up a team of bloggers that was pumping out new content daily, to it just being him left holding the bag alone. And he came under a lot of unfair criticism from our readers and some members of the WoW community when he made the decision to shut the blog down to readers as he tried to contact us and plead with us that we didn't know what we were doing.

Maybe in retrospect it wasn't the smartest thing to do because people saw a note that the blog was now "invite only," but people were making obscenely insensitive comments on the blog at a point where Fred's life was basically hanging in the balance and two other writers had just resigned and so he did what he thought was right.

Jim Surge is one of the most open-minded, funny, sincere people I've ever met and I apologize to him for not speaking with him personally when everything went down. I'm happy to put this chapter behind me, as it is something I'm far from proud of in my real life. Many of my fears, I've realized, were just misconceptions based on us not communicating.

Hopefully I've grown a bit since then.

Monday, September 28, 2009

What Part of "Maybe Later" Didn't You Understand?

Happens all the time. Some random whispers you asking if you'd like to go on a run or do this or do that with them. You, likely in the middle of something (especially if you are leveling a priest), are expected to drop everything and rush to help or else you're unkind, a loser, an asshole, or worse.

The honesty approach never works. Early in my WoW playing days a Guild Master kicked me from her guild for saying: "no, I'd rather finish up my quests. I don't have a lot of time on tonight," in response to her request for me to run her new rogue through Wailing Caverns. Maybe in that case I just had an immature GM. Fine.

But there's one type of player I still can't figure out. The one where they send you a tell, you respond, "Maybe later, I have to log for dinner in a few mins," and then as their response to your response they immediately try to group you. It boggles the mind. And instead of just /ignore the person, I usually try to get to the bottom of it, and ask them: "why did you just do that?" as I decline. "Did you read what I said?"

"Yeah, but you're still on," the reply will come, "it will only take a second."

"Yes, but I'm in the middle of something right now," I reply.

At this point, it either goes quiet, or the random reveals him/herself as an "ultra." An ultra what, I'm not sure. But it isn't cool. It isn't "ultra cool."

"Yeah, so was I," the ultra has said, "but I have some time to grp up if you still want."

Now he or she is trying to flip this back on me, as if grouping up in the first place was my idea. It's borderline sociopathic. I realize - far too late - that I've been caught in the vortex. Forget about the tractor beam, I'm already in the landing bay. I'm as easy a mark as a fat American in Liverpool.

"I never wanted, actually," I'll reply, "you did."

Depending on the level of obnoxia, a second group request might be incoming. Or it might be, "lol, k, I'll friend you and hit you up later."

It's amazing, really, that people are like that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Welcome Back Melissa & Pete Pete!

I'm very pleased to report that our friends Melissa Muromets and Peter Massimo have officially returned to the UWoW fold. So now we at least have one decent WoW player here (Pete) to lend some credibility, in addition to a complete noob (Mel) and a pathetic-for-having-played-for-two-years noob (me).

Hopefully Melissa will actually do some work on the graphic side of the blog this time around, rather than just saying she will and then never doing anything about it like in the past! And hopefully Pete Pete won't lose his cool the first time I tell him something he's written is a sack of crap!

Both Mel and Pete will begin reviewing podcasts again, probably as soon as next week. Melissa has already been added back to the blog as a contributor as you may notice, and Pete shall be by the end of the day today. Pete was supposed to be back a week or two ago, but he (understandably) wanted to avoid Brewfest podcasts at all costs so strung me along until now!

With a few notable exceptions, the WoW podcasting landscape seems to have completely changed from where we left off in the Spring, and we'll look to see if that's a good thing or a bad thing. The three of us have to update our master list as well as I haven't listened to a single podcast outside of Blue Plz! and Ctrl Alt WoW in months and don't even know many of the changes that have happened, or which podcasts have started to fade, halted completely, etc.. That will probably be a collaborative effort by all three of us.

The re-introduction of Melissa & Pete will not mean the re-introduction of "The Code." The Code was a bizarre set of communication rules I put in place which prohibited the members of the blog from speaking with each other in real life. The point of The Code was to keep each reviewer in a vacuum, where none of us with stronger opinions would be able to influence the other in terms of the sort of review they wrote.

While it may have been an interesting concept, it failed miserably in execution and led to a host of unintended consequences we really should have considered before even attempting it. Toothy, who will not be coming back to the blog, is still convinced I created the rule so that I wouldn't have to be seen in town speaking with them in person. And to a degree he is correct, although In my case it is more from a time-wasting point of view than an image point of view.

When the blog started we had just met each other, so things were always going to be a bit awkward. Rather than getting to know each other, I then decided to cut off communication. While everyone was enthusiasic at first, it became clear in the very first week that it was going to cause problems. But I stubbornly refused to change without giving it a solid try first. In all, the very code that was supposed to help bring us together and help keep our opinions fresh nearly killed the blog completely.

Also, we had like 19 bazillion different email addresses and contact points which was a mess for everyone. That's all gone. If you want to contact the blog, just shoot me an email at:, or follow us on Twitter:

So, here we are, ready to give it another go. A heartfelt thank you to the hundreds who continue to check the blog on a weekly basis, your support is much appreciated. Hopefully we'll continue to give you reasons to keep coming back.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Stir It In The Sauce

Some random quick hits today:

Shows just how out of the WoW podcast scene I've been lately, but did Renata leave World of Warcast? Our boy Hatfield sent me a surprising (to me, anyway) note saying Ren's Twitter bio begins: "Former cohost of World of Warcast..."

I tried poking around the website but didn't see anything official. Let me know if you have info on this!


Does WoW seem "more alive" to you now that you know that Cataclysm is coming? I know it isn't until next year but a few of my guildies have already started to get misty and are rolling up lowbies to run through Old World once or twice more before it changes.

"There's some new energy running through the old content now," said a guildie called Oatmeal. "Knowing that where you're walking or riding is going to be altered forever."

Semi-related, I have one toon on an RP server and all of the "clairvoyant" characters are standing on top of mailboxes shouting that 'a cataclyism is coming, listen now or you'll be lost!'



Pete Pete will probably be back and write his first piece for the blog next week, although he's absolutely infuriated that he's coming back the week of Brewfest! "Can't wait to listen to 20 Brewfest shows," he texted me last night.

That one did elicit an audible reaction from me, but it was a chuckle rather than genuine laughter.

Monday, September 14, 2009

How Now Brown Cow?

Hope the weekend was restful for you. It wasn't for me. A 1½ year old can do that to a fella!

It looks as though we'll see Melissa and Pete Pete back in the fold here relatively soon. Whether that means this week or next I'm not yet certain. Pete has already sent me a little something and if I get the okay from him I'll post it.

I got a note from someone asking about the next part of Hatfield's sci-fi story. I'm not sure if it was Hat himself since there wasn't much chatter about it here on the blog! It's all up to him if he wants to share more. You can hit him up on twitter at "thehatfield."

For some reason, Hat continues to refuse to write for this blog. I think he wants to go write for The Hunter's Mark, a very good blog/resource for hunters run by Lassirra.

For me... not much WoW for the weekend. Got the priest up to 64 and took a break over in Champions Online.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Hamsalad hit 60! He's been running into all sorts of trouble in Outland thus far, numerous mob zergs, etc.. Seems like just when I get down to one mob left I pull just one more... and then just one more... and then just one more... and then I'm dead. I financed his flying mount already it should be fun/quick to be able to fly for all of Outland.

I thought that I'd be too tempted to ditch the priest and just level the 70 pally since the faction change but I'm pleased to have stayed with the priest for now. I think I'm going to do as much of Outland as I can stand, then start Northrend with the pally

I've been forcing myself to get addicted to Pandora again. I think I made a mistake adding the Ventures as an influence to my main station because since then I've had a TON of surf music suggestions. Surprisingly, I think some of the modern stuff is actually pretty cool when it crosses into electronica, but that's just me.

Haven't been able to get into Champions Online for a day. I don't mean mentally either. The server on their site says up, but in my launcher it says down and doesn't connect me. If it's still that way tonight I'll have to open a ticket. Sigh.

Fall In

Some ongoing behind-the-scenes maneuvering may result in the return of Melissa Muromets and Peter "Pete Pete" Massimo to the UWoW blog as regular contributors.

