There’s very few things that I feel strongly enough about to try to push. Sure, there’s injustice in the world. There’s wrongs that can and should be righted. Turmoil and strife, war, drama, boy bands… many deep and horrible things that exist. Today, I’ll be addressing you about a great imbalance, something that is dark and dismal.

I started this crusade a few years ago when I noticed an… emptiness. There’s something missing from all of our lives. A hole that many are barely aware of its presence, and possibly trying not to notice the lack therein. It’s been there for almost 11 years now.

That’s right, I’m talking about our lack of being able to cook our own bacon in WoW.

Currently, there’s two ways to obtain bacon in World of Warcraft. You can complete a quest chain in Hellfire Peninsula where one of the rewards is 5 pieces of hellboar bacon. 5 PIECES. PER CHARACTER. EVER. You cannot get any more of them!! And Horde characters have a troll vendor in their Shrine in Pandaria named Ba’kon who sells Thick-Cut Bacon and two other things which don’t matter whatsoever because they’re not bacon.

The game has been out since November 2004, and in all that time, not a single player character has been able to take some of that ever-present boar meat, slice it thin, and slap it on a hot metal surface. Hells, these days many people skip Outlands altogether. There are countless Alliance characters who have never consumed bacon, nor been anywhere near it!!


My first BlizzCon, I was unable to ask about the lack of bacon in WoW. Lined up a bit too late in the open Q&A. Last year, however, I made it up there. In all my bearded, bowler hat, bacon-loving glory, they had me ask the important question across all the screens in the main hall, and I got an answer… “We Have The Technology”. Not much of one, but I did put them on the spot about it.

…little did I know that they had footage of me asking about bacon in the Looking For Group documentary during the end credits, to the point that friends who I never knew played WoW were getting in touch with me about it and laughing from the question. Hells, the devs kinda glanced at each other when I asked it and shared a smile, apparently already in on the joke when I was at BlizzCon.

Well, now we’ve got a new expansion in the works. I’ve tweeted Crafticus about it a few times, and I don’t plan on giving up. Not now, not when we have the chance to change the world. I’ll be right back there in line again this year, and putting them on the spot once more. And I will continue my efforts until this great injustice has been dealt with.

With the Burning Legion on the horizon, preparing to invade our world, our heroes must be strong. They must be inspired. They must have the most legendary of meat products to consume.

Our heroes need bacon, if we are to win this fight.

-Bane Falcon
Make sure its charred and bleeding.” (expression used at one time for troll-slaying, but now refers to making sure any adversary is truly dead or dying. Strangely, also used to describe the dwarven preference for charred and rare meat.)


For those of you at home who may not have been following along so far, I’m a Blizzard fan. I play the full spectrum of Blizzard games, more or less, even if I’m atrocious at Heroes of the Storm and StarCraft. I’m craving the next Diablo season, and I’m in casual mode in WoW. I’ve been a fan of Blizzard games since I was in middle school and dusted off an old iMac jellybean looking computer and put Warcraft 2 on it. Or possibly when I got Diablo on something. I don’t particularly remember…

Well, with all of those years of gaming with one company, you meet a few people along the way. You find yourself a couple groups, make some friends. And if you have the means, you might swing out to BlizzCon a time or two. Or you might be lucky enough to live in the area, and make it a plan to catch it whenever you can. Well, maybe not you, but that’s what I’m doing. While sticking in the same guild for a few years, the odds averaged out to meeting up some other people in the area.

Go to BlizzCon and get blasted on the TV 3 separate times asking about Bacon, while wearing a bowler cap, and people have a tendency to remember you for a short while. Some of those other people might also be in the area, since the convention is local. And some might be people you’ve met up with a couple times before. And hey, you might even make a facebook group to cover the BlizzCon locals in hopes of people wanting to meet up.

Well, that’s more or less what I did, a while back. And then there’s wonderful days like today. August 21st. Where one of my friends is turning 21, and I know him from the local pizza/craft beer/karaoke place. So naturally, he plans on going to karaoke tonight and trying some good beer. Huzzah, got paid today, and got a little more than I expected. Always fun. Then top it off with one of my friends asking last week about getting people together on the 21st for beer and karaoke, while having us all spread the word like wildfire? Yeah, now it’s a shindig. Oh, and pepper in a couple people from work or my group of friends who are also into Blizzard games.

