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Amparo Bertram

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06:34 pm: Pictorial Evidence
I've taken a bunch of pictures recently, but I haven't gotten around to posting them, so I decided I should do that before I wound up too far behind.

First, when I went to the memorial event last weekend, I found this police recruitment poster. The slogan looks like it should be the title of a song. <g>

Then, when I went shopping, I got excited for a minute when I found tortillas at my grocery store. That excitement soon faded when I realized they were fifty cents apiece. I later showed this picture to one of my team teachers, and she was like, "Yes, that's the normal price. It's the same in America, isn't it?" ...Um, no.

It's not just Mexican food, though that's particularly hard to endure. Last month someone asked me what kind of fruit I eat. I had to tell her that I don't eat much. It's not because I don't like fruit--I love it--it's because fruit is so doggone expensive. I almost bought a mango the other day, but they were $3.50 apiece, and I just couldn't bring myself to spend that much.

Anyway, it is now officially spring, and the sakura are blooming. I didn't find many when I went to Kyoto, but there were some, including this one. Many of the temples have groves of sakura trees planted in them, and so they will eventually look beautiful.

Now, most Japanese people will want you to believe that the sakura season is all about admiring the beauty of nature and pondering how fleeting life is.

Yeah. Right. In reality? It's all about the beer.

And if you think I'm kidding...

Aside from that, I've been spending a lot of my free time on my Warcraft characters. Glaya got her epic mount last weekend shortly after reaching level 60. This weekend, I joined my guild (the Suzerain of Sloth) in a raid on Zul'Gurub for the first time. For those who don't know much about Warcraft, this is an area where there are a number of difficult boss monsters with their minions, and it takes a group of about 20 players working together to defeat them. Unfortunately, we didn't make it to the final boss. But we can always try again another day.

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[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:April 8th, 2006 05:53 am (UTC)
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this police recruitment poster

Awww...they just want to love somebody tonight.

For those who don't know much about Warcraft

That would be me. You have to form a group of 20 online players to attack this Zul'place? Isn't that difficult to arrange?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 8th, 2006 01:31 pm (UTC)
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Isn't that difficult to arrange?

It is if you're playing all by yourself. That's why people join guilds--groups of players who help each other. My guild is just big enough to put together a 20-player group.

There are some challenges that require 40 players to accomplish. You need either a bigger guild or an alliance of several smaller guilds to do one of those.
[User Picture]
From:mangaroo
Date:April 9th, 2006 02:59 am (UTC)
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What I meant was, isn't it hard to arrange for 20 players to play simultaneously? You can tell I only play one-person games...except for Sheepshead and "guess the flat useful cloth thing" (<- best game ever).

Is the guild just 20 members? 25? 40, to increase the chances of 20 people being available online at the same time?

What do you get if you successfully raid Zul'place? Does the guild win a lump prize and distribute it among its members? Do you just pick up whatever you can carry and run, like a gigantic blue light special? If an individual player dies in a guild raid but the team succeeds, what happens to the dead player? I have questions!
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 9th, 2006 06:32 am (UTC)
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Is the guild just 20 members? 25? 40, to increase the chances of 20 people being available online at the same time?

That depends on whether you count actual people or characters. Each person can create multiple characters...but can only play one at a time.

Also, it depends on the character level required. Zul'Gurub pretty much requires that all participants are level 60 (the current max level), but there are other challenges that aren't as hard. There are a LOT more low level characters than high level ones. For example, I have four characters in the guild--one is level 60, but the others are 35 or less.

It is, in fact, hard to get 20 people to play at once, at least with a guild our size. The plan to raid Zul'Gurub is posted on a forum a week in advance, and people sign up. But there are always last-minute cancellations to deal with too, when real life problems come up (family visits, adverse weather affecting computer connections, illness, all kinds of things) and people have to drop out. In such cases, an emergency request for extra people from outside the guild is made to fill in the empty slots. Either that, or the raid is canceled.

Another problem, of course, is time zone. Most of the raids are scheduled for the evening, Pacific time. So the people (like my brothers) who are in the Eastern time zone wind up having to stay awake long past midnight...whereas for me, it's in the morning.

Does the guild win a lump prize and distribute it among its members?

Each boss drops items when it is killed. (There are multiple bosses, some harder than others.) There are certain items that each boss CAN drop, but it's random within that set, so you never know if it will drop an item you need. For example, a mage character has no use for an axe, while a paladin can't do much with a wand. Thus, only the players who can actually use an item will be in the running to get it. In our guild, you accrue "points" (we call them "claws") by donating gold or resources or by helping the guild in some way. When an item you want drops, you can then spend your "claws" to buy it.

Since the item drops are random, you may have to do the same raid many times before the item you want shows up.

Do you just pick up whatever you can carry and run, like a gigantic blue light special?

Sometimes that does happen...but usually only for "common" items that people won't really fight over. The problem is, some character types (like warriors) are fighting hand-to-hand with the monsters, while some (like hunters) stay well back and shoot with a bow or gun. Thus, when the monster dies, the melee type is always going to be right next to the body to loot any items that drop, while the ranged type is far away and can't run up to the body before the items have been taken. Since this isn't very fair, some people set it up so that the bodies can only be looted by alternating players, which gives everyone a chance.

If an individual player dies in a guild raid but the team succeeds, what happens to the dead player?

They usually wait until all the players have resurrected their characters to auction off the loot. The main problem is when someone has to leave the keyboard for a while (to answer the phone, check on the kids, get a drink, or whatever) and no one else realizes it...so that person can miss out on the auction accidentally. That's why it's important to let everyone know if you're going to be away from the keyboard for a few minutes, so they'll wait for you.
[User Picture]
From:megory
Date:April 8th, 2006 05:25 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the gorgeous pictures and the insights to the real joy of cherry blossom season.

Congratulations on reaching level 60 and good luck on the upcoming challenges.

Do you have any images from the memorial event you'd like to share?
[User Picture]
From:spacealien_vamp
Date:April 9th, 2006 06:37 am (UTC)
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Do you have any images from the memorial event you'd like to share?

I didn't actually take any pictures, because A) it was a lot of speeches, and B) I can't take good pictures in a dark auditorium anyway. I do have the booklet and memorial DVD that they gave to everyone, though.
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