If they do return they will resume duties as podcast reviewers which is doubly good news. The blog has suffered greatly without Melissa and Pete Pete's insights, and it will be great bringing back two of the original members of the team who really get the spirit of what I'm trying to accomplish here.

One of the biggest issues we've discussed in these talks is that there will be no silly non-communication rules between us this time. Who would have guessed that non-communication would lead to petty misunderstandings and off-based misjudgments? While it did serve its purpose well in terms of not influencing each others' writings in the early days, it was a practical nightmare for everything else from editing to deadline-meeting, etc..

So let's hope they do return and this blog gets back to being something much greater than the sum of its parts.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Faction Change Service - part 3

Easy peasy. Finalizing the transfer in-game took seconds.

Well done to Blizzard for having this function so smoothly.

Faction Change Service - part 2

Woke up this morning and the transaction has been confirmed. In my Account Management it read:

These faction changes have been successfully completed.
The characters are now available to play.

My old human pally Mikeadin is now going to go through a painful procedure that will lengthen his ears and make his body more supple. He will emerge on the other side as Thehatfield, to join up with Hatfield, Hamsalad, Oatmeal, and the whole Sons of Horus gang on Anvilmar.

There was a very slight problem last night... I forgot that Mikeadin was the GM of a guild called No Drama and you cannot faction-change if you are the guild's GM.

Funny story, Mikeadin wasn't the real GM of No Drama either. When I rolled my first horde toon and went 1-80 with him I left Mike in a thriving leveling guild that was about to start raiding. After I got the hunter to 80 I went back to check on Mike and all of the guildies were gone and he was the GM! So I quickly rolled another toon, transferred the guild leadership to keep the No Drama name going, and then had to log out and wait 20 minutes before I could start processing the faction change.

I'll post a quick follow-up in part 3 about actually making the switch. So far, so good.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Faction Change Service

Wow, that was fast. It seems like we were just getting confirmation that faction changes were actually going to happen, and now they've already arrived! I've immediately begun the process of switching my lvl 70 human paladin over to the horde side. We'll see how smoothly this goes.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Champions Online

Having some fun getting into an electricity character in Champions Online. Think I'm going to delete and start over because I haven't really been paying much attention to REC & END. Also have to get a better grip on gameplay mechanics/UI.

Tried a might character too late last night for a few minutes. Want to do a custom archetype tonight if time allows.

Not really finding a huge leap from CoH but I've not really logged any time at all yet so that's pretty unfair.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Hamsalad Turns 50!

Of the 41 toons called "Hamsalad" in the WoW universe that appear in the Armory, I have one. He is a blood elf priest and yesterday he turned level 50! It's been no picnic, and while Shadowform is cool, it really does limit your rotation to maddeningly boring levels. But that said, this actually feels like one of the bigger accomplishments I've had in the game in a while, bringing a priest up this high, and made me look back at my in game history, which isn't much (nor is it distinguished).

I have always been a step or two behind-the-times regarding WoW as evidenced by the fact that I didn't even start playing until the release of Burning Crusade. My first toon was a human paladin called Barallas (default generated name), which I brought up to 55 before deleting him with the idea of doing it all over again "properly" now that I had some basic knowledge of the game mechanics. So, leveled a new pally called Mikeadin up to the level cap of 70 (this was when I was afraid of giving my real name to WoW players, paranoid guy I was). Mikeadin still exists, after spending a solid year on a bender in Booty Bay I finally sent him back to Stormwind for some rehab this weekend.

Anyway, during the time I was leveling the second pally most good/hardcore/long-term players were burning out on Kara, and I learned I was on a Pacific time zone server, while I was in New Jersey on the east coast, so finding people with similar schedules was tough when I finally did hit 70. So to pass the boredom I decided to roll a horde toon, and I took the training wheels route with a beast master hunter.

I got the hunter to 70 a solid month after Wrath's release, and so was behind the 8-ball again in terms of getting to Northrend. My horde guild, Sons of Horus, had gone from being a regular raiding guild, to a barren third-tier social guild for leveling with the defection of some major players to other guilds, including one of the old GMs. Originally founded by ex-military members and loved for it's no bullshit/no begging mentality, it sort of devolved a bit as recruiting restrictions eased.

I leveled the hunter up to 80 and left Sons of Horus on good terms (left a few lowbie alts there since it was a good guild to level in) to join Rage of the Horde, which was an active raiding guild. Almost immediately after joining Rage a bunch of the best raiders left to found Bloodmoon. Being a new 80, and being two months behind everyone else, I was not among the best raiders.

I went back to Sons of Horus, which was picking up steam again under an involved new GM. We even picked up some alliances with Knights of Thorn and Gnomes for Breakfast and were raiding again. Things were going well, but an illness to the GM and disruptions to the schedule forced players eager to raid to defect to other, more active guilds. And that's when I turned to Hamsalad.

Having my hunter buy him some shoulders and a chest piece for extra xp has been wonderful. The new riding rules have also been fantastic for leveling, although when I hit level 40 I was surprised to fondly remember the feeling of getting a mount on my first toon at level 40, and what an accomplishment that was while at the same time I was plunking down gold for an epic chicken for the priest!

So with all these xp buffs and mounts available I'm certainly taking a much easier route than the priests that have come before me. I give them much respect now when I'm in Dalaran on my hunter. Overall this experience with the priest has been great thus far. It has even made me appreciate the dps my hunter did while leveling a lot more!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

My Day In WoW?

I've had a couple of requests to post exactly what my typical day in WoW is. I hate this sort of thing so I'll be as quick as possible. My main is a horde hunter. My guild has really slowed down in terms of raids & dungeon runs lately and this is what I do while twiddling my thumbs:

When I first start, I log in to my bank alt who is parked in Silvermoon City away from the Org madness. Check mailbox. Maybe do an auctioneer scan.

Log in to my main who is at the horde inn in Dalaran. Immediately check when Wintergrasp will run. Whenever WG is I'll drop everything and run it.

While I'm at the inn I pick up the daily cooking quest.

I go down to the fountain and get the daily fishing quest.

Next I fly to Argent Tournament. Get the Champion dailies and the two Blastbolt Brothers dailies. When 3.2 drops I will also add the Crusader dailies to this.

I find a group for Threat & Citadel and sometimes Taking the Battle to the Enemy. Finish Battle, and do Among the Champions back at the tourney grounds, then turn those four in.

Fly to Dun Niffelem for the Sons of Hodir dailies. I'm already exalted this is just a quick money grab. I also try to make sure I don't finish the dailies without at least 20 Relics of Ulduar to sell on the AH. The Blowing Hodir's Horn and Hot & Cold mobs are good for these.

From there I fly to Grom'arsh Crash-Site for one of the Blastbolt dailies. From there to Dalaran. Port down to do the other Blastbolt daily. Port back up, fly to tourney grounds, turn in Blastbolt dailies, hearth back to Dal.

Depending on the cooking & fishing dailies, they are either worked into that routine if I'm nearby (for instance, I'll do Jack Me Some Lumber while looking for Crystalsong Carrots) or done at the end. I always keep enough Rhino & Chilled Meat on my bank alt for the cooking quests that require it. Once that's done, send all salable mats to my bank alt and start leveling my lowbie priest until the next WG.

More on Money Making
I've also recently made two raids on the market on my server.

As I've mentioned, I have been making a lot of money on Rhino Meat, selling stacks of x4 with a 10g buyout and they go fast when Mustard Dogs is the cooking daily. The key to this play is to buy out a lot of Rhino Meat in the weeks leading up to your attack on the market. I mean a lot. Because after a few weeks of doing this you are going to inflate the cost of Rhino Meat on your server to the point where your stack of x4 for 10g seems fair or nearly a bargain. When peoples' AH scans suddenly tells them the meat is selling for 2.5g each, they get greedy and start putting up x20 stacks for 50-60g. This is why it's important to have a nice stash in reserve. This is a slow burn play, initially if you put up 5 or 10 x4 stacks you may only sell a couple. But even this will help gradually push the price up. And if someone is silly enough to undercut you with a x4 stack, buy it immediately. You'll just repost it for profit.