So, posting this in the wee hours of morning because tomorrow, I’m going to pick up my Lootcrate, check it out, get to work, drudge through it, then go straight to karaoke after, to hang out with comic book fans, Blizzard friends I haven’t seen since last BlizzCon, work friends, and whoever else happens to show, while getting a couple things to sip at and having a good time.

I love it when a plan comes together.

-Bane Falcon

Have you ever seen a worm fidget?” (often spoken between dwarves at those rare times when they attend human or elven events, where dancing is involved.

Sometimes, there’s the mysterious conflux of events, where everything aligns. When Soon becomes Soon becomes Release Date becomes Next Week. When it’s for a single game, or beer, or movie, it’s kinda awesome when it’s right around the corner. When it’s for BlizzCon, it’s a frazzling event, where you’re losing sleep because you can’t wait, and you’re losing sleep because you’re not ready. All the hype.

Then there’s the times when the releases all align with one another. For example, the next week. We get the new Hearthstone patch on the 24th, which I was dumb enough to drop $50 in order to get the card back. We have 2.3.0 in Diablo, and the new season starting on the 28th. And then we get flying in Draenor in WoW. Oh, and they just added another new hero in Heroes of the Storm.

It’s so much awesome hitting the fan in such a short period of time, I don’t know what to do.

….okay, that’s an exaggeration. I know exactly what I’m doing. Cracking the Hearthstone packs, derping around when I’m completely bored in WoW and waiting on queue timers for Timewalking Dungeons to work on archaeology since I can fly, and sinking all other waking, non-working hours into Season 4 Hardcore Monk, most likely named Furiosa.

If I wasn’t about to finish LFR on my warrior for my legendary, and didn’t get the last daily boss mount yesterday, I’d be a bit more frustrated. And hells, I have a casual raid team trying to softly recruit me, but when we spend 3 hours and get 3 normal bosses down… Sorry, I may have gone casual, but I’m still too much of a heroic/mythic player to just accept all of that. So it’s a good thing that WoW is holding lesser interest for me.

But what if I wasn’t at that point? What if I still had alts I cared about? And was more avid a player of Hearthstone? And still wanted to go deep into Season 4 once it started? It would be an interesting time. It would be a hell of a mental shuffle.

Oh well, glad I don’t have to deal with most of that!!

-Bane Falcon

You can’t milk a stone for water, but you can crush a goblins head with one fist.” (A saying that states never try to do the impossible and that killing goblins is always possible.)

With my current work schedule (aka my almost permanent work schedule) I find myself unable to make my guild’s raid times at the moment. Usually because the guild runs start at about the time I’d be taking my lunch, and end when I’d get home. That’s a minor issue with both my guild and myself going casual. The days off I have were for our old progression run, but since each thing the guild is doing is one-day stuff, it doesn’t quite mesh. I still love it here, and have zero intention on leaving.

That brings up the fun and interesting dilemma of wanting to get some gear and see the content, but not wanting to tie myself down to a single group. Thus, the much-dreaded pugging.

For those who haven’t been around much lately, there’s this awesome new revamp to the LFG system. You can search for different raids or instances, check to see how many bosses they have down, and how many tanks/heals/DPS they already have in the party. And for listing, you can set the name, the item level minimum you want, and a note describing the plans for the run. Those make finding raids a hell of a lot easier than simply lounging in trade chat and spamming a LFG message.

I’ve been trying to pug into a Blackhand only kill for the past few weeks, and every group is always a few bosses before, and falls apart before they get there… or cuts down on the “Low DPS” and only keeps the people who no longer need gear from him. All I want is to get The Black Hand for transmog (and a little bit of a sidegrade)!! Well, can’t win ’em all, and I don’t feel like trying to run a raid of it myself.