When I started, stacks of x20 were less than 10g each! I only bought out 100 ahead of time for this test, so the gross yield is only 250g. Considering I spent less than 50g on the 100, it is still over 200g clear profit in a matter of a couple of weeks. I should have bought much more. I'm letting it cool down now so I can try pushing the price up even more in the next round. It's really not a lot of work for a tremendous profit margin.

My other recent assault has been on Mammoth Cutters. I'm always buying them for my hunter, and I've noticed since summer hit there are never very many in the AH on my server (engineers must have plenty of dosh for holidays/vacations!). There have even been multiple days where there have been none for sale. So again I really started stocking up, buying every x1000 stack I saw in the AH. Then, when there was another lull with none posted, I threw a few up for 75g. They sold, because 80s using guns pretty much need them and I'd been buying all the inexpensive ones!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Square

I'm happy to report that our friend Stephen Edwards (aka Hatfield/thehatfield) has graciously allowed me to publish some of his short stories here on the UWOW blog. This is the opening story for a series called The Square, and it is a very stark and bizarre world. For you football supporters out there, Tor Ander Flo sure sounds a lot like Tore Andre Flo doesn't it? I love this and will continue to publish more as Hat directs. Hope you like it too.

by Stephen Edwards

"Judge Yakov Shur, please report to The Elevator."

"Judge Yakov. Thank you."

Everyone gathers around The Elevator. The doors open automatically and everyone claps wildly. The officer places his arms out across the opening as if he were going to hold the doors open. The officer is smiling. The officer is missing one button from his navy blue uniform but the badge is there. A soft, soothing female voice is again clearly heard by all through loudspeakers:

"Tor Ander Flo, please report to Simple Assignment."

"Tor Ander. Thank you."

Everyone gasps. Everyone gets into a line so they can shake Tor Ander Flo's hand on his way out. Someone pats Tor Ander Flo on the shoulder. Tor Ander Flo is a dark-haired of Norwegian ancestry. Many people shake Tor Ander Flo's hand. The officer looks back over his shoulder to watch the process. The officer steps away from The Elevator, taking two precise steps forward. The Elevator doors close and those still watching clap.

"Trem Carr, please report to The Square."

"Trem. Thank you."

Everyone shouts. Some stop shouting. Most of everyone pick up large, dirty grey banners. The rest of everyone watch Tor Ander Flo exit. Everyone with grey banners start to shout more loudly than before. Most of the grey banners have the image of Trem Carr's face on it. Everyone with grey banners thinks that The Square is like a Simple Assignment for Trem Carr. Trem Carr lights a cigarette. Everyone (especially those with grey banners) quiets down and waits in silence, and then claps when they see smoke. Trem Carr is a crowd favorite. Trem Carr looks like a tough man with thick, squarish features. Trem Carr descends into The Square and everyone again shouts and ferociously waves their grey banners or their clenched fists.

"Lucien D'Bouchard, please report to The Square."

"Lucien. Thank you."

The heads of everyone drop. Everyone with grey banners thinks terrible things. Lucien D'Bouchard thinks his assignment is unfair but he says nothing. The officer smiles and readies his equipment. Lucien D'Bouchard looks old and tired. Lucien D'Bouchard's long grey hair brushes against some members of the crowd like in days past. Lucien D'Bouchard descends into The Square and everyone with grey banners screams and hurls insults. Despite his longevity, Lucien D'Bouchard is not a crowd favorite.

The Elevator doors open and everyone claps. The officer claps ferociously. Judge Yakov Shur steps out of The Elevator. Trem Carr and Lucien D'Bouchard continue to descend into The Square. Judge Yakov Shur presses the Button of Conquest. The red light flashes.

"Presentation of the prisoners."

The officer leads two sets of prisoners into The Square. The officer looks very proud of himself. Everyone with grey banners goes mad with delight.

"Trem Carr has prisoners totaling 494."

"60 of Trem Car's prisoners are women."

Everyone with grey banners continue in their madness.

"Lucien D'Bouchard has prisoners totaling 712."

"109 of Lucien D'Bouchard's prisoners are women."

Everyone calms down and gives Lucien D'Bouchard respectful applause. Judge Yakov Shur scans the barcode for Trem Carr and asks him to extinguish his cigarette. Trem Carr extinguishes his cigarette immediately. Judge Yakov Shur scans the barcode for Lucien D'Bouchard and clasps his forearm. Judge Yakov Shur nods and releases Lucien D'Bouchard's forearm. Judge Yakov Shur nods again, this time at both men. Trem Carr and Lucien D'Bouchard nod. Judge Yakov Shur presses the Button of Conquest. The red light flashes.


Total silence from everyone as they move to their seats. Trem Carr makes the first move. It is not a good move. Judge Yakov Shur makes a note of Trem Carr's poor move. Lucien D'Bouchard executes a Passas-a-Move but stumbles at the end and does not strike Trem Carr. Judge Yakov Shur makes a note of Lucien D'Bouchard's stumble. The red light flashes. Judge Yakov Shur awards Lucien D'Bouchard one of Trem Carr's prisoners. The prisoner is not a woman. Everyone begins to speak about the match. Lucien D'Bouchard is required to remain in his post-stumble position. Judge Yakov Shur presses the Button of Conquest. The red light flashes."

"Second Round."

Everyone again falls silent. Trem Carr requests a Concentration. Judge Yakov Shur awards Trem Carr a Concentration. Trem Carr executes a Savka-a-Move and strikes the prone post-stumble Lucien D'Bouchard cleanly. Lucien D'Bouchard acknowledges the hit with a scream. Judge Yakov Shur makes a note of Trem Carr's excellent move. Lucien D'Bouchard stands shakily but then executes a YAKOV-A-MOVE! Judge Yakov Shur is doubly pleased. Trem Carr is hit and acknowledges the hit with a scream. Judge Yakov Shur makes a note of the hit. The red light flashes.

A video screen drops down into the Square. The image of Judge Yakov Shur executing the first Yakov-a-Move is displayed. Images of Judge Passas Oliveriers and Judge Savka Ivanovich are displayed. Everyone starts to thunder.

"Lucien D'Bouchard is declared winner."

"Lucien D' Bouchard is awarded 217 of Trem Carr's prisoners."

"11 of the awarded prisoners are women."

"276 of Trem Carr's prisoners remain."

"49 of the remaining prisoners are women."

Trem Carr promptly releases his remaining prisoners.

"Lucien D'Bouchard is awarded Judge status."

"Judge Lucien D'Bouchard shall be immortalized with the Lucien-a-Move."

Everyone is thundering by now and out of their seats. Those with grey banners have lost them. Trem Carr bows to Judge Lucien D'Bouchard. Everyone lets out a great roar. Tears begin to run down Trem Carr's face. Judge Lucien D'Bouchard has no tears as he grabs Trem Carr's shoulders. Trem Carr closes his eyes and he and Judge Lucien D'Bouchard share a moment.

Judge Yakov Shur interrupts, awarding Judge Lucien D'Bouchard the Judge's Vestments. Trem Carr is led away from The Square by the officer and is brought to the Stone of Directions. Everyone gathers around Trem Carr and ridicules him. Trem Carr circles the Stone of Directons and faithfully continues the Tradition of Weeping. Trem Carr faithfully chooses South, and the officer begins to beat him with an ordinary wooden staff.

Judge Lucien D'Bouchard observes the process dry-faced. Judge Lucien D'Bouchard and Judge Yakov Shur enter The Elevator. There is no clapping.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

All you crazy Canadians should have a good one!

This morning's NY Times features a charming collection of short pieces by expat Canadians living in the U.S. that I highly recommend.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Trade Chat's Anal Tribute to Michael Jackson

I really, really have to start remembering to take screen captures when things like this start to go down. Every once in a while on the trade chat, someone will ask for an anal tribute. Then everyone types "anal" and then links something that is relatively funny in that context. My contribution, for example, was "anal [Rhino Meat]."

Last night someone called for an anal tribute to honor Michael Jackson. I was literally laughing my ass off for the first time in a good long while. I can't tell you any of the others because I was blasted out of my skull again on my allergy medicine but lots of people like to link staves or pets. Now that I type that, I wonder if that's why it was so funny.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

World of Podland Podcast

I'm trying to get some folks together for a satiric/comedy WoW show that would resemble the Colbert Report and spoof other WoW podcasts. Have loose outlines together already for the first two shows. I plan to have them very lightly scripted, basically just personality traits I wish displayed and topics that should be covered, but will mostly just be improv. Should be a tremendous amount of fun.