As for current content, I’ve somehow managed to get myself an open invite to a casual raid team. I think they’re only 4 or 5 bosses into Normal at the moment (and apparently are going to do the first boss on heroic tonight), but it’s something. And running with them means a wing of LFR I don’t have to subjugate myself to suffering through. So.. it works. If I don’t want to raid that night? I don’t have to. I’m just the pug.

Another awesome part of the recent LFG system… world bosses and champions. There’s 4 daily mobs in Tanaan Jungle that give either a chance at either a rep token or a mount, and 100 oil per kill. But waiting on each respawn on its own is… kind of a severe pain. Thus, searching in the custom groups tool is your friend. Jump into a raid cross-server where the boss is up, hope that it’s actually STILL up and that someone didn’t forget to delist their group, hit the boss a couple times, and what would take an hour per boss if you’re lucky, becomes maybe an hour for all 4.

…and so far, as I’ve been typing this, I’ve gotten into two different groups for Vengeance, where the boss either hasn’t spawned yet or was already dead and still listed. REGARDLESS!! The system works, and allows for some beneficial pugging.

Blizzard is making it rather easy for players who don’t have set teams or groups to still experience the content and world, and that’s something I never needed before… but I’m taking full advantage of it now. And who knows, I might end up in one of your groups some day!

-Bane Falcon
Does he seem chalky to you?”(pale, disheveled, nervous)

One of the things I keep harping on is the community of Blizzard games. There’s a reason that I’ve been playing them so long, and why I enjoy the company. Part of it is because of all the people I’ve met with a shared interest in the games, but diversified opinions on what faction want to play, or which deck is better, or what class they feel like rolling next. But the people wouldn’t all be there, or at least not in the same way, if the company were to stick to each universe being completely separate.

There’s just something about the bleed-through of the different games that I love and enjoy. Now, some are the tiny easter eggs, like Kerrigan from Brood War being in the console on a shredder in WoW, or the Horde logo on a wall in an Overwatch trailer, or re-used lines by the same voice actor playing different characters in Diablo and StarCraft. But I also love the more blatant ones. Thunderfury and Ashbringer in Diablo. Lost Vikings in Uldaman. Collectors edition pets from the other games available in WoW. And that’s just the ones I can come up with, off the top of my head.

Sure, part of it is branding and intentional and sales. Get people to preorder X game that they might not play, get some cool stuff in Y game that they do play. Level up to a certain amount in that one, get snazzy things in these other two. But to be honest, I love that. I love that Blizzard is intentionally trying to get their players to dabble into other genres, and expand their gaming experience. Hells, speaking for myself, it goes a long way for my longevity of a Blizzard fan. At the moment, I’m fine with being casual in WoW… but good gods, I’m counting down the days ’til the 28th, when I can roll my new Hardcore Seasonal character in Diablo.

The bleedthrough element also goes a long way within one of their more recent flagship games, Heroes of the Storm. Sure, it was based off of Defense of the Ancients (DotA), the custom Warcraft 3 map, but those were all still Warcraft sprites and some interesting character ideas. With Heroes of the Storm, you get everything. Diablo, Warcraft, StarCraft, even classic Blizzard game characters, all duking it out with and against one another. The flavor alone is one of the reasons why I love playing Heroes.

Their most recent step is even more impressive… Instead of simply getting some cosmetic reward, like a mount or pet or flag emblem, Diablo and Heroes of the Storm are having a crossover that gives you a character to play. Sure, you could save up the gold and buy it yourself, but for someone like me who never picked up Diablo in Heroes, but played Diablo III quite a bit, it’s an awesome little perk just for dabbling in different games. And you still get a shiny portrait and banner in Diablo for being a certain level in Heroes during next season. Oh, and a mount in Heroes for reaching max level in next season of Diablo. They had a similar event across Hearthstone, WoW, and Heroes a little while back, giving you a pet in WoW, a mount in Heroes, and a card back in Hearthstone.

Okay, that part is kinda getting away from me, but basically, if you play a Blizzard game, chances are, they’ll give you some free shit to play their OTHER games, too. And even if I’m horrible at some of them (StarCraft, Heroes, I’m looking at you) that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy them… or enjoy some shiny rewards for dipping my toe in the water. That’s even more incentive to play around (giggity), and with battlenet and realID, you can play around with your friends, too (giggity goo).