Please shoot me a note if you have any interest in such a project:

EDIT: I received a couple of questions asking so thought I'd clarify: there's no need for your real life identity to ever become known on the podcast (unless you wish to do so, of course). The "hosts" and "guests" will all be "characters."

Friday, June 19, 2009

Money Making Tips

Spend an hour farming Rhino Meat in Sholazar Basin, then hang onto the meat until Mustard Dogs is the cooking daily. Once Mustard Dogs is up, sell stacks of Rhino Meat x4. Depending on the server, I've been making between 10g-25g for the x4 stacks.

These are just straight resells on the AH from a vendor purchase:

Eternium Thread continues to be a fantastic long-term moneymaker for me.

Symbol of Kings are also getting a nice markup.

Has TB Left WoW Behind?

In a few tweets yesterday TB mentioned that he had well and truly canceled his WoW subscription! I'm not 100% sure if that is for real but knowing TB it probably is! This has sort of been a recurring theme with him lately, his boredom with the game, and should make today's Blue Plz! required listening for everyone out there in WoW podcast land. Expect a major diatribe about the absurd 3.2 changes which continue to make a joke of the honest efforts of many legitimate players and hardworking guilds.

Haven't been listening to too many podcasts this week. Have stopped listening to WoW Insider and How I WoW completely, the former because I was basically a BRK mark and things just haven't been the same since his exile, and the latter because there's just too much ass-kissing of techno people that I could give a rats ass about. I used to really like How I WoW for some of the psychological areas it got into, it's just not my cup of tea anymore since it seems to have veered too far to the pretentious.

Have basically given up on All Things Azeroth as well, and that's more because they cover topics that everyone covers and are a little less interesting (to me anyway) while doing it. They're basically doing a lite version of WoW Insider or The Instance, and that's not for me. They do have a nice, dedicated listenership though and I must admit it is funny from time to time but in terms of where I'm at as a WoW player and what info I need to improve as a player I can't get it from ATA, I need more theorycraft.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Funny to Me

I'm always fascinated with bizarre things in World of Warcraft. Maybe fascinated is the wrong word. I find certain mundane aspects of WoW, just like real life, hysterically funny. And while I know that it is probably only funny to me or drunks who laugh at anything, I seize upon some tiny aspect of the game, and just kill the "joke" into the ground.

For example, I ask trade chat on my server "what on earth do oozes spend gold on?" about once every three months to see if the responses change. And I phrase it just like that because I know, I KNOW, someone will reply "don't you mean Azeroth?" It's an eerie conditioned response, along with the "lol" that always follows from someone else:

Me: What on earth do oozes spend gold on?
Smart Guy #1: don't u mean Azeroth?
Moron #1: lol

I doubt Moron #1 is really laughing out loud. A lot of people are like this in the gaming world and online in general. They will type "lol" or "lmao" when they are just "ma," which is mildly amused. I personally use "ma" or "nt" (nice try) unless I am actually laughing because I don't like to misrepresent myself. If one of these psychos starts to think I think they are funny they might be encouraged to continue the "humour" to me in a series of whispers that earns them ignore status. And I'd rather not have to do that if possible. Really, I'm a people person at heart.

Well, this past weekend I asked the question again. And some of the responses actually did make me laugh out loud, especially the first response, which was not (for once) the classic "don't u mean Azeroth" Pavlovian response, the first response was "cigarettes."

Now, just the thought of a green ooze oozing his way up to a newspaper stand or convenience store for a pack of smokes and having the merchant put his hand into the ooze's body to get the money that is just free-floating there in the gelatinous mess makes me laugh. Nevermind picturing the ooze with a cigarette in its mouth having a moment of quiet contemplation near whatever swamp or ruins it is inhabiting, perhaps reflecting on a life they thought would turn out differently. Perhaps working up the courage to ask the boss ooze for the afternoon off because it is his birthday after all and some free time would really help him come back refreshed for more terrorizing of adventurers.

Well, that fantastic "cigarettes" reply was quickly followed by the brilliant barb "your mother." For some reason I imagine the person who typed that was either an over-compensating American from the east coast/New England area, or a chav from Liverpool or Bulwell. I can't fault them. In my younger days I might type the same thing. The "your mother" response was followed by a few obligatory "lol"'s, but again I seriously doubt the heartiness of the laughter.

Past that a few gems:

your cousin
board games
chewing gum
concert tickets
organic milk

I like "your cousin" especially well because of those insufferable bullshit artists known as "one-uppers." You know the type... you say you leveled your toon 1-80 in 8 days of game time, someone will instantly reply that their cousin did it in 5 days flat. You finally PUG your first Warsong Gulch victory after 50 tries and they comment that their cousin wins that battleground every time, topping the damage AND healing charts along the way. You grind away at dailies to outfit your new 80 with some BoE purples and their cousin got the world first for completing Ulduar (on the PTR, of course).

Unrelated but nevertheless disturbing is Applebough, the fruit vendor in Dalaran who happens to be a tree. That he sells "fresh apple juice" is pretty disgusting. The thought of him selling his own fruit crosses a moral line for me. Not quite into the category of selling one's children, but darn close. That said though, if I were Applebough and had already crossed the line I wouldn't stop with just juice or apples. Why not sell pie crusts, apple seeds, apple cider & apple cider donuts, apple cobbler, etc. and expand the profile? Become known as "the apple guy." Might bring in some more customers.

Any strange in-game happenings that strike you as funny? Let me know!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Playing at the WoW

I've been beating my head against the wall doing the Argent Tournament and picked up the Staff of Feral Furies for my hunter, replacing an even more embarrassing polearm which had spell power on it. Still need a true hunter weapon of course but it's certainly an upgrade for now. Only need to do this for a few more days for the 150 seals needed for the Argent Hippogryph, have already picked up Crusader title (and Ambassador, hardly had any Sen'jin rep prior to this daily grind).

Ran Obsidian Sanctum with one drake last night, and our guild isn't geared for it. Our guild also isn't geared for morons standing in the lava wall with no drakes, of which I was one. This was only the second time I've run OS on the hunter, and did much better the first time. Anyone have a link to a decent OS youtube? Preferably one with instruction and not lame techno-pop?

I've got a priest/rogue combo I'm still working on. The RAF bonus is gone and I still need to do tons of runs to get them a couple of pieces of heirloom gear. They're only around the level 28 range, pathetic waste of money that was. Also have a 21 pally I'm just going to park until the patch comes for the mount.

Mount changes. Man... I remember those days of running until level 40. Sucked but was such a great accomplishment when you finally got that mount. Just like the horror of having to do Strat to get the Pally epic mount. When it was all over you'd just go for a ride to wherever because hey, you could! I sort of see this move as a way to appease the crowd that wants to start all alt toons at lvl 55 as long as you have one lvl 80. Should make it a lot easier to level alts... especially since you'll basically be able to fly through Outland.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Completely Unscientific Poll

Did a "quick" Twitter poll, and 9 of the 44 UWoW followers actually responded. They were probably like: UWoW? What's that again?

The question was, if you had to name one, what is your favorite WoW podcast at the moment?

Not surprisingly, Blue Plz! topped the list. I say not surprisingly because TB has been very supportive of this blog on his show and I imagine that many of his listeners enjoy the honest, beholden-to-no-one opinions offered here. Here's the tally:

Blue Plz! 4
rawrcast 1
Ctrl Alt Wow 1
The Instance 1
All Things Azeroth 1
Bind on Equip 1

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Warming to the Occassion

Starting to get back into the blog a little bit now that the dust has settled.

For those of you who have asked Fred is doing well. He's moved down to Reddington Beach in Tampa, Florida where the climate and other medical factors are better suited for his particular health condition. He says you can still contact him directly at, just remember the replies from him might go into your spam folder! I'm actually going to set up a gmail account for myself today to avoid this auto-filter nonsense.

Toothy has come in off the ledge since Nottingham Forest somehow survived the drop in the English Championship. He's still Doogie Howser'ing his way through university and does not extend best wishes to anyone. Haven't heard a thing from Pete Pete, and I suspect I may never again. Mel has been around, she is apparently STILL working on a new logo, one that will remove the words "World of Warcraft" while retaining the "UWoW" brand. I'll likely be removing the words "World of Warcraft" from the blog, and just calling the place UWoW, since it is a resource for you... the podcast-going WoW-lovers. We may still see infrequent pieces from these folks in the future, but they are no longer formally associated with the blog.

Wanted to post a note I received a few weeks ago from our friends over at The Grind Podcast, which was one of my favorite WoW-related shows:

Unfortunately, The Grind Podcast will be no more. The logistics of producing and releasing a quality show each week proved to be daunting. Steve Hamner and myself, David Sanna, have made the decision that although the Grind must end, we would like to continue. The final two episodes of The Grind podcast will be hosted at a new feed on Itunes. Our new show, Inside Azeroth, will begin recording in less than two weeks.

You can find us at:

Thanks again for your blog. It's a must read for any WoW podcaster.


David Sanna

It's a shame because I really thought The Grind was getting into a good groove and it really grew on me quickly. But from these ashes comes a new show and I hope everyone will check that out too. I haven't given a listen yet but will report back when I do. The last Grind, #48, was posted on May 10.

Some interesting other news going on lately. I thought the Blue Plz! special 4th anniversary show from May 22 was the best WoW-related anniversary show I've heard. It was a flat-out party and that's what made it EPIC for me. Great stuff, good reflections by other WoW Radio folks, just well done.

I was disappointed that I missed this past weekend's live rawrcast broadcast, on which TB was a guest, so can't wait to give that one a listen. I have to hand it to Stompalina, she seems, along with the Bind on Equip and Ctrl Alt WoW folks right now, to really be making an effort to reach out to and collaborate with other podcasts and other broadcasters on a regular basis.

More to come... in the FUTURE!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Live(ish) (Sorta)Chat!

I've jumped on the AIM & the Skype for the time being:

AIM: jimsurge74

Skype: jim.surge

Although I must warn you, I sound like I am in the space shuttle on Skype ATM.

Have to get a better headset. Any recommendations?

Thursday, May 28, 2009


(NOTE: This is a work in progress...)

There have been plenty of World of Warcraft podcasts in the past who have been more like self-therapy: trying to rationalize and/or justify the days upon days that they've spent playing WoW. The often whiny, self-important host will tell you over and over that just because they have no real-life friends or interests or just because they never get any enjoyment doing things that normal people do doesn't mean they are abnormal. No, in fact, some will tell you it's the other way around! It's "fairer" in World of Warcraft because of some mechanism or other (in WoW we can just ignore, or /gkick, or we vote on everything, blah blah blah).

The host will tell you, passionately so, that they've met people they never would have dreamed of meeting through the magic of guild chat. "I talked to a Chinese," one giddy host proclaimed. "Where am I going to find a Chinese here in Alabama?" Or they will tell a 10-minute long story about the inside jokes they share with their "friends" over vent. "Every time I come on vent, deathstabberkill will always say 'hi love' which I think is so hysterical coming from someone with a name like 'deathstabberkill!' But in real life if his name is just 'Frank' then it could kind of be creepy for him to say that."

If this hasen't revolted you enough, the hogwash is ratcheted up to the next level when the self-important host starts calling World of Warcraft "The World of Warcraft." If they're not joking when they use that, it should be a clear indication that you should no longer listen.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Poor Sales of Arthas

Thought you'd be interested to know how Arthas is selling in the United States. A couple of readers of the blog who happen to work in publishing have access to the Nielsen BookScan numbers and emailed me some interesting information.

Nielsen BookScan has reporting of actual "cash register" sales of most of the majors, independents, and other retail outlets in the U.S. where books are sold (B&N, Borders, Amazon, Books-A-Million, Follett, etc., even to places like Target and Starbucks, just about everything there is I think except for Wal-Mart). While they've asked me not to post actual numbers, I can say the sales (as reported by retailers and other outlets) have been relatively poor and are not even close to exceeding 20,000 copies sold. This doesn't mean the publisher hasn't advanced/sold many thousands more copies of the book to its customers; it means people aren't buying it even though it's out there in number. At this rate they said the book may well end up as a bargain "remainder," which apparently is what they call books that have been severely overprinted. These books, I've been told, usually end up in stacks in a bargain section with drastically reduced prices.

The consensus I'm hearing is that the book has obviously been typeset to hit 300 pages in order to justify a $25 pricepoint, when the book, especially with the inexpensive/poor-quality paper stock used, should only be about 180-200 pages and $17.95 or so.

Some more odd facts - the book has sold the most copies in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, with Miami, FL second, Columbus, OH, and Richmond, VA rounding out the top four before the largest market NYC finally comes in fifth.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Hatfield vs. McCoy

My good friend Hatfield, a level 80 Blood Elf hunter and all-around good-natured guy who plays on Anvilmar with the guild [Sons of Horus], recently admitted that he did all of the Noblegarden events and is now "the Noble." For Hat, being called "the Noble" outweighed the indignity of gaining such a worthy-sounding title through a series of egg gathering, chocolate eating, and bunny rabit themed achievements.

He and I had sort of had an unofficial running bet to see who would be the first to cave and get a world event title, and I suppose I win! The main prize is that Hat has to come over and bake me a ham. The side prize is that I get to tourture him with a Fishing With John marathon! The only problem is that, as usual, I will likely not answer his emails, texts or phone messages and will probably never collect my winnings.

More on this important news as it develops. I'm hoping for a nice honey glaze!

Monday, April 27, 2009

World of Warcraft

I haven't been playing too much World of Warcraft lately, and I'm not one of those psychos that listens to WoW podcasts when not playing WoW so I have no idea what's been going on in podcast land. I'm pretty sure I'm relieved that I missed the bulk of repetitive garbage that usually comes out of peoples' mouths around patch time.

The whole point of listening to the shows for me is to learn something new. There's a certain point that I reach on certain shows - like then it's the 10th show I've heard that week read off a list of patch change notes - when I start to wonder why it is that the host(s) is/are doing a podcast and that is never a good sign. And it's been happening a lot more lately than it did before. So I feel like I'm in a bit of an unfair place to review shows right now because they will universally be negative.

More about me, it's already the end of April and I only have a month and a half on my refer-a-friend bonus. I haven't really done a thing with it. The priest I was intending to speed level is still sitting at level 25. My wacky paladin/rogue combo imploded when the paladin refused to continue working with the rogue. My second Oracle egg hatches and it was the snake pet for the second week in a row! Made a quick 50g on that, etc.. I have been becomming FLITHY RICH by marking up Eternium Thread 2000%. They are available from a vendor in Icecrown for about 2-3g and are selling on my server for 40-50g each. I recently sold a stack of 10 for 400g.

See how annoying that is? It happens all the time in podcasts to the point where if I'm not hearing some completely unrelated and unimportant personal gaming information meant to posture themselves as WoW badasses or funny or whatever their inane point is I feel like something is missing from the show. How messed up is that?

That's why I'm saying, I need to set some actual parameters about what makes a good podcast and what doesn't. UWoW, for all of our codes and strange inner workings was still a more "gut instinct" place than I wanted it to be. That was one of the biggest problems we had when the five of us first started. What if four of us loved a show but the one who happned to be reviewing it hated it for whatever reason?

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sweeping Up

I'm sweeping the place up a bit.

Don't know if everything will be deleted. I'm sort of going to feel my way around a bit and possibly get things going again.

Pete Pete, Toothy, Melissa, and Fred are all doing well and express their thanks to everyone who has supported them here but they cannot commit to continuing as regular contributors. We will still see special "op-eds" from them but they will be pretty infrequent.

We're still getting hundreds of hits on the site every day, even in these weeks since we switched to "private" readership and I thank you for that I guess. It's also creepy.

Thanks again. I haven't been online much at all and apologize to those whom I have meant to contact. Also, remember to check your spam folder, right near the penis enlargement emails might be a reply from me! Thanks!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Trouble Ahead, Trouble Behind...

Pete, Melissa, Toothy and I have been shocked to learn that Fred went into the hospital Monday evening and is being subjected to a battery of different health tests. While Fred is remaining positive, by his account the outlook seems grim. Please keep him in your thoughts.