All I know is, I hope that they continue with these ideas, and keep giving people incentive to cross the boundaries to get free prizes and special stuff, just because they want you to feel awesome for playing.

-Bane Falcon
“Dragons never bother the Dwarves. They just want to compare hoards.” (the dwarves are not resentful of the wealthy)

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently went casual in WoW, after a couple years of mythic/heroic progression runs. Would I like to jump back in and see the rest of the content? Sure. And I kinda miss having a team and the gear and everything. But this recent change has allowed me to try out something completely new to me.

I get to be the filthy casual. I get to be the guy who queues up into LFR and immediately pushes play on another episode of something on Netflix. Oh, I’m cooking? Well, I can AFK on trash. Tab out and check facebook. It’s a bit liberating to not give a damn about what I’m doing, and simply going along for the ride as I finish the places for the legendary parts.

Sure, sometimes I feel a little bad about phoning it in, about giving it almost no effort whatsoever… but then we wipe on a super easy boss, or we have a tank AFK, or half the group starts trolling the other half. So I could either get myself bent out of shape over it, become vocal, and start calling for everyone to get along… or I could shrug it off and take it as seriously as the rest of the people in there… aka, not at all.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

-Bane Falcon
“Eat the mushrooms, but know their names.” (Know what you are getting into.)

Blaugust Day 16: Crossover

Posted: August 16, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Although I shouldn’t be surprised, one of the things I love the most about fellow Blizzard fans is how many other shared interests we can have. When you get people from all walks of life, it’s fairly easy for each of them to have different interests or hobbies outside of just that one video game. Sure, some people also play Borderlands, or Mass Effect, or League of Legends or some other stuff, but that isn’t the part that makes me chuckle to myself.

I’m meaning the Whovian sub-threads in different Blizzard groups, or the fantasy football teams (D&D for Jocks, as I like to put it), or those who have read the Dresden Files or The Name of the Wind. Those slightly more eclectic varieties of nerd-dom, showing up and connecting people who were already getting together. Hells, that’s not even including having a friendly argument jump from Dwarves versus Elves, to Marvel versus DC.

I don’t know why I find it so amusing, considering that there have been millions and millions of WoW players alone, and not including the rest of the company, but it makes me smile. That’s one of the reasons why I love BlizzCon so much. It’s barely about the convention itself, and more an excuse to get us all together to hang out and have a blast. Everyone does the convention their own way, but if I get out of there having only sat through 3-4 panels, but spending the rest of the time nerding out on random crap? Yeah, I consider that a success.

-Bane Falcon
“Keep to the new road and an old friend.”

While I was at work, I got to thinking about my budget and my plans this year for BlizzCon. Checked and double-checked my vacation time, went over the different things I had lined up, and thought about the different stuff I brought or did last year. So I’m gonna share my… not quite kosher BlizzCon Survival tricks. Some essential, some a bit sneaksy.

  • Comfy socks and shoes can NEVER be emphasized enough. If you don’t want to hate yourself, make sure you’re good to go.
  • If you’ve gotta use the bathroom, the ones in the back corner of the main hall are almost always completely empty. There’s two bunker-type pillars, and each has bathrooms. Usually overlooked, but if the lines are forever in other places, it works.
  • Pockets are your friends. Even if you’re bringing a backpack or purse or something, a good pair of cargo shorts makes the difference, usually because….
  • Security checks bags for outside food/drink when you enter, along with computers. DO NOT try bringing a laptop. However, if you want to pack some trail mix, or protein bars… well, as I said. They check the bags. And cargo pockets are kinda awesome.
  • Live it up. Don’t just sit in the main hall the whole time, if it’s your first year. And don’t just go back to your room each night after the convention is closed, then line up the next morning. Meet people, grab a drink. Have a blast.
  • FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, FOLLOW PROPER HYGIENE ETIQUETTE. Statistically speaking, if only one person out of every hundred decides to skip a shower, or deodorant… and there’s a couple thousand there… you don’t want to deal with it. Other people don’t want to deal with it. Even if it means getting up earlier, please, for everyone. Just using deodorant/body spray/perfume/cologne doesn’t cut it, and can make it even worse.
  • Try stuff! The food trucks out here are awesome, and I also make it a tradition to have some of the taco stands inside of the convention each year. Pretty damned tasty, and decent enough value. Also, Noble Brewing is based in Anaheim and they sell beer inside.
  • If you’re the type who doesn’t want to buy your own booze *at* the convention, well… there’s ways to get it in. Just don’t be belligerent or drunk.
  • If someone’s trying to get their group in an area of seats, don’t be the asshat who dive-bombs over the backs of the chairs and plops down into the middle because there isn’t anything against doing it. That’s like saying there isn’t anything against face-pulling a boss or a whole instance while everyone else is getting ready, just because you’re in LFR.
  • COMMON COURTESY IS EVERYTHING. Even though I wish I didn’t have to toss that on there… it’s kinda a key to surviving it. We’re all at the convention to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Don’t ruin it for everyone else by being a dick, and make them ruin it for you by returning the favor.
  • If you’re hanging out in the Hilton/Marriot lobbies, there is no open alcohol allowed outside of the buildings. However, if you swing up to your own stash in your room, fill your cup, and bring it back downstairs, well… /shrug
  • If you’re not planning on charging like a raging animal, don’t try to push forward in the line for the first day.
  • There’s a Starbucks in the Hilton.
  • …There’s a Starbucks in the Hilton.
  • If it’s allowed or not, even if there’s nothing particularly harmful about it… please don’t vape in the middle of a seated crowd. Again: Don’t be a dick.
  • If you plan on doing shopping, be prepared for a multi-hour line, and even then, be prepared for them to not have the one exclusive thing you want. To counter that, charge inside right to the line instead of opening ceremony.
  • Nothing makes you or others happier than having a portable charger for wireless devices. And even if there’s wifi, it’s gonna be every single person there trying to jump on it.
  • Stay hydrated. There’s water fountains by the bathrooms in the carpeted area, and I think there’s some others inside, so you’d only really need one water bottle and refill it. Or you could keep buying more, that works too.
  • Bring a small notebook, or something of the sort. Definitely bring a couple pens. When you meet up with someone awesome and wanna swap realIDs, jotting it down works if you don’t wanna just give out your number or add them on facebook. Alternately, make scraps of paper or business cards with your info on it to hand out.
  • Don’t freak if you miss a panel. Everyone gets the virtual ticket, and if I want to, I can open my mobile app and catch the panels from last year.
  • Explore, have fun, get out of your shell, and meet people!! We’re all nerds, and unlike the big comic conventions, we’re all here for one damned company. We’ve got shared interests.

So those are my tips, and these are my rules, or very strong advice:

  1. COSPLAY IS NOT CONSENT. Ask before taking a picture, and especially before touching.
  2. HYGIENE IS KEY. You don’t want to be known as that one smelly person from last year, through the year.
  3. DON’T BE A DICK. Seriously, please, don’t ruin it for yourself or others. Troll trade chat, but be friendly here.
  4. HAVE FUN. If you can’t have fun within those other rules and suggestions, maybe BlizzCon isn’t for you?

That’s all I’ve got today. And yeah, so what if you can find these guides everywhere? Mine has beer tips in it. And food.

-Bane Falcon

 Rest your shields, lean on stones, listen and always remember, long are the arms and legs of men, yet still longer, the Dwarven members!” (a battlefield limerick meant to relieve stressed-out dwarves, usually exclaimed by leaders and commanders whenever the outlook is otherwise grim)

Blaugust Day 14: Roots

Posted: August 14, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

So I got to thinking the other day, and I don’t actually remember the first time I encountered a dwarf in literature or media. Maybe it was Snow White? Or something else? I honestly have no damned clue. But whatever it was, something about them immediately called to me. Funny, stubborn little guys who liked to mine? Yeah, that seemed pretty cool.