As you might imagine this isn't really the time for us to carry on about World of Warcraft podcasts. I for one didn't even want to post this but Toothy says everyone will accuse us of "blog fade" otherwise and Fred said it was okay.

If our week off taught us anything last week it's that the blog in general and our editing/posting processes in particular need a bit of fine-tuning and maybe we'll have the opportunity to address those concerns at this time.

Fred has asked not to be contacted but thanks you in advance for the well wishes. In case anyone feels the need I can be reached by email: Skype: jim.surge or AIM: jimsurge74

Thank you for your understanding during this time.

Monday, April 6, 2009

In the Chamber: Back in Black

I love when it's overcast outside as it is this morning in the northeast of the United States. Maybe it's because most other people have brainwashed themselves into having low energy or sad moods that I (bring contrary) have brainwashed myself into loving this sort of weather. Or maybe it seems more possible that during this sort of weather the veil between worlds is thin and one can see what one doesn't always see... a gateway to transcendental knowledge.

This being "Opening Day" for the Major League Baseball season based in the United States I think it's mildly appropriate that the weather is not fully cooperating with "America's pastime" given the steroids scandals that has brought the integrity of the league's last 15-20 years into question. But hey, who cares about sports, right?

Despite rumors to the contrary I have not left the blog. Everything is going to continue rolling as it was, probably for another three-to-five weeks before our next break. I think we all enjoyed having the week off last week to recharge our batteries and I for one barely listened to any World of Warcraft podcasts. I think it was Blue Plz! and Proudmore Pansies and that was it for me. We've received a couple of tips about new shows that we're going to cover and Melissa should be posting about them sometime soon. Also, Pete may actually do his Transcribing Master column (or whatever it's called these days) this week.

More to come... see you at the matches!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Widespread Panic

In honor of getting tickets for the August 21 Widespread Panic/Allman Brothers show this morning, here's Down:

Also, contrary to the apparently popular belief (and I don't know where recent emailers could possibly have heard anything about this), I have not sold the blog to News Corporation, nor are we entering into any sort of agreement with the FX family of networks. No one has fired anyone at the blog, and it is not true that I will be going alone to News Corporation and leaving the other four behind in the dust. It's just not true.

Reviewing the Reviewers: All Fools Day Edition

Well, the blog has been coming along nicely and we've arrived at our first week off. We've come into this treating this blog like a job (a job that we happen to like to do) and I think like Jim that if we keep this mindset we'll be able to avoid the burnout and other general craziness that seems to be going around the WoW community lately.

Anyway, what better day to review the clowns writing for this insane blog than All Fools Day? Since I've only ever done one other Reviewing the Reviewers column, and that was before any of us had written anything about podcasts, you might want to take a look at that one before reading this one to see what my initial impressions were and how they've differed in reality.

Jim Surge: Jim has been far too busy trying to play diplomat to do much reviewing, never mind getting anywhere close to saying something outrageous for the sake of being outrageous as I initially suspected him capable of. He's been playing games with the rest of us by inserting errors into our stories and seeing if we notice before we post them which led to a drama-fest culminating with Pete Pete having to face the blog a while back. Jim's also been the most diligent, In the Chamber has been right there every day even while he was knocked out sick for a week, and I think he's toned down his pseudo-intellectual persona and let more of his actual personality come through in the last couple of weeks. This immediately leaps to mind:

We might just have a couple of us reviewing and a couple doing the other columns, we haven't decided yet. But more importantly, if an asteroid hit the planet we'd just have to deal with it at that time. No excuses.

Okaaaaaay. Even though it's weird I kind of like it... it's the real Jim trying to break through. Overall I think Jim's done a good job leading the blog, even if he might be too obsessed with walking the "fairness" line. His favorite podcasts at the moment are: Ctrl Atl WoW, Proudmoore Pansies, and How I WoW.

Pete Pete: Peter has surprisingly turned out to be the softest touch on the team thus far, and maybe that's not all that surprising if you consider he grew up on the beach in California but he seems much more uptight in person. His Transcribing Master column hasn't really gotten off the ground yet. He gave a good review to a BigRedKitty podcast, an encouraging review of the WoW Insider Show, and a poor-but-looking-for-the-bright-spots sort of piece on Yet Another World of Warcraft Podcast, and memorably had a review rejected for being "too positive." He hasn't really demonstrated his conspiracy-theory madness that we thought would be an interesting aspect of the blog. I'd say that if one member were in danger of being dropped from the team it would be Peter Massimo. Pete gets all of his info from our friend Hatfield anyway so if he's not going to be doing his original pieces then he's got to figure out something else of value to contribute. We all like Pete but he hasn't been very helpful and Fred wanted him off the blog already for his Code violations (sorry Pete, but I told you this in person yesterday so it shouldn't be a surprise). Pete says his favorite show remains WoW Things Considered although he's been listening a lot to All Things Azeroth, Epic Dolls and Rawrcast.

Fred Jones: Fred liked an episode of Blue Plz!, and disliked an episode of The Instance. He has pretty much lived up to my suspicion that he's a bit afraid to be around us or contribute much to the site in case his "serious friends" catch wind of what he's up to here. Fred hasn't really been as much of a wildcard as I thought but he is a little more prone to salty or "old school" language and ideas in his posts than the rest of us (I may well be reading too much into that but that's the feeling I get). I do know for a fact that he's been playing the least amount of WoW of the five of us and therefore it's hard for him to get into listening to the podcasts regularly. So I think Fred is primarily going to do his Delayed Recall column and become more of a feature of the blog than a regular contributor going forward. Fred is the one among us who really doesn't have strong attachments to any one particular show, although he still likes newer shows and he says he too has been listening to Rawrcast, along with Bind on Equip and The Elitists.

Toothy: Mr. Toothy as an emailer called him has probably been the most outspoken reviewer at UWoW thus far. He couldn't make it past 45 minutes of World of Warcast, he liked Rawrcast even though he didn't want to, and he put a mixed but "solid" stamp on Casually Hardcore, in addition to having a decent time with Mailbag (and thanks for defending me against that emailer, Toothy). I think that Mailbag will continue to grow as a funnier aspect of the blog because if the current sort of questions remain the sort of questions we receive the piece can only be funny. Jim has taken Toothy to task on the blog recently for being a slacker, saying we've only received 10 emails in the last six weeks so he should be making other contributions. We shall see... Mr. Toothy's favorite shows at the moment are: Ctrl Alt WoW (still), and Blue Plz!

Mel: I'm writing my own this time because we're all on vacation and it seems to me that no one is checking their messages very often. I have been doing a lot of behind the scenes work, but I did have the chance to do a fantastic 7 Questions with Aprillian of Ctrl Alt WoW and also gave a positive review to Epic Dolls. I'm still a new player to the game so I like to hear WoW Insider Show so that I'm pretty much up on all of the latest official word from Blizzard and The Instance for a little more perspective on some of the top issues. I think Epic Dolls lately have done a great job in particular to keep in mind new-to-the-game players, and I think it's easy to forget that not all 11 million (or whatever it is now) players have been there since November 23, 2004. I don't think my "on-blog" presence has been very "dramatic" but again I'm doing a lot of work on the graphic side of the blog, improvements that will start to seep in over the next few weeks and months.

Well, that's the five of us right now as I see it.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Gone Fishin'

UWoW will be on holiday the week of March 30. This is a scheduled break, no sudden "unforseen circumstances" to take care of or whathaveyou. We shall be resuming our normal posting duties next Monday.

I do assume though that the blog shall still be rife with activity on All Fool's Day, so please check back on April 1.

The blog may be down periodically this week for brief intervals as we try some new templates.

Fred never posted his strange story this past weekend; I'll see what's going on with him but that will be up this week in our first "Lost in Space" post.

Towards the end of the week I'll post a "Greater Good" letting you know of the developments (we're allowing ourselves to speak with each other this week so we can fine-tune and set a more uniform tone to our posts).

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check back this week for more excitement.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In the Chamber: BoE & BP!

Two for your pleasure today:

Bind on Equip Episode 18 [explicit]

This past Tuesday Assault version of Blue Plz! is also now available over at WoW Radio for now while they get their archive sorted. I hear there's a classic rant on the unfairness of Blizzard requiring ad-on creators to remove an in-game donate button from all mods that culminates in his own take on the classic Martin Niemöller poem "First they came...."