The more I picked up on them, the more I liked. Master craftsman, solid beards, hairy, stout, enjoy their beards? Arrogant, but not trying to convert or change others to it? Yeah, that definitely seemed cool. Long-lasting friendships and grudges? These guys definitely seemed pretty chill to hang with. Natural skeptics of magic and things they couldn’t prove, while standing firmly behind the idea of their own hard work.

Naturally, I played a dwarf in anything I could, at least for my first character. Any game I roll into, I pick the stout, stubborn, bulky character option, usually a Warrior or Fighter or similar melee class, and name it Bane Falcon. Hells, it was even to the point that any time I went into my old comic and gaming shop, the owner would sneer at me and grunt out “No Dwarves allowed!!”

To go along with my affinities with the race, I also picked up the natural dislike for elves. Not that I’m any sort of mindless barbarian, but the sheer slender beauty, the too-delicate approach, the high and mighty aristocracies, and almost blinding focus on the finer arts just doesn’t do it for me. Dwarves can have their own beauty… a more earthy, rugged, solid one. I prefer to take the blunt approach whenever I can, straight and to the point. And Dwarven artwork is just as beautiful as Elvish, with the added bonus of being effective, or able to drop down a mountain.

I’m now to the point where I’m basically stylizing myself after a dwarf. A fan of the ale, and the craftings thereof, a good burly beard, and surrounding myself with fellow merry dwarves (and maybe a token elf and tiefling). But give me the choice to live in a fantasy world, and my first question is what their mountain clans are like, and how well do they craft with stone, or fight with hammer and axe.

-Bane Falcon
You can kill a dwarf, but you can never vanquish one.”

So today’s gonna be a quick and easy ranting session about what helped make sure I’m going to every damned BlizzCon I can. The first year I went to BlizzCon, I was flying solo. I knew that maybe a couple guildies were possibly kinda-sorta going, but never managed to line up with them. So instead, I just did my own thing. I was in a couple facebook groups for it, to try to connect with other players, and figure things out from there.

One of them was the fledgling rendition of the BlizzCon Beer Swap. It was going to be a handful of us, maybe 20 or so max, meeting up and trading or sharing bottles of microbrews that we knew and loved. Only downside is… we kinda flubbed on the execution. It ended up being a handful of us clandestinely meeting in either the Hilton or Marriot bar areas, trying to sneak a bottle to each other under the table, then once both hotels caught what we were doing (you need a specific liquor license to allow outside alcohol in your drinking areas) we were politely chased out. So other parts of the swap took place in the no-mans-land between the two plazas, and the rest was a simple trick or treat between rooms with good beer.

Well, we got organized for last year. Made a facebook group, pushed it on forums, tweeted at the Blues who enjoy craft beer. Ended up having some of the group, including one of the other founders of the idea, get a suite with a meeting room, so we had about 20-30 people inside and a bit more outside. We covered a meeting room table with beer. Easily a couple thousand dollars worth. Mumper swung in on the night before the swap, Terrran Gregory during the swap itself, and Bashiok and Zarhym the day after. It was a blast.

And good gods, the beers… Some I’ve never even heard of, some I’ve heard of but didn’t know people still had, and some that I just wanted to try. We had a guy bring 12 bottles from Scotland, and I believe someone from central Europe brought some to share, as well. I came in unprepared last year, and this time around, I’ve been saving and stashing since the weeks following BlizzCon, in order to bring some goodies.

This year… we’re somewhat back to the idea of winging it. Our main group wasn’t able to get a suite again, so we’re hoping that we can simply piggyback off of people who are staying at the Hilton and just hold the swap on the poolside patio again. The beer swap group is going strong in facebook, and we’re pretty much declaring the event itself as a bottle share while swapping via mail during the year. The idea is being bounced around for renting a place a mile away and selling tickets, but… eh, that kinda takes away from the spirit of it, in my opinion.

If you enjoy quality beer, good times, and drinking ’til the sun comes up while yammering on about lore and mechanics and war stories, you should check it out.

-Bane Falcon
Drinking contests with humans are unbearable. They drink, they collapse, and we have to drag them back to their homes. The next day they never remember losing.