Bind on Equip should be fun... I think I was listening to Epic Dolls yesterday and they said something that made me laugh... that Bind on Equip was a cute name for a podcast. And I think they were being serious. I'm pretty sure it was that show, one never knows really lately it seems a lot of the shows are blending together in my scrambled brain. But before I get caught in a cute vortex here and say something like "I thought it was cute that they thought it was cute," it was kind of cute that they thought it was cute. Sorry, haven't had any coffee yet.

By the way, Epic Dolls included a thoughtful discussion on this latest episode about being a good guildie and being a good guild leader. While what they cover might seem like common sense to most seasoned players in established, well-run guilds I think their discussion can probably be a great resource for new players or new GMs and officers regardless. Oftentimes it's the simplist things that people are or aren't doing that could avoid lots of drama so give them a listen and see what you think for yourself.

About the blog today, Pete Pete will finally get something up today... he's got a Quick Hit coming on Starting World of Warcraft that is done and approved but he's paranoid about me inserting errors into it so he's proofreading. :-) Toothy's been making a couple of slight changes to things he's previously written and I think there's more of that today from him. He also has one interesting email from someone wanting to revive the Alliance guild No Drama on Anvilmar-US, apparently our emailer is the last remaining member of the guild. It's really strange that of all of the emails we've received no one really comments on podcasts. They seem more interested in us personally, or interested in telling us about themselves!

Finally our resident blog hippie chick Melissa has uncovered a couple of new shows too and may have a "New on the Radar" or somesuch post ready for us today or tomorrow. I think the blog has had a little more bite this week which is encouraging and from what I've seen of this Mel isn't doing a fluff piece here.

FYI - the blog may be down for approximately 10 minutes later today as part of a rescheduled Blogger maintenance.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In the Chamber: The Cheese Stands Alone

Nothing today, not one. According to the WoW Radio site the latest Essence of RP should probably be out sometime tomorrow. There was also a live Blue Plz! yesterday and the archive of the show should be up by Friday, which coincidentally is the date of the next Blue Plz! I was late getting to the show in my allergy-medicine haze so hopefully I can take in the full show on Friday.

I received a couple of notes yesterday that I'm "taking over the blog" again this week. Partly true, partly not. I have been the only one posting, but not the only one writing.

I rejected Pete Pete's Quick Hit of All Things Azeroth yesterday for being too positive. I gave their latest episode a listen and not only does co-host Graece get into some weird territory when she gets angry with the Chinese government for "being sticks in the mud" about the release of Wrath in China, which is one of the most absurd and unsubstantiated things I've heard regarding the topic, Medros doesn't challenge her on it and instead lets her dangle out there on her own. Med probably has to walk a fine line since his show has sponsors but really, what was that all about? So I rejected Pete's flowery review because yeah, Graece, China has nothing better to do than fuck with Blizzard. You know what else? I heard China is now under consideration for a supporting role as a high school football star bully in the next Adam Sandler film. That China just has all the luck, doesn't it? Melissa is going to review the next ATA for us now and Pete's moving on to Starting WoW.

I also rejected a poorly written, rambling piece by Fred on Monday which covered nothing in particular. Fred has sort of been lagging lately to be honest and Pete has accused him of resting on his laurels since he was mentioned by Totalbiscuit on Blue Plz! a few weeks ago. To be fair, even though he's retired he's a tireless researcher and has lots of academic commitments in the community so UWoW isn't exactly his highest priority. But he could at least make sense when he does contribute. His piece was sort of like a combination of William Burroughs, E.E. Cummings, and Samuel Beckett. I'm all for experimenting but at least try to stay on topic. Maybe that will be a good candidate to post this weekend when we go "off topic."

All for now... hopefully someone other than me will get something up today!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

WoW Radio Update

We all seem to be dealing with growing pains these days and it's no different over at WoW Radio. The archiving system of their new website is suffering from an error which prevents podcasts from going out on their RSS feeds. This is already in the process of being resolved and they hope to have normal service resumed as soon as possible.

In the meantime, you can find links to their latest shows on the individual show forums and right in the latest post on their main site. We'll do our best to let you know when a new show has been posted as well.

In the Chamber: The Code Strikes Again

I'm glad so many of you are following us from the beginning and experiencing our growing pains along with us. Imagine a year from now when we're on some stylish website and some noob starts complaining about our site and you can say "STFU noob, I've been reading since they were on their crap Blogspot site... they're about one thing and one thing only - the writing!" Of course by then we'll have completely sold out and every post will be littered with images and interactives and we'll have reached non-aggression pacts with all of the podcasts we review so that we can have them as guests on our own podcast and we'll be no different from WoW Insider, for example.

One can dream, can't one?

Sure, some aspects of The Code may not be conducive to running a blog and getting articles posted on time or even forming decent friendships (namely, the part about not being able to speak with each other on the phone or in person until the weekend), but one man gathers what another man spills and we'll just turn those old reviews that never got posted for one reason or another into a brand new column called "Lost in Space" or something fun like that and post them months down the road when they are completely outdated and out of context. Should be fun, yes? Especially if the show no longer exists that would really be nice.

I've written a little bit before about this being a living blog and how posts and columns may change as time goes on and writers gain new perspective. Not edits, mind. I mean the entire nature of the article might change. Some of that revision is happening this week. Pete and Toothy have confirmed they are making slight changes to some pieces. We've thrown around the idea of holding a contest to see if someone can tell us what changes were made to which posts but are going to hold off on that right now until we get a consensus.

Three podcasts loaded up this morning:

WoW Insider Show Episode 82: Knock it off? Get it on!
BigRedKitty Episode Fifteen
The Elitists Episode 5

I always seem to just miss the WoW Insider Show on Mondays since I'm up early EST but word on the street is that Turpster's new song made it to the air this week so I'm sure that was a treat for both regular and new listeners because it should be funny.

Gave Rawrcast a listen yesterday - thought it was very cool that they decided to Skype a listener that had emailed them to have a discussion. I love seeing these guys bringing in some elements that you don't always see (or never see) on other shows into their podcast it's part of why I like them so much. That's the exact sort of attitude we have with our blog here. I'm also glad that they want to bitchslap anyone caught drinking the WoW Mountain Dew "drink your faction" marketing scam that sort of attitude will always earn points here.

Also heard The Grind Podcast, and they announced the sad news that one of their co-hosts, Luke, will be leaving the show indefinitely. They are also taking a week off to retool the show and come back bigger and badder so if you've never heard them before try out the Fourty First Grind and if nothing else you get to hear the stylings of Amanda, an English lass that sounds quite lovely.

The Elitists #5 is up, and I always think it's interesting to hear the first few episodes of a new show as the hosts get into their groove. Will be interested to see how they're doing. Excited to hear the new BigRedKitty podcast too.

Didn't get to hear Epic Dolls yet but should do today.

Last but not least, there will be a special Blue Plz! Tuesday Assualt today over at so be sure to check out the show. Although I've been flattened by springtime hayfever the last couple of days and fall asleep on my medication I'm going to try and listen live.

Monday, March 23, 2009

In the Chamber: Allergy Attack Monday!

Nice shows over the weekend:

The Instance #139 "Worldwide Hysteria"
Ctrl Alt WoW #107 Why Won't He Talk To Me (is it my breath)?
Yet Another World of Warcraft Podcast #037 [explicit]

Rawrcast #11 "The Semi-Immortal" [explicit]
Proudmoore Pansies - Episode 30!
Starting World of Warcraft Holiday Show #21 It's Late. And I'm Tired. But the Show Must Go On!

The Grind Podcast The Fourty First Grind
Epic Dolls Episode 62 Good Guildies and Leaders

The Proudmoore Pansies aren't explicit, per say, but they do have some cursing in there every once in a while.

I thought it was a very good Instance this week, love it when it's just the two of them bullshitting WoW. Although they did of course have the guest to talk mage, the opening 15 minutes on China banning Wrath of the Lich King content was great. When you hear Randy Deluxe say "China is kinda backwards in time," you know they're rolling! And while I admit I haven't been listening to a lot of shows lately their mention that no add-ons can charge users a fee was news to me. I don't know if Patrick Beja's mod segment was meant to have as much voice effect as it did but it was inaudible.

Ctrl Alt WoW had all three members back together rather than the split format they've used for the last few episodes and it seems fans of the show prefer it that way. But of course we can understand the split format when one of the co-hosts is halfway around the world and schedules don't accommodate.

I've been told that Proudmoore Pansies is another interesting episode this week. There was a lot of talk about their Naxx run but what was especially interesting is that they're just arriving at a new point in their guild development from a small, intimate guild into a larger, almost more impersonal raiding guild. It's great to hear that they're having these honest discussions and you know with that sort of thoughtfulness their guild should continue to thrive.

Lots of listening on tap for me today. Rawrcast, Grind, Epic Dolls, Proudmoore Pansies and as much of YAWoWP as I can stomach.

I didn't post a Greater Good this week, but we're holding pretty steady with about 150-200 visitors per day. Thanks for the support and we hope to do even more in the future. Since we started tracking on March 6 we've had just over 8,000 page loads which is fantastic and certainly a tribute to the podcasters and listeners that have supported our site. Thanks again.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Mailbag #3

Fitting this will be our third Mailbag, with three emails, etc. and soforth.

The weekends are usually quiet around here, last weekend I posted about Nottingham Forest which had absolutely nothing to do with WoW (but you certainly could relate a 5-0 thrashing for your football club to an inter-guild raid where drama prevents you from even downing the first boss) and I'm still kind of pushing it so that weekends here can be "off-topic." Hell, if Fred and I are the only ones that can post regularly on the weekends at least maybe we can do something completely different.

The email has been cooperating with this concept. Since we're such an odd blog we've been getting some odd questions. And here they are:

Hi Toothy,

I noticed that both you and Melissa seem to have similar avatars. Did you design them? Did you do them in Poser if so? Any info on those is there a backstory on why you two have the avatars that you do?

Thank you,
Samuel M.
Black Dragonflight-US

Thanks for the question Samuel. Our avatars are actually from the fantastic professional wrestling simulator Total Extreme Wrestling 2008, made by Adam Ryland's Grey Dog Software. Melissa and I both love the game and have played it to death. We did not create them ourselves, nor do we claim to have created them ourselves. It was pretty shocking that I found another person that played, and an American female at that. It's extremely click-intensive, but it really is a good economic simulator and you can have fun with storylines.

Jim says his horse head on a human body avatar is actually from some Halloween catalog, advertising the horse mask.

Fred and Pete I believe are actual pictures (I'm not positive about Fred), although in Pete's case it's from when he was very young. He's all shaved and looks like a Republican now and I've never seen him without a tie so that picture is (I guess) hysterical.

Hi Toothy,

Jim keeps saying Melissa is doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work about the graphics and look of the blog but nothings changes and there have been no new logos since you started. What does this mean? Is she dating one of you? It seems like she would be too snobby to date someone like you, but if Fred has any money I imagine an older guy would be right up her alley. Does this sound right?

Sue D.
p.s. - shout out to my Gnomewarrior namesakes!

Sue, if you're saying she'd go for Fred because he's old and might die that's a very cynical view of things and not appreciated here. We like to have fun but come on, shut up. This was bordering on a troll but I thought I'd do it some justice so you know we're not avoiding things or whatnot.

Mel doesn't even like to be called Melissa. She's very much a neo-hippie type and has been one of the warmest and most genuine people I've ever met. She's not dating anyone here but if she would it would probably be either Jim or Pete Pete.

If you ever meet Jim it's kind of intimidating, even for someone like me. He's really laid back but there's just this thing about him where you're afraid to say the wrong thing for some reason. Maybe because the first time I met him I was a bit altered and the Grateful Dead song "Loser" was on and right when I shook his hand I heard the line "well I know a little somethin' that you'll never know" and Jim had this little glimmer in his eye. He's got "something" which has drawn all four of us to him really so obviously I'd say Jim.

Pete Pete is pretty much a happy-go-lucky west coaster and I think Mel would be interested in him because he is the exact opposite of the typical northeast guy that's probably hit on her for her entire life. But Pete's kind of asexual. He'd rather spend all day, every day, away from people playing WoW if he could.

Mel is actually doing a lot of behind-the-scenes work. She's developing icons for each of our columns and different variations and completely new takes on not just the logo but the look of the blog and a possible webpage home as well. So she's really busy. She's also researching some questions too for her next interviews AND she's volunteered to scout out and give a first listen to new podcasts for us too. So she's a big player here please respect her work.

Hello UWoW:

This blog has been sort of weird in that I'm seeing some bickering between the five of you. Is this by design? How has it been working with the honesty code? Is this something you think you'll learn from in the future?

Brussels, Belgium
Shattered Halls-US

NOTE: tell toothy as a Genk supporter I feel his pain.

Genk have been good though recently haven't they, Mark? Didn't they have Wesley Sonck for a nice spell to topple Anderlecht & Standard? Yes, it's true Forest were promoted last year. But they were promoted from League One up to the Championship, and are still in big danger of heading straight back down. At least Genk play in the Belgian top league.

Your bit about the blog, I think that's part of Jim's whole thinking. He has said he wants people to see us fleshing out arguments between ourselves so you can actually see our personalities at work. So eventually you'll be able to know each of us pretty well simply through our writing, which will be weird, but I think the sort of internet experiment we're all excited to be apart of so it should yield some fascinating results.

I understand The Code, but I still think it's dumb that we're not allowed to speak with each other during the week and that one aspect alone has caused more delay and confusion and misinterpretation on our parts than anything else so far. Yeah I guess it does keep us "untainted" so we can have those "fresh" first listens but when I already know the score of a match before I've seen it I still watch it to see how the game unfolded for myself.

If you'd like into the mailbag please write me at:, write the blog at:, or tweet us a question at:

Friday, March 20, 2009

FYI - If You Were Expecting To Hear From Us

Hi UWoW readers.

If you were expecting an email from any of the five of us please check your spam mail folder. Our fantastic free "" email addresses seem to be going right into most peoples' spam folder.


In the Chamber: ATA & Warcraft Outsiders

Two more in the tubes today:

All Things Azeroth Episode #105 Defleating (sic) Ulduar and Shotgunning Professions
The Warcraft Outsiders Episode 24 for Thursday, March 19, 2009

We've heard through the grapevine there's apparently some speed-reading by Medros about changes happening in the next patch which should be fun to hear.

And if you've never listened to The Warcaft Outsiders go check out their site and the lovely Michelle Madison... if she's an outsider I don't ever want to be an insider!

Short and sweet for once out of me - enjoy your weekend everyone.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Respect "The Code," Man!

Plenty to say but I'll keep this brief. I find myself here today facing the boards in clear violation of The Code. There are two offenses as far as I can see:

1) After noticing a reader comment I became upset and personally offended that Jim inserted a typo into a post I made here on the blog. This is a clear violation of the first article of The Code which states in normal language that we're not supposed to take anything that is said or happens here personally. Not only that, I forgot that Jim told us in-person about the "mini-game" he intended to play here weeks ago and for that I apologize.

2) I broke The Code's second article about not contacting other UWoW members by phone during the week. I called Melissa who apparently texted Jim before she even answered my call because as soon as she picked up I got a text from Jim saying "busted!" I was busted. It was my second violation of The Code and it happened literally seconds after the first violation.

What worries me most is that I didn't think twice about the second violation. I guess I figured that since I was already done by my first violation that a second wouldn't really make much difference. How wrong I was.

Fred called a vote to see if I should be kicked off the blog for two violations in quick succession. During that vote Fred was the only one who voted me off, Jim, Melissa, and Toothy all voted that I stay. I had a vote too... and once I had a decent idea that I would be allowed to stay I made the stupid gesture of saying I should go. Which brought about a second vote. This time it was 4-to-1 that I stay, with Fred the only dissenter.

I asked Fred a couple of times why he seemed to have it in for me and he assured me I had it wrong and that it wasn't the case he wanted me out. "That's the sort of GM I am," he said, "if this were a Pendragon campaign you'd already be dead." I hate GMs like that.

Anyway - loyal readers of UWoW, and Jim, Melissa, Fred, and Toothy, I apologize to you. I shall do my best not to let it happen again.

Let the flogging commence.